I wish I had better news. On this blog we bring you bicycle related news about events that happen around Albany. There is not a whole lot of it so we try to supplement those days with fun facts or interesting stories. Now I finally get something to share and it’s bad news. Charles F. Kettering once said, “Problems are the price of progress. Don’t bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me.” So in the name of “progress” here it is:
“Section 9B.06 Bicycles May Use Full Lane Sign (R4-11)
DELETE entire section; the R4-11 sign shall not be used in New York, as its message is not an accurate reflection of Section 1234 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, and could mislead inexperienced bicyclists into occupying inappropriate, and unsafe, positions within a roadway. On roadways where space is limited and interactions between motorists and bicyclists have proven problematic, it is preferable to either provide positive guidance to bicyclists in the form of Shared Lane Markings (see Section 9C.07) and/or warning to motorists in the form of the SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque (see Section 2B.19).”
Basically they are taking down the “Bicyclists may use full lane” signs because “interactions between motorists and bicyclists have proven problematic.” Okay fine, take the signs down, but what are you going to replace them with? What is the better solution? Oh wait, you don’t have one? WELL THEN LEAVE THE SIGNS UP! You don’t change something unless you have an alternative ready to go! What, you think the “share the road” signs are helpful? Tell me, what part of the road are we supposed to be sharing, and how much space does each vehicle get? Can cars pass me at 1 foot or 3 feet? Can I take the entire lane if I need too? Do I have to pull over for cars if they want to pass me?
You can see where “share the road” is a lot more confusing then “bicyclist may use full lane.” At least the latter gives you a definite amount of space you may occupy and tells drivers to take a chill pill because we belong here too. It leaves no room for debate on how much you should share. Full lane can only mean full lane. Shared lane is ambiguous and dangerous if a novice cyclist and driver are sharing the same lane.
I hear all the time that “bicycling is so dangerous” and “I don’t ride because I don’t want to get hit by cars.” You know why public opinion is so anti-bike? It is because of things like this. Share the road. You might as well be saying, “Cars, the road is yours to share so give a little of it to the lowly cyclists.”