During the summer, I expressed my concern over the resurfacing of streets in our neighborhood with chip seal. Chip seal is irritating, because cyclists are riding through small, loose gravel until it become tamped down to a sort of smooth surface.
That tamping is pretty much taken care of now, and on a ride the other morning, I saw some crews striping the streets. The striping doesn’t just trace the marking that had been in place previously. Instead, it accommodates cyclists better. Here’s a look at what I mean:
One irritant to me when riding in the morning or mid-afternoon was the number of helicopter parents who drop off and pick up their kids at school. They had no qualms about parking their cars in the bike lane, forcing bikes out into the traffic lane. That wouldn’t be a problem, since everyone was moving at a snail’s pace, but a bike mixed in with all those cars caused consternation on the part of drivers — many of whom had no idea what to do. Of course, indecisive drivers can be a bigger hazard to cyclists than blocked bike lanes.
Well, the new markings angle that problem. There’s a parking lane for cars next to the curb, then a bike lane. The traffic lane is considerably narrower than it had been before.
It’s not perfect. The bike lane could put bikers in the door zone. But it’s a little wider than most lanes that are in the door zone, and frankly, I’m not too concerned. It appears the city is listening to cyclists and making improvements in traffic markings.