Obstructions in the Bike Lane

You’re riding along in the bike lane and, all of a sudden, you come to some sort of obstruction in the lane.  It might be a large, sharp, dark-brown shard of what used to be a beer bottle, waiting to strike at your tires.  Maybe the grabbing tentacles of stickery blackberry briars are reaching out into the lane, ready to grasp your pant legs and suck you in as you ride by.  Or, it might be garbage day and a series of large plastic refuse containers have been wheeled out into the street, dotting it with impassable roadblocks.

Well, here are two bike lane obstructions that presented their hazards to my cycling crew today.  Green Acres Rd. and Crescent Ave. is heavily used by cyclists, yet riding this road is often like navigating an obstacle course.

Cars can not park in bike lanes!  I bet that most people don’t know that though.  There is a white bicycle painted in the street just in front of this car.  Evidently they are easy to miss, down there on the ground.

Parked car in bike lane

Parked car in bike lane

From the 2013 Oregon DMV Driver Manual:

To avoid conflict, drivers of motor vehicles need to know the following rules:
• Do not drive in a bicycle lane. You may cross a bicycle lane when
turning or when entering or leaving an alley, driveway, or private
road. Do not move into a bicycle lane in preparation for a turn.
• You may use a bicycle lane as part of an official duty, such as
delivering mail. Farm equipment may briefly use a bicycle lane to let
other traffic pass.

And, yes, this counts for parking in bike lanes also.  It is illegal.

I’ve been seeing this all around town.  One of the most surprising places this is a problem is on the Alder St. Cycle Track.  Delivery trucks park in the bike lanes.  Once, I got in a yelling match with a guy who was “just picking someone up,” parked in the green cycle track around student housing.

Road signs in the bike lane and on the shoulder are another unsafe hazard.  It turns out that their thoughtless placement is totally unnecessary.  This guide, posted on We Bike Eugene, shows how they should be placed.  According the guide, this sign should be placed in the grass, near the curb.  There is a white bike painted in the bike lane just on the other side of this sign also.

Road sign in bike lane

Road sign in bike lane

 

It turns out there is a Bike Lane Service Request Form on the city of Eugene website.  I don’t know about the parked cars though.   This might seem petty to those who aren’t cyclists, but it is a big safety problem.  I’m riding with kids who are either just learning to be traffic themselves, or are in tow behind me.  Trying to safely get them out into the lane of traffic, and around the obstruction is no fun.

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