DIY Bike Lane

Right here in Sacramento.

To keep the bike lane, the car lane on this side would have been reduced to eight feet. Though this is not unheard of, especially when trying to control the speed of traffic, whoever originally designed this road had opted to give cars the extra leeway for speed and let anyone on a bike fend for themselves.

The bike lane painter had rectified this omission. Best of all, his vigilante paint-job worked: In our time there, a couple dozen cars went by, and only one encroached on the bike lane markings. Most gave the faded stripes several feet of respectful room.

I can think a few places I ride where the bike lane magically disappears for a few hundred yards, presumably to make things easier for city planners who are often worried about reducing traffic and maximizing traffic flow. In some cases the lane simply narrows and becomes an unmarked shoulder not quite wide enough to meet the legal definition of a bike lane, in others, it seems, the expectation is that you and your bike will just teleport up the road to where the bike lane restarts. In almost every case it’s the result of poor planning, which happens, but the vanishing bike lanes illustrate the fact that we live in a car centric culture – bike lanes are nice to have, as long as they don’t get in the way.

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