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Thread: Advocacy is...

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    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Advocacy is...

    Seems that there's a lot of emphasis on advocacy being pretty much only about the interaction between drivers and cyclists. Whether or not they kill us. Who needs more education. etc.

    Well, I'd like to thank the local advocacy group in my area, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, for all their hard work. Because of all their advocacy...
    • I was able to send the city a request for street maintenance and my request was fulfilled within 2 weeks
    • I get to enjoy traffic signals that can detect my bike
    • There are decent bike lanes and paths in my city
    • Almost all new development has to include a promise for some sort of bike/pedestrian accomodation (now if they can get all the promises fulfilled...)
    • The city will repaint bike lanes if they don't meet the standards (such as if they put bikes to the right of right turn lanes)
    • I stay informed of new developments so that I can be sure to send a letter so my cyclist voice is heard and they don't build something without considering cyclist needs


    Because of the excellent advocacy, I live in a place where lots of people cycle, and most of the time it's pretty nice. I would like to see more education of motorists, but because they do so much education of city planners, things are a lot better than they might be if it's just fend for yourselves out there.
    ~Diane
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Gee whiz, I hope my city never becomes as progressive as yours. Sounds like they are gradually pushing you into the bike lanes and off the streets. Also, I think new development sucks, whether "bike friendly" or not. It's just more sprawl that encourages more car traffic. My city promises to fill reported potholes within two hours, not two weeks, and that's because motorists complain! Furthermore, the cagers here are almost always kind to me, even if they think I'm nuts. (Or is it because they think I'm nuts?)

    Granted, I would like to get traffic signals that can detect my bike. Maybe someday . . . .

    It sounds like we're both happy where we're at, and that's the important thing.

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    No offense, but IMHO bike lanes are a seriously bad idea, at least the way they are usually done.

    Best education is experience and having more bikes riding in urban environments rather than avoiding them like they do now. The city I live in is pretty typical of this, all but 2 of the bike clubs do their rides well away from town out in rural areas, gee I wonder why? Until most rec riders stop avoiding traffic integration there wont be much need for anything else. The same city in question has around 400,000 people living within easy commute distance to most jobs, well downtown has maybe 10 commuters, less year round ones........that says it all. We live in a car society, and there's already plenty of room for both cars and bikes, most of the rest is just problems with perceptions and thinking, from both sides of the issue. Waiting for legislation and community action is helpful im sure, to a point, the rest is a matter of actually getting out there and riding.

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    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Perhaps you don't like bike lanes, but I do, and we have good ones here. Some of them even have their own traffic sensors.

    But putting in bike lanes isn't the same as ensuring new developments take cyclist needs into consideration. I'm talking about how they can't just toss in a giant overpass with no sane way for pedestrians and cyclists to get through. And they can't just throw up a new housing tract without making sure kids can still ride their bikes to school. Cycling in the context of development isn't considered as "how to make it easy for recreation". Around here they have to consider cycling as one part of the whole of traffic infrastructure. They don't just pave some reads and say have at it. They design them so they work for all of us. Usually.

    Also, those things they fixed for me were total long shots. More than just filling a pothole. One required a couple of days of lane closure.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

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    I'm fine. Cromulent's Avatar
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    Incorporating bicycles as transporation into city planning is brilliant. I'm not crazy about bike lanes, but there are some streets around here where they are done well and make sense. Bike lanes - sensible ones - with traffic sensors? Nicely done.

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    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedex
    No offense, but IMHO bike lanes are a seriously bad idea, at least the way they are usually done.

    No offense but I think bike lanes are a good idea . I ride both kinds of street (with and without) and enjoy the bike laned streets more. There seems to be a big argument about bike lanes, and much of it I think stems from the fact that different communities design different bike lanes. The ones I ride in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, and Tempe (Arizona), are quite suitable for riding and actually help me to get where I am going faster due to the ability to filter forward legally at lights. Anyway, I love my bike lanes (but I am not afraid to get in and mix with the traffic either, just like having my own lane thank you very much).
    Sunrise saturday,
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    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    You know, after I wrote my list of things my advocacy group does, I realize now that their major focus seems to be infrastructure (I'm new to the group, so possibly it's only what they're doing right now.) I know they do a few other things, too. Like this summer they worked with another organization to get more people to substitute car trips with bikes, and apparently they were very successful.

    Anyway, rather than do another tedious bike lane thread (NO BIKE LANE DEBATE--There, will that work?), I'd be interested in other advocacy that you have in your area? What has your advocacy group done?
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    In Cary, NC, we got the city to repeal its mandatory-sidepath-use ordinance that required cyclists to ride on sidewalk paths where they existed. We also got them to repeal the local bicyclists-must-always-stay-right-no-matter-what ordinance, allowing state law for slower traffic to stand on its own.

    We got the city to adopt a standard of wide outside lanes on new and widened thoroughfares instead of the previous narrow-lane standard. The city is also experimenting with detection of bicycles at signals. Unfortunately, most of the signals on thoroughfares are state maintained, and the state refused our requests to detect bicycles.

    At the MPO level, we got the MPO to recognize every road in Wake County to be a bikeway. This was to protect us from potential Boub-type discrimination and frequent failure to implement reasonable bicycle-friendly design features into important, i.e. busy, roads.

    Cary is in the process of creating a bicycle parking requirement ordinance for new and substantially upfit development. This will actually be a new part of the existing car parking requirements.

    Cary Parks and Rec now organizes an annual "Cycling Celebration" day in April. This includes a number of road rides of different distances and paces, MTB rides, bike rodeos, cycling demonstrations, food, exhibits, etc. and has had very big attendance.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    I'd be interested in other advocacy that you have in your area? What has your advocacy group done?
    Well admittedly I haven't done much, other than send notes to the local city bike coordinator and to the city regarding lights that don't respond to bicycles, and the bad condition of some streets and bike lanes.

    Recently I attended a planning board meeting to support the allocation of funds to improve a very nice path at a major intersection. (was rather funny to hear one anti-spending attendee mention the "kiddos" and their "special needs... " I guess being nearly 50 and riding a bike, I am still a "kiddo," eh?).

    I also recently attended a memorial ride for a cyclist killed at an on ramp. There were about 130 cyclists there. The local bike group mentioned targeting the area for improvement by lowering speeds and possibly removing the on ramp. Too bad it took another death to bring this to the attention of the traffic engineers.

    And of course I regularly yell at cyclists that ride on the wrong side of the street... that counts, right?

  10. #10
    Cat 6 Wheel-Sucker 2WheelFury's Avatar
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    I had the pleasure of doing a little riding up in Santa Barbara this past weekend - one thing I had to notice right off was YOU HAVE BIKE TRAILS!!! Many urban areas don't. I am somewhat fortunate in that there are a few near me (bordering the rivers), but plenty of people do not have access to such things. SBA also has CONSIDERABLY less traffic than we find here in the basin.

    Advocacy is a good idea in theory, but I would throw the following "real world" factors into the discussion for consideration:

    1. Drivers are getting older.

    Remember the old dude that plowed into the Santa Monica farmer's market two years ago? Yep. It's only going to get worse as more drivers get older and more stubborn ("I've been driving for 50 years! I know how to drive!") with regards to when they need to hang it up.

    2. Drivers are getting more populous and roads are getting more congested. (Is there any doubt about this?)

    (Arguably) drivers are also getting less skilled. It used to be (at least in my experience) that the philosophy of "driving is a privilege, not a right" ruled and was actually practiced. People weren't so vehicle-dependant and it was of less consequence if a person lost a car or a license, or didn't have access to them. The problem is now in the most populous urban areas where most people live, there seems to be little implementation of this. The DMV hardly EVER seems to fail anyone anymore due to cries of "foul" based on age/race/whatever (discrimination lawsuit fears). Also, I don't see there being much meaningful pressure on authorities to encourage people to NOT drive. Cities & states make a FORTUNE off people with cars, car dealership owners are frequently among the largest contributers to local political campaigns and businesses like auto body shops, repair garages, gas stations, towing companies, parking garages, banks and finance companies and insurance companies represent pretty strong business voices. It's awfully hard for a politician to see beyond the bucks that such business interests bring forth to create an argument for mass transit or other projects with a perception of dubious benefit to a car-oriented populace. Especially in this age where the demand is for everything to always be done as cheaply and quickly as possible, this is a real problem!

    3. Drivers are becoming more inattentive.

    Look at the vehicle choices and habits. John or Jane Q. Public with their oh-so-necessary 6,000-pound SUV with screaming kids, dogs, phones, DVD movies and God-knows-what-else in there to distract from the task of actually DRIVING and paying attention to what the hell is going on in front of them. The idiocy is staggering at times.

    "Advocacy" without a corresponding real change in driver attitudes and BEHAVIOURS is meaningless. . . Sadly.

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    "3. Drivers are becoming more inattentive.

    Look at the vehicle choices and habits. John or Jane Q. Public with their oh-so-necessary 6,000-pound SUV with screaming kids, dogs, phones, DVD movies and God-knows-what-else in there to distract from the task of actually DRIVING and paying attention to what the hell is going on in front of them. The idiocy is staggering at times."

    I've said it before. How can hand held phones be legal in most places when it takes the ability to use the turn signals while driving? One hand on the wheel - one hand on the phone. It's getting more and more common all the time. Not to mention the distraction it causes.

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    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    No offense, but generations of kids on BMX's and Schwinn 10-speeds have been riding this great country's cities and suburban towns, and doing so quite fine even before "bike advocacy" arrived upon the scene. I'm an old fart, and no offense, but this old fart says that "bike advocacy" is just the progressive infiltration of Liberalism into yet another facet of society. Bike advocacy, CM, whatever, all eventually have you going to the polls to vote a certain way. It's a shame we failed to rescue one last great American institution from the poison of politics.

    This old fart says, "shut up and ride" (and gimme my chondroitin...I think I hear my knees a-creekin').

  13. #13
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift
    No offense, but generations of kids on BMX's and Schwinn 10-speeds have been riding this great country's cities and suburban towns, and doing so quite fine even before "bike advocacy" arrived upon the scene. I'm an old fart, and no offense, but this old fart says that "bike advocacy" is just the progressive infiltration of Liberalism into yet another facet of society. Bike advocacy, CM, whatever, all eventually have you going to the polls to vote a certain way. It's a shame we failed to rescue one last great American institution from the poison of politics.

    This old fart says, "shut up and ride" (and gimme my chondroitin...I think I hear my knees a-creekin').
    How many kids do you see on BMXs and Schwinns after age 16... and how many actually riding on the streets... 'round here they pretty much stick to sidewalks until they can drive... then the bike goes into the garage forever... except to come out for the summer boardwalk rides.

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    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2WheelFury

    3. Drivers are becoming more inattentive.

    Look at the vehicle choices and habits. John or Jane Q. Public with their oh-so-necessary 6,000-pound SUV with screaming kids, dogs, phones, DVD movies and God-knows-what-else in there to distract from the task of actually DRIVING and paying attention to what the hell is going on in front of them. The idiocy is staggering at times.
    . Sadly.
    Ok, I do have to disagree with you on the DVD player. Being a father of four rather loud and enthusiastic children the DVD eliminates drving distractions for me like nothing else. The screen is behind my seat though. You are probably refering to the in dash ones though (Those are just plain dumb). Incidentally I drive a mini-van, much easier to get the kids into and better on gas.
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    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul L.
    Ok, I do have to disagree with you on the DVD player. Being a father of four rather loud and enthusiastic children the DVD eliminates drving distractions for me like nothing else. The screen is behind my seat though. You are probably refering to the in dash ones though (Those are just plain dumb). Incidentally I drive a mini-van, much easier to get the kids into and better on gas.
    I was wondering about this... using the entrancing capabilities of television to calm kids in the car. I can see how that could work.
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    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    This isn't something that an advocacy group in my area has done, but rather one that one particular advocate (me) would like to do, but hasn't gotten around to yet: Get the city to post these signs (from this site) on major streets that get a lot of wrong-way cyclists. I'm hoping I will get more time to approach a city official about this later in the fall or winter, and maybe that will also be good timing to plan such an initiative for next summer.
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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift
    No offense, but generations of kids on BMX's and Schwinn 10-speeds have been riding this great country's cities and suburban towns, and doing so quite fine even before "bike advocacy" arrived upon the scene. I'm an old fart, and no offense, but this old fart says that "bike advocacy" is just the progressive infiltration of Liberalism into yet another facet of society. Bike advocacy, CM, whatever, all eventually have you going to the polls to vote a certain way. It's a shame we failed to rescue one last great American institution from the poison of politics.

    This old fart says, "shut up and ride" (and gimme my chondroitin...I think I hear my knees a-creekin').
    Point taken, but as one who will not be ready to be considered an old fart for a few more years, but who has lived in the same area for over 40 years let me point out some differences from 40 years ago.

    Back roads where when I was a kid you would see no cars now are major commute routes. The freeway offramp I would gt off at most naturally often backs up to block the right lane of the freway. That ramp is controlled by 4 stop signs. When I was a kid this was a 4 way stop with no traffic, now during the day there is always traffic. But let's go on from that intersection. I would turn left there. If I do I take the access road next to the freeway. Most cars turn left after a short block. After that it a half mile more before I turn left. When I was a kid that half mile was all bet empty of cars. Now it is all but full of speeding cars. But I do not turn left off the freeway, that is backed up. I go straight a short block and turn left, up a hill and back arround to the same intersection I would have gotten to by turning left in the first place. When I was a kid only the kids on bikes and the people who lived on that street knew it went through. Now near rush hours it always has cars on it.

    Other routes are the same. Routes that even just 10 years ago were known only to true locals (E.g. those who had to take it to get home), cyclists and the true elite drivers when it came to knowing all the alternate routes are now common routes. residential areas that 20 years ago no one would have even thought of as using as commuting shortcuts (and shorter in distance they are not) now have speed bumps because of so many speeding commuters.

    The world has changed. That things were fine 20 years ago does not mean they are now.

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