Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bad Bike Lane Design

I kind of resolved to write fewer bitching and complaining posts a while back. I mean, it's just too easy to whine about what's wrong. It's hard to make things better.

Haven't written too much since then, I can't help but notice.

Yesterday I had $46 burning a whole in my pocket for a ticket and two beers. So I was the Armory Art show. It's at 55th and 12th Ave on the Hudson. Walking out of the show to my bike, I found myself standing in the middle of the bike path. Unware.

Luckily no bike was coming. But jeeze, I thought, if *I* don't know I'm in the middle of a major bike path, how is a dumb tourist supposed to know? They're not. And that's the problem.

As a pedestrian, there's nothing actually telling you you're standing in and/or blocking the major bike path in New York City. Forgive them, they know not what they do.

The pavement reflects the pedestrian crosswalk. There's nothing to tell people they're wondering across a major bike lane with beautiful light machines barreling on them down at 20 miles an hour. There's nothing to indicate they're on anything but a dedicated sidewalk.

For bikes, there's a sign saying "yield to peds." But really... why? Why not tell people to look both ways before crossing a bike lane. Especially when they're often just approaching a don't walk sign? Why should bikes yield to peds on the major bike path in New York City?

Here's the thing, bikes have momentum. Like it or not, bikes aren't going to want to stop, especially in the middle of a bike lane. Not telling peds about the bikes is dangerous. Not telling people they're standing in the middle of a bike lane is just ignant.

Here's the answer, change the pavement to reflect the bike lane. Tell pedestrians to look both ways for bikes. Legally, fine, let pedestrians keep the right of way (otherwise I hate to think of bikes not even making an effort to wing an old lady or something). But a bike lane is like a street. People need to know they're crossing a street so they can look both ways.

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