• Making the case for open or dashed taper lines

    by  • May 7, 2011 • Traffic Control • 2 Comments

    Bike Delaware has been working overtime to develop a tool for sharing Right Turn-Only Lanes (RTOLs) with bike lanes. As Delaware cyclists are all too familiar, shoulders (and even newly installed bike lanes) are routinely cut off by solid white taper lines beginning at RTOLs or left turn bypass lanes. As stated in the USDOT’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices:

    *  A SOLID line usually indicates that crossing the line is discouraged. [MUTCD Section 3A.01] Edgelines are SOLID lines [MUTCD Section 3B.06], and a lane line is a SOLID WHITE line in portions of a road where lane changing across the line is discouraged. [MUTCD Section 3B.04]

    Therefore, riding down any shouldered road and constantly crossing solid white lines is not what’s expected of a vehicle by Delaware code, which bicycles are defined as, and could have legal implications. That said, a top priority for this kind of facility is correctly striping it, especially where the bike lane or shoulder meets a RTOL or bypass. We are advocating that this be included in all new bike lane installations and retrofit projects. Below are some examples of what we envision:

    A) Red Lion Road (Rt.71) en-route to Lums Pond. Newly installed bike lane is cut off by a left turn bypass lane.

    B) Same road with taper line removed, providing for a safer, continuous, legally acceptable facility. The dashed line still indicates cars may enter the shoulder as a bypass.

    C) RTOL on Marrows Road in Newark with taper line electronically removed. The simple addition of symbols would validate this shoulder as a well marked bike facility.

    If DelDOT is unwilling, or unable to grant removal of taper lines, dashing them would also validate entering the RTOL (albeit suggesting a merge) as a continuous shoulder. A broken white line means that you can cross it. A solid white line means you shouldn’t cross it. Further: A BROKEN (dashed) WHITE line indicates that it is permissible to cross the line to change lanes to move into an adjacent lane moving in the same direction. A complete description of road striping, and what it all means can be found HERE.

    2 Responses to Making the case for open or dashed taper lines

    1. jamesinclair
      May 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      California is doing the same thing at highway on/off ramps. The bike lane hits a solid white line. Theyd never design a car lane like that, so why is it mandatory to do that for bike lanes?

    2. Frank Warnock
      May 9, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      It also sends the wrong message to motorists. By nature, most tend to follow lines. When the taper line curves off to the right cutting off the shoulder (starting the right turn-only lane), there is no thought process involved – they just move over with it. Removing these taper lines and relying instead on a dashed section of shoulder line is a better indication of a shared use lane. It also provides better legal protections should there be an altercation.

      Good luck in CA – forward this on if you think it will help.

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