Bike Lane Question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike Lane Question

    OK, this may be dumb but I did a search and nothing really came up. On a road with a designated bike lane (not a multi-use path) is it one way only?

    For instance if there is only a bike lane on one side of the road should I cross over to use it riding in the wrong direction?

  2. #2
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    A bike lane in the 6' range is one way only. Don't make another cyclist have to kick out in traffic to go around. Something around 10' wide might be considered a cycletrack, but I doubt code will allow a cycletrack on street level without a physical separation form the road.

    In your example, it sounds like a two way street and only one way has a bike lane. Don't cross over. By crossing over you put yourself in a situation to get into bad conflicts with oncoming traffic. Just take the lane you are legally entitled to or find a different route.

    I really hope you are not reversing on a way street.

  3. #3
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    Cycle lanes (at least in my city- Minneapolis) are just that- lanes. They go the same way as the traffic in the road. As with any other lane, it is illegal to ride the wrong way in them. The lanes here tend to be well laid out- I've never seen )that I can remember) a two way road with a cycle lane on just one side, and suspect if I did there would be another lane going the other direction one block over.

    There are some exceptions to this rule downtown, generally in conjunction with bus lanes. However, those special bike lanes are set apart from the main flow of traffic by a "fence" of plastic hazard markers, and are more like on-road cycle paths.

  4. #4
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    Check the local ordinances.

    An example of that comes from an article I read that Lafayette Indiana has the single two-way bike lane and the local statutes require its use by cyclists. I don't know the penalties, the signage, or if out-of-towners are given a warning, and sent on their way to sin no more. They do get testy about it, though. West Lafayette (home of Purdue) apparently has normal bike lanes where they exist and no such ordinance. I wonder if any of these paths meet going between the cities and how you switch over.

  5. #5
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    Thanks. About two blocks from my house on a busy section of two way road there is a bike lane on one side and nothing on the other. I generally avoid that road anyway as it's busy and there is like ZERO shoulder, but occasionally I do have to go that way so I thought I would see if switching over to the side with the bike lane was an option. It didn't "feel right" and I think you guys have confirmed that it's a bad idea and probably illegal.

  6. #6
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    OK here's another scenario. Usually I take a MUP and neighborhoods pretty much all the way into the office. Because of some road construction near our office I'm having to use a busy section of road for one block. It's a divided road, two lanes each side plus a bike lane in each direction. It also has an 8' concrete sidewalk on each side.

    On my way to work the MUP dumps me out on the wrong side of the road for that section. Legally I'm sure I should be stopping at the light, crossing, then using the bike lane for a block, the re-crossing at the next light, and then entering our parking lot.

    That's kind of a lot of hassle for 1 block. We've already determined above that I shouldn't ride against traffic in the bike lane, so what about jumping on the sidewalk for 1 block? If it matters this is kind of an industrial area and I really can't remember a single time that I've actually seen a walker on the sidewalk.

    I guess this is more of a moral dilemma then a legality question. I really hate to spend 5 minutes crossing & re-crossing a block later when I can be up the sidewalk and into our parking lot in about 30 seconds by using the nice wide deserted sidewalk. On the other hand I hate to be "that guy" that everyone sees riding on the sidewalk when there's a perfectly good bike lane on the other side of the parkway!

    I only have to do it for a few more weeks. Once construction is done I can go back to using the frontage road and it's a moot point.

  7. #7
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    Here in Seattle, it's legal to ride bikes on sidewalks if you ride at a pace that's reasonable based on the amount of traffic. I think that means if there's pedestrians around, ride at a pedestrian pace.

    While I generally disapprove of riding bikes on sidewalks, I think it's fine if you do it at a pace that doesn't endanger or scare the user group they're there for; I do it myself on occasion. It certainly sounds like it makes more sense in your situation.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobi
    We've already determined above that I shouldn't ride against traffic in the bike lane, so what about jumping on the sidewalk for 1 block? If it matters this is kind of an industrial area and I really can't remember a single time that I've actually seen a walker on the sidewalk.
    I don`t know how legal it is, but if I were in your position, that`s probably what I`d do, at least until I got "pulled over" for it. As for riding against traffic in a bike lane, I`m with the others- sounds even more dangerous than riding on the left without a bike lane. Good call to ditch that idea.
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    An example of that comes from an article I read that Lafayette Indiana has the single two-way bike lane and the local statutes require its use by cyclists.
    REQUIRED to ride against traffic? Now there`s a sunny thought
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    Just be aware that some jurisdictions are awfully fussy & unforgiving about those designated lane signs. I got a $50 ticket from the NYC Park Police when I was pedaling with my runner friend at her running pace. At some point the path separated the bikes from the peds & it being dead empty I didn't think anything of continuing along with her. But sure enough, I got pulled over...thought I was just getting a verbal, but when I said OK, thank you & went to pedal off onto the proper bike section he said "you're not going anywhere" & pulled out the ticket book. I thought the cuffs would be next!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobi
    OK, this may be dumb but I did a search and nothing really came up. On a road with a designated bike lane (not a multi-use path) is it one way only?

    For instance if there is only a bike lane on one side of the road should I cross over to use it riding in the wrong direction?

    Depends on a lot of things around here.

  12. #12
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    REQUIRED to ride against traffic? Now there`s a sunny thought
    Well, they are called "contraflow bike lanes." They exist and are fine, but usually have another bike lane on the other side going the other direction.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    Just be aware that some jurisdictions are awfully fussy & unforgiving about those designated lane signs. .... I thought the cuffs would be next!
    I rode the Columbus Indiana MUP which leaves a lot to be desired IMHO. The section that really upset me is along the river where a sign says: No Bikes! Strictly Enforced! The first time I missed it and discovered I was wrong when a sign said MUP resumed or something similar. Ooops! Since I was out and back, I inspected this on return. The sign was about a foot high and in the grass to the right of the path out of any reasonable sight line and was pretending to be a 'Do not walk on the grass' sign. NO indication of where you should be going instead. None. Nada. Zip. There is a narrower side path that I remember as being narrow for a sidewalk let alone 2-way bike traffic. No signs indicating this way for bikes. I'd plead entrapment if I was cited. "I was led down the garden er I mean the river path by the city, your honor!".
    Last edited by BrianMc; 03-31-2010 at 02:25 PM.

  14. #14
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    One way unless designated as a bi-directional lane and if it were there would be markings painted in the lane, such as a broken yellow line down the middle. Rare for bike lanes though, it's usually something you only see on MUPs.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  15. #15
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    Here in Germany the rule is based on the markings in the bike lane. Lanes that are unmarked are two-directional. Also lanes that have a bicycle marking that is oriented as if it were riding perdendicular to (across) the lane. If the bike lane marker is riding paralell to the direction of the lane than that lane is for use in the direction the marker is riding.... Not sure if that makes sense, trying to use words to describe an entirely visual thing here....

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy33
    Here in Germany the rule is based on the markings in the bike lane. Lanes that are unmarked are two-directional. Also lanes that have a bicycle marking that is oriented as if it were riding perdendicular to (across) the lane. If the bike lane marker is riding paralell to the direction of the lane than that lane is for use in the direction the marker is riding.... Not sure if that makes sense, trying to use words to describe an entirely visual thing here....
    Works for me!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    Works for me!
    you're moving to Germany?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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