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Old 01-04-09, 08:17 PM   #1
EatMyA**
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Laws that restrict cyclists not the answer?

I am asking in response to this post (wich got me thinking) made in another thread. Since the question is off topic for that thread, I thought I would start a new one.

The other thread was about hate and violent behaviour towards cyclists in general Transference of general anti-bicycle rage? . here is the post and my reply:

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Originally Posted by mike View Post
IF bicycling really does take off in great numbers, we will see a lot more frustration from automobile drivers and I am sure we will see new laws put in place to restrict bicycle use on roads.

Even as a bicyclist and a bicycle enthusiast, bicycles can be a nuisance when I am driving a car. Even the best bicyclists take up space and go slower than cars.

Hopefully, cars will get smaller and take up less space, making more room on the roads for bicycles and automobiles.
I dont think a solution is cars getting smaller.

How about we drop the speed limits down to what they really are in city streets? 15-25mph.

I mean sure cars can go 95mph+ but on city streets thanks to traffic lights, off ramps, left and right turns, cross walks, after you factor in starting and stopping. 15-25mph is your average. And I think its closer to 12mph in my observation. I am not talking about highways or freeways, but I'am only suggesting the city roads which are where most of these altercations and frustations occur.

YOU wouldn't hit so many reds, would arrive to your destination at the same time, and in a MUCH more safer manner. bicycles then, would only be a minor nuisance, if at all. anyone can do 15mph on a bike, and good cyclists can do 25.

Plus think how safe you and your family would be driving 25mph. think of the children. ok that was sarcastic but SAFETY can be a selling point. And the Insurance companies (wich have a HUGE influence in these matters) could make it mandatory and make it happen wheter the voter likes it or not, by leaning on our politicians (like they love to do). Just like they did with the SEAT BELT laws, and motorcycle helmet laws. With the excuse of SAVING LIVES (wich really means saving money for them in the form of less claims).

I admit I have not really thought this through yet, so it might be a stupid idea. IF so let me know why.

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Old 01-04-09, 08:19 PM   #2
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don't be fooled by mike, mike isn't a cyclist, he's a motorist who occasionally rides a bike
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Old 01-04-09, 08:23 PM   #3
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don't be fooled by mike, mike isn't a cyclist, he's a motorist who occasionally rides a bike
he he he's still a decent guy.
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Old 01-04-09, 09:13 PM   #4
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Mike has wisdom that goes far beyond that of us mere mortals. Only a true genius would notice that "even the best cyclists take up space and go slower than cars". I've been pig ignorant of these facts all my life and now I am indebted to Mike for enlightening me.

You might want to look at how countries like Denmark and The Netherlands cope with cyclists. Closer to home, Portland, Oregon is seeing significant increases in the number of cyclists and yet there is no talk of "further restrictions". The small fact that seems to elude Mike's genius, is that cyclists take up considerably less space than motorists on the road. So Mike's imagined problem is actually only likely to ever be in his head and yours.

FYI: Mike also believes that since times have never been better for him that there is no economic recession. It is all just a matter of 'personal' perception.
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Old 01-05-09, 12:13 PM   #5
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The green wave: Lights timed for the speed of the average cyclist.
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Old 01-05-09, 07:21 PM   #6
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IF bicycling really does take off in great numbers, we will see a lot more frustration from automobile drivers and I am sure we will see new laws put in place to restrict bicycle use on roads.

Even as a bicyclist and a bicycle enthusiast, bicycles can be a nuisance when I am driving a car. Even the best bicyclists take up space and go slower than cars.

Hopefully, cars will get smaller and take up less space, making more room on the roads for bicycles and automobiles.
I drive a car and the only cyclists I see that bother me in the least are the ones who don't ride in a predictable manner by obeying the rules of the road, and who jeopardize their own safety through poor choices.

I don't really see the implementation of further restrictions on cycling. Quite the opposite. As cycling grows I see the "green" movement growing. As the "green" movement grows I see cycling growing. These two things together may very well mean greater restrictions on motor vehicles and their use, with cycling and other means of transportation, other than privately owned motor vehicles, being encouraged.

What I do see happening as cycling grows is more stringent enforcement of applicable laws, many of which are already on the books, but I don't see this as a bad thing.

Of course none of this is going to happen very soon. Unless something drastic happens to the price of motor vehicle fuel sending it sky high.
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Old 01-05-09, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonB View Post
You might want to look at how countries like Denmark and The Netherlands cope with cyclists. Closer to home, Portland, Oregon is seeing significant increases in the number of cyclists and yet there is no talk of "further restrictions". The small fact that seems to elude Mike's genius, is that cyclists take up considerably less space than motorists on the road. So Mike's imagined problem is actually only likely to ever be in his head and yours.
Denmark and the netherlands don't really "cope" with cyclists from what I've seen of them - they've just separated the two modes of transport.

Anyways, living in a very sparse suburb, I can see where mike is coming from - cars usually go 40-45mph on our local 2-lane rural road, and a bike going 10mph up a hill isn't really conducive to good conduct.
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Old 01-05-09, 08:12 PM   #8
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Its other cars that hold up cars in the cities. As more people ride bikes there will be fewer cars holding up the cars. Bikes are too small to hold up the cars. 20 mph is a sensible speed limit for city streets with less than 2 lanes in each direction
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Old 01-05-09, 08:39 PM   #9
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Using legislation (the gun in the room) to regulate and otherwise influence behavior is a favorite
strategy of tyrants the world over. It's pretty hypocritical to call for restrictions on that which you
do not like, while bemoaning those placed on your own favorite activities/habits.

As a car driver, I'd feel a lot more friendly to cyclists if there weren't so many angry political rants
directed at putting a bureaucratic gun to my head.

As a cyclist, the same would apply... just a mirror image.

The old line comes to mind: "Can't we all just... get along?"

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that restricting cars to an abnormally low speed is a real cheap shot. It's a crappy
way to reduce the utility of that mode of transport... to, what? Make cycling look better? Those danged
bicyclists probably annoy joggers and dog walkers a lot, too. Probably oughta limit them to a speed the average
trail stroller can manage. Say... 2mph?
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Old 01-05-09, 08:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by spacerconrad View Post
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that restricting cars to an abnormally low speed is a real cheap shot. It's a crappy
way to reduce the utility of that mode of transport... to, what? Make cycling look better? Those danged
bicyclists probably annoy joggers and dog walkers a lot, too. Probably oughta limit them to a speed the average
trail stroller can manage. Say... 2mph?
+1000 - I really don't care how fast cars drive as long as its reasonable relative to the passing distance (i.e. 25mph 3 feet away, 55mph if they give me the entire lane).
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Old 01-05-09, 09:12 PM   #11
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Out here in Lincoln you average about 30mph outside of downtown. 15-25mph sounds like a downtown area or a congested suburb.
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Old 01-05-09, 10:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacerconrad View Post
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that restricting cars to an abnormally low speed is a real cheap shot. It's a crappy
way to reduce the utility of that mode of transport... to, what? Make cycling look better? Those danged
bicyclists probably annoy joggers and dog walkers a lot, too. Probably oughta limit them to a speed the average
trail stroller can manage. Say... 2mph?
Define "abnormally slow."

The problem is the outrageous amount of power available to the average driver... most of whom would not operate any other similar power tool.

The roads are meant to be used by people... in whatever form they chose to use the roads. Granted, limited access freeways are another story, but city streets are there for everyone.

Back when the motor car first hit the streets, they didn't go much over 25MPH... but now the potential speed of the auto, coupled with the reality of sharing the roads and having to limit the auto speed for safety reasons... has caused frustration in the average motorist. The response is something akin to "...restricting cars to an abnormally low speed is a real cheap shot....."

But the reality is that cars are abnormally over powered. It really is as simple as that. There really is no reason for autos to have the power that many of them have to simply move one person from A to B... even at 60+MPH! Hence motorists drive about knowing they can just stomp the gas... if they could. Frustration abounds.

So the problems really come from the over design of cars and following that design with city roads that start to resemble freeways... or are treated that way by motorists.
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Old 01-06-09, 03:27 AM   #13
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I suppose the strategy for getting people to accept a lower speed limit (in the USA anyhow)
is to point out that we are currently in a war over oil, and that by limiting speeds and reducing oil consumption you are helping the war effort.
Then if any motorist starts to whine about it prompty pull the patroitism card and call him a commie (terrorist if you want to modern terms...).
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Old 01-06-09, 05:36 AM   #14
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I suppose the strategy for getting people to accept a lower speed limit (in the USA anyhow)
is to point out that we are currently in a war over oil, and that by limiting speeds and reducing oil consumption you are helping the war effort.
Then if any motorist starts to whine about it prompty pull the patroitism card and call him a commie (terrorist if you want to modern terms...).
This could work if only people gave a crap about thier fellow man. Bottom line, if people considered anybody but themselves we wouldn't have this thread.
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Old 01-06-09, 04:21 PM   #15
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The whole flaw in the original argument is this:

Quote:
Even as a bicyclist and a bicycle enthusiast, bicycles can be a nuisance when I am driving a car. Even the best bicyclists take up space and go slower than cars.
Why are bicycles a nuisance? You are only perceiving them as a nuisance because they are slowing you down for a few seconds, and usually a few seconds only. I'd say your perception is flawed rather than the rules of the road, if a few seconds really bothers you.

These other things are a "nuisance" as well:
Slow trucks. Double-parked cars. Rush hour traffic. Accidents blocking the road. Stop lights. Construction. Emergency vehicles. School buses.... I could go on and on.

These things slow me down alot more when I'm driving my car that a bicyclist. Only rarely do I see a bicyclist that I have to wait for.

Do we legislate all these things away as well? I don't see how it's possible.

It's sad that people, even some bicyclists, blame the bicyclist for being a nuisance when it's just one of the many daily occurrences on the road.

I don't understand why people need to get angry at small delays. It's part of using the road, and it should be expected.

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Old 01-06-09, 06:04 PM   #16
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These other things are a "nuisance" as well:
Slow trucks. Double-parked cars. Rush hour traffic. Accidents blocking the road. Stop lights. Construction. Emergency vehicles. School buses.... I could go on and on.
Trouble is, a lot of drivers see these as nuisances as well - I've learned a lot by bumming rides off people. Even a car "only" going 5mph over the limit is a cause of frustration for a lot of people...
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Old 01-06-09, 10:15 PM   #17
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You might want to look at how countries like Denmark and The Netherlands cope with cyclists.
But the city layout and greater compactness of those places is so different from the United States. Is their answer our answer? I'm not sure it can be.

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Closer to home, Portland, Oregon is seeing significant increases in the number of cyclists and yet there is no talk of "further restrictions".
Seems to me that being required to use a bike lane or path if one is present, no matter how poorly designed or maintained, is a pretty serious restriction already.
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Old 01-06-09, 10:42 PM   #18
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But the city layout and greater compactness of those places is so different from the United States. Is their answer our answer? I'm not sure it can be.
If those countries have nothing to offer, then why have there been fact-finding visits to them by people from the USA. I know for a fact that several people from Portland alone have been to Europe to see how cyclists have been integrated with motor traffic and to get some ideas that might transfer to the USA.

For anyone to claim that they have completely separate networks is at best disingenuous and at worst a case of vacuous nonsense. I have ridden many times in The Netherlands and whilst a good percentage is separate, it is far from 100%. For example, there are many junctions that have painted lines on the roads with one set for motorized traffic over-layed with lines for cyclists over-layed with lines for the light rail. Motorists are penalized heavily for right hooks and are instructed that they must yield to cyclists on the right. They make it work.

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... Seems to me that being required to use a bike lane or path if one is present, no matter how poorly designed or maintained, is a pretty serious restriction already.
What is the difference between a legal restriction and a serious legal restriction? Are there any restrictions that are not serious. Your statement is only partially correct - if a bike lane is poorly maintained to the extent that it poses a hazard, then you would not have a serious requirement to stay in it.

Also you are stretching your argument - how do you know that the (Oregon specific) restriction to use a bike lane when present, is a consequence of increased numbers of cyclists. Perhaps you are confusing cause with effect.

This whole thread is excrement! If a very large number of people (say the majority) switched from driving cars to riding bicycles, do you seriously believe for one second that the remaining motorists, no matter how pissed off, would be reason enough for additional restrictions on the majority of cyclists?

I would expect the opposite to happen - i.e. additional restrictions on the remaining motorists, since they are now a minority. Please tell me why (in this scenario) that would not be the case.
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Old 01-06-09, 10:59 PM   #19
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he he he's still a decent guy.
I'm sure Mike is very decent and very very nice. Any British readers will probably catch on quickly if I mention the comic Harry Enfield and one of the characters he invented; Tim, nice but ....
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Old 01-07-09, 10:17 AM   #20
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My reply was half flippant, so I don't really want to quibble. My point was just that living in a state that has neither very many bike lanes nor any mandatory use laws, I'm appalled at the idea that the legal onus is on the cyclist to prove in court that they had a good reason to be outside the bike lane. (I'm basing this on a recent Oregon 'blog post I read recently, concerning just such a court case in Portland.) That makes them very firmly a second-class road user.
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Old 01-07-09, 12:14 PM   #21
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When I drive and see a cyclist, I pay attention to see whether the cyclist slows me down. If one does what a driver is supposed to do and look down the road, cyclists are easily passed and I typically give cyclists the lane when possible.

I have found that what slows me down are pokey drivers. They are pretty unpredictable and hard to pass. You pretty much have to stay behind them and hope they turn off your route eventually.

What people forget about is that if cycling became an altnerate form of transportation for the public, we would see more cyclists on the road and far fewer cars.

Think about it on your next commute. What would it be like if 90% of the cars out there were cyclists? The traffic volume would almost always be light. Traffic congestion would be a thing of the past. Also you would have no trouble finding parking places.

Like many other things, hatred of cyclists on the road is totally irrational.
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Old 01-08-09, 12:24 AM   #22
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My reply was half flippant, so I don't really want to quibble. My point was just that living in a state that has neither very many bike lanes nor any mandatory use laws, I'm appalled at the idea that the legal onus is on the cyclist to prove in court that they had a good reason to be outside the bike lane. (I'm basing this on a recent Oregon 'blog post I read recently, concerning just such a court case in Portland.) That makes them very firmly a second-class road user.
If you look at any of my replies in your "Better off without Ride to the Right?" thread, then you ought to see that I am also against rules that set-up scenarios where cyclists can end up in a sting. However with regard to the creation of infrastructure (bike lanes) that come with strings attached (mandatory use), I am completely ambivalent. I see it as a compromise, but not necessarily the best or most acceptable compromise.

Just yesterday I was riding on SE River Rd, Hillsboro, OR and spotted a Bike Route sign, this was positioned off the sidewalk and on the boundary line of the adjacent property. I've highlighted it in the attached screen capture from Google Streetview. I am pretty sure it was not stating that the sidewalk was a bike lane, but nevertheless I felt that there was ambiguity. Riding in both directions, I stuck to the road and just like you, I would be appalled if I had to defend my choice to ride on the road.
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Old 01-11-09, 12:14 PM   #23
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The 100 Watt Car

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Originally Posted by EatMyA** View Post
I dont think a solution is cars getting smaller.

How about we drop the speed limits down to what they really are in city streets? 15-25mph.
Smaller cars: After looking at light electric vehicles (velomobiles, electric bikes, scooters and motorcycles) vs. electric (traditional) "cars" that meet ICE safety and acceleration expectations, I've been thinking about the "100 Watt Car."

This might be a little low; it's based on my amazement that I can get myself to work on a bike with my measly 100 Watts vs. my car's 167 kW by accelerating slowly to a maximum of about 20MPH and using 27 instead of 6 gear ratios.

1kW seems like enough to propel a velomobile that's built for comfort and cheapness over perfect aero and lowest weight, given a short enough range so the battery mass is reasonable (100-150 lbs. for entire vehicle). In California, 1kW and a maximum speed of 20MPH doesn't require a license (2HP and 30MPH needs a moped plate which doesn't need to be renewed and an M2 drivers license). If the vehicle is electric powered, it doesn't even need pedals (under either ebike or emoped rules), though a human-powered drivetrain is so light, that it seems silly to omit it other than for market perception reasons. The space for a pedal box and complexity of "hybrid drive" seems like the bigger penalty.

At that speed, a vehicle narrow enough to pull into a bike lane or shoulder to let faster vehicles pass on 35MPH city streets makes sense.

I'm beginning to see the logic of the Sinclair C5 with the rain bonnet. Not sure why it's ridiculed so widely. I think we can do a lot better w/ weight, though, without having to go to $$carbon fiber or titanium.

Speed limits: they don't need to be lower, only obeyed. In Central/Northern Coastal California where I live, the only limits obeyed are on mountain roads by "tourists," which drives the locals crazy.

The problem is a difference between point-of-view between motorists and traffic engineers. Motorists see speed limits as artficially low. With experience of the road being driven, an unimpared, un-distracted driver on dry pavement with good tires, in many places driving 2x the limit is possible without a BASE-jumping like risk factor.

Speeding drivers like to point out that that traffic engineers design for a VW beetle with bald tires on a moonless rainy night. Other considerations might be increased stopping distances for trucks and the need for more reaction time on complicated roads (many lanes, many intersections).

It's somewhat safe for the speeding car and that's all the drivers are concerned about. When driving 35 in a 25, it's hard to imagine it's that dangerous. I use an alternative approach: I drive the limit, spend the extra attention I have, because just staying on the road is so easy, to scan ahead more thoroughly & if I get bored, I remember some of the tragic pedestrian, deer and cyclist collisions & imagine how hard it would be to smash another road user at the speed limit.

This third perspective: not the worst-case driver or best-case driver, but care for other road users, that reinforces the need for prudent speed.
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Old 01-14-09, 07:12 PM   #24
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Denmark and the netherlands don't really "cope" with cyclists from what I've seen of them - they've just separated the two modes of transport.

Anyways, living in a very sparse suburb, I can see where mike is coming from - cars usually go 40-45mph on our local 2-lane rural road, and a bike going 10mph up a hill isn't really conducive to good conduct.
Separating different forms of traffic IS one of the effective means of coping with the diversity. If you didn't have pedestrians separated from the auto/truck/ horse carriage right of way, there would be a lot more pedestrian death on the roads. In some emerging countries this is still a problem.
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Old 01-14-09, 07:14 PM   #25
StrangeWill
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YOU wouldn't hit so many reds, would arrive to your destination at the same time
Wrong. Actually I made a very interesting observation that poor light cycles encourage speeding over following a speed limit (and hence which they'd network and smart-program the lights to estimate traffic flow and travel time).

However if you're willing to pay me hourly for time wasted to drive 15-20mph around the city, I'll gladly do it.
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