Friday, February 19, 2010

Albany Bicycle Coalition favors sharrows over bicycle lanes

From last month's minutes:

"The consensus was that ABC favors Shared Lanes over Bicycle Lanes in those cases where there is a clear choice.

This consensus was based on the following points:
- Shared lanes are easier and less expensive to implement
- Shared lanes do not give a false sense of security to the cyclist (as a bicycle lane might)
- Putting shared Lanes “everywhere in Albany” (i.e., on the majority of heavily traveled streets) would enhance awareness by both motor vehicle operators and cyclists.
- Shared lanes do not put the cyclist in the (dangerous) “door zone.”

Those having concerns about this policy should make their thoughts known."

The next meeting is February 25th if anyone is interested in discussing this more.

I personally think that sharrows might be worse than nothing because they can give drivers the impression that cyclists are only supposed to be on streets with them. Bike lanes have the same downside but at least provide cyclists with some benefit. I understand ABC's position, but I believe their active membership consists entirely of confident urban cyclists, which may be blinding them to how important bike lanes are for encouraging more people to bike. I personally don't find bike lanes necessary for myself (though there are places I'd find them useful) but I might've started biking sooner if they were there and I know many people who'd feel safer if they existed.