What word in 'bike lane' don't drivers understand?

Orange County Register:

Nearly 30 cyclists have been killed in Orange County during the past two years, according to Orange County Register databases. At least two, David “Cat” Pullen and Christy Kirkwood, were killed by cars swerving into bike lanes.

Many more have been paralyzed, lost limbs or otherwise injured. An alarming and growing number of cyclists are afraid to use legally sanctioned bike lanes – marked lanes made using tax dollars.

The choice is clear: Does our fair-weather county give up its world-class bike lanes, or do cyclists and drivers work together to share the road?

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found via Interbike Times

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0 thoughts on “What word in 'bike lane' don't drivers understand?”

  1. david p. says:

    Does our fair-weather county give up its world-class bike lanes
    hell no, that shouldn’t even be a part of the (albeit rhetorical) question.

    the question should be:

    do we need to do a better job of enforcing traffic violations as they pertain to bike lanes, or do drivers need to pull their head out of their A.

  2. Robert Sorenon says:

    I agree with David. Losing bike lanes is not a good option. Fine the drivers that are not paying attention. In one part of a Green Bay suburb a set of bike lanes were removed because drivers were confused about them. Hmmm. Don’t drive across the white line. Yep that can be very confusing and these people have drivers licences. Scary.

  3. I would love to see a curb or island, but that never seems to come up as an option. Tire spikes might work (my favorite answer to cars running red lights! Tire spikes would solve a lot of problems! LOL!)

  4. Brent says:

    I second Caroline’s idea. Do what they do in Fort Wayne Indiana, put concrete divides between everything. They do it between sides of the rode at intersections and just about everywhere else too. That would prevent people from swerving over.

  5. Nick says:

    Cars drive and park in bike lanes and snow plows pile snow in them. I’ve seen bike lanes lined with trash bins waiting for the garbage truck. The good news is that as long as more and more people keep pedaling, bike awareness increases, drivers, and people in the political arena take notice.

  6. My current city of residence, Alexandria, VA, runs well-publicized crackdowns on bike path scofflaws, but has never run a crackdown on drivers who imperil cyclists. Nor do they ever cite residents for unsafe practices like letting plants overgrow sidewalks and block sight lines. Until there’s even, or close to even, application of traffic laws, drivers will continue to get away with murder because they know that they can.

    Even with consistent application of the laws, concrete curbs, and tire spikes, I’ll always ride with what my father called the First Law of Boating in mind: give way to superior tonnage.

  7. Steve says:

    Out here in Texas, most of the nightmare stories of bike vs. car involve an illegal alien. Unpopular commentary? I don’t care. It’s the truth, and that leaves the police with nearly no way to enforce the laws.

  8. Daniel says:

    President Roosevelt once said “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. I’m going to take the second half of his advice and start carrying a steel rod attached to my top tube. That way I can deal with any vehicles that attempt to come on my turf. It’s definitely not a way to make friends, but I think that if I show that I’m serious about holding my line they’ll be more careful. My main issue is that the drivers somehow don’t connect the dots between what happens if they accidentally hit another car vs. accidentally hitting a biker. I had a close call today with an old lady in a PRIUS! She was behind me honking (even though I was riding on the white line). In a Prius!! I didn’t even know those things came with horns.

  9. Quinn says:

    Agree about enforcing the law! a dips*** in the bike lane is how I got my trailer run over, and the I got blamed for it, because I ended up in the intersection,…..I ended up there Because the car was in the bike lane.

  10. mattotoole says:

    Let’s not get all worked up over bike lanes, or the lack of them. For one thing, “hit from behind” accidents are vanishingly rare. Yet we put an inordinate amount of emphasis on lane separation to prevent this kind of accident, because it’s what people who don’t know better fear the most.

    Instead let’s look at how cyclists actually get killed — riding at night without lights; and wrong-way riding, which is deadly at intersections and driveways because cyclists are coming from the opposite direction that drivers are looking.

    I’m actually shocked at the “30 killed” statistic. Virginia had only 7 cyclist deaths statewide last year, with about 2.5 times the population of OC.

    I bet a lot of those OC deaths were not the kind of people who would read this blog, but poor restaurant workers riding home late at night, in dark clothing with no lights, against traffic, on roads full of drunks. I used to see them go streaming by in my old neighborhood in Costa Mesa.

    The solution? Outreach and education, and enforcement. Costa Mesa PD used to give out free light sets. PSAs might be effective too.

  11. bikesgonewild says:

    …shocking, depressing bit of info, tim, but better to know than not…

    …we all mention & agree about education & while all the special classes & the once a year “bike to work” weeks are great, i maintain that until the public is inundated using television w/ regular daily reminders about the fact that they will be encountering cyclist’s EVERY time they drive a vehicle, for the rest of their lives, well it’s not gonna get much better…

    …motor vehicles are not sold as simple transportation anymore…they’re sold as part of a ‘lifestyle experience’ w/ as many distractions, that have nothing to do w/ driving, as possible…throw in the ubiquitous cell-phone & it doesn’t get much worse…

    …want an idea of what cycling really means to most people ???…google up the “letters column” of some the local town newspapers on the “tour of california” route…for anyone who bothers to say they enjoy what cycling brings to their community, you’ll find plenty willing to voice their scorn for being inconvenienced once a year for a relatively short period of time…

    …anyway, fingers crossed…

  12. Blue says:

    I agree with Mattotoole that we should consider everything we know about how people are being killed cycling.





    It is interesting to note that with an over taking motorist that failed to detect the cyclist, the cyclist had a nearly 50-50 chance of dying.


    there was an equal chance of this happening in the daytime as in the nigttime.

    also note that a lot of adults get hurt in on-coming traffic that is turning left.

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