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Thread: nyc bike lanes

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    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    nyc bike lanes

    entertaining if nothing else, but guy gets ticke (apparently not valid) for not using bikelanes. Point of concern for me is the : build bike infrastructure and restrict cyclists to the infrastructure, even infrastructure is no good.

    don't recall seeing this posted before, but apologies if it is a duplicate


    http://www.minds.com/blog/view/23184...-in-bike-lanes
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    Humorous, wonder what would have happened if he mailed back the ticket with a "not illegal" letter explaining the law....

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    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    This is an older video. The cop is pretty mellow about it. The lanes have only slightly improved given the higher number of Citibikes on the lanes.

    It's also easy enough to fight a ticket. Usually the cops don't show up for the hearing and the case is dismissed. This has happened several times for me already in NYC.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    One of the unintended consequences of bike infrastructure. It reinforces people's misapprehension that bicycles should not be on the roads, but be restricted to bike lanes and paths.

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    Funny, he's a well known filmmaker, definitely appreciate this one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    One of the unintended consequences of bike infrastructure. It reinforces people's misapprehension that bicycles should not be on the roads, but be restricted to bike lanes and paths.
    I agree which is why I'm generally not in favor of bike infrastructure.

    OTOH, the law in NY is pretty clear on this point, where lanes exist, we're compelled to use them. I've been riding in NYC doe 45 years, never had a serious issue sharing the strees and avenues with cars. Now since NYC has become "bike friendly" the number of avenues available to me is reduced, but so far it's manageable.
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    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    That video is pretty old but still very relevant. Bike lanes are often anything but bike lanes. They are commercial unloading spots, drop off and pick up spots, running tracks, smoking lounges, waiting rooms and parking spots.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I agree which is why I'm generally not in favor of bike infrastructure.

    OTOH, the law in NY is pretty clear on this point, where lanes exist, we're compelled to use them. I've been riding in NYC doe 45 years, never had a serious issue sharing the streets and avenues with cars. Now since NYC has become "bike friendly" the number of avenues available to me is reduced, but so far it's manageable.
    It's my understanding that you're not confined to roads with bike lanes in fact he can go any surface street unless otherwise noted or common sense says not to.
    Last edited by walrus1; 10-10-13 at 12:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post

    It's my understanding that you're not confined to roads with bike lanes in fact he can go any surface street unless otherwise noted or common sense says not to.
    Yes, one can avoid roads with adjacent bike lanes. I didn't say that I was forced o ride only on bike lanes. But my choices of usable roads is reduced because the ones with lanes are eliminated.
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    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, one can avoid roads with adjacent bike lanes. I didn't say that I was forced o ride only on bike lanes. But my choices of usable roads is reduced because the ones with lanes are eliminated.
    Um, why are ones with bike lanes eliminated? What your saying makes zero sense. If there is an obstruction you can simply take the lane and go around it. If the lane is blocked or so damaged that it is unsafe to ride in you can again take the lane. In both these cases taking the lane is 100% legal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    Um, why are ones with bike lanes eliminated? What your saying makes zero sense. If there is an obstruction you can simply take the lane and go around it. If the lane is blocked or so damaged that it is unsafe to ride in you can again take the lane. In both these cases taking the lane is 100% legal.
    Of course it makes zero sense, unless you understand that I don't ride in bike lanes when there's a good safe road parallel, but the state mandates exactly the opposite, so I am (self) banned from riding on avenues where there are bike lanes.

    Why I don't ride bike lanes.

    Bike lanes are dangerous for cyclists who can and do ride at the pace of general street traffic.

    The bike lanes are narrow, often in the door lane, and full of slower moving cyclists who cannot hold a line. Moreover they greatly increase the risk of left hooks (NYC lanes on avenues are usually on the left) and other cross traffic accidents.

    They're also on the wrong side of the road, if I'm planning a right turn onto a cross street (Yes, I can do a so-called Copenhagen turn).

    Since the law mandates that I use a bike lane when it's there, I opt to avoid those streets and avenues entirely.

    ----

    Overall, my opinion of bike lanes is that most are bike unfriendly, and analogous to cages in the zoo. I don't know if they're designed to keep cars out or bikes in, though I suspect the latter. This is why I characterize bike lanes as separate but Unequal.

    Long ago, when they first started proposing separate bike lanes, I warned that the existence of separate facilities would lead to mandates that we use them (losing more of whatever remains of our general rights to public roads). This was greeted with "can't and won't happen. Well, it can and has, and must use mandates are in our future, whether you believe it or not.

    Understand that I'm categorically opposed to bike lanes, and they do make sense in many places. But IMO, the bike lanes in most cities don't make sense, and experienced cyclists were or are safer without them.

    Of course, you're free to have your own opinion, this is mine.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 10-10-13 at 10:51 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    @FBinNY links (preferably from major publications, scientific journals etc.) to back up your argument that bike lanes are unsafe for cyclists. Everything I've read says they drastically increase bicycle safety.

    Let me make this abundantly clear for ya. The law only requires that you stay in the lane if it is unblocked and and safe to ride otherwise hop in the travel lane.

    Bike lanes are designed to separate two very different vehicles sharing the same road way. So that both vehicles can move freely and safely. They are designed to keep cars out and sometimes bikes in. Umm how are they unequal?


    I wish to apologize my concluding sentence was too snarky even by my standards. I do maintain that this is an awfully odd theory.
    Last edited by walrus1; 10-10-13 at 11:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    ...... links (preferably from major publications, scientific journals etc.) to back up your argument that bike lanes are unsafe for cyclists. Everything I've read says they drastically increase bicycle safety.
    Statistics are fine, but they are not fate. We can control our own destinies and beat the odds by choices we make. We do this every day. Those who chose an active lifestyle can beat the heart attack statistics, those who are streetwise, and avoid poor neighborhoods and deserted parks at night can beat the crime statistics.

    There is also a vast difference between statistical safety for an entire category, and actual safety for a subcategory. Everything is a matter of tradeoffs, and improvements for one subcategory, may be worse for others. So what may improve the overall numbers may work the opposite way for others.

    I don't doubt that slower or less experienced riders, may benefit from bike lanes, and be safer within their confines. But experienced riders who ride faster, can hold a line, understand traffic cross flow implications, and know enough to stay clear of the door lane are safer mixed with the general traffic flow. I might point out that I've been riding in traffic, including NYC traffic for shy of 50 years, and when in NYC ride at very close to the speed of avenue motor traffic (sometimes faster).

    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    Let me make this abundantly clear for ya. The law only requires that you stay in the lane if it is unblocked and and safe to ride otherwise hop in the travel lane.

    ....They are designed to keep cars out and sometimes bikes in. Umm how are they unequal?
    It is more than abundantly clear to me. Yes, if they are simply painted lines, I can swing around them as needed, but what about those which are divided by curbs? As for the language of the law, define "unblocked", or "unsafe". Is the door lane unsafe? If I am riding at closer to the speed of motor traffic than I am to that of cyclists in a bike lane, doesn't that disparity of speed create an unsafe situation, not only for me, but for other bike lane users?

    What makes them unequal? Lack of maneuvering width, clogged with slow moving traffic, door lane, in some places more litter or glass because mechanical street sweepers don't fit, increased danger of cross turning traffic with poor sight lines, and/or confusion about rights of way..... Need I go on?

    Fortunately so far, I don't have to deal with this, there are still enough choices where there's no segregated bike lanes, so for me it's simply a matter of some adjustments in road selection and route planning.

    Oh, and I'm not trying to convince you or anybody else. You have your opinion and are entitled to have it, since I no longer live in NYC I don't have a say in what it it does. I ride in NYC as a visitor, and have no wish to tell those who live there how they should run their city.

    As for overall safety numbers ---- 100,000+ zero injury* miles speak for themselves. (road rash doesn't count)

    *injury- defined as something requiring professional medical attention,
    Last edited by FBinNY; 10-10-13 at 11:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    @FBinNY links (preferably from major publications, scientific journals etc.) to back up your argument that bike lanes are unsafe for cyclists. Everything I've read says they drastically increase bicycle safety.

    Let me make this abundantly clear for ya. The law only requires that you stay in the lane if it is unblocked and and safe to ride otherwise hop in the travel lane.

    Bike lanes are designed to separate two very different vehicles sharing the same road way. So that both vehicles can move freely and safely. They are designed to keep cars out and sometimes bikes in. Umm how are they unequal?


    I wish to apologize my concluding sentence was too snarky even by my standards. I do maintain that this is an awfully odd theory.
    There has never been a study that has shown how a bike-lane stripe has reduced car-bike collisions. Most of the studies are by enthusiasts or propagandists (including politicians) who know nothing of traffic engineering and mix in together many other causes into an agglomerated data set which prevents one from learning. The most careful study of cycle tracks in Copenhagen concludes that those cycle tracks cause more car-bike collisions than would otherwise exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    There has never been a study that has shown how a bike-lane stripe has reduced car-bike collisions. Most of the studies are by enthusiasts or propagandists (including politicians) who know nothing of traffic engineering and mix in together many other causes into an agglomerated data set which prevents one from learning. The most careful study of cycle tracks in Copenhagen concludes that those cycle tracks cause more car-bike collisions than would otherwise exist.
    Thank you for the supporting data, such as it is.

    As I said earlier, statistics aren't fate.

    The choices we make for ourselves are more important than statistical averages.
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    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    On a anecdotal note I often veer to the West Side of Central Park to test the bike lanes on Columbus/9th Ave in NYC. I've been doing that for the past two years to see usage and efficacy of said bike lane. To date it's sparsely used, sometimes problematic as bike delivery guys salmon up the way and drivers do a WHOLE lot of unpacking, or loitering in the path. Peds do all sorts of oddball things which can be patently dangerous if you are going 20-25 mph. If I actually want to get somewhere with speed I ditch the bike lane and go rate of traffic in the main road.

    Overall, I think it's an interesting experiment and I am waiting to see how the cold weather affects Citibike usage, as well as traffic on the bike lanes.

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    Senior Member walrus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Statistics are fine, but they are not fate. We can control our own destinies and beat the odds by choices we make. We do this every day. Those who chose an active lifestyle can beat the heart attack statistics, those who are streetwise, and avoid poor neighborhoods and deserted parks at night can beat the crime statistics.

    There is also a vast difference between statistical safety for an entire category, and actual safety for a subcategory. Everything is a matter of tradeoffs, and improvements for one subcategory, may be worse for others. So what may improve the overall numbers may work the opposite way for others.

    Fortunately so far, I don't have to deal with this, there are still enough choices where there's no segregated bike lanes, so for me it's simply a matter of some adjustments in road selection and route planning.

    As for overall safety numbers ---- 100,000+ zero injury* miles speak for themselves. (road rash doesn't count)

    *injury- defined as something requiring professional medical attention,
    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    There has never been a study that has shown how a bike-lane stripe has reduced car-bike collisions. Most of the studies are by enthusiasts or propagandists (including politicians) who know nothing of traffic engineering and mix in together many other causes into an agglomerated data set which prevents one from learning. The most careful study of cycle tracks in Copenhagen concludes that those cycle tracks cause more car-bike collisions than would otherwise exist.
    So in other words you two have nothing but your gut feelings backing you up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Essex View Post
    On a anecdotal note I often veer to the West Side of Central Park to test the bike lanes on Columbus/9th Ave in NYC. I've been doing that for the past two years to see usage and efficacy of said bike lane. To date it's sparsely used, sometimes problematic as bike delivery guys salmon up the way and drivers do a WHOLE lot of unpacking, or loitering in the path. Peds do all sorts of oddball things which can be patently dangerous if you are going 20-25 mph. If I actually want to get somewhere with speed I ditch the bike lane and go rate of traffic in the main road.

    Overall, I think it's an interesting experiment and I am waiting to see how the cold weather affects Citibike usage, as well as traffic on the bike lanes.
    It's my understanding that many cyclists will be deterred by the cold weather. I see a lot more cyclists in the bike lanes on 70° day then I do on a 35° day. I suspect that Citibike ridership will be just as affected. However, this is a hypothesis based on my extremely unscientific observations.
    Last edited by walrus1; 10-11-13 at 09:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus1 View Post
    So in other words you two have nothing but your gut feelings backing you up?
    John F. and I aren't associated in any way so I don't and can't speak for him, but I don't need any more than my gut feelings (as you call it) since I'm not proposing any public policy for others, only making my own personal decisions about my own safety. However those gut feelings are based on shy of 50 years experience riding bicycles in NYC traffic. (you're not saying I don't have the right to manage my own safety, are you?)

    OTOH- those who do propose public policy do need a good basis for the proposals, and from what I've seen don't have that.

    In any case, you have your opinion, and I have mine. I'm not trying to change your mind, only explaining that for riders like myself, the bike lanes have no benefit, and some drawbacks. Just as you're entitled to have and live by your opinion, I and le minded people have the rights to our own.

    As I said earlier, I no longer live in NYC, so I don't try to influence policy there, I simply adapt to it.

    You, OTOH, seem to be a believer in bike lanes and shouldn't take anything I say as in any way trying to talk you out of your opinion.

    Consider this my sign-off on this thread.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 10-11-13 at 10:11 AM.
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    I only feel significantly safer in bike paths/lanes that are separated from vehicles by solid physical dividers. If it's just a lane marked with white bike symbols, vehicles can still (and often do) go there or park there.

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