Santa Monica Door Lane / Bike Lane

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    An updated depiction of how I view the typical bike lane design in Santa Monica. Despite all safety literature on cycling best practices that suggests riding into the path of potentially opening car doors is extremely hazardous, this is exactly what most cycling infrastructure encourages.

    Santa Monica last updated it's bicycle master plan in 1995. The time is long over do to rethink how we design for bike traffic, that is undeniably growing in recent years.

    With the advent of sharrows, it seems apparent to me that where insufficient road width is available for proper bike lanes, sharrow markings should instead be used to encourage safe riding position along bike routes. Some places where width is unavailable to design the bike lane properly, that is only the case because of other accommodations like center turn lanes that often go mostly unused for much of their length.

    Heavily compromised bike lanes that are nothing more than left over road space for swinging car doors can be more dangerous than no bike lanes at all while providing feeling of safety. I think much better progress could be made both in safety and growing cycling trips, by limiting where we put fully separated bike lanes, but doing them correctly, and placing sharrows elsewhere, rather than adding tons of mileage of mostly crap bike lanes.

    In the past 3 weeks I have rerouted all my trips and work commuting to avoid Santa Monica bike lanes, and instead control the center of the rightmost lane on 2 lane each way roads like Colorado Ave. Sometimes when a destination is on a bike lane route, I will ride a street with a bike lane, but only for a block, and completely outside of the door lane, I mean bike lane. I have noticed a slight increase in being honked at since I made these changes, but a marked decrease in near misses and instances of having to brake or evade to avoid a collision.

    The slight increase in being honked at stems from some people not understanding cyclists rights, but at least I know someone who honks can see me. They inevitably go around just fine, it is easy enough on a road with 2 lanes in each direction, and half the time in heavy traffic they will make progress no faster since they will get stuck behind a line of cars at the light. It's drivers who don't see you that hit you, and by riding confidently and outside of the door zone, you vastly increase your visibility and put some safe distance between you and common hazardous situations like opening car doors and vehicles turning out of driveways.

    Bikejuju, ubrayj02, Steven Vance, and 21 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. neilfein 38 months ago | reply

      And here: Terminology index entry for door zone.

    2. tobbias88 37 months ago | reply

      Surely the answer is to ride against the traffic but not on the driver's side. Then the car passenger (if any) will easily see you as you approach.

    3. Steven Vance 36 months ago | reply

      I used this photo in a recent blog. IDOT will finally begin collecting data on dooring.

    4. Christian Gillinger 29 months ago | reply

      I used this photo here (in swedish):

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