We had some inclement weather Friday and this cyclist did not fare well in trying to use separated infrastructure.
We had some inclement weather Friday and this cyclist did not fare well in trying to use separated infrastructure.
Currently sitting in Hawaii watching my Broncos kick NE's butt.[/QUOTE]
I am reading your post Monday afternoon and I'm sorry, but I do have to say "what do you think of your Broncos now" ? :-)
Buzzman, you would have loved the cycling infrastructure in Oulu Finland... you know up by the arctic circle, where it snows, a lot. They run plows on the infrastructure... as evidenced by the scratch marks and verified by conversations with the locals... although they don't plow the paths that go to the beaches "as no one goes there in winter."
The paths laid out there, built in the '70s (verified by stamp marks in the concrete) and later are well designed and allow cyclists the most direct route between two locations and avoid the "car streets" as much as possible.
Perhaps the biggest problem with paths in the US is that they are considered "recreation paths" and are not part of the transportation network, thus, they are not taken seriously, they are not maintained, and thus not repaired and equipment is not bought to do the maintenance on them. San Diego (yes, a snow free zone for most part) once had a street sweeper that was perfect to maintain the 5 foot wide paths, but they failed to budget for future maintenance of the path sweeper and it feel into disrepair. Similar such failures no doubt exist by and large for most paths in the US.
Bikes are considered toys and paths are for recreation... so why would anyone in their right might use those things for transportation when "cars are the best invention of the 20th century." /sarcasm off
The paths aren't cleared in the winter (hence summer use), while the road has multiple lanes and good sight lines. I haven't had any problems with the 45mph road summer or winter - traffic is usually light, but DelDOT want motorists to have an extra lane if they might want it.
The drivers here are smarter than the planners, so the VC thing works quite well, even in winter. We don't get as much snow here as when I lived in Massachusetts (Jan-Feb, vs. Dec-March), but when it does snow in Jan & Feb, DelDOT plows the snow from the travel lane into the bike lanes on a parallel road. This means 1'-2' of snow on the road becomes 2'-3' of snow in the bike lane. What nice plowed bike path??
When this happens, I ride in the middle of the regular lane, or one of the auto tire tracks depending on snow/ice. Lights and reflectors work well; there are usually no more than 2-4 cars in the oncoming lane, so drivers behind me wait to pass. Since the bike lane is buried under snow, they know I can't use it. On the alternate road (2 lanes each direction, no shoulder) DelDOT plows both lanes (since they are for motorists) and I use the whichever lane I need for my destination. With good sight lines, I've had no problems.
The Chester Valley Trail (CVT) in Chester County PA is a nice separated path in the summer near where I used to work. It is funded for transportation but administered by Parks & Recreation so it is officially closed after dark (no lights, technically not legal for commuting in winter). I know it was not plowed promptly in winter; I'm not sure it was cleared at all.
Conversely on Route 30 (medium sized highway roughly parallel to CVT) the lanes and shoulders were cleared and the road was well lit. In nice weather with very good lights the trail could be very pleasant, but the highway was always usable, including in the winter.
I did notice on a trip to Massachusetts that there were bicycle symbols in the middle of some lanes at traffic lights, so bicyclists would trip the light. Locally these symbols are all next to the curb, so the bicyclists need to know they have to leave marked bike lanes to make the lights change.
If you have reasonable facilities where you live, that's great. Please don't tell me to support the local facilities designed by planners that are afraid to use the roads, or the facilities they design. (Some of them have told me this.) My general observation is that the facilities for both pedestrians and bicyclists (bridges to connect developments) are good, while the local bicycle specific facilities are annoying at best and frightening at worst.
1. Young people are economically damaged, as a generation, like never before and are responding by driving less and foregoing drivers licenses in record numbers. Every day there are more Millennial adult cyclists and fewer WWII drivers.
2. Climate Change. Even in America people are beginning to get it, and it is rather inescapable that if carbon dioxide emissions need to be reduced, multiple two to four mile trips in cars will need to be replaced with other means, like bikes.
3. Pressure from medical practitioners. Now that a larger number of Americans will have health insurance that covers basic preventive care, I foresee a lot more effort from care providers to coax people to get their weight under control and get more exercise. This could/should lead to less driving and more walking and cycling. Visit the fifty plus forum and see how many folks have come to Dr. Schwinn as a referral from their physician.
I do find it interesting that the "hard core" cyclists on the (L)east coast were so strongly opposed to reasonable bike paths. Out here, I was riding with what were the same level of riders, west coast version, and we never had a problem with bike paths going in that would allow us to choose between the path and a busy road. Of course, we still fought against poor implementations, and sometimes we even won some improvements. Perhaps we felt our right to the road was less threatened since we mostly had low-density, unincorporated or rural roadways within two to ten miles of our homes, so there wasn't much of a threat to the roads we did most of our miles on by a few urban/suburban paths in our warm-up/cool down areas.
I think they still have a much better record this year than your favorite team.
The post was partly to make the point to buzzman that even living in Hawaii now, I still have close ties to cold weather folks. Maybe buzzman should spend some time in Frazier, CO.
Regardless, I very much enjoyed the first half while reading buzzman's rant, pointed at me and some others. Buzzman has no clue how many football games I have played in the snow. I have pointed out to him before that I grew up in CO and lived in other cold weather states. He just seems to forget each summer.Quote:
Fraser, with an annual mean temperature of 32.5 °F (or 34.8 °F (1.6 °C) based on another station in town) is the coldest incorporated town in the lower 48 states.
Buzzman is not completely fair, in that there were concerns with safety at intersections with the path. His implication that bike experts in his neck of the woods did not care about safety, is counter to this work:
There's also the belief that many paths are designed in such a way that there's a good chance of increased accidents at intersections, which can become fodder for increased regulation or restrictions "for your own safety".
So many experienced cyclists feel that we don't need more segregation, but better approaches to shared use. I (for one) am not categorically opposed to cycle tracks, I simply prefer that they are limited to situations where they are absolutely necessary, or where the benefits very clearly outweigh the drawbacks.
Overall, some of don't believe that
Originally Posted by ARS 28-735
If MUPs are to be built, then they should be built to the 12 feet wide MUP standards and not the 8 feet wide standards. Old bike paths that were built to the 8 feet standard should not be converted to MUPs by simply changing the name from bike path to MUP.
Of course John conveniently forgets the fear of the greater mass of the motorized vehicle and in this conversation, the issue of the ice and lack of control of that greater mass brought on by lack of friction.
When a cyclist plays "bumper car" with an out of control motor vehicle, the cyclist generally loses. That is a real and genuine fear.
I have learned that if your going to cycle in the winter anywhere that you even cross paths with cars on a regular basis which includes most supposedly separated/segregated (whichever term you prefer) cycle paths much less ride on the road with cars you must be able to maintain mental control and not go into a "fight or flight" instinctual fear level (I could do some sci-fi quotes about fear being the mind killer and the path to the dark side here but I'll restrain myself).
I personally also believe the exact same thing is true when its not winter road conditions as well, but their isn't quite as sharp of a point to the argument under more favorable road conditions and the odd aren't running as high either.
First of all you have no need to apologize for a lengthy post, least of all to me of all people. Part of the reason I like forums as apposed to other forms of written communal internet forms is because I consider it the "long deep conversation format" rather then the quick short snappy sound bite like format like twitter and such.
As to throwing digital word bombs. I consider the A&S section of this forum to be like a "debate club" section of the forum and I treat it accordingly and do my best not to take things personally unless intentionally meant to be taken so and even then sometimes the wiser course of action is to not take it as such (although I fully admit that has not always been the case and when deliberately personally flamed I have retaliated with a flame of my own usually not personal but rather the hotter burning fact based type but never the less a return flame). Debate is a good thing so long as it is kept honest and factual and involves critical thinking when it lacks those things it really isn't a debate anymore but rather an argument (or a lot worse and possibly more accurate terms could be used).
As to the specific story you tell, I've seen similar confrontations in my day as well between the two "camps" in person and even more on this forum. I would like to specifically address several points of contention you brought up:
Right To Use The Road vs. Dedicated Cycle Infrastructure:
I can understand your frustration with the "bike experts" that were so against people who wanted a path having one to the point where they were willing to try to infringe on other peoples desire to have a path to use. But what about the other side. I have met in person many a "fellow cyclist" (I put that term in quotes for a reason) that was all for separated bike paths and indeed actually rode and used them that was violently and viciously against any cyclist being allowed to ride on the road much less allowed to actually ride in the actual traffic lanes. We have also had quite a few of those come through this forum viciously attacking anyone who dared to ride in the road and saying we were the problem and until we quite riding on the road and making people in cars mad at cyclists in general cyclists would continue to get the short end of the stick.
It's a two way street, there are just as many if not more pro-path cyclists I have met both in person and on line and even across the table of planning boards who are even physically violent against cyclists who dare to ride on or in the road. That is just as morally wrong and just as much of a problem as "bike experts" telling the cyclists who want a path (or bike lane, but that is less common) they can't have one.
That needs to be addressed as well, both sides need to at the very least not interfere just for the sake of interference both full road rights for cyclists and for those who want a path, yes, if a path can be done (can't be done everywhere, good example is dense urban areas where there just isn't room without literally tearing down then entire city block structure and all the builds and starting from scratch) or yes even bike lanes (Bikes ONLY lanes also can't be done everywhere for similar reasons but many areas can easily convert the right most lane into two half lanes with just some paint and signage that function as two bike lanes or one car lane simultaneously, something I've been pushing for a while now that apparently no one else ever though of before but I have a hard time believe that).
There are obviously real car-hits-bike safety issues (something I prefer to refer to as "the odds" to prevent "blame the cyclist victim not the driver not being careful or being deliberately aggressive with the multi-ton killing machine" language and mentality) with both full road rights and semi-separate cycle infrastructure although both sides tend to downplay the odds on their side and up-play the odds on the other side. Considering cars ability to ram through barriers and get even places that are supposed to be 100% separated in every way "the odds" never go away. It is, however, highly desirable to reduce the odds when possible but this can be taken too far. The best way to reduce the odds would be to never leave ones home and never bike anywhere, obviously that is unacceptable so we are always choosing to accept some risk and roll the dice and face the odds for our convenience to travel and some people are willing to face higher odds to travel more effectively and they shouldn't be harassed for doing so, others are willing to accept more inconvenience to lower the odds and they also shouldn't be harassed for doing so.
Long story short, until road right are cemented in stone well enough and use of dedicated infrastructure is established as non compulsory and a free will choice of the individual there is always going to be a very legitimate fear that cyclist specific infrastructure, especially when badly done, is a real risk to the rights of other cyclists who want to ride on the road.
Until both side are willing to support the right of free will choice for the other side even if they disagree with the others sides choice this major rift in the cycling community isn't going to go away.
"The Odds" When Riding On Roads Under Full Road Rights For Cyclists:
I don't think I need to explain these to you buzzman, I think you mostly already get them. The only main point I would make is that most anti-road-rights-cyclists significantly over-estimate "the odds" of being hit dead center squarely from behind while "taking the lane" and most underestimate the "the odds" of being "sliced" by a too close pass at high speed that makes actual physical contact and cuts and tears you up or even worse. Been there lost the odds on that one and been "sliced" myself and also had enough close calls that I will no longer risk that situation and I'm either IN or OUT of the main traffic lanes far enough that "the odds" are as low as I can make them for this problem and I'm either far enough over on the shoulder edge they have to come over into the shoulder "to get me" or I'm square in the lane and if they hit me they have to do it square on dead center into my back because I have learned that is actually the situation with the lower "odds" although "the odds" are still high enough on a high speed road that if possible I prefer to ride OUT of the main traffic lane on the shoulder edge and rather face "the odds" from exit/entry traffic (right hooks, left-T-cross, right entry nose out, right entry mow down, etc . . .) on low speed roads "the odds" switch on the balance and then the exit/entry turning traffic becomes the greater risk compared to being hit from behind dead center square on so I then adjust accordingly to take the lane to risk the lower set of odds and address the higher set.
I'm all about limiting "the odds" as much as I can while still traveling efficiently and effectively. Ultimately, the problem is not with me but rather with idiot, reckless, aggressive drivers of automobiles who do not treat their dangerous machines with the level of respect and responsibility they should. But I can juggle "the odds" on my end by adjusting my riding style according to conditions and I would be a fool not to do so and I do consider cyclists who do not do so as fools indeed but after all so long as you being a fool only puts yourself in danger you do have the right to be one if you want to and no one should try to take that right away.
"The Odds" When Riding On Semi-Separate Bicycle Infrastructure:
I'm mainly going to discuss side-paths here because in many ways on-road bicycle lanes belong more in the road rights category although some of "the odds" faced by side-path users especially badly designed side-paths do also apply to badly set-up on-road bicycle lanes as well.
I'll first tackle the problem of door zones, with side-paths this is when the side-path is tucked in tight on the opposite side of a row of parked cars from the main roadway so in the U.S. and other right side of the road driving direction countries that is the right side passenger doors of cars opening up into the side-path. This is a serious problem and should not be ignored and cyclists have been killed this way, it is also an unacceptable situation for peds. exiting parked cars, especially on the no-road side where the last thing they expect is to get hit when opening the door and stepping out on that side and they never look before opening the door on this side. A minimum buffer zone is an absolute necessity, preferably one that is not easily ride-able by cyclists such as a slightly raised curb island or such. On-roadway bicycle lanes can have the same problem if they are also built into the door zone of parked cars and there is not a minimum buffer zone, this is not just a situation that has risks for cyclists alone, peds. exiting their cars are also at risk without a buffer zone for them to step into and walk in although admittedly its less of a risk on the road side of the parked car since many motorists do actually look before opening the door because they don't want their door torn off or them getting hit by another car although that depends on local experience since in some areas its more common then others to have narrow parking lanes where the main traffic lane is in the door zone.
The biggest issue with most side-paths is the intersections with cross-roads and parking load entrances. This is where "the odds" really start to add up since turning automobile traffic is rarely kept under sufficient control by traffic lights to not represent a significant risk and the odds are often multiplied by the "out of sight, out of mind" factor. It is possible to set-up traffic lights on a four light phase system that completely isolates side-path users from turning automobile danger so long as no drivers run the lights but I have yet to see a single situation were they actually have done this and often turning automobile traffic are just supposed to know to yield to crosswalk style bicycle traffic and rarely do so and often it become up to the cyclists to stop or significantly slow down and wait even when they have ROW and look for an opportunity to cross in a mad dash to the safety of the path on the other side a maneuver which is not without its own set of "odds" but is certainly preferable to "the odds" that are faced just going straight through on the green light or "walk" signal without skipping a beat or slowing down which is a good way to get clobbered by a turning car whose driver will claim it was your fault as the cyclist and often will win on that with the assistance of a traffic cops report which will be slanted against you, assuming of course you survive and have medical bills to pay, if not then your just a statistic.
But that isn't even the worst of it. It gets even dicier on intersections where there isn't any official traffic control lights or even signs or even pavement markings saying whether cars on the road or cyclist on the path have ROW and who is supposed to yield to who. Obviously the course of action with the best "odds" for a cyclist is to just yield regardless and once again do the wait for a break and then a mad dash to the safety of the path on the other side maneuver. However, when a side-path is built along a major roadway and the crossings in question aren't even official roadways but rather entrances to parking lots of private businesses cyclists at least the ones I've witnessed usually just ride right across in an oblivious way thinking they have ROW and are just sitting ducks waiting for slaughter when a motorist goes through also thinking they have ROW and or not even seeing there is a cycle path crossing or even a cyclist until it's too late.
Now, I have seen side paths where at EVERY crossing even those that are single residence drive-ways there is a set of undersized stop or yield signs (usually stop) on the cycle side-path and I actually do consider that a better situation then not having any intersection controls or markings but still represents a massive prejudice against cyclists using the paths and a huge impediment to effective and efficient travel by bicycle and is certainly enough to get a sufficient number of cyclist to either ignore the signs and blow right through whether safe or not to do so or ride on the road instead. Which of course I do support the option to ride on the road instead but the "blow through" option is asking for an early grave and with absolutely no legal recourse.
Since I have bring up the convenience issue already I'd like to combine that with a sight line safety issue and also point out how many side-paths are extremely poorly engineered by how they laterally intersect with intersection crossings. From a pure safety perspective the cycle side-path should intersect the intersection either laterally as close to the main road as possible preferably with a safety barrier that does not obscure vision (think foot and a half high by foot and a half wide solid concrete barriers too big to easily drive over but low enough for clear vision over the top of and massive enough to take a hit) so the cyclists approaching the crossing are as visible as possible or swoop the cycle path way away from the main road it runs across before the intersection so it forms a second intersection of its own at least a half block down the side road from the main road (I've seen this done on one path at one intersection and it works absolutely beautifully on a long distance path with only a few major cross road intersections). Then there is the issue of cars waiting to enter the main road from a side road straddling and blocking the crossing point for the side-path. Although this can be addressed by routing the side path very close too and tight to the main road and in front of the line of cars on the side road most side-path cyclist users don't like this and it puts them too close to the main road traffic then they are comfortable with and it often doesn't work anyway with "right on red" turning traffic from the cross street nosing out into the crossing to get a good sight lone on approaching traffic on the main road looking for a gap to pull out into, also same problem with stop signs as well usually. The best option I believe is to set it up so that the side-path crossing meets the other opposite corner at just the right distance so that it is one car space back from the intersection with a normal length automobile up to the stop line with a clearly marked cross-walk like crossing with a sign telling the second motorist in line not to block the crossing but stay behind it until the first vehicle in line starts moving on a green light or pulls out on a stop sign or yield sign whichever is used at that point of entry to the main road. Both this and putting the crossing within close view of exiting traffic can be accomplished if their is an island in-between the entry and exit points putting an S-curve in the side-path to jog it back inside the island.
All of these things can be usually easily implemented into the design of side-paths and how they are routed through intersections to both lower "the odds" for cyclists getting hit and improve their ability to effectively and efficiently travel on a side-path. But in my experience more often then not the exact opposite is done and usually the worst possible set-up for both reducing "the odds" and for cyclists to travel efficiently and effectively is implemented instead. It may be just the cynic in me but at this point I can no longer believe that this is a total random accident of fate and in at least some part must be due to willful blindness, willful bigotry against cyclists, or even willful malice intent.
Then there is the minority issue that should be raised that cyclists on a side-path even when there are no intersection with roads are not outside of the odds especially on slick winter roads from cars going of the road and charging across into the side-path. I've personally witnessed this happen once and any cyclist using a side-path should keep their head up and maintain situational awareness and not assume cars will stay on the road, that is a false assumption. Something I think very few path users or proponents are even aware of.
If you wish I'll gladly post some diagrams of what I'm talking about as far as better options for how to route both cycle paths and cycle lanes through intersections to both reduce "the odds" of cyclists getting hit and also increase the convenience factor for cyclists to effectively and efficiently travel many of which can be implemented with minimal to no extra inconvenience to motorists and yet this is not how it is done but rather quite the opposite and I can no longer believe it is purely accidentally so.
Okay, huge post, got to go to bed now.