What's wrong with this picture?

December 26, 2010
  • A vehicle zooms over a designated bike lane Wednesday on Dual Highway in Hagerstown. The bike lane runs between a through traffic lane and a right-turn lane.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The problem: A new bicycle lane on U.S. 40 is between two motor-vehicle traffic lanes as it approaches the Edgewood Drive intersection in Hagerstown.
The bike lane runs between a through traffic lane and a right-turn lane, making bicyclists vulnerable to vehicles merging into the turn lane at the last minute.
A reader who called in to Mail Call about the lane described it as “absolutely too dangerous,” with poor design that needs to be rethought.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to ride there,” the caller said.

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration

What they say: “That’s pretty much the only feasible way we could get a bike lane in there,” SHA Spokesman Charlie Gischlar said.
Putting the bike lane outside the turn lane would have put bicyclists in the path of turning traffic and a left-turn lane ruled out putting the bike lane on the far left, he said.
The decision to include a bike lane was part of a larger SHA initiative to accommodate all highway users, and to encourage bicycling as a green and healthful form of alternative transportation, Gischlar said.
He said he thought the lane was an improvement over the previous situation, when bicyclists had to mix in with traffic or ride on the shoulder, where they were in danger of being hit by turning cars.
Gischlar emphasized the importance of care and attentiveness for drivers and bicyclists, particularly around busy intersections like that one. That includes not crossing solid white lines, avoiding distractions and turning heads to check blind spots before merging, Gischlar said.
“We’re just asking for people not to be aggressive,” he said.
— Compiled by Heather Keels

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What’s Wrong With This Picture
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Hagerstown MD 21740
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Editor’s note: Each Monday, The Herald-Mail will highlight an infrastructure issue or other problem and will try to find out what is being done to fix or improve the situation. We will not tackle situations involving neighborhood or domestic disputes or consumer problems.
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