Road construction signs that block the bike lane

Bend Bikes
A road work sign in the bike lane at Galveston in Bend | Photo provided by John Kelly

The warmer months in Bend often mean an easier time for those who want to use their bicycle to get around town for errands or work. Usually, there’s not much need to worry about gloves or a warm coat. It’s the care-free commuting time of the year. Of course, that can all go out the window if your favorite route is undergoing road construction.

Some background on road construction sign placements

If you’ve done much of any commuting by bicycle this year, you’ve undoubtedly seen roadway construction signs. Some have been placed better than others. Here’s an excerpt (page 52) from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Temporary Traffic Control Handbook that speaks to sign placement: (emphasis added by me)

Bicycle Accommodation Principles

  1. If a significant volume of bicycles can be expected and work closes a marked bicycle facility, or requires bicycles to share a travel lane, install a “(Bicycle) ON ROADWAY” sign (CW11-1) or the Bicycle
    symbol (W11-1) sign with an “ON ROADWAY” (OBW1-5) rider, in advance of the work area.
  2. Install temporary signing off the paved shoulder, within the planter (buffer) strip, or share the width needed between the shoulder and the sidewalk, as available.

The trick is when there isn’t room between the edge of the roadway and the sidewalk as pictured above.

To me, while it’s not my favorite course of action, it’s easier for me to do a shoulder check and take the lane, than to block someone in a wheelchair by asking roadwork crews to put signage on the sidewalk. And, let’s face it, many times, you have to take the lane anyway to get around the construction that’s spilled into the bike lane. The best we can hope for in that type of scenario is a sign that lets motorists know that we need to take the lane. What do you think? Do you have a specific example of a wayward road sign that could have been placed better by road crews?

What to do when a road construction sign blocks the bike lane

If you do see sign locations that run counter to ODOT’s Bicycle Accommodation Principles above, send an email to the following folks at the City of Bend who manage City staffed projects as well as those staffed by private road contractors: City Engineer Ryan Oster – City of Bend and our Private Development Construction Manager Kyle Thomas – City of Bend.

Be sure to include the following information:

  • Street name on which you saw the sign placement, including nearest intersection
  • The date and time you spotted the sign
  • Make note if there was room to place the sign outside the bike lane (not on the sidewalk)
  • Was a ‘Bicycle on Roadway’ sign present?
  • If you can, snap a picture and and include it with your email

Where have you seen roadway construction signs in the bike lane where there shouldn’t have been?