What does sharing the road mean, anyway?

I’m a little incensed whenever I come to bike infrastructure that looks like this:

SE Division bike infrastructure(not 20 feet before, there’d been an actual bike lane. Then suddenly it’s a turn lane for cars too?)

East of 82nd Avenue, SE Division actually has fairly nice bike lanes in both directions. They’re a standard width, not any more full of glass or road debris than your average busy road, fairly safe-feeling. Though Division isn’t my favorite street to bike on, I definitely appreciate the bike lanes along it.

What I don’t appreciate is that when the bike lanes approach busy intersections like the one above, they become half of the car right-turn lane. I’m all about sharing the road, but this sort of infrastructure, where it’s built in that different roadway users who have theretofore for safety’s sake been kept separate are all of a sudden supposed to be in the same space–that just seems to invite conflict. I consider myself fairly fearless when it comes to interacting with traffic, but even I get fidgety and uncomfortable when I’m the lone wee bike holding up a whole lane of cars who could otherwise be turning right on red.

I guess the dotted lines are at least a nice reminder that bikes might be in that lane too, but I’m really not into this kind of infrastructure that suddenly takes separate spaces and mashes them together. But perhaps this is the true spirit of sharing the road: figuring out how to interact with other roadway users in a variety of different and changeable circumstances. But I’m still not that into it. As a wee biker, I like to have my own space.

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