Pinellas County has seen more than its share of bicycle injuries and fatalities. Motivated by a bicyclist being injured on the paved shoulder that also serves as a bike lane, the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently installed white pylons to separate a cycling lane around the inside of the curved Pinellas Bayway.
Lorrie Lykins. “Dr. Delay” of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out in her column that workers installed the pylons on the drivers’ side of the white line separating the bike lane, narrowing the drivers’ turn lane by a foot, forcing drivers into a wider-than-normal swing when turning, which crowds vehicles in the outer lane turning right. This has caused some of the pylons to be hit and overturned. Lykins suggests that the DOT reset the pylons on the inner part of the bike lane boundary stripe.
A DOT official responded that the pylons were placed on the traffic side because the minimum width for a bike lane is three feet and bike’s handlebars could hit the pylons if the bike lane were made narrower. Because they were installed where the farthest right traffic lane widens, DOT states there should be no problem with traffic restriction in the lane.
We applaud the DOT effort to create a safer environment for bicyclists and encourage drivers to remain alert to the positioning of the pylons to avoid knocking them over. This is one more situation where drivers can make an effort to use extra caution in areas where they are sharing the road with cyclists.
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