Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cycle Tracks....pros and cons.

I don't make it East of Great Basin Brewery very often....seems like my brakes just automatically activate when I'm rolling down Victorian Ave.  Yesterday, however, I managed to urge my legs to keep pedaling and headed out along what I believe is the only separated cycle track in the Reno Sparks area.

I have mixed feelings about separated bicycle infrastructure.  In one respect it's great.  It will encourage people who might not feel comfortable riding with traffic to get out and ride their bike for transportation, instead of just treating it as a toy.   It also shows we do have the collective political will to build this type of infrastructure (which isn't all that common).

However, when they built this original section of cycle track they included yield signs at every driveway and intersection.  Meaning there are several yields within each block.  This means you can have to stop every 40-50 ft along your ride....not very practical.  The result is that any experience cyclist doesn't use the track, opting instead to use the road and ride along unimpeded.

To make things even more confusing.....the newer portion of the track doesn't have any yield signs.  This makes you think you have the right of way.  Unfortunately, this isn't true either.  On my ride last night I had a truck make a right hand turn (for them) directly across my path.  He never even though to look for me (due to the long standing notion in a car that right hand turns are free of obstacles).  At the time I was doing about 24 mph.  I locked up the brakes and stopped  a few feet short of his door.  He was of course pissed at me for almost hitting him, even though he never bothered to check before crossing the track.

So anyway, those are a few arguments for and against.  What do you think?  Should we build more of these or stick with more traditional bike lanes (or buffered bike lanes)?  Let the debate begin.

1 comment:

  1. Bingo! You've hit on the one requirement to make a cycle track work and that's keeping the traffic out! We have, basically, a cycle track in Carson City along Hwy 50 east from Airport RD. to Deer Run. It's not used much because of all the interruptions of cars going across the track. It's faster to use the shoulder of the road.