Regarding the Dec. 15 news article “Road redesign puzzles some drivers, cyclists”: Knowledgeable bicyclists adjust their position in travel lanes for safety based on context: in the center of narrow lanes and when descending; at least 5 feet from parked cars and to the right side of wide pavement when climbing.
The new bicycle-specific markings on Glen Eden Drive provide wider pavement in the uphill direction to facilitate passing of climbing bicyclists and attempt to inform bicyclists and motorists of where defensive bicycle drivers may position themselves for safety. Unfortunately, most North Carolina residents have not learned about the safety and legality of defensive bicycle driving techniques, and many are confused by the positions of the shared lane markings (sharrows) in the travel lanes, which violate common taboos about roadway bicycling.
Roadway markings are not an ideal way to teach safe driving; they don’t tell the whole story and arguably create clutter. Education is required for the public to comprehend the bike stencils, but if the public were adequately educated about safe and legal bicycling techniques, the stencils would be unnecessary.