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  1. #1
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    this all just common sense?

    Been visiting the forum since I took up bike riding in early November. It is obvious there are a lot of people pretty passionate about bicycling which I consider a good thing but I have also noticed that this passion can override common sense as to where it is safe to ride. A bad thing.

    Yes I know the law says that bicycles have the same rights and responsibility's as other vehicles but lets face it the reality and common sense dictates otherwise.

    In my community there are several 4,5 and 6 lane roads that were constructed prior to the inclusion of bike lanes and or bikeable shoulders that are simply unsafe for everyone when a bike is tossed into there use. People in cars do not hate bicyclist or even give it any thought except when they see someone on a bike on these particular roads. Being detached from the cycling community all they can think is "this dude must be crazy". I hate to admit it here but I tend to agree with them.

    The good news as far as my town gos is that when upgrades are made bike lanes are now included. This will probably be true for most communitys. As this happens these roads become usable for bicyclist with relative safety.

    So IMO the debate boils down to this. Common sense and a little patience as upgrades to the infrastructure are made to accommodate the growing number of people using bikes as there primary mode of transportation.

    If all goes well our grandchildren will never have to debate half the things we debate here as bike lanes will be the norm and not the exception. From our rocking chairs we will tell them that when we were there age we had no bike lanes, had to ride in traffic and the trip was uphill both ways into the wind. There response will be "grandpa you must have been crazy" and they will be right.

  2. #2
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    It's like you're in my head...

    Could not agree more with everything you said.
    Chip

  3. #3
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Ah, Junior Member Bike Lane Fanatics, who have determined that they are wiser then anyone preceding their existence.

    Do reply back here again after you get severely right hooked on a bike lane.

    -Kurt

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    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Every spring newspapers print letters to the editor along the same lines; bikers don't belong on certain roads and are putting themselves at risk, etc. If these writers are truly concerned for my safety, all they have to do is slow down and pay attention to the task at hand; driving a potentially dangerous vehicle. I always suggest motorists take care of their driving responsibilities and let me take care of myself.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  5. #5
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    Ah, Junior Member Bike Lane Fanatics, who have determined that they are wiser then anyone preceding their existence.

    Do reply back here again after you get severely right hooked on a bike lane.

    -Kurt
    If he really does drive his bike other than recreationally, with any sort of frequency, he'll come around.

    Everybody is scared in the beginning and the white lines give them a false sense of safety.

    Check back in November Murph

  6. #6
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    Ah, Junior Member Bike Lane Fanatics, who have determined that they are wiser then anyone preceding their existence.
    Ah, pretentious old-school BF'rs who think post count = experience.
    Chip

  7. #7
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I love it when drivers who have just rediscovered a bicycle impart 'wisdom' on people who have been cycling for decades. Kinda like the guy who hasn't touched a football since his benchwarmer days at PS666 imparting his vast knowledge of the game on his kid's former pro college coach.

    I know the big bad streets look scary when you are outside of that metal cage you have grown to need like a security blanket, but it really isn't that bad. With actual experience riding in a variety of conditions and locales, your perception of what is common sense will change. Guarooonteeed.
    Last edited by chipcom; 03-27-09 at 07:15 AM.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I think that cyclists with more than say 1000 street miles logged a year should ask yourself -- am I riding a particular area to make a point, because it is statistically safer, or because my gut tells me it is safer. People with less than 1000 street miles might be more likely to have faulty gut feelings. While people with more than 2000 street miles per year might be more likely to trust in the statistical side. And the ones that are just making a point, that is fine, somebody has to be on the front lines.

    I find myself in all three categories from time to time and year to year.

  9. #9
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Experienced cyclists usually don't choose where they ride based upon making some political point...those are the dead & maimed cyclists who can't defend themselves here unless we hold a seance or provide wireless internet to the ERs.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Experienced cyclists usually don't choose where they ride based upon making some political point...those are the dead & maimed cyclists who can't defend themselves here unless we hold a seance or provide wireless internet to the ERs.
    I've ridden in Critical Mass rides which are political and pretty safe-- at least as far as being hit by a car is concerned.

    BTW--

    Since when is common sense good sense?
    Last edited by slagjumper; 03-27-09 at 08:00 AM.

  11. #11
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slagjumper View Post
    I've ridden in Critical Mass rides which are political and pretty safe-- at least as far as being hit by car is concerned.
    Getting hit by cops, not so much.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUkiyBVytRQ"]YouTube - Critical Mass Bicyclist Assaulted by NYPD[/ame]
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  12. #12
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    Another opinion piece footnoted to "common sense".

    Why bother with checking facts when *common sense* is so much easier?

    Whatever would my grade 12 history teacher have said....

  13. #13
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Getting hit by cops, not so much.

    YouTube - Critical Mass Bicyclist Assaulted by NYPD
    What are you some kinda fear monger? Besides fallen bike hero took out the cop -- since he had to "resign".

  14. #14
    uke
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    No no, bike lanes would never work.






    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  15. #15
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slagjumper View Post
    What are you some kinda fear monger? Besides fallen bike hero took out the cop -- since he had to "resign".
    Yes, cycwing scawres me. Ders wabbits afoot!
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  16. #16
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    could it even remotely be possible that those of us who are "experienced" cyclists, who ride more than 1 or 2 thousand miles per year, who deal with traffic on a daily basis might, just might have something to learn from the new cyclists' perspective?

    Where I live the infrastructure most definitely could stand improvement- I would say that even if I commuted and traveled everywhere by car never mind by bike. I think it's worth hearing the ideas of those who have not grown complacent, bitter, curmudgeonly, apathetic, closed minded or have acquiesced to the status quo, which IMO is seriously flawed.

    As I've pointed out in previous A&S threads the Boston metropolitan area finished it's basic road infrastructure in the early 1960's just a few years before I became a "serious" cyclist. It's population has remained static or dropped while the number of registered automobiles has increased almost 400%- all on that same infrastructure. Not to mention that a substantial proportion of our products and goods are now shipped via truck as opposed to rail. It is a seriously strained system and throwing a bike or two in there to many people does seem like madness- and I say this as someone who "plays in traffic" every day.

    I, for one, would like to see more bikes in use as a means of transport. I think there is plenty of evidence that there is safety in numbers, I think it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, it reduces congestion and stress on our infrastructure, I think it means a healthier, happier population- it has a lengthy list of benefits for all of us to have more people on bikes. Before I immediately dismiss the suggestions of the new cyclists because I think they are a neophyte with nothing to offer I'm only too happy to listen at least with the hope that they, and others, will suggest things that will make them keep cycling and create an environment that invites others to do the same.

  17. #17
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphdasurf View Post

    Being detached from the cycling community all they can think is "this dude must be crazy". I hate to admit it here but I tend to agree with them.

    ...made bike lanes are now included...these roads become usable for bicyclist with relative safety.

    So IMO the debate boils down to this. Common sense and a little patience as upgrades to the infrastructure are made to accommodate the growing number of people using bikes as there primary mode of transportation.
    Bike lanes may or may not be a good thing.

    For the most part, I'm not a huge fan of bike lanes, just because no thought is given to their installation and how they can cause complexities at intersections. The bike lanes that we have here, and what I see in my meager travels thoughout Canada, offer no solutions to the largest threat to cyclists and that is intersections. They only offer peace of mind for those who are concerned about following traffic and believe me that 5 micron thick strip of paint does nothing to protect you. How can a bike lane protect a cyclist who wants to make a left turn? Shall the cyclist make the left turn from the bike lane, which is on the extreme right hand side of the road (here in N.A.)?

    Bike lanes (or paved shoulders) do have a place, but I would prefer none in a downtown core but rather on higher speed multi-lane roads, with minimal intersections and diverges and merges.

    I don't necessarily disagree with what you say either regarding being "crazy" to ride on certain roads. In the cycling safety courses I teach, we talk about route planning (commutting for example). I always advise to plan your route on a map first, then ride that route on a Sunday to get a "feel" for it. After which you may adjust portions of it to suit your experience and comfort level, such as avoiding certain intersections or certain roads. Even then, the dynamics may be differant on a Sunday vs a weekday, and you may have to adjust again. For example, the Sunday ride may portray a road as fast but on a weekday, perhaps that same road, congested with traffic, and hence slower, is very rideable.
    Of course, sometimes it is not possible to avoid certain road dynamics but there is always the possibility of adjusting your ride time, walking a section, or alternatives to a vehuicular style left turn on multi-lane roads.

    Eventually you get a route (hopefully) that you're comfortable with.

    So yes, common sense in the fact that you ride with what your comfortable with, and perhaps with some experience you'll start to ride more complex road situations. What matters alot is the speed difference between you as a cyclist and the motor vehicles. A more fit, hence a faster cyclist, can be more manouverable in traffic causing less delay (maybe not the wisest word choice) for other road users.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  18. #18
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    could it even remotely be possible that those of us who are "experienced" cyclists.... just might have something to learn from the new cyclists' perspective?

    I'm only too happy to listen at least with the hope that they, and others, will suggest things that will make them keep cycling and create an environment that invites others to do the same.
    Absoluetly! I am constantly reminded in my safety courses that there are less experienced people out there. They have discovered cycling, they want to get into it, however are a tad apprehensive about traffic. Very understandable.

    Giving them the tools to build their confidence riding in traffic is what I offer, but they have to work at their own pace to get to a comfort level. I have to be aware of that and not discourage them.

    Taking a 55 year old grandmother, who wishes to start cycling for exercise, out on a multi-lane highway that I could probably ride, would not be a wise idea as it may discourage her. Rather, residential streets would be preferrable to build her confidence then eventully she may attempt certain other roads that at one time she found daunting.

    The OP expressed an opinion, I think discussing that opinion without the rhetoric (some good natured humour is fine) but I think encouragement would be better than belittling.
    Originally posted by Bones_McBones: Wow Digger, wow! You've earned my respect.... I know ashoposo got werked up. You are the gutter pig of Trollheim.

  19. #19
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Opinions are fine...but that doesn't make them true or valid. For example, the assumption in the OP that roads must have bike lanes to be used safely by cyclists. 'Common sense' dictates that just is not the case, otherwise one would have to believe that cyclists have not been able to ride safely for a century without the presence of bike lanes on our roads. Sorry, peddling old wives tales is not useful for any cyclist, new or otherwise.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  20. #20
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    Every spring newspapers print letters to the editor along the same lines; bikers don't belong on certain roads and are putting themselves at risk, etc. If these writers are truly concerned for my safety, all they have to do is slow down and pay attention to the task at hand; driving a potentially dangerous vehicle. I always suggest motorists take care of their driving responsibilities and let me take care of myself.
    When told how dangerous it is for cyclists on certain roads by cagers, I always suggest that if they are so concerned about my safety, they ought to take a different route!
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  21. #21
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I'm not too crazy about the assumption that one must be crazy to be riding on the road either, multi-laned or otherwise. One of the most enjoyable parts of my previous commute route was on a 5-6 lane one-way road through Akron. I pretty much had the right lane all to myself. I'm sure even the OP would have preferred it to my current route on narrow, single lane, 45-55mph country roads with no shoulder.

    In either case, should I have just drove to work, rather than ride, because there are no bike lanes on those roads...and in the case of my current route, probably never will be? I think not.

    I don't mind bike lanes if they are not full of crap and put me in dangerous situations, but I'm sure as heck not going to let the lack of a bike lane prevent me from riding where I need to go, nor am I going to support the notion that bike lanes are required to make a road safe for cyclists. Nice to have, fine, required, not so much.
    Last edited by chipcom; 03-27-09 at 09:20 AM.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  22. #22
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    could it even remotely be possible that those of us who are "experienced" cyclists, who ride more than 1 or 2 thousand miles per year, who deal with traffic on a daily basis might, just might have something to learn from the new cyclists' perspective?

    Where I live the infrastructure most definitely could stand improvement- I would say that even if I commuted and traveled everywhere by car never mind by bike. I think it's worth hearing the ideas of those who have not grown complacent, bitter, curmudgeonly, apathetic, closed minded or have acquiesced to the status quo, which IMO is seriously flawed.

    As I've pointed out in previous A&S threads the Boston metropolitan area finished it's basic road infrastructure in the early 1960's just a few years before I became a "serious" cyclist. It's population has remained static or dropped while the number of registered automobiles has increased almost 400%- all on that same infrastructure. Not to mention that a substantial proportion of our products and goods are now shipped via truck as opposed to rail. It is a seriously strained system and throwing a bike or two in there to many people does seem like madness- and I say this as someone who "plays in traffic" every day.

    I, for one, would like to see more bikes in use as a means of transport. I think there is plenty of evidence that there is safety in numbers, I think it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, it reduces congestion and stress on our infrastructure, I think it means a healthier, happier population- it has a lengthy list of benefits for all of us to have more people on bikes. Before I immediately dismiss the suggestions of the new cyclists because I think they are a neophyte with nothing to offer I'm only too happy to listen at least with the hope that they, and others, will suggest things that will make them keep cycling and create an environment that invites others to do the same.
    I agree Buzz. Communities shouldn't be designed around only the automobile.

    On another note, if more people truly understood and abided by the rules of the road, there would be much less "safety concerns" about cyclists mixing in with motor vehicles, and many more would be willing to try it. Better training, enforcement, and maybe some public awareness campaigns, could go a long way in making things safer for all, and even increase ridership.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  23. #23
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    A recent ranting of mine, written under the screen name "Jude Moonshade", which is an anagram of my real name (the letters are rearranged):

    I ride a bicycle about forty miles a week. I drive too. I used to ride more, but I'm getting older. Back in the day I could ride faster than the thirty MPH speed limit, but the speeders make the effort worth nothing.
    I know some bicyclists have a more extreme position than I do. I watch my rear view mirror, and I judge each passing car on a case by case basis. I almost always pull over and slow or stop to let large trucks go by. Trucks are completely different than personal automobiles. While in many cases, an individual driving a car could make the same trip on a bike, this does not hold true for trucks. It would be hard for a truck driver to carry 40,000 pounds of produce, or lumber, or furniture, or anything, in a trailer behind a bicycle. I say this because many cyclists say that car trips are unnecessary and a bicycle could do the job. Not true with trucks.
    Trucks are also a lot wider than a car, about three feet wider. In terms of the three-foot-passing law; if the cars are passing three feet from your bike, then the next large truck is going to sideswipe you. (Assuming there is traffic coming the other way and they can't cross the double yellow.)
    My advice: Get a rear-view mirror for your bike and move over to let trucks go by.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  24. #24
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    could it even remotely be possible that those of us who are "experienced" cyclists, who ride more than 1 or 2 thousand miles per year, who deal with traffic on a daily basis might, just might have something to learn from the new cyclists' perspective?



    Always the voice of reason.

    These people are who we should be listening to.
    These are the people who are going to give us strength in numbers.
    Not the guy who alpha dogs a lane on a 55mph arterial.
    I put in 5000 miles a year for the past two years in hostile South Florida,
    and thousands more in Vermont and Pennsylvania, so I think I can
    say I have some experience. I like lanes, want more
    The main/only thing that I hear personally as to why more people arent
    out there is that it is 'crazy' or they are scared of cars. Having been there,
    I agree with them
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  25. #25
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphdasurf View Post
    The good news as far as my town gos is that when upgrades are made bike lanes are now included. This will probably be true for most communitys. As this happens these roads become usable for bicyclist with relative safety.

    If all goes well our grandchildren will never have to debate half the things we debate here as bike lanes will be the norm and not the exception. From our rocking chairs we will tell them that when we were there age we had no bike lanes, had to ride in traffic and the trip was uphill both ways into the wind. There response will be "grandpa you must have been crazy" and they will be right.
    Murph,

    While my other posts here might be a bit crass I have to say that I agree with your general sentiment.

    One thing is true, the more a cyclist knows about what can go wrong in a given situation, the less likely that person will be in an accident at all-- even on a six lane road.

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