Letters and Opinion

Learning the new bike rules

June 30, 2012

I would like to share my opinion on three of [Morris commentary, June 18] points:

• I don’t believe that it’s a 50/50 split between cyclists obeying the law and those that don’t—but I have a statewide view. I would estimate it’s more 90/10 with the 10 percent disobeying (and most of them know better), but it’s much easier to catch people doing things wrong than it is to catch them doing things right.

• New bike lanes do seem to cause a little confusion—often for both the cyclists and the motorist. The city of Indianapolis, the Office of Sustainability, Bicycle Indiana and Indianapolis Bicycle Community Advocacy Group are working to educate motorists and cyclists about navigating all of the bike lanes in Indianapolis. It takes time to get used to a change; it’s similar to being caught off-guard when a new stop sign or traffic signal is installed.

• The Cultural Trail and the bike lanes are great amenities. I appreciate the forward thinking by the leaders of the greater Indianapolis community to make these investments.

I’m also hoping the city and the state will pass a Complete Streets bill. Sometimes for cyclists the seeming designated corridor doesn’t provide the best route to our destination. As an example, if I’m traveling east on New York and riding in the bike lane and turn south on Alabama to go to my office in City Market, I typically don’t use the Cultural Trail because I would have to cut across traffic to arrive at the market (the traffic has to stop for people using the crosswalk).

Instead, I stay in the right hand lane of Alabama until I get to the market. The speed limit is low and I only have a couple of blocks, so hopefully I’m not impeding anyone who is in a hurry to get to lunch, court, or whatever the need may be. I feel I’m actually causing less delay using the road, in this instance, rather than using the trail.

Additionally, it isn’t required by law that a bicyclist use a trail or bike lane when present, so we often use the roadway, trail or path that will take us directly to our destination, just like a motorist (of which I am one, as well).

I’ll certainly do my part to obey the laws while driving my bicycle and I hope you’ll join us for Bike-To-Work day in 2013.

____________

Nancy Tibbett
executive director, Bicycle Indiana
 

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