Personally, I can’t say I disagree with the complaint entirely, but I don’t agree with the method of protest. Personally, I think lawsuits might get better attention when the time comes and that a lawsuit would be a less potentially misunderstood message for the city. Simply riding in alongside a train will likely confuse the intended message of “safety for cyclists”. Wouldn’t riding in front of a trolley whose driver has likely just finished training, close to the tracks, while chanting, portray blatant idiocy and a staunch lack of common sense? In other words: being perceived as riding dangerously while advocating for safety seems rather contradictory at best.
I agree, the new streetcar system, initially dubbed the S.L.U.T, does need some safety measures added, urgently. I call for signs, as well as striping the streets better; get a load of those yellow diagonals as “buffer” zones around the tracks—fill the lane with them. It’d probably be good to slow the speed limit down there too for motorists. The sharrows suggested are good—bring heavy awareness of cyclist’s presence to motorists and trolleys. Having adequate safety signage is basically CYA for the city in my mind, preventative medicine against lawsuits—just make sure the engineering is logical and safe.
These laws (RCW 46.61.755 and RCW 46.61.770) state that cyclists are allowed to ride as far to the right as is safe. My logic tells me that riding in the right-hand lane with tracks present would NOT be safe, in which case, I’ll ride in the left-hand lane sharrow or no; and if I need to, I’ll find another route and just grin and bear it.
Seattle drags it’s ass on many things, including public transportation, I’m not saying this S.L.U.T. is the best presentation of mass transit—it is far from perfect—but I do see it as a start. Let the city make it safe (stripe it, sign it, and sharrow it), and embrace the S.L.U.T. with all of it’s imperfections, eventually maybe it’ll spread wider. And with that width, increased safety. Let’s hope to see more mass transit and fewer cars on our roads and not deliver a potentially confusing message that might hamper other cyclist’s image or limit the positive direction the S.L.U.T. might take us. Give it time, it’s only just begun.