Bike Ride to Show Council Support for Hillsborough Bike Lanes

Bike Ride to Show Council Support for Hillsborough Bike Lanes

Ride for Support

November, 02, 2009, by David

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Tomorrow afternoon the city council will vote on reopening the conversation about adding bike lanes to Hillsborough street.  The bike First Friday organizers are putting together a ride to the council meeting to show their support for these bike lanes.  The goal is to show that they cyclists of the city are eager for safer streets and bike lanes on busy streets like Hillsborough. Meet at the Belltower at noon tomorrow 11/3 with locks, helmets etc and bike downtown for the 1pm city council meeting. 








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DevelopmentTransitCity CouncilHillsborough StreetBike First FridayCouncil Meetings

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  • adam!!
    11/02 10:35 AM

    there is a fair amount of research that seems to indicate that adding bike lanes increases the danger to cyclists. i wonder if any of the supporters are abreast to this, or if they just want their lanes no matter what. adding dedicated cycling lanes does not imply “safer streets”.

  • Aly
    11/02 11:15 AM

    One should be careful about citing safety studies without specific references. The propagation of casual information like this can be false or misleading.

    Having designed bicycle facilities for the NC DOT, I have seen these criticisms before. Some (not all) point out more cycling accidents per mile after bike lanes are introduced. However, most studies do not have the tools to count cyclist traffic accurately, and so do not take into account the increased volume of cyclists, traffic patterns by cars, and the route changes cyclists use to reach the bicycle lanes. Most do not incorporate varying levels of accident seriousness or multi-modal safety scenarios, like pedestrian accidents.

    It has been my opinion that bicycle lanes increase cycling participation, leading to more accidents, but with a much smaller percentage of overall ridership.

    There is a school of thought that bicycle lanes can lead to complacency of a cyclist and reduce attention to defensive riding. There are also cultural barriers, like drunk driving, aggressive driving, and failure to check mirrors before crossing a bike lane. All of these are all-too-common in areas that are growing a cycling population. However the best tools for these problems is education and enforcement, not sacrificing facilities that make a city enjoyable.

    If we want cycling in this town, we need to make a broad based effort to do it right, and cycling lanes are but one component. However if we are rely on “safer streets” as our sole diagnostic, we will be forced down a twisted tree of logic that leads to everyone staying home on their couches.

  • Rob E.
    11/02 11:20 AM

    I was thinking the same thing. BUT there is evidence that the biggest factor in creating a safe bicycling environment is simply getting more bicycles on the road. I know a number of people who would love to ride more often and more places, but don’t feel safe on most of Raleigh’s main streets. Bike lanes would probably make them feel safer, make them more likely to ride, and, in doing so, increase awareness of cyclists in the area and make biking in Raleigh safer for everyone.

    That’s the best argument I can think of for bike lanes.  But I prefer education of actual safe practices to tricking people into feeling safer, so I would rather not have bike lanes if, and only if, the City was willing to take other measures to make Hillsborough more bike-friendly.  While I don’t think bike lanes is the best solution, I do prefer them to the lack of any bike-friendly structure that has been the norm until now.

  • Eric Lamb
    11/02 11:28 AM

    Just so everyone’s on the same page, the City’s current plan for the portion of Hillsborough Street that is under construction is to deploy shared-use arrows (a.k.a. “sharrows”) after the project is complete.  This is consistent with the City’s strategy for bike accomodations adjacent to on-street parking citywide.

    You can check out all of the recommendations of the City’s new bike plan at the attached link.

  • adam!!
    11/02 11:54 AM

    i’m sure the 100+ bikers in critical mass will stay within the 5’ cycling lanes.

  • chaseadam
    11/02 12:27 PM

    I agree but critical mass is a bit of a different animal.

    I am happy “sharrows” are included in the plan. Personally, I am happy with just “sharrows” as drivers should get used to being with cyclists. Every time I ride on the road hopefully I educate drivers a little more, but there are unfortunate side effects (a recent example http://www.news-record.com/content/2009/10/25/article/motorist_sought_in_death_of_cyclist).

    I understand the risks and hesitation by others to accept those risks. As a result, if a bi lane gets more people out there on bicycles, I will support it.

    Some questions: Are there specific plans for a lane that we may re-consider? Reopening a conversation implies that there has been discussion before. What was discussed and why was discussion closed?

  • DPK
    11/02 12:30 PM

    For those that don’t know what a “sharrow” is:

  • Micah
    11/02 02:01 PM

    Bike lanes are great, until they come to an intersection.  So long as roads are wide enough to share, then attempts at separating bike traffic on main travel lanes but forcing them all to combine again at an intersection is a bad idea.  A couple of minutes with Google can divulge a couple of hours worth of reading on the subject.

  • will a
    11/02 02:01 PM

    hillsborough street is the front porch of the largest university campus in the state.  college students make up the largest percentage of commuting cyclist in the city of raleigh’s population. college students are not neccesarily seasoned cyclist or experienced with negotiating urban traffic patterns.  a separate lane that clearly marks where motorist should drive and cyclist should ride will be the best way to communitcate to both parties the rules of the road and for the city of raleigh to make a statement that it is committed to bicycle commuting (which is also a committment to sustainability).  currently the plan for this phase of hillsborough street construction does not include ANY cyclist facilities.  it allows 16 foot motorist lane between center median and parallel parking markings.  motorist tend to center themselves in the driving lane and go faster in wider lanes.  if the city were to be convinced to mark the pavement to show a 9 foot travel lane for vehicles (minimum that is doable) and a 4 foot bicycle lane, there would be still be 3 feet for motorist to get in and out of their cars without ‘dooring’ a cyclist.

  • Rob E.
    11/02 02:24 PM

    I could be convinced on this issue.  When I have a bike lane, I do tend to like it, but I do have concerns about them.  I find turning left in a bike lane situation tricky (which is something I do almost daily on Ridge Rd.). You have to merge with traffic and then merge to the turn lane within a relatively short span.  If you’re already part of traffic, that’s one less merge.  Also, if there is parallel parking to the right of the bike lane, won’t people be parking from the bike lane? That also seems less safe then simply encouraging people to take the lane and avoid the curb.

  • Bill M
    11/02 02:43 PM

    It would be outrageous for the main drag of the University to lack cycling lanes. The goal of the Hillsborough St construction was “traffic calming” and bicycle lanes help achieve this.  I agree with Will A, this makes more sense in this location than any other.  It is an important start and NCSU should be working to make this happen and provide incentives and cyclist education to those students who leave their cars at home.  So many of those farm kids and suburban kids have no idea how to cross the street, it’s currently like a game of Frogger.

  • Smitty
    11/02 03:49 PM

    Having worked downtown for many years, and biked down Hillsborough until the late unpleasantness, I for one have never used the traffic lanes. I’d rather get in the way of pedestrians and risk a ticket than risk my life trying to fight with cars for space. I would welcome a clearly marked bike lane, but the shared lane will do nothing to make me safer, and I’ll stay on the sidewalk. Put in a clearly marked lane, and I’ll use it, like I do on 54 from Maynard to Beryl Street.

  • Drew B
    11/02 05:31 PM

    I don’t really think this is a good idea in this situation. With cars parked along the street, you’re going to regularly have people crossing through and stopping in the designated bike lanes. If you put the bike lane between the parking and the sidewalk, the intersections will be massively more dangerous because of reduced visibility for both drivers and cyclists.

    Looking at the plan pointed to by Eric above, most of Hillsborough street will have designated lanes. The exception to this is the section right outside of campus which is designed for slower, more manageable traffic, making it relatively safe for bikers and motorists exist in shared lanes.

  • JRD
    11/03 01:54 AM

    Raleigh should look into having a bicycle race like “twilight” in Athens, GA.  It draws huge crowds and is always an absolute blast.  Google it.  It would be huge for our local economy.

    It could even be sponsored by Raleigh Bicycles.

  • Ken Metzger
    11/03 10:06 AM

    Smitty, I beg you to not use the sidewalk while on a bike.  It is actually more dangerous to ride on a sidewalk than on a street.  It also creates problems for pedestrians and those who are on the road.  It seems just about every time I ride down Hillsborough some idiot yells at me to use the sidewalk.  People on bikes need to stake their claim on the road (but of course remain courteous).  Now if only the cops and ambassadors could learn how to use the road.

  • JeffS
    11/03 11:34 AM

    First, the sharrow diagram posted above is not necessarily correct. It implies that this is an extra-wide lane, which is not necessarily the case - and certainly not in the case being discussed.


    I cannot find lane specs for the Hillsborough redesign, but I have to think that with the ill-conceived medians the lane width might actually decrease, not increase. On the west end you would need to either take the sole traffic lane or risk being doored.


    I can’t imagine why people, especially cyclists, would come out against bike lanes. First, if you’ve never lived outside of Raleigh you have no practical experience with them - you’re just basing a dislike on internet heresay.


    And Rob E… are you seriously suggesting that your mother/grandmother should take the lane in this situation? Wanna take bets on whether she gets squeezed into a parked car or a median?


    Honestly, I have no idea how to make it work at this point. From what I can tell, the plan seems to be about planting more bricks than anything. With limited width and an apparent insistence on on-street parking there’s just not enough room. On-street parking, ESPECIALLY on the campus side, would have been the first thing I would have removed.

  • Rob E.
    11/03 11:55 AM

    I actually like bike lanes in some situations, but I’m still not convinced they are best for over-all safety. You point out the risk of being doored. This seems more likely to happen with bike lanes then it is without, assuming that a bike lane would run between traffic and a row of parallel-parked cars.
    My point is that I am not convinced that bike lanes will actually make the road any safer then educating drivers and riders. Where I see bike lanes as particularly problematic is at intersections, and Hillsborough has plenty of them.
    But you are correct in that my mother and grandmother (and many other riders I know) would not be comfortable riding as a part of traffic. They would be more likely to use a bike lane whether or not it was actually safer, but simply because it made them feel safer.  And, as I said in my original comment, getting more bikes on the road is probably the best thing we can do to make Raleigh more bike-friendly. So from that perspective, I don’t oppose bike lanes. But, like you, I am concerned about continuing to squeeze two car lanes, two bike lanes, and parked cars all into the same stretch of road.

  • Eric Lamb
    11/03 12:04 PM

    The right-half of the sharrow sketch that DPK provided is pretty-much on target for the current game plan.  The distance from the edge of the raised median to the face of the on-street parking is 16 feet, and the parking lane is 7.5 feet wide to the face of the curb.

  • JeffS
    11/03 01:25 PM

    What was the proposed speed limit through here again?

  • Ken Kaye
    11/03 03:58 PM

    Hey everyone. I’d like to offer my service to anyone in Raleigh who has need for a League Certified Instructor (LCI), for the purpose of educating cyclists how to ride on local streets and roads more safely.
    There are about 8 LCI’s in the Triangle at present, but courses are not offered consistently. Hopefully we can change that starting in 2010.
    If you’re interested in forming a group of cyclists for a class, I’d be happy to look at dates (typically a Saturday from 8am-2pm for Traffic Skills 101, the current “gold standard” course on vehicular cycling). Please note that there’s a fee for instructor time and materials per student.
    Thanks!
    Ken Kaye
    LCI #2598
    cykklist at gmail dot com

  • Aly
    11/03 05:09 PM

    Nice showing today. Thanks to Will, Victor, and everyone else for putting this together. It was amusing that we couldn’t find a bike rack when we got to City Hall. Props to Councilman Thomas Crowder for riding his bike there today.

  • Rob E.
    11/03 05:15 PM

    Bike rack hides in the parking garage, I think. Behind City Hall and close to the Dawson St. entrance to the parking garage. It’s not a great rack and might not have accommodated more than a couple of bikes anyway.

  • will a
    11/03 05:16 PM

    today city council voted to allow public discussion of the issue.  over 30 cyclist attended and made their presence known by standing up during the presentation, some wearing bike helmets.  now we have a forum to discuss the nitty-gritty details of lane widths, sharrows, calm traffic and what-all….

  • Eric Lamb
    11/03 05:18 PM

    Yes, thanks to all who took the time to come today!  I took a picture of all the bikes parked out front, so thanks for helping me make the case for adding bike racks there. :)


    In response to Ken’s offer, I took the Road 101 class under Bruce Rosar a couple of years ago and I highly recommend it, even if you’re an experienced cyclist.  We hope to be providing opportunities for educational outreach in the near future.

  • Carver
    07/15 02:36 PM

    Can I use my segway in the bike lane?  :-)

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