This article from Lester Abberger, Rick Hall and Dewayne Carver has turned out to be a bit of a head scratcher for me. It’s written in response to an article that I spent way more time than I should have looking for on Tallahassee.com, all to no avail, so I don’t have the entire conversation, but the issue seems to be that the redevelopment plans for Tallahassee’s Gaines Street don’t include bike lanes. Instead, they expect bicyclists to share the travel lanes with automobiles. As far as I can tell, there’s only one travel lane in either direction, but an area between the opposing lanes has been provided so that cars can pass bicyclists. The authors claim that putting in bike lanes would be unsafe because the bicyclists would be in an area where they could get hit by the opening doors of parallel-parked cars, and because the added width of the travel lane would encourage drivers to speed. The guidelines they drew up for the development are certainly flashy, but light on the subject of bikes. I have a few comments. First of all, if you had back-in slant parking, it would take care of the doors problem. Second, I give them a week or two before there’s a car crash in the median area when two cars going opposite directions try to pass bicyclists at the same time. But here’s my question: is it a good idea to have cyclists and drivers sharing a lane on an urban street? On low-congestion, residential streets, it’s no big deal, but on a busy, urban street, there’s a lot more conflict. Many bicyclists report being victims of road rage, and this is increased when they are forced to share the road with drivers. So, in my first mad grab for comments, I ask you, what do you think? Is it safe for bikes and cars to share a lane on urban streets? I think it would also be good, especially if you live in the Tallahassee area, to also comment on the page of the story above. Hopefully they’ll take the feedback into consideration.
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