Bufferin Bike Lanes

Yes, this is a post which is supposed to be a pun on the old school buffered aspirin which anyone will need if they follow this debate.

To bring newcomers up to speed, forces of darkness are receeding, but not fast enough.

All of us want the same thing, even if we don’t know it yet: bicycles off the road, out of harms way.

But for every punchbowl, there’s a turd, and in this case it goes by the name of VC. (More info is found on my pages on VC and Quisling advocates).

Anyway, the latest battle is waging over buffered bike lanes.

The debate is similar to the kind of argument that would break out when we discover flying carpets. There’s always going to be someone who, instead of enjoying the air rush their hair while they sit on the silken carpet, is going to argue whether the flying carpet is really an airplane or a floor covering.

Similarly, we are getting debates on whether a buffered bike lane is really a bike lane at all!

How original.

First of all, what is a buffered bike lane?

Here is a good photo:

Buffered Bike Lane

Buffered Bike Lane

Looks pretty cool, right?

No, because some people are arguing that sticking a bike lane next to a hatch mark makes it not a bike lane at all!

“Bike Lanes  are defined as preferential lanes in Section 3B-22.  A preferential lane is considered a Bike Lane when a ‘bike lane’ symbol is placed within.”

So it is a bike lane.

But why put this in?

Buffered bike lanes have allowed more people to ride their bicycles (warning MS DOC).

In Philadelphia: “Bicycle Usage Up 95% on Spruce and Pine Bike Lanes…During the same time period, the percentage of bicyclists who used the sidewalks on Spruce and Pine Streets fell by 41-75%.”

But will this make things more dangerous?

No, buffered bike lanes make streets safer.

“Prior to the project, PBOT counted approximately 7 injury crashes each year in the corridor. In the full year after the project, PBOT has seen 2 serious injury crashes in the corridor.”

But won’t this appropriation of the roads lead to anger at cyclists and, in our zero sum world, get our rights to the road taken away?

Not at all. From the above link, it appears that there is a small number of people who hate cyclists. Removing paint from roads will not turn these people into bicycle lovers. Many of them appear to be depressed or angry who’s limited ability to control their emotions may put them in jail. Ironically, their anger at cyclists may remove their licenses, and they too will join us out on the streets. (Hey, I can dream of a safer world on my blog). 🙂

From the same article:

“Overall, Stephen felt like the meeting “represented some good news in the face of that Holladay project and other setbacks lately.” His final impression? Of nearby residents, “70% were very happy, 25% probably didn’t care, and 5% were noisy and cranky.”

Reader Megan wrote in to say some in the crowd weren’t just cranky, they were downright rude. “The vocal group last night was extremely disrespectful to anyone who didn’t support their point of view,” she comments below, “calling out names while people commented and talking loudly during the roll-out of data. They were there to bully and intimidate.”

For their part, PBOT project managers Greg Raisman and Mark Lear both felt the meeting went very well. Lear told us the meeting was “amazing” and that there were “more supporters than people in opposition.” The primary reason many now support the project are the safety benefits.”

Here’s a visual where green man is the tiny strips of paint on the road and the little person is the mad 5%:

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