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Downtown Phoenix's new two-way bike lane causing confusion, collisions

The city of Phoenix has unveiled its first and only two-way protected bike lane 10 days ago - and there's already been several accidents in the area.

The new lane stretches down 3rd Avenue, from McDowell to Roosevelt Street in the city's bike-friendly downtown area.

Before, the street was for cars only. Since the switch, neighbors say there's been a handful of confused - and possibly impaired - drivers getting a crash course on the new 3rd Avenue.

It's a skinny stretch of street with added safety features for bikers braving downtown streets and triple digit heat.

"I think it's a good idea in theory, [but] they've got to work out some bugs," said biker Dean Anderson. "People ignore it and people drive through it too fast. It’s crazy. But if they do it right it’ll work fine."

But even the best-laid plans can come with problems. Within days several drivers failed to navigate the new rules of the road, running right into several protective and reflective bollards along the way. One has already been replaced by a barricade.

"Any change to a street will take time for traffic patterns to settle," said Ashley Patton with the City of Phoenix's Street Transportation Department. "That’s why we do these measures like signage."

Along with big, bright yellow poles, there are painted arrows on the pavement and a high centered curb separating cars from bikes.

Somehow, several drivers missed the signs.

"The fact that they were hit by vehicles does highlight the need for those bollards, as vehicles would’ve driven into the bike lanes potentially endangering people riding bicycles," Patton said.

For Dean, dealing with dangerous drivers passes with every pedal. He just hopes drivers will watch out for bikers and bike lanes, just as much as he's watching out for them.

"This is a great city for biking in general. It's got lots of bike lanes all over," Dean said. "But this downtown section with skinny streets - not so much."

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