@ B. Carfree. You note that California is mandatory lane law state
I was curious as I didn't think that was the case and this is what I found simplified
* no or requirement to use a lane or path like a MUP if it is not on the road
* Use of lane is required, but the exceptions seem pretty common sense and not overly restrictive to me
Where bike lanes exist on roadways, CVC 21208 requires cyclists to use them, except under certain conditions. There is no requirement to ride in a bike lane or path that is not on the roadway.
Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes
21208. (a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway pursuant to Section 21207, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:
1.When overtaking and passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane.
2.When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3.When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.
4.When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) No person operating a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 22100) in the event that any vehicle may be affected by the movement.
—California Department of Motor Vehicles, CVC 21208, Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes
But there is a difference in how each operates at their particular level... based, if nothing else, on who those at each level "compete with" for various resources and ultimately, personal gain.
Now, what would I like to do about those? I don't think there is one answer for all of them. Some of them have so few cross-streets and driveways that a bike path would be a perfect solution. However, many of these roadways have an abundance of intersection issues such that a bike path would be too expensive to put in place since it would require overpasses to safely deal with them. Very wide bike lanes can work, but those freeway-style interchanges really create an unnecessary hazard; those have no place on surface streets, IMO. So, in a nutshell, here goes:
1. No merge/ramp intersections on surface streets.
2. Bike paths where intersections/driveways are less frequent than X miles (X is negotiable; driveway count is too, since some just won't have any measurable use).
3. Wide (I like 8-foot, settle for less) bike lanes/shoulders on high-speed roads that have intersection/driveways more frequent than X.
4. Reduce the speed limit and enforce it. Do we really need 65 mph surface streets? Do all roads need to grow into freeways? I would much prefer a general speed limit of 40 mph (probably my least popular opinion here). (Reducing the speed limits applies in urban settings as well. Far too many streets have 35 mph speed limits where 25 mph would work much better from the perspective of encouraging human-powered transportation.)
Really, if a jurisdiction has the $$ to build six-lane expressways with freeway-style ramps, they have the $$ to build a parallel path that has overpasses at the junctions. It's clearly a matter of us as a society placing a greater value on moving a few cars a little faster at non-peak hours at the expense of moving people in a healthy manner with a reasonable level of safety.
I also im in favor of reducing residential and commercial street speed limits. I would also say that in many cases, its not the legal speed limit thats an issue, its the lack of enforcement which creates a situation of traffic going far over the legal limit thats a major danger for cycling. Until we as a society are willing to say that getting there faster is not a desirable thing, there will always be problems between cyclists and speeding cars/trucks/busses. When I lived in Montana, during the 2000's housing boom, some of the worst and most frequent bad driving was local contractors and sub-contracors speeding to and fro, job to job. As my wife and used to joke, Look out for them, they is impotent!
As far as getting there faster, don't confuse peak speed with travel time, especially in urban/suburban settings.
Now, if I can just get my city councilors to pass a few ordinances...:thumb: (I'll have one angry traffic engineer:lol:)
1. ~ I absolutely agree that freeway style exit/entry ramps have no place on anywhere other then the freeway and I question them even there in some cases. Right hand turn lanes are one thing, especially long ones that give motorists more time and distance to safely merge across straight through bicycle traffic whether that be either an official bike lane to the left of a right turn only lane or shoulder edge riding cyclists taking a line through the intersection that has them taking a through line in the extreme left edge of the right hand turn lane. Abrupt slopped ramps that jut off or in at a Y-angle are an entirely different thing. They encourage motorists to exit and enter at high speed and give no quarter to through traffic cyclists.
2. ~ I have no issue with bike paths provided crossings are kept to a minimum and/or traditional legal protection and ROW cross-walk protection is provided for where the bike paths cross the cross-streets and drive-ways. I think where possible decent shoulder edge width or official bike lane(s) should be provided on the road in addition to side-paths especially when the path is a MUP and has pedestrian traffic on it as well. I prefer a decent ride-able shoulder edge to an official bike path in many situations since its hard to mess up a consistently wide shoulder edge where as bike lanes get messed up more often then not.
3. ~ If you have 8-foot of width to work with I personally would much prefer two 4' bike lanes rather then one 8' bike lane. Far less likely that cars will think its another lane for them to tear down at breakneck speed (which is a danger once a bike lane gets wide enough) and also gives cyclists their choice of whether to ride in the outside bike lane and use the inside bike lane as a buffer zone between them and automotive traffic or for more aggressive, faster, and experienced cyclists to use the inside lane closer to automotive traffic making themselves more visible and closer to being a part of the main traffic flow and safe the outside lane as an escape zone. It also allows cyclists to more easily pass each other without having to move into the high speed primarily automotive traffic lanes. In addition two bike lanes which together provide a decent surface width each being a single track lane also offer automotive traffic wishing to make a right turn the option to merge into the bike-lanes and slow for the turn as apposed to making a right-hook maneuver across cycle traffic. I have no problem and greatly prefer automobiles making right turns to merge into the bike lane(s) or shoulder edge before turning, which is a very different maneuver then tearing down a wide bike lane using it as a way to pass other slower automotive traffic on their right side (something I have seen done !!!).
Long story short, if you have that much width to work with give me two narrower bike lanes rather then one big wide one, much better in my opinion for multiple reasons.
4. ~ I absolutely agree that speed limits are too high and are not enforced as they are even already being too high. Unless its a freeway anything faster then 55 mph is ridiculous and an unnecessary hazard to public safety. In-town square-grid stop and go traffic anything higher then 25 mph is ridiculous and an unnecessary hazard to public safety, same goes for any street with parallel parking along its side or in a residential area with "children at play" and often something less then that like 20 mph would be better. As to enforcement, I can understand that speedometers are not always perfectly accurate and you can't always be looking at it and you need to keep your eyes on the road but it is not in any way unreasonable to expect people to be able to control their speed within a +/-5 mph and I think they should be giving high dollar tickets for anything more then that, strict enforcement including court ordered speed regulators installed on repeat offenders vehicles at their own expense.
5. ~ (You didn't give it a number but your last paragraph is a fifth point in and of itself.) I absolutely agree that every free-way/express-way/speed-way should have an equivalent bike-express-way built along at least one side of it with equivalent ROW including over/under passes for all crossings and merging ramp style controlled access. If its good enough for the cars then its good enough for us and at far lest cost and space used to build one for us too.
The issue is primarily a cultural one that the speed limit is some kind of bare minimum and anyone not going at least the speed limit should be harassed and/or ticketed for going too slow rather then treated as a maximum and enforced accordingly. I have actually received a ticket in this state for only going 55 mph in the fast lane with my big 2-ton with a full load on a road with a 55 mph speed limit which I'm happy to say I soundly defeated in court especially since traffic in the slow lane was actually over all going slower and the cop who gave the ticket to me was frustrated because he couldn't get around me because every time he tried to pass me in the right lane he could never get all the way around me before someone in the right lane would start slowing down to make a right hand turn off the road or because someone pulled out onto the road from the right in front of them. He was not running with his lights and sirens until he got mad that he couldn't get around me and go faster then the speed limit and I didn't even know he was a cop because it was one of those all black unmarked cars with no lights on top but rather mounted stealth like on the dash inside the windshield and inside the front grill. Having lived in MT yourself I'm sure you know the kind of "stealth" cop cruisers I'm talking about.
I think that increased ridership is and will always be a result of multiple inputs/reasons and will never depend on just one thing for all riders. It might be one tipping point thing for an individual rider and that tipping point will be vary as people vary.
As other have posted, a way to look at is that more people ride when it is more conventient/practical for the them. This may be caused by increase in gas prices, difficult car parking, bike is faster than car, interest in health, interest in environment, they found a new route that is better, more confident in riding, infrastructure that makes a person fell safer, a friend that is riding, etc
I think you need to look at infrastructure as a continum... from roads with only a bare minimum shoulder (think Hiway 2 across northern montana.....this is where I started riding outside of town), to wide shoulder, to basic city streets, to ok bike paths, to good bike paths, to separated infrastructure. All have a place and while we all (me for sure) have preferences, there is no single solution that will cause the riders to come
OT.....speeding in MT, Stuff of legend. For years there was no daytime speed limit, but you would get hit if you were going to fast for the specific road...which was easy with the number of narrow, poor roads. Night time was always a 55 mile limit.
When the national limit when to 55, Montana implemented a "Failure to conserve" ticket for over 55. 5 dollars, no points on license and payable on the spot. Long trips you just put a couple of fives on the dashboard. Over 80 would get you dinged pretty good.
When the national limit went away, people from out of state would come to take advantage of the no daytime speedlimit....and had the problems that come with driving fast on non autobahn roads, so the state put daytime speed limits in place, and there is little tolerance for speeds above these.
Frankly I tend to agree... as I found that the opposite is true... that for all my years of cycling, living car free and regular commuting, I no longer commute, as the negative tipping point was reached for me with the high speed roads and cell phone distracted motorists in and around my place of work. Too many close calls depending my "not as sharp as they once were" reflexes to avoid collisions.
Sure there is indeed a correlation... but as you point out, not everyone needs the same "magic bullet." But none the less, there are those that will continue to say "there is no connection what so ever..."
I get bike lanes, 3' laws and general awareness on how to travel, but it's people that don't that create a problem. I'm putting in my complaint about aged hours of operation. Former good drivers gone bad and using the mid-day hours to navigate the roads...
However, depends on locale. For example, in large urban centers like NYC, many people who live in the city don't own an automobile. So, gas prices make no difference. For years I commuted in NYC and friends often looked at me like I was crazy. Now many of those same people commute by bike. Why? Bike lanes, the West Side Path, improved accommodations on the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Willamsburg Bridge. How do I know that's the reason? I ask them. Had there been no changes to infrastructure they would still walk or take the bus or subway.
I'm sure in other regions and cities there are multiple reasons, often economic but for large shares of riders its infrastructure. In the Boston region there is quite a bit of outside the city commuters who ride into the city. Many, but not all, are car owners as well. But for many of them and for the large student population in the area it has been the addition of more lanes and improvements to the bike path that has led to an increase in the numbers. Combined with economics and frustration with traffic congestion.
There's more to infrastructure than concrete and paint. The social infrastructure, of which law enforcement is just a part, plays a huge, if ignored, role.
By the way, didn't the rise from zero of cycling in NYC correlate with efforts to improve law enforcement? I seem to remember NYPD adopting the "Broken Window" approach early this century. I'm not saying correlation equals causation, but...
Why do you think NYC has seen such an increase in bike riders, if not due to more infrastructural accommodations?
Personally, I'd like to see more cycling advocates work for higher quality infrastructure than just cheer on the latest incarnation of a world-class sidewalk. My city put in one of these world-class sidewalks two years ago and we've already had an unnecessary death caused by it.
Edit: I just looked up commuter mode numbers for NYC. For the NYC metro area, a whopping 0.6% of commuters are using bikes. That would be the same 0.6% number we see for the US as a whole. For residents of NYC proper, it's a slightly less awful 1.0%. Color me unimpressed with the impact of all this wonderful infrastructure/police work/social change/economic depression on the number of people cycling. Then again, maybe being average, or slightly better than average, is considered exceptional to some people. Talk about the comparative height of midgets...
** as I have pointed out in another thread you may want to take note of the percentages of NYers who walk to work or use public transportation. It's considerably higher than the general population. The major change in NYC has been the percentage of cyclists as part of traffic. On certain bike laned streets cyclists are between 3-18% of all moving traffic.
You really need to visit NYC and ride there before you judge. And I really wish I could roll back time and take you for a nice ride in the city in the early '90's long before there was infrastructure in the city and you could count the cyclists you would see on one hand as you fought off the cabbies with the other.
For whatever reason you seem to want to reframe the discussion away from the possibility that the addition of infrastructure where there has been no accommodation will increase cycling.
I, for one, am not making the argument that adding more infrastructure to an area already with infrastructure will continue to spike the numbers.
I am not arguing that there are other factors at play like economics, traffic congestion, cultural trends etc that contribute to the popularity of cycling BUT all those factors without places to ride are not enough to get people out on bikes.
I pointed out two Massachusetts cities, Worcester and Springfield that have had nowhere near the spike in bicycle traffic that Boston has. The only difference is the addition of bike infrastructure. Now those two cites are starting to add infrastructure. I'll watch carefully and share with you any information that shows a change in numbers of bicyclists. My guess is there will be a spike as infrastructure is added. Will it be sustainable? I have no idea.
I jokingly made reference in this thread to the concept that should my bike lanes and bike paths suddenly be removed I would continue to ride but it wouldn't be as safe, as convenient or as popular. Well, be careful what you wish for. We just got two snow storms in a row and now we've had no bike lanes, cars are parked further into the street, the bike path is poorly plowed for the past 3 days. Now when I ride I am riding without infrastructure and you know what? - it sucks! And, it's down to a hardy few of us. And it's not just the temperature (people were riding in the freezing cold last week)- it's the lack of and/or the poor maintenance of bike infrastructure- take that away and a large share of the cyclists disappear literally overnight.
Don't forget as a result of a lawsuit by rob anderson there was an injunction against San Francisco Bicycling Plan projects from 2006-2010.