Protected bike lanes take time to adjust to, as early grievances attest

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Cyclists are singing the praises of a new striping scheme on Weber Street — some Indy employees are among those already enjoying the protected lanes — but some motorists are bamboozled and pretty upset.

We're getting phone calls here at the Indy from people who call it wacky and the dumbest thing they've ever seen.

Weber, formerly a four-lane street, has been striped to be only two lanes. The other two lanes are now occupied with parking, roughly eight feet from the curb, with bike lanes bordering the curb line. City officials say this design is to protect cyclists and promote the use of bicycles.

Courtesy a Bike Colorado Springs representative, the following graphics show the intent of the new striping plan:
COURTESY BIKE COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy Bike Colorado Springs

COURTESY BIKE COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy Bike Colorado Springs

But despite those best of intentions, some early feedback has been bumpy, to say the least. Consider this post from Facebook Thursday morning:
Anyone see the new street layout on the recently resurfaced Weber Street in downtown Colorado Springs? This is the stupidest thing I think I've ever seen!!
The bike lane is now closest to the curb, then the parallel parking spaces - which are about 8' from the curb (where the right lane used to be), then the single drive lane. If there is only one car parked it looks as if it's in the middle of the right lane - only there is no right lane!
How long until someone who's not paying attention (or drunk) runs into a car in the "right lane" that they don't realize is actually parked there? Or until a cyclist t-bones a car turning into a driveway because they didn't see it from the bike lane?
And this:
I also commented on this road, yesterday. I thought I was behind two cars waiting on a light for a few seconds, but turned out they were parked. Crazy indeed.
Another said, "Someone's going to get hit."

Well, no sooner did I read those posts than I saw evidence of just such a mishap:

This car was trying to turn into a private parking lot and nearly struck a cyclist, exactly what naysayers about Weber Street's new striping plan predicted. The cyclist appeared to be knocked to the ground just prior to this photo being shot. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This car was trying to turn into a private parking lot and nearly struck a cyclist, exactly what naysayers about Weber Street's new striping plan predicted. The cyclist appeared to be knocked to the ground just prior to this photo being shot.

Hunter Greeno was the cyclist involved in the accident this morning, and he tells the Indy he's not a fan of the new striping on Weber. A regular bicycle commuter, Greeno suffered a cut on his arm and a bruise on his leg from the "near miss," as he calls it, that put him down. He was able to make it to work on time despite the collision, he reports, though he had to walk the rest of the way.

Greeno also says he wants to lodge his opposition to the striping.

Here's a KKTV report on the confusion caused by the new striping.

For those wondering if this is just some wacky experiment, it might help to know that protected bike lanes are growing in number around the country, with 292 protected lanes (up from 78 in 2011) in use in the U.S. as of the summer of 2016, according to People for Bikes. View their Protected Bike Lanes 101 page for more.

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