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  1. #1
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Thunderhead Alliance 2007 Benchmarking Report

    Have you guys seen this yet? Thoughts?
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  2. #2
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    a lot to digest in one sitting....
    I see FL appears to be very unsafe from
    a statistical point of view but they are one of the 25
    with a complete city/state bike facility policy.
    But, the first paragraph pretty much sums up the USA
    investment in cycling where it explains how far behind other
    industrial nations in alt. trans / cycling.
    Im gonna make some coffee read more this evening.

  3. #3
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Have you guys seen this yet? Thoughts?
    Haven't DL'd the whole works yet, but I've seen excerpts.
    Will do though, as I think I'll discuss it at our bike council meeting next month.

  4. #4
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Pretty intense report. I hope they continue the studies to show rate of change over time.

    Although the data were hardly conclusive, there does appear to be some connections between facilities and increased ridership and between increased ridership and health.

    There also appears to be disproportionate numbers between fatalities and transit mode, and between funding and transit mode.

    And apparently there is a decline in general cycling by population since the '60's.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Have you guys seen this yet? Thoughts?

    Here is the reply by John Forester http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group.../message/23482


    Simply amazing, with this insight from Forester...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    No correlation was found between proportion of commuting cyclists and
    temperatures. High residential density is correlated with high share
    of commuting cyclists. The paper suggests that this is because
    distances are shorter, but it neglects the other typical fact that
    motoring is much less convenient in places with high residential
    density, which also typically have high commercial density. The
    authors cautiously suggest that high density of bicycle facilities
    (miles of bikeway per square mile of city) is correlated with higher
    commuting cyclist mode share. Oh, yes, cities with higher rates of
    cycling and walking have lower rates of car ownership. Sort of
    obvious, isn't it? And cities with much cycling have lower cyclist
    fatality rates and higher amounts of advocacy personnel and funding.
    And, would you believe it, bicycle shops are in greater density in
    cities that have more cycling!

    A place like San Diego should then have 4 x the cycling community as a place like Oulu Finland... So much for his absurd logic.

    Perhaps Forester et. al. should try spending some cycling time in places like Portland, Holland or Finland.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Have you guys seen this yet? Thoughts?
    I saw that last week and immediately downloaded it. So I have it on my hard disk.
    It took so long to download, I would rather have it on my hard disk for future reference, rather than download it again.

    It's freaking 118 pages, in pdf.

    I haven't had time to read the whole thing.

  7. #7
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Here is the reply by John Forester http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group.../message/23482


    Simply amazing, with this insight from Forester...

    So, is he suggesting that "build it and they will come" is working?
    Harder for cars to get around = more cycling and walking?
    And that weather doesn't really play a role, as we hear in the A&S arguments that if the world was flat and the weather perfect everyone would give up their cars, but we have to drive our elderly and disabled to the mall in rain, snow, hail, earthquakes over mountains so we still need our development patterns to favor the car...

    More cyclists = more bike shops = more 'facilities' = more advocacy personnel = more cyclists? A horrible and vicious cycle that will put more 'butts on bikes'?

    Not sure what his point is, and I don't want to turn this into a JF debate...
    But I think its clear that the more cyclists on the roads and paths, the more we'll see, and the more community design is planned to honor more than the autocentric mode of travel, the more walking and cycling and buses we'll see as well. The road is a public right of way. That means the public has a right to make their way on it. Mode choice should be designed into these rights of way. Despite JF's fantasies about the supremacy of automotive travel - laws and guidelines and markings and advocacy should be designed for humans to move about, with choice of how we do it, from bus to car to bike to buggy to scooter.

    The man does have his moments though, this is brilliant:

    Quote Originally Posted by JF
    Nobody has been able to design a useful road system that is
    safely used by both users who obey the rules of the road and users
    who do not obey the rules of the road.
    And I have to agree with the man on that.
    Last edited by bmike; 09-18-07 at 09:49 AM.

  8. #8
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Pretty intense report. I hope they continue the studies to show rate of change over time.

    Although the data were hardly conclusive, there does appear to be some connections between facilities and increased ridership and between increased ridership and health.

    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    There also appears to be disproportionate numbers between fatalities and transit mode, and between funding and transit mode.

    And apparently there is a decline in general cycling by population since the '60's.
    Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the bikeway effort began in the late '60s.

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Amazing, so cycling does not improve health???

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the bikeway effort began in the late '60s.
    And has continued with such a half effort as to amount to nothing overall.

    But then there is always this response which you offered:


    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.
    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Meanwhile, one has to ask how much asphalt has been added to "relieve congestion" on American Freeways? And to what end?

  10. #10
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    more walking and cycling and buses
    Amazing, so cycling does not improve health???
    Huh?
    Just because correlation does not imply causation does not mean there definitely is no causation when there is correlation. It's just that correlation alone does not necessarily imply there is causation. That's what "correlation does not imply causation" means.

    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    And has continued with such a half effort as to amount to nothing overall.
    Gene, there are cities where significant efforts in the areas of cycling specific facilities have been made, including Davis and Palm Springs. No where has there been an increase in bike usage as a result of these significant efforts.

    There have been other measures taken, such as in Portland, where either purposefully or accidentally car usage has been made more problematic and/or costly, in which use of other modes, including bike usage, has increased.

    Do not confuse the presence of excellent facilities in places with high bike usage as a significant cause of the high usage.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 09-18-07 at 12:04 PM.

  11. #11
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    So, is he suggesting that "build it and they will come" is working?
    No.


    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Harder for cars to get around = more cycling and walking?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    And that weather doesn't really play a role, ...
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    More cyclists = more bike shops = more 'facilities' = more advocacy personnel = more cyclists? A horrible and vicious cycle that will put more 'butts on bikes'?
    Huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Not sure what his point is,
    His point is that there is no evidence that building cycling specific facilities in a given area increase the use of bicycles in that area.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    But I think its clear that the more cyclists on the roads and paths, the more we'll see, and the more community design is planned to honor more than the autocentric mode of travel, the more walking and cycling and buses we'll see as well.
    It is certainly true that "the more cyclists on the roads and paths, the more we'll see", and may then lead to "the more community design is planned to honor more than the autocentric mode of travel". This is in fact the story of Davis, where because the usage was in the 22-25% range in the 60s, there was "more community design" planned and implemented "to honor more" of such travel. But now, after 30 years of such planning and implementation, the usage is down to 17%. So there is no evidence that once you have more community design planned and implemented for "more than the autocentric mode of travel", that you will see even "more walking and cycling and buses".

    It may not be intuitive, but "built it and they will come" does not appear to be true for bicycling facilities.

  12. #12
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    Do not confuse the presence of excellent facilities in places with high bike usage as a significant cause of the high usage.

    This goes against most traffic engineering logic. The more you build, the more traffic you generate.

    I'll agree that the facilities themselves may not cause more ridership... but the associated efforts that go along with them, advocacy, public awareness, local culture, etc etc all feed into this.

    Cars captured the imagination of folks - open roads, 'freedom' of mobility, etc. If bikes were perceived in similar ways - easy to use, safe for getting to school or the grocery store, freedom of mobility, and riding on an open road free of traffic... you might see a similar response.

    Jam up bikes and cars and sprawl and its no wonder usage drops.
    What has been the pop increase in Davis? How much does sprawl play into the drop in ridership? Rising income and the perception that a car is status and 'easier', and a bike is unsafe and cheap?

    I'm all for riding on the road, on the path, and on the trail. Build it and they will come - safe roads, respect from drivers, bike lanes, wide outside lanes, dedicated paths, racks on buses, racks on trains, incentives to get out of cars...
    Last edited by bmike; 09-18-07 at 12:09 PM.

  13. #13
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    His point is that there is no evidence that building cycling specific facilities in a given area increase the use of bicycles in that area.
    I'd argue that there is no evidence that riding / learning / teaching VC will increase the use of bicycles in that area.

  14. #14
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    So, back on topic.
    I've gotten through some of the report and am interested in what other comments BF posters have about it.

  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    It may not be intuitive, but "built it and they will come" does not appear to be true for bicycling facilities.
    Perhaps it is more true that if you build it poorly, then don't expect any response.

    Now I have never been to Davis, so I have no idea what about the facilities there. But my understanding is that the area is fairly flat, so therefore should work well with Holland or Finland type facilities.

    On the other hand, facilities in Oregon (in some places) are quite nice, and they reportedly have a high ridership there. Continuing to hold up Davis as the only example sure does do your argument much good when other areas do report increased ridership. I don't believe the whole "Davis story" is being told.

  16. #16
    Member bike monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    It may not be intuitive, but "built it and they will come" does not appear to be true for bicycling facilities.
    Talking about it on this forum doesn't help get more people riding bike either...

    I didn't start riding to work until I found a way to get to work on bike paths, bike lanes, and residential streets. So, it worked for me and I'm the one that matters most to me
    "We must be the change we wish to see in the world"

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    I'd argue that there is no evidence that riding / learning / teaching VC will increase the use of bicycles in that area.
    There is no evidence that riding / learning / teaching VC will increase or decrease anything in any measurable degree.

  18. #18
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Do not confuse the presence of excellent facilities in places with high bike usage as a significant cause of the high usage.
    This goes against most traffic engineering logic. The more you build, the more traffic you generate.
    It is well known that increasing high speed freeway capacity encourages urban sprawl. There is plenty of evidence of that. It does not necessarily follow that building bike paths encourages bike usage. There is no evidence of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    I'll agree that the facilities themselves may not cause more ridership... but the associated efforts that go along with them, advocacy, public awareness, local culture, etc etc all feed into this.
    Maybe. That's probably what happened in Portland. But if the goal is to increase bike usage, the lesson should be to focus on the other stuff, not on the facilities themselves. Facilities and bicycling advocacy are not tied at the hip.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Cars captured the imagination of folks - open roads, 'freedom' of mobility, etc. If bikes were perceived in similar ways - easy to use, safe for getting to school or the grocery store, freedom of mobility, and riding on an open road free of traffic... you might see a similar response.
    Yes, you might see a similar response, but only by the anything is possible principle. The evidence however is that there is a relatively small percentage of the population that will use bicycles no matter what (that's us), and facilities and advocacy can't really affect that number. The rest will only use bicycles if motoring is significantly problematic (economically or practically).


    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Jam up bikes and cars and sprawl and its no wonder usage drops.
    What has been the pop increase in Davis? How much does sprawl play into the drop in ridership? Rising income and the perception that a car is status and 'easier', and a bike is unsafe and cheap?
    I don't know. Everyone in Davis in the 60s went through the love affair with the car decade of the 50s, and yet bike ridership was still in the 22-25% in the 60s. Yes, the university and the population has grown since then, but so has the cycling infrastructure. It went from nothing in the 60s to the supposed "platinum 'bike friendly' standard" today. I was there a couple of months ago, and quite a few bicyclists were visible, but about half were riding on the wrong side of the road (against traffic). That's another problem with too much infrastructure - it creates an aura of carelessness in the bicyclists. Perhaps I digress.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    I'm all for riding on the road, on the path, and on the trail. Build it and they will come - safe roads, respect from drivers, bike lanes, wide outside lanes, dedicated paths, racks on buses, racks on trains, incentives to get out of cars...
    I don't know of any reason to believe that "incentives to get out of cars" (your list) work to increase bike usage.

    What does seem to work are disincentives to using cars: traffic congestion, high gas prices, limited availability of convenient/affordable parking facilities, etc.

  19. #19
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    I'd argue that there is no evidence that riding / learning / teaching VC will increase the use of bicycles in that area.
    I'd argue that too. So would Forester. What does this have to do with VC? This is not the VC subforum.

  20. #20
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I think it was Howard Hawks (maybe) that produced a script for a new movie he was directing to John Wayne. Wayne's response was sort of, "You don't need me to read the script, we did this last time."

    No worries

  21. #21
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Here is the reply by John Forester http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group.../message/23482


    Simply amazing, with this insight from Forester...




    A place like San Diego should then have 4 x the cycling community as a place like Oulu Finland... So much for his absurd logic.

    Perhaps Forester et. al. should try spending some cycling time in places like Portland, Holland or Finland.
    Gene, I also asked you this by email, and you have not responded.

    What has Forester written that would cause you to believe his logic would lead to the conclusion that a "place like San Diego should then have 4 x the cycling community as a place like Oulu Finland"? The only absurd logic here is yours.

  22. #22
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Gene, I also asked you this by email, and you have not responded.
    I have not responded as I only get that email at home... and I am not there right now... so please don't let your impatience guide you. I also get that email on my phone, but thanks to new roadrunner settings, I can't login and transmit from my phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post

    What has Forester written that would cause you to believe his logic would lead to the conclusion that a "place like San Diego should then have 4 x the cycling community as a place like Oulu Finland"? The only absurd logic here is yours.
    What Forester has written relates to the density of an area and how that effects cycling... Well San Diego has a density 4x greater than Oulu, so therefore we should have at least some greater density of cycling...

    Below is Forester's comment:
    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    The most persuasive relationship is that between high residential
    density and commuting cycling, for which the causal factors of
    shorter distances to travel and greater inconvenience of motoring are
    sufficient explanation. This means, of course, that if increasing the
    cycling volume were of highest priority, suburbia and the
    decentralized city would have to be demolished and cities would have
    to return to the style ante 1950.
    But the bicycle advocates have no
    plan, and have not the power, for accomplishing this; they merely
    dream their vision without realizing their impotence.

  23. #23
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    That's another problem with too much infrastructure - it creates an aura of carelessness in the bicyclists.
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Correlation does not imply causation
    Make up your mind.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  24. #24
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    or off to VC you go!

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