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  1. #1
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    San Francisco bicycle usage up 96 percent since 2006

    some good news



    http://www.mercurynews.com/californi...ercurynews.com

    short blurb of an article, it notes

    2013 bike count shows a 14 percent increase in bike riders since 2011 and a 96 percent jump since 2006.

    The additional bike riders come as the city has made improvements in its biking infrastructure, including new bicycle lanes and road markings that encourage drivers to share the road.

    based on survey at 50+ intersections
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    ...

    The additional bike riders come as the city has made improvements in its biking infrastructure, including new bicycle lanes and road markings that encourage drivers to share the road.
    Though I see this argument posed a little bit less now than when I first joined BF's 8 years ago, there are still some who will argue that this is correlation but not necessarily causation for the increase in ridership.

    There will also be those who would argue that an increase in ridership is not the goal of bike advocacy.

    And there are those who will dispute that more riders makes it safer for all riders.

    As for me, I am encouraged by news like this. Thanks for posting it.

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Though I see this argument posed a little bit less now than when I first joined BF's 8 years ago, there are still some who will argue that this is correlation but not necessarily causation for the increase in ridership.

    There will also be those who would argue that an increase in ridership is not the goal of bike advocacy.

    And there are those who will dispute that more riders makes it safer for all riders.

    As for me, I am encouraged by news like this. Thanks for posting it.



    What else can I say...

  4. #4
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Here we go with the ones so sure that more bike lanes cause more people to cycle, while ignoring the fact that bike lanes came after more people began cycling.

    There are many locations with no bike lanes, but have increases in cyclist. The town I live in is one such example. As well as many towns/cities I lived in previously.

    And we see some coming back with the same old correlation is causation claims.

    How many here really belive that policticians started painting bike lanes because ridership was going down?
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Here we go with the ones so sure that more bike lanes cause more people to cycle, while ignoring the fact that bike lanes came after more people began cycling.

    There are many locations with no bike lanes, but have increases in cyclist. The town I live in is one such example. As well as many towns/cities I lived in previously.

    And we see some coming back with the same old correlation is causation claims.

    How many here really belive that policticians started painting bike lanes because ridership was going down?
    More likely some people started riding because they wanted to or due to gas prices decided to try something different, then the city responds, and more people join in because it looks safer than it was before... and with more and more people riding, the city keeps responding and the numbers keep going up... so while there is little direction correlation, there is a connection.

  6. #6
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    More likely some people started riding because they wanted to or due to gas prices decided to try something different, then the city responds, and more people join in because it looks safer than it was before... and with more and more people riding, the city keeps responding and the numbers keep going up... so while there is little direction correlation, there is a connection.
    And if the first group of riders began cycling "because they wanted to or due to gas prices decided to try something different" , why would the subsequent cyclist not start for the very same reasons regardless of bike lanes.

    If it were the bike lanes, then clearly the first cyclist never would have started cycling.

    Bike lanes are so poorly connected, that it is pretty much impossible to get anywhere by only riding in a bike lane. That alone proves the assertion that "bike lanes cause people to cycle" to be a complete fantasy.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  7. #7
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    And if the first group of riders began cycling "because they wanted to or due to gas prices decided to try something different" , why would the subsequent cyclist not start for the very same reasons regardless of bike lanes.

    If it were the bike lanes, then clearly the first cyclist never would have started cycling.

    Bike lanes are so poorly connected, that it is pretty much impossible to get anywhere by only riding in a bike lane. That alone proves the assertion that "bike lanes cause people to cycle" to be a complete fantasy.
    Some people want more than just streets designed for automobiles... bike lanes give them more... especially when they are well designed. We can go around and around on this all day long... it has been the subject of many hours of debate on BF... but the bottom line is that some people hesitate to bike until they are given some form of red carpet treatment.

    If that were not so then those same people would have begun to bike long before any sort of cycling facilities such as bike lanes existed... but that is not the case.

    Bike lanes are not perfect... and no doubt you and half a dozen other folks will post pics of nasty bike lanes and complain about how imperfect things are in your city.

    Let me ask you this, which came first, cross country travelers or the interstate freeways?

  8. #8
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Let me ask you this, which came first, cross country travelers or the interstate freeways?
    Cross country travelers came first. Ever hear of wagon trains? Come visit some of my families land in Wyoming, that my grandfather settled, and I will show you the wagon tracks that still exit there (part of the Oregon Trail).

    Let me ask you, how many of your increased cyclist can ride the places they travel on only bike lanes?
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  9. #9
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    I would say that both bike lanes and roads with good wide paved shoulder edges get many people biking on the road that would otherwise not do so, especially on roads that would otherwise be highly intimidating to all but the most battle hardened cyclists.

    I actually prefer the good wide paved shoulder option to the bike lane option in most cases because they "mess it up" less often then they do with bike lanes and there isn't usually the same kind of mandatory use problems and regadless of the status of mandatory use or not automobile drivers take it a lot better if you ride in the main lane rather then the shoulder edge then they take it when your ride in the main lane rather then the bike lane (for needful reasons like left turns, avoiding being right of a right turn only lane, etc . . .). Also, I deal with a lot more rural roads then urban ones so obviously that colors my viewpoint since good wide paved shoulder edges are much more of a rural road bicycle accommodation methodology where as bike lanes are more of an urban one.

    My main complaint with bike lanes is when they are done in a way intended to be primarily beneficial to automobile road users and get cyclists the (insert explicits of your choice) out of the way !!! Rather then being done in a way intended to be primarily beneficial to cyclists. Also, I think bike lanes in many cases encourage a certain level of ignorance and bad riding habits among a certain class of cyclists. I rarely see cyclists belligerently riding salmon (belligerent as in screaming at cyclists going the right way to get out of their way and or deliberately playing chicken with them) for example in the main traffic lanes where as its a serious problem in bike lanes at least in my experience, same goes for a good wide paved shoulder edge but actually to a lesser extent in my experience.

    Long story short, do the bike lanes right and make sure it is clearly understand that they are just another lane on the road and the rules of the road apply in them just the same and cyclists can also use the other road lanes when necessary and I have absolutely no problem with them and to a certain degree even support them. And then I strongly support good wide paved shoulder edges on all high speed roadways with it clearly understood that cyclists may use them if they so choose and they are not giving up their ROW or road rights by doing so.

    The problems I have with bike lanes are the ones that are bad ones the worst offenders in my experience being "Door Zone Bike Lanes" (DZBL) and "Through Bike Lanes To Right Of Right Turn Only Lanes" (TBL-TRO-RTOL) and also those nasty "Gutter Bike Lanes" (GBL) that if they weren't marked as bike lanes but rather were just shoulder edges many of us who do shoulder edge ride when the shoulder edge is ride-able would not consider them to be a ride-able shoulder edge do to their extreme narrow width and/or surface condition and/or other hazard conditions such as bike wheel eating storm drain grates and such. And when smart cyclists refuse to use such terrible and dangerous infrastructure they are usually followed up by mandatory bike lane use laws in an effort to force us to use them.

    As I've said many times before on this forum, mandatory bicycle infrastructure use laws are absolutely unnecessary and encourage bad and even dangerous infrastructure. If you build good bicycle infrastructure and do it right short of a very few malcontents you don't have to tell cyclists to use it they will be happy to use it if it is in their own best interests to do so !!!

    BUILD IT RIGHT AND THEY WILL COME !!! If they aren't using it then its probably because you messed it up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Some people want more than just streets designed for automobiles... bike lanes give them more... especially when they are well designed. We can go around and around on this all day long... it has been the subject of many hours of debate on BF... but the bottom line is that some people hesitate to bike until they are given some form of red carpet treatment.

    If that were not so then those same people would have begun to bike long before any sort of cycling facilities such as bike lanes existed... but that is not the case.

    Bike lanes are not perfect... and no doubt you and half a dozen other folks will post pics of nasty bike lanes and complain about how imperfect things are in your city.

    Let me ask you this, which came first, cross country travelers or the interstate freeways?
    Yes, and while we are remembering some of what has been debated for hours here, let's not forget that Critical Mass started in San Francisco looooong BEFORE any bike lanes or other features went in, over twenty years ago, in fact. I hope you'll grant that CM started AFTER there were large numbers of cyclists in The City.(By the way, a big issue of early CM in SF was the poor treatment of cyclists by the law enforcement community, which has also been changing.) Like the question of which was first, the chicken or the egg, this one should be intuitively obvious (for the biologically ignorant, the egg predates the chicken). It takes large numbers of cyclists to cause any city administration to try to placate them by adding infrastructure features, if only to the tune of less than one percent of the budget.

    Now, can visual features like bike lanes encourage some fence-sitters to get in the saddle? I don't doubt that. However, I suspect that a certain cultural setting does a lot more. Hordes of cool, hipsters who like to feel they are on the cutting edge are much more likely to find their way into the saddle in the places they gather, like SF. Those cool hipsters from the early '90s are now the forty-something bike commuters rolling along to work with their friends, although they are no longer cool, young or hip.

    I favor anything that encourages more folks to get out of their cars and onto bikes for a lot of reasons, but I draw the line at things that interfere with my own ability to ride safely and with some reasonable time efficiency. Obviously, in a mandatory-use state like CA, the standard for what is acceptable bike infrastructure is much higher, since I have an extra burden to prove it is unsafe in order to ignore it. Louse features in non-mandatory-use states isn't as critical. I suspect that a lot of us differ on the key issue of what should be done about lousy bike-specific infrastructure. Some folks think anything is better than nothing; others of us disagree.

  11. #11
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    Also, another good question:

    Do you wait until people are trying to swim across the river before you build a bridge?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Cross country travelers came first. Ever hear of wagon trains? Come visit some of my families land in Wyoming, that my grandfather settled, and I will show you the wagon tracks that still exit there (part of the Oregon Trail).

    Let me ask you, how many of your increased cyclist can ride the places they travel on only bike lanes?
    Different people have different thresholds of risk, for cycling or for cross country traveling. Let's call them "risk bins". The first bin are the (in the cycling world) hardcore cyclists who will ride regardless of road conditions. These people ride with no infrastructure. People from the second bin see the first bin people riding and take up riding themselves. They learn vehicular cycling methods but don't see them as a be-all and end-all of cycling. They advocate for infrastructure accommodation. The city gives them a little, and the third bin people are willing to come out. These people, along with the second bin people advocate for more infrastructure, allowing people in the fourth risk bin to venture out. And so on.

    This is how you solve the problem of which came first: the riders or the bike lanes. The answer is it is more complex. Not all cyclists have the same risk thresholds, and their are pioneers and then there are the people who follow the pioneers. In the cross-country travel analogy, Lewis and Clark were pioneers for a route to the west coast from the east. They cut their own trails. Then came the traders who were willing to take risks who expanded the trails, then the traders who were less willing to take risks who turned these trails to roads. Only then did we get the first "civilian" travelers. Just a trickle at first. Then as roads got better, more people follow. Fast forward a couple hundred years and we now have interstates and literally anyone can travel from one side of the country to the other with minimal risk.

    In Portland and surrounding areas, for your typical 5-10 mile commute, you can usually string together a route using bike lanes, paths and/or quiet streets. The ease of this varies in specific locations (some areas, to do this is still fairly convoluted or impossible), but this has only been possible in the last five years. Fifteen years ago, when I first came to live in this area, this was not possible. Commuting to work is usually the entry - a person who has a low risk threshold but wants to ride will start riding once they can find a "safe" (by their personal definition) route to work. And this is where infrastructure such as bike lanes (on main drags), paths, and bike "corridors" (usually residential streets marked specifically as bike routes) come in to play.
    Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 12-13-13 at 09:27 PM.
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  13. #13
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    . . . It takes large numbers of cyclists to cause any city administration to try to placate them by adding infrastructure features, if only to the tune of less than one percent of the budget. . .
    And how many motorists complaining about bikes on the road does it take to get mandatory use bike lanes and side-paths built that are only intended to get cyclists the "The (insert explicit of your choice) out of the way !!!", "The (again insert) off the road !!!", and "The (again insert) out of their sight !!!"

    I have seen way too many bits of "bicycle infrastructure" built up here where it never was about the cyclists but was about yielding to motorists demands that cyclists not be on the road (and I'm not talking about "take the lane" VCers since they are the significant minority up here, I'm talking about even curb and white line hugging religious FRAPers being too much for the motoring public to stand being on "their roads").

    This is where having both minimum standards and a voluntary use policy for bicycle infrastructure are so critical. I envy those of you who live in areas where the push for bicycle infrastructure is driven by cyclists rather then motorists demands.
    Last edited by turbo1889; 12-13-13 at 09:29 PM.

  14. #14
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    Different people have different thresholds of risk, for cycling or for cross country traveling. Let's call them "risk bins". The first bin are the (in the cycling world) hardcore cyclists who will ride regardless of road conditions. These people ride with no infrastructure. People from the second bin see the first bin people riding and take up riding themselves. They learn vehicular cycling methods but don't see them as a be-all and end-all of cycling. They advocate for infrastructure accommodation. The city gives them a little, and the third bin people are willing to come out. These people, along with the second bin people advocate for more infrastructure, allowing people in the fourth risk bin to venture out. And so on.

    . . .

    I've got one foot in each of your two first bins. I don't consider VC as the be-all and the end-all of cycling and I support good infrastructure most chiefly the ultimate KISS solution of accommodation of cyclists on high speed roadways via a good wide paved shoulder edge but I will pick VC with no infrastructure over bad infrastructure every time.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    ...
    This is where having both minimum standards and a voluntary use policy for bicycle infrastructure are so critical. I envy those of you who live in areas where the push for bicycle infrastructure is driven by cyclists rather then motorists demands.
    This is absolutely right. However, you can usually get around most "mandatory use" laws simply by being discreet about your indiscretions. I've never let a mandatory use law keep me from utilizing the whole arsenal of vehicular cycling techniques, and I appreciate the space given by a bike lane/shoulder/wide outside lane/etc.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    I've got one foot in each of your two first bins. I don't consider VC as the be-all and the end-all of cycling and I support good infrastructure most chiefly the ultimate KISS solution of accommodation of cyclists on high speed roadways via a good wide paved shoulder edge but I will pick VC with no infrastructure over bad infrastructure every time.
    I appreciate space, in whatever form it takes. But I am young and there is enough power in my legs to do some traffic tricks not available to all cyclists.
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  17. #17
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    That's probably partially my problem. My personality has never been discreet about anything. I consider discretion to be "dirty and sneaky" and I do my best to live my life open with any skeletons out on display rather then hid away in a back closet.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    That's probably partially my problem. ...
    It might well be. I ride to get where I am going. I don't ride simply to follow the rules. The road system is not yet mature enough to effectively blend bicycle and car traffic while observing all the minutia of the rules. If that means a ticket every once in a blue moon, so be it. I don't argue. It is what it is. Control what you can control. But I greatly appreciate the work the bicycle advocates are doing around the country and especially in the Portland Metro area. Their work is invaluable and I am in their debt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    Different people have different thresholds of risk, for cycling or for cross country traveling. Let's call them "risk bins". The first bin are the (in the cycling world) hardcore cyclists who will ride regardless of road conditions. These people ride with no infrastructure...
    I like the notion of risk bins. However, my experience tells me that infrastructure building is not the best way to move along the bins and get more people out of their cars and onto bikes. Face it, the risks we face are almost entirely from scofflaw motorists. It is possible to change the motoring public's behavior (anyone old enough to have been riding in the first CM has likely witnessed the large changes in motorist behavior over the past few decades, all for the worse). Of course, making that change requires action from the local police and that's not easy to get; building infrastructure isn't easy either, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Though I see this argument posed a little bit less now than when I first joined BF's 8 years ago, there are still some who will argue that this is correlation but not necessarily causation for the increase in ridership.

    There will also be those who would argue that an increase in ridership is not the goal of bike advocacy.

    And there are those who will dispute that more riders makes it safer for all riders.

    As for me, I am encouraged by news like this. Thanks for posting it.
    I am with you the more people who ride bicycles the better. There arent too many things that are more happier than riding a bike. Happy people make the world better. Bicycles are happy happy
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    Different people have different thresholds of risk, for cycling or for cross country traveling. Let's call them "risk bins". The first bin are the (in the cycling world) hardcore cyclists who will ride regardless of road conditions. These people ride with no infrastructure. People from the second bin see the first bin people riding and take up riding themselves. They learn vehicular cycling methods but don't see them as a be-all and end-all of cycling. They advocate for infrastructure accommodation. The city gives them a little, and the third bin people are willing to come out. These people, along with the second bin people advocate for more infrastructure, allowing people in the fourth risk bin to venture out. And so on.

    This is how you solve the problem of which came first: the riders or the bike lanes. The answer is it is more complex. Not all cyclists have the same risk thresholds, and their are pioneers and then there are the people who follow the pioneers. In the cross-country travel analogy, Lewis and Clark were pioneers for a route to the west coast from the east. They cut their own trails. Then came the traders who were willing to take risks who expanded the trails, then the traders who were less willing to take risks who turned these trails to roads. Only then did we get the first "civilian" travelers. Just a trickle at first. Then as roads got better, more people follow. Fast forward a couple hundred years and we now have interstates and literally anyone can travel from one side of the country to the other with minimal risk.

    In Portland and surrounding areas, for your typical 5-10 mile commute, you can usually string together a route using bike lanes, paths and/or quiet streets. The ease of this varies in specific locations (some areas, to do this is still fairly convoluted or impossible), but this has only been possible in the last five years. Fifteen years ago, when I first came to live in this area, this was not possible. Commuting to work is usually the entry - a person who has a low risk threshold but wants to ride will start riding once they can find a "safe" (by their personal definition) route to work. And this is where infrastructure such as bike lanes (on main drags), paths, and bike "corridors" (usually residential streets marked specifically as bike routes) come in to play.
    It all sounds nice. But it is not reality. Please draw a 4 mile Point A (home) to Point B (work) as a crow flies, reasonable route with all bike lanes in your famous Portland example. Even better show one in SF as well, since that is the claim for change.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    ...In Portland and surrounding areas, for your typical 5-10 mile commute, you can usually string together a route using bike lanes, paths and/or quiet streets. The ease of this varies in specific locations (some areas, to do this is still fairly convoluted or impossible), but this has only been possible in the last five years. Fifteen years ago, when I first came to live in this area, this was not possible. Commuting to work is usually the entry - a person who has a low risk threshold but wants to ride will start riding once they can find a "safe" (by their personal definition) route to work. And this is where infrastructure such as bike lanes (on main drags), paths, and bike "corridors" (usually residential streets marked specifically as bike routes) come in to play.
    And this is where many cities, including Portland and SF, really fail us. Designating something as a bike corridor, and putting it on a bike map, doesn't make it work as a route for cyclists. From what I've seen, most of what PDX designates as these are simply residential streets with stop signs every other block (or more) where cross traffic has the right of way, sight lines are restricted and the streets are narrowed to nearly nothing by the excessively permissive on street parking policy. In other words, cyclists are being encouraged to ride on these routes merely to get them out of the way of motorists.

    Put this to the test. Grab a copy of Portland's bike map. Without applying any of your local knowledge, plot a route from the north end of the city to the south side using the designated streets highlighted on the map as your guide. Would you ride that route? Would you do it with an eight-year-old? Would you do it on a tandem with road shoes and five other cyclists who are just trying to get out of town? Don't just compare it to what it was twenty years ago, compare it to what it should be if we built things in a non-autocentric way.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    It all sounds nice. But it is not reality. Please draw a 4 mile Point A (home) to Point B (work) as a crow flies, reasonable route with all bike lanes in your famous Portland example. Even better show one in SF as well, since that is the claim for change.
    When I take my "streets route" into work I travel from point A (home) to point B (work) 7.5 miles of the 8.5 mile route is bike lanes and sharrows. This is a route I have taken since long before there were any designations for bike travel. When I first came on Bike Forums (8 years ago) they were just adding them and you discredited these bike lanes as dangerous "door zone bike lanes" that would do nothing to increase ridership. The city has seen more than a threefold increase in cyclist numbers along this route in that time and there has not been anywhere near a threefold increase in accidents.

  24. #24
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    When I take my "streets route" into work I travel from point A (home) to point B (work) 7.5 miles of the 8.5 mile route is bike lanes and sharrows. This is a route I have taken since long before there were any designations for bike travel. When I first came on Bike Forums (8 years ago) they were just adding them and you discredited these bike lanes as dangerous "door zone bike lanes" that would do nothing to increase ridership. The city has seen more than a threefold increase in cyclist numbers along this route in that time and there has not been anywhere near a threefold increase in accidents.
    And I have seen a three fold increase in recreational riders in my town and a similar increase on much of my route in the same time period with NO bike lanes in those portions of the route. I guess that proves that the cycling increase is about something other than the bike lanes since we have seen the increase regardless of who has bike lanes.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Folks, believe me or don't, but people can mostly get around riding mostly on infrastructure or quiet streets. I am not really interested in utopian fantasies; reality dictates we must build using mostly the roads already in place. I've already stated that there are some risk bins for which cycling is still nonaccessible, including that carrying the 8 year olds of the city.

    I am curious, has cycling really tripled in Honolulu? The increases in SF and Portland are well documented with studies and bike counts. Is there similar data collected in Honolulu? Also, in general, most of the cyclists in Portland, and probably SF as well, are transportational rather than recreational cyclists. They are people, for the most part, coming and going from work. They might be recreational cyclists also, but the bike counts are done across the bridges during the commute times.
    Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 12-14-13 at 09:52 AM.
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