There’ve been previous updates on this but I just wanted to refresh y’all. I saw these bicycle signs pop up in German Village yesterday and I was thrilled.
More of these will continue to be installed along with the bike symbols on the ground to guide you on where to stop your bike at intersections. Once you place your bike ontop of the symbol on the ground, it acts as a detector to change the light. The city of Columbus’ Public Service Dept. plans to install both the signs and bicycle signals on the ground when you place a 311 request. This is why it is so important to utilize this easy service-request system (http://311.columbus.gov/). Our streets cannot get better unless we ALL are proactive in making them better. I recently placed three requests through 311 and one of them is already in progress.
People constantly ask me ‘where is the best and safest place to ride my bike?’ The honest answer is, is that there is no real answer but there are better practices than others. I tell people that if there are multiple travel lanes going in each direction, I always take the far right lane b/c there’s still another full lane(s) of travel. Now, what about a street like High St. There’s one travel lane, sometimes a dedicated left turn lane, and a far right lane that has buses, right turns, and now – parked cars. Engineers reinforce that this lane can be ‘shared’ and let’s face it, most drivers DO want us on the most far right lane as possible, so they can continue about their destination, not having to slow down. The fact is, is that that far right lane is 12ft wide (I counted) and clearly NOT enough for both a bike rider and an open car door to safely exist together. Take a look at the pics below:
Many car windows these days have tint to them leaving it as either a guessing game or a ‘Hail Mary’ for us bike riders riding in this lane. As you can clearly see, there’s a variety of width of these cars. I don’t care what people say, this is clearly not enough room. I’ve been door’d and I’m still intimidated at times.
We learn in drivers education to be ‘predictable’ when driving. Having drivers be able to anticipate your next move is both courteous and safe. You dont want a driver to abruptly turn right and not signal or a car to change lanes with out adequate space and time. The same goes with us on bikes. We want drivers, buses, and walkers to be able to anticipate our moves. Weaving in and out of lanes isn’t predictable. I would rather anger the driver behind me b/c I’m slow and predictable than create this bike rodeo of weaving in and out of lanes and parked cars. I know it’s engrained in us (slower traffic stays right) but when it comes to safety, drivers are just going to have to deal. I hope these images help along with my quasi-clear explanation. Again, its really difficult to answer b/c there are so many different levels of confidence when riding however, I hope these images give you a better idea of why its always not in the best interest to appease the cars behind you and for you to maintain the lane until the far right lane frees up for you to move into.
Be safe and keep riding.