The Chainlink

Should the entire Chicago community start biking on the left side of the street?

I would like to propose the idea of changing the side of the street we ride on. 

 

Biking on the left you can:

-See oncoming traffic. No surprises from fast cars in the bike lane behind you.

-See people in parked cars, and they can see you. You're less likely to get doored.

-Even if they do open their door it would be a glancing blow, and not a deadly jam onto the sharp edge of the door.

 

I know this is bound to be unpopular, but it seems to have it's positive points.

 

Of course this could only work if there was a city-wide consensus. Hence the discussion.

 

What do you think?

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I agree completely. When I was a kid it baffled me that legally I was supposed to ride in the street with traffic...Plus, there are assholes out there that like to sneak up on bikers and throw shit at them or yell at them...That would pretty much be eliminated by reversing the flow of traffic and yes, end dooring!


Count me in.

I'm thinking that even the "glancing blow" would deflect the bike and rider directly into oncoming traffic.

Cool, a gentle dooring before the headon.

One bike lane in the center instead of two on either side.  Dooring issue goes away.  Visibility issues are reduced since you're on the driver's side, intersections are safer since you're more visible.  The space used by the bike lane would be more efficient and/or less space is required since it operates more like an express lane and the full lane can be used for travel in both directions rather than having the non-rush-hour side sit  empty.  The only detriment is making right turns would be harder/more dangerous, but no harder/more dangerous than a left-turn in the current setup and left turns would be easier/safer.  Think about it.

What do you do when someone is salmoning in this center bike lane?   

 

With bike lanes off to the side, you can pull over next to non-moving cars.  Center lanes eliminate that safety net.


Loren Bo said:

One bike lane in the center instead of two on either side.  Dooring issue goes away.  Visibility issues are reduced since you're on the driver's side, intersections are safer since you're more visible.  The space used by the bike lane would be more efficient and/or less space is required since it operates more like an express lane and the full lane can be used for travel in both directions rather than having the non-rush-hour side sit  empty.  The only detriment is making right turns would be harder/more dangerous, but no harder/more dangerous than a left-turn in the current setup and left turns would be easier/safer.  Think about it.
I don't want traffic on both sides of me..I would rather take a chance on a door that isn't moving 35 mph.
you can "end dooring" by staying out of the door zone at all times. That is independent of whether you go with traffic or against

John Wayman said:

[...] and yes, end dooring!


Count me in.

+1

 

Although I like the idea of making cars drive in the door zone.  When someone doors another  2000lb automobile instead of a hapless bicyclist they'll probably remember in the future never to do THAT again (if they survive.)  

Duppie said:

you can "end dooring" by staying out of the door zone at all times. That is independent of whether you go with traffic or against

John Wayman said:

[...] and yes, end dooring!


Count me in.

It amazes me that people can look for a car before opening their door into traffic, but not look for a bike.  

James BlackHeron said:

+1

 

Although I like the idea of making cars drive in the door zone.  When someone doors another  2000lb automobile instead of a hapless bicyclist they'll probably remember in the future never to do THAT again (if they survive.)  

Duppie said:

you can "end dooring" by staying out of the door zone at all times. That is independent of whether you go with traffic or against

John Wayman said:

[...] and yes, end dooring!


Count me in.

You're supposed to use the mirror or look behind the car before you exit on the driver's side, period.  In fact, last I checked the letter of the law states you really aren't even entitled to exit on the driver's side - when one does, they assume all liability for an accident.

 

This is a also a problem with cabs, who are not supposed to allow passengers to exit on the driver's side but often do downtown.


Joel said:

It amazes me that people can look for a car before opening their door into traffic, but not look for a bike.  

I guess I'm dating myself, but I remember I was taught to ride on the left early in grammar school.

What if car doors had the hinges reversed and opened in reverse?  Then if you hit a door it would just slam shut instead of deflecting the cyclist away from the car.

Michael J Blane said:

I'm thinking that even the "glancing blow" would deflect the bike and rider directly into oncoming traffic.

Cool, a gentle dooring before the headon.

And while it is fairly easy to 'take the lane' to go around a bus, double parked car or just for increased visual presence, forcing motorists to slow down behind you, we would not be able to do that if we cycled against traffic.

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