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Old 12-05-06, 01:27 PM   #1
indygreg
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bike paths/fitness trails

what is the general thought on this?

Example - here on the North side of Indy there is a road called Hazel Dell. It is two lane each way with a large grassy median in the middle. There is a square edge curb (about 8") on both sides. Speed limit is 45 with 55 being normal. There are roundabouts.

along both sides of the road there is a paved path that is about 8 foot wide. Before I biked I my POV is that a biker should be on the path. Now that I bike I can see the other side - we have rights to the road and the road allows for a better ride (largely due to roundabouts, the path takes a much wider turn with some 90* turns. As a runner the path is perfect, so that tainted my views.

If nothing else, I think we have to accept that in those situations the average person probably thinks the biker should be on the path.
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Old 12-05-06, 01:29 PM   #2
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FWIW, at this point I would probably take the path as the choice between 50mph cars and a hard curb (no ability to ride off the road without a good wipeout) is more than I am comfy with - as a n00b. I am also not all that fast, so slowing down on the path from time to time is not a deal breaker.
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Old 12-05-06, 01:32 PM   #3
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I realize that many cyclists and perhaps most motorists would say that bikes should use the path rather than the road. Personally, I prefer the road to the path, for a number of reasons, including safety, efficiency, and even symbolism.

I'll ride on the road, thanks. Motorists don't have to like it, all they have to do is operate their vehicles safely and legally while I do the same.
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Old 12-05-06, 01:34 PM   #4
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Do you have a picture of how the path deals with intersections? Does it cross driveways or other minor intersections as well? Most of the backlash against these types of sidepaths is because of how they deal with intersections (usually routing cyclists just like a sidewalk would or worse, like forcing a cyclist to ride the wrong way through a right turn lane to get back onto the path) and the fact that they cross minor intersections placing fast moving cyclists in a spot where vehicles entering and exiting the roadway are not looking for them. If this path did none of the above then it's probably a better choice than the road assuming low path traffic and a clean smooth surface, but I doubt that's the case (and no, I'm not being picky just demonstrating how far superior the road usually is to "fitness paths").
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Old 12-05-06, 01:42 PM   #5
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If you have to enter intersections, or cross a lot of driveways, it is probably better (safer and faster) to take the street. People tend to underestimate the risks of crossing traffic and intersections--more likely to have a car-bike collision there than anywhere else, IMO.
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Old 12-05-06, 03:23 PM   #6
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The important thing is to realize that it's your choice.
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Old 12-05-06, 04:16 PM   #7
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The important thing is to realize that it's your choice.
But what do the motorists think? Will they be as 'tollerant' of a cyclist sharing the road if they are aware of a bike path adjacent?

Al
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Old 12-05-06, 04:32 PM   #8
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But what do the motorists think? Will they be as 'tollerant' of a cyclist sharing the road if they are aware of a bike path adjacent?

Al
Not always. How many times have you heard, "Get on the sidewalk!" They don't say it much when there is no sidewalk.
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Old 12-05-06, 04:33 PM   #9
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Motorists think bikes, buses, other cars shouldnt be in their road so they can go as fast as thier car is capable. I would prefer to ride on the road since with 2 lanes each way there is plenty of room for motor traffic to get past at 55 mph. However if I were riding with my wife at 8 mph we would go in the path as we could go side-by-side chatting as we cruise along. Other people might choose the path as they dont want to negotiate the roundabouts. Each person should be able to make their choice according to there priorities at that time.
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Old 12-05-06, 04:34 PM   #10
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I am not against separated bike paths, but I wish there was a way they could be present without any negative impact to cyclists or cyclist friendly roadway design for the adjacent road.
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Old 12-05-06, 05:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I am not against separated bike paths, but I wish there was a way they could be present without any negative impact to cyclists or cyclist friendly roadway design for the adjacent road.
I think that making trails through the city that are completely independant of roads is one way to go. In general, these trails should go diagonally across the street grid. One plan would be to have two trails, making a large "X" that connects opposite corners of the city. In this way, at least part of most bike trips could be completed on the trail, but the trail would never run adjacent to existing streets. (Larger cities would require more complex designs, but the diagonal orientation of the paths, relative to the existing street grid, should be preserved.)
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Old 12-05-06, 05:37 PM   #12
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Well, until I find a house and an office on the bike trail, I'm going to continue to use the city streets that my property and sales taxes paid for.
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Old 12-05-06, 09:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indygreg
what is the general thought on this?

Example - here on the North side of Indy there is a road called Hazel Dell. It is two lane each way with a large grassy median in the middle. There is a square edge curb (about 8") on both sides. Speed limit is 45 with 55 being normal. There are roundabouts.

along both sides of the road there is a paved path that is about 8 foot wide. Before I biked I my POV is that a biker should be on the path. Now that I bike I can see the other side - we have rights to the road and the road allows for a better ride (largely due to roundabouts, the path takes a much wider turn with some 90* turns. As a runner the path is perfect, so that tainted my views.

If nothing else, I think we have to accept that in those situations the average person probably thinks the biker should be on the path.

I ride a path pretty much like you described here daily on my commute. But on days when I'm running late or in a hurry I take an urban streets route but not on the road that runs parallel to the path because it has high speed traffic, no shoulder and basically would only serve to tick off drivers if I asserted myself and took my legal right to a lane.

I find paths like these pleasurable and more attractive than most streets and, though I am riding for transportation purposes, I'd like the experience to be as stress free and fun as possible. My suggestion is to look for an alternative to the path that is safe, direct and leaves less doubt in your mind about it's appropriateness as an every day ride and use that if the path is not to your liking.
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Old 12-05-06, 10:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
Well, until I find a house and an office on the bike trail, I'm going to continue to use the city streets that my property and sales taxes paid for.
I live on Route Verte °5, which stretches over several hundreds kilometers. I work at the end of a bike path... sort of. Lots of streets between the two though.

For Indygreg's question, I'd take the path. 8 feet just for yourself. Nice. Be careful at intersections. Search bike path threads so you'll read about every possible problems and avoid them easily.
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Old 12-06-06, 11:28 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Roody
Not always. How many times have you heard, "Get on the sidewalk!" They don't say it much when there is no sidewalk.
I hear “Get on the sidewalk” when there is no sidewalk and “Use the bike path” when there is no bike path within 5 miles and I hear “Get out of the road” when it’s just me and the car driver for alt least several thousand feet. There is something more to this then just adding an optional path for cyclists to travel on.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:17 PM   #16
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I would use the road.

I would only use the path if there were some compelling reason to not use the road, i.e., traffic jam, road construction that directs all traffic (both ways) to use a single lane, etc.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
But what do the motorists think? Will they be as 'tollerant' of a cyclist sharing the road if they are aware of a bike path adjacent?

Al
I recently had a motorist tell me "You belong over there," pointing to the path. I think the adjacent path can mislead some motorists into assuming that's where cyclists have to ride, but most of the time, nobody hassles me (even as strange as I look, taking the center of the right lane alongside a perfectly good path--one that runs alongside a RR track--when other cyclists are using the path.)

I just don't like dealing with "intersections," where the path meets a crossing road. They put in a crosswalk, then motorists typically block it with their cars. Use the path? Ok, then would you mind not blocking the crosswalk?

Another issue is that if I need to turn off the path to a sidestreet, often there is no exit. I would have to jump the high curb--a definite no-no on my recumbent, and a bad choice for me on any bike.

And yet, the path makes lots of cyclists happy, so I'm fine with that, as long as I can keep riding where I always have since long before the built the path.
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