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Protected bike lane more dangerous than road?

Today is the 2nd day in a row that i was riding in the bike lane with traffic down Penn Ave when a car turned into me without looking. Yesterday it was a lady on a cell phone today it was a 20 sometging with no turn signal! I locked up my rear wheel and slide almost into the side of the car. I yell but the kid never even noticed me! Makes me want to either take a diffrent route or ride in the road when riding with traffic.
2014-12-16 14:54:50
Maybe something they could do ther is make a " for bicycles" traffic light that turns green before the car does. Like the pedestrian lights in Oakland, only I think it would require a long lag time for it to be effective. It wouldn't solve the problem, of course, because you still would want to safely proceed through an ongoing green light, but it might help.
2014-12-16 15:07:42
I have more issues with the exit of the Greyhound parking garage. Cars are often looking at the inbound traffic of Penn and aren't ready for when a bike is coming outbound. I almost went over the hood of a car yesterday and had to swerve to avoid them. Normally, I try to pace myself so I have time to brake, but this car had stopped as though they had seen me and then suddenly pulled out. I wear very bright clothing and have a light so I'm visible as can be but I think there might be a gate or poles that obscure driver's vision from outbound bike traffic. Aside from that, getting cut off by cars that fail to use turn signals can happen anywhere but I do I treat these intersections with more wariness(leave a lot of space in between you and a car unless you know that driver has seen you). That being said, the closest I've come to really hurting myself in the past few years commuting is when a car on Butler came to a complete stop, no turn signal, and turned right as I was traveling behind them going at least 20 mph.
2014-12-16 15:24:15
Would bike-only traffic signals help this? I love the lanes, but it's rare that I don't have a close call with an inattentive driver there. You have to EXPECT that you're going to get hooked at every intersection. Bicycle traffic signal in Amsterdam
2014-12-16 15:26:53
That's a situation where I just back off assuming they are actually signaling. That's not to say you were in the wrong since they clearly saw you being that they had to pass you for this to transpire.
2014-12-16 16:18:46
Well, remember that these first three lanes are supposed to be an 18-month pilot, IIRC. If we find that they are causing more trouble than they're saving, then that is something we can go to the table with when we get to that point. Myself, I continue to use them all the time, and have not had a serious problem yet. I run video every chance I get. If there is a problem involving or witnessed by me, and the cameras are working, you can be sure I will share it with the biking community, as appropriate. Separately but on-topic, I would rather we not have the lanes. I would rather we spend our limited resources in promoting adherence by motorists to speed and other traffic laws, and educating cyclists in proper, safe riding behavior.
2014-12-16 17:52:17
You definitely need to watch for the A-hat drivers not yielding since they are turning & you are going straight. I really hope no one gets seriously hurt in these lanes, especially in the first year or so. Besides the obvious part (someone getting hurt), it will be hard for pol's like Puduto to add any new bike infrastructure since most haters will say "look how dangerous" those thing are.
2014-12-16 18:18:59
I tend to see the Penn Ave cycle track as an express lane for bikes This is particularly true whenever there's something big going on or nearby the Cultural District, as you just fly by cars stuck in traffic. And it's awesome. That being said, you are still on the street and incidents with cars are and will remain a possibility. Be aware of the traffic around you and you'll minimize your chances of getting hurt. I find that watching for changing lights can help assess the intersection better. The pedestrian signal will essentially give you advance warning as to when this is about to happen, so I try to look back for cars and decide if it's worth accelerating to try to beat the light or slow down if there's vehicles that look likely to cut in front of me. This has helped me avoid a few close calls on these lanes.
2014-12-16 21:41:13
This is an awkward section going west bound on Penn downtown because how many other places do you have turning traffic coming from the back right? My mirror is on my left handlebar, and I typically am aware of traffic to my back left and traffic is also use to seeing a cyclist on their right.
2014-12-17 08:25:25
Just being aware and checking your blind spot here before proceeding into the intersection is important. When the city first rolled it out, we encountered bike police patrolling the lane who warned us about being aware of vehicles possibly turning into us. @stu " Separately but on-topic, I would rather we not have the lanes. I would rather we spend our limited resources in promoting adherence by motorists to speed and other traffic laws, and educating cyclists in proper, safe riding behavior. " I disagree. While that would help me, it won't do much to get more riders out there, and I am of the opinion that there need to be more riders visible to justify and be able to leverage more investment in infrastructure and planning, including cyclist education.
2014-12-17 09:43:00
@JZ - I so agree. The bike lanes are not about/for most of the folks on this forum. They're for the 14-year-olds, the 65-year-olds, and the people who think riding with cars isn't rational. Cyclist safety increases with the number of cyclists. (Which makes Burgh BikeShare even more valuable to me). These lanes are about providing a space for people who haven't yet decided to ride on city streets. It's evangelism. It's not about the choir.
2014-12-17 10:04:58
"Just being aware and checking your blind spot here before proceeding into the intersection is important." Trust me I am plenty aware. The car was driving a cars length in front me. I was looking over to see if he had his turn signal on and he did not. A last minute decision by him to throw on his signal at the intersection and cut the wheel is what almost ended with me in the side of his car. My only other option would be to stop at every intersection while in the bike lane which is ridiculous since cars are suppose to yeild to bicycist and pedestrians.
2014-12-17 10:15:12
Even as a confident road rider I still vastly prefer to ride in the Penn Ave bike lanes. It does introduce a new issue to watch out for (left turn cars in your own direction), but I have a lot fewer problems with those that with people driving like idiots when I'm in the road on other streets. What I really want is for the city to move those "left turns yield to bikes" signs. Right now they are placed off to the side (often to the right even) where drivers won't see them. They need to hang directly by the traffic lights themselves so they can't be missed.
2014-12-17 11:49:50
I would like to see "cars yield to bikes" painted on the pavement just before the intersections. I dont think it would prevent *left-hooks, but at least then everyone can agree on who is at fault. * I dont think anything will really prevent bad driving. Like the cars trying to enter the bike lane right after they were first put in & there was a cop standing at the corner. LEO vs sign and still bad driving.
2014-12-17 13:32:21
Vannevar - "...The bike lanes are not about/for most of the folks on this forum. They’re for the 14-year-olds, the 65-year-olds,..." So, after 40+ years of riding on the road, next year I should "GIT IN THE BIKE LANE!!"??
2014-12-17 18:58:08
I don't know how this could be put into a street sign or road marking, but the bike lanes should be marked too to watch out for cars making unsignaled or quickly signaled turns. Just because there is a designated bike lane, as Rusty Red indicated, you should treat all traffic like it's going to turn. I'm seldom downturn, but I think I'm cautious of people turning right at intersections. That's what we're talking about right? Not left hooking. Just don't ride along side cars in intersections, if that's possible. Go through intersections slowly. It's not ideal, but as previously pointed out, some people are just bad drivers. It's not uncommon for idiot drivers to sideswipe or cutoff cars when turning either. When I did regularly go through downtown (at rush hour times) it was always my impression that cars never really went that fast anyways due to lights/traffic. So same things for bikes, take it easy.
2014-12-17 19:34:50
@offtn - not what i meant at all. Ride where you want. My point is that the investment in lanes are for folks who are not riding in the street now.
2014-12-17 20:08:30
Ah, just the poor use of a stereotype........something that posters here often complain about. Add me to the list. I agree though.... "...the investment in lanes are for folks {of all ages} who are not riding in the street {or road} now."
2014-12-17 20:36:09
Why not stagger the lights and have a separate red light for the bike lanes and have those turn green 10 seconds before the rest of Penn so cyclists can go first and turn red 10 seconds before Penn to let cars clear out the left lane with a turn?
2014-12-17 21:58:49
And then we have the clueless pedestrians. Last night, I got four of them within a minute, just after 6 p.m. Check out this video of the four of them: The sequence starts at 14th Street and ends at 16th Street. 0:23 - woman crosses, hurries once she sees me 0:55 - I swerve to avoid man about to step in front of me 1:02 - Man steps into crosswalk without looking first 1:04 - Second man walks across directly in front of me Technically I suppose I could be pinged for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. In my defense, he neither paused nor looked, just walked out in front of me, just as the two before and the one immediately after did or almost did. (Note: This camera is permanently on Eastern Daylight Time.)
2014-12-17 22:40:06
Unfortunately, bad drivers will be bad drivers. The protected lanes on Penn have a similar setup to the train tracks in this video. If this many bad drivers can NOT NOTICE A TRAIN while making a left turn, there's little a bike can do to avoid them. Thankfully, not everyone is as bad a driver as these guys:
2014-12-18 08:44:27
Stu, this is a frequent issue for me on these lanes. I try to yield to the pedestrians in the crosswalks, but quite often they enter them without even looking. This is compounded when they are at a 4 way intersection since it may appear they are going to keep going straight to cross an intersection and then they just turn left and jump out in front of you. I've had guys(always guys) say "you have to stop for us!" or "do what the cars do!(as though cars consistently yield to peds)" I just try to take it slow there. I have some video of close calls on this track mostly at the Greyhound exit that I will post soon. I also have video of a lady in an electric wheelchair in the wrong side of the track with no lights. Fun stuff.
2014-12-18 08:52:36
This is why parking protected bikeways are nice, they discourage crossing a bit more mid block. What other features on the street could be used to discourage mid-block crossings? I thought about fences and hedges to prevent pedestrians from entering the bikeway, but that prevents cyclists from stopping or parking easily. Adding a more permanent barrier instead of bollards, like the islands on grant st, would discourage crossing mid-block while not obscuring vision of the bike lane too much (but might be somewhat of an issue). I really do think a head start for cyclists on traffic signals may help avoid conflicts with drivers, and the same head start for pedestrians at crossings (before parallel traffic gets a green) would help pedestrians in the same manner. Also, a modular fence style barrier for the edge of the bikeway could also be used.
2014-12-18 09:33:13
I'm going to take the complete opposite tack on this. Mid-block crossings are a sign that the street is becoming more livable. It's annoying if you're rushing through, no matter your conveyance, but frankly less annoying on a bike than in a car and unlike in the street, there's really no pressure to rush. I mean, it's not as trivial to work around as in the street, but it's still mostly pretty easy. The barrier system pictured is an eyesore I don't want associated with our bike infrastructure here.
2014-12-18 10:57:34
Raised bike lanes are the answer. No eyesore, but make the transition from the sidewalk to the bike lane obvious to everyone.
2014-12-18 11:02:14
I would hate to see railings or walls placed to prevent peds from crossing mid block. We should be making our world an easier place to walk and cycle not putting up barriers. I dont think the issue is that peds are crossing, so much as that they are not looking before stepping off the curb. How can we get them to "look" is the issue, not herding them to some artificial crossing point.
2014-12-18 11:12:49
At 12th, 13th, and 14th is where it is often difficult to figure out what a pedestrian is going to do. Also, I like it the way it is now so that I can turn left out of the lane at 15th. Even though this one segment of road is still cobblestone(for some reason), it's the best way to Smallman through to Lawrenceville.
2014-12-18 11:32:29
I support mid-block crossing. It's the safest place for peds to cross, in addition to their convenience. We have to stop for peds crossing the bike lane. I don't think we should treat peds the way cars shit on cyclists. Cyclists yield to walkers, if you want drivers to yield to cyclists.
2014-12-18 12:05:05
@ Vannevar Cyclists yield to walkers, if you want drivers to yield to cyclists. +1
2014-12-18 12:14:38
Couldn't agree more but if a pedestrian jumps out into the intersection or from in between stopped traffic then it's a bit difficult to yield without slamming on my brakes and going over the handlebars then they harass you like you're the jerk.
2014-12-18 12:25:35
Not actually that funny! I had a similar close call on Ardmore once. I was approaching the Parkway from Forest Hills, riding on the shoulder near the guardrail, when a deer leaped onto the road about 10 feet in front of me. It took off across the three lanes of Ardmore, with a bunch of cars approaching, them slowing, and then a bus in the left lane came through, the deer scrabbling with its hooves on the road trying to avoid running into it. It made it, and then disappeared into the median.
2014-12-18 12:56:55
If the deer could talk do you think it would blame the biker?
2014-12-18 13:19:50
I enjoy what Pittsburgh has done for the bike community, but please folks, have some common sense! There are quite a few riders that need to get their #@! knocked off of their ride, because they just ride like idiots. As far as my riding habits, I keep my bike in an area that I am comfortable to ride, and if it means riding on a sidewalk, so be it! As far as road riding, I will keep as far right of the lane as I possibly can. If I cannot stay far enough over to the right, I will stop and wait until it is safe. Just because you have signs on the road saying share the road with bikes, does not mean I would travel that particular feeling safe. Yes, there are dangerous drivers out there. More so today, than in the past. When I ride my cage, it makes me angry that I have to be delayed by some dumbo that has to take the whole damn lane, when there is clearly enough room to move to the right(which is the law,FYI. ) I know I would never do that in traffic. You're just asking for trouble.
2014-12-18 13:43:02
@look out, you're actually not riding as safely as you think by always riding as far to the right as possible. Most accidents happen not when a motorist overtakes a bicycle riding in lane, but when a motorist doesn't see a bicycle and right-hooks or sideswipes them while passing. Getting doored is another very common accident; riding as far to the right as possible puts you right in the door zone. It's true that natural inclination (as well as the way we were taught as children) tells us to stay out of the way of traffic. But there are better and safer ways to ride. I would urge you to read the PennDOT-published "PA Bicycle Driver's Manual" for more information. It's available at many PennDOT driver's testing centers as well as online at
2014-12-18 13:50:43
"it makes me angry that I have to be delayed by some dumbo that has to take the whole damn lane," Sorry safety for my life is delaying you ten seconds. It makes me angry that I seldom get to work without some asswipe yelling out his car on a road with four lanes and all he has to do is change lanes to go around me. But hey, he probably knows better than I do about what's safest. It also makes me angry that lazy/incapable asswipes continue to pollute the Earth and increase greenhouse gas emissions, which is causing all sorts of problems. Imagine all the people whose lives are delayed by having to migrate to a different country due to drought/war/flooding caused my greenhouse gas related extreme weather events and the people who died. But hey, sorry you had to wait ten fucking seconds to pass me
2014-12-18 14:25:36
Cyclists should always yeild to pedestrians. Agreed. However, it is often difficult for a cyclist to anticipate that a pedestrian stepping in to traffic at any time. I rode an endo for several feet and nearly crashed face first in to the ground (or in to 2 pedestrians) in the north side because two people walked out from between two large parked vehicles mid block without looking in my direction (on woods run rd). I landed and swerved away from them with only a foot or two to spare and avoided a collision. Luckily my bike handling skills allowed me to stop myself from a visit to the ER (or sending someone else there). At least the sight lines downtown are slightly better due to the bikeway abutting the sidewalk. I've had several close calls downtown where pedestrians mindlessly walked right in to the bikeway without pause and I had to swerve quickly to avoid a collision. I don't see an issue using some physical features to gently coerce behavior in to more expected patterns without greatly inconveniencing everyone would improve safety for both cyclists and pedestrians. We already stop pedestrians from crossing 5th ave outside of crosswalks to prevent them from getting hit by the infrequent bus traffic. Crossing anywhere else is illegal anyway and barriers, planters, islands, are probably cheaper and more effective than enforcement through citations (does this even happen in pittsburgh?) Really, I think an effective way to make pedestrians more aware of cyclists in the bikeway is for more bikes in the bikeway! In the spring bike share is to be implemented, which should help! This will increase the number of cyclists, and force pedestrians to look with more diligence before stepping in to a traffic lane due to increased traffic. People who ride the bike share bikes will become more aware of the dangers of pedestrians crossing unpredictably and will understand that better when they are cycling or driving.
2014-12-18 15:07:24
Regularly using a bell when approaching pedestrians on an adjacent sidewalk might help, even if there's no indication they might turn into your path, though having to ring a bell all through a bike lane next to a busy sidewalk would get tiresome. Or maybe some other simple noisemaker would do, something in the spokes that's not too obnoxious? I think some pedestrians figure if they can't hear a car, there's no reason to look up. Quieter electric cars might eventually cure them of that. But being a bit noisier could help for now.
2014-12-18 15:16:44
That's a good reason to have a bell, instead of using your voice.
2014-12-18 15:20:59
I'll just strap a cowbell on my waist, that aught to solve the problem. If they get too close to the curb for comfort I'll just shake my ass.
2014-12-18 16:01:11
@look out - You need to re-read transportation law as regards pedestrians. § 3543. Pedestrians crossing at other than crosswalks. (a) General rule.--Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection or any marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. This absolutely has everything to do with the first and fourth pedestrians. The second managed not to step in front of me, but not before I swerved to avoid him. Had I been in a car with an oncoming car, and I swerved to avoid him in like manner, that would have been a head-on collision. None of those three pedestrians had anything to do with my riding style. The third pedestrian did use a marked crosswalk. For him, the operative statute is: § 3542. Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks. (b) Exercise of care by pedestrian.--No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard. Just because you're walking into a marked crosswalk doesn't mean you should not first make sure there is not a moving vehicle in imminent danger of hitting you. I will separately reply about why you are entirely wrong about riding far to the right.
2014-12-18 19:53:53
Let's start by establishing what the law says and what the law means. § 3301. Driving on right side of roadway. (c) Pedalcycles.-- (1) Upon all roadways, any pedalcycle operating in accordance with Chapter 35, proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway. (2) This subsection does not apply to: (i) A pedalcycle using any portion of an available roadway due to unsafe surface conditions. (ii) A pedalcycle using a roadway that has a width of not more than one lane of traffic in each direction. Note that "or" in the middle of Part 1. The first half of that "or" means that I can use the entire right lane of a multi-lane street without explanation or apology. The second half of that "or" says "as close as practicable" to the right edge. That word "practicable" means "capable of being put into practice". It does not mean "as close as possible" and it does not mean all the time. Beyond that, Part 2 gives specific exceptions to having to keep to the right at all. If there are "unsafe surface conditions", you do not have to keep right; you can use any piece of the available roadway to avoid those unsafe conditions. For a motorist, that means you have to watch out for a cyclist needing to swerve well to the left of an unsafe condition such as a hole, which the cyclist will see a lot better and a lot sooner than you will. Got that so far? We will return to this for a third installment, in which I will make clear why getting left and keeping left is a really really really good idea.
2014-12-18 21:25:12
When I ride my cage, it makes me angry that I have to be delayed by some dumbo that has to take the whole damn lane, when there is clearly enough room to move to the right(which is the law,FYI. ) I know I would never do that in traffic. You’re just asking for trouble.
Quoting and slightly fixing it for you:
There are quite a few drivers that need to get their #@! knocked off of their ride, because they just ride like idiots.
2014-12-18 22:38:17
I am so sorry to get everyone in an uproar. I understand what the laws are, fairly so. What I was trying to emphasize was, why should someone take up a whole damn lane, when in fact, there is plenty of room in some instances, ok, to move safely over. I was talking about the bozo that will tie up traffic from Oakland to downtown, for instance. You have to understand, I am not an angry cage driver, and would never cause harm to another cyclist, even though that cyclist just ran a stop light, or some such thing. Please understand, I just cannot ride on some of these roads that a lot of cyclists do, because....1) too many crazy cage drivers, 2) terrible road conditions. and 3) people are not paying attention. I want to be able to just hop on my bike and pedal any freaking where I please, but it is not quite "safe enough" for me to do that. Now, talking about pedestrians anywhere, I don't know how many times I see them zoned out on their electronic gadgets, and anything aside from one of those air horns, alert them to bikes or cars approaching. I might just get one of those mini air horns..... Again, if I have offended anyone, so sorry for the misunderstandings.
2014-12-19 08:00:15
@look out, I don't think people are really that offended. It's just that you've given us a beautiful opportunity to educate a cyclist. And people are excited by that. To answer your question about why should "someone take up a whole damn lane," the basic rule is if the lane is wide enough for a car to pass safely (in PA this means with a 4' gap) while staying in the lane, the cyclist should ride to the right; if not, the cyclist should take the lane. (This is the tortured meaning of the first clause of PA 3301 c 1 and 2 ii that Stu quoted above.) But city streets are not normally that wide, especially when there is parking along the side. So taking the lane is usually the right thing to do. That's why cyclists do it riding between Oakland and downtown. Again, because it's directly relevant to your question, I refer you to PennDOT's PA Bicycle Driver's Manual, Chapter 2: Where to Ride on the Road (
2014-12-19 08:22:42
I agree with John. In addition, From Oakland to Downtown -- it's either flat and multilane (where multi means > 2) or double lane (witn parked cars) and downhill (with one short exception just after Birmingham Bridge). So multilane part should not cause any problems with taking the whole lane. Downhill speed is above 20 mph (I get above 30 due to my weight) -- at that speed you have to move away from door zone. You just don't have enough time to react.
2014-12-19 08:53:34
I was perhaps overly annoyed, but I think that was more due to the especially frustrating banality of my job in-between semesters. I actually checked out the bike lane yesterday and it seemed like the biggest problem (at least during rush hour) was people blocking the bike lane/intersection, after not clearing the intersection at the preceding light change. Not sure how to get around that though, as I saw one guy purposefully not block the intersection (he was turning left) but then the next light signal, the street he was turning into would fill up again, so besides waiting for eternity, I didn't really see an alternative to blocking the intersection so he could make the turn.
2014-12-19 09:17:37
@look out, I agree with Jon about taking the lane on most city streets. If there is room I will definitely move right to let cars pass - I'm not trying to be a jerk. But a traffic lane needs to be pretty wide to allow a car to pass and still give the cyclist the required by law four feet of clearance when passing. So by positioning yourself in the middle of the lane you are preventing the driver from making an unsafe (and unlawful) pass. I think this site & video does a good job of explaining why you should take the lane, especially on multi lane roads:
2014-12-19 09:51:45
If we're talking about riding from Oakland to Downtown on a public street, that would be Fifth Avenue, which is multi-lane. Yes, you take the entire right lane, the entire length, without explanation or apology. Ride on Fifth from Penn Ave by Bakery Square all the way to Grant Street squarely in that lane. I will try to describe briefly some of the reasons why you should not be as far right as possible: 1) Right-hooks. If you are directly in front of the car behind you, and not aligned with his right door handle, there is far less chance of the motorist making a right turn into you. 2) Left-crosses. If you are positioned in the left tire track or center of the lane, you are much more visible to oncoming traffic, and so motorists are much less likely to make a left turn across you. 3) Drive-outs. If you are centered in the lane, motorists making a right on red or pulling out of a driveway are much more likely to see you proceeding along the street. 4) Back-outs. If you are centered in the lane, motorists backing out of a driveway are much more likely to see you. 5) Doors. If you ride within five feet of a parked car, someone will eventually open a door into you. You only need to tap that door with a half inch of your handlebar tip to get thrown to the pavement, likely in front of another moving vehicle with little chance to stop in time. 6) Thread-the-needle passes. If you hug the curb, that encourages motorists to pass you very closely. That's dangerous. Don't let them. 7) Debris avoidance. Loose gravel, downed branches, carrion, and broken glass accumulates to the right of the right wheel track, whether it's on the shoulder or not. Gravel can cause you to lose control. Carrion can throw you, if big enough. Glass can blow a tire, which can cause loss of control, especially if in the front. 8) Bad pavement. More holes, cracks, erosion, and other pavement damage is along the edge of the road. There are more, but that should be enough to make it clear. Cyclists should *always* get in the center of the lane unless there is good reason not to. You are traffic. You have no less legal authority to be there than the 385 hp behemoth dual-wheeled diesel truck behind you. When you do have a faster motorist behind you, you engage in what's called "control and release". You control the lane; that's what my whole discussion is about. You release control to the motorist/s when it is safe for you to do so. And only then. And that is something I have to explain over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Patiently but deliberately and without compromise.
2014-12-19 09:52:21
9) Storm drains are on the far right of the road.
2014-12-19 10:01:28
Same logic also applies to two-lane roads.
2014-12-19 10:52:54
I rode those downtown bike lanes inbound for the first time to get to the Bike Pittsburgh members meeting several weeks ago. I was very uncomfortable riding there because of that layout. It's fine for outbound since you're on the correct side of the street, but I have no faith that drivers turning left or coming out of an alley even know I might be there. Downtown has a lot of "tourist" drivers - whether from out of town or out in the suburbs - so they're unlikely to be familiar with the lanes. And by the time they get two blocks in they're all stressed out from getting stuck in traffic and there's construction and one way streets and they don't know where to park for Heinz Hall and the show starts in 10 minutes and OMG SO MANY BUILDINGS. They're frequently not operating at their best. After several blocks I realized that those bumpy stripes in the bike lane were marking intersections. So I at least knew where to be cautious. But it wasn't obvious at first. If separated bike lanes are meant to encourage less traffic savvy riders, those are exactly the people who will fly down the lane without looking around at intersections and get plastered. They do it on the South Side at Hot Metal. So, I have serious reservations about the countertraffic lane there. I really would prefer bike lanes on either side of the road.
2014-12-21 13:03:11
Oh, for pedestrians I use a bell (if it's quiet enough) or yell "Yo!" I can project pretty well. I use that for cars too. I didn't see any video evidence that Stu made an effort to warn them about walking near him. How are they supposed to learn? Not do diss Stu, he seems like a cool guy, but I don't see the point of complaining here and not trying to work things out with the people who are actually involved.
2014-12-21 13:09:02
I'm finding the lanes relaxing; other than the occasional intersection or driveway you don't need to worry constantly about cars. But I do have one suggestion: the intersections ought to be rigged up so that an approaching bike causes some signal to flash. A yellow light maybe or (cooler) embedded light strips in the pavement that shows a moving pulse train in the direction a biker is traveling (oh, and two strips, one for each direction). It can be reciprocal, with cyclists getting a warning if cars are approaching. The technology is there.
2014-12-21 16:37:21
How are they supposed to learn?
I don't believe that bicyclist should be a teacher for pedestrians. So my answer is -- hard way.
2014-12-21 21:57:24
By getting hit by bikes? That kind of education can be hazardous for the instructor too.
2014-12-22 06:54:32
Because my front camera is in a case, you can't hear me yell at the third and fourth ones. What ever happened to what everyone's mommy told them as little kids? "Look both ways before crossing!" It is precisely because of this that there's a big railing the length of the bus lane in Oakland. People are stupid; they'll walk right out in front of anything without looking. Particularly if that thing is silent and sporadic.
2014-12-22 13:30:49
By getting hit by bikes? That kind of education can be hazardous for the instructor too.
Nope, just by jumping high due to being scared. :)
2014-12-22 22:01:09
So far I love the bike lanes. I can relax for a bit before each intersection. If I am riding with a bunch of dopes in the motor vehicles, I am on alert at all times. At least with a bike lane I can relax for a little bit. If I am riding with traffic, I still have to worry about right hooks and all kinds of things. Please more bike lanes. I am using the one on Negley Run now on a pretty cool route. It is great. Thanks for putting that there. Now if you got one from the Zoo down to the 62nd Street Bridge and a little further, that would be amazing!
2014-12-22 23:05:48
Well, what makes these lanes dangerous to me are people that fly past on their bikes, dressed in their they're in a race. The Gap trail is notorious for these numbnuts. What I usually do, if given enough leway, is to weave a bit, causing them to hit their brakes a bit. What really kills me, is that they do not even signal they are flying past.
2014-12-23 08:17:41
"What I usually do, if given enough leway, is to weave a bit, causing them to hit their brakes a bit." That sounds dangerous for everyone involved. Make them steer into oncoming cars: that'll teach 'em, right?
2014-12-23 09:47:55
I've yet to encounter anyone that matches this description. The max speed I've seen anyone travel in these lanes is probably around 25 mph. I don't mind those on the Jail Trail since it is plenty wide with good angles for visibility. If you want a trail where you can bike 8mph uninterrupted, use the Southside Trail across the river.
2014-12-23 10:43:51
@rr Weaving a little is a time honored technique for making folks behind you pay more attention and not pass so close. It works with cars, too. The whole "ride predictably, keep to your line" is fine for group riding but not so great when you're trying to affect others behavior.
2014-12-23 10:50:33
Yeah, those lanes are not really for going fast. If I'm on my road bike, I'll do 15-20 mph, depending on conditions; on my single speed, it'll usually be around 15 mph. Like @mjcabopPGH said, I've yet to encounter somebody going much above 20 mph on these lanes. Though somebody did go out and create a Strava segment for it. Some people don't have common sense...
2014-12-23 11:55:47
I'm guessing that my encounter with a flood of people just after 6 p.m. was due to a shift change. The positive thing about such a scenario is that it makes it possible for a memo to be sent out from a single employer to all its employees, reminding them to watch for bikes when leaving the building. Did they not look for cars on outbound Penn when crossing the street prior to the bike lane's installation?
2014-12-23 12:11:24
Well, what makes these lanes dangerous to me are people that fly past on their bikes, dressed in their spandex….like they’re in a race.
I am in spandex. Could you advise me about race where people flying 17-18 mph on flat asphalt? I'd like to participate! I seriously doubt that anyone in spandex would go 27-30 mph on Penn itself unless it's closed for racing, less in Penn bike lanes. BTW speed limit on Penn 25 mph and 15 mph on Jail Trail.
2014-12-23 19:09:43
I don’t mind those on the Jail Trail since it is plenty wide with good angles for visibility.
Well, Jail Trail is multimodal with speed limit 15 mph. So, I would say I don't mind people going there above 30 mph when nobody is there but during regular hours ...
2014-12-23 19:14:20
so Look Out is a cyclist who believes in hugging door zones, staying out of the way of traffic, and weaving into other faster cyclists on trails...... Got it...
2014-12-23 20:41:51
Hi Shoofly well, how the heck do you think I got my name? When I ride, LOOK OUTTTT!
2014-12-24 10:11:45
2014-12-24 10:13:19
i don't hug door zones, i do not weave into other riders. where the hell do you get off saying such stuff. I see that this forum is getting just like craig list, where some people just like egging on others. How many accidents have I been in, in my 46 years of bike riding??? NONE. On the GAP trail, and the other local trails we have, is what I was talking about as far as people obeying rules. You can freaking go as fast as you people want to on the streets, that's fine by me. But on our trails, where the rules are clearly posted , the speed limit is 15mph, which is like going through a school zone. There are many out there that see these trails as their speedway, because their is no vehicular traffic, they figure why not. That's fine and dandy, but have some common sense and courtesey and slow down when passing people. I do not want to continue here any more. I can see that this message will just generate more irate responses from certain people...but i really think ya should just chill out. Have a great holiday, folks.
2014-12-24 10:22:07
actually, i would like to add that when riding on the main roads, such as 5th ave in oakland, it is NOT proper to weave through stopped traffic, in between moving cars, which is what I see quite often, and it is usually a certain few people. Well, enough complaining for me.
2014-12-24 10:24:57
Yo @look out, chill... This is a semi-anonymous message board and you should expect random static, and you should deal with it. You sound like a perfectly reasonable biker. Besides, I (and possibly others) mostly agree on your take.
2014-12-24 18:08:29
Wow, I was not trying to cause such an uproar. My reading comprehension level is only at a 4th grade level so I may of misinterpreted what you typed. Forgive me.
2014-12-24 21:54:17
look out, could you post your scale for speed? What is "fly past"? I start from myself for a change. On a flat and good surface going straight.. 1. 10 mph and lower -- very slow. 2. 11-13 -- slow. 3. 13-15 -- slow OK. 4. 16-18 -- fast OK. 5. 19-21-- fast. 6. 22-25 -- real fast -- very few people could ride like this not in the group. 7. 26-35 -- these are real racers. 8. 36-45 -- sprinters, most of them live on treks. But even they cannot sustain it for a long time. I don't have any problems with people 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Penn's bike lane. I never saw 7, 8 riding those lanes. And 6 -- kind of OK there if they watching. I don't have problem with people 6, 7, 8 on Jail Trail during real early hours when they do their interval training. And I never saw/hear about any accidents/incidents. But even 3, 4 could cause problems if trail is really crowded. And this board has some discussions about changing route to avoid trail and move completely to streets during rides. In general, for JT I am ok with 1, 2, 3, 4, and sometimes 5.
2014-12-24 22:19:23
Hey Stu, I was down that way the other day and I saw the damndest thing. There are signs warning the pedestrians to look both ways for bikes. Where do you think they are? I took a picture of one. Can you see it? Me neither. I happened to look up while zipping up my jacket and that's how I found them. They're across the street and like 15 feet off the ground. That's one under the One Way sign. Ridiculous. It's about as useful as the "bike lane ends" signage on Forbes near S. Braddock. That's also at least 15 feet up, out of my normal visual range even when I sit in traffic there in my car.
2015-01-20 00:41:49
The sign needs to be where pedestrians are looking. But how do we make it appear on their iPads?
2015-01-20 11:39:43
Put money in next year's City budget for location-aware mobile ads in Google and Facebook? It'd be kind of cool if you're checking your phablet in Pittsburgh and occasionally see Mayor Bill's smiling face, paired with a variety of cycling awareness blurbs, drifting across your feed.
2015-01-20 12:08:44
2015-01-20 17:34:42
I almost hit some moron in the bike lane on Penn the other day. He was not sure what he was doing I guess. He started off the curb, saw me coming toward him at about 15mph, then sort of stopped, then sort of went and I wasn't sure what side to choose, so I chose behind him, but he backed up a bit. I barely made it by him as my back wheel was skidding in a fishtail until the last second. I just said aloud, WTF, but kept riding. I have given up on trying to educate the world, there are just too many dumb people and to be honest, with smart phones, people are even getting dumber. Even though this happened, I still love the bike lane and use it weekly.
2015-01-21 09:51:33
Things that should surprise no one: Dogs barking. Babies crying in a restaurant/church. Walkers/joggers not paying attention on trails. "Other" cyclists not behaving the way we would like.
2015-01-21 10:09:31
I'm really starting to think that a bell is almost a requirement for riding in the bike lanes downtown.
2015-01-21 10:15:13