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  1. #1
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    NY Times: The Wild Bunch (cyclists)

    Good article in the NY Times about urban cycling:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/ny...bike.html?_r=1

    There are good, varied responses from readers (and because it's the times, these actually tend toward the articulate). Read the editor's selections first. They tend to avoid the snark, unless you're into snark, of course, then read 'em any way you like.

  2. #2
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    well I can't believe I have read an article in the NYtimes I like. Will wonders never end? The responses sounded more like the NYers I have met and show the very division we has as cyclists in most cities. Not to the extream NY has it seems.

  3. #3
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Thanks for the link. 99.9% of the time that I ride, I follow all traffic laws (no, I'm not perfect). I try to signal my turns and stop (though I might not put a foot down) at all stop signs.

    I can understand some of the comments about stopping every block in NYC but if we're going to make headway with non-cyclists (I hate the term biker) we need to present ourselves in ways that will get pedestrians and motorists on our side.

    On my club ride this morning we rode south on Springdale in HB from Westminster to to Slater and we hit almost every light. There was about 20 of us in our group and we stopped every time the light was red and we didn't cross until the light turned green. It was annoying but our club feels it's important to build cycling's image, not tear it down.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
    "Real men wear pink."
    See my cycling photos at http://www.pbase.com/cleavel/bicycling
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    Visit my blog at http://cleavesblant.wordpress.com/
    Lightning Velo Cycling Club: http://www.lightningvelo.org/

  4. #4
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Just returned from a week in the state capitol, Olympia, on the west side of the state. I commuted on my Bianchi from my hotel to where I needed to be each day. Differences I noticed from where I usually ride in semi-rural Washington: cars are smaller in the city, fewer pick-ups and SUVs, but traffic is heavier and more frantic; a more-developed cycling infrastructure (marked bike lanes, etc.) but many drivers still drive like bats out of hell; more running of red lights to make it through the light; FEWER people talking on cell phones while driving (at least in the downtown area); riders who seem very comfortable with all the cars around them, wearing just a stocking cap for head protection.

    Interesting to me in comments about "Idaho stops" to the NY Times article, which means stopping at a red light, looking both ways and if it's clear riding on through the light. Why do New Yorkers always seem to attribute odd practices to other areas? Or is that standard cycling practice in Idaho? Do they even have red lights in Idaho?

  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Wish he would say 'cyclist' instead of 'biker'.
    Great article.

    This reader comment jumped out at me as an example of highly-logical thinking:
    "I don't stop at intersections, because it isn't safe to be sitting in one. Most (car) accidents happen at intersections, and I don't want to be sitting in a spot where that can happen and get crushed by a spinning car."

  6. #6
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideon7 View Post
    Interesting to me in comments about "Idaho stops" to the NY Times article, which means stopping at a red light, looking both ways and if it's clear riding on through the light. Why do New Yorkers always seem to attribute odd practices to other areas? Or is that standard cycling practice in Idaho? Do they even have red lights in Idaho?
    Idaho law allows bicyclists and motorcyclists to roll through stops if the intersection is clear, and to proceed through a red light after a full stop if it's safe to proceed. In essence, if you are on a bike, you treat a stop sign/light like a yield sign.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  7. #7
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    Idaho law allows bicyclists and motorcyclists to roll through stops if the intersection is clear, and to proceed through a red light after a full stop if it's safe to proceed. In essence, if you are on a bike, you treat a stop sign/light like a yield sign.
    Certainly more cycling friendly than building a bunch of dangerous bike lanes and MUPs with significant conflicts.

    If the Koch bike lanes were so great, why did so many cyclist refuse to use them?

    The writers four points are good. Too bad he could not have stayed on point rather than stereotyping and hating other cyclist that are 'different' from him. As if only cyclist in plain clothes and non-road/fixed gear bikes obey the law.
    Last edited by CB HI; 03-08-09 at 04:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
    Idaho law allows bicyclists and motorcyclists to roll through stops if the intersection is clear, and to proceed through a red light after a full stop if it's safe to proceed. In essence, if you are on a bike, you treat a stop sign/light like a yield sign.
    I don't like the idea of different rules depending upon which vehicle I use for a given trip. I think it would disrupt habit patterns, and therefore impact safety. One more blasted thing to complicate my life.

    Paul

  9. #9
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Wish he would say 'cyclist' instead of 'biker'.

    This reader comment jumped out at me as an example of highly-logical thinking:
    "I don't stop at intersections, because it isn't safe to be sitting in one. Most (car) accidents happen at intersections, and I don't want to be sitting in a spot where that can happen and get crushed by a spinning car."
    I also prefer to be called a cyclist. When I hear the word "biker" I picture fat, hairy guys on Harleys with a slatternly wench strapped to their back. Or Fred bikers, who finally can afford a Harley when they hit their fifties. Riding wearing the best leathers, their wives behind them and the fairing in front (n.b. for those who don't know: fairings are considered wimpy by hardcore "bikers"). Unfair, I know, but hey who ever said life is fair?

    As for logic, the statement of the guy who responded to the article reminded me of a woman I once knew who refused to use seat belts. Her reasoning was that she might break her wrists in an accident, making it impossible to unfasten the seat belt. The car would catch fire and she'd be incinerated. Data: one-half of one percent of people involved in car accidents get their wrists broken.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=CB HI;8491498]
    If the Koch bike lanes were so great, why did so many cyclist refuse to use them?QUOTE]

    The writer of the article misses some information about Ed Koch's bike lanes. They were installed in the spring, IIRC, and were getting used (don't know how much Ed got out of the mayor's office to see them used). Then winter began to roll in and someone figured out that all those concrete dividers would make it very difficult to snowplow the streets and would hinder passage of emergency vehicles. That's when the mayor ordered them removed, at quite an expense to the city. He took some heat for that.

  11. #11
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideon7 View Post
    I also prefer to be called a cyclist. When I hear the word "biker" I picture fat, hairy guys on Harleys with a slatternly wench strapped to their back. Or Fred bikers, who finally can afford a Harley when they hit their fifties. Riding wearing the best leathers, their wives behind them and the fairing in front (n.b. for those who don't know: fairings are considered wimpy by hardcore "bikers"). Unfair, I know, but hey who ever said life is fair?

    As for logic, the statement of the guy who responded to the article reminded me of a woman I once knew who refused to use seat belts. Her reasoning was that she might break her wrists in an accident, making it impossible to unfasten the seat belt. The car would catch fire and she'd be incinerated. Data: one-half of one percent of people involved in car accidents get their wrists broken.
    Most people injured in auto accidents are wearing seatbelts. Therefore, I'm going to stop wearing seatbelts.

  12. #12
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideon7 View Post
    Then winter began to roll in and someone figured out that all those concrete dividers would make it very difficult to snowplow the streets and would hinder passage of emergency vehicles. That's when the mayor ordered them removed, at quite an expense to the city. He took some heat for that.
    REALLY, just where did you get that BS from?

    I was the Department of Transportation’’s assistant commissioner under Mayor Ed Koch, who, buoyed by a visit to Beijing, where he saw bike lanes used by tens of thousands, envisioned a network of physically separated bikeways up and down Manhattan.
    In the summer of 1980, the mayor directed the department to install bikeways. From Washington Square Park to Central Park, the curb lanes of Fifth Avenue, Broadway and Seventh Avenue were separated from traffic by asphalt islands, giving bikers a lane of car-free roadway all their own.
    Within days the complaints started to pour in. Most of the grumbling was from pedestrians concerned about reckless cyclists coming close to knocking them down (the three deaths were fresh in their minds). Some were from drivers who felt there was more congestion because of the loss of a lane.
    The department’’s investigation found that pedestrians considered the bike lanes to be extensions of the sidewalk; they stood in the lanes waiting for the lights to change, where bikers often yelled at them. (The conflict between bicyclists and pedestrians is much more visceral than any between car drivers and pedestrians. You can see a biker’’s face and hear his words.)
    Mr. Koch made his own observations and found many bike riders traveling outside the lanes. He had us install traffic signs along the bike lanes in typical Koch-ese —— ““Use it or Lose it.”” But even though the lanes were largely successful —— and car traffic didn’’t slow nearly as much as people thought —— criticism mounted.
    During a limousine ride up Avenue of the Americas with Mr. Koch and President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Hugh Carey pointed out the bike lanes to Mr. Carter and joked, ““See how Ed is wasting your money.”” Within weeks, the mayor directed us to remove the barriers separating the lanes, which afterward were designated only by painted lines.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/op...-Schwartz.html

    The Lanes That Failed
    ““I was swept away by the thought of what could be when I saw a million bikes in Beijing. And I see two in New York City —— on a Sunday.”” With these words, in November 1980 Mayor Edward Koch removed the barrier-separated bike lanes he had installed one month earlier between Greenwich Village and Central Park.
    The 6- to 8-foot wide lanes ran northbound on 6th Ave. and southbound on 7th Ave., Broadway and 5th Ave. Chronically blocked by pedestrians, food vendors and trash, they were shunned by some cyclists, who found riding in traffic more efficient. Taxi and trucking interests protested taking street space for ““invisible cyclists,”” although DoT reported both lower accidents and increased riding on 6th Ave.
    The last straw for Mayor Koch was when Governor Carey derided him for his bike ““fetish”” after a too-close encounter with a cyclist. The lanes, which were conceived and executed without consultation with the bicycling community, were the Mayor's last move on behalf of cycling. This retreat and Koch's escalating hostility to cyclists —— culminating in the 1987 Midtown bike ban —— set back NYC cycling for a decade. Future bike lane experiments must put a premium on consultation with the cycling community, enforcement of the lanes' integrity, and patience. A one or two month transportation experiment proves nothing.
    A remnant of the 1980 bike lanes survives on 6th Ave. between 34th and 35th Streets.
    http://www.transalt.org/files/resour...4/sidebar.html

    Mayor Edward I. Koch became frustrated when bike lanes that he had built on main thoroughfares like Fifth Avenue and Broadway, which were separated from motor vehicles by asphalt islands, were criticized by drivers and pedestrians and, even worse, ignored by many cyclists. As a result, he ordered that the islands be removed.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/nyregion/04bikes.html
    Last edited by CB HI; 03-09-09 at 03:19 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=CB HI;8494426]REALLY, just where did you get that BS from?

    Viva voce.

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