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Old 07-18-02, 09:39 PM   #1
Chris L
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Drivers using the bikepaths

As if I needed another reason to dislike urban bike paths, I've got one. There is a path at Burleigh that runs next to the highway for a couple of hundred metres. Here, I use the highway (it's about the only place where I don't have any backstreets available), however, the last two days I have seen cars driving in the adjacent bike path. Can someone tell me what's up with that?
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Old 07-18-02, 09:47 PM   #2
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I will gladly reply.

This is where they belong!
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Old 07-18-02, 10:42 PM   #3
John C. Ratliff
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In Oregon, all the bike paths I have seen have a metal post in them to preclude cars and other vehicles from traveling on them. But I know of one bicyclist who quit biking after crashing into one of these metal posts on a very foggy morning.

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Old 07-19-02, 02:51 AM   #4
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On my local seafront bike path, you get the forshore patrol 4x4 pickup trucks and local council rubbish collection trucks using the bike path. They have cracked the paving slabs which were never designed for heavy vehicles.

Those metal barriers are good at excluding recumbents, tricycles and wheelchairs from bike paths.
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Old 07-19-02, 05:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by MichaelW
Those metal barriers are good at excluding recumbents, tricycles and wheelchairs from bike paths.
Not to mention bicycles. They've tried that one here, too. Just goes to show that the road is a better place to ride, with or without metal barriers.
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Old 07-19-02, 07:08 AM   #6
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Here in Oxford, we have seen our fair share of crazy schemes. Here goes for some personal bug-bears....

1 The bike paths that are painted on the pavement (sidewalk): They are completely uneven and stop at every side street. OK for some I suppose to give them space away from the road - but the schemes are very inconsistent.

2 Bike paths that abandon you at dangerous junctions and roundabouts or where the road gets narrow, where one would most appreciate some help. Most of them!

3. My favourite - a perfectly safe road through town was redesigned by adding raised platforms at every junction along its length, plus small square raised bumps (one for each direction) at regular intervals in the "car section". I was nearly swiped several times by motorists cutting inside these to avoid them. Later the authorities added 2 foot long rubber block markers, about 3 inches high every 3 or so feet along the edge of the bike lane to prevent this. These were invisible at night - I saw them cause two riders to crash. They also prevented you getting into or out of the bike lane, took up valuable road width, trapped broken glass & debris. A shor time after their installation they became loose and turned into obstacles as they swung into the bike lane... Later the brick paved junction "platforms" started to loosen and break up leaving a treacherous surface. This has to be a case of "safety" making things worse - it actually caused bike-car & car-bike aggravation where there had been none before.
Recently they stripped all of this scheme out apart from one set of car humps and their accompanying rubber bike crash traps. Thank goodness.

I believe much of this work is done to meet targets for safety, based on government and council policies, rather than to fix real problems, so that they can be proud of "x new miles of bike lanes with new safety measures". Many measures help nobody using the road - I felt sorry for the motorists that needed to negotiate some of them (sorry, but it really was that bad). Nobody who plans roads seems to understand how different levels of traffic interact even in Oxford, where there is a very high proportion of cycling journeys.

If that turned into a rant I apologise - the council have already received my views (well reasoned, hopefully non-militant) on more than one occasion in writing. I'd be happy to offer more advice from a cyclists point of view, if it were to be taken on board.

Safe riding,

Ed
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Old 07-19-02, 09:48 AM   #7
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Some of the "solutions" Ed mentioned remind me of a Twilight Zone story:

This child had the ability to wish anything into existence. The family had to do everything he wished. For dinner, for example, they had things like "peanut butter and jelly hamburgers."

Sounds like politicians are listening to people who are crying for "bike solutions" who don't really know what's best for cyclists.
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Old 07-19-02, 03:04 PM   #8
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It seems Oxford and the Gold Coast have some things in common:

Quote:
Originally posted by Ed Holland
1 The bike paths that are painted on the pavement (sidewalk): They are completely uneven and stop at every side street. OK for some I suppose to give them space away from the road - but the schemes are very inconsistent.
Yep, we've got those ones out here. Two questions need to be asked of the planners here. 1) Do they really expect cyclists to use the path and stop every 20 metres or so for a road or driveway? 2) Do they really think it's any safer, considering it's interaction with driveways, intersections and also pedestrians? Score one for the road.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ed Holland
2 Bike paths that abandon you at dangerous junctions and roundabouts or where the road gets narrow, where one would most appreciate some help. Most of them!
Ditto. Of course, the council's argument here is that there just isn't any space (hence, the road is narrow here as well). Maybe that's so, but I find it easier to merge with traffic if I'm already using the road, rather than coming at it at 90 degrees from some path. Score another one for the road.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ed Holland
3. My favourite - a perfectly safe road through town was redesigned by adding raised platforms at every junction along its length, plus small square raised bumps (one for each direction) at regular intervals in the "car section". I was nearly swiped several times by motorists cutting inside these to avoid them. Later the authorities added 2 foot long rubber block markers, about 3 inches high every 3 or so feet along the edge of the bike lane to prevent this.
Gee, we do have a lot in common (except recent rainfall it would seem). This could be one of two things. Firstly, there is a belief that if bicycles use the road with "real traffic" cars will run them over. Heck, I've survived around 80,000km with Gold Coast motorists, so either I'm superman or that just isn't true.

The second (and most likely) thing seems to be a desire to slow motorists down to safe speeds. The trouble here is that most drivers regard this sort of thing as a 'challenge' and will try to drive faster through it. If they want to slow down drivers in that area, how about a couple of speed cameras and a sign reminding people of the speed limit there?

Quote:
Originally posted by Ed Holland
I believe much of this work is done to meet targets for safety, based on government and council policies, rather than to fix real problems, so that they can be proud of "x new miles of bike lanes with new safety measures". <snip> Nobody who plans roads seems to understand how different levels of traffic interact even in Oxford, where there is a very high proportion of cycling journeys.
To be honest, I think a lot of this work is politically motivated. A bike path (no matter how useless), will send out a message they are "committed to sustainable transport", and hopefully win votes from the 'green' electorate. Alternatively, they could claim they are "committed to safety" with this work, even though bike paths have higher cycling fatality rates than roads. If they did something useful like building roads with decent, useable shoulders, it mightn't draw so much attention to themselves.
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Old 07-20-02, 03:49 PM   #9
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out here in T.O., I see some police cars and maintainance vehicle at the bike path, but they really make themselves very visible to the path user with their blinking top lights on...
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Old 07-21-02, 06:08 PM   #10
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I saw some filthy, smoke-belching old moped using a bike path today. Luckily, I wasn't behind him!
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