A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On keeping bikes and motor vehicles apart

Written July 14th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Bright white double lines marked the bike lane at a new section of Airport Road near Pacific Boulevard on June 17, 2023.

Last summer’s fatal accident outside of Albany reminded us that single painted lines don’t offer cyclists much protection from motor vehicles. So how about double lines?

The Oregon Department of Transportation specified double lines to mark a short section of bike lane on Airport Road. This is a section that was rebuilt as part of ODOT’s project to improve the intersection of Airport and Pacific Boulevard, a project started last year and completed this summer.

I noticed the double line for the first time in June.  It clearly emphasizes the existence of the bike lane, at least as long as the paint looks fresh.

Painted lines do not prevent accidents when drivers are distracted. On the morning of Aug. 23, 2022, Kelli Kennedy, 52, was riding her bike on the five-foot-wide, marked shoulder of Riverside Drive. The Albany woman was killed when she was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The accident report by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office said the driver was distracted.

(Investigation of the crash remained open for months, pending the results of lab tests of the driver. Last month the results came in, and the district attorney’s office closed the case without filing any charges.)

In trying to protect vulnerable road users, one step up from painted lines is the installation of so-called delineators.

Benton County took that step a few years ago on Oak Grove Drive in North Albany to protect children walking and biking to and from the new Oak Grove Elementary School.

Delineators might also prove useful on some of Albany’s high-speed thoroughfares with bike lanes, such as parts of south Pacific Boulevard where motor vehicle traffic usually goes at least 50 mph.

Delineators would not prevent all accidents either. But distracted drivers might snap back to altertness if they heard or felt their rigs hitting some of those plastic tubes. (hh)

These delineators line a pedestrian and bike path on Ocean View Drive in Yachats on the coast.

8 responses to “On keeping bikes and motor vehicles apart”

  1. Jeff B. Senders says:

    Delineators will be “toast” in a few months. Question is why wasn’t Riverside Drive marked with double lines when the road was widened a few years ago. Could that still be done? Or in the future if they ever complete the project from the Grange to Hwy 34?

  2. Anony Mouse says:

    Okay, time to get real.

    Single lines, double lines, and delineators do nothing but steal space from those who the roads were designed for – motorists.

    Bike lanes are empty platitudes masquerading as good policy.

    I have nothing against bikes and bikers, except for the few who are arrogant, enviro-signaling, road hogs. (Side note – Spandex is derived from oil.)

    I just them all of them off my streets and out of the way. They need to go to city hall and convince government to build bike-only roads. The current “share the road” approach gets people killed.

  3. Grace Peterson says:

    I think that is a great idea. We could use more of those for bicyclists and pedestrians.

  4. Lundy says:

    I’ve always found it astounding that someone can kill another person with a motor vehicle and face no charges. I get that the distracted driver probably did not have a guilty mind but nevertheless it seems like the justice system, so enamored of rules for cars and trucks, should have some kind of response to a tragedy of this sort. I guess that’s what civil courts are for.

  5. Ray Kopczynski says:

    That section of roadway in Yachats was 2-lane road for many-many years until the “west” lane started falling down the cliffside…

  6. David Hesse says:

    Nobody could be happier than you about these steps to protect the growing number of bikes on the road. Keep enjoying your rides and posting what you encounter, Hasso.

  7. Karl Hess says:

    Here we go again with more big government regulations interfering with my right to liberty. I should have the right to drive my car in the bike lane if I want. I also hate those regulations that say I can’t drive 90 hours in a school zone, ar that I have to stop at red lights. Enough of this big government overreach!

  8. Gary Walter says:

    I started riding my bike to school at a very young age. Later I was riding on two lane county roads for about 10 miles to Tigard High School. (Back when Tigard was in the country)

    Later, as a firefighter, I rode my bike 18 miles one way to work.

    My experience with better bike lanes is that while they do a better job of protecting riders from drivers, they become collectors of gravel, broken glass, debris, litter, etc.

    And I hate fixing flat tires beside the road.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.


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