New Indianapolis bike lanes causing confusion

While many bicyclists say they know the rules, it's drivers who are often surprised by the quick changes.
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INDIANAPOLIS - Both drivers and bike riders are talking about just how dangerous the new bike lanes are along fast-moving Indianapolis streets. While many bicyclists say they know the rules, it's drivers who are often surprised by the quick changes.

The bicyclists, at least the ones we talked to today, know the rules. The problem is everyone else on the road beside them.

It is anything but clear which lane is for cars and which is for cyclists. In some areas the answer is a little more clear than others. Going north on Illinois Street bright white lines with a bike emblem embedded in the pavement spells it out. That is where we ran into Mathew Bier on his way to class at IUPUI.

"They are doing a lot of good stuff but at the same time there are going to be some growing pains and I know a lot people that commute right now that have the same concerns," said Bier.

In some areas, road construction is not helping matters, blurring the lines of traffic. But even where the lines are well marked, it is tough for some drivers to make the transition.

Two feet has been taken out of some of the travel lanes to accommodate the new bike lanes. Drivers are going to have to get used to driving in narrower lanes, as well as areas where drivers and bikers have the potential to merge.

"I'm driving in this first lane and I'm behind a vehicle and all of the sudden it swerved because the bike lane swerved left to make room for a freaking turning lane," remarked Jenna, an Indianapolis driver.

When drivers and cyclists are not dodging one another, there is the issue of parking.

"I personally rarely ride in a bike lane. It is a death trap," said Scott Harris, a bike courier.

Scott Harris is a professional courier and rides 20 to 60 miles a day. He has been hit by cars a couple of times.

"Usually I'm able to avoid it. Other times I just smack right into the side of their cars," he said.

The problems he sees with the bike lanes is chiefly driver inattention "because you are either facing doors swinging open at you at all times and then you are also dealing with the turn lanes, the transition around the turn lanes. I would rather be a car lane with a car in front of me and car behind."

Indianapolis bikeways