Bicycle Lanes Are For Bicycles

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Motorists have pet peeves when it comes to sharing the road with cyclists; cyclists who run stop signs or swerve unpredictably into traffic frustrate drivers, understandably so. While we agree that all vehicles, motor or otherwise, need to follow the rules of the road, we’re going to turn the tables and mention a pet peeve that cyclists have about cars – using bike lanes as an extra driving lane.

Austin’s been busy building bike lanes, many of them wide strips of pavement that give cyclists space on busy roads like Exposition Boulevard or Ohlen Road to travel safely.

Unfortunately, many cars and trucks use bike lanes to pass slower cars or to dart around left-turning cars on the right.

While it’s perfectly legal to pass a left-turning car on the right, it’s technically not legal to do it within a bike lane. Not to mention, it’s dangerous.

With crashes and fatalities on the rise in Austin in 2015 (Austin drivers get low ratings from “best drivers” reports), how about we all stop pointing fingers at that other “offender” and decide we are going to “become the change we want to see in others.” Better yet, if you find yourself tired or distracted, try using transit or a carpool so you can take a break from driving.

2 Responses to Bicycle Lanes Are For Bicycles

  1. Gordon says:

    I am sometimes a bicycle commuter, and as a motorist, typically am courteous to cyclists. My peeve is when I am car commuting, and cyclists are not courteous – had an instance not too long ago where a trio of bicyclists were riding right down the center of a lane on West, slowing up traffic. Not OK.
    As a cyclist, I always get as close to the right of the lane as possible – for courtesy purposes, because I will not ever get to 30 mph on my bike, the typical speed limit on some of the small streets here in Austin.
    Just because we as cyclists have ‘rights’, we also have responsibilities – don’t poison the environment.

  2. Rich says:

    I am a cyclist and car driver. I am fine with a driver using the bike lane to go around a left turning vehicle, as long as there is ample room and no cyclists nearby. It’s really not something I see as a real problem. There are many other actions that drivers do that are in fact a real problem. Such as drivers floating into the bike lane for no reason, near a cyclist, running stop signs and red lights, speeding, passing too close.