• Newark bicycle LOS not reflected in on-road snow removal

    by  • February 6, 2011 • Maintenance, Traffic Control • 6 Comments

    At 4.7% bicycle mode share, Newark ranks among the highest in the U.S. That and their recent award as a Bicycle Friendly Community (Bronze, BFC) should see at least some effort made to keep the city’s main bike lanes and popular shoulder routes reasonably clear of snow. But, as seen in this photo weeks after a recent storm, that doesn’t appear to be the case. And it doesn’t bode well for UD students just returning from Winter Break.

    “I am very disappointed” said Tom Motz, of the 1000 block of S. Chapel Street Ext and a frequent patron of the Home Grown Cafe among others on his bike. “The piles completely block the bike lane. I know it’s difficult and you don’t want to push it up on the sidewalk either, but they could leave at least a few feet behind the white line so bikes can stay out of the traffic lanes. This is asking for a road rage incident”.

    That said, we commend Charlie Emerson and his Public Works Department for a superb job in clearing snow on the city’s off road facilities. The James F. Hall Trail is viewed as the model of bike path maintenance, landscaping, and clearing of all hazards from tree limbs to several feet of snow.

    Now we must convince Newark that its on-road facilities deserve equal (or at least some) attention.

    6 Responses to Newark bicycle LOS not reflected in on-road snow removal

    1. Scott
      February 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      Why not just ride in the travel lane in accordance with state law?

      Title 21, Chapter 41, Section 4196(a):
      Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:

      (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;

      (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or

      (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of roadway. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

    2. Frank Warnock
      February 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      Because sudden, unexpected movements in and out of the lanes as cars are attempting to pass is both unpredictable and dangerous and a cause for conflict among both user groups. It may even lead to a crash.

      Your solution would best call for riding in the lane for the length of the road, regardless of when the bike lane appears/reappears, but the vast majority are not going to do that as it will provoke aggressive driver behavior.

      Asking for equal level of service in this regard is not asking much at all.

    3. deshon
      February 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Interesting comments. I, too, have been wondering why even the major arterials into town have had disappearing or non-existent bike lanes after the storm two weeks ago (for example, Rt. 273 from the Md. state line into town). I've taken the "you are part of the traffic" approach, but in less than ideal conditions, this even makes ME nervous. Will bring this up at the next Newark Bicycle Committee meeting. I'm sure the city's public works director, who is on that committee, will have something to say about it.

    4. Scott
      February 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      "Your solution would best call for riding in the lane for the length of the road, regardless of when the bike lane appears/reappears,…"

      That's exactly what I'm calling for. We have no bike lanes and hardly any regular lanes wide enough to share near where I live (Southern Maine). I ride near the center of the lane 90% of the time and experience very few incidents with other drivers.

      "…but the vast majority are not going to do that as it will provoke aggressive driver behavior."

      I've been physically attacked several times by angry drivers on roads WITHOUT bike lanes or even shoulders. I don't think the presence of a bike lane makes much of a difference to homicidal maniacs.

    5. Scott
      February 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      "Asking for equal level of service in this regard is not asking much at all."

      Segregation is not equality.

    6. Frank Warnock
      February 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      Your problems up in Maine are not reflective of the situation here. They could be as different as night and day. No one here has ever referred to, or reported "homicidal maniacs" to Bike Delaware or any of our local committees.

      Every study ever done on the subject conclusively shows that *properly designed* facilities like bike lanes and sharrows reduce friction between user groups and increases safety and comfort overall. You can find several links on our resources page.

      You are obviously a vehicular cyclist and have no familiarity with bicycle friendly cities with large populations of college students, townies, and others who would NOT be out riding without safe provisions in which to do so. To blanket your own style of riding on everyone else, especially in an area you are not familiar with is both myopic and ignorant.

      I suggest you contact the Bicycle Coalition of Maine with any further concerns.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *