A Bike Delaware Working Group will meet this Thursday, April 14 to discuss the challenge that right turn only lanes present for bicycle users. A lot of discussion will reference the idea of a “combined” bike lane/right turn lane (a type of “pocket” bike lane, for when roadway width is constrained) as seen, for example, in the Maryland MUTCD and in the National Association of City Transportation Officials Bikeway Design Guide.
The combined bike lane / right turn lane approach to the right turn only lane problem has the very great merit of being, basically, free. It is a painted road marking that requires no roadway reconstruction whatsoever and can be applied for no additional cost as part of routine pave and rehab maintenance operations. In an American context, it qualifies as innovative. From the Dutch perspective, however, the “pocket” bike lane design (whether “combined” or not) appears outdated, at best, and unsafe, at worst. Since the Dutch have the highest bicycle mode share in the world, and have been designing and experimenting with cycling-specific infrastructure for decades, it may be worth checking out how they handle the right turn only lane problem (VIDEO):