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Old 11-21-13, 05:52 PM   #1
mstraus
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How bike friendly is your city or area?

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?
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Old 11-21-13, 06:18 PM   #2
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i'm in northeast England in a university town. i spend 30% of my time in Copenhagen.

compared to Frankfurt (3 years previously), it's really slow here but the infrastructure is not as good, but it's used less frequently.

people seem to drive quite well here and usually give me ridiculously huge amount of passing space (at least 1.5m or 4.5ft) which I find humorous compared to Frankfurt, where I'd get about 30cm (1ft) or less when traffic was busy.
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Old 11-21-13, 06:49 PM   #3
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It's not bad. We have an amazing bike path that is essentially a bike highway for folks commuting from the eastern suburbs. The weather is generally mild, the streets are flat and in a grid, more and more bike lanes all the time, and a whole bunch of great shops. And there's progress being made on building a velodrome. (I realize the last bit isn't really commuting related, but it helps the overall velo-quotient.)
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Old 11-21-13, 07:30 PM   #4
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Very. I'm grateful. I live in that guy^^^'s eastern suburbs
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Old 11-21-13, 08:49 PM   #5
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Houston is not. It's trying. There are a bunch of initiatives, but the problem is the city and surrounding area is just SO BIG, and the infrastructure is already in place and has been for decades and it would literally take decades more to redo enough to make dedicated bike lanes to make Houston a "bike friendly" city. They may be able to do it in the more downtown and surrounding areas, but the suburbs - not that you can call them suburbs - are a lost cause. They do have "bike lanes" on some of the outer roads, but they are literally just a 2-3 foot wide should down the side. so, not really a bike lane. and the roads around here are TERRIBLE. so many holes and bumps and omg it's terrible.
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Old 11-21-13, 09:23 PM   #6
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DC is good and getting better.
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Old 11-21-13, 09:29 PM   #7
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Cleveland is not bike friendly at all. The streets are chocked with potholes and very little attention is given to them in terms of repair and maintenance. Bike lanes in Cleveland are far and few between. Most Cleveland drivers have the attitude that bicycles don't belong on the road.

Last edited by WestPablo; 11-22-13 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 11-21-13, 09:58 PM   #8
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small town, small downtown, mostly suburban streets away from downtown. most of the bigger roads through town have very simple bike lanes bordering car lanes, not ideal except that traffic is usually light, so it seems better. downtown has very little bike infrastructure, but tame traffic and drivers mean taking the entire lane on the one way streets is relatively painless. we are a big tourist town and half the time the tourists drive slower than bikes anyways.

I've seen very little cyclist hate, other than bored high schoolers.

We have good people involved in trying to improve our cycling infrastructure every day.
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Old 11-21-13, 10:08 PM   #9
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I've done most of my biking around Olympia, and Seattle. Both I think are pretty great, vastly different though, traffic volume, etc. Seattle is much faster paced, riding downtown takes some getting used to, but it is pretty bike friendly.
I have biked around Portland also, it is pretty bike friendly.
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Old 11-21-13, 10:19 PM   #10
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Live and ride (since 1978) extensively in the Tucson, AZ area.
Great place to ride; good weather/climate; year 'round riding; 400+ miles of bike lanes, dedicated bike/walking paths and generally bike friendly.
Has gotten League of American Bicyclist GOLD award several years in a row.
Have ridden 30+ states and couple foreign countries, so do have som thing to compare with.
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Old 11-21-13, 10:40 PM   #11
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I use a different scale to measure bike friendliness than most newer cyclists. I give negative points for door-zone bike lanes since they create animosity from motorists towards cyclists who don't ride in the door zone (PDX loses a lot of points here). The tendency of motorists to follow the law is a plus, as is their behavior towards cyclists and pedestrians. I don't really care how many bike lanes are striped onto streets that don't need them, but I hate the "bike lane to nowhere" that ends where it is most useful and being given a route choice between busy roads and seventy-second waits for lights every two blocks or stop signs every block.

Where I currently live has bike infrastructure that is dominated by door-zone bike lanes and other defective implementations like a cycletrack that has short blocks and many driveways and then adds insult to injury by shunting cyclists onto a sidewalk. Our cops are afraid to do traffic enforcement (one was killed last year), so we have chronic poor driving. My state doesn't require any knowledge of the laws in order to obtain or maintain a license so, surprise, no one even knows our traffic laws. On a scale of one to one hundred I would give Eugene a ten, and dropping. We're that rare city in which a cross-town race between a cyclist and a motorist wouldn't even be close; the motorist would always win because our infrastructure is set up to speed them along at the expense of cyclists and pedestrians.

It was fun to return to my long-time home base earlier this month. It has many of the same infrastructural failures as Eugene, but perhaps because more people are riding and the education level of the motorists is higher, the experience was much better. It was a joy to have overtaking motorists casually change lanes to pass on two lane roads as opposed to tailgating, buzzing and flipping the bird (typical hereabouts).
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Old 11-21-13, 10:46 PM   #12
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Long Beach, CA seems to be trying. On the building at city hall they have a big steel badge that claims long beach as "the most bicycle friendly city in America". The problem is that as far as I can tell, they are just doing it to attract more tourists. As a cyclist who lives here, nothing is much better than it was several years ago, except that now the pothole-ridden streets have sharrows painted on them. Painting sharrows on every other city street allows them to claim that the city has extensive bicycle facilities, when in reality they are doing the bare minimum to be able to say so in media articles and so on... They paint bike lanes on extra-wide out-of-the-way streets that don't need them and have few bicycle facilities on busy streets that residents actually cycle on.
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Old 11-22-13, 12:22 AM   #13
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Very quiet .. now.. though the winter storms are dynamic.. cycling season is june to september ,
dry ~ later its forest fire season.

then there are several hundreds of touring cyclists riding the coast
or heading out or finishing transcontinental tours .

Oregon DOT publishes a Map for Bike touring the Coast route , a Freebie,
LBS, here, went through a Case of them..

101 on the coast is flatter, till south of Seaside.

the old town of Astoria is built over a hill , Leeward side ,
expansion has the newer properties on the windward side..

lots of the downtown is built on dredge spoils and Fill .. so relatively Flatter on the edges.

riding the Riverwalk MUP is popular , I use it to go for Groceries..

few cyclists try to ride up the hills to go home .. and few walk.

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Old 11-22-13, 05:47 AM   #14
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My city is fairly bike friendly but we're lacking bicycle lanes in the county.
The city has done a great job of adding bike lanes anytime they update a road.
And with it being a smaller city, traffic isn't too terrible so I've usually been well received while riding.
We also have a huge greenway that is supposed to eventually connect from one end of the county to the other, totaling like 20 miles.
And we're loaded with MTB trails, but that's not really commuter related.
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Old 11-22-13, 05:57 AM   #15
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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.
I can say that I've ridden in 16 of those cities (all except for 04/04/12/13) and although I haven't ridden in Portland, I think it wouldn't even be close to Hamburg (lowest ranked on the list) just based on what I've seen from infrastructure pictures. And, to be fair, I wasn't so impressed with MTL except near the water compared to what's available over here on the "continent." CPH is a dream to ride around.
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Old 11-22-13, 07:26 AM   #16
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Athens (Greece) is definitely not a bike friendly place. Some municipalities (suburbs) have built a few bike lanes which serve almost no purpose since they are not interconnected with other areas, and in most cases have very bad planning which makes them outright dangerous. Even the ones which are useful, are almost always over-run by parked cars.

Riding on the road is another matter since (thankfully) most drivers have little to no experience with cyclists and, for the moment, seem cautious leaving adequate space when overtaking, although very close passes are daily occurrences with taxis, school buses and public transport being the number one culprits.

Personally, I see little to no value in cycle lanes here because the width of the roads is already way below specs on 80% of the grid which cannot possible handle changes and lane reductions. Also adding to the problem is just plain bad driving etiquette with cars frequently driving between lanes (center over the painted lane divider). Because of this, IF bike lanes were to be introduced, they would have to be segregated which brings us back to the non-standard, smaller width of the roads.
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Old 11-22-13, 07:39 AM   #17
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Tampa/ St. pete is an odd mix. Some of the outer suburbs have bike lanes EVERYWHERE, while some are devoid of any. I live closer to downtown tampa, and there are a handful of bike lanes or bike friendly roads, but they aren't used that often except for a select few routes. St pete has the pinellas trail, and Downtown St. Pete is super bike friendly, but it's limited to mostly DTSP.

I feel like there was an initiative to add a bike lane to any major road when they did a road expansion, which is a great idea, and really, the only way to justify the costs of adding bike lanes, however, they are in the business of improving a road for 2-300 yards, and then stopping, so the bike lanes go to nowhere.
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Old 11-22-13, 07:45 AM   #18
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Nashville currently has a very bike friendly mayor.

There's scattered, disconnected infrastructure. Otherwise, not very bike friendly at all.
Downtown, even with limited infrastructure, is much better than the outlying areas when it comes to motorist attitudes toward bikes.
The prevailing attitude seems to be: as long as you drive your bike to the designated trail/path, it's all good - just stay off "my" roads.
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Old 11-22-13, 08:10 AM   #19
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The town that I live in doesn't have any cycling infrastructure to speak of. There is one MUP (used to be a railroad, it connects three towns, total of 14 miles from one end to the other), fortunately it goes right by my place of employment. Yay for me. In the winter it isn't viable on the bike, snow machines rule it then. The snowmobiles seem to go a lot faster than the ATV's do.

Most of my commute is on Rts. 2 & 4, the major east/west route in west central Maine. The traffic as a rule, is fairly courteous, in almost five years of Commuting I have only been hollered at once, and buzzed dangerously close once, (that woman in her Subaru wasn't six inches off my handlebars). I don't feel that I am taking my life in my hands every time I leave the house, work, and or running errands.

I am not really sure where that puts my town on the cycling friendliness scale. I am glad that I live here, although it would be nice to have more cycling culture in the area. I am pretty much it.
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Old 11-22-13, 08:15 AM   #20
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The town that I live in doesn't have any cycling infrastructure to speak of. There is one MUP (used to be a railroad, it connects three towns, total of 14 miles from one end to the other), fortunately it goes right by my place of employment. Yay for me. In the winter it isn't viable on the bike, snow machines rule it then. The snowmobiles seem to go a lot faster than the ATV's do.

Most of my commute is on Rts. 2 & 4, the major east/west route in west central Maine. The traffic as a rule, is fairly courteous, in almost five years of Commuting I have only been hollered at once, and buzzed dangerously close once, (that woman in her Subaru wasn't six inches off my handlebars). I don't feel that I am taking my life in my hands every time I leave the house, work, and or running errands.

I am not really sure where that puts my town on the cycling friendliness scale. I am glad that I live here, although it would be nice to have more cycling culture in the area. I am pretty much it.
Where in ME? I grew up in the Wells/Ogunquit area
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Old 11-22-13, 08:27 AM   #21
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Toronto is actually a very good city to cycle in. We have some very good city councilors who have pushed a cycling agenda and we have a great cycling organization called Cycle Toronto who mission is (taken from their website)

"Cycle Toronto (formerly the Toronto Cyclists Union) is a diverse member-supported organization that advocates for a healthy, safe, cycling-friendly city for all."

They both make things happen and for that I am grateful.

We have bike lanes, bike routes and plenty of MUP's to cycle on. I am very pleased for what we have in this city.

Now our mayor is another story. . .
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Old 11-22-13, 09:12 AM   #22
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Where in ME? I grew up in the Wells/Ogunquit area
Farmington/Wilton area.
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Old 11-22-13, 09:27 AM   #23
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Now our mayor is another story. . .
No, he is THE story!!! Fortunately, his name is the same as a car company, not a bike company.

Is my city improving or am I just getting used to it? Certainly, there are some bike lanes but they're not well connected. Regent street sharrow section runs a few blocks but there is nothing before or after which is a pity because it almost reaches to Four Corners where there is a lot of shopping stores. Paris also connects to Four Corners on a decently paved road but there are no bike lanes. There are some paths away from roads but I wouldn't recommend them for cyclists in that they're relatively narrow and walkers (with and without dogs) tend to use them a lot: they'd be fine for a "Sunday ride" at walking pace but I wouldn't recommend them for anyone who wants to use them at a commuting pace.

In the past, I've tended to ride on residential streets and only some sections of some roads are well used so for the most part, commuting is relatively easy for me but others in other parts of the city would have to deal with higher traffic roads and a lack of support for bikes.
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Old 11-22-13, 09:31 AM   #24
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Farmington/Wilton area.
cool! i don't really miss the snow
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Old 11-22-13, 09:39 AM   #25
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Houston is not. It's trying. There are a bunch of initiatives, but the problem is the city and surrounding area is just SO BIG, and the infrastructure is already in place and has been for decades and it would literally take decades more to redo enough to make dedicated bike lanes to make Houston a "bike friendly" city. They may be able to do it in the more downtown and surrounding areas, but the suburbs - not that you can call them suburbs - are a lost cause. They do have "bike lanes" on some of the outer roads, but they are literally just a 2-3 foot wide should down the side. so, not really a bike lane. and the roads around here are TERRIBLE. so many holes and bumps and omg it's terrible.
City of Houston seems to be trying, some……
Problem is the people of (cattle in) houston have bought the auto/petrol story, hook, line, and sinker…..
The prevailing cultural/social paradigm in houston, the way the people think and behave, must change, for real change to happen in regards to the transportation system, there...

However, if one chooses, one can still ride by bike from austin all the way to houston. Two of the parents at my ten year old's elementary school made a three day weekend run from austin to houston last week on their commuter bikes. Rest/meal breaks every 50 miles or so. Took them around 15 hours travel time RT and it was their first bike trip to houston.

I also have taken the lane on FM1960 and Stuebner-Airline in the past 6 months while in Houston. Not for the faint of heart, but possible. Another problem is that houston does not enjoy the quiet connectivity of neighborhood/smaller surface streets as in austin and many other places, apart from bicycle facilities/infrastructure.

I find Houston, inside the loop, to be quite bikeable. Particularly downtown, the Heights, Montrose, Washington Ave area, Memorial Park area, White Oak Bayou system, Buffalo Bayou system, newer, connecting, short rails to trails downtown, Heights rails to trails, etc…

I have also ridden/operated my pedicab all over downtown/central houston, at all hours, during the super bowl, world series, houston rodeo, etc., in the past ten years. No major problems, but not as friendly as austin, either.

Advocate for and demand better cycling conditions and transportation solutions in H-town ???
Do you have a bicycle or pedestrian committee or advocacy board to the city council of houston ?
You should…..
Start one ? Run for a position on the board ?
Help to get more of your population on bikes ?
Organize community rides for the sake of getting around, moving through your zone, transportation not recreation only ?
Get public schools involved ?
Increase safety, multi mode perspective, awareness of others when more folks do bike ?

Do you have a bike share program in houston, downtown, maybe memorial park, hershey park, bayou systems and other places w/ stations ?

Last edited by AusTexMurf; 11-24-13 at 08:51 AM. Reason: each way to RT
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