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Old 02-23-07, 03:22 PM   #1
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Move over vc, there's a new paradigm in town

Since the 70s the battle has raged between those who advocate 'vehicular cycling' - operating a bicycle as a vehicle, on the roadways, according to the rules and laws of the road, and those who advocate for bicycle-specific facilities, including bike lanes, bike paths, multi-use-paths, etc. During that time the amount of bicycle-specific facilities has grown and increased, but the thinking of vehicular cycling advocates remained the same, opposing such facilities and maintaining that the ONLY safe way to operate a bicycle is to adopt the vehicular cycling paradigm.

But vc advocates also readily admit that one can operate a bicycle as a pedestrian - using the rules of pedestrians while operating a bicycle in a pedestrian environment, ie. sidewalks. They also admit that many bicycle-specific facilities are not safe if one uses them and rides in the vc manner, as a user of the road. Based on this safety issue they have continued to oppose bicycle specific facilities, despite the fact that the vast majority of cyclists - the non-professionals - prefer those facilities rather than the road.

It is time to end this debate, which only fractures the cycling community as a whole and reduces our effectiveness in he public policy arena. Perhaps it is time that bicycling facility advocates stipulate that those facilities are not safe for vehicular cyclists, while vehicular cycling advocates stipulate that a great many riders do not wish to ride on the roadway as vehicles and prefer seperate facilities. Then, both sides should work together to identify, document and teach a new paradigm called BC - bicycle cycling (ok someone else will come up with a better name) - that will teach best practices when riding on bicycle specific facilities - a combination of vehicular cycling, pedestrian cycling, common sense and street smarts. A new paradigm that can coexist with both vehicular cycling and pedestrian cycling, giving cyclists a broader range of skill options to fit the riding environment that the feel the most comfortable with, while not threatening the existence of the others (which will require a unified vigilance when it comes to politicians).

Discuss...and this is NOT a vehicular cycling debate, nor a bike lane debate. The point of this thread, and others that hopefully follow, will be to identify best practices that allow cyclists to operate in a safe and efficient manner USING BICYCLE SPECIFIC FACILITIES, including paths, lanes and MUPs. Discussions of how to use the roadways can be discussed in the many vehicular cycling threads.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:34 PM   #2
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Just to add a few points. We all know that in order to get anywhere, cyclists must use the road at some point, in addition to any bike lanes, paths, MUPs or even sidewalks. This is NOT an attempt to debunk vehicular cycling on the roadways, it is an attempt to come up with a paradigm that can live WITH vehicular cycling that reflects the reality that a large majority of cyclists use, and perhaps even prefer, bicycle specific facilities. This thread is for those who are truly 'cycling' advocates, who want improve cycling as a whole, not just for one small group of cyclists. Bicycle-specific facilities are a reality that is not going away soon. Isn't it better to help cyclists who use them do so in a safe manner, rather than to just oppose them and write off those who use them as somehow less than serious cyclists?
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Old 02-23-07, 03:40 PM   #3
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Hmmm, quite interesting. Much more difficult problem than analyzing someone else.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand
Hmmm, quite interesting. Much more difficult problem than analyzing someone else.
Hopefully more constructive and useful than continuing a 30+ year old debate that is devoid of new ideas, innovation or creativity.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:47 PM   #5
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Chipcom, this is the best post I've read in A&S. I think you just won the whole forum. Congrats!
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Old 02-23-07, 03:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kemmer
Chipcom, this is the best post I've read in A&S. I think you just won the whole forum. Congrats!
It's only going to be as good as those who contribute. But I got this bug up my butt now, so if we can't accomplish anything here, I'll just write a book and proclaim myself as the new Lord Master!

I figure this initial thread is just brainstorming, to come up with a framework and some definitions that we can discuss at length in other threads and perhaps add to the wiki that will be part of this forum someday.

One thing I can guarantee, I will not tolerate any vc type debates...this is about the facilities, not about vc. Of course vc ideas are welcome, but only as they are applicable to improving cycling USING facilities.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:54 PM   #7
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I agree with Chip.

The City of Portland's Bicycle Master Plan is being updated and it seems like 'Bike Boulevards' are what's hottest here in PDX these days. Probably sharrows, too, now that it's been announced that the MUTCD will be adopting a sharrows standard. Significant funding for separated paths, as well. There's also been a lot of noise in the bike community regarding changing the stop sign laws to 'Idaho style', which requires an act of the legislature. Yet you'll still have to interact with traffic when crossing major arterials, crossing the river, going to any commercial destination or riding downtown.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by randya
I agree with Chip.

The City of Portland's Bicycle Master Plan is being updated and it seems like 'Bike Boulevards' are what's hottest here in PDX these days. Probably sharrows, too, now that it's been announced that the MUTCD will be adopting a sharrows standard. Significant funding for separated paths, as well. There's also been a lot of noise in the bike community regarding changing the stop sign laws to 'Idaho style', which requires an act of the legislature. Yet you'll still have to interact with traffic when crossing major arterials, crossing the river, going to any commercial destination or riding downtown.
Maybe a good place to start something like this would be to try to list and define all the different types of applicable facilities, then we can create threads for each to discuss the advantages, disadvantages and best riding practices to maximize the former and minimize the latter? I think all you Portland folks will be invaluable to this thing!
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Old 02-23-07, 03:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by chipcom
...both sides should work together...
Oh, you're just trying to take the fun out of these forums...


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Old 02-23-07, 04:01 PM   #10
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I'm not sure whats new and exciting here actually.
On the road BL or not, follow rules of the road (as Chip points out no need to discuss more)
On the sidewalk follow pedestrian rules (no need to discuss here)
On the Bike Path or MUP - contrary to never been discussed, it does come up regularly 'guidelines' include:
-watching speed, some even have limits posted. speed will be lower than road if as typical sightlines and manevering space is less
-stay right except to pass
-treat unorderly pedestrians like bad motorist treat cyclists on the road
-either drop to walking speed, pass with excessive clearance or call out well in advance of passing someone else and don't pass until they have responded and recovered
-communication
-courtesy
-shield/dim HID headlight on dark paths for oncoming cyclists

Al
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Old 02-23-07, 04:04 PM   #11
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Chip, you're basically saying there needs to be a happy medium? When riding on the roadways ride as a VC, when on a MUP, BL or other bicycle specific facilities do not ride as a VC but as conditions permit.

This is what I have been trying to advocate for all along in my community. Thankfully, most if not all cyclists do this already. Why it is differant in other communities I do not know. This is how I always ride. Common sense tells me I can go bombing down the MUP as I would on a roadway at 20 mph+.

I do not think the concept is a new one, maybe the name you assigned to it, I like it BTW, is.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:07 PM   #12
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as a name: "flexible cycling"?
"situational cycling"?
"adaptive cycling"? (the A would be like an upside-down V)
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Old 02-23-07, 04:10 PM   #13
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N_C, by George I think you got it! Of course it's how a lot of us already ride. The biggest problem vc advocates seem to have with facilities is the fact that they are not as safe, fast or efficient as riding on the road WHEN RIDING IN A VEHICULAR MANNER. So my thinking is fine...help us define the best practices for riding in those environments, rather than just opposing them, since admittedly vc isn't the best way to do so.

I gotta ride home...I'll check back on this thread later. (like anyone else is gonna futz around in here on a Friday night)
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Old 02-23-07, 04:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Hopefully more constructive and useful than continuing a 30+ year old debate that is devoid of new ideas, innovation or creativity.
Hah! Well, I will give it a try. Then everyone will see why stinkers I can produce!
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Old 02-23-07, 04:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by comradehoser
as a name: "flexible cycling"?
"situational cycling"?
"adaptive cycling"? (the A would be like an upside-down V)
I like 'adaptive cycling'! It defines the concept perfectly in just two words.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:16 PM   #16
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A C

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Old 02-23-07, 04:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
I'm not sure whats new and exciting here actually.
On the road BL or not, follow rules of the road (as Chip points out no need to discuss more)
On the sidewalk follow pedestrian rules (no need to discuss here)
On the Bike Path or MUP - contrary to never been discussed, it does come up regularly 'guidelines' include:
-watching speed, some even have limits posted. speed will be lower than road if as typical sightlines and manevering space is less
-stay right except to pass
-treat unorderly pedestrians like bad motorist treat cyclists on the road
-either drop to walking speed, pass with excessive clearance or call out well in advance of passing someone else and don't pass until they have responded and recovered
-communication
-courtesy
-shield/dim HID headlight on dark paths for oncoming cyclists

Al

what's new and exciting about vc, Al? Of course it's nothing new...but everybody spends their time debating vc rather than defining best practices how to ride in non-road situations.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya
... Probably sharrows, too, now that it's been announced that the MUTCD will be adopting a sharrows standard.
It has? Do you have a citation? I just searched the MUTCD site for sharrows and turned up nothing.

We are interested in trying sharrows here in Portland Maine, but are hampered by the fact that they aren't in any of official standards documents, making the city engineers skeptical.

Also, our state Bike/Ped coordinator seems to have never heard of them!

(Sorry for the temporary thread hikack, chip! I though about sending a private message but then decided others might want to know, too.)
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Old 02-23-07, 04:24 PM   #19
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It has? Do you have a citation? I just searched the MUTCD site for sharrows and turned up nothing.

We are interested in trying sharrows here in Portland Maine, but are hampered by the fact that they aren't in any of official standards documents, making the city engineers skeptical.

Also, our state Bike/Ped coordinator seems to have never heard of them!
All I heard was that there has been a favorable committee / council (?) vote to include it in the next edition, so it probably hasn't been published yet.

The best documentation of/for sharrows is the San Francisco study, it shouldn't be too hard to find on the web. Portland has had the same problem, the city traffic engineer is totally risk averse and won't allow anything but a small test of sharrows until there is a national standard.

Here's the link, new web location:
http://www.sfmta.com/cms/bproj/22747.html

Last edited by randya; 02-23-07 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:26 PM   #20
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I ride as vehicularily as the head VC honcho in here, AND I know how to use a bike lane safely!

is that too advanced for some to grasp?
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Old 02-23-07, 04:27 PM   #21
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Some places in Oregon have sharrows now. I was in Corvallis last Friday and there were sharrows all over the place downtown.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:37 PM   #22
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"practical cycling"?

are you trying to come up with a bicycle code of the road(s), a manifesto, or a strategy for cycle planning? or all three?

I've always thought the strong suit of bicycles as opposed to cars has been their adaptability to different conditions: road to trail to sidewalk; they can behave as vehicles, pedestrians, and sometimes mountain goats (not the pooping part, though).

One could argue that cyclists hold rights *and responsibilities* that may change with context, and may not ever resolve into a neat binary of "right" and "wrong" ways. Isn't this kind of what Hurst argues? (haven't read him)

Regardless of what is "new and exciting" in chip's proposal, out of all the mire of debate I've been lurking over in the past week (months?), this is the closest to redemption the advocacy forum has gotten. Constructive, consensus-building posts? I think somebody must be off their meds.

Kudos, chip.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:41 PM   #23
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great thread! Certainly different bike facilities require slightly different parameters depending on their design and even the time of day and year.

My name for this was "Improvisational Cycling" but, hey, a good improviser will say, "Yes!" to anything so call it what you want.

I use a long MUP called the Ashuwilltocook Trail in the Berkshires as part of an 80 mile training loop I do on my road bike. If I leave early enough in the morning I'll pretty much be one of the only ones on it on a weekday morning before 9 am. In that case, I can average 20+ and have stretches where I'll be cruising along at 25 mph for a mile or two just as I would on road. It's only about a dozen miles or so of the 80 mile ride but it makes for a pleasant alternative to some otherwise not too bad roads that run parallel. I'll take the roads or slow way down if the MUP is crowded.

On my daily commute, however, I'm on the MDC bike path/MUP, which depending on time of year and weather can be mobbed and at that time a top speed of 15 mph would be pushing the limit. But in that case I'm on my bomber commuter, with a bell and ready to gear way down and mosey along if need be or I'll just hop on the roads and travel that way if I'm in a big hurry.

A bell is nice on a bike path but you don't want to overuse it. A give a light little "ding" as I approach a pedestrian, jogger, skater or other cyclist and maybe a second just as I'm overtaking so they know I'm there. I save the big ringing for oncoming cyclists, joggers etc... who can't see me despite my bright orange shirt, lights at night, reflectors etc... and seem to run or ride right at me as if I'm invisible.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:44 PM   #24
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adaptive cycling...

or dialectical cycling... (emphasizing the constant interchange between principles (thesis) and context (antithesis) to form new cycling practises)

AC/DC, if you will...
okay, the D part sucks, maybe. somebody find me a replacement so the acronym can be AC/DC. That's all that matters.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comradehoser
"practical cycling"?
Didn't I start that one??!! (look at the title)

I think Chip's idea for a thread is better than mine. I was asking the impossible. Chip just wants to know specifics of cycling in on-road facilities. It seems undeniable that one has to compromise when cycling in certain environments, like the sidepath we were discussing in a recent thread. I think the idea here is to lay out these compromises for all to see. That way we make an informative choice based on actual information rather than a strict "for or against" retorical position.
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