Drivers clogging bike lanes on Third Avenue’s bridge

Published: Jul. 12, 2016 at 5:40 PM CDT
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Michael Lane estimates he puts 100 miles on his bike each week. One of the spots he rides most often, the bridge on Third Avenue.

"Six to maybe eight times a day,” said Lane. “Once over, once back-- eight times probably."

About a year ago, Cedar Rapids added protected bike paths on both sides of the bridge, to help guys like Lane out. They're flanked by a sidewalk on the right. A buffer zone and parking spaces are on the left.

Here's the problem. Lane said drivers are pulling too far ahead and parking in his lane. He called it frustrating. Lane said it could lead to a biker clipping a car and becoming injured.

"It's safety for me, of course, because I could get hurt,” said Lane. “But, there's liability, I think, for the motorist."

Parking in the actual bike lane can be a $25 citation. That didn't stop a number of folks, whom KCRG spotted, Tuesday morning.

Even more parked in the buffer zone, which isn't technically illegal, but is beyond the first white line, where officials ask drivers to stop.

Matt Myers, the city’s traffic engineer, said Cedar Rapids is doing what it can to keep drivers off the bike lane. He said officials have clearly marked it with paint. Plus, added signs showing drivers how to properly park.

Park Cedar Rapids said it's helped. Officials there report citations have dropped since last year. But, Myers said poor parking still happens often enough the city is considering doing more.

"We've always talked about putting a physical barrier in that buffer area,” said Myers. “Either a curb or an actual delineation post that's tall enough the drivers can see it."

Myers said the hesitation is over whether it's worth drilling barrier installation holes into the bridge. That would further expose the inside of the structure to harsh road chemicals during the winter.

For Lane, the answer is easy.

"We just need to learn to care a little bit,” said Lane. “Share the road so we can all get around."