Hillsborough Street Bike Lanes on Public Works Agenda Tuesday

Hillsborough Street Bike Lanes on Public Works Agenda Tuesday

January, 25, 2010, by Jedidiah

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Currently, Hillsborough Street and its new plan have no room for bike lanes, but a local group of bikers is still hoping this will change soon. The group took to the streets back in November to ride to City Council in support of the bike lanes and now it is up for public discussion at the Public Works meeting on Tuesday at 5pm. The meeting will be in the same space as the City Council meetings on Hargett Street.

The group also put together a short presentation of their proposal for Hillsborough Street. It is illustrated below in the image gallery but on Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh because it was not possible to do so on Hillsborough Street currently b/c of the construction.

The issue of bike lanes on Hillsborough St will be brought up at the public works meeting Tuesday at 5pm. This is the important one. We will meet at 4pm at the belltower and ride down to the meeting. Bring helmets, locks, lights and lots of friends.

If you can not make it PLEASE send an email to the committee and/or if you wrote a letter last time, please forward it on to this comittee:
Bonner Gaylord  bgaylord@kanerealtycorp.com

John Odom  jodom8@nc.rr.com

Russ Stephenson Russ@RussStephenson.com>

We taped off Fayettville st this morning to illustrate exactly, foot by foot,  what we are proposing. Please see attached PDF with some of the photos.


Victor, Will, and Dylan

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Politics, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Hillsborough StreetBike Lanes


  • Bill M
    01/25 01:49 PM

    Great illustration of what should be implemented on Hillsborough Street.  And Fayetteville St.  Public Works announced last week that they just hired their first bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.  Hopefully that new hire will be present at the meeting.  See you there.

  • Arthur
    01/26 10:19 AM

    I don’t think there is enough room for parking, bike lanes, and traffic lanes. I don’t even see how they are going to squeeze the bus lane into Hillsborough Street?

  • CtrlBurn
    01/26 12:34 PM

    I agree that Raleigh needs more bike planning, but I’m not sure how much good it would do on Hillsborough St.  I rode my bike much of the time I was at State, and I never had a need to venture onto Hillsborough.  Cyclists going eastbound can use the bus lane on campus, and cyclists going westbound can use the neighborhoods.  I think there are other places these efforts could have a more positive effect.

  • Bill M
    01/26 01:00 PM

    CtrlBurn: This isn’t an either/or situation.  I think considerations for bicycles and pedestrians should be made for every new street in Raleigh and every street that is redeveloped.  It’s silly this wasn’t planned before redoing HB St. but now it is just an argument of where to paint the lines. Why not support it here and in the areas you think need it more?

  • CtrlBurn
    01/26 01:04 PM

    In a case where a street is paved wide enough to support bike lanes, I’m all for it.  If including a bike lane means spending lots of money to widen the paved area, I think there are more valuable places to do that.  I haven’t seen the specific measurements on the HB redesign to know whether the lanes they’re paving are wide enough to support bike lanes with a simple repaint.

  • Canadianblaken
    01/26 02:10 PM

    Have you guys seen what has happened to the School kids front parking lot? I dont see room for much of anything.

  • Arthur
    01/26 02:34 PM

    Yea, That little strip mall doesn’t have much parking but I have heard that NCSU had purchased it and will removed the building to make it in to a parking lot since the lost the lot next to the BBQ place where he new road doing to Oberlin from the Hillsborough Street traffic circle is now.

  • Steve
    01/26 04:51 PM

    Bike lane stripes don’t create space for cyclists; cyclists do. The cyclist in the “danger” photo should be riding farther from the parked cars; the car driver will still have room to pass safely. If the lane were narrower, the cyclist should ride in line with other traffic to avoid getting squeezed.

    Bike lane stripes don’t prevent drivers from merging right into cyclists in their blind spots. Only riding farther left, especially at junctions, can reduce or prevent this problem. But that requires disobeying the bike lane marking.

  • Steve
    01/26 04:59 PM

    I’ve been cycling on Hillsborough Street since 1991. I’ve had no problems on it, just riding in the center of the right hand through lane. An occasional horn honk is as bad is it ever got.

    The new single-lane (each direction) cross section has enough room for car drivers to pass safely between cyclists and the raised median curb, but not bus drivers. There are also times when cars passing cyclists or vice versa is a bad idea. As a result, cyclists should be made to feel entitled to merge into the center of the travel lane when they believe this is safer. A sharrow in the center of the lane would accommodate this. A bike lane stripe, on the other hand, would stigmatize cyclists who merge farther left.

  • Bill M
    01/26 05:14 PM

    Steve, those are all valid points.  You should make them at the meeting in one hour.  I just had another cyclist (bikes always, never drives) tell me that sharrows are no good, dedicated lanes only.  The Public Works director expressed his frustration that in previous planning for cyclists, there was little to no consensus among the cycling communities of commuters, students, recreational and sport cyclists.  They’ve now hired a coordinator and I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.

  • Wayne Pein
    01/26 05:21 PM

    The pictures of safety and danger are stunningly misleading, and show a lack of knowledge of traffic dynamics and proper bicycling. Further, one can look at the cross section of Hillsborough and see that there is not enough room to place a bike lane out of the door zone.

    An alternative treatment for Hillsborough is to place the Shared Lane Marking in the center of the 11’ travel lane, which is where bicyclists should operate. Parking hash marks with 5’ extensions should be used to show the extent of the door zone.

    Bicyclists, show some backbone and quit arguing for Bike Reservations which REDUCE your space and rights to the road!

  • Wayne Pein
    01/26 09:59 PM

    One can see here:


    that the cross section of Hillsborough street cannot have a bike lane unless it is in the door zone. There is not enough room.

    If Shared Use Markings are ambiguous and confusing to motorists as is claimed, that is not necessarily a downside. Ambiguity engenders caution. That is the essence of Shared Space. In contrast, sequestering bicyclists in Bike Reservations removes them from the best part of the road and allows motorists to drive without caution because bicyclists have conveniently been moved aside. Bike Lanes are for motorist convenience!

  • Steve
    01/27 12:47 AM

    I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to the meeting, as I needed to get home by six to take care of my kids.  My feeling on sharrows is that they are desirable if used in the middle of a lane, and undesirable if used on the right side of a lane under circumstances where cyclists will often need to operate farther left, e.g. the lane is of inadequate width, downhill slope where cycling speeds are high, etc.  Note that MUTCD allows sharrows to be marked in the middle of a lane; the 11’ from curb face is the _minimum_ distance from the curb allowed.

  • Bill M
    01/27 12:52 AM

    Great meeting.

  • Steve
    01/27 01:11 AM

    Here’s an article on the agenda item:

    Here’s an article on door extensions for cars parked on-street. Some of these doors will extend up to a foot into the proposed 4’ wide bike lane. Meanwhile, buses will encroach from the other side, leaving a pretty tight squeeze. I really, really hope a mandatory bike-lane-use-law like in HB1451 doesn’t get passed, because I wouldn’t want to be prohibited from merging into the normal travel lane.

  • Steve
    01/27 01:12 AM

    Forgot the link on car door widths from curbs: http://www.bikexprt.com/bikepol/facil/lanes/doorwidth.htm

  • steelcity36
    01/27 10:24 AM

    Again we are looking at the present when we should be focusing on the future. We should plan for dedicated Segway and hoverboard lanes because by the time this plan is implemented they will be the favored modes of individual transportation. Bicycles are so 2010!

  • Steve
    01/27 11:59 AM

    The only redeeming scene in the 2002 remake of The Time Machine http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268695/ was set in the not so distant future, when everybody was riding bikes, and looked good doing it, especially one cyclist who uses some sort of card to operate the electronic lock on a bike rack.

    As for hoverboards, that would make skating on the existing Hillsborough Street corridor a heck of a lot smoother - I can’t imagine Marty doing it now….

  • Bill M
    01/27 12:55 PM

    Steve, bicyclists will not be prohibited from taking the lane on Hillsborough St and they will still need to take the center of the lane at the roundabouts and at some other tight spots and at some left turn areas, which might be marked with sharrows.  There was a consensus that a tighter driving lane for cars will SLOW the cars and buses, whereas sharrows, in this instance, would urge cars to center within the available space and drive faster.  This was recognized as the special situation it is and not the bicycle policy for Wake County overall.

  • Evan
    01/27 01:24 PM

    Steve & Wayne,
    Just wanted to say I agree 100% with your comments.

    Bill, you are correct that in terms of the law, cyclists will not be prohibited from taking the lane just because there’s a dedicated bike lane. However, the general motoring public (bless their hearts) has very little understanding of the whole ‘bicycles are vehicles’ concept and tend to see bike lanes as the only place for bikes, and to see bikes out of bike lanes as trespassers.

  • Wayne Pein
    01/27 01:33 PM

    Motorists respond to the presence of bicyclists within the lane, so it is completely irrelevant whether they center in the lane in response to the Shared Lane Marking. In other words, if a bicyclist exists motorists move over.

    As Evan said, to expect bicyclists to operate outside of an available bike lane is fanciful thinking. Motorists enforce bike lane use through coercion and harassment.

    The best hope is the NCDOT recognizes the liability problem of placing a bike lane as proposed and axes the design.

  • Bill M
    01/27 01:40 PM

    Evan, I agree with you and the discussion at the meeting also covered the cyclists most likely to use this mile of street, students, many of whom have never been in a city before, who also do not understand the whole take-the-lane concept.  I will submit they often do not know how to cross a street on foot.  The Public Works planner stated that he has already taught his children how to take the lane for the roundabouts - I think people can learn.  Councilman Gaylord recounted trying to ride on Hillsborough St on a beach cruiser, pulling his child in a trailer and said he would not be comfortable taking the lane the entire way up Hillsborough and would prefer a dedicated lane. Anyway, it was a good back-and-forth and a good case was made for the lanes. I’ll stop trying to make a case here, where it matters much less than it did last night at the meeting.  There are 330 miles more of lanes to be made in Raleigh and even more with sharrows, if the city ever has money to implement the plans.

  • Bill M
    01/27 01:51 PM

    Wayne, it isn’t irrelevant if it slows traffic to a safer speed. In the past 10 days, I’ve seen two rear-end collisions where the drivers at fault were obviously looking at phones instead of the road ahead of them - one at 5-points and one on Hillsborough at a construction stop.  Autos, obviously, do not necessarily respond to the presence of anything in front of them but you are welcome to trust them all you like.

  • Wayne Pein
    01/27 02:37 PM

    Bill M,

    What make you think narrowing the lane and removing bicyclists will slow motor vehicle speeds?  Elsewhere in Raleigh it didn’t happen:


    Narrowing lanes to slow traffic is another myth of bike lane proponents.

    Actually, where it matters is with NCDOT, who if they have any sense will recognize the liability of shoehorning a bike lane into a space where it cannot fit. The initial design with the 5’ buffer is the smoking gun. Designers recognized the amount of buffer required to avoid a door strike. So to reduce it to 2’ and then squeeze another line of traffic (bicycle) next to a narrow lane that will have buses and other wide vehicles is a breach of engineering protocol.

  • Bill M
    01/27 03:07 PM

    Wayne: I think this because there are also Ped X-ings every half block and the speed limit is being reduced from 35, to 25.  I already drive slower on the street due to the lack of stoplights - you have to keep an eye out for pedestrians.  It is anticipated that more cars will avoid using this strip as a thru-way due to the slower pace.  It will become more bicycle and pedestrian oriented.  I won’t read that report because of the title font.  Is that Comic Sans, Dom Casual, or Hobo? 

    And because it is prefaced by admitting you cite two studies, one credible, the other not credible.  I will presume the not credible report is the one that disagrees with your opinion.  The photo in the blog you reference looks nothing like the environment of Hillsborough Street.  It looks like a country road.  I think you are assuming all roads are the same and all cyclists like you.

  • Wayne Pein
    01/27 04:52 PM


    So a 25 mph speed limit with peds that also reduce speed also requires bike lanes because traffic is too fast? You don’t get the disconnect? You don’t seem to understand that sequestering bicyclists in their own substandard width “lane” (really a buffer) enables motorists to travel faster.

    Avoiding a report because you don’t like the font? I’m not surprised. You apparently ignore engineering standards. But like I said, presumably NCDOT won’t be as cavalier as you and other bike lane proponents. They’ll axe it.

    The “photo” I reference is a cross section of Hillsborough. It’s a drawing. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30481083&id=1214013079

    It shows that they realize that 5’ is needed between parked and moving vehicles for both the safety of those egressing and those traveling.

    And don’t assume.


  • Charlie
    01/27 04:57 PM

    I live off Hillsborough St. near the Velvet Cloak and bike to class every day. I would say the current situation for cyclists on Hillsborough St. is VERY dangerous. We need bike lanes, or sharrows, or something. A lot of us are too slow for the roads, but too fast for the sidewalks. I usually have to use a combo of the two. The neighborhoods around campus are largely residential. Students aren’t the only ones who would benefit. People who live in the area could choose to bike downtown, for leisure or work (also enviro-friendly). Honestly, they should have implemented plans for bike lanes or sharrows BEFORE construction even started. That didn’t happen, but construction isn’t over and it’s not too late. If it comes down to it, scrap the unnecessary median to make room for bike lanes.

  • Bill M
    01/27 05:27 PM

    Wayne, I was kidding about the font.  Well, I was serious about the font but kidding about not reading the report.  In that report, the Portland case appears to be the most like this section of Hillsborough street, except Hillsborough St has Ped X-ings instead of speed humps - both have the same effect.  They did find a reduction in speed in that case.

    Charlie, apparently Hillsborough Street is fine, you just aren’t asserting your rights vehemently enough.  Just take the lane.

  • Wayne Pein
    01/27 05:32 PM

    If Hillsborough is allegedly VERY dangerous, there should be police reports of lawfully riding bicyclists being struck from behind. But I doubt it.

    And if it is VERY dangerous due to motorist behavior, why should bicyclists be the ones punished with door zone bike lanes? Shouldn’t those inept motorists be the ones kept in check?

    I suggest browsing http://www.humantransport.org to learn much about bicycling.


    Shows a paper by Raleigh’s Manager of Transportation Services, Eric Lamb, that shows that adding edgelines does not slow traffic.

    For those of you who think narrowing 11’ lanes to 10’ lanes will markedly (or at all) slow Hillsborough’s already low speed, let me direct you to the thousands of miles of NC roads that have 10’ lanes and high speed traffic.


  • Wayne Pein
    01/27 06:46 PM


    The Portland case found an insignificant (that means useless) drop in speed on a street that already had low travel speeds, and the decrease cannot be clearly attributed to the bike lane. In short, that is not research, kinda like how Pons and Fleishman did not create desktop fusion.

    Fortunately, there are bicyclists who actually do vehemently stand up for our rights. You should be thankful that NC has the best bicycling laws in the country. That is, there are no restrictive mandatory sidepath, far to right, or bike lane laws. Localities cannot impose their own restrictions. The Driver’s Manual says bicyclists are entitled to use the full lane. Violating bicyclists’ right-of-way carries more points than for violating the ROW of other motorists. But keep demanding more Bike Reservations and the public will demand mandatory usage.
    Then you’ll have to justify leaving the Reservation.

    “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”
    ~Richard Bach

  • Micah
    01/27 07:44 PM

    I will second Wayne’s last post 100%.

  • will a
    01/28 01:51 AM

    there is no ‘buffer zone’ to be marked on hillsborough street.  as currently planned there will be a 16’ travel lane between a 7’ wide median and the parallel parking marks.  motoris tend to center themselves between these.  an 8’ wide vehicle centered on a 16’ wide lane leaves 4’ for the cyclist IF the driver is centered.  a marked 10’ travel lane for motorists leaves 6’ for the cyclist to travel.  if having more space for the cyclist is safer, then a lane on hillsborough st. is safer.  the lane is not about restricting the cyclist’s freedom, but rather giving the motorist a clear indication of where they need to stay centered and where cyclists will most likely be traveling. 

    i dream of the day the city of raleigh has the problem of so many miles of lanes that the public even knows where they are. let’s worry about solving that problem when it arrives.

    hold up one hand and you count the number of miles of ANY type of cyclist friendly facility that are on the roads of raleigh today.

  • Micah
    01/28 01:44 PM

    What is not cyclist-friendly are any intersections and roundabouts.  This is where the majority of fatal cyclist accidents happen in the country.  Overtaking (hit from behind by a car) accidents are rarely fatal and aren’t that common in general.  Yes, cyclist might feel safer in their own lane between intersections, but they really won’t be.  In fact, I believe lanes make cyclists more complacent due to this false sense of security. The fact is, when you are in your bike lane you are great, then when you cross an intersection from your bike lane, you get right-hooked and possibly killed by motorists who are only paying attention to the car in front of them.  If they cyclist was positioned more in the regular traffic lane this can be prevented.

  • Bill M
    01/28 02:25 PM

    Micah, when I google “Raleigh cyclist death”, two recent cases appear.  Neither of those cases reinforce your argument and the case of the cyclist killed near WRAL directly contradicts your argument.  She was overtaken by a drunk driver, and it was fatal.

  • Micah
    01/28 03:22 PM

    Bill, I wouldn’t google anything with the word “Raleigh” in it to get a good enough data sample to use in persuading any argument.  In one minute of googling national stats I get this: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/episrv/episrv-bike-report.pdf  It is only for NYC, which although a big city is still a microcosm. That study says that nearly 90% of crashes occurred at or near intersections.  It also says that only one fatal crash occurred while the cyclist was in a marked cycling lane.  I take this with a grain of salt though, since when I was living in NYC traveling in the bike lane was frequently impossible.  Most studies I have read over the past 20 years do show that usually a majority of crashes do NOT occur at intersections, but they don’t say that a lot of them ARE near intersections.  Also, most studies don’t consider driveways as intersections, and I think this should be accounted for due to these accidents being common.  Oh, this is the second in my google results: http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/almanac-safety.html  There is a lot gathered info there, some of which might support and a some that won’t support my “argument.”  Actually, I just decided that there isn’t any argument to be had, where I am concerned.  My 25 years of street cycling, my OPINION based on that, is that Hillsborough street would not benefit from bike lanes.

  • Wayne Pein
    01/28 03:41 PM

    I know there is no formal buffer zone to be painted, but there IS a formal buffer zone of 5’ identified in a Raleigh Public Works drawing. This indicates that the department understands that drivers of vehicles need such space to avoid a door strike. Painting a formal buffer would be a smart choice. Parking hash marks with 5’ extensions would indicate to all travelers the door zone, and provide somewhat of a clear area for disembarking passengers. Timid bicyclists could choose to use such space if they didn’t want to use the travel lane. But nobody would be forced to operate in the door zone, unlike with the proposed bike lane that lures bicyclists to operate there.

    The fact that motorists center in the 16’ of space is irrelevant. It’s what they do when bicyclists are present that matters. When bicyclists are present they adjust left. Anyone who actually rides a bike knows this. Those of use who understand how to manage our lane space (like motorcyclists who are taught such management) know that the more space a bicyclist uses the more passing clearance he gets.

  • f
    01/28 05:33 PM

    I would rather not be expected and/or required to ride in a bike lane on Hillsborough Street because I prefer to claim my lane. I think that bike lanes add a false sense of security by giving motorists and cyclists the impression that the lane line makes us safe. I don’t want to bike in a city where motorists assume the following: ‘I need not keep my eyes open and keep clear of the cyclist because traffic engineering has taken care of that for me’. Swerving to avoid debris (which tends to accumulate on the fringe of motor vehicle traffic lanes), puddles, or a car parked too far from the curb all rob cyclists of their right of way and create a situation where bikes and motor vehicles will have to negotiate the lines as it happens. I also like to freely turn left at intersections without motorists screaming “get in your fing bike lane”. I just can’t wait.

  • Steve
    01/28 11:27 PM

    If the City of Raleigh cares about cycling safety, and not just public opinion polls, then they should analyze their car-bike crash reports from the police and determine what types of crashes occur on their downtown streets, including Hillsborough. How many are overtaking collisions, and how many are intersection related? We did this for Cary:

    If Raleigh is anything like other downtowns, then hit-from behind collisions on urban downtown streets 35mph and less are extremely rare, with intersection collisions making up the majority. This is why when I teach traffic cycling classes, I prefer to teach the on-bike portions on downtown streets, where novices quickly develop confidence taking the lane and negotiating traffic using vehicular rules. On a street like Hillsborough, I would teach my students to take the lane. It’s a shame that the proposed bike lane and/or sharrow markings will teach the wrong position, too close to the door zone and not far enough out to deter buses from passing.

  • Steve
    01/28 11:48 PM

    A bicyclist is much more visible than a stripe on the road. People who are not looking out their windshields long enough to miss seeing a cyclist simply cannot be influenced by markings on the pavement. Drunks who lose control of their vehicles are similarly unaffected by stripes. These problems require solutions other than roadway markings.

    It is naive to suggest that bike lane stripes do not constrain where a cyclist may operate lawfully or peacefully.  If police do not interpret the right-lane use law for slow vehicles as mandating that cyclists use bike lanes where marked, then the legislature will attempt to pass laws forcing cyclists to use them. (See HB1451 in the last session.) Even without a law, motorists are much, much more likely to harass a cyclist in the main travel lane if there is a bike lane present. I have lots of before-after experience with this now that Cary added bike lane stripes to some of the roads I use. This is why the best way to endorse cyclist’s use of the roadway - whatever part of the roadway the cyclist wants - is to mark a sharrow in the center of the travel lane. If the cyclist wants to allow a driver to pass, he or she can move to the right just far enough to allow it, and drivers will hug the left edge of the lane to pass. Or, if passing isn’t safe or sensible under the circumstances, the cyclist can maintain lane control, with their tires centered over the sharrow. Motorists will wait behind. Meanwhile the fact that car drivers ahead center themselves in the lane discourages cyclists from passing them on the right, an act which causes much greater risk of collision than taking the lane on a street like Hillsborough.

    For those who think cycling on Hillsborough Street is dangerous, why do you think so? I’ve been cycling on Hillsborough Street since 1991 without incident. I just get in line with traffic, centered in the lane, and follow the normal driving rules. The only problems I ever had cycling downtown were when I hugged the curb of a narrow lane (close passes), passed on the right (pedestrian stepping in front of me, right hook hazards) or rode on sidewalks (driveway and intersection hazards). Taking the lane on downtown streets made these problems go away, in exchange for the occasional horn honk. Much improved.

  • f
    01/29 04:11 PM

    Steve—Hallelujah. I have a feeling that the bike lanes on Hillsborough Street may turn out to be only a pilot project. Time will tell.

  • ambrose
    02/02 03:12 PM

    Right on, Steve.  I’ve been riding on Hillsborough for a long time as well.  I’ve never had any problems.  If you make yourself visible and ride assertively and confidently, you greatly reduce your chances of being hit. 

    If cyclists want respect on the roads, they need to follow the same rules motorists do.  Stop at stop signs, stop at lights, ride in the road so people can see you, use equipment that allow you to see and BE seen.  Act like a motorist, people will treat you as a motorist.

    Bike lanes further segregate us as users of the roads. Bike lanes are a terrible idea.

  • Ken Metzger
    02/02 04:42 PM

    Ambrose and Steve are correct.  The problem is that it takes a good deal of confidence to hop on a bike and assert yourself as a vehicle.  Bike lanes would make traveling by bike more accessible to everyone.  Bike lanes may not be safer versus riding in the lane, but it is safer than riding on the sidewalk.  The bike lane would really help to get people off of the sidewalk, which is a big problem on Hillsborough Street.  We do not live in a world where everyone is willing to take the lane, so we need to find the best solution for all potential cyclists.

  • Bill M
    02/02 04:54 PM

    I agree with Ken.  And once again, those who wish to take the lane can still do so: no rights are abridged.  I am currently in Los Angeles, where bicycle ridership is booming and they would love painted bicycle lanes: http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/03/25/colored-bike-lanes-come-to-tempe/  Photos of the Tempe lanes were also shown at the Public Works meeting.

  • Wayne Pein
    02/02 06:31 PM

    Ken and Bill are so altruistic!

    I don’t think all bicyclists should suffer with bike lanes so that they can be useful for timid sidewalk bicyclists. That’s like making lap swimming lanes 2 feet deep so non-swimmers won’t drown. Don’t dumb down the system. Further, it’s not right to lure such bicyclists to a dangerous situation for which they have little knowledge and skills: a door zone bike lane.

    It’s completely unrealistic to think that motorists will tolerate bicyclists using the real travel lane if a bike lane exists. That is fantasy rationalization by bike lane supporters who think repeating it will make it true.

    Ever wonder why mandatory bike lane laws exist? They can only exist in places that have bike lanes!

  • Bill M
    02/02 09:59 PM

    Altruistic as compared to your argument, which restricts me from riding how I like?  I thought they only had mandatory bicycle lanes in places like the Netherlands and Denmark, places where almost half the traffic is bicycle traffic.  We seem quite a distance from fearing that, if that even needs to be feared.  Are there places in the USA that enforce that rule?  Are you arguing cars should be able to travel everywhere bicycles go, as well?  I don’t know how altruistic your own position gets and when the concept of: equal but never separate, extends

  • Wayne Pein
    02/02 11:02 PM

    You thought wrong. Some states and many localities have mandatory bike lane laws. Bicyclists are arrested when they violate ubiquitous “far to right” laws that micromanage our within lane position. A County in Colorado is considering banning bicyclists from some roads. You apparently have much to learn regarding bicyclists’ rights.

    If they love bicyclists so much in Europe, why are they restricted to bike lanes? Doesn’t the saying “if you love something let it be free” hold true?

  • Charlie
    02/02 11:04 PM

    As long as you can keep up with the pace of traffic, I’m sure you’ll still be allowed to bike in the main lane. The problem is when you have a 25-35 mph speed zone, with heavy traffic, and cyclists in the road going 10-20mph, backing up traffic on a busy street, and not doing anyone any good. Of course, they are supposed to lower the speed limit to 20 mph, I believe, but a bike lane should still be provided for those who can’t keep up with the pace of traffic. I think everyone here is worrying too much about something that isn’t even an issue yet. I view the bike lanes as positive and a major plus for students, professors, professionals, and residents living in the area

  • Steve
    02/03 03:07 AM

    The bike lane stripe doesn’t provide a place for slow cyclists to get out of the way of faster traffic - the width of the roadway does, or does not, on its own. Without the stripe, cyclists can ride in the door zone if they want, to allow faster drivers to pass, or can ride farther left, to stay a safer distance from passengers exiting parked vehicles and prevent close passes by wide vehicles. There is absolutely no evidence that the stripe improves anyone’s safety, and it may worsen safety in substandard width locations like this. But once the stripe is added, cyclists who stay a safer distance away from the door zone risk ticketing by police and harassment by motorists.

    If Raleigh didn’t want cyclists to slow down other traffic, they shouldn’t have put in a raised center median with too little room in each lane. Clearly, Raleigh wants traffic to go very slowly on this road. Given the likely congestion, motorists will probably slow cyclists more than vice versa. Fortunately, we will have time to ride on this modified road before any striping plan can be adopted and implemented. I suggest a bunch of us ride it with Eric Lamb (I’m sure he’s up for it) and interested members of the city council to see how people feel about the speed of traffic, the available space, and overtaking issues.

  • Steve
    02/03 03:17 AM

    Bill asked: ” I thought they only had mandatory bicycle lanes in places like the Netherlands and Denmark, places where almost half the traffic is bicycle traffic.  We seem quite a distance from fearing that, if that even needs to be feared.  Are there places in the USA that enforce that rule?”

    Yes, in states like CA that striped lots of bike lanes and adopted mandatory bike lane use laws, police do ticket cyclists who ride outside of them. I believe that as NC stripes and designates more bike lanes, especially badly designed ones, and cyclists like myself stay out of them (to avoid debris, door zones, right hooks, close passes by buses, or whatever) there will be increased pressure for NC to adopt a mandatory bike lane use law, like was adopted in SC a couple of years ago, and was recently proposed for NC in HB1451.

    This is why I prefer a lane-center sharrow to encourage cyclists to get off the sidewalks, allow cyclists do decide for themselves where inthe lane to ride, and increase motorists’ tolerance for cyclists riding in locations where drivers must be patient.

  • Ken Metzger
    02/03 09:43 AM

    To be clear, I would never back a bike lane that exists in the door zone.  I would only back them if they were done like the photo above.

  • Wayne Pein
    02/03 10:36 AM

    The cross section of Hillsborough and the proposed bike lane striping shows that many car doors will extend into the bike lane, meaning it is a door zone bike lane.

    A San Francisco study measured the 85th percentile of car doors extended to 9.5 feet from curb face. That means 15% extended further. The Hillsborough bike lane will begin at 9 feet. Moreover, the proposed adjacent lane will be quite narrow, barely fitting buses. So bicyclists will be sandwiched tightly between moving vehicles on their left and opening parked car doors on their right. Yet beginners are led to believe that bike lanes are safe.

  • Charlie
    02/03 11:15 AM

    It sounds like sharrows would be the best solution and ensure the most safety for both cyclists and motorists.

  • Ken Metzger
    02/03 11:58 AM

    Wayne, if that is indeed the case then I would have to agree that bike lanes do not appear to the way to go for Hillsborough.  I wish they were able to make enough room for bike lanes before construction.  I want to get as many bikes on the road safely, as possible.  Right now, when biking outside of downtown (and sometimes inside) it feels like a daily battle to be recognized as a part of the traffic pattern.  I am still surprised at how often people yell, “Get on the sidewalk!” especially on Hillsborough St.

  • Wayne Pein
    02/03 01:40 PM


    Providing bike lanes is a hardware “solution” to a software problem. If some motorists don’t believe bicycle drivers are legitimate road users and attempt to bully us off the road, the last thing we should do is acquiesce to their demands with a narrow bike lane space. This is like removing American Indians from their ancestral lands onto reservations.

    The point of the Hillsborough reconstruction is to reduce motoring speeds. To then place bicyclists in bike lanes is counterproductive to that since the presence of bicyclists in a shared lane induces caution resulting in reduced speed.

    Better solutions:

    -Shared Lane Markings on pavement
    -Bikes May Use Full Lane regulatory signs
    -Bicycle warning signs (without the dumb Share the Road placard)
    -Slow Moving School Buses Use This Highway Next 15 Miles is a warning sign on I-40. Change it to Bicycles…

  • Steve
    02/03 09:39 PM

    I think it’s important to note that drivers occasionally honking horns and yelling at cyclists to get on the sidewalk is not a traffic safety problem; it is a social problem. Yes, it is discouraging for cyclists, and yes, many of us prefer wider pavement conditions that reduce the resource contentions that can spark it. But the real problem fueling harassment isn’t the roads, it’s a cultural attitude of motorist superiority that is far worse in our part of the nation that it is in many other parts of the world, often with narrower, more congested roads. I submit that it is cost prohibitive to use engineering to get cyclists out of the way all of the time, and far more cost effective to work to change drivers’ attitudes about cyclists in the roadway. Sharrows centered in the lane may be one part of the solution; better driver education, testing, and enforcement is another.

  • DPK
    02/11 07:49 PM

    This is one of those issues that should have been taken care of long before construction even started.  Now if any solution occurs it will be a half-arsed attempt and probably not end up looking well.

    Where was this big group 2 years ago?

  • avesh
    03/12 11:47 PM

    it is discouraging for cyclists

  • Pat
    05/21 10:49 AM

    Smart public works departments should be looking to examine whether or not facilities exist for bike lanes (as there are in Europe), or adaptable as Senior Golf Cart lanes for those youngsters under 16, or seniors from 75-90 who are still mobile with a desire to be so.

    Mobility for seniors need not be limited to the golf course when carts are adaptable to the roadways - and safe from 60-70 m.p.h. autos.

  • CR
    05/21 11:09 AM

    Golf cart lanes!

    Wouldn’t you need a driver’s license to operate a golf cart on the street?  Why not just drive your car?

  • Bill
    05/21 11:29 AM

    The Fed’s Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood wants to fund non-motorized transportation at parity with motorized.  I think this is amazing.  But here come the arguments that there shouldn’t be a differentiation because that would suggest that the projects deemed “motorized transportation” for funding purposes, are will create the perception that bicycles are not welcome.  Just watch, these activist cyclists will wind up being supported and funded by the trucking companies in an effort to undermine LaHood.

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 01:05 PM

    What a waste of money to fund non-motorized transportation when bicycle drivers can already use the full lane of existing roads. Motorists should simply CHANGE LANES TO PASS as they do when passing every other vehicle type. I’m competent as a motorist to do that; no excuses.

  • Bill M
    05/21 01:11 PM

    Yes, we should continue to design the built environment around cars and just have cyclists and pedestrians “take the lane”.  Way to go, Wayne!  I knew I could count on you to back the trucking lobby.

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 01:26 PM

    Bill M,

    Your words “take the lane” are instructive. From your perspective, bicyclists are interlopers and have to steal space. From my perspective I simply use the full lane since I’m entitled to it. Big difference.

    Pedestrians, should have sidewalks, but you knew that, right?

  • Bill M
    05/21 01:32 PM

    Yes, I invented the phrase “Take the lane” and a google search will show how successful I’ve been in infecting cycling culture with it.

    Why do pedestrians need sidewalks?  Don’t they suggest pedestrians have no right to walk on a road when no sidewalk exists?

  • 150
    05/21 02:16 PM

    Wayne, how fast does your bicycle go when you are riding in your entitled full lane?

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 03:24 PM


    Me and my bike go various speeds. Your point is?

    Bill M,

    The phrase “take the lane” is passe. Who is the “they” that suggest pedestrians have no right to walk on a road when no sidewalks exists?


  • Bill M
    05/21 03:43 PM

    Passe?  Well, I never claimed to be hip, or fancy.

    The “they” I am referring to is the sidewalks themselves. I am trying to apply your bike lane argument to sidewalks.

  • 150
    05/21 03:54 PM

    Wayne: First, let me say I support cycling and have friends who do it regularly. I’m not one of those people throwing things or shouting obscenities at them. 
    However, I get a little concerned when I hear someone refer to the “entitlement” to bike in a lane obviously created for motor vehicles.  I ask about the speed, because too often I see a cyclist in the middle of a lane going way below the speed limit, creating an unsafe environment for both the cyclist and the driver of the vehicle.  Embracing the entitlement to ride in the lane is fine, but I assume you also embrace the other rules of the road, as well as being considerate to the motor vehicle drivers, right?  At the end of the day, the cyclist is the one who likely will be injured, or worse, in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.  I hope that safety takes priority over entitlement when you ride.

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 04:15 PM


    Pedestrians are not vehicle drivers. Bicycles are. Your analogy makes no sense.


    Your paradigm is completely wrong. Roads existed way before motor vehicles, and were not “obviously” created for them. Further, my 30 inch wide bike easily fits on any road. If a road can handle the design characteristics of a heavy truck, it can obviously handle smaller vehicles.

    The speed limit is the maximum one may travel IF CONDITIONS PERMIT. So if there is a slower user, conditions don’t permit travel at the speed limit at that place and time.

    The roads are designed so that a driver can come to a complete stop prior to striking a stationary object. A bicyclist or a farm tractor moving in the same direction creates a huge margin for error. Any alleged unsafe environment due to slow travel is as a result of the faster driver not paying sufficient attention. I’m competent enough when I drive to slow for tractors, bicyclists, stopped buses, stop signs, whatever.

    I don’t know how you expect me to be considerate of motor vehicle drivers. I use my bike to get where I’m going. That should be enough. I’ve never had a situation in which a motorist was behind me for more than a short amount of time. They should be considerate of me and change lanes to pass, as they do for every other vehicle user.

  • 150
    05/21 04:29 PM

    Wayne, the current roads are primarily designed (as you even mention) for the cars, regardless of if the paved roads actually existed prior to cars.  As for speed limits, on highways (yes, I know it’s a highway, where a bicycle wouldn’t be) there are MINIMUM speed limits as well, suggesting there’s a danger created by the driver going much slower than traffic, too.  As for consideration to the motor vehicle driver, have you given thought to how the driver would feel if, heaven forbid, a cyclist makes a dangerous maneuver and causes an accident?  One example: a cyclist passing (not stopping) on the right of a car stopped at a red light (happens all the time on Hillsborough St)?  All things you may want to spend more time thinking about.
    Regardless, as I said before, the cyclist is the one who is most at risk of injury, and I often cringe at what I see on the roads, both by motor vehicles and by cyclists.  Please stay safe out there!

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 05:01 PM


    Freeway and normal streets are two separate animals. Normal streets have cross traffic, stop signs and lights, slow vehicles accelerating or decelerating from driveways, slow vehicles, stopped traffic, pedestrians, etc. So there is an expectation that one may stop. Totally different, and not comparable.

    Of course, given the fact that I-40 is sometimes a parking lot, a minimum speed there is kind of a joke.

    There’s a lot of bad bicycling. I’m not part of that. Thanks for your concern though.


  • Bill M
    05/21 05:40 PM

    From an article today about bicycle safety and the lack of any real study of the matter: 

    Quote from an Ontario Police Sgt:  “I certainly don’t advocate (taking the lane) when it’s unnecessary. I know there’s a groundswell from a certain cycling community saying ‘We have the right to the lane and we’re going to assert our right to take the lane.’ Well, we might be at your funeral and saying ‘He was a very passionate cycling advocate.’ But we’re still at your funeral.”

    Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Bike+safety+curb+take+lane/3049819/story.html#ixzz0obAWFh3S

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 06:24 PM

    LOL. Some Ontario police Sgt. is not a useful source of bicycling knowledge! He sounds typically ignorant. And the rule about far to the right is merely written by motorists for motorist convenience at bicyclist expense.

  • Bill M
    05/21 07:15 PM

    The article is not biased in any direction - it just states that there is a scarcity of study about this subject.  Yes, that cop just sounds like a cranky guy who is tired of writing accident reports involving cyclists who were not at fault, but remain dead.

  • Charlie
    05/21 07:26 PM

    Motorists should be respectful of cyclists and cyclists should be respectful of motorists. If I’m on my bike and not going anywhere near the speed limit, I take the side of the furthest lane. While you may be “entitled” to the lane, I don’t think it’s right for a biker to slow down traffic on a street because they are biking in the middle of the lane, when they can just as well bike on the side. It’s just common courtesy

  • Wayne Pein
    05/21 09:13 PM

    There is good data on the subject, but the author doesn’t know where to look,

    The most prevalent bicycling collisions are at least in part a function of riding too close to the side. So frankly I couldn’t care less about poor motorists who I compel to slow down to improve my safety. Bill and Charlie can naively ride how they like., and then complain how they got “buzzed” by motorists who they invited into their lane.

    I think it’s “common courtesy” for motorists to change lanes to pass, not squeeze by me in MY lane.

  • Steven Goodridge
    05/21 10:30 PM

    Sidewalks were developed thousands of years ago to allow pedestrians the option of walking in an area better drained than the roadway edge and generally free of animal droppings.

    Roadways were developed even longer ago, to support human and animal powered traffic, including wheeled carriages. They were smoothed considerably for bicycling during the end of the 19th century, and improved even more to accommodate easier motoring, but they remained open to use by nonmotorized vehicles.

    The idea that bicyclists should not be allowed to slow motorists by riding normally in a narrow travel lane is turning the traffic law on its head. The public roads are for the use of the public, as they have been since before the Magna Carta; motorists’ use of the roadways is heavily restricted and regulated to protect safe exercise of the common public right to travel on them by all users.

    Motorists feel inconvenienced by slow traffic and so invented a social taboo against slow travel on roadways. The truth is that those bicyclists who ride in the center of narrow lanes in urban areas have fewer close calls and crashes than those who attempt to ride in the gutter or on sidewalks to avoid slowing motorists. Certainly, if the highway departmens want to allow motorists to pass cyclists without changing lanes, they have the option of striping the lanes wide enough to do this safely. Where they don’t, cyclists will need to take control of the situation and use enough of the lane to discourage unsafe close passing, right hooks, drive-out collisions, etc.

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