Broad Ripple Avenue expands to four lanes east of the Monon Trail, five lanes if you count the turn lane for most of the distance.
Or at least it used to. They repaved it with a nice fresh layer of stimulus over the last year or so but, possibly because there are usually bonus dollars involved for doing "green" things, they added bike lanes, reducing autos to one lane in each direction for most of the distance.
I don't know who in their right mind would bicycle down Broad Ripple Avenue, since that's just begging for a new career as a hood ornament, but there you go. I've never yet seen anybody making use of these lanes, at any rate.
Anyway, as a result of this, the intersections at a couple of smaller cross streets now feature little chicanes painted on the asphalt, as the auto and bicycle lanes jink left to leave room for right-turning cars (which are apparently intended to filter through the bike lane without collecting any Schwinn curb feelers).
So, Tuesday I'm driving down Broad Ripple Avenue, tail-end Charlie in a line of cars, and as our stream of cars hits each intersection, the whole conga line weaves through the chicane, with the exception of the vehicle two cars ahead of me, a navy-blue DeVille (or DTS, whatever Cadillac called them after the chrome fell off.) It is ploughing resolutely forward, not about to be herded off its intended path by anything as insignificant as paint stripes on the pavement.
Then we get to the part of Broad Ripple closer to Keystone, where the road used to widen out to five lanes with ample shoulders, and is now two travel lanes, a turn lane, and the two widest bike lanes in Christendom, and who should drift all the way to the right? The Caddy.
And suddenly I realize from behind that there's nobody driving it. Not the faintest bump of the peak of a blue-rinse chignon or tweed fedora is disturbing the horizontal line of the top of the headrest. I am seized with a vision of Clara Peller behind the wheel, peering over the dashboard and steering largely by the power lines overhead, impervious to the occasional spandex-muffled thump under her wheels as she mows down a whole Tour de France's worth of cyclists on the way to get her poodle's nails done at the doggie day spa. (Yes, Broad Ripple has a doggie day spa.)
I love my bicycle, but you won't catch me riding it down Broad Ripple Avenue.