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Greenwood: Lanes may make city cycling safer

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

When it comes to riding a bicycle, what’s your preference: street or sidewalk?

In most cities, I’m legally required to ride in the street, but in “Tom World,” I’m compelled to ride on the sidewalk because of a little thing called FEAR.

The fear that cars are baseball bats and I’m a 10-speed pinata on 26-inch rims. I’ve just seen (and written about) so many bad drivers that I’m positive that I’m safer on the sidewalk than on the road.

(Fine print: Yeah, I occasionally ride in the street, but mostly in residential neighborhoods, hardly ever on main roads.)

But one city is doing its best to increase the safety (and reduce the stress) between motorists and pedal pushers.

Friendly, fashionable, funky Ferndale continues to upgrade the conventional bike lanes it has in the city with the creation of buffered bike lanes as well as “green patch” zones.

OK, what’s the difference between a conventional and buffered bicycle lane?

The average bike lane is two stripes on the roadway with the stencil of a bicycle showing drivers that lane is reserved for bikers. Buffered bike lanes have striped lines between the vehicle travel lane and the bike lane.

Bicycles don’t travel within the striped area, but in the lane next to it. This gives them an added area of safety.

What’s with those green patches?

Basically, they’re conflict points that tell drivers that bikes could cross that area. It’s a color-coordinated warning that both cyclists and motorists should exercise great care in that area of the roadway.

At an intersection, the green zone tells the driver that the bicycle rider will proceed through the intersection and that a motorist turning right must yield to the bicycle. If the motorist zips around the cyclist and then turns right, he is cutting off the two-wheeler.

However, driving isn’t a one-way street for just motorists. Bike riders are also responsible for following the same laws as motor vehicles: same roads, same rights, same laws.

Visit www.meltropolis.com for more information about these new bicycle lanes and don’t be surprised if you find them popping up in other cities.


(313) 222-2023

Lane closures

1. M-10 ( Lodge Freeway): In Detroit, SB is closed from I-94 to I-75 from 9 Friday until 5 a.m. Monday for road repairs.

2. I-75: In Clarkston, two lanes NB will be closed from Clintonville to M-15 from 10 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Saturday for repairs.

3. I-75: In Detroit, the left lanes NB and SB will be closed from M-8 (Davison Freeway) to I-94 from 7 p.m. Friday until 4 p.m. Sunday for road work.

4. I-94: In Detroit, two lanes EB and WB will be closed between M-10 (Lodge Freeway) and I-75 from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday for bridge repairs.

5. I-96: In Livonia, the WB service drive on-ramp will be closed at Newburgh from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.

6. I-275: In Livonia, the NB ramp to WB M-14 is closed from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday for repairs.

7. M-1 (Woodward): In Detroit, EB and WB Warren is closed at Woodward from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. Local access is being maintained.

8. M-10: In Detroit, two lanes NB will be closed from I-94 to the Davison from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday for repairs.

9. M-39 (Southfield Freeway): In Dearborn, the left lane SB will be closed at U.S. 12 (Michigan) from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday for bridge work.

10. Greenfield: In Detroit, two lanes NB over the Lodge will be closed from 7 a.m. Friday until 5 p.m. Sunday for repairs.