Bike lanes next to parking – how wide is wide enough?
Monday, May 21 2012 @ 05:27 PM EDT
Contributed by: B' Spokes
The Alternative: Sharrows
If 14 feet is not available for the bike lane + parking, I recommend sharrows as the preferable solution. Maryland law requires cyclists to use bike lanes where they’re present, but riders can legally ignore sharrows. So even if they’re painted unreasonably close to parked cars (Maryland standards call for them to be at least 11 feet from the curb, which puts cyclists in the door zone again), cyclists are free to ignore them. Sharrows give cyclists the discretion to ride where they feel it’s safest. Sharrows ideally should be painted 12′ or 13′ from the curb when there’s parking. Or they can be painted down the center of the right lane as seen on George Mason Drive in Arlington. New ideas are being tried all the time. Here is an interesting hybrid of a bike lane and a sharrow.
So my request to Montgomery County and the state: either 14 foot bike lanes next to parked cars or sharrows or sometimes no bike-specific markings at all.