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  1. #26
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    I guess I measure urban bike friendliness differently. Most indexes emphasize infrastructure, I emphasize conduct.

    I live and ride NYC's northern suburbs, commuting at least 12 miles round trip daily, besides daily errands, and sport riding on weekends. My area has very few bicycle specific amenities, with the most common being simply designated bike routes marked with some signage but not much else.

    OTOH local drivers are generally very aware and used to sharing roads with cyclists. I get passed with good separation, don't get yelled at except for the occasional "where's your helmet?", and overall am treated with courtesy and respect by a very vast majority of motorists, truck and bus drivers and cops.

    Given the choice of having bike specific infrastructure along some routes or being respected as an equal road user everywhere, I'll take the latter any day.
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  2. #27
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    Lancaster is not, but drivers are generally courteous to cyclists on the road. We have no bike lanes that I'm aware of, except for a few shoulders that they painted a bike symbol on.

  3. #28
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    This got me thinking - how would you all rate your city or area for biking? Are there cities in the US that you think are better then where you live?
    I have no baseline to compare my area to any other area for bike commuting. I have only bike commuted in the DC area. I am certain my bike commuting experience is quite different from many others even in this region. I happen to currently ride on MUPs for 90% of my commute, so it's great, but at other jobs, I've had to ride on roads much more, and it sucks. So, it kind of depends on your particular circumstances, and your tolerance for cars, potholes, weather, etc. Anytime I hear "City X is #1 for bike commuting," I take it with a grain of salt. Limited, highly subjective data is not sufficient to come up with to anything more than individual anecdotal experiences.

  4. #29
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I agree w/ FBinNY, behavior is as important as infrastructure.

    In Portland, behavior is pretty good, with almost all drivers being reasonably aware of and reasonably respectful of cyclists. It isn't so good that a cyclist can turn off his danger-antennae or relax like he's on an empty country lane. 9 of 10 drivers won't right hook you but the 10th might, so you still have to ride alertly and defensively. 7 of 10 drivers will give you over three feet when passing but 3 of 10 will be inside three feet, so you still have ride in a straight line and watch your mirror.

    In my opinion, at this point we need as much improvement in cyclist behavior as we do in driver behavior. I frequently see cyclists salmoning and blatantly running reds and stops ("blatantly" = sailing through, unchecked speed, in front of cars). I often see cyclists riding in cars' and buses' blind spots or in right-hook zones. At night, a quarter of the riders are ninjas (no lights, no reflectives).

    The infrastructure ranges from decent to poor depending on where you are. In the central city there are plenty of bike lanes, as you go further out there are very few. This is changing as the city is steadily putting our major urban arterial roads on "diets", which means removing auto lanes to make room for bike lanes and center turn lanes. There are some notorious problem roads that are a real obstacle to cycling, and will take a real political fight and serious money to "fix". Our topography is generally pretty bike-friendly, our weather not so much.

    The jury is still out on whether the city is going to build a network of separated cycletracks. A handful have been built, but for the most part what is getting built is standard door-zone bike lanes. Personally I am okay with a standard bike lane, I ride every day and have never been doored, because I watch for motion in the parked cars and ride on the left line of the bike lane. But if we had some strategically located "bicycle arterials" with separated facilities, I'd ride there instead.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    I was in Portland, OR earlier this week and was honestly a bit jealous how great a biking city it was (minus the amount of rain they get maybe). They have tons of great bike routes, great bike lanes sometimes separated from traffic or given an entire lane, etc. They also have a lot of great bike shops (I visited a few to get some new gear tax free).

    I then saw an Article on the Copenhagenize index, which in 2013 only had one North American city - Montreal.
    http://copenhagenize.eu/index/
    in 2011 Portland and San Francisco both made the list as well as New York.

    Finally I saw this article declaring San Francisco as the most bike friendly city in the US - though this article seems very flawed as it is based entirely on bike facilities (lanes, paths, routes) per square mile. Some commenters on the article thought the same.
    http://mashable.com/2013/11/21/bike-...united-states/

    I live near San Francisco, and commute into San Francisco by bike, and while its pretty good, I would not rate it above Portland from what I saw for a variety of reasons.

    This got me thinking - how would you all rate your city or area for biking? Are there cities in the US that you think are better then where you live?
    I don't think bike facilities are the things that make Portland a great cycling city. IMO, these things are more important:


    *Downtown portland has been traffic calmed to ~14 mph by signal timing.
    *20 mph low-traffic bike routes and bike boulevards.
    *Elimination of multi-lane "freeway-style" arterials via road diets.
    *25 mph is the default arterial speed.
    *Motorists respect cyclists right to take the lane.
    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.

  6. #31
    Senior Member muzpuf's Avatar
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    Strongsville ohio 2nd worst laws in the state ..........474.06 RIDING BICYCLES UPON SIDEWALKS.
    No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk upon or along which signs have been erected by authority of the Chief of Police or other duly designated local authority prohibiting such bicycle riding, or within a business district. At no time shall a person under the age of eleven years operate a bicycle upon a street.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    I frequently see cyclists salmoning and blatantly running reds and stops ("blatantly" = sailing through, unchecked speed, in front of cars)
    I disagree. IMO, the level of salmoning in Portland is miniscule compared to other big cities. Moreover, I almost never see someone run a light without slowing down first. In fact, I often slow down look both ways and ride through an intersection at ~10-15 mph (mostly stop signs). I expect if you saw me do this you would think I am blowing the intersection but I can assure you I am not.

    I often see cyclists riding in cars' and buses' blind spots or in right-hook zones.
    I agree this is a huge problem. It's also often caused by unskilled cyclists who wrongly believe that bike infrastructure is the equivalent of safe right of way.

    At night, a quarter of the riders are ninjas (no lights, no reflectives).
    I challenge you to cite a single cyclist who died in PDX in the past 5 years who was a Ninja. I believe that riding without lighting in an urban environment is far less risky than is presumed. Moreover, some of the most skilled urban cyclists on this planet still advocate for "ninja stealth mode". Given that their experience with urban cycling pales in comparison to mine I give them the benefit of the doubt.

    PS: I use the kind of lighting that would make acf7 have "words" with me.)
    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.

  8. #33
    Senior Member muzpuf's Avatar
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    I have rode "ninja" for decades and have never had an issue .............car come .....get off road .....car passes ....hop back on road (repeat) yellow glasses and helmet mirror trees glow like a UFO at night as cars approach

  9. #34
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    I agree that there is a lot that makes an area "bike friendly" outside of facilities, etc. I also agree that many bike facilities are sub par, but they are better then nothing I guess.

    Interesting to hear some perspective from people in PDX, as my experience there was very brief and based on quick observations. I still felt like it was a step above where I live, the SF Bay area.

    I generally think San Francisco is doing a decent job of being bike friendly, despite very un-friendly topography. There are many marked bike routes, a lot of bike lanes, and even some MUPs that help. Unfortunately I find that many of the bike lanes are really just a narrow shoulder, often full of tire destroying debris, and have lots of potholes and manholes and other metal access covers making them less friendly then they should be. Other are in that scary car door area and really too narrow. Driver in many areas seem fairly bike-aware, but the Muni buses often drive like maniacs and don't seem to notice or care about bikes. I really only ride one route through SF regularly, which is fairly good and largely avoid Muni.

    A good portion of the rest of my riding is in Marin County. Marin is also doing a good job, though not perfect. Again many bike lanes are narrow shoulders or in the door zone. There is a good network of MUPs, but many of them are not well connected making going longer distances a bit more challenging. They did just recently open new tunnel to improve this situation in one area. They are also trying hard to open "Alto tunnel" to connect some other major bike paths that otherwise have a big hill and no direct path, but the cost and politics involved may mean this is never completed. I think Marin drivers are a bit more bike friendly then SF ones and the Marin/Golden Gate Transit busses are also more bike friendly the way they drive the SF Muni.

  10. #35
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I believe I might live in the most bike-friendly neighborhood in all of New York City. The city has become much more bike friendly in recent years. Around here, I see a fair share of cargo bikes. The LBS one block from my home is The Hub where there are tons of cargo bikes. The owner was a cargo bike designer and kicked off the pedicab industry here.

    I haven't yet seen an adult passenger in a cargo bike, but I hope I do soon. I've seen people taking their nine year old kids to school on bikes.

    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  11. #36
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    The answer to bike friendly depends on who you ask. I and several of my friends have no problems here. I know some others that complain frequently about how had the cars are. We have a decent collection of MUPs that actually take you somewhere, a good grid of streets so you can usually avoid the main streets without going out of your way, and wide, clean, paved shoulders on most of the major routes.

    For what it's worth, the ones with the fewest problems with cars seem to be those who shop or commute by bike. Maybe the fact that they are in traffic so frequently gets them accustomed to the traffic so is doesn't bother them.
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

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  12. #37
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    I'm happy to say that Oakland has really been stepping up the bike infrastructure. Thanks in large part to hard work by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, I've been seeing new bike lanes and sharrows going in on key routes, and of course there is the crown jewel which is the bike path on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, along with a push to complete it all the way to San Francisco. Bike racks are generally pretty easy to find. Neighboring SF and Berkeley are also good on bike infrastructure and improving. BART, our regional rail system, has just revised their policy and now allows bikes on their trains at all times. (Previously, non-folding bikes were not allowed on certain trains during commute hours.) There has also been an increase in cycling as a percentage of all vehicle traffic. We are now in the top 5 US cities on that measure (I've seen us pegged at #2 and #4 ) and I always see other cyclists, even during short rides. Oakland recently hosted the California Bike Summit, and the mayor gave the opening speech. So, things are looking up in Oaktown.
    Last edited by Brennan; 11-23-13 at 06:37 PM.

  13. #38
    Big, Fat, Texan WalksOn2Wheels's Avatar
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    Arlington, Texas. It's awful. It's smack dab in the middle of DFW, so imagine all the infrastructure problems associated with urban sprawl, and then picture living and riding in that sprawl.

    It's a city that wants only one thing: entertainment dollars from Dallas and FW. Everything is built around this. No one really lives here, but people are zipping in and out of here all the damn time and they are in a hurry. Six Flags, Cowboys stadium (whoops, I mean "dollar sign stadi..." I mean, "AT&T Stadium"), Rangers Ballpark, Lone Star Park (just outside of northeast Arlington), and your typical huge malls/shopping centers that are built around "small town shopping" feel, but are actually pedestrian nightmares. Oh and not a bicycle rack to be found at any of these places I just listed.

    The last time they talked about bike lanes, there was a massive uprising of small business owners who spoke out against it. What little of the cycling community there was rallied around it to middling effect. The plan was greatly reduced, and will be SLOWLY implemented over something like 10 years. I'll be long gone from this hell hole by then. The shining star of this city is University of Texas at Arlington (where I'm in my last year of aero engineering), but the city more or less ignores what could be a huge resource for growth. Nothing is being done to really make the school and the city work together to build up a community from all these young folks living here. Every single student I know hates Arlington and plans to move away ASAP.

    Oh geez, I didn't want to rant, sorry. TL;DR: It sucks. Fort Worth is way better and working on improving, Dallas pretty much sucks, but has a huge community of cyclists there and lots of great shops.

  14. #39
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
    Oh geez, I didn't want to rant, sorry.
    I'd say that situation deserves a rant.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post

    In my opinion, at this point we need as much improvement in cyclist behavior as we do in driver behavior.
    Just how many people have been killed by scofflaw cyclists and how does that compare to the CARnage?

    They're just using the roads the way the roads were used prior to the ascension of the automobile as the supreme being. Yes, it's disorderly, but it's rarely deadly.

  16. #41
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Just how many people have been killed by scofflaw cyclists and how does that compare to the CARnage?

    They're just using the roads the way the roads were used prior to the ascension of the automobile as the supreme being. Yes, it's disorderly, but it's rarely deadly.
    Poorly trained and incautious cyclists contribute to their own injuries and deaths.

    When cyclists get in accidents with cars, it is sometimes the cyclist's fault, sometimes the driver's fault, sometimes both were at fault. Often, the person who was not "at fault" nevertheless could have avoided the accident through defensive riding or driving.

    I frequently see riders doing things that increase their risk of getting into a bike-car accident. Yes, in many cases the accident, if it had happened, would have been the driver's "fault". But, as we all know, regardless of who is legally at fault, it is the cyclist who gets injured or killed.

    To reduce urban bicycle accidents, one thing that would help is to improve the standard of defensive bicycle riding. And a necessary first step is to call out poor riding behavior.

    It is unfashionable, sort of taboo, in bike circles to point this out. The reactions range from "you're victim blaming" to "bikes were here first" to "don't give the car lobby ammunition".

    Interestingly, our two-wheeled brethren, the motorcyclists, don't have this taboo. Motorcyclists know that they have to ride like "everyone is trying to kill you all the time", and they remind each other to wear protective gear "ATGATT, or All The Gear All The Time". Maybe it has something to do with the superior formal training that motorcyclists have. Many have taken Motorcycle Safety Foundation classes, all had to pass a riding test to earn their motorcycle endorsement. Admittedly, their death rate is far higher than cyclists', perhaps that concentrates the mind.

    Think about the recent bicycle-car accidents in your area. Some were flat out "muggings", where there was nothing the cyclist could have done. Here in Portland, a postman was riding his bike to work in the bike lane on Interstate when he was struck from behind by a pickup truck. I'm sure that was a mugging. But many could have been avoided if the cyclist had ridden defensively. A young woman rode straight through a downtown intersection and was killed by the right-turning semi truck to her left. It wasn't her legal fault, she had the right of way, but she wasn't riding defensively; a cautious and well-trained cyclist would not have placed herself there to be crushed.

    I watched something similar while riding home the other day. I was following a woman, a strong and aggressive rider in bike gear (jersey, tights) on a road bike, in the bike lane. Car traffic was fairly heavy. At each intersection we came up on cars turning right - it was one of those days - and she repeatedly got caught off the right rear fender of the car, causing her to hit her brakes. Each incident seemed to make her madder (I could hear her cussing) and she pedaled harder, ending up off the right rear fender of the right-turning car at the next intersection and grabbing her brakes again. She was always "in the right" and each of those drivers was guilty of cutting off a cyclist with right-of-way, but it was still a good example of bad riding. (I ended up passing her and riding in the traffic lane, so I don't know if she ever got a clear intersection.)
    Last edited by jyl; 11-23-13 at 04:31 PM.
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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Poorly trained and incautious cyclists contribute to their own injuries and deaths. .....
    +1,

    debate about right of way is for accident investigators and lawyers in civil suits. The easiest way to avoid being one of the parties being discussed is to ride defensively, and have a good sense not only of what those around are doing, but what they may do.

    Nobody's reflexes are fast enough, you have to develop street sense and conditioned preflexes. I ride busy streets like I'm AWACS plane, tracking and accounting for the cars, trucks and pedestrians around me.
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  18. #43
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post

    I haven't yet seen an adult passenger in a cargo bike, but I hope I do soon.
    I see this all the time in CPH. Especially pregnant women
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  19. #44
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brennan View Post
    I'd say that situation deserves a rant.
    I agree.

    The Metroplex is a textbook example of sprawl with active opposition to public transport.

    I don't miss it at all.
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  20. #45
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    I'm in San Diego, more specifically suburban North County. My particular commute has wide, safe bike lanes all the way, and I generally find sufficient bike lanes where ever I go. I do wish we had more MUPs; there are plenty of recreational trails, but not so much that gets you places. My biggest gripe about San Diego is lack of Co-ops. Also, I happen to live in a dead zone even for LBS. The one shop we had in Poway closed this year. Black Mountain Cycles is more of a high-end shop, the kind of place that every time I come out of there I got ripped off. I miss Ye Olde BIcycle Shoppe down on University, but I moved (to be able to bike commute), so I can't get down there that often anymore.

    I was recently in Orlando (and Kkiissiimmee) for a week, and I feel a lot better about San Diego though, We were driving around for a week, and it seemed like most of the time there were no bike lanes. I felt sympathetic for a lot of the folks in this forum that have to ride and commute in that kind of environment all the time.

  21. #46
    Senior Member AusTexMurf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    I haven't yet seen an adult passenger in a cargo bike, but I hope I do soon. I've seen people taking their nine year old kids to school on bikes.
    Saw a woman riding in a cargo bike pedaled by her husband in downtown austin, 2nd and congress ave, not too long ago…
    We have a couple of different groups running composting coops via the cargo bikes as well. Interesting to see around town.
    And we have a cargo bike or two that have been adapted by our local independent breweries to carry kegs…
    Parents have a couple of cargo bikes at my son's elementary school, too.

    I read that Seattle has a Sperm Bike to carry/deliver their product…
    Last edited by AusTexMurf; 11-24-13 at 09:08 AM.

  22. #47
    Senior Member work4bike's Avatar
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    I don't think my town/city ever made it to the top 10 of bike friendly cities, (Jacksonville area). However, I'm just fine with it, got no issues what so ever. I see my share of bad drivers, but it's not epidemic.

    It seems better than a lot of other popular bike friendly cities just based on the number of complaints I've read over the years on this site from people that live in those pro-bike cities.

    And supposedly Florida is the deadliest state in the country for cyclists. I don't see that, I think a lot of it are just people on bikes that don't follow rules of the road; I've seen a lot of that.
    "The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible."

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  23. #48
    Senior Member AusTexMurf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    I don't think bike facilities are the things that make Portland a great cycling city. IMO, these things are more important:

    *Downtown portland has been traffic calmed to ~14 mph by signal timing.
    *20 mph low-traffic bike routes and bike boulevards.
    *Elimination of multi-lane "freeway-style" arterials via road diets.
    *25 mph is the default arterial speed.
    *Motorists respect cyclists right to take the lane.



    Most important post so far in this thread, IMO.

    Possibly add/modify,

    *Motorists frequently have a cyclist's perspective
    *City planning vision that is compact and connected
    *Removal of on-street auto parking in pedestrian/cycling/local business dense areas
    *Women/Children/Folks of all ages cycling through the city
    And,
    *Good beer, good coffee, fresh, local foods, hills, and scenery

    Last edited by AusTexMurf; 11-24-13 at 08:52 PM.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by AusTexMurf View Post



    Most important post so far in this thread, IMO.

    Possibly add/modify,

    *Motorists frequently have a cyclist's perspective
    *City planning vision that is compact and connected
    *Women/Children/Folks of all ages cycling through the city
    And,
    *Good beer, good coffee, fresh, local foods, hills, and scenery
    nice additions. although some of that is aspirational -- with the exception of the school bike train program.

    one of the most confusing aspects of this cycling debate is the complete disconnect between mode share stats in yurp and the usa.

    *in the usa if you use your bike in a multimodal commute you are not counted as a bike commuter in mode share stats.
    *if you use your bike for 49% of your commutes you are not counted as a bike commuter in mode share stats.
    *if you commute by bike to school/secondary school/college/unisversity your trip does not count in mode share stats.
    *if you ride by bike to the store/restaurant/shop/park/movie theater/mall/bank/ your trip does not show up in mode share stats.

    i really have no idea what pdx's 6-7% mode share stat is in european terms -- except that is much, much, much higher.
    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.

  25. #50
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    Syracuse just created some bike lanes in the city but I never ride in the city. Suburban roads are 50/50, some with plenty of shoulder, some with none. We have the Erie Canal bike path which runs a long way but I've only ridden about 30 miles of it. Drivers are mostly courteous, with only the occasional a-hole; seems likes it's usually a truck of one type or another whenever I have a bad experience with a driver. All in all, pretty good.

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