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by John S. Allen, completed November 7, 1995,
distributed at Cambridge Bicycle Committee meeting,
before the installation of the
Massachusetts Avenue bike lane.
I have added my answers in this version.

Questions of the day:

Chapter 90E, section 1 of the General Statutes defines a "bike lane" as "a lane on a street restricted to bicycles and so designated... "

The carpool lane on the Southeast Expressway is a restricted lane. Is a bike lane on a city street actually a restricted lane, when motorists must use the bike lane to park and to enter driveways and cross streets?

[My answer]

Since motorists must use the bike lane, is the appropriate response to:

  1. keep motorists out of the bike lane as much as possible?

  2. make motorists' use of the bike lane as safe as possible, even if they spend more time in the bike lane?

  3. Avoid designating bike lanes, so cars will sweep trash, snow and sand out of the part of the street bicyclists use?

[My answer]

Chapter 90, section 14 states that "When turning to the right, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic nearest to the right-hand side of the roadway and as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway."

How does this point of law relate to the designation and design of bike lanes?

[My answer]

A bike lane is so close to a parking lane that the opened door of a parked car will block the bike lane.

  • What is the highest speed at which a bicyclist may travel safely in this bike lane?

[My answer]

  • What percentage of bicyclists do you imagine will travel this slowly?

[My answer]

  • What is the impact on use of bicycling as transportation of facilities which restrict safe travel speed?

[My answer]

  • If a bicyclist is "doored" in the bike lane, who is liable?

[My answer]

A bus driver wants to stop to discharge passengers on a street with a bikelane. The bus driver should:

  1. Pull into the bike lane.

  2. Stop outside the bike lane.

[My answer]

If the bus stops outside the bike lane, a bicyclist approaching from behind should:

  1. Leave the bike lane to overtake the bus on the left.

  2. Overtake the bus on the right, in the bike lane.

  3. Always wait behind the bus.

[My answer]

How does this change if:

  • the vehicle that needs to stop on the bike lane street is a truck delivering 43 boxes of ice cream to your local ice cream shop?

[My answer]

  • the vehicle is a school bus?

[My answer]

In these cases of parking in the bike lane:

  • Does the bike lane increase or decrease the chance of mistakes that would lead to an accident?

[My answer]

  • Do the motorists have any alternative to parking in the bike lane?

[My answer]

  • Will the bike lane increase or decrease antagonism of bus and truck drivers toward bicyclists? How important is any possible antagonism?

[My answer]

The draft bicycle policy which was presented to the Cambridge Bicycle Committee at the June, 1995 meeting stated that "bike lanes are the treatment of choice" on arterial streets.

  • Do you agree with this statement totally, partly, not at all? Why?

[My answer]

  • If you don't agree completely, what alternatives to bike lanes do you envision?

[My answer]

A bicyclist can not avoid an opening car door when
traveling faster than 5-7 miles per hour.

dooring.gif (6757 bytes)

 nodoor.gif (4596 bytes)

Motorist right turn into bicyclist:
the #3 car-bike accident type for adult bicyclists in urban areas
(Cross and Fisher, A study of Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Accidents:
Identification of Problem Types And Countermeasure Approaches,
NHTSA, 1977)

hook.gif (4343 bytes)

Motorist left turn into bicyclist:
the #1 car-bike accident type for adult bicyclists
in urban areas (Cross and Fisher, 1977).
This can happen when the other direction has an advanced green,
or when a driver rushes a left turn
just after the traffic light changes.

lefthook.gif (4982 bytes)


More questions:

What is the responsibility of Bicycle Committee members toward the City? Toward bicyclists?

[Please answer this yourself!]

What is the responsibility of bicycle committee members to inform themselves on technical issues?

[Please answer this yourself!]


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