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"in Arizona they seem unwilling to label something a bike lane if it's less than 4 feet wide"

Actually, no one is ever supposed to mark a bike lane that's less than four feet. Roadway markings are highly regulated and standardized in the US -- at least in theory. There is an organization called AASHTO -- the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials -- that publishes a book called the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The transportation departments in all 50 states, and DC, are members of AASHTO, and a condition of membership in AASHTO is that you are required to use only markings, signs and signals from the MUTCD.

The sections of the MUTCD that apply to bicycle facilities are excerpted here: http://www.bikelib.org/roads/aashto.htm

While most cycling advocates agree that the MUTCD stardards are marginal -- four feet is not really enough space to ride a bike at speed -- it can be a struggle to get transportation officials to comply with even the marginal standards. In many places -- DC is becoming an exception -- "transportation" means motor vehicles, and transportation officials see bike lanes not as an amenity for cyclists, but as a way of forcing cyclists out of the way of cars, and there are lots of non-compliant bike lanes out there.

Ironically, on MacArthur Boulevard the argument has been turned around, with the transportation officials refusing to stripe bike lanes because they claim they don't have enough road width to make them AASHTO-compliant. What's grimly amusing about that argument is that Maryland law does not distinguish between a bike lane and a paved shoulder. If they wanted to they could paint a stripe, and call it a shoulder and not a bike lane, and cyclists would be required by Maryland law to use it.

That was my not too clear point. Sometimes you'll see something 1 foot wide labeled a bike lane and it really isn't, but in Arizona they won't do this. They're very particular it seems - and this is good - about what they will call a bike lane.

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