Dangers of Car Pool Lanes

Today's issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an interesting article about the dangers motorcyclists are facing when using car po...

Today's issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an interesting article about the dangers motorcyclists are facing when using car pool lanes at peak traffic periods. Mike Bishoff rides his bike to work and uses the car pool lane which usually travels at 50-60 mph. Meanwhile, the adjacent lane moves only 0-10 mph.

Cars are frequently trying to move into the car pool lane for obvious reasons, which puts bikers like Mike in danger. When Mike asked the newspaper reporter what the State of Washington is doing about it, Charlie Howard, the strategic planning director for the state Transportation Department responds with:
The department is continually monitoring crash statistics to identify high-accident locations, he says, and has not found that the car pool lanes represent a hazard because of the single paint stripe and unlimited access to the lanes.
What this is basically saying is, "We don't see any dangers at all. But as soon as a lot of people die, then we'll figure out what to do". I think that sums up the attitude in most States.

I never liked car pool lanes, period. The general concensus with transportation planners is that "Americans need to learn to car pool". But that just doesn't reflect reality. Americans are going to do what they want to do, and you can't force them to car pool. You have to design roads that fit the American lifestyle.

I'm not blaming the commuters. At my last job, I used to commute 60 miles each way, every day in my car. I understand the reasons why people drive one-person-per-car. The solution is to widen freeways by adding more lanes, and to build more freeways. Trying to force people into car pool lanes, is simply going to create the situation reported in the article above.

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