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-   -   Sidewalk bicycling (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/100823-sidewalk-bicycling.html)

billh 05-17-05 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slagjumper
This is part of my daily commute.

http://www.westendimprovements.com/i...f/existing.pdf

Going to work I deal with a 4 lane traffic circle, complete with tunnels and oddly angled intersections. Problem here is that the circle is very poorly designed for cars, and bikes and peds. Leaving work -- I cannot compete safely with cars going on 19 to west carson, so I go from south street to 60, cross at the west side of the bridge and walk down 90 feet of steps.

I can use the ramp on the way to work, if I wait I will get a 1.5 minute break in traffic that allows me to spin up the 130 yard ramp. The plan flor improvement looks better to a point. But there still looks like there will be steps involved. If I go the road way I am trapped in by 2 narrow lanes of killing speed traffic.

Another point in my ride I have a 1.5 mile section where I ride a cemetary sidewalk with only 2 driveways. I know that the stats say to look out for sidewalk riding--but I say look out for the driveways and cars.

I did see a bike get hit in boston. He was riding on the sidewalk and a delivery truck came from behind and turned in front of him. He should have been in the street.

Just noticed this thread. Thank you. This is exactly what I'm arguing in the "attitude" thread. Namely, that sometimes riding off the street is the best vehicular option for a bicycle. Not as a rule, but as an exception. And we as vehicular cyclists need to make full use of the exceptions.

billh 05-17-05 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Same sentiment, different context.
Cyclists have the same right to the roadways as do car drivers.
Cyclists do not have the same right to the sidewalk as do pedestrians.

Cyclists belong on the roads.
Cyclists do not belong on the sidewalks.

Yet Missouri law provides for cycling on sidewalks not in a business district.

Helmet Head 05-17-05 02:01 PM

Missouri law also provides for men wearing bras, yet bras do not belong on men.

Helmet Head 05-17-05 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slagjumper
If I go the road way I am trapped in by 2 narrow lanes of killing speed traffic.

Trapped? Are you familiar with the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic?

Serge

billh 05-18-05 08:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Missouri law also provides for men wearing bras, yet bras do not belong on men.

Evidently, you have not been to Missouri in awhile. There are some men who could use a bra. :eek:

slagjumper 05-18-05 09:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Trapped? Are you familiar with the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic?

Serge

If I was unfamiliar with the area and found myself in this situation I could get through it. Question is which is safer-- road or sidewalk-- and in this area though both suck, the sidewalk is safer. Not just because the roadway is high speed, but also there is bad site distance, and much road debris and rubble litters the narrow lanes. It's not just about technique or physical strength but about the features of the road.

In this area I choose to not compete with the cars,while dodging potholes, stormgrates, road rubble, and assorted stuff. The sidewalk in the area is no charmer. In order to use it you have to actually walk down 90 feet of steel steps from the bridge level to the ground!

http://bikepittsburgh.com/photos/cpp...20steps360.jpg

Unlike the folks in the picture, I can spin to 22 mph in a few seconds and ride like that for the ramp distance + a few miles.

There are areas on the "sidewalk route" where gaurdrails lay on the ground and the bent ibeams that used to support them are pointing towards you like metal spikes.

Note that I use a moutain bike with front suspension and 1.5 street tires to deal with the potholes and curb jumping and stuff. My oneway commute includes 2 miles of single track, 5 miles on rode, 6 miles on bike path and about 2.2 miles on the sidewalk, including this the "west end circle" hell.

Helmet Head 05-18-05 01:32 PM

You did not answer my question. Are you familiar with the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic?

However, given your lack of a direct answer, plus the implied attitude that views the need to negotiate with faster traffic as "competing" with cars, I'm going to have to assume the answer is "no".

FYI, the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic are based on cooperative concepts, not competition. In particular, vehicular cyclists recognize and respect that faster traffic has the ROW in the lanes they wish to cross, and, in order to get across, they must coax them to yield the ROW to the cyclist.

As with many complex problems, a useful approach is often to break it down into smaller more manageable problems. In this case, we break down the problem of merging across multiple lanes of fast/busy traffic into N individual problems, where N is the number of lanes we must cross.

For each lane we must cross, starting with the rightmost lane of which we are presumably initially traveling along the right edge, we:
  1. issue a request for someone to yield the ROW to us within that lane.
  2. wait for someone to yield the ROW to us.
  3. claim the ROW within that lane by merging into it and establishing a position near the left edge of the lane.

We repeat those three steps, one lane at a time, until we are in the left turn lane.

Many cyclists are hesitant to try this technique because they envision themselves "stuck" out in the middle of the road with traffic passing them on both sides and no one yielding the right of way to them to get out of there. This is an understable fear, which can only be overcome by working on this technique on smaller roads and building up to fast/busy multilane roads.

Experienced vehicular cyclists know that the most difficult merge is the first one, because motorists are most hesitant to yield to a cyclist who is where he is "supposed to be"... at the right side. Once you're out of that position, motorists are surprisingly accomodating to help you get across.

So, the first step, issue a request for someone to yield the ROW to us further left in the rightmost lane, is perhaps the trickiest. Turns out that this is pretty easy too. Simply looking back over your left shoulder, while maintaining a straight course (practice this somewhere where there is NO traffic!), is about all it takes. Sometimes, particularly to get out of that right side of the rightmost lane, you have to do a bit more, like extend your left arm out. Inevitably, someone will slow for you to let you in. I rarely have to wait for more than one or two cars, especially once I'm out of that right edge.

The beauty of the technique is that you are never riding in front of anyone who has not explicitly slowed down for you and let you in. At that point they typically behave as if they feel an obligation to see it through, and stay behind you traveling at your speed, blocking for you so to speak, until you successfully execute your merge into the next lane (now covered by someone else who has volunteered to slow down, let you in, and block for you).

So for all this to work, you must have the right attitude (see the "attitude" thread for more on this topic). In particular, if you view it as competing with cars, it's not going to work. You must view it as cooperating with motorists, as one vehicle driver working with other vehicle drivers.

Serge

kuan 05-19-05 05:56 AM

The study is probably correct, however, the final figures are an agglomeration of everyone who rides a bicycle, on or off the sidewalk. The risks do not change for individual riders no matter where they ride. This is how the insurance companies spread risk.

It doesn't take credentials to conduct a study, perhaps a good background in statistics.

H23 05-19-05 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
You did not answer my question. Are you familiar with the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic?

However, given your lack of a direct answer, plus the implied attitude that views the need to negotiate with faster traffic as "competing" with cars, I'm going to have to assume the answer is "no".

...
For each lane we must cross, starting with the rightmost lane of which we are presumably initially traveling along the right edge, we:
  1. issue a request for someone to yield the ROW to us within that lane.
  2. wait for someone to yield the ROW to us.
  3. claim the ROW within that lane by merging into it and establishing a position near the left edge of the lane.

We repeat those three steps, one lane at a time, until we are in the left turn lane.
....
So for all this to work, you must have the right attitude (see the "attitude" thread for more on this topic). In particular, if you view it as competing with cars, it's not going to work. You must view it as cooperating with motorists, as one vehicle driver working with other vehicle drivers.

Serge


How condescending of you to assume that slagjumper doesn't know how to negotiate a left turn. You then patronize us with your "N problems" description. Are you familiar with that mess of roads, signals, ramps, bridges and cars he is referring to? I think not. I am. I rode it myself many times. It is not a flat california "mister rogers neighborhood" type of situation.

Although what you described works in most situations, there are intersections where such behavior will cause alarm, disruption and stress. Not to mention the fact that you may not have enough distance to make your N lane changes before the intersection when traffic is heavy.

Again, you insist on cyclists having the right "attitude". Baloney. Motorists don't give a damn about your attitude. Behavior is all that counts.

Helmet Head 05-19-05 01:55 PM

I explained why I assumed what I did. I asked a question, and he didn't answer it. Why? Whether this technique actually works in the area he's talking about is irrelevant, though I would like to understand why it would cause "alarm and stress" to an extent that's worthy of consideration here more than at other places. Disruption? Of course. Any slowing relative to other vehicle causes disruption. But such disruption is normal in traffic, even on freeways (when they're crowded). Causing slowing disruption is no sin, and is nothing worth avoiding. As to whether such disruption causes alarm... please. Stress? Stress because, God forbid, you have to slow down because others are slowing down? Come on.

As to behavior and attitude, they are closely related.
A cyclist's attitude affects his behavior.
A cyclist's behavior affects the attitude of motorists around him.
Motorist's attitudes affect their behavior, including their behavior towards cyclists.

I find that an attitude of thinking and feeling like a vehicle driver allows me to behave like a vehicle driver; that behaving like a vehicle driver seems to impress motorists who act much more respectfully towards me than when I don't act like a vehicle driver.

H23 05-19-05 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I explained why I assumed what I did. I asked a question, and he didn't answer it. Why? Whether this technique actually works in the area he's talking about is irrelevant, though I would like to understand why it would cause "alarm and stress" to an extent that's worthy of consideration here more than at other places. Disruption? Of course. Any slowing relative to other vehicle causes disruption. But such disruption is normal in traffic, even on freeways (when they're crowded). Causing slowing disruption is no sin, and is nothing worth avoiding. As to whether such disruption causes alarm... please. Stress? Stress because, God forbid, you have to slow down because others are slowing down? Come on.

As to behavior and attitude, they are closely related.
A cyclist's attitude affects his behavior.
A cyclist's behavior affects the attitude of motorists around him.
Motorist's attitudes affect their behavior, including their behavior towards cyclists.

I find that an attitude of thinking and feeling like a vehicle driver allows me to behave like a vehicle driver; that behaving like a vehicle driver seems to impress motorists who act much more respectfully towards me than when I don't act like a vehicle driver.



By "stress", I mean the cyclist's stress.

It is not enjoyable to ride in certain places. This particular area is a bottleneck considing of ramps, a bridge w/high-speed traffic to/from a valley and multiple intersections. slagjumper even posted a pic. While you might enjoy "asserting VC" during rush hour at this intersection, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant and that it will require your white-knuckled full attention and the full attention of motorists to ensure your safety, as well as a considerable sprint effort. Hiking around this mess (and others like it) is a completely understandable and wise option for anyone.

slagjumper 05-19-05 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
You did not answer my question. Are you familiar with the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic?

However, given your lack of a direct answer, plus the implied attitude that views the need to negotiate with faster traffic as "competing" with cars, I'm going to have to assume the answer is "no".

FYI, the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic are based on cooperative concepts, not competition. In particular, vehicular cyclists recognize and respect that faster traffic has the ROW in the lanes they wish to cross, and, in order to get across, they must coax them to yield the ROW to the cyclist.
Serge

I think that in general that is a fine method of getting across, but sometimes it is better to ride the sidewalk.

There is a stoplight before the troubling section, then a blind curve, next down 300 foot ramp, and it becomes 2 lanes at that point. If I where biking this way, I would just pull infront of the first car, who then is constrained (hopefully) by the law to not rear-end me.

No need to actually merge left for a mile and a half. But then I am on a pothole ridden roadway going about 24 mph with an anxious driver 50 feet behind me. Next I want to get over to the left but cars are now passing that car +25mph, so I "issue a request" then look back hoping that I dont hit road debris and look for a sign--like sudden deceleration. At 30 - 50 fps faster, there really can't be any eye contact so I would not call it negotiation.

If you look at the pdf, I am talking about the point where 19 joins 837 towards the bottom of the map. I think that if the first car let me go at the light or not, most other drivers who saw that a bike was ahead would just try to speed up and get ahead of the "mess". Trouble with this area is that the car drivers hate it, are often confused about what they should be doing, which lane should I be in to get to x, are of course talking on the phone, thinking about the spouse-- I dont like trusting them. I would much rather keep an eye on the few driveways that cross the sidewalk in this area.

I have heard this dogmatic attitude about staying off of the sidewalks before-- by a person who was cut off on the street and injured and now he does not ride. Of course that is adectdotal evidence, but I think that most reasonable bikers would say-- "well yeah maybe there are some places/times settings where you should get off of the road and ride the sidewalk." Trouble with saying, never is that it only takes one good contradiction to force a change in philosophy.

Helmet Head 05-19-05 04:31 PM

Did I express a dogmatic attitude about staying off of the sidewalks? Where?

Helmet Head 05-19-05 04:42 PM

Here's a satellite view of your intersection:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=pittsb...9978&t=k&hl=en

Quote:

I dont like trusting them. I would much rather keep an eye on the few driveways that cross the sidewalk in this area.
There are three main factors to consider in traffic cycling:
  1. Attitude.
  2. Attitude.
  3. Attitude.

H23 05-19-05 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
...
As with many complex problems, a useful approach is often to break it down into smaller more manageable problems. In this case, we break down the problem of merging across multiple lanes of fast/busy traffic into N individual problems, where N is the number of lanes we must cross.

For each lane we must cross, starting with the rightmost lane of which we are presumably initially traveling along the right edge, we:
  1. issue a request for someone to yield the ROW to us within that lane.
  2. wait for someone to yield the ROW to us.
  3. claim the ROW within that lane by merging into it and establishing a position near the left edge of the lane.

We repeat those three steps, one lane at a time, until we are in the left turn lane.
...


I hate to belabor this argument, but since you have been so hard-nosed about these matters, I thought you should know that you got it wrong. You misunderstood your own beloved John Forester and his book "Effective Cycling" and you are offering incorrect advice.

I dusted off my copy of "Effective Cycling" because your instructions seemed suspect, even from a VC point of view. Looking at the end of chapter 31, in the section "Changing lanes in High Speed Traffic" he specifically states that its not possible to "negotiate" a lane change when traffic is moving 15+ mph faster than you are. The recommendation is to iteratively "sneak" across lanes using your position as the "signal", looking backwards for a gap every time before crossing or entering a lane. The motorist is not to be expected to yield R.O.W. For even heavier and/or faster traffic, Forester recommends pulling to the right side until a gap opens and using the crosswalk if not.

So, if you are going to offer up VC advice at every available opportunity at least get the details right, especially if you are going to be pushy and patronizing about it.

Helmet Head 05-20-05 12:21 PM

I'm very well aware of what Forester writes, on this topic in particular, and I disagree with it. In fact, I can assure you that it's NOT "impossible" to negotiate with traffic "moving more than 15 mph faster". Actually, I'm not sure he agrees with his own writing on this point any more. I'll ask him.

Serge

John C. Ratliff 05-24-05 12:50 AM

Serge,

Attitude has long been used in safety circles, from the 1940s to about 1980 or so. After that, behavioral psychology has pretty much taken over. From this safety professional's point of view, when you say,

Quote:

There are three main factors to consider in traffic cycling:

1. Attitude.
2. Attitude.
3. Attitude.
you are quite simply wrong. An accident is caused by human error. Attitude can affect that, but it is the specific behavior(s) that drive the actual causes (most accidents have multiple causes, and factors, that come together at one place in time and space to cause the accident).

In short, it makes no difference if you think of yourself as a vehicular cyclist if you put your bicycle in front of a car doing 25-30 mph more than you, and the driver of that vehicle doesn't have the reaction time to affect a change in his or her vehicle to avoid a collision. 99% or more of the time vehicular cycling will work just fine. It is that small percentage of the time that it won't that concerns me. If the behavior of the vehicular cyclist and and the behavior of the vehicular driver conflict, then the cyclist looses. We cannot depend upon the driver to be rational, to be coherent, to realize the consequences of not giving ROW, to be paying attention, to not be in a hurry, to not himself have a road rage problem...the list could go on. In certain situations, the sidewalk is a good alternative to a dangerous condition--a roadway made hazardous to cyclists.

John

Helmet Head 05-24-05 12:32 PM

Of course behavior is the direct cause, but attitude determines behavior. That's my point.

The kinds of collisions you are concerned about makes about as much sense as a southern CA surfer being concerned with shark attacks. Sure, the sharks are out there, but the odds of attack are extremely low, and the only thing you can do to avoid it is stay out of the water.

By the way, any cyclist who puts his bicycle in front of a car doing 25-30 mph more than the cyclist, and the driver does not have the reaction time to avoid a collision, is not a vehicular cyclist.

You seem to have a very rigid idea of what vehicular cycling is, like it is equivalent to riding in the center of the lane or something. If so, you're missing the point, entirely.

Serge

slagjumper 05-24-05 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Trapped? Are you familiar with the negotiation techniques that vehicular cyclists use to merge left across multiple lanes of fast and busy traffic?

Serge

I drove the section that I avoid biking the other day and I noticed--

In the area where I avoid riding on the road, the ramp would dump me into the left, not the right lane. Also the ramp is 1 1/2 lanes wide, (but only marked for 1), so motorists will try to pass. Of course the cars are passing like crazy on the right even though that is a against the law.

H23 05-24-05 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Of course behavior is the direct cause, but attitude determines behavior. That's my point.
...


Well, different attitudes can determine the same behavior and the same attitude can determine different behaviors depending on who you are talking about.

You are taking the very simplistic and impractical position that everyone should have the same viewpoint as you-- and that "correct" behavior is not enough.

It really is pointless to talk very much about attitude. Not everyone can or should be a cranky old curmudgeon in traffic.

folder fanatic 05-24-05 12:53 PM

I will comment based on actual experience. I live in a high-powered urban area where bicyclist get little or no respect. My mother would always tell me to ride on the sidewalk in order to keep me safe from those crazy cars. Guess what? The only 2 times I was hit or very nearly hit by a car was on a "safe" sidewalk. I avoid the sidewalk now. The only time I use a sidewalk is when no drive up ramp is available for the car driver to use and cross in front of me and the traffic is very thick and very fast. I told my mother to leave bike riding safety issues for the people who actually ride a bike (like me)!

Helmet Head 05-24-05 01:00 PM

H23 - I agree different attitudes can produce the same or similar behaviors, and that's what is ultimately important.

I just don't believe that an attitude obsessed with fear produces desireable behavior in most (not all) contexts, including cycling in traffic.

Serge

Helmet Head 05-24-05 01:26 PM

Let's just say I would not expect to find advice ecouraging a "be afraid" attitude (like Hurst conveys throughout his book) in good and effective teaching manuals for pilots, divers, race car drivers, rock climbers or surfers. For the same reasons it does not belong there, despite all the risks involved in those activities, it does not belong in a book on traffic cycling.

Helmet Head 05-24-05 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by folder fanatic
I will comment based on actual experience. I live in a high-powered urban area where bicyclist get little or no respect. My mother would always tell me to ride on the sidewalk in order to keep me safe from those crazy cars. Guess what? The only 2 times I was hit or very nearly hit by a car was on a "safe" sidewalk. I avoid the sidewalk now. The only time I use a sidewalk is when no drive up ramp is available for the car driver to use and cross in front of me and the traffic is very thick and very fast. I told my mother to leave bike riding safety issues for the people who actually ride a bike (like me)!

The school of hard knocks works, but it can take a long time to learn everything you need to learn to be safe. In the mean time, you could be killed. Learning the dangers of sidewalks and why they should be avoided is a good start.

You might consider accelerating your education by studying a book like Effective Cycling or Cyclecraft (I would study both).

Serge

John C. Ratliff 05-24-05 09:40 PM

Okay, this will be my last post for awhile, but I'll give you some food for thought. In behavioral safety, the practitioners teach that if we monitor safe verses unsafe behaviors, and try to increase the number of safe behaviors, we will influence accident rates for the positive. Attitudes don't count, as they cannot be quantified. But behaviors can be quantified. We can see them, write them down, and show a pattern for behaviors.

For any given behavior, there are factors which influence whether it will be repeated. These factors are the outcomes (consequences, in the behaviorist's terms). A given behavior's outcome (consequence) can be seen as:

--positive or negative
--occur sooner or later
--be certain or uncertain

The behaviors that tend to be repeated are those whose outcomes (consequences) are positive, occur sooner, and are certain. Behaviors that are negative, occur later (especially days, or weeks, later), and are uncertain are usually not repeated. Those that are negative, and that occurs sooner, and are certain to occur, surely will not be repeated.

It's like a friend who told me of a horse which found how to get through his fence. He couldn't figure it out, because surely the horse did not jump the fence. But he watched one day, and saw the horse put first one foot through, then its head, then the other front foot, then each of its back feet, until about fifteen seconds later it was through the fence. Positive effect, occuring sooner, and sure; and a perplexed owner until he observed what was happening. Then, the owner threw the switch on the electric fence (with high voltages). The hores was zapped as soon as it tried the next time to go through; negative effect, soon and certain. The horse never again went near the fence.

Concerning the above description of Vehicular Cycling, which discusses a stretch of highway with heavy traffic, narrowed, and hurried, where do you think the outcomes (consequences) fit within this paradigm? Would the consequences of riding in this traffic, with the congestion and potholes, be positive or negative? Would they occur sooner or later? Would they be certain or uncertain?

So if you want to influence a bicyclist's safety, give behaviors with outcomes that are positive, occure immediately, and are certain to occur. To a large extent, this is what the vehicular cyclists are trying to do when they cooperate with the traffic, and the traffic cooperates with the vehicular cyclist. But, even when most of the traffic does give a positive experience, it is uncertain that all the traffic will do this. Every day I ride on my extended route, which is a vehicular cycling route, I get someone who either cuts me off, yells at me to get off the road (happened twice yesterday), or an auto does something it ought not do (pass too close, for instance).

When I ride the sidewalk, to get away from a congested road (usually on a Thursday, when people are more rushed--I don't ride Fridays), I get a more positive experience. Cars, which are noisy, are further away. No one is yelling at me. The sidewalks are mostly deserted. It is slower, but I'm not in a hurry either. I can get to a path easier, and stay away from the traffic. Bicycling is fun again, and I don't have to negotiate with countless other, much more massive, vehicles who know that they "own" the road (they don't, but some think they do). In short, the riding on a sidewalk is positive, and those positive consequences occur immediately, and are sure. (The sidewalks I choose have few, if any, conflicting driveways or roads in the short distances I take them.)


John


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