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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Protected bike lanes and Car Free Living

    God, I can't tell you how much I love protected bike lanes! They've converted the city I live in into one of the most cyclist-friendly in Europe. I concur with this new study. Protected bike lanes make cycling so much safer that the whole idea of commuting by bike becomes appealing to thousands of people and makes living car-free so much easier.

    I say: Up with protected bike lanes! Down with "vehicular cycling"! What say ye about how protected bike lanes can encourage the car-free lifestyle?

    “Protected bike lanes safer, better,” says science. “Duh,” says rest of us.
    Last edited by Ekdog; 06-15-14 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Added a few words to make it clear that the focus here should be protected bike lanes and living car-free.
    Smug, car-bashing cyclist and public transport user.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say down with vehicular cycling, because sometimes it's the best way to get where you want to go. But I do say up with good bike lanes!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  3. #3
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I wouldn't say down with vehicular cycling, because sometimes it's the best way to get where you want to go. But I do say up with good bike lanes!
    Having pretty good infrastructure gets people into the habit of transporting themselves by bike. We have a pretty good trail system here which acts like a protected lane.

    However, protected lanes and trails can't cover the whole city... at least no city I've ever lived in. So VC isn't a lost art by any means.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I wouldn't say down with vehicular cycling, because sometimes it's the best way to get where you want to go. But I do say up with good bike lanes!
    I meant the forces within the VC movement that fight tooth and nail against segregated cycling facilities.
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    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    God, I can't tell you how much I love protected bike lanes! They've converted the city I live in into one of the most cyclist-friendly in Europe. I concur with this new study. Protected bike lanes make cycling so much safer that the whole idea of commuting by bike becomes appealing to thousands of people.

    Up with protected bike lanes! Down with "vehicular cycling"!

    “Protected bike lanes safer, better,” says science. “Duh,” says rest of us.
    I do love well-designed bike lanes, but they're not a good starting point in North America. My city, Seattle, is gradually getting decent bike infrastructure, which I'm very happy about, and even non-bicyclists have eventually come to accept it, if for no other reason that it mitigates traffic congestion (and get cyclists out of their way). However, the bike infrastructure didn't come first; the bicyclists did. Only when the number of bicyclists in Seattle reached a number where they had some political influence, and they were noticeable in traffic, did anyone give a rat's *** about real bicycle infrastructure. And we're talking Seattle here, a town that actually has a Socialist on its city council. In most parts of this very car-centric continent, if you suddenly drop a lot of bike infrastructure on a public that doesn't think it needs it, because no one rides bikes, you're going to get a lot of indifference/annoyance from the vast majority, and some very vicious push-back from those few angry people who listen to talk radio.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    I do love well-designed bike lanes, but they're not a good starting point in North America. My city, Seattle, is gradually getting decent bike infrastructure, which I'm very happy about, and even non-bicyclists have eventually come to accept it, if for no other reason that it mitigates traffic congestion (and get cyclists out of their way). However, the bike infrastructure didn't come first; the bicyclists did. Only when the number of bicyclists in Seattle reached a number where they had some political influence, and they were noticeable in traffic, did anyone give a rat's *** about real bicycle infrastructure. And we're talking Seattle here, a town that actually has a Socialist on its city council. In most parts of this very car-centric continent, if you suddenly drop a lot of bike infrastructure on a public that doesn't think it needs it, because no one rides bikes, you're going to get a lot of indifference/annoyance from the vast majority, and some very vicious push-back from those few angry people who listen to talk radio.
    And even Seattle can't get bike lanes right much of the time. I like the bike lanes on Dexter, but that's about the only bike path in Seattle that I consider "well-designed." I do agree that good protected bike lanes would help us ride more safely and encourage more people to ride, but VC still makes sense in a lot of places - especially in and near the city centre.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Having pretty good infrastructure gets people into the habit of transporting themselves by bike. We have a pretty good trail system here which acts like a protected lane.

    However, protected lanes and trails can't cover the whole city... at least no city I've ever lived in. So VC isn't a lost art by any means.
    We have a good trail system here too. It was developed as a recreational facility, but actually connects a lot of popular destinations in a fairly direct way, with almost zero automobile interactions. But like you say, it doesn't come close to covering the whole city.

    Recently, I've started thinking that complete streets might be a better way to go than bike lanes or even separated facilities. Does anybody have any thoughts on that?


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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Recently, I've started thinking that complete streets might be a better way to go than bike lanes or even separated facilities. Does anybody have any thoughts on that?
    Why not start a thread on that ... and tell us what "complete streets" are in that thread.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    I do love well-designed bike lanes, but they're not a good starting point in North America. My city, Seattle, is gradually getting decent bike infrastructure, which I'm very happy about, and even non-bicyclists have eventually come to accept it, if for no other reason that it mitigates traffic congestion (and get cyclists out of their way). However, the bike infrastructure didn't come first; the bicyclists did. Only when the number of bicyclists in Seattle reached a number where they had some political influence, and they were noticeable in traffic, did anyone give a rat's *** about real bicycle infrastructure. And we're talking Seattle here, a town that actually has a Socialist on its city council. In most parts of this very car-centric continent, if you suddenly drop a lot of bike infrastructure on a public that doesn't think it needs it, because no one rides bikes, you're going to get a lot of indifference/annoyance from the vast majority, and some very vicious push-back from those few angry people who listen to talk radio.
    Our experience was just the opposite. Next to no one cycled, just a handful of brave souls (I was one of them). Arguments like yours were heard: "There's no tradition of cycling here. It'll never work. All of that infrastructure for half a dozen cyclists! Madness!" Regressives tried to push back, but the bike lanes were built so quickly that they didn't have time to mobilize. By the time they'd gotten their campaign on track and the right-wing media was screaming bloody murder, the bike paths had been built and were filling up with thousands of happy cyclists. The right eventually had to pipe down because it was obvious that the new infrastructure was wildly popular. The right-wing naysayers eventually changed their tune and said they'd been in favor all along, only they would have built better lanes if they'd been in power.
    Last edited by Ekdog; 06-05-14 at 02:59 AM.
    Smug, car-bashing cyclist and public transport user.

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Why not start a thread on that ... and tell us what "complete streets" are in that thread.
    Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't mind talking about it here, if anybody wants to, since bike lanes are sometimes a component of complete streets. And I'm pretty sure most people know what it is, since we've had several threads on the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, bicycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods.[1]


    The term is often used by transportation advocates, urban planners, traffic and highway engineers, public health practitioners, and community members in the United States.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_streets
    Last edited by Roody; 06-05-14 at 03:24 AM.


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    Do these bike lanes go past your front door? Do they go everywhere you need or wish to go?

    Probably not.

    And that becomes a major issue when it comes to people riding their bicycles away from bike lanes. The motorists feel they have a right to tell you to ride on bike lanes or paths, even though they don't exist in that particular place. And when a rider has to ride in traffic where there are no bike lanes, they show their lack of skill and confidence.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  12. #12
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Anyway, I think that within a complete streets paradigm, "well designed" bike lanes would be safe, comfortable and convenient--not only for cyclists, but for all street users. I think this concept of completeness would lessen the backlash from motorists and pedestrians that a couple people mentioned earlier in this thread.


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  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't mind talking about it here, if anybody wants to, since bike lanes are sometimes a component of complete streets. And I'm pretty sure most people know what it is, since we've had several threads on the topic.



    Complete streets - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Never heard of it. Maybe it's just a US thing?


    But it sounds just the opposite of the OP's topic in this thread.

    Again ... probably a good idea to talk about it in it's own thread rather than hijacking this thread.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Do these bike lanes go past your front door? Do they go everywhere you need or wish to go?

    Probably not.

    And that becomes a major issue when it comes to people riding their bicycles away from bike lanes. The motorists feel they have a right to tell you to ride on bike lanes or paths, even though they don't exist in that particular place. And when a rider has to ride in traffic where there are no bike lanes, they show their lack of skill and confidence.
    This is often mentioned. Do you know of any specific occasions when cyclists were told they must ride in bike lanes, where there wasn't a bike lane? I'm just wondering if this is a known problem, or something people are concerned could happen. I know that in my state, cyclists can ride on any public highway except for freeways.


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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Never heard of it. Maybe it's just a US thing?


    But it sounds just the opposite of the OP's topic in this thread.

    Again ... probably a good idea to talk about it in it's own thread rather than hijacking this thread.
    You're certainly welcome to start such a thread if that's your interest. I don't care to at this time. But I surely am trying to get back to the topic of this thread....


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  16. #16
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You're certainly welcome to start such a thread if that's your interest. I don't care to at this time. But I surely am trying to get back to the topic of this thread....
    OP here. I think a comparison of protected bike lanes and complete streets fits nicely into this thread.
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  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    This is often mentioned. Do you know of any specific occasions when cyclists were told they must ride in bike lanes, where there wasn't a bike lane? I'm just wondering if this is a known problem, or something people are concerned could happen. I know that in my state, cyclists can ride on any public highway except for freeways.
    Yes. I've been told that many times.

    When there's a segregated bicycle path, within sight of the road, people who drive by feel it is their duty to yell out the window and tell you to use the path.

    Sure, cyclists can ride on the highways, but if that bicycle path exists, motorists get quite upset that their tax dollars went toward building that path, and you're not using it.


    I've also worked in the Infrastructure Department of a local government who was one of three local governments who were involved in an extensive bicycle path project, one of the longest in Victoria.

    One of the comments that came up in conversation with my coworkers, in community consultations, in letters we received, and in other chat with members of the community was that this path would get the cyclists off the highways .... and they were quite happy about that idea.

    Unfortunately, they didn't pave the path, they even ran out of chert, so that part of the path was just a sandy sort of fine gravel. Not good for road cycling, so we continued to ride on the highways much of the time ... sometimes to the frustration and concern of the motorists around.


    And if you've ever cycled in Belgium ... don't dare to venture off the bicycle path/lane, even if the bicycle path/lane is full of debris and really horrible to ride on. You'll be honked at and hollered at until you're back onto the path/lane again.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You're certainly welcome to start such a thread if that's your interest. I don't care to at this time. But I surely am trying to get back to the topic of this thread....
    ...would be more appropriate in Advocacy & Safety, no?
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    ...would be more appropriate in Advocacy & Safety, no?
    If possible, I'd like to focus on how such infrastructure can make living car free a reality for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to live without a car.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    This is often mentioned. Do you know of any specific occasions when cyclists were told they must ride in bike lanes, where there wasn't a bike lane? I'm just wondering if this is a known problem, or something people are concerned could happen. I know that in my state, cyclists can ride on any public highway except for freeways.
    It is a legal requirement in Australia for a cyclist to use a bike lane if it exists and there no reason that it cannot be used. It's the law.

    Drivers know this, and it is not unusual for talkback callers on radio to tell cyclists that they shouldn't be on the road at all unless they are in a bike lane or MUP.

    And that doesn't even start with the anti-cyclist sentiment that has been very evident here in Hobart because of introduction of bike lanes along a main traffic route into the city.

    The legal side raises some issues in regard to a rider who wants to turn off the road to a driveway or another street.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yes. I've been told that many times.

    When there's a segregated bicycle path, within sight of the road, people who drive by feel it is their duty to yell out the window and tell you to use the path.

    Sure, cyclists can ride on the highways, but if that bicycle path exists, motorists get quite upset that their tax dollars went toward building that path, and you're not using it.


    I've also worked in the Infrastructure Department of a local government who was one of three local governments who were involved in an extensive bicycle path project, one of the longest in Victoria.

    One of the comments that came up in conversation with my coworkers, in community consultations, in letters we received, and in other chat with members of the community was that this path would get the cyclists off the highways .... and they were quite happy about that idea.

    Unfortunately, they didn't pave the path, they even ran out of chert, so that part of the path was just a sandy sort of fine gravel. Not good for road cycling, so we continued to ride on the highways much of the time ... sometimes to the frustration and concern of the motorists around.


    And if you've ever cycled in Belgium ... don't dare to venture off the bicycle path/lane, even if the bicycle path/lane is full of debris and really horrible to ride on. You'll be honked at and hollered at until you're back onto the path/lane again.
    Not only Belgium, but that Holy Grail of cycling, the Netherlands!! I couldn't believe the aggressive attitude of the motorists the first time I struck it. And this was riding on a road with a beautifully smooth asphalt surface while the bike path right next to it was a god-awful mess of pavers... for more than five kilometres.
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    The use of infrastructure in "complete streets" is called traffic calming in most traffic engineering circles.

    I have dealt with this before here, but the introduction of bike lanes in many places has been to reduce car speeds and provide some semblance of "calming", not to provide a safe corridor for cyclists. Usually, the bike lanes narrow the travel lane for cars, and the motorists are supposed to reduce their speeds to negotiate the narrower space.

    There are issues with segregated bike lanes, such as those delineated with some hard protruding piece of furniture at regular spacings along the painted line.

    While they discourage drivers from encroaching on the bike lane or more likely shared bus/bike lane, they are a real and present danger for cyclists to hit and come down on the roadway. This was my immediate reaction when I encountered this road furniture for the first time in Paris.

    We also have something similar now in Hobart, and frankly, I prefer to ride on the adjacent roadway that have to deal with the posts, the intermittent kerbing, and the path uses that may at any time include cyclists, roller bladers, dog walkers, joggers and walkers. Apart from all those factors, the road surface actually is better to ride on.

    My personal opinion is that the money spent on installing these sorts of facilities would be far better spent creating and running training programs for cyclists to ride their bikes properly, and to promote co-existence of motorists and cyclists in shared lanes.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  23. #23
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    If possible, I'd like to focus on how such infrastructure can make living car free a reality for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to live without a car.
    So you think that having the infrastructure will somehow magically convince people to give up their cars? Improving or even introducing a mass transit system would likely yield similar results.

    Face it, as much as most of us lament about the pitfalls of the personal auto, we are in a minority, as the majority perceive it as force multiplier- greater speed and distance, no schedule constraints- so it's a stretch to think that attitude is going to change anytime soon.
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  24. #24
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    God, I can't tell you how much I love protected bike lanes! They've converted the city I live in into one of the most cyclist-friendly in Europe. I concur with this new study. Protected bike lanes make cycling so much safer that the whole idea of commuting by bike becomes appealing to thousands of people.

    Up with protected bike lanes! Down with "vehicular cycling"!

    “Protected bike lanes safer, better,” says science. “Duh,” says rest of us.

    How do your lanes cater for cyclists wanting to turn across the traffic?

    It's a serious question, there are a couple of places near where I live where I've got into altercations with motorists because I've kept to the right of the lane (planning to turn right at the junction) and they expect me to use the cycle lane which is to the left of the lane (this is in the UK, where we drive on the left, for those who wonder why it all seems backwards). But using the cycle lane would mean staying to the far left only to then have to get across the traffic to turn right.

    For people wanting to follow the road the cycle lane is a good provision but for people wanting to turn right it seems like more of a liability than an asset.
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    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yes. I've been told that many times.

    When there's a segregated bicycle path, within sight of the road, people who drive by feel it is their duty to yell out the window and tell you to use the path.

    Sure, cyclists can ride on the highways, but if that bicycle path exists, motorists get quite upset that their tax dollars went toward building that path, and you're not using it.
    I remember a while back in England I had a motorist tell me there was a bike path, when I was in the road not using the bike path (I wasn't using the bike path because it's faster to stay on the road than negotiate the bus stops, pedestrians, dogs, endless having to yield to every side road etc). This was while we were stopped at traffic lights so I thanked him for his observation and otherwise ignored him. About three miles down the road he caught up to me again - being on two wheels I'd got through the town centre traffic faster than he had. I really wanted to point out that since he was the slower vehicle he should be moving over to make room for cyclists, but sadly didn't have the chance
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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