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  1. #1
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Copenhagenize takes on two-way cycletracks

    America's foremost proponent of cycletracks for most of the past decade says of two-way sidepaths in cities, "If someone advocates infrastructure like this and actually believes it is good, they probably shouldn't be advocating bicycle infrastructure."

    Copenhagenize.com - Bicycle Culture by Design: Explaining the Bi-directional Cycle Track Folly
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

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    Just one more small move towards reason and they'll meet VC in the middle with support for bike lanes, free of the door zone and other hazards, on urban streets and suburban connectors.

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    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Just one more small move towards reason and they'll meet VC in the middle with support for bike lanes, free of the door zone and other hazards, on urban streets and suburban connectors.
    Are the VC folks willing to meet halfway, though? I've had some discussions with a VC person in another thread. From what I've read, VC (or at least what he presents as VC) doesn't seem very flexible - you're either a capable cyclist who can ride in the streets or "everyone else" who needs bike infrastructure. I may be mistaken, though.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    Are the VC folks willing to meet halfway, though? I've had some discussions with a VC person in another thread. From what I've read, VC (or at least what he presents as VC) doesn't seem very flexible - you're either a capable cyclist who can ride in the streets or "everyone else" who needs bike infrastructure. I may be mistaken, though.
    The few at the extremes, both VC and segregationist, don't matter too much. Give most ardent VC riders an eight foot shoulder and they'll be on it, even though they have every right to take the lane.

    What's the difference between a quality bike lane and a shoulder other than the width of the white line and a thermoplastic emblem? Well, I guess there's the possibility of poorly done intersection issues, but I'm living in dreamland here, so we don't have any right turning traffic to the left of the bike lane.

    Really, I think the VC absolutist is nearly nonexistent. However, it is not likely that any rider who has significant saddle miles doesn't do most of those miles in a VC fashion. It's the only safe way to ride on many of our roadways. I think the more important question is whether the segregation absolutists will ever come around to not supporting dangerous, inferior infrastructure like door zone bike lanes and cycletracks that are on the far side of parked cars. The fact that Copenhagenize is explicitly condemning two-way cycletracks is a promising start.

  5. #5
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    The few at the extremes, both VC and segregationist, don't matter too much. Give most ardent VC riders an eight foot shoulder and they'll be on it, even though they have every right to take the lane.

    What's the difference between a quality bike lane and a shoulder other than the width of the white line and a thermoplastic emblem? Well, I guess there's the possibility of poorly done intersection issues, but I'm living in dreamland here, so we don't have any right turning traffic to the left of the bike lane.

    Really, I think the VC absolutist is nearly nonexistent. However, it is not likely that any rider who has significant saddle miles doesn't do most of those miles in a VC fashion. It's the only safe way to ride on many of our roadways. I think the more important question is whether the segregation absolutists will ever come around to not supporting dangerous, inferior infrastructure like door zone bike lanes and cycletracks that are on the far side of parked cars. The fact that Copenhagenize is explicitly condemning two-way cycletracks is a promising start.
    I like your response, particular the bolded part. I'm nowhere as experienced as many of you on these forums, but I commute by bike 3-5 days a week, and I ride in a VC manner much of the way. I used to be one of the "segregationists" who consider infrastructure like cycle tracks and bike lanes to be as good as the streets regardless of how well/poorly they are designed, if not better. I learnt a lesson the hard way, and now I'm flexible enough to favour riding with traffic over using a poorly-designed bike path.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I like your response, particular the bolded part. I'm nowhere as experienced as many of you on these forums, but I commute by bike 3-5 days a week, and I ride in a VC manner much of the way. I used to be one of the "segregationists" who consider infrastructure like cycle tracks and bike lanes to be as good as the streets regardless of how well/poorly they are designed, if not better. I learnt a lesson the hard way, and now I'm flexible enough to favour riding with traffic over using a poorly-designed bike path.
    Ah, but what if you had well designed bike paths and physically separated bike lanes available to you? And the alternatives were to take the lane on 45 and 55 MPH roads?

    I too have ridden VC for years and years, and have long tours without any cycling infrastructure (except maybe wide shoulders). VC is a good coping mechanism on roads designed primarily for the driving public... But given the choice, I'd rather have well designed bicycle facilities than to "share the road" on high speed arterial roads with speeding distracted drivers. I will even take a somewhat sub-par path over speeding distracted drivers... as long as that path doesn't place me directly in harms way.

    Now I know that there are stupid bike lanes out there... just as there are stupid sidewalks that peds have to walk sideways to use (full of furniture and sign posts)... So indeed it seems that in some places whomever approves the application of those bike lanes has never had to use them... So we should campaign for better standards and not just accept any line of paint as being "an improvement."

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Ah, but what if you had well designed bike paths and physically separated bike lanes available to you? And the alternatives were to take the lane on 45 and 55 MPH roads?

    I too have ridden VC for years and years, and have long tours without any cycling infrastructure (except maybe wide shoulders). VC is a good coping mechanism on roads designed primarily for the driving public... But given the choice, I'd rather have well designed bicycle facilities than to "share the road" on high speed arterial roads with speeding distracted drivers. I will even take a somewhat sub-par path over speeding distracted drivers... as long as that path doesn't place me directly in harms way.

    Now I know that there are stupid bike lanes out there... just as there are stupid sidewalks that peds have to walk sideways to use (full of furniture and sign posts)... So indeed it seems that in some places whomever approves the application of those bike lanes has never had to use them... So we should campaign for better standards and not just accept any line of paint as being "an improvement."
    Well said.

    Most of my riding is "VC" too, for many roads and traffic conditions its all that's needed. On the other hand there are some roads and traffic conditions that are not suitable for cycling.
    It seems some "advocates" forget the goal of bicycle facilities is to make riding a bike safer and more enjoyable for the average person.

  8. #8
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Ah, but what if you had well designed bike paths and physically separated bike lanes available to you? And the alternatives were to take the lane on 45 and 55 MPH roads?
    The key here is "well-designed." If I had such a bike path next to a traffic lane with cars and trucking zooming by, I would definitely take the bike path.

    Unfortunately, such "well-designed" bike paths are not as easy to find as I wish. The only bike path along with the traffic (i.e. not MUPs) that I find to be well-designed in the Seattle area is the one on Dexter. @kickstart can probably relate to that.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    The key here is "well-designed." If I had such a bike path next to a traffic lane with cars and trucking zooming by, I would definitely take the bike path.

    Unfortunately, such "well-designed" bike paths are not as easy to find as I wish. The only bike path along with the traffic (i.e. not MUPs) that I find to be well-designed in the Seattle area is the one on Dexter. @kickstart can probably relate to that.
    I can relate, up on the east hill out where I live what few bike lanes there are consist of nothing more than posted shoulders, but down in Kent there are proper bike lanes that make getting through Kent center a snap.
    The biggest problem isn't the sub standard bike lanes, its the gaps where there's nothing, not even shoulders on a very busy 4 lane arterial, and no viable alternatives except an insanely steep 2 lane with no shoulders or sidewalks.

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Wow,bit of 'tude there;agree with the article's commenters. We've got a bi-directional track on 15th(one-way street) and it works just fine.

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    Senior Member welshTerrier2's Avatar
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    Let's be clear that the article posted by the OP referred to "on-street bi-directional cycle tracks" as opposed to "physically-separated, next-to-the-street, bi-directional cycle tracks". Let's also be clear that the article's author specifically defined the track's separation from car travel lanes as a painted line.

    When some "segregationists" talk about segregated infrastructure, they are referring to a track with a physical barrier separating bikes from cars. One group, for example People for Bikes, uses the term "protected bike lanes".

    What bothers me with so many of these polarized discussions is the lack of useful data. Frankly, I don't care what Copenhagenize has to say. If we genuinely care about safety, we should genuinely care about data and not all this huffing and puffing. I'm currently working with my town to design a key roadway and it has not been easy to make strong, data-based arguments for any given design.

    Due to certain physical constraints, we probably do not have sufficient room for uni-directional, off-road cycle tracks. We are left with less-than-optimal choices. We will definitely be providing either four-foot or five-foot uni-directional on-road bike lanes. We are looking into the possibility of also providing an off-road, i.e. physically-separated, uni- or bi-directional cycle track or perhaps a multi-use path (i.e. a very wide sidewalk that would be shared with pedestrians, bikes, etc) parallel to the road.

    The question we have is whether an off-road cycling facility is safer than an on-road bike lane? And, if it is, would that be true regardless of whether it's a one-way or a two-way facility? The road in question has very few (and minor) intersections although there are numerous curb cuts (businesses and residences).

    I must say, and I'm a long-time VC cyclist, I get really turned off by what I see as elitism from some of the hard-core VC folks. The goal is not to build safe cycling infrastructure for very experienced cyclists; the goal is to build safe cycling infrastructure for all cyclists. I always wonder whether those who argue for no separation think weak, inexperienced cyclists should just stay home or just ride around in circles in the schoolyard parking lots on the weekend. On the other hand, if separated facilities are not safe, then even the goal of appealing to inexperienced cyclists does not justify them. From what little data I've found, well-designed, segregated facilities clearly will result in increased usage and they can be relatively safe.

    Cycling advocates, it seems to me, should have two objectives: safer facilities for all bike riders and increasing the number of people who ride bikes. I don't think VC ideas fulfill the second objective and it's not clear they fulfill the first.

    For what it's worth, here are a few links I've been reading that discuss some of these issues:
    Two-way cycle tracks are fine, just look to Montreal | I Bike Toronto
    Protected Bike Lanes 101 | PeopleForBikes
    Q&A: New League study challenges assumptions about fatal bike crashes | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

    I run a bike club in my area and I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase "I would never ride on the roads." Whatever design we choose to endorse should provide a useful response to these people. We see very few kids riding anymore. Something is clearly wrong.
    Last edited by welshTerrier2; 06-05-14 at 12:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    Let's be clear that the article posted by the OP referred to "on-street bi-directional cycle tracks" as opposed to "physically-separated, next-to-the-street, bi-directional cycle tracks". Let's also be clear that the article's author specifically defined the track's separation from car travel lanes as a painted line.

    When some "segregationists" talk about segregated infrastructure, they are referring to a track with a physical barrier separating bikes from cars. One group, for example People for Bikes, uses the term "protected bike lanes".

    What bothers me with so many of these polarized discussions is the lack of useful data. Frankly, I don't care what Copenhagenize has to say. If we genuinely care about safety, we should genuinely care about data and not all this huffing and puffing. I'm currently working with my town to design a key roadway and it has not been easy to make strong, data-based arguments for any given design.

    Due to certain physical constraints, we probably do not have sufficient room for uni-directional, off-road cycle tracks. We are left with less-than-optimal choices. We will definitely be providing either four-foot or five-foot uni-directional on-road bike lanes. We are looking into the possibility of also providing an off-road, i.e. physically-separated, uni- or bi-directional cycle track or perhaps a multi-use path (i.e. a very wide sidewalk that would be shared with pedestrians, bikes, etc) parallel to the road.

    The question we have is whether an off-road cycling facility is safer than an on-road bike lane? And, if it is, would that be true regardless of whether it's a one-way or a two-way facility? The road in question has very few (and minor) intersections although there are numerous curb cuts (businesses and residences).

    I must say, and I'm a long-time VC cyclist, I get really turned off by what I see as elitism from some of the hard-core VC folks. The goal is not to build safe cycling infrastructure for very experienced cyclists; the goal is to build safe cycling infrastructure for all cyclists. I always wonder whether those who argue for no separation think weak, inexperienced cyclists should just stay home or just ride around in circles in the schoolyard parking lots on the weekend. On the other hand, if separated facilities are not safe, then even the goal of appealing to inexperienced cyclists does not justify them. From what little data I've found, well-designed, segregated facilities clearly will result in increased usage and they can be relatively safe.

    Cycling advocates, it seems to me, should have two objectives: safer facilities for all bike riders and increasing the number of people who ride bikes. I don't think VC ideas fulfill the second objective and it's not clear they fulfill the first.

    For what it's worth, here are a few links I've been reading that discuss some of these issues:
    Two-way cycle tracks are fine, just look to Montreal | I Bike Toronto
    Protected Bike Lanes 101 | PeopleForBikes
    Q&A: New League study challenges assumptions about fatal bike crashes | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

    I run a bike club in my area and I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase "I would never ride on the roads." Whatever design we choose to endorse should provide a useful response to these people. We see very few kids riding anymore. Something is clearly wrong.
    You state: "The goal is not to build safe cycling infrastructure for very experienced cyclists; the goal is to build safe cycling infrastructure for all cyclists." You statement would make a point if any person or organization were advocating building "safe cycling infrastructure for very experienced cyclists"". I know of no such person or organization; do you have such knowledge?

    You state: "I always wonder whether those who argue for no separation think weak, inexperienced cyclists should just stay home or just ride around in circles in the schoolyard parking lots on the weekend." These are the cyclists who refuse to obey the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles (RRDV). Officially, the only cycling skill such people are expected to possess is riding a straight line. But that is not the average; most cyclists have a few traffic skills: stop signs, traffic lights, perhaps signalling before turning (which is not what makes turning safe). So now consider. In what way does separation, or type of separation, make cycling safe for such people? That is, what is the mechanism that greatly reduces car-bike collisions that would be incurred by such cyclists? Here's a big hint. You need to know the kinds and frequencies of the car-bike collisions incurred by these cyclists before you can make any evaluation of the safety of any road design.

    VC cycling, generally defined as obeying the RRDV, is directed at greatly reducing the great proportion of the car-bike collisions incurred by the general cycling public. 80% is not a bad estimate. But those cyclists who refuse to obey the RRDV cannot benefit from doing so. For all their demands for safety, they are eliminating their best chance of getting safer cycling. Given that refusal, what is the traffic-designer to do about such cyclists? That's a damned difficult question.

    One can, of course, largely ignore safety and simply do what these cyclists want. They think that it makes them safer, but it really has little effect. In fact, that's what gets done. So, just muddle along doing the best that you can to satisfy the general cycling public. But take care that what you do, or what the government associates with what you do, like anti-cyclist Far-to-the-Right laws and such, does not prohibit those cyclists who prefer riding safely according to the RRDV instead of doing what the superstitious public wants.

  13. #13
    Senior Member welshTerrier2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    You state: "The goal is not to build safe cycling infrastructure for very experienced cyclists; the goal is to build safe cycling infrastructure for all cyclists." You statement would make a point if any person or organization were advocating building "safe cycling infrastructure for very experienced cyclists"". I know of no such person or organization; do you have such knowledge?
    It is my view that an exclusive "my way is the highway" approach leaves many "bike riders" without infrastructure they are willing to use. It seems to me that those who argue against "protected bike lanes" should be able to demonstrate that physical separation increases risk. I provided some links above, hardly conclusive, that suggest that it does not.

    You state: "I always wonder whether those who argue for no separation think weak, inexperienced cyclists should just stay home or just ride around in circles in the schoolyard parking lots on the weekend." These are the cyclists who refuse to obey the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles (RRDV). Officially, the only cycling skill such people are expected to possess is riding a straight line. But that is not the average; most cyclists have a few traffic skills: stop signs, traffic lights, perhaps signalling before turning (which is not what makes turning safe). So now consider. In what way does separation, or type of separation, make cycling safe for such people? That is, what is the mechanism that greatly reduces car-bike collisions that would be incurred by such cyclists? Here's a big hint. You need to know the kinds and frequencies of the car-bike collisions incurred by these cyclists before you can make any evaluation of the safety of any road design.

    VC cycling, generally defined as obeying the RRDV, is directed at greatly reducing the great proportion of the car-bike collisions incurred by the general cycling public. 80% is not a bad estimate. But those cyclists who refuse to obey the RRDV cannot benefit from doing so. For all their demands for safety, they are eliminating their best chance of getting safer cycling. Given that refusal, what is the traffic-designer to do about such cyclists? That's a damned difficult question.

    One can, of course, largely ignore safety and simply do what these cyclists want. They think that it makes them safer, but it really has little effect. In fact, that's what gets done. So, just muddle along doing the best that you can to satisfy the general cycling public. But take care that what you do, or what the government associates with what you do, like anti-cyclist Far-to-the-Right laws and such, does not prohibit those cyclists who prefer riding safely according to the RRDV instead of doing what the superstitious public wants.
    Do you lend no credence to the recent study from the LAB that reported "Approximately 40% of fatalities in our data with reported collision types were rear end collisions."? LAB President Andy Clark was asked: "So this data reinforces the movement toward separated facilities?"

    His response was: "Yes, it reinforces and validates that approach. There is still a small, tiny percentage of people who think we should not be putting in that kind of infrastructure. They are hanging on to the idea that being hit from behind is not that big of a problem. Well, the data tends to suggest otherwise."

    As I stated, I talk to many people who will not ride on the roads ... period. Cycling use among the young has declined precipitously since the 1950's. Sure, there are numerous non-infrastructure reasons for this. Is the widespread fear of riding alongside cars merely an ill-informed public that the cycling community has failed to educate? People tell me all the time that they are so nervous when cars and trucks pass them on the road that it just isn't fun for them. Most of them have stopped riding completely. Their children don't ride at all and never have. Should we tell them they are just being silly? Whether justified or not, their fear is real and it has created a whole lot of ex-cyclists and non-cyclists. It seems to me cycling advocates should seek to address that problem.

    You raise a valid point "if" separated facilities are not safe. I certainly agree that "give 'em what they want" is irresponsible if it isn't safe. Do you believe there is no such thing as a well-designed, off-road cycle track adjacent to a sidewalk?

    And what about the Harvard study? Here's a link: http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cont...28696.full.pdf

    It concluded the following:

    "Overall, 2 ½ times as many cyclists rode on the cycle tracks
    compared with the reference streets.

    There were 8.5 injuries and 10.5 crashes per million-bicycle
    kilometers respectively on cycle tracks compared to published
    injury rates ranging from 3.75 to 67 for bicycling on streets.
    The relative risk of injury on the cycle track was 0.72 (95%
    CI=0,60-0.85) compared with bicycling in the reference
    streets.

    Cycle tracks lessen, or at least do not increase, crash and
    injury rates compared to bicycling in the street."

    Do you dispute this as well?

    I'm not an expert on this issue, John. What's painfully clear to me is that "ride like a car" has left millions of potential bike riders abandoning cycling. If VC is the only safe way to cycle, then perhaps the best we can do is to provide more public education. Thus far, we haven't been very effective. Of greatest concern to me is that young people are not cycling like they once did. If they aren't cycling, are the generations after them likely to? If we can design safe, off-road cycling facilities to align with the public's perception of dangerous roads, we will bring about a win-win that will bring far more people back to cycling. If you insist there is no such design, it appears we are at an impasse. I've been persuaded by the limited articles and studies I listed that there are alternative infrastructure designs that provide reasonable safety. I wish more extensive data were available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post

    For what it's worth, here are a few links I've been reading that discuss some of these issues:
    Two-way cycle tracks are fine, just look to Montreal | I Bike Toronto
    Protected Bike Lanes 101 | PeopleForBikes
    Not much data in those links.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2011/02/02/ip.2010.028696.full.pdf
    Cycle tracks lessen, or at least do not increase, crash and
    injury rates compared to bicycling in the street."
    A silly comparison. Cycle tracks in north america largely replace other bike infrastructure, not car lanes. A much more appropriate comparison would be to compare a cycle track to a buffered bike lane. Unfortunately the bikes belong/green lane fanatics are completely disinterested in determining which infrastructure is the best bang for our buck -- for them cheap north american bike sidewalks are the solution to every problem.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    What bothers me with so many of these polarized discussions is the lack of useful data. Frankly, I don't care what Copenhagenize has to say. If we genuinely care about safety, we should genuinely care about data and not all this huffing and puffing.
    Have you reviewed the multiple data sources Copenhaganize refers to in the article?

    The OECD has a pretty good summary of bicycle safety measures and their effectiveness in the European setting,

    Review of bicycle safety measures | OECD READ edition

    Data in the U.S. are sparse and inconsistent, with many of the studies driven by advocate researchers well outside their field of expertise. Lusk's most recent paper, for example, didn't even consider one of the key safety variables for all cycling facilities, intersection density. According to the re-analysis published in AJPH, when intersection density is considered, the facilities in Lusk's study break down into two very different populations -- low-intersection-density sidepaths (suburban, beside freeways or bridges, along parks or waterfronts, etc.) and high-intersection-density urban facilities typical of an urban street grid. The urban density cycletracks in Lusk's study have an order of magnitude higher accident rate than the low-intersection-density paths in the same study. That's actually quite consistent with the data out of Europe.

    Copenhagen's before-and-after studies of cycletrack installations found that bicycle accident rates increased (not just raw numbers, but the actual accident rate, factoring in the increase in cycling.) They said there was no doubt cycling became more hazardous with cycletracks. But they also said there's more to it than that -- since bicycle commuters have significantly lower premature mortality than drivers, the net health impact was most likely beneficial, *despite* the increased accident risk, because cycletracks got more people riding. As a result, they've continued building cycletracks, but also continued evaluating and refining the safety of their designs to reduce that accident risk.

    As Copenhagenize points out, many of the "innovative" facilities being installed in the U.S. today are designs the Danes and Dutch deprecated decades ago in favor of safer designs.

    The question we have is whether an off-road cycling facility is safer than an on-road bike lane? And, if it is, would that be true regardless of whether it's a one-way or a two-way facility? The road in question has very few (and minor) intersections although there are numerous curb cuts (businesses and residences).
    For purposes of bicycle accident exposure, those curb cuts are uncontrolled intersections and should be treated as such. Physics doesn't care if a 4,000-pound steel cage is entering a street or a private drive. Both bike lanes and cycletracks can increase risk at those intersections if cyclists are hidden from drivers beyond the point of recognition and avoidance. Be sure to consider motorist sight distances to bicycles moving at vehicular speeds at the far right edge of the lane/track -- ordinary sight distance measurements for streets assume you're looking for a car that fills the lane.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    It is my view that an exclusive "my way is the highway" approach leaves many "bike riders" without infrastructure they are willing to use. It seems to me that those who argue against "protected bike lanes" should be able to demonstrate that physical separation increases risk. I provided some links above, hardly conclusive, that suggest that it does not.



    Do you lend no credence to the recent study from the LAB that reported "Approximately 40% of fatalities in our data with reported collision types were rear end collisions."? LAB President Andy Clark was asked: "So this data reinforces the movement toward separated facilities?"

    His response was: "Yes, it reinforces and validates that approach. There is still a small, tiny percentage of people who think we should not be putting in that kind of infrastructure. They are hanging on to the idea that being hit from behind is not that big of a problem. Well, the data tends to suggest otherwise."

    As I stated, I talk to many people who will not ride on the roads ... period. Cycling use among the young has declined precipitously since the 1950's. Sure, there are numerous non-infrastructure reasons for this. Is the widespread fear of riding alongside cars merely an ill-informed public that the cycling community has failed to educate? People tell me all the time that they are so nervous when cars and trucks pass them on the road that it just isn't fun for them. Most of them have stopped riding completely. Their children don't ride at all and never have. Should we tell them they are just being silly? Whether justified or not, their fear is real and it has created a whole lot of ex-cyclists and non-cyclists. It seems to me cycling advocates should seek to address that problem.

    You raise a valid point "if" separated facilities are not safe. I certainly agree that "give 'em what they want" is irresponsible if it isn't safe. Do you believe there is no such thing as a well-designed, off-road cycle track adjacent to a sidewalk?

    And what about the Harvard study? Here's a link: http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cont...28696.full.pdf

    It concluded the following:

    "Overall, 2 ½ times as many cyclists rode on the cycle tracks
    compared with the reference streets.

    There were 8.5 injuries and 10.5 crashes per million-bicycle
    kilometers respectively on cycle tracks compared to published
    injury rates ranging from 3.75 to 67 for bicycling on streets.
    The relative risk of injury on the cycle track was 0.72 (95%
    CI=0,60-0.85) compared with bicycling in the reference
    streets.

    Cycle tracks lessen, or at least do not increase, crash and
    injury rates compared to bicycling in the street."

    Do you dispute this as well?

    I'm not an expert on this issue, John. What's painfully clear to me is that "ride like a car" has left millions of potential bike riders abandoning cycling. If VC is the only safe way to cycle, then perhaps the best we can do is to provide more public education. Thus far, we haven't been very effective. Of greatest concern to me is that young people are not cycling like they once did. If they aren't cycling, are the generations after them likely to? If we can design safe, off-road cycling facilities to align with the public's perception of dangerous roads, we will bring about a win-win that will bring far more people back to cycling. If you insist there is no such design, it appears we are at an impasse. I've been persuaded by the limited articles and studies I listed that there are alternative infrastructure designs that provide reasonable safety. I wish more extensive data were available.
    You argue that the LAB study demonstrates that hit from behind collisions are a large part of car-bike collisions, and of crashes to cyclists. They aren't. The LAB study (it really is the federal Fatal Accident Recording System study) covers only fatalities. Only 2% of car-bike collisions are fatal, and the fatals are not distributed like the others. Therefore, to consider only fatal car-bike collisions does not provide useful information for reducing car-bike collisions. LAB and its Andy Clarke praise the FARS data precisely because they fool people into thinking (what they already believe, anyway) that same-direction motor traffic is the greatest danger to cyclists, which is their aim because it causes bikeways.

    You ask whether the current fear of same-direction motor traffic is the result "that the cycling community has failed to educate". That's only partly correct. The fear of same-direction motor traffic was created by motordom starting in the 1920s in order to clear the way for motorists. But motordom's propaganda was so successful that it led to laws restricting cyclists' right to use the roads as drivers of vehicles (FTR laws, etc), it led to "bike safety" programs based on the supposed safety requirement of those laws, until almost all the cycling community believed that if they got mixed up with same-direction motor traffic the would be killed. You write that "cycling advocates should seek to address that problem". Well, the vehicular cyclists do so, but are detested by most of the general bicycling public.

    Separation reduces the causes of about 5% of car-bike collisions, while it causes greater problems with the 95% that are caused by turning and crossing movements, thus increasing those car-bike collisions. At no time have either American bike lanes or cycle tracks been shown to reduce car-bike collisions, and there is no reason to suppose, from traffic operation analysis and car-bike collision statistics (the Cross study) to suppose that either would. As for cycle tracks, these are made safe only by installing special bicycle signal phases at intersections, which special phases increase the delay for both cyclists and motorists.

    You quote the Lusk et al study of cycletracks, commonly referred to as the Montreal study (not as the Harvard study). That study is so full of errors that nothing in it can be relied upon. Look up John Allen's analysis at bikexpert.com for verification. There are three cycletrack studies going around: Montreal, Vancouver, and American cities. All of them have fatal errors. Why? They were written by bikeway advocates who are ignorant of both traffic cycling and of traffic operations. Their papers were then sent to journals with no expertise in either traffic cycling or traffic operations. The editors of these journals then sent them to their normal referees, who also, because these are not the subjects of papers submitted to these journals, are ignorant of both traffic cycling and of traffic operations. Just think about this. The papers concern traffic cycling and traffic operations. But none of the papers are published by journals that cover those subjects. The result is complete nonsense, concealed by publication in a "professional journal".

    You ask whether there can be "such a thing as a well-designed, off-road cycle track adjacent to a sidewalk". Not in America can there be. The Dutch manage this in some places, but their traffic laws and the society that produces and accepts them are different, and they provide more intersection space than we have, for example additional lanes in which right-turning cars can queue up while yielding to bicycle traffic. The only system that works under typical American urban conditions is to have additional bicycle-only traffic signal phases, that must create additional delay for both motorists and cyclists. One way streets make that problem easier because there are fewer conflicting movements, but one can't count on having one-way streets wherever one wants a cycletrack.

    So you are upset that very few Americans cycle. Because Americans believe, incorrectly but passionately in the form of a phobia, that same-direction motor traffic is the greatest danger to cyclists and, almost as strongly, that riding a bicycle makes one incapable of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, they therefore believe that the problem is a facilities problem to be solved by bikeways. And, of course, these cyclist inferiority superstitions are exactly what motordom sought to create to make motoring more convenient. So that's the problem that worries you. The obvious course is to confront the superstition by advocating vehicular cycling. But if the public opposes that, as the public very strongly does, then the solution becomes some kind of facility that serves the cyclist inferiority superstition without creating too much added danger and delay. That's why cycletracks have become the goal of bicycle advocates.

    In short, my advice is to build what the ignorant and superstitious public wants, while recognizing that cycling in accordance with the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles (RRDV) is better still. That means removing the anti-cyclist, motorist-motivated traffic laws that try to prohibit cyclists from obeying the RRDV. If that is done, then those that fear same-direction motor traffic get separated from it while those who recognize the value, to them, of obeying the RRDV are allowed to do so. Of course, it would be better still if they were officially encouraged to do so, but that, I fear, is politically impossible in America; that encouragement has to be done by private parties, as it has been done for forty years.

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    Senior Member welshTerrier2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
    Data in the U.S. are sparse and inconsistent, with many of the studies driven by advocate researchers well outside their field of expertise. Lusk's most recent paper, for example, didn't even consider one of the key safety variables for all cycling facilities, intersection density. According to the re-analysis published in AJPH, when intersection density is considered, the facilities in Lusk's study break down into two very different populations -- low-intersection-density sidepaths (suburban, beside freeways or bridges, along parks or waterfronts, etc.) and high-intersection-density urban facilities typical of an urban street grid. The urban density cycletracks in Lusk's study have an order of magnitude higher accident rate than the low-intersection-density paths in the same study. That's actually quite consistent with the data out of Europe.
    These are helpful points you're raising. Still, Lusk's study was for bi-directional cycle tracks which seem less desirable to me than uni-directional tracks. The Lusk study also emphasized that the tracks studied were safer than the road "in spite of the less-than-ideal design of the Montreal cycle tracks, such as lacking parking setbacks at intersections, a recommended practice." It's not clear to me what impact this intersection design deficiency may have had on the intersection accident statistics you cited.

    For purposes of bicycle accident exposure, those curb cuts are uncontrolled intersections and should be treated as such. Physics doesn't care if a 4,000-pound steel cage is entering a street or a private drive. Both bike lanes and cycletracks can increase risk at those intersections if cyclists are hidden from drivers beyond the point of recognition and avoidance. Be sure to consider motorist sight distances to bicycles moving at vehicular speeds at the far right edge of the lane/track -- ordinary sight distance measurements for streets assume you're looking for a car that fills the lane.
    Also helpful although isn't this addressed within the Lusk study? I mean, if we omit the intersection data you provided and look solely at other curb cuts, wasn't Lusk saying that even bi-directional cycle tracks are as safe or safer than riding on a road with no bike facilities? It's certainly fair game to question the methods used but, if valid, after excepting your point about intersections, wouldn't your points about sight distances be addressed by the study's results?

    In the end, where does all this leave us? What is the safest design? If we consider an array of designs such as:
    streets with no bike facilities, streets with painted stripe bike lanes, streets with physical barriers separating the bike lane, uni-directional cycle tracks and bi-directional cycle tracks, what data do we have that make the clearest arguments? Is there a one-size-fits-all design that everyone should use in all circumstances or is the above list a menu we can choose from depending on a given environment (e.g. urban versus suburban)?

    None of this, by the way, addresses the on-road safety issues reported in the recent LAB study which stated that "the most common collision type in our Every Bicyclist Counts data is a rear end collision. Approximately 40% of fatalities in our data with reported collision types were rear end collisions." While this study looked at only fatalities and not overall car-bike crashes, the results are not exactly comforting.

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    Damn. I wish an outsider from another country who has similar issues could find a place that tells me what 'VC' means. I think the problem lies in a large part (OK, only in New Zealand, you are all different and special) with us cyclists. We act like pedestrians when it suits, and claim the rights of other vehicles when it suits. Cyclists in NZ are hugely over-represented in vehicles running red lights, being on the pavement (heck, motorbikes would love it there too), and generally acting as though they are "special" and should be treated differently from other vehicles. I want to ride on the road. I don't want special bike lanes. Part of the problem in New Zealand (and I have seen it elsewhere) is that roads are often long parking lots. Why are 'carriageways' not just that? Most cyclists can't ride out of the traffic because of parked cars...why are cars allowed to park on the road? If there was the full roadway available (in NZ, you are all special) there is plenty of room for bikes.

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    This is getting laughable to the point of absurdity, all the "statistics" available will not change the fact that in my daily riding, roads with bike infrastructure are easier, safer, and more enjoyable to ride than roads without.
    To argue otherwise simply proves some can't differentiate between theory and practical application.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
    In the end, where does all this leave us? What is the safest design? If we consider an array of designs such as:
    streets with no bike facilities, streets with painted stripe bike lanes, streets with physical barriers separating the bike lane, uni-directional cycle tracks and bi-directional cycle tracks, what data do we have that make the clearest arguments? Is there a one-size-fits-all design that everyone should use in all circumstances or is the above list a menu we can choose from depending on a given environment (e.g. urban versus suburban)?
    There's no one-size-fits-all solution. The most important criteria are traffic speeds and intersection densities.

    Cycletracks are the safest solution on high-speed roads with minimal intersection densities.

    At slower urban traffic speeds with high intersection densities and relatively low traffic volumes, cyclists are safest in the street. Cycletracks are more hazardous than riding on the street in this environment, since cyclists are hidden from conflicting motor traffic until the point of impact.

    In-between, there are various factors that play into facility safety, not just one design that always works best. The OECD report linked to earlier has a matrix for evaluating these choices in a European context. Experiments in North America are still very preliminary, but it's clear some European approaches don't translate directly to U.S. streets.

    None of this, by the way, addresses the on-road safety issues reported in the recent LAB study which stated that "the most common collision type in our Every Bicyclist Counts data is a rear end collision. Approximately 40% of fatalities in our data with reported collision types were rear end collisions." While this study looked at only fatalities and not overall car-bike crashes, the results are not exactly comforting.
    But the LAB findings don't really say anything new -- they're consistent with studies since the 1970s that show that cycling is a relatively safe activity, that the vast majority of car/bike accidents are not fatal, and that the rare fatal accidents tend to be ones with very high closing speeds, such as hit-from-behind on high speed roads, where the motorist failed to see the cyclist and hit them at full speed. Those are exactly the types of roadways where segregated cycletracks make sense -- high vehicle speeds and few intersections. That's consistent with Lusk's data and with Copenhagen's data.
    Last edited by jputnam; 06-08-14 at 11:42 PM.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  22. #22
    Strong Walker martl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
    America's foremost proponent of cycletracks for most of the past decade says of two-way sidepaths in cities, "If someone advocates infrastructure like this and actually believes it is good, they probably shouldn't be advocating bicycle infrastructure."

    Copenhagenize.com - Bicycle Culture by Design: Explaining the Bi-directional Cycle Track Folly
    Mr. Coleville-Andersen is obviously of the opinion that he and his company are the only ones who could and should advocate bicycle infrastructure, but in this case he has a point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bounderby View Post
    Damn. I wish an outsider from another country who has similar issues could find a place that tells me what 'VC' means. I think the problem lies in a large part (OK, only in New Zealand, you are all different and special) with us cyclists. We act like pedestrians when it suits, and claim the rights of other vehicles when it suits. Cyclists in NZ are hugely over-represented in vehicles running red lights, being on the pavement (heck, motorbikes would love it there too), and generally acting as though they are "special" and should be treated differently from other vehicles. I want to ride on the road. I don't want special bike lanes. Part of the problem in New Zealand (and I have seen it elsewhere) is that roads are often long parking lots. Why are 'carriageways' not just that? Most cyclists can't ride out of the traffic because of parked cars...why are cars allowed to park on the road? If there was the full roadway available (in NZ, you are all special) there is plenty of room for bikes.
    The definition of VC (vehicular cycling) is based on American traffic law. It is, cycling in accordance with the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. In a short summary, it is obeying the laws that apply to drivers of vehicles but not the laws that apply only to cyclists. The laws that apply only to cyclists were invented and enacted by motorists to make motoring more convenient by prohibiting cyclists from using most of the roadway. From this, you should understand the principle, although the definition might change according to the traffic laws of each nation. In Britain, for example, I believe that the Highway Code has no such prohibitions against cyclists (and hence no need for specific VC considerations), but in the Netherlands the prohibitions are much stronger.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    The definition of VC (vehicular cycling) is based on American traffic law. It is, cycling in accordance with the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. In a short summary, it is obeying the laws that apply to drivers of vehicles but not the laws that apply only to cyclists.
    The term is also often used in a derogative manner to identify cyclists that are of the opinion that a bicycle could and should be safely used on the road as opposed to the often only subjective safety of "protected" cycling infrastructure.

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