Sporadic bike lanes will become more common; bike advocate says they're dangerous
LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Dotted lines. Solid lines. Symbols that look like a Chevron with a cyclist on top. But what do they all mean? And why are they sporadically popping up around downtown?
It's all part of Mayor Greg Fischer's effort to create a more bike-friendly Louisville. The $300,000 project was included in this year's budget - and when completed in May - will produce 28 more miles of bike lanes between downtown, Old Louisville and the University of Louisville.
But not everyone is enthused. In fact, some believe the bike lanes do more harm than good.
"What we are trying to do is increase the bicycle network downtown," said Rolf Eisinger, the city's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for Public Works. "This is a work in progress, this is a field that has developed very rapidly over the last five years. We are learning things that we didn't know before and trying to implement the best practices."
The reason the bike lanes appear to be sporadic, Eisinger says, is that public works crews can't paint, stripe or create bike lanes when it rains or the temperature drops below 55 degrees. Many of the newly-minted bike lanes include dotted lines to warn riders of the "door zone" (an area where cyclists are prone to being hit by car doors opening). The solid lines are meant to urge drivers to stay in their lanes.
But there some cycling advocates like Jackie Green, the owner of Bike Courier Bike Shop, who feel the new bike lanes are lame. In fact, Green thinks they're dangerous.
"There are problems with these lanes... I don't use them and I encourage cyclists not to use them," Green said. "I'm not a fan of the bike lanes because they are debris fields and door zones."
Eisinger says if riders notice debris in bike lanes they should notify the city by calling 311. Green says he prefers to ride in traffic with other cars, preferably in the left side of the lane so that drivers will see him. He encourages his customers to do the same -- unless their new riders, who may be uncomfortable surrounded by cars.
Lanna Lewis, a former cyclist who says she's lived in Louisville for more than 50 years, said she's noticed the increase in bike lanes driving around downtown.
"And as a driver I always check my outside mirror before I open my car door," she said.
When asked if it were a shared responsibility between drivers and riders, she said: "It is because we share the road, And we need to look out for each other."
Eisinger said the 28-mile addition of bike lanes should be complete by May 15.
Green says he wants to push for a city ordinance that would reduce the speed limit on city streets to 20 mph. Green claims he discussed it with members of the Metro Council.