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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

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Old 03-28-01, 10:33 AM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Roads are designed for cars, not bicycles. Motorists expect cars, not bicycles. Cyclists' legal right to use the road exists on paper, but with an unwritten clause: "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch." This is the reality we cyclists generally live with.

We cyclists must avoid close calls by mastering this devilish system. We must learn how to avoid car doors opening in our paths, debris and glass, potholes and railroad tracks, cut-offs by passing motorists turning in front of us, speeding traffic, and we must deal with motorists who don't want us on the road; the list goes on. We can learn strategies to reduce our risks in almost every dangerous possibility we face.

But even when we have done all, we are still being denied our basic legal rights by a system which treats us as less important than all other road users. Our rights exist on paper, but they do not exist in the planning phases of road design. This is unfair and dangerous.

If planners designed roads with cyclists in mind and drivers were trained to mix with cyclists on the road, this would reduce our risk greatly. Speed limits should be enforced and even lowered. Curbside lanes should be wider. Traffic signal sensors should be easily activated by cyclists. In short, any competent cyclist should be able to use our existing roads to get anywhere that a motorist can go with a high level of safety and comfort. Motorists insist upon this for themselves and so should cyclists. In the mean time, we must learn how to cycle strategically. We must not learn to depend upon the design solutions offered us by road planners, because they always put the safety of motorists first.

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Old 03-28-01, 12:05 PM   #2
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Amen to that! In Vancouver they have designated bike routes in some areas of the city. At intersections on those routes the lights can be changed by the cyclist with a button close enough to the curb so you can reach it without getting off your bike. It's a start anyway.
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Old 03-28-01, 03:35 PM   #3
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There are some countries in Europe where cyclist safety is a key element in getting a licence. Perhaps if it was harder to get those things we would have a chance.

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Old 03-29-01, 11:28 AM   #4
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Pete,
Great points. However we can add this into the equation. Who makes more more money in this situation? My point is this. If cyclists were alloted these "priviledge's" because remember driving a car is a priviledge not a right. Who would stand to make money on it? That is the question. For this you have auto makers that make money therefore they need roads. You have auto makeres that make cars that need oil, and gas. The petroleum industry makes money. They also make more money because asphalt is a petroleum product. Now because of the love of money and the wordly people that want it they do whatever it takes to procure it. Seeing a cyclist on the road and having to think when you see him or her while you are on your cell phone talking with the office is well an added amount of uncomfortableness. After all there is enough stress at the office when you are out to make money. Then the worldliness takes over even further with the people in cars that see a cyclists as less than because you are not in a car. Regardless of what your motivation is for being on the road on a bike. Now if anyone stood to make any money by making special allocations to cyclists on the road you would most likely see more bike lanes. As it is can you see any profit in those who make roads and cars to allow special access to roads for cyclists? Does a cyclists buy gas, and oil? Does a cyclist pay fines for traffic violations? Do cyclist offer a city or town growth potential in the way of commerce and taxes by merely getiing to the destination? Does a cyclist pay highway taxes? Does a cyclist pay toll's? There are more but I am sure you get the point. I doubt that there will be an increase to the safety of a cyclist on pavement by major cities and town's not quickly enough anyway. There is no profit potential and there must be renewed driving tactics by motorists which as I mentioned before just is not possible with some. I mean how can you be on the phone or putting on makeup and avoid a bicyle lane?
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Old 03-29-01, 12:49 PM   #5
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I,ve read several posts of this topic. Pffff..., Canada and USA are rough countries to ride with bicycles in traffic!
At the age of 13 I started biking to school about 15 km, now i,m 21 and I still bike with fun!
We,ve got 16 million people in the Netherlands and every student, carpenter,manager and engineer has a bike (Babys are born with bikes here) and in Amsterdam there probably more bikes then people!
The minister-president bikes to "work" sometimes!
When a dutch cardriver hits a bicycle, he or she is ALWAYS guilty for the law, even if the biker was wrong. This country is crowdy and stressed up, but for bikers its not too bad!

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Old 03-29-01, 01:37 PM   #6
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I disagree, Hunter.

1) I cycle, but I also drive and pay taxes to build and repair roads.

2) Sidewalks are built for pedestrians and they don't buy gasoline.

3) You defend your privilege to cycle off-road in areas where other taxpaying citizens are trying to prohibit you. Don't you see the similarity in our situations?

4) Profit is not king. What if the government sold all public lands to private industry to be developed for profit?
We would all profit for a short time, but you would lose your best cycling trails (or would have to pay a hefty price
just to get in the gate).

5) The people who do not consider cyclists as important road users are those who do not cycle.

6) I would not attack your privilege to cycle off road in your favorite places, because someday I may want to join you!

Thank you.
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Old 03-29-01, 08:00 PM   #7
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Pete,
You missed the point bro. I was not attacking you right to be on the road at all. I was simply putting up a front as if I was a auto commuter, taking the side of big industry. That is the thing about message boards. If you were here when I wrote this you would understand. I am all for being able to ride wherever you please. I would not take the time to defend the right to ride anywhere then post the opposite. I agree with you on those who do not see cyclists as important. I agreed with your original post. Please go back and re read the post as I intended it to be. To anyone else if this came off as Pete saw it I will try to be more creative with my english in he future. I am sorry for any confusion.
Also Pete I want to add this. I am not for the big development of parks in the U.S. I do believe that there should be natural areas left that are untouched by profit mongoring people. I am against however all the bogus lies created by extremist environmental groups who scream out to close access to these parks because vehicles, snowmobiles, water craft, horses, bikes, and feet steal, kill, and destroy everything in their path. I am against designating thousands of acres to a grasshopper and closing down those acres to access so they can breed, then screaming when it becomes a problem to farmers when they devour crops. The misconception that standing up for property rights is easily argued against when you add the big industries development into it. That is something I hear all the time like yourself. Environmentalists are clever in their arguements and alot of people buy it.

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Old 03-29-01, 10:02 PM   #8
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Hunter,

My parents live about a mile outside of Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. That is some of the most awesome country I've ever seen.

I hope I can cycle out there one day. It's truly awesome!

Thanks for your post,

Pete
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Old 03-29-01, 11:21 PM   #9
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Yeah you should there is nothing like riding off road in an area that somhow reaches out and grab's you. Once agin I apologize for th eway I came off.
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Old 03-30-01, 01:42 AM   #10
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1. What happened to the rest of my original post?

2. The fact is that most of these so-called cycle facilities are built to make drivers happy. That's right, drivers. The idea that they might be able to get some of those horrible bikes off the road is enough to give most of the motoring primates out there a wet dream.

3. As far as paying more goes, well, cars SHOULD pay more. Indeed, much more than they do now. Why? Who needs all that massive infrastructure again? Did you know that 60% of the urbanised land area in the world is set aside for the motor car (i.e. garages, roads, parking lots etc). And what about wear and tear on the roads that causes such expenses for maintenance, who contributes to that the most? You guessed it, the motoring primate. It's just such a shame that the media so perpetuates these "ain't life tough" stories for motorists. Radfahren uber alles.


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Old 03-30-01, 01:49 AM   #11
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Joe -- Please disregard point 1. of my post. I actually posted what I thought was here in another thread. I feel so stupid.

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Old 03-30-01, 09:32 AM   #12
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I guess Chris L. and I are from the same planet!

Chris "the Man" L., if you want a GOOD belly laugh, come look at our "bike paths". You know they were designed either by children (which is a possibility that must be logically eliminated) or by people whose only known means of transport are driving and walking. They are obviously designed by and for pedestrians and their dogs (yes, I believe the dogs helped in the planning process: they contributed all those seemingly pointless curves to slow down the cyclist to attack more effectively). Later on the route, we observe hundreds of quaint little stop signs, one at almost every driveway it crosses. This protects motorists who are leaving their residences and places of business from mad cyclists who might make them yield and spill their coffee before even entering the main street. Finally, the last leg of our scenic bike route brings you to the older stretch of the path, full of interesting history (thousands of flats, no doubt, from the beautiful multi-colored glass shards, strewn in abstract patterns at strategic places along the way). This older part really blends with nature, tree roots pushing up the pavement with a rhythmic, rolling texture. A memorable ride, and very challenging.

Of course, I took the street, and got home 45 minutes sooner.
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Old 03-30-01, 01:45 PM   #13
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A few (hopefully relevant) observations for this highly relevant thread:

Does a cyclist buy gas, and oil?
/* Is this relevant? By this logic, a 10mpg Navigator driver is several times more entitled to use the road than a 50mpg Prius driver. */

Does a cyclist pay fines for traffic violations?
/* In most California cities, yes. How does $271 for slowly rolling through a stop sign grab you? */

Do cyclist offer a city or town growth potential in the way of commerce and taxes by merely getiing to the destination?
/* How does a person motoring to work offer his/her city any more than a cyclist making the same commute? */

Does a cyclist pay highway taxes?
/* Yes -- outside of the Interstate highway system, roads are financed with general (sales, income, etc.) tax funds, not user fees. */

Does a cyclist pay toll's?
/* No, but motorists pay tolls on VERY few roads. */

I doubt that there will be an increase to the safety of a cyclist on pavement by major cities and town's not quickly enough anyway. There is no profit potential and there must be renewed driving tactics by motorists which as I mentioned before just is not possible with some.
/* Bicycling offers a huge monetary savings potential for John Q. Public. This message needs to be emphasized. It is also the most cost-effective solution of the traffic congestion problems faced by an increasing number of cities. In Southern California, more people commute on foot than by bicycle, and more commute by bicycle than by transit. */
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Old 03-30-01, 03:28 PM   #14
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John E,
I am not trying to argue with you but I noticed a few things. One is that you missed the point of several things noted by zooming in on a few statements. "Does a cyclist buy gas, and oil? /* Is this relevant? (How do you justify this statement? I am not speaking of logic.) By this logic, a 10mpg Navigator driver is several times more entitled to use the road than a 50mpg Prius driver. */
"/* In most California cities, yes. How does $271 for slowly rolling through a stop sign grab you? */ "
I do not know I have never seen or heard of this until now. It may happen there but I have never been fined like that and neither has anyone else I have known that bikes.
"/* How does a person motoring to work offer his/her city any more than a cyclist making the same commute? */"
By buing gas, oil, tires, auto parts, etc. It goes back to the original statement who stands to make more of a profit this was unsed as an example like the other things that were listed, merely an example plain and simple.
"/* Yes -- outside of the Interstate highway system, roads are financed with general (sales, income, etc.) tax funds, not user fees. */" Not true, tractor trailer drivers pay a "highway tax" which is a user fee. How much revenue do you think this raises?
"/* No, but motorists pay tolls on VERY few roads. */ " Yes in the scheme of the number of raods sure. However it exiats none the less. Once again how much revenue do you think this raises?
The examples I raised were some points that had to do with money. Regarless of how you see it is brings in a profit nonetheless for someone. These were merely examples brought up in a atempt a sarcasm that apparently were missed. It was not intended as a defense for cars or cars commuting. I apologized for my apparent error and this is something that you as well have missed. I am not being smart assed at you just making a point.
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Old 03-31-01, 05:49 PM   #15
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No problem, Hunter -- I do appreciate your position and sarcasm. I do, however, get very frustrated with motorists who claim that the roads belong to them because they pay for them. Gasoline taxes and truck registration fees help pay for the interstate highway system, but the local roads most cyclists use most of the time are indeed financed by all of us out of "general funds." Your point (a valid one) is that the system favours cars because someone makes money every time I turn an ignition key. My point is that citizens can and should fight back and empower themselves. Every time I make a trip by bicycle or on foot instead of by car, I do just that.
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Old 03-31-01, 07:45 PM   #16
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John,
I agree 100%!!
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Old 03-31-01, 10:12 PM   #17
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Let's nip this whole gasoline taxes bit in the bud right now.

Firstly, they are totally voluntary anyway, if you don't want to pay them do as I do and don't drive, simple as that.

Secondly, they do NOT go directly toward the cost of highways anyway. They go into general government revenue (like every other form of taxation). Some of which goes on roads etc. Are we going to start claiming that people on different income levels have different rights to use the roads because of the varying amounts they pay in taxes?

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Old 03-31-01, 11:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L

Are we going to start claiming that people on different income levels have different rights to use the roads because of the varying amounts they pay in taxes?
People of different income levels DO have more rights to use the road. Just yesterday at a red light, my wife says, "Look, that guy is driving on the sidewalk!" Sure enough, a new Cadillac was passing around traffic into a (you guessed it) gas station, on the sidewalk. But as Cambronne posted previously, NO ONE in Atlanta walks, so someone ought to make use of the sidewalk...
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Old 04-20-01, 10:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by John E
Every time I make a trip by bicycle or on foot instead of by car, I do just that.
Prescription for quality living. Few but a cyclist or regular walker (and some similar folk) are as painfully aware of the horrible grunge mass automobile transit
brings to our communities. Unlike drivers, we are very
sensitive to breathing hot, foul, exhaust-ridden air.
One of the greatest joys is to travel by human power
along some road wherein there is little (or no) motor traffic and lots of beautiful, fresh smells and scenery.
When was the last time any motorist could actually smell a patch of honeysuckle, or feel the cool air exuding from an undisturbed patch of forested land?
Maybe along a remote country road, with the windows down?
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Old 04-21-01, 07:16 PM   #20
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Hunter- I was doing an MS 150 training ride last year when one of the riders was pulled over and TICKETED for running a stop sign. Cyclists are bound by the same rules and regs as autos. FYI. ride long and prosper
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Old 04-21-01, 08:51 PM   #21
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I've never seen a cyclist get pulled over where I live. The cyclist would have do something asinine, or the cop would be on the end of a bad double-shift. I pass three police stations on my commute, and I blow the stop signs in front of all of them.
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Old 04-21-01, 10:40 PM   #22
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Hunter- I was doing an MS 150 training ride last year when one of the riders was pulled over and TICKETED for running a stop sign. Cyclists are bound by the same rules and regs as autos. FYI. ride long and prosper

OK. However it goes back to what I said. I have never seen or known that to happen to anyone I know or have known. It is bound to happen somewhere, after all it is breaking a traffic law since a bike is a vehicle.

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Old 04-23-01, 10:32 AM   #23
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A freight truck overturned on a railway overpass I rode over every day to get to work. The police had barricades up, so I walked my bike around the barricade and over the viaduct then rode the last couple of blocks to work.

Later I found out that two other cyclists had just ridden on past the barricade and been stopped by the police and ticketed.

I do try to obey all the vehicular laws when I cycle; not just to stay out of trouble, but because it's sensible, and also because I want to set a good example if possible.

I wish the police would stop and at least lecture those cyclists that persist in riding on the wrong side of the street! I've never seen this happen.

On the other hand, I've seen police bike patrols riding on sidewalks--which is a violation of traffic laws. Talk about setting a good example....
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Old 04-23-01, 12:21 PM   #24
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Originally posted by JonR
I wish the police would stop and at least lecture those cyclists that persist in riding on the wrong side of the street! I've never seen this happen.
I wish people who ride in the wrong direction on a bike
would learn that they are multiplying their chances of
getting wiped out. A car going 45 mph., rear-ending a cyclist going 20 mph, is like a car going 25 mph. hitting a stationary cyclist, and is unlikely to happen because the reaction time for the motorist is very adequate, at least to slow down to 35 mph.

A car going 25 mph., hitting a cyclist head-on who is going 20 mph, can be like a car hitting a cyclist at 45 mph. because a bike has so little mass to offset the collision. And since the combined speed is 45 mph., the reaction times are very short for making an avoidance maneuver.

Going back to police stopping vehicles, I would like to see police stop ANYONE for speeding where I live. Everyone complains that there are too many car crashes at ridiculous speeds, but they don't put 2 and 2 together. The reason there are so many high-speed fatalities in cars is because police do not enforce the speed limits until cars are going 80 - 100 mph on the freeway. This creates an atmosphere of lawlessness. Any schoolteacher can attest to that principle in the classroom, that if you let just one big mouth take control, you may lose the whole class.

Don't get me wrong. I struggle with criticizing police for anything, especially because of how much they risk for the measly pay they get! But someone is responsible for this deadly policy of turning a blind eye to speeders who routinely go 20 mph. over the limit. This is blatent
disregard for cyclists' rights, since it assumes that only cars will be involved in accidents. But just a 10 mph.
difference at impact with a cyclist can mean the diffference between a visit to the hospital emergency room and a visit to a gravesite.

Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-23-01 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 04-23-01, 07:20 PM   #25
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Couldn't have said it better (or as well, even) myself. Thank you!

I'm pro-police generally, in part because I worked as a civilian employee with the Kansas City (MO) police for seven years and not only got over my pre-existing fear of the cops that way, but found out that they are, by and large, an admirably level-headed, cooperative, and even compassionate group of people. Of course there are exceptions, but there are bad doctors, bad priests, etc., too.

But like you, I feel the police are not diligent enough about enforcing laws that exist for a good reason, such as speeding laws, or the law that says Thou Shalt Not Run A Red Light (I see this happen many times a day now, and it used to be very rare).

You know what I've found to be the biggest danger to me as a cyclist, though? Pedestrians who are blind to approaching bikes.
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