Cycling Lanes for co-existence of shared road users

Photo by Vanessa Barkla

Photo by Vanessa Barkla

Bike lanes are a great place for cyclists to make safe passage with other shared road users. Or are they? It would seem there is a large proportion of the general public have the view that cyclists should keep to the bike lane as this is a designated area allocated for their sharing of the road.  What happens when the bike lane dissolves and suddenly riders and other shared road users are in the same space? What about when riders chose to ride on a road where there is no designated bike lane or a marked road verge that allows for cyclists to have a small part of the road or even a centre line marked to show what space is to be shared? Is this wrong that riders should use this road?
These are all factors that have for’s and against and there is no right or wrong answer but the desire to co-exist as legal entities on the road space.  There are a number of other issues that cyclist’s face that can frustrate motorists as to why some cyclists find it difficult to keep in a bike lane.

Where bike lanes have been added to the side of an existing road surface there is quite often a lip that is created between the old existing seal and the new seal as they overlap. A road rider may well find it quite dangerous to ride the fine line where these ridges on the surface exist and quite often break up into holes. Bike lanes are prone to have the gatic pit lids and fire hydrants within the lane making the manoeuvring around these can make cyclist unpredictable to other road users.  Bike don’t act as road cleaners like trucks buses and cars do so the bike lanes can be quite dirty with all sorts of debris  that has been blown off the road surface into the lane.  Broken glass is a real concern and can destroy a tyre very quickly at the cost of anywhere from $40 – $80 a tyre and tube.  Dodging through these sorts of potential risks can make sharing the road all the more difficult and frustrating to motorist if unaware of the conditions and causes for a cyclist to not be where they might be expected on the road.

Motorist would expect that cyclists kept to the left as much as possible and this in itself creates a challenge as the road verge can be quite dangerous with tree guards and edging as well as broken surfaces and holes not to mention the unsuspecting door being opened into the bike lane from a parked car.

For cyclist to remain safe it is best to maintain a predictable line and not be dodging and weaving as this frustrates motorists who may have committed his line and a cyclist coming into that space can be a real concern and intimidating.

Cyclist can be selfish at times and like a smooth road surface to ride on and some bike lanes have a heavy aggregate which makes hard work of riding as the surface is dead and has no life for the rider. Where the vehicles have been travelling creates a smooth surface where the aggregate has been worn into the seal and makes a lively surface to ride on.

Other aspects that frustrate motorists can be when riders ride two abreast which most times will place a rider on the white line just inside or outside the designated bike lane. It is quite legal for riders to be two abreast and have a metre between them and passing motorist are required to give a minimum of 1 metre clearance when passing hence they can fill the bike lane.

See you on the shared road space soon God willing


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