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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    "The Unstoppable Rise of Bikes" (interview with Elly Blue)

    We cyclists face so many negative myths just now. Outright lies, really: that we are elitists or scofflaws, or smug moochers who take away from drivers while demanding special favors for ourselves. Sometimes I get depressed about it.

    Thank goodness for Elly Blue. She always brings my spirits up because she talks forcefully about the benefits if bikes, and how us cyclists are giving much more than we're taking. She gave this interview to Lindsay Abrams at Salon. I plan to buy Elly's new book as soon as I can.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/01/12/the_...rise_of_bikes/
    Last edited by Roody; 01-21-14 at 06:48 PM.


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    Once more we see Elly singing the praises of segregation-style builds. Let's have a look at the Big Apple which Elly cites. When Janette Sadik-Khan was appointed to head up the New York Department of Transportation in 2007, New York City was decidedly pedestrian in terms of its cycling; the percentage of commuters using bikes was at the national average of 0.6%. Two years later, in 2009, it was still mired at 0.6%. (So much for the powerful bike lobby that made such amusing press when Citibikes started.)

    Between 2009 and 2012, the percentage has inched up to 1.0%. That's hardly a boom; four times as many people work from home as ride bikes to work in NYC.

    She also mentions her adopted hometown of Portland, OR as an example of the cutting edge. Hmm, I sure hope not. PDX has not seen any increase in modal share over the past four years in spite of massive construction of the sort that Elly advocates.

    It's time for the inexperienced, overzealous oversellers like Elly to step aside and allow more experienced cyclists have a say in how our roadways should accommodate cyclists, in my opinion.

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Roody... I just have Amazon $11.84

    After looking at the interview I'm convinced that she's either a lurker here or even perhaps a regular poster.

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    It's time for the inexperienced, overzealous oversellers like Elly to step aside and allow more experienced cyclists have a say in how our roadways should accommodate cyclists, in my opinion.
    I'll go for that... but until it happens....

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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this, Roody. I enjoy reading anything I come across written by Ms. Blue and have been planning to get her book, too, but I'm a slow reader and want to finish the one I'm working on now before buying anything else.

    As you point out, it's great to actually read something positive about cyclists.
    Gimme that car-free living!

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Once more we see Elly singing the praises of segregation-style builds. Let's have a look at the Big Apple which Elly cites. When Janette Sadik-Khan was appointed to head up the New York Department of Transportation in 2007, New York City was decidedly pedestrian in terms of its cycling; the percentage of commuters using bikes was at the national average of 0.6%. Two years later, in 2009, it was still mired at 0.6%. (So much for the powerful bike lobby that made such amusing press when Citibikes started.)

    Between 2009 and 2012, the percentage has inched up to 1.0%. That's hardly a boom; four times as many people work from home as ride bikes to work in NYC.

    She also mentions her adopted hometown of Portland, OR as an example of the cutting edge. Hmm, I sure hope not. PDX has not seen any increase in modal share over the past four years in spite of massive construction of the sort that Elly advocates.

    It's time for the inexperienced, overzealous oversellers like Elly to step aside and allow more experienced cyclists have a say in how our roadways should accommodate cyclists, in my opinion.
    Actually, an increase from 0.6 to 1.0 is almost a doubling, in only three years according to you. That's quite significant, IMO, and maybe even a boom. What number do you think would be a good target for modal share in the next couple years?

    Why do you say Elly is inexperienced? She has been writing about bikes for 15 years now, according to online bios. Why should she "step aside" for more experienced cyclists? In what way is she stopping them from having a say? Who are these more experienced cyclists who are not allowed to speak? I would definitely like to read their opinions. Too bad they haven't been able to publish Internet articles and a book like Ms. Blue has. I like the sound of what she's saying, but maybe I just don't know enough about the subject to understand the counterpoint.

    So yeah, I'm not real well versed in these issues. It sounds like you are. I'd like to learn more about your opinions, and I might agree with you. But this post sounds more like a grudge match--not particularly useful or convincing to me, at any rate. I hope you come back with something informative about your opinions and your objections to Elly Blue.
    Last edited by Roody; 01-21-14 at 10:38 PM.


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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Between 2009 and 2012, the percentage has inched up to 1.0%. That's hardly a boom...
    On the one hand, critics say that you can scarcely take a step in New York without being run over by mobs of mad cyclists, while on the other hand, they maintain that there's "hardly a boom". Which is it?

    It'll be interesting to see if that 1% number moves up. Citi Bikes didn't begin operating until the end of May 2013, so anyone who has taken advantage of that system to begin commuting by bike wouldn't be included in the figures you posted.
    Gimme that car-free living!

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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    I for one am a smug elitist.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    I for one am a smug elitist.
    Then you're definitely in a small minority of cyclists.


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    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Why do you say Elly is inexperienced? She has been writing about bikes for 15 years now, according to online bios. Why should she "step aside" for more experienced cyclists?
    Writing about it isn't the same as actually doing it. One of the reasons I got out of "advocacy" all those years ago was because the whole scene was dominated by people who rode very little (if at all), and simply shouted down everyone else because they had the time to keep writing letters and articles endlessly, and were so dogmatic they refused to even listen to real world experience from people who were out riding every day. I'm sure many of those have been in the game for decades, and I'm sure I spend more time riding last year than most of them combined. I even had people at some meetings refer to the term "experienced cyclist" with disdain, as though a person's experience was a reason not to listen to them. WTF???
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    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    I'm in the middle of Bikenomics. I really like it. It seems to be an extrapolation of the money savings that being car-free as an individual to the state and federal levels; not only is it cheaper for me to not have to own a car, it's cheaper for the government to not have to maintain the infrastructure for me to need one.

    As far as modality increases, I have to agree with Roody. An increase from .6% to 1% is pretty good. I think the issues regarding Portland are too mired and would take over this thread, but I will say that I'd be pretty happy with a 6% biking modality in the US. If that's where social norms, or logistic requirements at the family level restrict it, then so be it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    I'm in the middle of Bikenomics. I really like it. It seems to be an extrapolation of the money savings that being car-free as an individual to the state and federal levels; not only is it cheaper for me to not have to own a car, it's cheaper for the government to not have to maintain the infrastructure for me to need one.

    As far as modality increases, I have to agree with Roody. An increase from .6% to 1% is pretty good. I think the issues regarding Portland are too mired and would take over this thread, but I will say that I'd be pretty happy with a 6% biking modality in the US. If that's where social norms, or logistic requirements at the family level restrict it, then so be it.
    you know bicycles are having a world wide surge when their is talk of bike sharing and bike riding in Moscow lol. I used to visit Moscow often in the 90s. I bought a bicycle and I was the only one in the entire city riding a bike in Moscow lol. People would look at me like I was crazy. Yea there were bicycles but mostly people had them outside Moscow at their cottages. Now I am watching videos of fixed gear riding in Moscow. Amazing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Then you're definitely in a small minority of cyclists.
    I am in a small minority of people who are deservedly smug and elite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Actually, an increase from 0.6 to 1.0 is almost a doubling, in only three years according to you. That's quite significant, IMO, and maybe even a boom. What number do you think would be a good target for modal share in the next couple years?
    That tiny increase is actually barely out of the error of the measurement by the U.S. Census American Community Survey, so even that small increase may be only noise without signal. Also, there was this little event, variously referred to as the Great Recession or the Lesser Depression, that led to increases in cycling in many cities across the nation at that time. As the epicenter of that fiasco, NYC was far from immune from its consequences.

    Regarding modal share targets, until a city gets over ten percent bike modal share, it's basically the same experience as any other city: a car-dominated landscape. Around ten percent things start getting interesting. I guess you could call that the critical mass.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Why do you say Elly is inexperienced? She has been writing about bikes for 15 years now, according to online bios. Why should she "step aside" for more experienced cyclists? In what way is she stopping them from having a say? Who are these more experienced cyclists who are not allowed to speak? I would definitely like to read their opinions. Too bad they haven't been able to publish Internet articles and a book like Ms. Blue has. I like the sound of what she's saying, but maybe I just don't know enough about the subject to understand the counterpoint.

    So yeah, I'm not real well versed in these issues. It sounds like you are. I'd like to learn more about your opinions, and I might agree with you. But this post sounds more like a grudge match--not particularly useful or convincing to me, at any rate. I hope you come back with something informative about your opinions and your objections to Elly Blue.
    A couple of years ago, Elly wrote up an article for Grist about her first attempt to ride 100 km. I find it odd for someone who has never attempted to ride even 100 km to be considered an experienced cyclist. One really can't get very far if one restricts one's riding to distances shorter than that. Little wonder the trip around the country she refers to in the OP is by motor vehicle. Her only riding experience is short trips around town, mostly in one city. That is not the pedigree of an experienced cyclist.

    If you would like to read some writings from the perspective of an experienced cyclist, try Jan Heine. http://janheine.wordpress.com/2013/1...-and-fearless/ Of course, as noted by others, people like Jan are routinely shouted down and marginalized by folks who just don't have the knowledge and experience to understand what works and what does not work. If you don't believe me, try attending a public meeting on a road project here in the PNW. It gets old to see things go in that are horrific, but resemble something someone saw in a video from a different culture and then to read about the first fatality that resulted from it.

    To be honest, those of us from the old guard welcomed the new people who began cycling this past decade with open arms. We weren't surprised when many of them found great enthusiasm and wanted to make big changes; we even supported many of their proposals. However, as the focus, (mis)led by people like Elly and Mia Birk, has become one of an unrelenting quest to relegate cyclists to sidepaths (world-class sidewalks), we highly experienced riders are beginning to push back. One way we are doing this is by educating people on how to ride, as is done by these folks: http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/ Please don't confuse this education effort with an attempt to say there is only one way to ride; we're not saying that. If someone is not confident in his/her ability to competently make a "normal" left turn, we have no problem with such a person taking the turn in two steps. However, we do not want the roadway built in such a way as to preclude competent cyclists from making a normal left turn, which is what the side-path movement is trying to do to us.

    Much of the friction between people like Elly and people like me seems to have its origins in how we assess the relative dangers of intersections and overtaking traffic. Elly and her ilk have enhanced fears of overtaking traffic, to the point of irrationality, IMO. However, they think nothing of intersection configurations that place cyclists to the right of right-turning motorists as well as placing us outside of the normal sight-lines of conflicting left-turning motorists. Frankly, very few cyclists are injured or killed by overtaking motor vehicles unless they are first "doored". The real dangers are at intersections and the best way to minimize those risks is to be to the left of right-turning traffic and in the normal scan region for conflicting left-turning motorists. That means we don't want to be shoved into the gutter or onto a sidewalk/sidepath.

    P.S. Roody, I think you will enjoy Jan's blog and the magazine it is attached to, Bicycling Quarterly. It takes a fairly rigorous approach to examining the performance of various aspects of our machines and reaches some surprising conclusions at times. Even ILTB might appreciate their honesty on the limitations of their experiments.

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    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Vehicular cycling is not how you get more people on their bikes. Firstly, perceived safety is just as important as actual safety when it comes to getting people on bikes. Secondly, I'm not bringing my second grader anywhere there isn't separated paths, sidewalks or very empty streets. Separated paths is critical to getting more than 1% of people on their bikes, 80% of whom turn out to be male because they're the only ones 'brave' enough to endure it.

    Although, I often only ride 12 miles in a day, so I hope my voice counts despite apparently being some kind of inexperienced noob who isn't a real cyclist. My pedigree is in the mail, though.

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    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    Vehicular cycling is not how you get more people on their bikes. Firstly, perceived safety is just as important as actual safety when it comes to getting people on bikes. Secondly, I'm not bringing my second grader anywhere there isn't separated paths, sidewalks or very empty streets. Separated paths is critical to getting more than 1% of people on their bikes, 80% of whom turn out to be male because they're the only ones 'brave' enough to endure it. .
    These days I no longer have the ego to be terribly concerned about "converting" the rest of the world to biking. I'm far more concerned about making life easier for those of us who are already doing it rather than trying to influence people who may or may not be interested anyway. Relegating bikes to separated paths would be a step backward in that respect. I've never owned a car or even held a licence in my life, but if a Netherlands-style cycling system were implemented where I live, I would be forced to quit cycling and buy a car simply through time constraints.
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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    That tiny increase is actually barely out of the error of the measurement by the U.S. Census American Community Survey, so even that small increase may be only noise without signal. Also, there was this little event, variously referred to as the Great Recession or the Lesser Depression, that led to increases in cycling in many cities across the nation at that time. As the epicenter of that fiasco, NYC was far from immune from its consequences.

    Regarding modal share targets, until a city gets over ten percent bike modal share, it's basically the same experience as any other city: a car-dominated landscape. Around ten percent things start getting interesting. I guess you could call that the critical mass.


    A couple of years ago, Elly wrote up an article for Grist about her first attempt to ride 100 km. I find it odd for someone who has never attempted to ride even 100 km to be considered an experienced cyclist. One really can't get very far if one restricts one's riding to distances shorter than that. Little wonder the trip around the country she refers to in the OP is by motor vehicle. Her only riding experience is short trips around town, mostly in one city. That is not the pedigree of an experienced cyclist.

    If you would like to read some writings from the perspective of an experienced cyclist, try Jan Heine. http://janheine.wordpress.com/2013/1...-and-fearless/ Of course, as noted by others, people like Jan are routinely shouted down and marginalized by folks who just don't have the knowledge and experience to understand what works and what does not work. If you don't believe me, try attending a public meeting on a road project here in the PNW. It gets old to see things go in that are horrific, but resemble something someone saw in a video from a different culture and then to read about the first fatality that resulted from it.

    To be honest, those of us from the old guard welcomed the new people who began cycling this past decade with open arms. We weren't surprised when many of them found great enthusiasm and wanted to make big changes; we even supported many of their proposals. However, as the focus, (mis)led by people like Elly and Mia Birk, has become one of an unrelenting quest to relegate cyclists to sidepaths (world-class sidewalks), we highly experienced riders are beginning to push back. One way we are doing this is by educating people on how to ride, as is done by these folks: http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/ Please don't confuse this education effort with an attempt to say there is only one way to ride; we're not saying that. If someone is not confident in his/her ability to competently make a "normal" left turn, we have no problem with such a person taking the turn in two steps. However, we do not want the roadway built in such a way as to preclude competent cyclists from making a normal left turn, which is what the side-path movement is trying to do to us.

    Much of the friction between people like Elly and people like me seems to have its origins in how we assess the relative dangers of intersections and overtaking traffic. Elly and her ilk have enhanced fears of overtaking traffic, to the point of irrationality, IMO. However, they think nothing of intersection configurations that place cyclists to the right of right-turning motorists as well as placing us outside of the normal sight-lines of conflicting left-turning motorists. Frankly, very few cyclists are injured or killed by overtaking motor vehicles unless they are first "doored". The real dangers are at intersections and the best way to minimize those risks is to be to the left of right-turning traffic and in the normal scan region for conflicting left-turning motorists. That means we don't want to be shoved into the gutter or onto a sidewalk/sidepath.

    P.S. Roody, I think you will enjoy Jan's blog and the magazine it is attached to, Bicycling Quarterly. It takes a fairly rigorous approach to examining the performance of various aspects of our machines and reaches some surprising conclusions at times. Even ILTB might appreciate their honesty on the limitations of their experiments.
    oh...you were referring to vehicular cycling. How 1970s....

    Or can you name a community where mode share was actually increased by VC training?

    I ride VC myself and find it to be "effective" in some ways, given I don't always have a choice in my facility-deprived city. But the VC all-stars have had 50 years to encourage cycling and they have totally failed. They say that cyclists require certain education, which they will happily provide at a cost. They remain a small group of upscale athletic people--almost all men--riding performance bikes on special occasions, while wearing specialty clothing.

    OTOH, the cities that have succeeded in increasing mode share, whether by a little or a lot, have built infrastructure that's amenable to a broader range of cyclists.


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    Pedalin' Erry Day lasauge's Avatar
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    Regardless of whether Elly Blue's approach to infrastructure or"vehicular cycling" is more useful in the long term, I'm glad that at the very least she's getting some publicity for cycling as transportation. Getting a larger percentage of the population to recognize that cycling is a potentially useful, sensible transportation mode would be a great victory (and produce the increase in mode share that most cycling advocates are looking for).

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    A couple of years ago, Elly wrote up an article for Grist about her first attempt to ride 100 km. I find it odd for someone who has never attempted to ride even 100 km to be considered an experienced cyclist. One really can't get very far if one restricts one's riding to distances shorter than that. Little wonder the trip around the country she refers to in the OP is by motor vehicle. Her only riding experience is short trips around town, mostly in one city. That is not the pedigree of an experienced cyclist.
    [SKIP]
    To be honest, those of us from the old guard welcomed the new people who began cycling this past decade with open arms.
    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    Although, I often only ride 12 miles in a day, so I hope my voice counts despite apparently being some kind of inexperienced noob who isn't a real cyclist. My pedigree is in the mail, though.
    What you don't ride 100kms at a time? No wonder you consider yourself a noob and not a Real Cyclist™! Don't feel bad, I am also like you and can count the times I have ridden over 100kms in a day on just my fingers and that is after 60 years of Not Real Cycling™. You and I just don't qualify as experienced cyclists like the men among boy cyclists, B. Carfree and the "The Old Guard."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    oh...you were referring to vehicular cycling. How 1970s....

    Or can you name a community where mode share was actually increased by VC training?

    I ride VC myself and find it to be "effective" in some ways, given I don't always have a choice in my facility-deprived city. But the VC all-stars have had 50 years to encourage cycling and they have totally failed. They say that cyclists require certain education, which they will happily provide at a cost. They remain a small group of upscale athletic people--almost all men--riding performance bikes on special occasions, while wearing specialty clothing.

    OTOH, the cities that have succeeded in increasing mode share, whether by a little or a lot, have built infrastructure that's amenable to a broader range of cyclists.
    That is one of the most BS-laden posts I have ever seen you put up. Let's take these one at a time.

    What happened in the '80s and continued until the early part of the naughties (early twenty-first century) to real oil/gasoline prices? I'll give you a clue: they went down, by a lot. The result of that was the size of the typical motor vehicle increased tremendously. Needless to say, we didn't increase the width of the lanes on our roadways to match. (Not coincidentally, the width of the average American also increased by a substantial amount.) Do you really think that had nothing to do with the end of the '60s/'70s bike boomlet? Sure, there was a decrease in cycling and a corresponding increase in motoring as the fuel costs decreased and vehicle size increased.

    Wait, there's more. Have you never heard of the baby boom? Well, the last of those folks just happened to leave their college years behind as the '80s got going. Not surprisingly, the baby boom was followed by the baby bust. There weren't many young people coming along behind the boomers, and those who did found huge vehicles hogging every inch of our towns. None of this had anything to do with your VC bogeyman. (By the way, I was not referring to strictly VC, merely advocating against poorly, even dangerously, designed segregation.) You might as well blame the paucity of cyclists in America on the fall of the Berlin wall, for all the connection VC principles have to it.

    Now where oh where did I get the notion that not having a bunch of segregated infrastructure could occur simultaneously with huge bike modal shares? How about the former "Bike Capital of the World"? In Davis in the '70s and '80s, we had almost no segregated infrastructure. There was exactly one bike path, the most injury-laden road in the city, and two other bike-only bridges over freeways. That was it for segregation in a city with a modal share that, while not measured at the time, was well over 50% and likely closer to 80%. We rode on the street just like other road users. We had a small collection of bike paths, but those didn't have much impact (and they certainly aren't segregation; they're closer to the VC you seem to despise).

    Now, back to you. Go look at the real price of gasoline and compare the cycling rates in the ACS to that price. Show me all those places where the cycling rates went up independent of that. Nationwide, many cities saw a spike in ridership in 2009 due to a sudden increase in gasoline prices. Those cities that invested heavily in segregation, like Portland, OR and, (this past twenty years) Davis, CA, saw a flattening or DECREASES in ridership.

    Segregation has been tried and it doesn't work. And no surprise that it doesn't. The risk to urban cyclists is not overtaking traffic, particularly when two-meter bike lanes are put in. (Munich has been removing its cycletracks and replacing them with two-meter bike lanes for the past decade, which has resulted in a rise from 5% to nearly 20% modal share.) The risk lies in intersection issues, particularly right-hooks and left-crosses. Segregation amplifies the risk by putting cyclists to the right of right-turning motorists and keeping them out of the normal sight lines of conflicting left-turning motorists. That's just silly.

    What's even worse is the leaders of the segregation movement also support placing bike lanes in the door zone. That creates a most hazardous condition. Chicago, a rare city that kept track, found that 22% of the injuries to cyclists that they could document were the result of doorings. Nothing like inviting new cyclists into a dangerous area and making them think it is safe to improve cycling's appeal, eh?

    It's time to push back against the designs of inexperienced cyclists. Who would you have design the runways and gates at the airport: Passengers or pilots? The segregationists are passengers. Experienced cyclists are the pilots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    oh...you were referring to vehicular cycling. How 1970s....

    Or can you name a community where mode share was actually increased by VC training?

    I ride VC myself and find it to be "effective" in some ways, given I don't always have a choice in my facility-deprived city. But the VC all-stars have had 50 years to encourage cycling and they have totally failed. They say that cyclists require certain education, which they will happily provide at a cost. They remain a small group of upscale athletic people--almost all men--riding performance bikes on special occasions, while wearing specialty clothing.

    OTOH, the cities that have succeeded in increasing mode share, whether by a little or a lot, have built infrastructure that's amenable to a broader range of cyclists.
    It may be one of the reasons we have so much trouble getting anything done in the cycling community, we don't like each other. Think about it, because almost none of Elly's separate infrastructure yet exists the .4 percent increase you find almost double and a great stride forward had to come from cyclist already cycling on the streets we have. The VC cyclists are riding with or without separate bike ways. Because we tend to not have separate bike ways in most places isn't the increase you find significant more because people are cycling with or without dedicated infrastructure? Not because we have separate bike paths? Don't get me wrong I love dedicated bike paths. But if I had to wait till they became the norm I wouldn't ride much. And the ones I do ride on only go where they go not necessarily where I want to go. The VC cyclists have been riding and commuting for all of those years since the 70s you seem to have little regard for or even touring from coast to coast while some seem to be willing to sit at home and write about things that would make things better if we only had them. "My Kingdom for a Horse." We pay for the roadways and have every right to use them to go where ever we want to go. While Elly's statements are positive they are also regional and as mentioned dismissive to a degree to those who see cycling almost as a right. For all of the years VC advocates have been fighting city hall they have also been fighting the people that want to get us off of the road and onto "separate" bike paths. Does anyone else have to take a second look at something that says we will be separate but equal if we simply give up the roads to cars? In this regard I may be more like Chris. I have been riding on the streets since the late 60 and early 70s and wondered what it will take to get some on bikes. If it means waiting till the separate bike-ways get created then I will have worn out several bikes while some are still waiting. And I also doubt if I am interested in an expert cyclist that has never even considered taking a vacation on a bike or riding from one state to another because it seemed, just too difficult or time consuming. But that is just me and she doesn't speak for me or the people I hang around with. So in effect it all comes back to, we can't work together because we have different goals.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  22. #22
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    This issue really has been done to death on these boards and elsewhere, and it will never be properly resolved here because you're dealing with egos, and egos refuse to "lose" the argument. On the one hand you have the "vehicular cycling" types, who have learned how to use the roadways and interact with traffic, but don't want to accept that there are others who can't/won't do that for whatever reason. On the other hand, you have the "separated path" types, who think that because they have a conveniently located path, and the time to use it, that everyone else has the same luxury. In a sense, both types are a lot like religious zealots who have just discovered their "true path", and automatically regard everyone else's ideas as lunacy regardless of whatever "proof" is put before them. Just go and look at the VC sub forum, and see how many people there (on both sides) have been posting the same crap year in and year out.

    I've ventured to a few different countries on various continents in recent years, and have seen it from both sides. In the real world, people who really want to ride a bike will find a way, regardless of whatever infrastructure is put there. People who don't want to ride will find a reason not to, again, regardless of whatever infrastructure is put there (or not put there). In the real world, we aren't as hide-bound as we appear on this forum. I've ridden on bike paths before -- I did it on occasion in Europe last year. The issue here for me is simply one of time. Last year in Europe I was on holiday, and had time to do it. When I'm riding to work, or riding to a doctor's appointment, or to an airport, I don't have time to do it. It's that simple. If I lived in the Netherlands or somewhere like that, I'd probably just buy a car for those trips, and save the bike for recreation. Now I don't particularly care if the segregationists get their facilities. Hey, let them be the judge of how dangerous the situation is, and we'll see who's still riding in 10 years' time. What does irritate me, is when these segregationists try to legislate the rest of us off the roads because they perceive a danger in some place they've never ridden before.

    There are only two things that will actually motivate someone to ride a bike. Either some basic desire to do it, or the other options somehow becoming less attractive than they once were. Contrary to apparently popular belief, building or removing "facilities" won't actually influence these factors. A rise in fuel prices (as we've seen in recent years) might, and this is probably what accounts for the "almost doubling" if cycling numbers that some people in this thread have cited. The idea that people will simply turn up if you build a bike path has never been conclusively proven, and as I said before, I really have the ego to care whether another 0.4% of the population feel the need to get on a bike.

    The real issue here as far as Living Car Free is concerned (isn't that the name of this sub forum?), is whether people can actually use their bike to get from A to B. From the looks of this thread, it appears as though some of the people who "advocate" the loudest for car free living are also the ones who want to pass legislation to make it more problematic just so they can have their recreational paths.
    Last edited by Chris L; 01-23-14 at 01:34 AM. Reason: Because I can.
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  23. #23
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    That is one of the most BS-laden posts I have ever seen you put up. Let's take these one at a time.

    What happened in the '80s and continued until the early part of the naughties (early twenty-first century) to real oil/gasoline prices? I'll give you a clue: they went down, by a lot. The result of that was the size of the typical motor vehicle increased tremendously. Needless to say, we didn't increase the width of the lanes on our roadways to match. (Not coincidentally, the width of the average American also increased by a substantial amount.) Do you really think that had nothing to do with the end of the '60s/'70s bike boomlet? Sure, there was a decrease in cycling and a corresponding increase in motoring as the fuel costs decreased and vehicle size increased.

    Wait, there's more. Have you never heard of the baby boom? Well, the last of those folks just happened to leave their college years behind as the '80s got going. Not surprisingly, the baby boom was followed by the baby bust. There weren't many young people coming along behind the boomers, and those who did found huge vehicles hogging every inch of our towns. None of this had anything to do with your VC bogeyman. (By the way, I was not referring to strictly VC, merely advocating against poorly, even dangerously, designed segregation.) You might as well blame the paucity of cyclists in America on the fall of the Berlin wall, for all the connection VC principles have to it.

    Now where oh where did I get the notion that not having a bunch of segregated infrastructure could occur simultaneously with huge bike modal shares? How about the former "Bike Capital of the World"? In Davis in the '70s and '80s, we had almost no segregated infrastructure. There was exactly one bike path, the most injury-laden road in the city, and two other bike-only bridges over freeways. That was it for segregation in a city with a modal share that, while not measured at the time, was well over 50% and likely closer to 80%. We rode on the street just like other road users. We had a small collection of bike paths, but those didn't have much impact (and they certainly aren't segregation; they're closer to the VC you seem to despise).

    Now, back to you. Go look at the real price of gasoline and compare the cycling rates in the ACS to that price. Show me all those places where the cycling rates went up independent of that. Nationwide, many cities saw a spike in ridership in 2009 due to a sudden increase in gasoline prices. Those cities that invested heavily in segregation, like Portland, OR and, (this past twenty years) Davis, CA, saw a flattening or DECREASES in ridership.

    Segregation has been tried and it doesn't work. And no surprise that it doesn't. The risk to urban cyclists is not overtaking traffic, particularly when two-meter bike lanes are put in. (Munich has been removing its cycletracks and replacing them with two-meter bike lanes for the past decade, which has resulted in a rise from 5% to nearly 20% modal share.) The risk lies in intersection issues, particularly right-hooks and left-crosses. Segregation amplifies the risk by putting cyclists to the right of right-turning motorists and keeping them out of the normal sight lines of conflicting left-turning motorists. That's just silly.

    What's even worse is the leaders of the segregation movement also support placing bike lanes in the door zone. That creates a most hazardous condition. Chicago, a rare city that kept track, found that 22% of the injuries to cyclists that they could document were the result of doorings. Nothing like inviting new cyclists into a dangerous area and making them think it is safe to improve cycling's appeal, eh?

    It's time to push back against the designs of inexperienced cyclists. Who would you have design the runways and gates at the airport: Passengers or pilots? The segregationists are passengers. Experienced cyclists are the pilots.
    You make some good points. It is true that several factors influence whether people ride bikes or not.

    I think there are three main approaches to transportation that are debated by contemporary cyclists. I believe there are pros and cons to each, which I'll mention briefly:

    1. The main approach mentioned by Elly Blue was actually not infrastructure or VC adeptness, but bicycle culture. I think that's what you had back in Davis, and what they have in Portland today. The culture that nurtures cycling is very attractive to many people and clearly encourages greater involvement.

    2. The Vehicular Cycling principles certainly facilitate "effective" cycling in one set of circumstances: the streets and highways that are shared with motor vehicles. I love and use VC as a method of cycling. I encourage all cyclists to take the time and effort to learn these techniques. But they're not going to listen to me. They haven't been listening for 50 years. The majority of non-cyclists and infrequent cyclists still believes that cycling with motor traffic is dangerous and/or illegal. So for all their trying, VC advocates have utterly failed to educate the mass public on even this simple and fundamental principle that "bikes belong" on the streets.

    3. The infrastructure approach is probably dominant at this time, although there obviously is pushback against infrastructure within the cycling community. There are problems with the infrastructure approach, IMO. Facilities are expensive and they are often poorly designed, as you pointed out. There is disagreement about the best type of facilities. The biggest problem with this approach, IMO, is that there is currently poor coverage of bike facilities and that will change slowly, if at all. But I think this approach has had the greatest success in attracting non-cyclists and infrequent cyclists to ride more, especially for commuting.

    I think the ultimate solution is going to be a combination of approaches. Different things work better in different places. I can see VC working well in sprawling suburbs, perhaps combined with "light" facilities, like sharrows and painted BLs, and
    better motorist/cyclist education. Separated facilities might work better in other locations. I think it would be unfortunate if we failed to take advantage of the various alternatives that are becoming available to us as urban planners finally begin to understand the advantages of bicycles in their future plans.
    Last edited by Roody; 01-23-14 at 03:45 AM.


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  24. #24
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    Most adults DON'T LIKE riding bikes for fun or transportation-this is the WHY-of WHY so few transportation riders.
    Why else would the Chinese have DUMPED their bikes by the MILLIONS?
    Adults don't LIKE riding a bike-in the rain- snow-bitter cold-extreme heat-in traffic- early in the am- have a flat when rushing to work-?
    If you have good public transportation- and good sidewalks-why ride?
    Now great segregated bike lanes would partially negate the "I don't want to ride in traffic" but it won't do anything for the
    RAIN SNOW HEAT COLD FLATS SWEAT GREASY CLOTHING BIKE THEFT HUGE BIKE LOCK CAN'T FIND ANYTHING TO LOCK TO I'M TIRED IT IS 5:30AM I HAVE A BAD HEART BAD KNEE WEIGH 280LB AGING POPULATION BUS IS JUST FINE I LIKE TO WALK I LOVE MY CAR

    Add them all up-and 1-2% is about it-no matter what.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You make some good points. It is true that several factors influence whether people ride bikes or not.

    I think there are three main approaches to transportation that are debated by contemporary cyclists. I believe there are pros and cons to each, which I'll mention briefly:

    1. The main approach mentioned by Elly Blue was actually not infrastructure or VC adeptness, but bicycle culture. I think that's what you had back in Davis, and what they have in Portland today. The culture that nurtures cycling is very attractive to many people and clearly encourages greater involvement.


    2. The Vehicular Cycling principles certainly facilitate "effective" cycling in one set of circumstances: the streets and highways that are shared with motor vehicles. I love and use VC as a method of cycling. I encourage all cyclists to take the time and effort to learn these techniques. But they're not going to listen to me. They haven't been listening for 50 years. The majority of non-cyclists and infrequent cyclists still believes that cycling with motor traffic is dangerous and/or illegal. So for all their trying, VC advocates have utterly failed to educate the mass public on even this simple and fundamental principle that "bikes belong" on the streets.

    3. The infrastructure approach is probably dominant at this time, although there obviously is pushback against infrastructure within the cycling community. There are problems with the infrastructure approach, IMO. Facilities are expensive and they are often poorly designed, as you pointed out. There is disagreement about the best type of facilities. The biggest problem with this approach, IMO, is that there is currently poor coverage of bike facilities and that will change slowly, if at all. But I think this approach has had the greatest success in attracting non-cyclists and infrequent cyclists to ride more, especially for commuting.

    I think the ultimate solution is going to be a combination of approaches. Different things work better in different places. I can see VC working well in sprawling suburbs, perhaps combined with "light" facilities, like sharrows and painted BLs, and
    better motorist/cyclist education. Separated facilities might work better in other locations. I think it would be unfortunate if we failed to take advantage of the various alternatives that are becoming available to us as urban planners finally begin to understand the advantages of bicycles in their future plans.
    This right here. Especially paragraph #2 , I could not agree with you more.

    I think part of the disagreement between best type of facilities is that 'best' is going to be defined by who is speaking at the time. Those who have been around and have come to terms with riding on shoulders, threading through traffic, and overall just learning to live without see new bike specific infrastructure as being relegated to the sidelines. I get that. Cycling has so much to bring to the table in terms of cost savings and public health, that something should be done for the other (literally) 99% of the population who just aren't willing to go out there and brave being among cars and in door zones.

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