Sad Scenes From Denver’s Bike to Work Day

15th blocked bike lane
Two trucks occupy the 15th Street bike lane and a general traffic lane. Photo: Robby Long

Yesterday Streetsblog showed you joyful scenes from Denver’s Bike to Work Day, and there were plenty.

Readers also submitted photos of frustrating street conditions for people on two wheels — showing how far Denver has to go to become bike-friendly. The common thread: Denver’s bicycle lanes are constantly obstructed by cars and trucks. Even the city’s “protected” bike lanes, where people on bikes should feel safest, are not immune.

Bike to Work Day is supposed to help people see how bike commuting can become a daily routine. But how’s that going to turn out if newcomers encounter conditions like this?

15th st cones
Problem solved! Photo: WalkDenver
IMG_20160622_180159
The Arapahoe Street protected bike lane. Photo: Tim Mendt
  • Nathan Rogers

    Heh. “Oh no, I was inconvenienced the one time I rode my bike using public infrastructure!” Lol. This is a daily occurrence. People blocking lanes, idling in bike lanes, parking in bike lanes, swerving into bike lanes at the last second to either use as a turning lane, or a way to get around someone who is turning, as you see in the images blocking the entire street, tailgating cyclists in an effort to intimidate them to get out of the way because they still view us as an inconvenience, rather than a legitimate mode of transportation. People yelling “get out of the road” squeezing the last millimeter of the lane to get around you, sandwiching you between parked cars. It’s a travesty.

    But go ahead and try to relate because of the ONE day out of the year people grab their bicycles. I saw just as many idiots on bicycles misusing the infrastructure causing problems for daily commuters like myself. So it’s a two way street. Cyclists need to acknowledge traffic law as well as vehicle operators before this town can be cyclist friendly.

    The infrastructure as it exists is atrocious, and needs work, And the law must be enforced, for cyclists and autos. The city needs to do more than post signs that say “share the road” every 20 miles.

    • Nathan Rogers

      And a minor point. Colfax is dangerous to ride in the road. The potholes in the right lane make it unnavigable for road bikes, though is probably fine for mountain and and hybrid bicycles. The “don’t ride on the sidewalks” signs are all well and good, but the sidewalk is the only safe place for bicycles on Colfax.

      In places with the best infrastructure in the world, the engineers and city planners will observe the actual use of the infrastructure rather than trying to force adaptation. Meaning, closing car lanes for bikes, closing sidewalks for use of bicycles, converting parking lanes into bike exclusive lanes, creating one ways out of 2 way roads so that bikes can have adequate space.

      So in the spirit of modernizing the infrastructure, why not split the sidewalk on Colfax to have a painted pedestrian and bicycle lane so that those who live in the cap hill area have a safer way to access all the wonderful shops on Colfax, instead of issuing tickets for those who are simply trying to survive their daily commute?

      • Jake Web

        Why not just ride on 16th ave? That has beautiful bike lanes and its right next to colfax. I get if you wanna use the shops, but on your daily commute are you really shopping?

        • Nathan Rogers

          Hmm, that’s an interesting argument, I hadn’t considered it.

          Or maybe I use 16th as my primary thoroughfare, but then you wind up at Irish snug or Sonora’s caffe on Marion, and then, how do you get across Colfax during rush hour? I need to get to Ogden, or I need to get to Pennsylvania and 13th or 14th where there are other nice shops and restaurants? What about that particular scenario? Suddenly 16th seems really out of the way.

          Again, cities and countries that have excellent infrastructure don’t attempt to force adaptation, they meet the needs of ACTUAL USAGE of the infrastructure to accommodate the way people need to use it, rather than punishing people for using what’s available. .

        • Nathan Rogers

          This is a ridiculous point. “Why don’t you use I-25, look they just made it so nice for you, you shouldn’t use Broadway to get to and from the tech center, they made 1-25 for that.” You don’t get to decide how I am able to best use the existing infrastructure. I’m not going to use 16th when its out of the way, and I need to get to 13th or 14th, which means 12th and 11th are out of the way as well, but 13th and 14th are as unsafe as Colfax for bicycle during rush hour, so often times the sidewalk on Colfax is the most suitable solution.

          • Bryan J. Wilson

            @disqus_FyvqrdMM2E:disqus, I’m in the exact same boat as you. Have you figured anything out for the interim?

        • Bryan J. Wilson

          Also, Jake, 16th runs into the 16th Mall, which prohibits bikes Mon-Fri.

          • Jake Web

            switch to 15th

    • Nathan Rogers

      And 16th street has a wonderful lane, that I use to get downtown when I want to take the rail, but then I have to stop using 16th because of the mall, when it would be the safest place for bicycles to use for those trying to get to and from union station, yet its closed during the work week. That’s ridiculous. 15th is treacherous because of what i already mentioned. Why is it closed during the week. Open this as a thoroughfare for cyclists, so we don’t have to risk our lives on 15th.

      • Jake Web

        You might have meant 16th ave here. Have you tried riding a bike down the 16th street mall ride lane? Its terrible. A red light everytime. Because its designed for the buses to stop.

        • Nathan Rogers

          Maybe if you’re coasting or cruising the whole way. I’ve made it 7 or 8 blocks before hitting a light.

        • Nathan Rogers

          And the point is it’s so much safer, if you’re concerned with contiguous thoroughfare, then go take 15th, but I’d rather have peace of mind that I can get where I need to go safely, rather than having the “knife fight” of an experience riding on a road as busy as 15th.

      • Bryan J. Wilson

        I just ran into this today. My first time headed downtown on 16th. Great experience! Got to the bottom of the hill at Broadway, still great! Stopped at the light and got a Green Bike Logo to cross over into the 16th street mall, still great!
        Now what? Where do I go? I don’t see a sign. I’m looking for where to ride. So, I hop down into the bus lane. I figured, bikes and buses here to leave the sidewalks for the pedestrians. NOPE!!! WRONG!!! Got to hear from a Police PA System that cycling on the Mall is prohibited Monday through Friday. What the hell?! I stopped, got off my bike, looked down the bus lane… nothing. I looked behind me… still nothing. So, I dragged my bike back up onto the walk and got to “clickety clack” down the walk for 2 blocks in my cleats.

        This is supper dumb. There needs to be an easy way to get from 16th, to the mall, then either through the mall or off the mall if you are trying to commute.

        How should we ride if we can’t take 16th?
        Colfax?

  • Nathan Rogers

    Lazy ass cyclists. Stand up on the light rail. Stop bolting your bike to the railing, stop sitting down with your bike, despite signage, plainly located, and clearly legibe prohibiting you from doing either of those things. Be considerate, not only to the other cyclists that use this system. But to all the non cyclists as well, If you’re too lazy to stand and hold your bike, then lock your bike at the conveniently located bike storage areas by each light rail station and stop pissing the rest of us off.

    Dear muscle car driver, you really wouldn’t have had to wait very long. I was going downhill, in the big ring, at like 35 miles an hour. Did you really need to turn into the alley way that quickly? Was it so urgent that you exist in the outlet to that alleyway, and that you stop squarely in front of me? Mr asshole muscle car driver, next time, please wait the .5 seconds you would have needed to wait for me to whizz by you faster than most cars would have, before putting my life at risk so you can turn around.

    • Walter Crunch

      RTD is lazy to not have bike hooks like most other systems. RTD seems to buy every old car around. Look at Portland, they have hooks. I will happily sit down with my bike. Get over it.

  • Walter Crunch

    Allow Bikes on the mall 24/7. Take the crap bus off of it.

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