The road leading up to my office is Not My Favorite. It does not have a bicycle lane. It's suface is pretty craptastic with lots of loose gravel. Although there is room, the cars pass me too close because they are determined to get to the parking lot first this despite there being no competition with me for a parking space because I bring my delicate flower of a bicycle into the building in which I work for safe-keeping.
For them it is a pretty anonymous experience, buzzing some old lady on a bicycle and then haw-hawing the rest of the way up the hill but between you me and the internet I memorize license plate make and model (also loopback addresses, but I digress) faster than a goathead gives you a flat. I see the same cars and I notice that the ones who are a jerk one day will probably be a jerk the next day. The reddish Prius with license plate frame "Proud Dad To [redacted]"? That guy is such a wanker. He should hope that if his kid is ever on a bicycle she encounters drivers who are less proud and more responsible.
That was the situation up until recently. A two direction road with no bicycle lanes and some agro cars. Nothing new, nothing to see here, just steady-state for a bicycle commuter. Then the road got ripped up. One side got this long deep ditch thing dug into it. Fine. Detours. Maybe a slight delay but hardly anything to get your panties in a bunch over. I went around and waited for road workers to cross and the day arrived when the work was complete. Tada.
Did you guess that they put in a bicycle lane with a barrier to keep cars from crossing over into it? Ho-ho-ho. You must be new here. No bicycle lane was added.
Instead of a bicycle lane, instead even of re-paving the road with something smooth and fun to ride on, instead of even restoring the road to it's previous uninspired but vaguely functional state they created a bicycle trap along almost the entire ride side of the road.
Where the bicycles ride (the shoulder, essentially) there is a shallow long skinny ditch cut into the road and dotted with loose gravel. It is maybe 36" across and is where a bicycle would try and ride to be out of the way of the speeding cars. At places it is flush with the road. At other places it has a lip on either side that can be as high as 4 inches. Riding in it or next to it feels awful. I ride next to it because I am sadly panty-waisted when it comes to my skinny tires and uneven pavement. The cars find this aggravating. Sure they can still get past me but they have to think about it a little if they don't want to be slowed down by a screaming greasy torn up mother of two.
What do the cars say? They say "get over into that bicycle lane!" Yeah but here is the thing, cars. THAT IS NOT A A BICYCLE LANE. IT IS A GUTTER. I know, shocking. The cars have modest simple minds and when they see some differentiation to the pavement on the right side of the road, no matter how skinny or torn up, their brain screams "bicycle lane" and follows up immediately with "why is there bicycle still in front of me? Why he no get into that thing on side of the road?"
Because., Thag, that thing is not a bicycle lane. It is a gutter. Pro-tip: if there is no white paint shaped like a bicycle, it's a gutter. If it's a gutter with a steep edge and tons of broken glass and gravel the bicycle may not want to ride in it.