For too many in Bend, the answer is a resounding, “No. No I don’t trust that bike lane stripe will protect me while I’m riding my bicycle.” It’s a reason loads of people in surveys (albeit unscientific ones) and voice polls at Community Forums have said that they don’t bike around Bend more. To sum it up, they don’t feel all that safe.
Never mind the fact that statistically, you’re actually safer commuting by bike in Bend than in a car. The fear may be irrational, but it’s a perception shared by many in Bend. And, that perception informs a reality that gets reinforced when a timid rider sees bike lane stripes that have been “disappeared.”
In the above photo, the paint may have failed. Or, it may have been worn off before the end of its useful life by car tires taking the shortest distance as I witnessed on my commute on Olney Avenue. Either way, a tentative rider can be unnerved by the sight.
A protected bike lane offers a firewall between car and bicycle traffic. No longer do you have to take it on faith that a car won’t accidentally swerve into you while riding. There’s a physical barrier between you and larger/faster road users.
Stay tuned for more reason to support protected bicycle lanes in Bend.