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Old 05-15-08, 06:14 PM   #1
Bekologist
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Should cities plan for elite trained bike riders or members of the general public?

In design of public space, should communities consider design for 'trained' street cyclists or members of the general public?

In other words, should cities plan for trips to be taken only by LCI-trained cyclists - 'every lane is a bike lane', or plan for anyone of the general public that wants to hop on a bike? is it possible to design for both?
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Old 05-15-08, 06:35 PM   #2
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My knee jerk reaction is to plan for trained cyclists, and put more effect into training non-trained hop-on-bikers.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:08 PM   #3
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I would say cities should plan their designed around the lowest common denominator. I would love to see areas be safe enough for kids to ride their bikes to school again.

Serious cyclists should plan to get "trained" so that they are not constrained to only the areas designed for cyclists (it would suck to only be able to bike up and down the one road with a bike lane...)

Now I don't necessarily mean that all cyclists need to take some training class either. Many of us (me included) learned on our own. Others with a greater fear of traffic etc might benefit from some sort of formal training.

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Old 05-15-08, 07:09 PM   #4
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Both use the same thing.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:09 PM   #5
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Old 05-15-08, 07:15 PM   #6
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In design of public space, should communities consider design for 'trained' street cyclists or members of the general public?

In other words, should cities plan for trips to be taken only by LCI-trained cyclists - 'every lane is a bike lane', or plan for anyone of the general public that wants to hop on a bike? is it possible to design for both?
Well, the road system and our system of licensing drivers at least assures us of some minimal training for that set of road users... is it too much to expect at least minimal training for other road users?

Granted, drivers are "piloting" vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds, and have a potential for damage to others... and as someone eloquently once put it: Should I need a license to move about under my own power?

Further, as most cyclists are indeed drivers (at least in the US) are they not already minimally trained?

Forester et. al. would have us believe that only "elite" trained cyclists should be on the road... seeking to move at their highest possible speed. But the reality is that one need not seek speed to accomplish transportation... we don't for instance run everywhere we might walk...
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Old 05-15-08, 07:21 PM   #7
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If "designing for members of the general public" means what I think it means, including meandering, jogger-clogged paths, right-hook and left-cross opportunities at every intersection, a maximum safe speed of 10mph, etc., I want no part of it. If "designing for members of the general public" means traffic calming of or bypasses around high-speed free merges, diverges, and unions, count me in. If "designing for members of the general public" includes lateral separation (wide smooth shoulders, wide outer lanes, bike lanes, etc.) on prime arterials, count me in. If "designing for members of the general public" includes bike lanes or bike boxes to the right of right-turn-only or right-turn-optional lanes at intersections, get me out of here.

You are creating a dichotomy which is not universally true. When the City of Solana Beach built a MUP between Coast Highway 101 and the railroad, they originally intended for it to replace the Class II bike lane. Fortunately, true cycling advocates prevailed, and we kept our Class II and got the Class I next to it. This is the ideal solution, but of course it takes up a fair bit of real estate.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:20 PM   #8
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The general public seems likely to be traveling by a mix of micro cars, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles. Cities should be planning for that mix on the roads by education and design.

The "general public" pretty soon picks up speed and skills when using a bicycle all the time.

The "elite" cyclists (who are they? am I they? I gotz a funny plastic bike?) don't need design and planning any more than the general public. Design good, functional, simple, easily understood, and well marked roads. Educate people to use them. Work to create an ethic of cooperation and safety, rather than the ethic of me me me want my cell phone it's my road that our ads and culture currently seem to promote.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:40 PM   #9
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Most of the general public doesn't ride. Some of the general public rides on the left and/or sidewalks, inventing nameless and often dangerous impromptu maneuvers to get out of the pickles that inevitably result. Others ride more or less properly but haven't yet learned the dangers of passing on the right, riding too close to curbs and parked cars, taking left turns from the right side of the street, running lights and stop signs, etc. So I think that designing public space to accommodate the general public plopped onto bikes would have to mean designing it to exclude all other vehicular traffic and pedestrians. Not really feasible.

On the other hand, keeping in mind the needs of experienced vehicular-style cyclists when designing roads and streets might just encourage more of the public to ride bikes, and do it in a safe and competent fashion. Mainly this means making lanes wide enough for the anticipated traffic speed and volume, traffic-calming when necessary, and avoiding the freeway-style multi-lane monsters with lots of on and off-ramps that encourage motorists to swerve around a lot and take turns at high speeds. Fewer potholes might help too.
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Old 05-15-08, 11:49 PM   #10
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both
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Old 05-16-08, 04:25 AM   #11
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I thought I was part of the general public. I happen to be part of the obey traffic laws general public, which seems to annoy a certain small but visible part of the jerk public.

The part of the "general public" that doesn't use bicycles on the road appropriately just needs education and a bit of reminding of what to do when encountering a bicycle and what to do when they ride one.

I don't have any problem with segregated facilities for actually riding. I'd like a design speed of at least 15 mph etc. I wouldn't mind highway funds going into that type of corridor. Just like I don't have problems with highway funds going into HOV lanes. Think of it as building low, human-powered lanes. I don't even have a problem sharing those lanes with 49 cc scooters limited to 35 mph.

I don't have a problem with MUPs so long as they're designed rather than simply wedged into inappropriate places creating needless hazards. I do have a problem funding these with highway moneys.

But I still believe that simply making our existing roadways appropriate for all users is a better use of funds. WOL and the like.
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Old 05-16-08, 02:07 PM   #12
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sure you can design for both.
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Old 05-16-08, 02:15 PM   #13
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I do have a problem funding these with highway moneys.
Why?

Highway funds came out of the general tax revue that we all, cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, alike "contribute" to, through our income taxes... why can't transportation funds be used for any and all forms of transportation?

Gas tax does not build highways... contrary to commonly held beliefs. Gas tax does tend to go to maintenance of highways... but it takes a lot more money to build a freeway.
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Old 05-16-08, 02:18 PM   #14
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If "designing for members of the general public" means traffic calming of or bypasses around high-speed free merges, diverges, and unions, count me in. If "designing for members of the general public" includes lateral separation (wide smooth shoulders, wide outer lanes, bike lanes, etc.) on prime arterials, count me in.



Designing for the general public means including all of us when envisioning public road designs... not just "race car" freeway drivers.
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Old 05-16-08, 03:37 PM   #15
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Seeing as I have no formal training as a cyclist, and I have not found a road yet that I can't figure out how to ride a bicycle on, I don't think roads need much redesigning. I think a lot of attitudes need adjusting though. Sucks that it's so much harder to make that happen than it is to paint lines.
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Old 05-16-08, 03:38 PM   #16
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I'm a trained rider. I know how to do "fearsomely difficult" things like signal turns, stop at stop signs and use turn lanes (along with a variety of more advanced skills). I am not "elite" as nothing I do on a bike is particularly difficult, and it's not done at great speed. Elite and trained don't automatically go together. I *am* a member of the general public (have driver's license, am native citizen of my country etc).

I find road design tends to be pretty careless about pedestrian safety, particularly for pedestrians with various disabilities. As I walk a lot and have some minor disabilities, this displeases me. I find road design tends to be pretty careless of driver safety. I don't drive much anymore, but this still displeases me as many people drive. Also, road designs and rules tend to encourage careless driving, which is not a good idea at all.

Bike facilities in Madison demonstrate thoughtful solutions in some places, and really moronic design in others. The net effect is pretty good for me, but I am trained. Since an untrained individual doesn't know what to do with half the facilities, they have much more trouble. It's pretty common to see an adult ride down the sidewalk traveling in the same direction as a good bike lane (no parking permitted on that side of the street, no bus traffic, no directives to get right hooked, no tire hazards, no idiot drivers using it for standing). If I'm a pedestrian, I get annoyed since this means I got buzzed by someone on a bike. If I'm on my bike (in the bike lane), I get annoyed because of all the pedestrians getting buzzed who don't deserve it. It's also common to see cyclists riding the wrong way on bike paths.

Cyclists aren't the only ones I see making mistakes on the roads. I see plenty of drivers and pedestrians make mistakes as well. So far, I've always had time to stop before someone else's mistake became my medical problem.
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Old 05-16-08, 04:48 PM   #17
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Why?

Highway funds came out of the general tax revue that we all, cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, alike "contribute" to, through our income taxes... why can't transportation funds be used for any and all forms of transportation?

Gas tax does not build highways... contrary to commonly held beliefs. Gas tax does tend to go to maintenance of highways... but it takes a lot more money to build a freeway.
I have a problem with funds earmarked for highways going to recreational facilities in general. Not roads through recreational facilities, but the facilities themselves. MUPs seem to be recreational facilities. At least the ones I've seen.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:10 PM   #18
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I have a problem with funds earmarked for highways going to recreational facilities in general. Not roads through recreational facilities, but the facilities themselves. MUPs seem to be recreational facilities. At least the ones I've seen.
Excuse me... recreational facilities??? RECREATIONAL FACILITIES???

Where in the heck do you get the idea that driving a bike to work or to shopping or to where ever is recreation? Next you'll be telling me that bicycles are toys...


Perhaps the problem with your local MUPs is that they ARE recreational facilities... designed by parks departments. Perhaps it is high time that well designed bicycle facilities are built... for transportation.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:12 PM   #19
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My knee jerk reaction is to plan for trained cyclists, and put more effect into training non-trained hop-on-bikers.
+1

But then again I think drivers should be trained....
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Old 05-16-08, 06:12 PM   #20
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Seeing as I have no formal training as a cyclist, and I have not found a road yet that I can't figure out how to ride a bicycle on, I don't think roads need much redesigning. I think a lot of attitudes need adjusting though. Sucks that it's so much harder to make that happen than it is to paint lines.
OK start with the motorists... as frankly I have no problem riding on any road anywhere. But motorists have problems with me and my fellow cyclists being there...

No paint needed... just a realization that cyclists have rights to the road to use them in the same manner as anyone else needing to go somewhere.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:42 PM   #21
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Excuse me... recreational facilities??? RECREATIONAL FACILITIES???

Where in the heck do you get the idea that driving a bike to work or to shopping or to where ever is recreation? Next you'll be telling me that bicycles are toys...


Perhaps the problem with your local MUPs is that they ARE recreational facilities... designed by parks departments. Perhaps it is high time that well designed bicycle facilities are built... for transportation.
That's the exact situation with the MUPs I've seen here in Maryville & Lenoir City, and with the ones in Knoxville. At least the ones in Knoxville go somewhere. But they're mainly full of a quite dangerous mix of "traffic" and weren't apparently conceived of as realistic commuting alternatives.

So that's where I get that ridiculous idea.

As you point out, well designed bicycle facilities should be built for transportation. I've just not seen that.

And please don't be such a pompous dick in the future. Raises my hackles. Just make your point and move on without shouting and other such bullcrap.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:59 PM   #22
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What's "elite". There are probably less than a hundred "elite" cyclists on the entire continent. Ok, let's say a few thousand. The rest are all at various different skill or enthusiast levels among the general public. Just because a person with cash to burn buys an "elite" super monocoque carbon fibre road bike a week ago and reads a few bike forums doesn't make the person elite. So who do you think municipalities should consider in their bicycle plans? If you happen to be "elite", well then you can probably take care of yourself on the roads anyway.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
In design of public space, should communities consider design for 'trained' street cyclists or members of the general public?

In other words, should cities plan for trips to be taken only by LCI-trained cyclists - 'every lane is a bike lane', or plan for anyone of the general public that wants to hop on a bike? is it possible to design for both?
Cities should plan for all possibilities, and so should cyclists. So should drivers, when they see me riding in the center of the right lane parallel to an adjacent bike path.

Excellent question, BTW.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:17 PM   #24
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If you happen to be "elite", well then you can probably take care of yourself on the roads anyway.
That's my belief, that design for all bicyclists would include all skill levels, but the elite can take care of themselves. problem lies when the elite deny the members of the general public thoughful, considerate design of public space for different types of user - pedestrian, cyclists, joggers, low powered mobility devices, and gas powered devices including automobiles.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:44 PM   #25
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Lower speed limits. Draconian enforcement.
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