Bike Lane FAIL: Door Prize in Mountain View

29 Aug

Remember those funky arcade games where you slid in tokens to win prizes by rolling a ball up a ramp or squirting a water pistol into a clown’s mouth? My favorite was Whac-A-Mole where you had to guess which hole the little rodent would pop out of and quickly hit it with a mallet. Guessing which door in a line of parked cars will pop open and quickly dodging it so you don’t get hit? That’s not nearly as much fun.

Location: Rengstoff Avenue near Montecito Avenue, Mountain View, California, USA.

Transportation planners, don’t build bike lanes like this! Narrow bike lanes next to cars are traps for new riders and savvy cyclists who ride outside the bike lane to stay out of the door zone make motorists really angry.


Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Bike Lane FAIL


14 responses to “Bike Lane FAIL: Door Prize in Mountain View

  1. Richard Masoner (@cyclelicious)

    August 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I sometimes ride a part of De La Cruz in Santa Clara — doorzone bike lane just like this, very fast traffic, not real pleasant to ride on.

    • ladyfleur

      August 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      OK, I’m making a note to avoid De La Cruz in Santa Clara now…

  2. jillycube

    August 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Sometimes when the bike lane is like this with parked cars, I try my best to see inside if there’s a shadow of a head in the driver’s seat but that all depends on lighting too :/ Although that’s something I shouldn’t have to worry about and the person in the driver’s seat is the one that should be checking. ><

    • ladyfleur

      August 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Jilly, I used to do that years ago. But these days too many of the cars have large headrests, tinted windows or huge blind spots (SUVs are particularly bad). Now I do everything I can to stay off these roads, and ride in the travel lane if I have to.

  3. Rachel Unger

    August 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I end up putting a good chunk of my attention into looking at drivers’ side mirrors – if I can see a face, I signal and move to the left. :/

    • ladyfleur

      August 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      I can see how looking into the mirror might help. But I find if I have to focus that hard on the parked cars I may miss a moving car or ped or pothole or something else. So I just stay out of the zone.

  4. ian menzies

    August 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Good for you for stopping and taking the photo.I hope you didn’t cop too much abuse.

  5. Jim Fenton

    September 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    The picture you included (which you said you staged) shows a car parked in front of a driveway adjacent to a red curb. If this is really the situation, it isn’t a transportation planning issue — it’s that the car was parked illegally in the first place. There is a car parked further down the street but it’s not possible to tell if it’s at a red curb as well, or if the bike lane has moved to accommodate a parking zone.

    I completely agree that if parking is permitted, the bike lane needs to begin (have its right edge), at the left edge of the parking space. Apparently the standard for this is 7 feet from the curb.

    • ladyfleur

      September 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Jim, the curb is red because it’s a bus stop. The red curb ends just ahead of the front on my car so the car you see in the distance is parked legally. The bike/parking lane doesn’t widen either.

      I chose this spot to take the photo because I wanted the bike lane stencil in the shot. Further down the block there are no stencils.

      So if 7 feet of the lane is for parking, then what’s the minimum standard width for a configuration like this? 13 feet?

      • Jim Fenton

        September 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

        VTA Bicycle Technical Guidelines, section 7.1.2, say “When the bike lane is next to a parking lane, optimally add 8 feet to the widths presented in section 7.1” [not 7 feet; my mistake]

        Section 7.1 says a bike lane should be 5 feet wide including gutter, 4 feet min without, for a road at <= 30 mph. So that makes it 12 or 13 feet where parking is allowed.

      • ladyfleur

        September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        Since Rengstorff is 35 mph so it should be 12-13 feet. Looks like this one is about 10 feet. I’m guessing that part of the bike lane’s shortcoming is that it is very old. I think it was painted before 1990.


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