Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lookit Humpty Lane

Just not even trying

The bike lane engineers, speed hump engineers, and painters should all get together over coffee for a good clear-headed planning session before they go and do embarrassing stuff like this. In addition to being a part-time bike lane, which in itself sends mixed signals, the cognitive dissonance of a speed bump extending into a bike lane like this is just too much. 

Lookit*: bike lane installed to encourage cyclists such as myself to use the street for fun and transport, generally at a slower speed than vehicle traffic. Speed hump installed much later than bike lane to encourage drivers of vehicles to slow the heck down. Speed hump interfacing with bike lane causes several issues. Bikes don't need to be slowed because they are already slower. Single cyclist who sees hump can go around, but cyclists riding legally two abreast will be challenged. Gap at side of street inevitably encourages drivers to swerve to the right to spare one side of the vehicle the hump. Drivers are not supposed to drive in the bike lane, but how many of those tickets have been issued since the beginning of bike lanes? The hump and the lane painted line should align. The hump should not enter the bike lane. I assume the indent in the middle is for motorcyclists? Is that true? Good for them, although they may have to be on the lookout for drivers swerving to the left to get their left wheel in the indent.

No right turn: signs, barricades, cement forms, and trench. You know a driver will still try.
I'm not sure what newfangled innovation is being installed here. Hopefully, something which helps drivers to see commuting cyclists in daylight, wearing a bright red shirt, cycling at a medium speed, before they ignore the stop sign and drive out into the street turning said cyclist into a speed hump shaped heap laying half in, and half out, of the bike lane.

*What's it called when you just know that a word is sloppy slang but then you check an Oxford English dictionary and find that it's actually legit?   


  1. While I agree this half hump in the bike lane poses a problem for cyclists, I wonder how shortening the hump at the white line is any better, or possibly worse? With driver mentality being what it is, I think they'd be more likely to swerve - allowed a wider gap seems like greater license to perform this silly maneuver. On the flip side, if the hump was extended to the curb, it might be better from a cyclist's point of view. A cyclist can ride over those humps fairly easily and without harm. Either way, the roadway looks like it begs for high speed driving and speed bumps are after thoughts to slow traffic - not a great solution all around.

    1. I agree with your questions, and thought about them while taking the photo and after. I'm not a road or traffic engineer, so I'm sure that my random reactions to carefully constructed speed humps amuse or irritate them at most. After all, this hump does slow down the cars, accomplishing its primary mission. There are some other new humps which go all the way to the curb, or more accurately to within just a few inches, and I find myself still swerving around them on my bike. And it's true, at typical bike commuting speeds, the humps aren't too big of a nuisance to just ride over. I keep thinking about smarter solutions though, for example, the way the bike lanes bypass the car-directing obstacles they put up at some freeway entrances. The bike lane bypass kind of takes you out and around, leaving you at a good spot just inside the sidewalk to watch for a clear space to cross. They didn't have to do it that way, but it shows thoughtfulness: it doesn't really make sense to end the bike lane if you don't have to, or force it in between traffic barriers and cars if unnecessary, so they came up with a better alternative that I probably wouldn't have thought up myself. Your last point is so true--traffic calming and separation are what give safer and slower roads, finally.

  2. I've been assuming that the indents in the middle of a hump are for emergency vehicles to pass through without slowing...

    1. I think you must be correct, in the case of emergency vehicles with wider tracks. Your typical police car would not be that, but maybe larger fire trucks or ambulances.


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