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  1. #1
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    The Persistence of Bike Salmon

    http://streetsblog.net/2010/04/19/th...f-bike-salmon/

    by Sarah Goodyear on April 19, 2010
    This sign is in London. Do you think anyone got the message? (Photo: Salim Virji via Flickr)

    Over the weekend on CommuteOrlando Blog, Keri McCaffrey posted a video showing a bicyclist riding in the wrong direction on a Florida street. After pointing out how this might have ended badly for the rider, she poses the question "Why do they do this?":

    Riding against traffic accounts for 45 percent of bike-v-car crashes in Orlando. The majority of those are intersection crashes because the bicyclist comes from an unexpected direction.Ö Despite the numerous conflicts people experience from this behavior, they donít connect the dots. Why?

    And how do we change that?

    McCaffrey and many others on CommuteOrlando Blog practice "vehicular cycling," a style of riding in which the cyclist essentially acts like any other vehicle on the road. Thereís a long and ongoing debate between vehicular cyclists ó who often oppose the construction of bike-specific infrastructure ó and those who believe that striped bike lanes and similar facilities are a good way to get more people out biking, thereby achieving safety in numbers and a more welcoming environment for people who might feel reluctant to ride otherwise. Thereís no need to reopen that debate here.

    But you donít have to be a vehicular cyclist to wonder, as McCaffrey does, "Why do people do this?" As the streets of New York fill up with spring cyclists, the number of "salmon" is rising ó and quite often, they are endangering other bikers as well as themselves with their wrong-way riding. Itís one of the most frustrating and hazardous phenomena I encounter on my bike on a regular basis.

    Why do you think people persist in this behavior? Is it simply because they canít be bothered to ride a block further to get to a street that goes the right way? Do you have any ideas about how to get them to stop?
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  2. #2
    Fritz M richardmasoner's Avatar
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    They do it because they really believe it's safer to ride against traffic, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

  3. #3
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    Ughh, no. We do it because we are to lazy to go one more block to find a street that goes the right way. I don't normally salmon unless I'm on a quiet residential street, in which case I really don;t see it as a dangerous. When I lived in holland the law let you salmon up pretty much any street that wasn't a busy main street. Here in Sydney there aren't too many streets that are safe for Salmoning like in Holland. Normally when riding I don't salmon.
    Still when I got to deliver stuff I Salmon all the time. I'm aware of how dangerous it is and when salmoning I'm usually being hyperattentive. Also we have one or two streets were one side of the street will be totally congested and no traffic whatsoever on the other side. Sometimes it's just easier to get to whatever address I need to be at by salmoning up such streets.

    As for salmoning up a street with actual traffic? That is absolutely stupid. I only Salmon up empty streets or ones with precious little traffic. And even then I suppose there is a high risk of someone pulling out into the road with out seeing me or more likely a jaywalker who looked in the direction of traffic but not where I'm coming from walking out in front of me.
    Honestly, except for messengers I don't see too many bike salmon around here anyway.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    But you don’t have to be a vehicular cyclist to wonder, as McCaffrey does, "Why do people do this?" As the streets of New York fill up with spring cyclists, the number of "salmon" is rising — and quite often, they are endangering other bikers as well as themselves with their wrong-way riding. It’s one of the most frustrating and hazardous phenomena I encounter on my bike on a regular basis.
    It's refreshing that cyclists are still using the plural of salmon that English already gave us.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Why do you think people persist in this behavior? Is it simply because they can’t be bothered to ride a block further to get to a street that goes the right way? Do you have any ideas about how to get them to stop?
    ...
    In school ( I'm 32 ) they taught us to always walk in the opposite direction of traffic, and that this would be much safer because we'd be able to see the car that got us. ( They didn't put it quite like that... ) As you said, cyclists in this country have to figure things out on their own, and this is something to go on, handed down from authority.

  5. #5
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    Forrest, you hit on it -- the pedestrian teaching about going against traffic -- it's just because so many people think of bikes as kids' toys that they MUST be ridden on the sidewalk... ERGO...................................................

  6. #6
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    The real killer is when they're riding in the narrow left lane while the right (correct) lane is gigantic.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardmasoner View Post
    They do it because they really believe it's safer to ride against traffic, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
    That and they use the same "logic" for riding on sidewalks. What is it going to take to get it through their "thick" skulls that this is a dangerous, stupid and illegal action???
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    http://streetsblog.net/2010/04/19/th...f-bike-salmon/

    by Sarah Goodyear on April 19, 2010
    This sign is in London. Do you think anyone got the message? (Photo: Salim Virji via Flickr)

    Over the weekend on CommuteOrlando Blog, Keri McCaffrey posted a video showing a bicyclist riding in the wrong direction on a Florida street. After pointing out how this might have ended badly for the rider, she poses the question "Why do they do this?":

    Riding against traffic accounts for 45 percent of bike-v-car crashes in Orlando. The majority of those are intersection crashes because the bicyclist comes from an unexpected direction.… Despite the numerous conflicts people experience from this behavior, they don’t connect the dots. Why?

    And how do we change that?

    McCaffrey and many others on CommuteOrlando Blog practice "vehicular cycling," a style of riding in which the cyclist essentially acts like any other vehicle on the road. There’s a long and ongoing debate between vehicular cyclists — who often oppose the construction of bike-specific infrastructure — and those who believe that striped bike lanes and similar facilities are a good way to get more people out biking, thereby achieving safety in numbers and a more welcoming environment for people who might feel reluctant to ride otherwise. There’s no need to reopen that debate here.

    But you don’t have to be a vehicular cyclist to wonder, as McCaffrey does, "Why do people do this?" As the streets of New York fill up with spring cyclists, the number of "salmon" is rising — and quite often, they are endangering other bikers as well as themselves with their wrong-way riding. It’s one of the most frustrating and hazardous phenomena I encounter on my bike on a regular basis.

    Why do you think people persist in this behavior? Is it simply because they can’t be bothered to ride a block further to get to a street that goes the right way? Do you have any ideas about how to get them to stop?
    ...
    There are 2 reasons for wrong way riding.

    1) A bicycle is a toy for pedestrians, and on a street pedestrians are encouraged to walk against traffic to avoid being hit from behind.

    In this case, states that do not define a bicycle as a vehicle, should. The traffic laws then need to be reviewed, so that those that apply only to motorized vehicles, would state "motor vehicle", this then makes it clear in the law. I have said this before, and will probably say it again, bicycle safety equipment requirements and minimum standards should be set in the same laws as the requirements for other road vehicles. There would then be the concept of a street legal bicycle, which contains that safety equipment, and a non-street legal bicycle, which does not. This would be followed by a series of PSA's through newspapers, radio and television, and inserts in licence renewal forms, so that all citizens know that a bicycle is a vehicle, and how it is to be legally treated. All police officers would be provided with this information as well.

    2) People are convinced that the most common bicycle-vs-car collision is the hit from behind, which in most places it isn't, most collisions occur at intersections. Τhe solution here, is really twofold, first we have bicycle mirrors, and they have been around for decades. Second we need better safe passing laws, the 3' law is good with small motor vehicles that are travelling slowly, however as speed increases or the size of the vehicle, more space is required. The laws needs to state such, for example at 30MPH for a vehicle under 10,000lbs you need 3', for every additional 10,000lbs or 10MPH in speed you need to give 1 additional foot, up to a maximum of 1 full lane. A truck at 56,000lbs travelling at 80MPH would need to provide 13' to safely pass a bicycle. However in a lane that is 14' wide, with the bicycle 3; from the curb, this would not be possible. The safe passing law would naturally tie into speed limits, if the road is not wide enough for the largest motor vehicle it typically sees to pass safely at the speed limit, then the speed limit needs adjusting.

  9. #9
    Junior Mint
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    There are a couple of places on my regular commute that could use that sign. Around here a common sight is not just cyclists going the wrong way, but going the wrong way with shopping bags hanging from the ends of their handlebars. On bikes that are clearly too small for them. It's really amazing I don't see more of them becoming hood ornaments.

  10. #10
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    That and they use the same "logic" for riding on sidewalks. What is it going to take to get it through their "thick" skulls that this is a dangerous, stupid and illegal action???
    Maybe "they" will get it about the same time that thick skulled pompous blowhards and self proclaimed safety experts "get it" that the "dangerous" actions of so-called salmon (and sidewalk riders) are none of their business. The alleged "danger" is relatively minor and perhaps balanced out by other considerations to the "salmon." The "salmon's" actions are certainly an insignificant danger to the whining ranters except for being an affront to oversensitive control freaks, and their anal efforts to control the actions of other cyclists.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    If a person you know and care about rides in an unsafe manner, then by all means talk to him or her about it.

    If you are a law enforcement officer and wrong-way riding is unlawful in your jurisdiction, cite the miscreants.

    If you are leading a group ride, keep your duckings in line.

    Otherwise, see #10 above and ask yourself if your feelings of anger and superiority make life better for you and those you love.
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  12. #12
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    I asked a salmon why he cycled the wrong way on the street recently while waiting at the red light. Well, I had stopped -- salmon paused for a moment after changing sides. He shrugged his shoulders and sped off against the red and neatly dodged an oncoming car. I think this particular guy does it because he likes to buck the rules since he's so special and keen. Anything anyone could say to that fellow would get lost in the wind. I just hope I never seen him in an accident.


  13. #13
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    The only time I have ever felt endangered by salmon was a salmon rollerblader... OMG. I thought I had moved far enough out to dodge her but I still ran over her foot.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    There are 2 reasons for wrong way riding.

    1) A bicycle is a toy for pedestrians, and on a street pedestrians are encouraged to walk against traffic to avoid being hit from behind.

    In this case, states that do not define a bicycle as a vehicle, should. The traffic laws then need to be reviewed, so that those that apply only to motorized vehicles, would state "motor vehicle", this then makes it clear in the law. I have said this before, and will probably say it again, bicycle safety equipment requirements and minimum standards should be set in the same laws as the requirements for other road vehicles. There would then be the concept of a street legal bicycle, which contains that safety equipment, and a non-street legal bicycle, which does not. This would be followed by a series of PSA's through newspapers, radio and television, and inserts in licence renewal forms, so that all citizens know that a bicycle is a vehicle, and how it is to be legally treated. All police officers would be provided with this information as well.
    Oh I just love this Idea. Lets wrap cycling in so much red tape that NOBODY will ever want to go to the trouble of riding a bicycle ever again. That should solve the problem of those pesky salmon.

    Also there is such a thing as a street legal bicycle in most places. It is called a bike with a working brake, and reflectors/active lighting if used after dark. what more could you possibly need? functioning turn signals? Please.
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  15. #15
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    The persistence of bike salmon in London and cities around the USA is partly a result of cycling as of yet failing to achieve critical mass.

    In cities that stripe in road infrastructure that supports roadway cycling, there is a reduction in sidewalk cycling. This is a big plus for rider safety.

    Additionally, i've observed in US cities with high ridership and equitable roadscape for bike traffic that wrong way cyclists are the minority. Wrong way riding behavior gets culled out as ridership increases. A cyclist can't fight the commuter peloton for too long before they discover that yes indeed they might be traveling in the wrong direction! (I can just picture a salmon trying to ride in Copenhagen during rush hour - not going to happen!)

    I predict American cyclist counts would show a lessening in the ratio of wrongway:correct direction cyclists as cities build ridership.

    salmon are either not there, OR the roads support a multi directional cycling approach (woonerven), in cities with high ridership.

    NYC is an odd bird, but even there i suspect to see some greater normalization of bike traffic there as the city builds in more roadway bicycling infrastructure and NYC takes progressive steps to guide non-motorized transportation policy.

    Maybe Manhattan needs to become one giant Woonerf????
    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-24-10 at 10:45 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  16. #16
    Junior Mint
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    The "salmon's" actions are certainly an insignificant danger to the whining ranters except for being an affront to oversensitive control freaks, and their anal efforts to control the actions of other cyclists.
    I don't think it's "anal" to be irritated by someone coming at you the wrong way, forcing you to take evasive action. The other day my wife nearly got creamed trying to cross the street by a guy going the wrong way. Yeah, I know, it's her fault for not looking to see if someone was going the wrong way down the bike lane.

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclokitty View Post
    I asked a salmon why he cycled the wrong way on the street recently while waiting at the red light. Well, I had stopped -- salmon paused for a moment after changing sides. He shrugged his shoulders and sped off against the red and neatly dodged an oncoming car. I think this particular guy does it because he likes to buck the rules since he's so special and keen. Anything anyone could say to that fellow would get lost in the wind. I just hope I never seen him in an accident.
    Why were you asking a stranger questions when you "think" you already know the answer?
    I suspect that the other fellow hopes never to see you or hear your "questions" anywhere.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    http://streetsblog.net/2010/04/19/th...f-bike-salmon/
    Riding against traffic accounts for 45 percent of bike-v-car crashes in Orlando.
    That's only interesting if the percentage of wrong-way riders in the population is much less than 45%. Otherwise it's as expected and does not demonstrate that wrong-way riders are at increased risk.




    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Why do you think people persist in this behavior? Is it simply because they can’t be bothered to ride a block further to get to a street that goes the right way? Do you have any ideas about how to get them to stop?
    ...
    Yes, People want to take the shortest line to their destination. Street layouts designed for people sitting in their cars are particularly frustrating if you're walking or cycling. Best way to get them to stop is to get rid of one-way streets.

  19. #19
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    Agreed. And even if you see them in advance then you're unsure what they'll do because they're already demonstrating that they might be a bit erratic and unpredictable.

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    Agreed. And even if you see them in advance then you're unsure what they'll do because they're already demonstrating that they might be a bit erratic and unpredictable.
    The Horror, The Horror; or is it the sky is falling because a tiny bit more "uncertainty" might be momentarily added to your life? You must be cycling in paradise if this bit of "uncertainty" is a significant issue where you ride.

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    That's only interesting if the percentage of wrong-way riders in the population is much less than 45%. Otherwise it's as expected and does not demonstrate that wrong-way riders are at increased risk.
    Agreed. Same logic applies to the reports of the alleged dangers of sidewalk cycling.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    The Horror, The Horror; or is it the sky is falling because a tiny bit more "uncertainty" might be momentarily added to your life? You must be cycling in paradise if this bit of "uncertainty" is a significant issue where you ride.
    Oh go on, you're exaggerating

    Wrong way riding is a pretty good indication that the person is more of a risk taker or more out of it than other road users. Both of those are traits that make for poor road sharing and I give the people that display them a wide berth. Take those people off their Can-Do-No-Wrong vehicle and shove them in a car and you'll be back here *****ing about the moron that right-hooked you.

  23. #23
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RazrSkutr View Post
    Take those people off their Can-Do-No-Wrong vehicle and shove them in a car and you'll be back here *****ing about the moron that right-hooked you.
    And IF they were driving a bus I might mind even more, and an airplane even more yet; but the point is that they are not, they are riding bikes; and the whiners are all hot and bothered about the insignificant danger to who knows whom from the likely insignificant increase in cycling risk of cyclists' behavior that is no threat to them or anyone else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Maybe "they" will get it about the same time that thick skulled pompous blowhards and self proclaimed safety experts "get it" that the "dangerous" actions of so-called salmon (and sidewalk riders) are none of their business. The alleged "danger" is relatively minor and perhaps balanced out by other considerations to the "salmon." The "salmon's" actions are certainly an insignificant danger to the whining ranters except for being an affront to oversensitive control freaks, and their anal efforts to control the actions of other cyclists.
    Maybe the "thick skulled pompous blowhards" are smart enough to realize, unlike other ostrich-like, unlovable curmudgeons, that the other millions of barely functional morons who sit behind steering wheels view ALL bike riders in the same light as a few fools, and don't want to be painted with the same broad brush.

    And I'm having a chuckle at said curmudgeons who can't do else but anally exert their own efforts to control other "oversensitive control freaks" with their societal sociopathy.

  25. #25
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    ... the other millions of barely functional morons who sit behind steering wheels view ALL bike riders...
    Must be swell to be an all knowing human being far superior to the low life trash who don't have the good sense to follow your sterling example.

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