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Old 12-19-04, 07:38 AM   #1
Jeffery
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Why don't we have bike paths everywhere?

Like in Holland but instead one for people walking and people walking dogs as well as rollerblading or skateboarding, one for people going slow on their bike like a slow bike lane, and one for people on their bike goes really fast?

Why don't we have tunnels or small bridges on every intersection? That would help stopping a lot of accidents.
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Old 12-19-04, 07:49 AM   #2
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money.
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Old 12-19-04, 07:58 AM   #3
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How can Holland do it then?
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Old 12-19-04, 08:00 AM   #4
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I wish bikes could fly.
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Old 12-19-04, 08:01 AM   #5
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It's more the direction society takes. North America has a car driven society and thus builds roads and other infrastructure around the use of the car.

Holland has a society that embraces more than just the car and thus builds accordingly.

From what I've seen it's harder to put in a bike lane on an existing road in a NA city largely because of complaints by homeowners ("You're taking more away from my front yard!!"), complaints by pedestrians ("the sidewalk is too narrow!!") and motorists ("bikes are too slow!"). Tends to be an uphill battle in many cities with limited budgets. $$ goes to those that are most important in the eyes of the Councillors (ie., the motorist)
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Old 12-19-04, 08:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MsMittens
It's more the direction society takes. North America has a car driven society and thus builds roads and other infrastructure around the use of the car.

Holland has a society that embraces more than just the car and thus builds accordingly.

From what I've seen it's harder to put in a bike lane on an existing road in a NA city largely because of complaints by homeowners ("You're taking more away from my front yard!!"), complaints by pedestrians ("the sidewalk is too narrow!!") and motorists ("bikes are too slow!"). Tends to be an uphill battle in many cities with limited budgets. $$ goes to those that are most important in the eyes of the Councillors (ie., the motorist)
You forgot to mention that most bike lanes make cycling more dangerous for the cyclists. The benefits of bike lanes are mostly psychological--they help cyclists feel better about themselves. On a practical level, bike lanes take away the right of cyclists to use the road, confining us to a dirty, narrow, dangerous bike ghetto.
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Old 12-19-04, 03:57 PM   #7
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Even assuming bike lanes are a good thing, we just couldn't do it in the UK. There's no room. Most of our urban development is very, very old and most of it wasn't bombed flat in WW2 so we didn't get to rebuild it the way some Euro countries did.

Oh, and the money thing, natch
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Old 12-19-04, 03:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jeffery
How can Holland do it then?
Holland spends it's money on roads, we spend it on our military.

Yes that is oversimplifying everything but eh.
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Old 12-19-04, 05:30 PM   #9
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My town has put considerable effort into creating bike paths near many major roads. They are good when I ride with my wife and for families with small children. When I'm trying to ride any distance, they have too many driveways crossing and are much too dangerous when crossing roads. In some respects, I wish the money spent on paths was spent on wider lanes on some of the roads.
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Old 12-19-04, 05:36 PM   #10
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I think bike lanes are a bad idea. Bike lanes reinforce the cager attitude that they shouldn't have to worry about/look for bikes while they are driving. I second Daily Commute's comments.

As far as the sentiment of your question, I feel 'ya, but I think you are looking at it wrong. Ms Mittens is on the right track. Jeffery is approaching the subject rationally, which isn't the way to understand this question (not most political questions). Policies towards traffic in the US and many other countries are made by legislators who are live in societies that are addicted, if you will, to automobile driving. You can tell a person addicted to any drug how it's ruining their lives, how it would be better if they changed this or that, but they can't imagine life without it and are unable to honestly evaluate the situation. They don't look at the problem rationally, but emotionally. The addict arranges his entire life around the drug, we have arranged our entire lives/cities/towns around cars. Only something very, very drastic will change that.
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Old 12-19-04, 06:05 PM   #11
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Have any of you making comment on Holland actually been to Holland and ridden there? I doubt it from the uninformed comments you make. It is NOT the cycling nirvana everyone makes it out to be.

Why more bike paths? There already exists a huge network of bike-accessible facilities everywhere in the world. They're called ROADS!

It's cheaper to educate bike riders to cycle efficiently and confidently than to build endless new facilities unless those facilities actually improve efficiency*. Driver education also helps.

* In most cases they don't because they have been built to recreational standards rather than transport standards.
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Old 12-19-04, 06:53 PM   #12
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Properly engineered, bike lanes on roadways can be most excellent. Engineered badly, they can be be a complete waste, often going from nowhere, to nowhere else. At the very worst, they can be deadly, as the member above has posted.

Here in the Boston area, the bike lanes which have been installed on North beacon street, Huron ave. (from Fresh pond parkway, to concord ave) and Arsenal street are done properly. They are placed far enough away from the door zones, and are well-marked. You still must be careful when passing parked cars though. Being in the bike lane does not make you safe by default, and a lot of trucks double-park, often blocking up the bike lane.

But the city of cambridge(MA) has also pulled some first class screw ups. The bike lanes on Mass ave through the Central Square area, are a prime example. There was a fatality two summers ago, involving a female cyclist, a driver who opened his door without looking, and a bus. (Locals will probably remember this one.) The best screwups, are the bike lanes which make cyclists travel the wrong way on on way streets. Who thought that one up?

Another Boston area Gem: A small paved bike path in Lexington, which goes through some woods, runs alongside a small brook, and ends abrupty at a side street, near a grade school. This thing was built back in the 70's "bike boom", and was opened with a nice ribbon cutting ceremony. Total length, about a mile and a half. Today, it is overgrown, potholed, and has enormous tree root bumps. Who uses it? No one, except for teenagers looking for a place to drink beer.

I'd be interested in learning more about riding in Holland. I have heard good things, and bad things.
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Old 12-19-04, 07:00 PM   #13
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I like bike paths and don't think they are "ghettos". I especially like using the bike path down the main drag in town. I can go faster than all the cars and gleefully pass them all up.

Even nicer is when the bike path is completely separated from the street. Even a small distance separating the bike path reduces the noise considerably.

I'm lucky to live where there are lots of bike paths: a large network of separated trails, striped lanes, and posted routes. It really makes it much nicer to use a bike as regular transportation. Bike paths also accomodate those whose abilities are lesser due to age, illness or whatever. Not every cyclist is 20-30 something, male and at peak performance, and not every cyclist wants to battle it out in car traffic.

The way to get more bike paths is to have a strong bicycling advocacy presence, political support for alternative transportation, and a driving catalyst such as the horrendous traffic problems we have that cannot be solved by building new roads.
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Old 12-19-04, 08:05 PM   #14
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It really makes it much nicer to use a bike as regular transportation. Bike paths also accomodate those whose abilities are lesser due to age, illness or whatever. Not every cyclist is 20-30 something, male and at peak performance, and not every cyclist wants to battle it out in car traffic.
That's a spurious argument using age and illness. I am not 20-30 something and my performance peaked a long time ago. And why use words like "battle it out in car traffic"? It is this sort of attitude that is presented to authorities which then act on them -- usually with dangerous results. Much better, in my view, to TRAIN cyclists to use the facilities that already exist for them and which likely go *everywhere* they want to go. But cyclists seem to have this attitude that they don't need to learn how to ride appropriately -- instead they want facilities to be dumbed down to accommodate their low level of competence.
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Old 12-19-04, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffery
Like in Holland but instead one for people walking and people walking dogs as well as rollerblading or skateboarding, one for people going slow on their bike like a slow bike lane, and one for people on their bike goes really fast?

Why don't we have tunnels or small bridges on every intersection? That would help stopping a lot of accidents.
Why not move to Holland. Seriously.

I think living in Holland would be a blast instead of living in a cycle hostile subdivision. I would love to live in Holland and it's certainly an option in my books.
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Old 12-19-04, 09:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by larue
money.
Agreed. It's amazing how much bike lanes cost to construct. My small town put up "Bike Lane" signs on the one avenue for two miles and it cost quarter of million dollars! They didn't even paint any lanes!
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Old 12-19-04, 09:20 PM   #17
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I am more than happy to "Share The Road".
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Old 12-19-04, 09:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
You forgot to mention that most bike lanes make cycling more dangerous for the cyclists. The benefits of bike lanes are mostly psychological--they help cyclists feel better about themselves. On a practical level, bike lanes take away the right of cyclists to use the road, confining us to a dirty, narrow, dangerous bike ghetto.
I like bike lanes but recognize their problems.

1. Lanes are kept in terrible condition - Most bike lanes that share the road with autos are loaded with glass, small rocks and road debris.

2. Lanes are full of double parked cars - The lanes are often considered secondary parking spots for cars and taxies. As one poster said, the taxie thought the bike lane was for "the driver's margin of error"!

3. Lanes are considered extended sidewalks - You'll finds loads of peds standing in them waiting to cross the streets

4. Lanes are shared with other slow moving peds, walkers, dogs and skaters.

5. Lanes make the cars bullet past you - I find that cars will be more aggressive when passing you because they expect you to hold to the bike lane at all times.
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Old 12-19-04, 09:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by larue
money.
There's more than enough of that. Trouble is, there just aren't enough votes at stake -- that's what happens with "government by opinion poll". Add that to the fact that, as Rowan so accurately pointed out, most competent cyclists have no need or desire to rely on paths, and indeed realise the dangers they pose. You end up with an absolutely minute percentage of the population actually wanting these things constructed, and that is never going to influence an election result sufficiently.
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Old 12-20-04, 12:25 AM   #20
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Just do not know if I totally agree that bike lanes segregate us..Maybe technically..But, where there are no bike lanes, narrow , busy , congested lanes.Well, this is where I am NOT..... This situation is impossible..
Priorities...US just ignores its own needs..Example..Look at the tallest bridge France just built over the Tarn River..
San Francisco needs rebuild a lane over the Bay Bridge from Oakland..I have read..
The voters issued funding for a real bridge..SOmething to enhance the beauty of San Francisco.....The government will only fund an ugly, low lying causeway, to the detriment of water traffic..Can't afford it.....IF our priorites ruled this country 80 years ago, we would not have GOlden Gate bridge or a George Washington Bridge...In fact in places like Cleveland, Ohio the bridges are falling in the Cuyogha RIver. lucky to get any bridges at all.
We can only afford what we propriotize what we decide are our priorites...We want to ignore our own domestic needs; we get what we pay for...Or what we demand.
And wonder why bike lanes get low priority.
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Old 12-20-04, 12:40 AM   #21
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move to california. there is a bike path on every single road.
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Old 12-20-04, 02:43 AM   #22
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. . . There already exists a huge network of bike-accessible facilities everywhere in the world. They're called ROADS! . . .
Well said.
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Old 12-20-04, 05:44 AM   #23
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Not all roads are accessible for bikes, and I'd rather not ride on many of those that are. I would choose a proper bike path / lane over a crowded street / high-speed primary road any time.

Implementing proper bike paths / lanes requires more than just money. It takes good planning, some space and political will. All these are more likely to be available if the community is running some kind of recognised effort to boost bike usage.

If some of these are missing, the likely outcome is one more unusable bike path / lane. I think we have all seen our share of those. They are bad in so many ways: they don't serve the purpose they were built for, as such they are an utter waste of all efforts that went into building them, and they offer convenient ammo for anti-bike lobbyists ("look how much has been done already and yet nobody uses them"). I think money poured into such lanes would be better used in general road improving projects.

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Old 12-20-04, 07:15 AM   #24
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To Jeffrey

How much Tax do you want put on the bike riding you do to pay for the paths? I both drive a car and ride a bike, .43 cents per gallon of gas is taxed suppossedly for roads, thought i doubt it all goes to roads
You are the government whether you recognize the fact ot not, and you not someone else is going to have to start the movement for paths, and pay for them

To Dirtbike......"every road in cailfornia had bike paths", well maybe some, but on my recent ride from SF to Santa Barbara and Malibu except in a few cities, there were no bike lanes on HWY 1 along the ocean, and in spite of Gov Aaaaanolds rhetoric I rather doubt that bike paths are on a priority list, and if they were, where is the financing?
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The BEST idea I saw in Calif was the west side of the GG bridge wholly given over to bike riding, now that IS a GREAT idea. But from the Presidio to the bridge the lane was miniscule at best, and sum dude in a Bentley convertible nearly ran me off the road
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Old 12-20-04, 07:32 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Anthony King
I think bike lanes are a bad idea. Bike lanes reinforce the cager attitude that they shouldn't have to worry about/look for bikes while they are driving. I second Daily Commute's comments.

As far as the sentiment of your question, I feel 'ya, but I think you are looking at it wrong. Ms Mittens is on the right track. Jeffery is approaching the subject rationally, which isn't the way to understand this question (not most political questions). Policies towards traffic in the US and many other countries are made by legislators who are live in societies that are addicted, if you will, to automobile driving. You can tell a person addicted to any drug how it's ruining their lives, how it would be better if they changed this or that, but they can't imagine life without it and are unable to honestly evaluate the situation. They don't look at the problem rationally, but emotionally. The addict arranges his entire life around the drug, we have arranged our entire lives/cities/towns around cars. Only something very, very drastic will change that.
This is really the root of the problem. The paved roads were first created in the USA for bikes not cars. People were then sold cars and loved them. Everything was (literally) built around that.
It's happening now with cell phones. The cell phone was created so the manufacturer can make money. It is a marketing success. Now a whole generation does not know how to live without one. Now the pay phones are being taken out, and so are the highway call boxes. A lot of similarities.
A lot of it (not all of it) has to do with perceived benefits rather than real benefits. Bikes, Bike lanes, and bike paths, need to be marketed as well as cars and cell phones to be as popular.

The car still is seen as "needed" compared to a bike, by the largest segment of the population. So that's where the priority lies.
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