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  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Why use the road?

    Why cycle on the road, with full access (something we are supposed to have already) when there are so many wonderful paths and lanes?

    Simple. As a bicyclist, I see the road system in my city as perfect for taking my bike anywhere I want to go, just like motorists enjoy doing. I want the freedom to go anywhere, anytime, not just where the paths or lanes take me.

    Total access. There is nowhere I cannot go--on the street.

    Question: how can transportational cycling make any sense at all unless cyclists use the existing road network?

    Why should I avoid any particular street that motorists enjoy? Am I less important than they? Besides, detours are much more inconvenient to me than to motorists.

    As a motorist myself, I have used the roads for over 25 years. Instinctively, I feel they belong to me.

    All I ask is: slow motorists down and inform them that I belong there (on every road) as much as they do.
    No worries

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I agree. We are supposed to be a free country. That should include our choice of transportation. When we take the bike out of the bike shop, there are no signs that say, can't use on the highway..
    Roads are for transportation and we choose to utilize these publically funded entities with our bikes.. As they say, use it or loose it...Free choice and my choice is my bike.. Cars and traffic are making us all nuts... I choose sanity..

  3. #3
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    Yep. Trails and such are designed for weekend recreational bikers towing children, etc. I find them to be very dangerous, require you to go far too slow, and go too far out of the way to be practical for bike-commuting.

    I visited my new neice last week outside Des Moines and managed to get a nice ride in with my sister and brother-in-law. I was impressed with how extensive the bike path systems was around that area. Very extensive. But after only a few miles I was worn out from the weaving and bobbing I found myself doing, and with avoiding pedstrians and other bikers who were frankly dangerous. I headed for the streets.

    I'll gladly tackle the "mean streets", accepting the risks associated with sharing the road with some godawful drivers. I feel this is trading one risk for another.

  4. #4
    JRA
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    Senior Member JRA's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cyclezealot
    When we take the bike out of the bike shop, there are no signs that say, can't use on the highway..
    Actually, there are signs like that on the interstate. In fact there's a sign like that just about 2 blocks from my LBS.

    Not that I want to ride on the interstate. The interstate also has a minimum speed of 45mph, which applies to all vehicles.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    JRS. I did not specify the Interstates. I know there are limits. I just mean't the average city street. Here in California. The law is, if there are not surface streets available, then cyclists can and legally have access to the interstates. Even though many have wide margins; Interstates would not be my first choice.. Should I ride to Nevada, of course- I would have to use them..

  6. #6
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    The Interstates are also open to bicycles in the state of Washinton, except those stretches which are within a city with a population of 50,000 or more, in which case the cyclist can take another route and jump back on outside the city.

    As far as roads go... roads are for people. People on bicycles, people in cars, people on foot.

  7. #7
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Andy Dreisch
    Yep. Trails and such are designed for weekend recreational bikers towing children, etc. I find them to be very dangerous, require you to go far too slow, and go too far out of the way to be practical for bike-commuting.
    I have said this before. I believe that many cycling advocates are being openly manipulated by the whole "bike paths" movement. Unfortunately, many of them seem to measure their success by the number of ribbon-cutting ceremonies they have, without stopping to think about what is behind that ribbon. Hence many local government officials can use the support of cycling groups to get a place to walk their dog on a Sunday.

    Originally posted by Andy Dreisch

    I'll gladly tackle the "mean streets", accepting the risks associated with sharing the road with some godawful drivers. I feel this is trading one risk for another.
    Quite true. Has anyone else noticed that the road is statistically a much safer place to ride, despite the presence of cars?
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  8. #8
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    Why use the road? Roads are safer than bike paths and go more places.

    "Adolf Hitler on a bicycle would be a better human being than Albert Schweitzer in a car"

  9. #9
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    ANYONE on a bicycle is already a better human being, by my standards.


    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  10. #10
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    I take great exception to the direction that this thread has taken. Adolf Hitler on a bike would still run your butt over, and Albert Schwietzer would still stop and try to help you.

    Folks, you have exhibited the basest form of prejudice that there is. You have lumped all motorists together and branded them as evil. Definitely, not true.

    You have to get along in order to get along.

  11. #11
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Bike paths or as they call them here "muli-use" paths, generally run parallel to roadways. Consequently they cross the cross streets well in and away from the stop line for traffic trying to enter the main road.

    When a "multi-use path" user crosses these side streets on the bike path, they actually have to concern themselves with traffic behind them on the main road, that turning left off the main road as well as the traffic on the path AND traffic coming to the intersection from the side street. The "multi-use path" user has no apparent right of way over anyone.

    On the other hand, when using the main roadway, the cyclist like other vehicles is in the intercection itself, going with the flow of traffic. The cyclist is in the field of vision (though sometimes not the comprehension) of traffic approaching from any direction. I actually feel safer using the road since traffic moving with me tends to shield me from danger posed from the sides.

    Carl
    Just Peddlin' Around

  12. #12
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by webist
    The "multi-use path" user has no apparent right of way over anyone.
    I believe this is close to the heart of the "bike facilities vs. road" issue. As soon as you segregate a particular road user from the rest of traffic, as in separating cyclists from motorists, the segregated user must always yield right-of-way to the main body of traffic. This is a step in a backwards direction.
    No worries

  13. #13
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LittleBigMan

    As soon as you segregate a particular road user from the rest of traffic, as in separating cyclists from motorists, the segregated user must always yield right-of-way to the main body of traffic. This is a step in a backwards direction.
    True even of sidewalks, except they often have marked crosswalks which legally give them the supposed right of way.

    Ever watch to see how many cars (or cycles for that matter) honor that supposed right of way when a pedestrian is trying to use one?

    Carl
    Just Peddlin' Around

  14. #14
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Well, I like funcional bike paths. If there is one available, I take it. I prefer not to mix with automobiles.

    SIDEWALK RIDING, on the other hand, is too dangerous. The main reason is that automobile drives do not anticipate a bicycle flying into the intersection from a sidewalk.

    I avoid using sidewalks for bicycling for this reason.
    Mike

  15. #15
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by webist

    Ever watch to see how many cars (or cycles for that matter) honor that supposed right of way when a pedestrian is trying to use one?
    None.


    Mike -- can you please explain to me this concept of 'functional bike paths'. I don't think I've ever seen one.
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  16. #16
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Maybe there are some functional bike "lanes." I agree with you about not seeing any functional bike or multi use paths.

    Carl
    Just Peddlin' Around

  17. #17
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Chris L


    None.


    Mike -- can you please explain to me this concept of 'functional bike paths'. I don't think I've ever seen one.
    Sure, Chris. A functional bike path is one that is practical and safe for the bicyclist. It actually goes to/through places that a commuter or functional rider would like to go (instead of just riding around a park for example).

    In this city, we have a trail that parallels one of them most busy streets. However, the bike path is physically separated from the street by trees and a big burm. The bicyclist can avoid intersections via tunnels that go under the motor car streets or over them via ramps.

    I have seen paths like this in Singapore, China, Japan, France, and Germany as well. There are a couple in Madison Wisconsin, but not quite as good as I have seen in other places.

    Surely there must be functional bicycle paths in other cities in the USA and other countries.
    Mike

  18. #18
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike
    Sure, Chris. A functional bike path is one that is practical and safe for the bicyclist. It actually goes to/through places that a commuter or functional rider would like to go (instead of just riding around a park for example).
    Unfortunately, this is why I generally dislike bike paths. Once the road and a heap of buildings have been put through the urban space, there is generally not a lot left for anything else. Once pedestrians have been allocated their share, bike paths pretty much won't go where you need to go. Eventually you'll have to use the road, which is much easier if you're already there.

    Again, one can argue all they like about how great a path would be if it goes exactly where you need to go. My answer is to actually try to use it to go to a specific destination (like, to work or something). You'll find that it won't go there and that you'll constantly have to leave and re-enter the path.

    It's just safer and more convenient to use the road.
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  19. #19
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    The Linear park here in Adelaide is very good. It goes N/east from the city for about 20km and West from the city to the coast for about 15km, along the river Torrens. It has underpasses for all roads and is used by a lot of people riding to work. It does become hectic on weekends with families and the normal traffic but for commuting Mon-Fri it is very good. From my experience, cyclists can ride from 20km N/east of the city to 40km South of the city all on bike paths. In some parts you do have to cross roads but for the majority it is all bike path.

    There is also a bike path that I use to come down from the hills in the morning. The first 6km is an old unused section of 4 lane highway, then the next 4km is bike path alongside the new highway. Before they replaced the old highway there was no way to get to the city without a major detour on narrow hills roads.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  20. #20
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    I just did a little calculation, based upon an observation I made last week. I counted about 50 cars passing me within 10 feet in a 7 mile ride (mostly backroads). That came to about 7.1 cars per mile. In 1500 miles of riding (I did not ride that much last year), that comes to about 10,700 cars passing me.

    Now, think about that, and the statement earlier about us "owning" the road. In those 10,700 cars passing me in a year (okay, a year and a half), how many of those were paying attention to a bicyclist? What are our chances? If it's 1:10,000, we've got a bit of a problem.

    Now think about the weight (mass of you're physics majors) passing us. If each car weighs 2000 pounds, and there's 10,700 of 'em passing, that's ~21,000,000 pounds (~9,000,000 kg) passing within ten feet of me.

    I have found a way, a path, around some of that mass passing me. I'm taking it, and I'll deal with the brush and bitty hazards that is presented by the path.

    By recognizing that I am unequal in size, speed, visibility, and protection in a matchup with motorized vehicles (especially cars and trucks), I'm not giving away my rights, but helping assure that I actually live to a ripe ol' age. I'm not willing anymore to bet my life that I own the road. Do I have a right to be there? Of course. But as my wife said, "You could also be dead right."

    In the Air Force, our rescue pilots used to tell us, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." We might contemplate that one a bit; I can think of a few, such as John Glenn, but it's worth thinking about too.

    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 08-03-02 at 11:28 PM.
    John Ratliff

  21. #21
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
    What are our chances? If it's 1:10,000, we've got a bit of a problem.

    I have found a way, a path, around some of that mass passing me. I'm taking it, and I'll deal with the brush and bitty hazards that is presented by the path.
    Believe it or not, most bike/car collisions do not involve the cyclist being hit from behind. When one considers the problems posed to cyclists at intersections (where around 97% of car/bike collisions occur), then considers that paths generally create more intersections (driveways etc). I'd think my chances on a path would be considerably less than 1:10,000.

    If riding on the road (something I do every day) is so dangerous, and riding on the path (something I never do) is so safe, can someone please explain to me why I'm still alive?
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  22. #22
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Just for clarification, I did not state that the cars passed me (or if I did, that's not what I meant). I said they came within ten feet of me. It could be at an intersection, on a right turn lane where I was in a middle lane, etc.

    I want us to think about why we are still up and biking too. So Chris, why are you still around?

    I'm not going to go to the road when I can avoid an area which nearly ended my cycling career (and all other careers) by using a path. This path has very little use, and some of the hazards cited above really do not apply. But I will now try to avoid mixing it up with cars in tight situations (such as where they are pouring out of shopping mall parking lots onto a single road).

    I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say. I'm not necessarily advocating this for everyone, but present it as my strategy to keep a repeat of my accident from happening. More on other measures I'm taking later, in another thread. But these measures are designed to allow me to keep bicycling.

    John
    John Ratliff

  23. #23
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Well, today I got hit for the first time.. It was not on the road; but in the parking lot roadway of a strip mall in Carlsbad.
    I had been going straight for at least 40 feet and this SOB just decides to turn left in front of me.. He turned so late and unexpectedly, I could not dodge him.. We were both moving at about 5 miles an hour.. Think his car hit me directly on my left knee, still unclipped.
    As going down first thoughts were ,"Oh, its my Klein." The creep at least stopped and shouted out his window. sorry are you hurt.. All I could do at first- yell at him how many dollars my bike cost. Felt ok. Hands a little numb. Scratched my down tube and took off a little handlebar tape. When said ok, as examing my bike- he quickly took off, before I could get his license plate number. Luckily my bike was only slightly damaged.
    What do you think of riding in parking lot areas.? Less safe than the road? Some say so. I was standing on my pedals when he hit me and had on a red, White and Blue French jersey with Blue cycling shorts. Am I that diffucult to see?

  24. #24
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    You're only difficult to see if someone is not looking. Where were their eyes. Sometimes, people don't look straight ahead.

    I was hit as a pedestrian at DaNang Air Base, RVN in 1971 by a fire truck pickup which was turning around near the flight line. I was trying to get my ear plugs out (those F-4's are really noisy on the flight line) of my belt when all the sudden I was on the ground. I had been hit by the front left bumper, went over the left fender after planting my face squarely on the fender. Result, bruised left knee (first point of contact), bruised right elbow (second point of contact), and broken front top tooth (third point of contact--the dentist's comment was "Don't tell me, the truck was red; I still had red paint imbeded in my tooth stub). I felt I should have gotten a purple heart for that one, as the fire department was obviously the enemy for trying to pick off an air crew member--didn't work, and all I got was a silver tooth. The fire truck driver (it was a pickup truck) was looking behind him while he made a 180 degree turn.

    Anyway, parking lots are where weird things happen. Luckily, they seem to be low-velocity accidents.

    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 08-04-02 at 11:39 AM.
    John Ratliff

  25. #25
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    The most serious bike accident I ever had involved a pedestrian.
    No worries

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