Sharing The Road on Raymond Avenue: Part 2

A few days after I didn’t get sideswiped at the Vassar Main Entrance Rotary, we were returning from errands. Traffic is light, but Raymond Avenue doesn’t provide much clearance. This orange car is about as far away as one can expect:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 0
Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 0

Two seconds later, however, there’s a door opening ahead of Mary (clicky for more dots):

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 1
Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 1

I’m shouting “DOOR! DOOR! DOOR!” in the hopes that the driver won’t step directly in front of Mary, but most likely the orange car whooshing by three feet away made more difference:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 2
Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 2

Fortunately, there wasn’t any overtaking traffic and, during the four seconds after the orange car passed us, we could move to the left:

Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 - door opening - 3
Raymond Ave 2015-06-30 – door opening – 3

The driver’s body language suggested that, until we passed her, she remained oblivious to the outside world and, in fact, she was probably annoyed that two cyclists came that close to her.

“Sharing the road” requires two parties. Raymond Avenue’s design doesn’t encourage motorists to share the road and certainly doesn’t provide a fair playing field for the most unprotected party in the transaction.

Broken by design, I’d call Raymond Avenue, and that’s pretty much what NYSDOT’s original planning documents admit.

4 thoughts on “Sharing The Road on Raymond Avenue: Part 2

  1. For some people “share the road” means “I’ll take my share and you get whatever remains.”

  2. When the road is broken, is it legal to take the lane for yourself? Are cars legally required to respect that. Here in Austin, it is. It is also illegal to share a lane (poorly enforced) and (somewhat contradictory) for a motor vehicle to get within 3 feet of a cyclist. Cyclists put me in violation of that law all the time (not the other way around, my annoyance is never worth endangering a life.)

    1. That’s the way it’s supposed to work here, minus the three foot rule that would be impossible to observe on most of the roads. The “Share the Road” signs certainly imply we should play nicely together, though…

      We all make mistakes (like opening a door without checking for traffic), which is why Mary and I generally avoid the door strike zone whenever we can. However, NYSDOT improved Raymond by reducing it from a four-lane (!) road to two lanes and replacing traffic signals with rotaries, which means when we take the lane, motorists back up behind us and there’s no way to “share” a rotary.

      Of course, when delivery trucks block the lane while stopped at a store, things back up, too. That wasn’t considered in the design specs.

      Long ago and far away, I commuted by bike between Lehigh U and my apartment in Allentown. One afternoon, a guy popped the door when I was passing the rear fender, pacing traffic along Tilghman St. The frameless window gouged a remarkable amount of tissue from under my right arm, just below the shoulder; that’s why I know what human fat looks like. Pretty much wrecked the bike and the door, too.

      Didn’t break the bone, didn’t cut any tendons or nerves, but left an elaborate scar and a profound desire to never have that happen again…

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