Blocking the Bike Lane

Dave writes in…

Have you noticed how the bike lines on Trinity and Ponce de Leon between Trinity and Scott are used as turn lanes or passing lanes? I’ve lost count of the number of times I was turning left off of Ponce onto Drexel and a long line of cars would go around me in the bike lane. My step son rides his bike from DHS home along Trinity and Ponce, and is constantly telling me stories about how there are people using the bike lanes as turn lanes into one of the churches or worse, just parked there while they wait to pick somebody up, depriving him the use of the bike lane.

129 thoughts on “Blocking the Bike Lane”

  1. I don’t like that. Car drivers should respect the dedicated bike lane and help protect our children. I noted recently that MARTA has removed the bus stop which used to be on the south side of Ponce at Adair St. I guessed because of the bike lane. Yesterday the MARTA bus driver pulled into the bike lane to let me off. He seemed nervous about doing that and looked me in the eye. I asked him to not stop there, which he knew is most convenient for me, and to pull up to the marked stop in front of St. Thomas More. Too bad auto divers are not as considerate as the route #2 MARTA drivers.

    1. If you have a grudge against adult cyclists that’s one thing, but to extend that anger to children riding bicycles to school is just absurd and completely wrong.

      1. Agree. I know cyclists can be scofflaws just like motorists but the consequences of cyclist-motor vehicle collisions are usually much more severe for cyclists. Since we encourage our youth to cycle in Decatur, we need to keep cycling as safe as possible for them or not encourage them at all. The fact that adult cyclists can be poor models does not negate the importance of keeping cycling safe for our children.

      2. How exactly do you conclude from Decaurite’s statement that s/he was singling out “children riding bicycles to school?”

        1. This post was about Dave’s kid riding his bike to school. And the cars referenced are parked in the bike lane near and around the school…

            1. Not quite Chris.

              And it’s worth mentioning, you don’t get break the laws you don’t like merely because someone else does as well. So cyclists irk you, you don’t get the right to park in the bike lanes because of it. Everyone should be offended by people creating unsafe situations for children getting to school. Or not…

              1. Thanks for the lecture. Despite your unnecessary outrage and penchant for non sequiturs, it remains obvious that Decaturite was not singling out children as you stated.

                1. You’re welcome Chris. There was only one cyclist referenced in the piece, Dave’s kid going to school. But you seem to know particularly which cyclists he was referring to, and my crystal ball is in the shop today. You win.

          1. You are right. I was actually trying to commend my nice bus driver! As Rodney said, “Can we all just get along”.

  2. Everyone who rides a bike on the street should be educated in the law, and that includes children. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen bicyclists of all ages blow through a stop sign and almost get hit by me or some other motorist. Then the cyclist looks at you like you have 3 heads……cyclists have to obey the rules of the road just like vehicle drivers, and are subject to the same citations. In Georgia Motor Vehicle Law…look it up.

    1. “I cannot tell you how many times I have seen bicyclists of all ages blow through a stop sign and almost get hit by me or some other motorist.”

      I have seen about 50 almosts in the past 2 days. Write DM when you side swipe a cyclist,.

      The anti-cyclists on DM see more “almosts” a day, than I see bikes a day.

      However, I do see at least 2 or 3 fenders in rush hour a day. I guess those are figments of my imagination…

      Who kills more pedestrians in crosswalks? Those oh so safe motorists. Gasp! Couldn’t be, they are always safe and obey the law.

      Everyone needs to be educated on the laws. Get a grip people.

        1. Oh dear. Now you’re shooting people. What have you done with our dear RebeccaB, and how can we get her back? I miss her…)

            1. No way, Jose-ita– your sass has always been the best part of your posts, no matter what color your avatar!

    2. Amen.

      I saw a woman cyclist get a $300+ fine for running a red light on a bike. It made me HAPPY! I wish more officers would enforce laws for cyclists.

      Don’t attack me Rebeccab — I don’t hate kids and I don’t hate kids on bikes. I just want people to follow the rules.

    3. Amen.

      I saw a woman cyclist get a $300+ fine for running a red light on a bike (City of Decatur court). It made me HAPPY! I wish more officers would enforce laws for cyclists.

      Don’t attack me Rebeccab — I don’t hate kids and I don’t hate kids on bikes. I just want people to follow the rules.

      1. Was it so much fun you now hang out at traffic court all the time, taking delight in the fact that rulebreakers of all kinds are being fined and punished?

        1. Oh, you’re just silly. And I’m guessing you’re one of those cyclist who doesn’t like to follow the rules.

          I was there because I was subpoenaed to testify against someone. You silly little person.

            1. Hey now, don’t make me park in the bike lane. 😉

              Didn’t realize “silly” was offensive. My bad.

              1. I think the “little” part may have been the bigger problem. Keep in my mind, this is coming from the perfect gentleman who was never* been arrested.

                [* never = “in the last three days”]

                1. hmmm, interesting autocorrect or subliminal slip here! “was”= “has” and “arrested” = “edited”. Believe it or not, though, the uncorrected statement was still true!

                2. Now, can we all start some sort of comment boycott until DM figures out some mechanism to allow editing in a way that helps is keep from sounding like illiterate fools without destroying the flow and continuity of the site…

      2. Your mental list of priorities for law enforcement is in need of an adjustment.

        The worst thing that happens when a cyclist runs a light- cyclist dies.

        The worst thing that happens when a motorist runs a light and kills a cyclist- motorist slapped with a misdemeanor.

        Meanwhile, we have folks being mugged a block from the courthouse and brawls in Chick-Fil-A.

        At any rate, I’m glad the cyclist getting ticketed made your day. We all need our little victories.

        1. That reminds me of the time a SUV failed to yield and ran me over as I proceeded through a green light on my bike. Justice was indeed served — her failure to yield was punished by a ticket for $80 or so. I, on the other hand, broke no laws and was not fined, but spent a week in the hospital and racked up $50 grand in medical bills. At least she did not have to wait 2 seconds as a pedaled across the intersection. That would have been the real tragedy.

          1. If in fact the SUV got a ticket and you were injured, you should have a case against their liability insurance.

              1. It sounded like maybe you hadn’t made the claim. Despite the major inconvenience, glad you at least got some monetary recompense.

          2. I have been hit and run on my bike twice in this town. Once in Decatur near the mini Kroger and once on N. Decatur Road near DHHS. Both times I was obeying the law as I rode down the street. The first accident tore up my bike, my elbow and my bank account. The woman waited until I realized I was alive, picked myself up off of the street and dragged my bike from under her car. She zoomed off the second she could do so without hitting me again. She didn’t ask if I was okay, she didn’t apologize, she didn’t offer me a lift. She didn’t say a word. She just looked annoyed that I was in her way.

            The second crash bumped my back tire and sent me flying over the sidewalk and onto the grass — if a tree had been there, I might have landed back in the hospital.

            Biking here is dangerous. It sucks that people don’t always obey rules. I’ve taken biking classes and read books on road safety yet I have broken bones and a wholesome fear of cars because many motorists don’t give a damn.

            It’s very disheartening to read these posts, and I fear we will not be the city we strive to be/think we are until we show more compassion and tolerance.

            1. Speak of the Devil, I almost bought it again today when a woman pulled out into the intersection w/o stopping as I was coming up pretty fast (was going downhill and I had no light or stop sign). Had to absolutely slam on the brakes, must have skidded 15 yards, and I have no idea how I managed not to fall. I was none too pleased and let her know it, and got the typical “why are you even on the road” attitude in return. Just another one of those law-abiding drivers having to “put up” with the cyclists, I guess.

              One thing you drivers should keep in mind is that what you might perceive as a holier-than-thou attitude from cyclists is the fact that even your small mistakes can kill us, and almost dying tends to make most people a bit angry. I’m sure the woman this morning thinks I’m a prick for my uncivil reaction to her inattentiveness, but I think I did the best I could given that she nearly killed me.

        2. “The worst thing that happens when a cyclist runs a light- cyclist dies.”

          Partially correct – you forgot to add …or they cause cars to swerve causing fatalities while they pedal away. Personally witnessed several years ago and then seen again (bad wreck but no fatalities) about 18 months later.

          There is plenty of bad behavior out there regardless of mode of transportation. DEM, I hope the SUV driver paid your bills.

          1. You are correct. Once in a great while, there are other injuries. Mostly, we just die or are maimed.

        3. Or a car could swerve to miss the cyclist who is breaking the law and cause an accident and kill innocent people. Follow the laws. Why is that so difficult?

    4. I watched this very thing happen last night around 8:45 as I was headed up West Ponce toward downtown from the post office. A cyclist came flying through the intersection onto Ponce from Northern Ave, running the redlight and cutting in front of the car that was in front of me on Ponce. The cyclist nearly got creamed, and there was an exchange of gestures between the drive and cyclist. This all happened after dark, too. As a former commuting cyclist who rode up and down busy streets (like Clairemont) every morning and afternoon, I really don’t understand why cyclists think it’s okay to be this careless and irresponsible. It’s not only incredibly dangerous but it undermines the efforts of the rest of us who honestly just want to share the road and do it safely and respectfully.

  3. Decatur police have monitored STM’s use of the bike lane as a funnel for carpool and approved that use.

  4. Can we acknowledge the law should be enforced against everyone? Start ticketing the cars using the bike lanes, and then you can start giving tickets to the bicyclists who flout their laws. And some bike safety classes in the school would be nice, too. Bikes should be ridden on the road, not the sidewalk.

    1. CSD, Decatur Active Living and Safe Routes to School partner to provide bike safety training at the 4th grade level. This has been the case, I believe, since 2008 or 09.

    2. The roads in Decatur (and Atlanta) are not safe to ride your bike on. When I take my 1 year old on the back of my bike, there is NO way I’m riding on the road unless I absolutely have to (i.e., no sidewalk). Drivers just don’t see bikes / pay attention and I’m not taking my chances when my son could get hurt.

      1. In theory and in law, the street is where the bicycle belongs. However, a high risk of serious injury and even death trump theory and law. I know very few long-time cyclists who have *not* been in a near-death or at least hospital-inducing accident.

        So, while riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is technically illegal, it’s far more practical than risking life and limb on the street.

    3. disagree in theory – the sidewalk is a better place for a bike lane, but the sidewalks in Decatur/Atlanta are not conducive to this (poor condition / narrow size).Seems to work better this way in Europe

  5. In most states right turning vehicles ARE SUPPOSED to merge into the bike lane before turning.

    It’s the proper operation to prevent a right hook situation.

  6. What about joggers? This morning before daylight a jogger [who works at a local Y and should know better] darted across the road near Chick-fil-A, not at the intersection, but midblock – the car in front of me had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting her and I had to slam on my brakes and swerve to avoid hitting that car.

  7. Dave, thanks for writing this. I am often heading West on Ponce and turn left on Drexel. I notice the same thing with cars passing me on the right in the bike lane, rather than simply waiting for me to complete a left turn. This creates a dangerous situation and it would be great if the Deactur motorcycle cop hung out at Adair and Ponce for a few evenings and ticketed those who do this. What is the process for alerting the police about this?

    The rest of this thread about who breaks the law and the finger pointing is pretty silly. Dave has reported a real situation that endangers any cyclist on Ponce in the bike lane (adults, children, law abiders and law breakers alike). The discussion should be focused on fixing the situation, don’t you think?

    1. I would love to see that motorcycle cop handing out a few tickets along this stretch again. speeders, illegal use of bike lane, assault of traffic turtles, as well as those problematic bikers 🙂 That goes for the polite #2 bus driver that rarely drives this part of w. ponce under 45mph. Speed limit is 30 for anyone that cares.

      1. If you live on West Ponce (I live 2 blocks off West Ponce, on Adair) you know that speeding cars and buses are a problem on Ponce, as it is up on Howard. I don’t know why Decatur city taxes can not be lowered based on the number of traffic tickets given on those streets. I have not noticed the motorcycle policeman recently. He used to sit on Adair and Drexel at Ponce with a radar gun. I wish he would come back and add protection of our children in the bike lane to our city’s priorities for traffic enforcement.

        1. yes please bring him back. one of my favorite pass times is to watch him from my front porch handing out tickets. been quite a while since he has been there. think I have seen him once since the new lane configuration.

    2. I agree, but we seem to have a contingent of folks who read the word “bike” and then find it necessary once again climb the soap box of that one time they saw some cyclist run through a stop sign, oh wait it’s an epidemic of law-breaking, something should be done, they look stupid in the spandex, man their attitudes stink, call the national guard! We get it.

        1. BENDER

          (with mock hurt)
          Oh, I know…I feel all empty inside because of it. I have such a deep admiration for guys that roll around on the floor with other guys!

          ANDREW

          Ahhh…you’d never miss it. You don’t have any goals.

          BENDER

          Oh, but I do!

          ANDREW

          Yeah?

          BENDER

          I wanna be just–like–you! I figure all I need’s a lobotomy and some tights!

          BRIAN

          You wear tights?

          ANDREW

          (to Brian)
          No I don’t wear tights, I wear the required uniform…

          BRIAN
          Tights…

          ANDREW
          (defensive)
          Shut up!

  8. Back when the bike lanes were being discussed and we had anumber of public meetings, the St. Thomas Moore (STM) folks pointed out that parents had been “stacking” along Trinity (as well as Water St. by the Post Office) in carpool lines for drop-off/pick-up. An agreement was reached to allow STM to use the bike lane along Trinity at certain times during the school day for carpool lanes. Not great, I admit, but bike lanes were new to Decatur and folks were willing to compromise where needed. Perhaps one day St. Thomas Moore will create an anti-idling policy and also encourage as many students as can to walk or bike to school and they won’t need the bike lane to stack cars….

  9. Post about cars illegally using a bike lane.

    Thread is about them durn bikers in their tight pants and how they blow through stop signs.

    …sounds about right. Everyone continue enjoying your rampant obesity, $4/gallon gas, and Code Orange smog alerts…..nothing to see here….

    1. “As long as all those scofflaw (insert victim tribe here) continue with their rampant illegal doings and funny pants, we should bray and whine incessantly on message boards about it whenever any improvements are made to public infrastructure.

    2. DecDog – Didn’t you know cars rule all, including common sense ?

      It’s quite sad how automobiles are simultaneously instruments of personal liberty and of societal ill. A classic love/rate relationship.

  10. This is a huge problem on Trinity between Commerce and North McDonough. I can’t go west in the bike lane without having to jump into traffic to get around a county van or a Sysco truck.

    1. Rebeccab! It’s you!!! It’s really you!!! Oh thank goodness!!! I had the awfulest dream. ..You were in it, only you were a Mean Girl, and you were saying all sorts of things in ways you’d never say them… and there was this guy who kept thinking everybody was somebody else… and another guy who thought he was a republican, only he wasn’t… and there was a walrus … Oh! I’m soooooooooooooo happy you’re back!!! :0)

  11. Forget bikers vs. cars for a minute and let’s talk about the disaster for those of us who live on West Ponce of the bike lanes coupled with the parking lanes. When the city commission held its hearings on all this, most of the residents on W. Ponce indicated that there was no need for parking lanes on West Ponce. It was pointed out to the commission that if there was one lane for traffic, and then a bike lane plus parking lane on the right that was big enough for a car to get through, those cars that regularly speed down W. Ponce would pass on the right using the bike lane and parking lane. It would have been better to have one traffic lane each way, a littl wider, and one bike lane (a little wider, but not big enough for a car). The commission did not listen to this from those of us who live there, and were so enanamoured with spending grant money on bike lanes, that the wanted to throw in parking lanes(needed or not) too.
    What happens now is that if I am heading west on W. Ponce, in the driving lane, and want to turn right into my driveway to my house on the north side of West Ponce, I slow down and turn on my right turn signal. Usually, the car following me sees the signal and slows down behind me. Then the driver behind that car, being frustrated that he/she can’t continue speeding out of Decatur, decides to pass in the bike lane and parking lane. That driver doesn’t realize I’m turning into my driveway across those lanes. They can’t see my right turn signal because the car behind me is blocking them, and they are too impatient to wait. They come roaring around in the right (bike and parking lane) and nearly crash into my car which is legally turning into my driveway. I have nearly been hit over five times, within inches.
    Where cars are turning left on Adair, there is a near constant stream of cars that won’t wait and stay in the driving lane and skirt around in the bike and parking lanes, often three or four at a time. I walk my dog by there at night and between 5 and 7 pm the police could issue enough tickets to fund a good project. I’ve never seen them ticket anyone for driving in the bike lane.
    Some poor soul is going to get killed when they are legally and carefully turning into their driveway on West Ponce (on both sides) unless the law is enforced to keep impatient drivers out of the bike lane/parking lane, or unless those lanes are clearly marked or blocked to prevent cars from driving in them.
    I have complained about this to the powers that be to no avail. I have gotten some small pleasure from my road rage at those idiots who almost hit me, who at first plead ingnorance and then usually apologize, but that is not real satisfaction.
    The idea of one lane each way on West Ponce was a good one to slow down the traffic, But unless something is done to solve the problems expressed above and by other communications on this topic, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

    1. What if the City were to come by and just paint in parking spaces (see McLendon Ave in Candler Park/Lake Claire)? Would that be enough indication that it the space is intended for parking (whether needed or not)?

      1. Or maybe the guy around the corner on Adair would be willing to park his bicycles in the parking lane for awhile until folks caught on. 🙂

    2. If you are making a right turn, you should have already merged into the bike lane. That would discourage someone passing on your right.

      1. I bike and I drive — I did not know that I should merge my car into the bike lane to make a right turn, but it makes sense to do that to turn safely. The only time I ever pull into a bike lane is that lane right on Edgewood near Delta when the bike lane and the thru car lane merge and the left lane splits off to head into L5P. Even that makes me nervous.

  12. It would probably help if the city erected some sort of bike-passable barrier between the car lane and the bike lane (ie- plastic posts). A lot of the bike lanes around Decatur are new, so motorists don’t know how to behave around them.

    1. Sounds like a good idea to me. Cars have similar problems on Scott trying to turn left, holding up traffic because Scott is a busy street, and then having idiots pass them ON THE LEFT! Some folks only respond to environmental changes like barriers. But would the barriers prevent residents getting into their own driveway or cyclists from negotiating the route safely?

    2. As Walt points out, there are numerous driveways along there, so it might not be so easy to erect some kind of barrier. And, the lifespan of things like that tends to be pretty short because people ignore them and run over them anyway (center lane on North Ave west of Highland).

      1. A cop giving out tickets or even warnings for a few weeks would go a long way towards increasing awareness; the idea of a barrier sounds neat but is impractical. I know of a scooter accident already caused by those half sphere shaped turtles, and know of a runner that tripped on one. I do get a kick out of hearing the cars that are trying to pass turners hit those turtles. They can do a lot of damage to your car!

        Personally, I like the parking on W Ponce but think there are gonna be some wrecks if folks keep using the bike lane to scoot around turners. Not sure how a wider traffic lane and smaller bike lane (Walt’s suggestion) would fix that, it is still the same width street.

    3. Native’s got the right idea. Change in how we get around is a work in progress. The left turn from W Ponce onto Trinity was screwy there for a while but, once it was clear it wasn’t working as is, the city assessed and fixed it. I’ve been completely satisfied with it ever since.

      The same could be true here. Now that a specific problem has been identified, the city can review and fix it. This might include amped up enforcement or something along the lines of what Native suggests above. Or something else. But right now we have a road that doesn’t cater solely to residents, or to cars, or to bikes or to pedestrians. It tries to balance a lot of different users, and that’s ultimately the best thing. We just need to tweak it based on real-world performance.

    4. Of course, gaps large enough for vertical cars would definitely have to be available to cars to get in and out of driveways…it would be completely crazy to block these people into their homes:)

      1. They already have worked around the driveway issues with some barriers. They just need the barriers on the left side of the bike route rather than the right side of the bike route, i.e., they need to be between the bike riders and the motorists. But barriers are key. The elemental principle of bike routes is to separate bikes from cars. The more separate the better.

  13. I’m not defending impatient drivers or impatient cyclists. I find problems with how both groups are conducting themselves, but I can say the same thing for people getting on or off elevators or MARTA trains.

    I drive much more often than I ever ride a bike – someday I’ll get that derailleur in working order again. Still, I’ve seen plenty of citations being given to motorists, but I’ve only heard of three cyclists ever being cited for taking shortcuts around the rules on their bikes.

  14. I was hoping someone would comment on the new bike path markings on West Ponce and East Ponce, past the square all the way through town.
    They are HUGE and in the center of the lane on each side. What’s up with that? The area from Starbucks to Leon’s is barely big enough for 2 car lanes and a tiny sidewalk, now they are 90% bike lane?

  15. Same thing happens a lot along Hosea in Kirkwood and Edgewood, where they installed bike lanes last year (or year before?). I think it’s symptomatic of a much larger problem, though — too many people are driving with so much impatience, they simply create right-of-way for themselves wherever there is physical space, regardless of who else is around. There are no bike lanes on my street but it is heavily traveled and wide enough to accommodate parking along one side. Many times I’ve had a car pass me on the left as I slowed down to turn left into my driveway — with no vehicle behind me to supposedly block the view of my turn signal. At the East Lake/Oakview corner (heart of “Oakhurst village”), it’s not unusual to see a vehicle come from behind and pass on the right to get around the one that’s lawfully stopped at the intersection.

    I’m all for continuing to modify our streets and roads to make it ever more feasible to get around in other ways besides driving cars. But there is no silver bullet to be found in transportation planning, no magical configuration of lane sharing and directional signs that is going to make traffic as calm as we say we want it to be. If we really want things to change, then we have to change the way we drive. I don’t know what proportion of the driving population would need to change their ways in order for the prevailing culture to shift. I do know it’s like everything else we can do to help ourselves — recycling, eating more nutritiously, exercising regularly, conserving energy — it ultimately requires individuals to act on their own.

    smalltowngal’s 1-Week Traffic Challenge for Motorists: For seven days, drive like there’s a traffic cop on your tail at all times. Be absolutely ruthless about it — any of us can do anything for a week, if we set our minds to it. Fine yourself every time you slip up.
    – Stop speeding — even occasionally, even a little bit, even with a really good reason. Don’t exceed the speed limit (except use your own judgment on the expressway, where IMO it’s safer to go with prevailing traffic, up to a point).
    – Come to a full and complete stop at every stop sign and at a red light where you are going to turn right, even when there are no other vehicles in sight and you can see for 1,000 yards.
    – Use your turn signal every time you are changing lanes or making a turn. Every time. Even if there’s nobody else around.
    – Give every pedestrian and every bicyclist the benefit of the doubt and more than their fair share of ROW, even when they’re acting like jerks. Perhaps especially when they’re acting like jerks.

  16. STM clears their parking lot remarkably fast, considering the number of students it’s dismissing, (and I’ve yet to see ONE bike go by while waiting in the carpool line…) Most of STM’s students don’t live in City of Decatur, so walking isn’t an option, and the ones that do live close by do walk.

    The real problem since the bike lanes were put in, is the loss of the right turn lane onto Ponce. The long wait for the light to change is backing up the carpool line considerably and slowing the entire process… City of Decatur is working on changing the timing of the lights and possible getting a traffic cop to help it out. (And very few people, if any, are idling in the line (there are two carpool “calls”, the queued cars are actually parked, waiting for the first call to clear the lot before they are allowed in), but on 95 degree days with lots of toddler siblings in the car, some people are going to need to have the AC on.

    Truthfully, a road by ANY school at carpool time is going to move slowly, but I think we can all avoid those places for one hour out of the day.

    1. I see an occasional parent waiting in those new parking spaces along W Ponce in the afternoons and having their older children walk to meet them, which seems like an awfully good idea to me. I know Glennwood encourages drivers to park in the lot across the street and walk, cutting down on the backup on E Ponce Maybe STM parents that must drive could consider a partial walk? Those with smaller children could walk with the children for half a block? There is a crossing guard at the corner.

      1. Ah, the crossing guard lady who waves to everyone. Anyone who crosses there, like me, in the morning and afternoon, love her!

      2. My child goes to STM and the first few days, I parked on Ponce and Trinity and walked to pick her up (she’s too young to walk by herself). I was told that the school will not allow people to park in the dozens of empty spaces on Trinity, or the free spaces on W. Ponce because of liability issues (this is all I was told, and, as the principal was busy with other parents, I did not get any more details.) While I am unsure where the liability lies when one parks on Trinity and is headed in the opposite direction of the carpool line, or if one crosses at the crosswalk with the guard, that is the stance of STM administration. I wish it were not the case, because while I walk a mile to pick her up now, in inclimate weather I would love to park on Trinity and just have to walk a short distance.

        1. Sounds like STM administration does not want any changes to their carpool procedures. Hope they will consider flexing a little here, makes very little sense to me. Power struggle with COD maybe??? How is it ok for the kids that walk home every day from STM but not ok those that walk (maybe even with their parent) to a parked car? Hope some parents from STM can get the principal to think outside the box to make the new configuration work better for everyone. Maybe it is as simple as a signed consent form from the parent giving permission to walk. If STM expects the city to make special concessions to them (exclusive use of the bike lane twice a day), they need to make and effort to work it out from their side as well.

            1. I’m also an STM parent and I would suggest that you call or email the principal. She is very accessible. There are things perhaps that are not totally understood that tie the hands of the administration.
              As for the STM administration not wanting to make concessions for the community or a power struggle, I must say you are way off base. Please do not assume. This current carpool configuration was implemented with the City of Decatur, its planning department and the police department. It is not something that STM has come up with on its own. The carpool situation is monitored by all of these entities. As well the administration is currently and has been in the process of looking at alternatives for the situation.
              We all need to live together in the community and STM is part of that community. We all need to do our part. In saying that I like Smalltowngal’s suggestions and challenge. Tolerance and understanding of others goes a long way. It works both ways.

              1. I think it would be great to allow right turns on red from trinity during carpool hours, but also great if STM would encourage partial walking for pick up. The morning drop off does not seem to be so big an issue, but afternoons are bad. I can see why no bikers go that way that time of the day, it is really dangerous for them. Hope the city and STM will work together to come up with a plan to improve the situation so everyone can benefit. I have no idea if there is a power struggle between CoD and STM, it just sounds to the outside observer that STM may be trying to make it look as bad as possible to get the most concessions, which may or may not be the case.
                I will tell you that there are many more bikes using W Ponce now than before the bike lanes, and the street is more pleasant for walkers and joggers as well. W Ponce is the gateway from Atlanta to our beautiful downtown, and it is a very good thing for the city to slow it down from the acceleration ramp that it use to be.

  17. Yes, the biggest problems are the loss of the right turn lane and the inability to turn right on red. The back up on Trinity and Water Streets would dissipate much faster if the city would address this. I have been an STM carpooler for 6 years now and can can count on one hand the number of cyclists I’ve seen using that stretch of road – with or without the bike lanes.

    1. There are some good ones out there, like this:

      http://deltacycle.com/Airzound-Bike-Horn

      A cyclist needs all the tools s/he can get. Most important is a good rear view mirror. Motorists don’t realize that rushing air in cyclists’ ears keep them from hearing a car behind them. They get impatient, thinking that the cyclist is being deliberately obtuse when in fact the cyclist doesn’t realize anyone’s behind. A mirror helps a lot. I recently got one and love it.

    2. I used an airzound for awhile but took it off. I needed the second bottle holder and it was too high a pitch to be taken seriously. I can yell HEY pretty loudly in my pissed off daddy voice. Seems to work better.

  18. DM seems to be having some sort of influence on some folks behavior. Just this very morning, I had a very encouraging encounter with a soccer mom driving some sort of SUV monstrosity (sorry, I couldn’t tell exactly what make or model and I did not get the license plate number, which I would have been very happy to share in order to commend this admirable woman).

    Heading back home after an early day at work, I turned left onto Ponce from Adair. There was absolutely no traffic and I turned easily into the westbound travel lane. Just as I did, I saw a large black SUV screaming westbound down Ponce behind me, accelerating apparently to beat the traffic light at Trinity that had just turned red. From the time I noticed the SUV until the screeching of tires necessary to stop her SUV travelling at least 55 mph from rearending my little sedan travelling at exactly the 30 mph speed limit, perhaps 2 seconds elapsed.

    Now I know what you are thinking: You turned left into an oncoming vehicle! Nope, the coast was clear and the near accident resulted completely from her excessive speed. But this is where the commendable aspect of her actions must be noted. No, she did not appear sheepish or embarrassed that her bat-out-of-hell driving almost sent me to the hospital. No, she did not then slow down and proceed to keep a safe distance. Yes, in fact she did tailgate me and flash her brights at me while also flipping me off. And while all of those things kind of pissed me off, I still smiled to myself and thought how great it was that she did NOT pass me in the bike lane!

    SUV lady, if you are reading this, I commend you!

  19. Cops in the city of ATL definitely pull over and ticket cyclists. And those tickets can affect a rider’s drivers’ license points and auto insurance rates.

  20. I’ve been reading about “vehicular biking” to better understand other points of view, and it’s led me to believe that all of us — drivers and cyclists alike — need more education about applicable laws, whether it’s delivered in the form of articles, online quizzes, or community presentations. There’s far too much ambiguity about standards of conduct for us to properly hold ourselves and one another accountable on the road.

  21. I ride my bike around Decatur a lot. Yes, I see fellow cyclists break the rules and in many cases, in a dangerous or rude way. That said, I run stop signs all the time. There, I said it. I do a lot of things that are technically against the law, but what a lot of hot head drivers see is a cyclist not obeying the law and it steams them. The truth is, I am very safe and I do not skirt the rules if it is rude or unsafe. In very many cases, I make it easier for drivers by getting out of the way. Case in point. Last night I am riding home from Oakhurst on East Lake. I am preparing to turn left on Third. There’s a car coming from the opposite direction. I have momentum and plenty of time to make the turn before the car gets to the light. My options are 1) stop at the sign, lose my pedaling momentum and make the car queue at the sign or 2) signal my move, blow through the sign and get out of the way. Let’s be honest, most cyclists do the same thing and it steams drivers because we should all obey the same laws. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some univeral laws that are broken by cyclists and in many/most cases it hurts nobody.

    I will also often get into a right side turn lane to allow cars to pass. This is technically illegal..look it up. I will get onto a side walk if I am stopped at a light so a car behind me can turn right on red. Why, because it’s easy enough for me to do so, but probably technically illegal.

    I guess what I am trying to non-cyclists, is that we don’t think we are necessariily above the law. We are in most cases taking advantage of being on a bike, keeping our momentum and making the flow easier for all. It’s the bad apples that don’t know where that line is that give us a bad name.

  22. Of all the cities, I’ve visited, Amsterdam is the best model for a cyclist-friendly city. Not only do they have many bikes-only lanes, the traffic laws are such that motorists are always at fault in any car/bike or car/pedestrian accident. I rented a bike for a week there, rode at least 20km a day, and loved the freedom the bike provided. No worries about parking or fuel !

    With that said, it’s not realistic to expect the car-centric U.S. culture coming anywhere close to The Netherlands. I used to ride my bike all around Macon, GA when I was a kid, but I can’t imagine riding my bike anywhere near/around Decatur. Too many drivers are either ignorant, disrespectful, or even disdainful of cyclists, creating a very dangerous situation whereby motorist mistakes have few to no consequences for the motorist but tremendous potential for injury or even death for any cyclist or pedestrian involved.

    As a motorist, I try to give cyclists and pedestrians the respect they not only deserve, but need, to feel safe.

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