A few days ago, I rode up to the Bonneville Shoreline trailhead in southeast Provo and took the pictures in yesterday’s post. While I was riding, the car in front of me began encroaching on the bike lane:
Luckily, I was riding in the shoulder as this happened. There was also so little traffic that it wasn’t really a big deal. I might have done the same thing if I had been driving.
But there’s a much bigger issue here than one car drifting out of its lane: why was this road designed this way in the first place?
From a biking perspective, this makes little sense. The car lane and the bike lane are crammed together in the middle of a wide street with no buffer in between, while a huge shoulder goes unused. It’s unsafe and unnecessary.
Parking is permitted along this street — or at least, there were no signs prohibiting it — so the obvious solution would have been to put the parking to the left of the bike lane. That approach would have placed a large protective space between bikes and cars, as well as a physical barrier if anyone ever actually parked here.
Instead, however, this nonsensical shoulder becomes a de facto bike lane, the actual bike lane becomes a buffer, and when anyone parks here cyclists will be left navigating an obstacle course of opening doors and drifting cars.
At very least, this bike lane could have used a small buffer zone — even one six inches to a foot wide — like those I recently saw in Barcelona. With this much space, there’s no reason to not have a buffer.