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  1. #1
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Bicycle backlash: Crowded roads, new laws ratchet up road row

    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    This is too bad, but I unfortunately agree with much of it. I am fairly new to cycling, and have just gotten comfortable riding the roads, but I am frequently embarrassed by the behavior exhibited by many of my fellow cyclists when on the roads and MUP's around Denver. I think we cyclists need to start better policing ourselves or we are going to experience a severe backlash.

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    This is too bad, but I unfortunately agree with much of it. I am fairly new to cycling, and have just gotten comfortable riding the roads, but I am frequently embarrassed by the behavior exhibited by many of my fellow cyclists when on the roads and MUP's around Denver. I think we cyclists need to start better policing ourselves or we are going to experience a severe backlash.
    Don't fall into that trap. Yes there are putzes who ride bicycles. Yes there are bicyclists who run stopsigns and stoplights. But that pales in comparison to the putzishness that you observe everyday by motorists. How many times have you seen a motorist who tries to beat a yellow from a block away? The motorist is probably speeding, ends up running the red (often long after it's turned red) and is endangering everyone around them. They speed. They drink and drive. And they manage to kill 45,000 people a year...every year...for decades...but no one notices them.

    To put it in perspective, there is this

    In 2008, there were 620 fatalities on Colorado roads. Eleven of those killed were cyclists, Grunig said. For the past 12 years, the number of cyclist deaths has averaged eight or nine per year...
    There are 4 million people in Colorado. Say 2/3 of them drive so that's 2.7 million drivers. That means that 0.02% of them are likely to die in an automobile accident in any given year.

    There are 1.2 million () adult cyclists in Colorado. That means that 0.0008% of them are likely to die in a bicycling accident in any given year. Who is the more dangerous to have out on the roads...bicycles or cars?

    I fully agree that bicyclist should obey the rules of the road. I also think that motorists should obey the rules of the road. We shouldn't need laws to ban texting and cell phone use. We shouldn't need laws that require motorists to pass bicycles at a safe distance when it is safe to do so. But motorists have shown over and over again that they can't be trusted to police themselves any more than bicycle can.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Don't fall into that trap. Yes there are putzes who ride bicycles. Yes there are bicyclists who run stopsigns and stoplights. But that pales in comparison to the putzishness that you observe everyday by motorists. How many times have you seen a motorist who tries to beat a yellow from a block away? The motorist is probably speeding, ends up running the red (often long after it's turned red) and is endangering everyone around them. They speed. They drink and drive. And they manage to kill 45,000 people a year...every year...for decades...but no one notices them.

    To put it in perspective, there is this



    There are 4 million people in Colorado. Say 2/3 of them drive so that's 2.7 million drivers. That means that 0.02% of them are likely to die in an automobile accident in any given year.

    There are 1.2 million () adult cyclists in Colorado. That means that 0.0008% of them are likely to die in a bicycling accident in any given year. Who is the more dangerous to have out on the roads...bicycles or cars?

    I fully agree that bicyclist should obey the rules of the road. I also think that motorists should obey the rules of the road. We shouldn't need laws to ban texting and cell phone use. We shouldn't need laws that require motorists to pass bicycles at a safe distance when it is safe to do so. But motorists have shown over and over again that they can't be trusted to police themselves any more than bicycle can.
    I agree with you, but when you are the minority, as bicyclists are, we have to have better than average behavior. I don't like the way people drive, either, and I try to be a safe courteous driver. But at least I'm not at an inherent, significant disadvantage when I'm in my truck and observe other drivers behaving badly. ON my bicycle, the last thing I need is an angry motorist seeking revenge on a cyclist because the last group he passed wouldn't move single file from a 3 or 4 abreast position on a single lane road.

    I view the "trap" as you call it in the opposite way. Just because a certain percentage of drivers behave badly doesn't mean that it's okay if a similar percentage of cyclists do so. If this were a board about driving habits, I'd be saying the same thing. For example, let's all quit running red lights so we don't end up with red light cameras. But, alas, we now have red light cameras at a couple of intersections I drive every day.

    And last, I don't think the putziness (is that a word) of cyclists pales in comparison to that of motorists. In my observation, they're neck in neck.

  5. #5
    Senior Member UGASkiDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Don't fall into that trap. Yes there are putzes who ride bicycles. Yes there are bicyclists who run stopsigns and stoplights. But that pales in comparison to the putzishness that you observe everyday by motorists. How many times have you seen a motorist who tries to beat a yellow from a block away? The motorist is probably speeding, ends up running the red (often long after it's turned red) and is endangering everyone around them. They speed. They drink and drive. And they manage to kill 45,000 people a year...every year...for decades...but no one notices them.

    To put it in perspective, there is this



    There are 4 million people in Colorado. Say 2/3 of them drive so that's 2.7 million drivers. That means that 0.02% of them are likely to die in an automobile accident in any given year.

    There are 1.2 million () adult cyclists in Colorado. That means that 0.0008% of them are likely to die in a bicycling accident in any given year. Who is the more dangerous to have out on the roads...bicycles or cars?

    I fully agree that bicyclist should obey the rules of the road. I also think that motorists should obey the rules of the road. We shouldn't need laws to ban texting and cell phone use. We shouldn't need laws that require motorists to pass bicycles at a safe distance when it is safe to do so. But motorists have shown over and over again that they can't be trusted to police themselves any more than bicycle can.

    I generally agree with your post but this stat is very misleading. There are nowhere near 1.2 million cyclists living in CO. There may be 1.2 million who own bikes and get them out of the garage once or twice a year but you can't compare that to drivers most of whom drive every day multiple times per day. The number of serious cyclists (let's say people who ride more than 10 times per year) is MUCH less than 1.2 million and if you take out mtn bikers is a tiny number.
    Quote Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post
    He's not mother Teresa. He's a friggin cyclist for crying out loud. Why is this so hard to understand for so many people?

    Think of it like the WWE but on bikes; it's just a big show with real-live suffering and soul crushing.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    I view the "trap" as you call it in the opposite way. Just because a certain percentage of drivers behave badly doesn't mean that it's okay if a similar percentage of cyclists do so. If this were a board about driving habits, I'd be saying the same thing. For example, let's all quit running red lights so we don't end up with red light cameras. But, alas, we now have red light cameras at a couple of intersections I drive every day.

    And last, I don't think the putziness (is that a word) of cyclists pales in comparison to that of motorists. In my observation, they're neck in neck.
    I never said that it's okay for cyclists to ignore the law. It's not okay for anyone to ignore the law. It still happens. The only difference is that when a cyclist does it, he's likely only to impact his own health and well-being. When a motorist does it, he can impact the life and well-being of many more people. This shouldn't be taken as justification for acting lawlessly but it is a representation of the facts of the issue. It's also the reason that motorists should act much more responsibly (and why they have to have insurance) than any other road user.

    At 1.2 million adult cyclists, that is a minority but not by much. If someone tried to ban bicycles from the state entirely, 1.2 million angry...voting...adults is a huge voting block. Not a group that can be easily ignored. Remember that those 1.2 million people are also part of that 2.7 million adults in the state.

    Quote Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
    I generally agree with your post but this stat is very misleading. There are nowhere near 1.2 million cyclists living in CO. There may be 1.2 million who own bikes and get them out of the garage once or twice a year but you can't compare that to drivers most of whom drive every day multiple times per day. The number of serious cyclists (let's say people who ride more than 10 times per year) is MUCH less than 1.2 million and if you take out mtn bikers is a tiny number.
    I agree that the number is a little misleading, however it was the number used in the article. But I think your estimate is way low too. The number of people who meet your criteria is probably somewhere around 1 million. There are an estimated 3 million bicycles in Colorado. I know I own a largish percentage (7 ) of them and many people own multiples but I doubt many people own 7 each. Two to 3 is probably more likely.
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    Senior Member DoubleTap's Avatar
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    Sorry, I just don't buy the message that you're trying to convey with the numbers. While they may be accurate, I observe that when I'm downtown on my commute, I am in a significant minority. So while cyclists may be roughly just less than half of the motoring population, that's little consolation when a cyclist is on a road with hundreds of automobiles. I'd prefer we have a good relationship with the driving population instead of antagonizing them.

    The article linked in this thread is indication that we're not doing ourselves any favors as cyclists, and my point is that we could and should do better. The militant attitude of many cyclists is going to hurt us in the long run if we don't encourage our fellow riders to be more courteous.

    And from my discussions with many bicycle owners, there's a lot of those 1.2 million who would vote in favor of the motorists. They're casual riders, mountain bikers, burley pullers, etc. who don't like the roadies who blow past them at 20+ on the MUP without announcing themselves or don't move over to allow traffic by on crowded mountain roads.

    I'm never embarrassed to tell people I drive an automobile. There are many times I don't offer that I'm an avid road cyclist, because it will automatically start a debate about why we're all such a bunch of jerks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bontrager's Avatar
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    The article didn't really say anything. Just a few examples of why cycling is good and why some cyclists make cycling bad.

    I love it when there's 1 cycling incident and it mushrooms into cyclists aren't following the rules blah blah blah but when we drive by a serious car accident it often doesn't make the news or anything.

    Part of our problems comes from the fact that they'll give anyone a driver's license and that everyone incorrectly thinks it's their right to be able to drive a car - often when significantly distracted from the task at hand (driving). Everyone that drives a bicycle has at least 1 story of a driver that broke the law or was otherwise inattentive that required the cyclist take action that if they didnt, they would have been seriously injured.

    I'm personally mixed over traffic signals and signs. They were made for drivers driving vehicles several thousands of pounds that could easily mangle each other in a crash and are generally less maneuverable and being many more times the weight of an average person. Slow moving bicycles are a little different in all those respects..
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  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    Sorry, I just don't buy the message that you're trying to convey with the numbers. While they may be accurate, I observe that when I'm downtown on my commute, I am in a significant minority. So while cyclists may be roughly just less than half of the motoring population, that's little consolation when a cyclist is on a road with hundreds of automobiles. I'd prefer we have a good relationship with the driving population instead of antagonizing them.
    I've ridden enough in Downtown to observe that the number of cyclists is very close to that of the number of cars...depending on location and on time of day. There are literally thousands of daily users on Cherry Creek. Denver certainly has many more bicycle commuters than out in the suburbs.

    My point on numbers is that any attempt to ban bicycles in this state would meet with some serious opposition from both bicyclists and from the small businesses that support bicycling. Do a Google Map search of bicycles in Colorado. The map is just covered with red dots. 3 million bicycles in the state represents a very large economic block.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    The article linked in this thread is indication that we're not doing ourselves any favors as cyclists, and my point is that we could and should do better. The militant attitude of many cyclists is going to hurt us in the long run if we don't encourage our fellow riders to be more courteous.
    I think you are missing my point. I've never said, nor will I ever say, that bicycles are above the law. I want everyone to follow the rules of the road...bicycles and motorists. I've fought this fight for ages but to no avail. I recognize that being militant does nothing for our activity. But taking the attitude that we should always defer to motorists isn't going to get us anywhere either.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    And from my discussions with many bicycle owners, there's a lot of those 1.2 million who would vote in favor of the motorists. They're casual riders, mountain bikers, burley pullers, etc. who don't like the roadies who blow past them at 20+ on the MUP without announcing themselves or don't move over to allow traffic by on crowded mountain roads.
    While there are jerks out there, there are some reasons for that. MUPs are a good example. I announce but you'd be amazed at the number of clueless riders are out there. I can't...and won't...wait when passing someone for them to acknowledge my announcement. I call out 'On your left' once and then pass. If someone is so clueless as to not listen, that's their problem.

    Mountain roads are another place where it's not so cut and dried. Motorists are required to pass slower vehicles only when it is safe to do so. As the overtaking vehicle, they have the responsibility to proceed with caution and slow if necessary. As the vehicle being overtaken, I don't have to get off the road for each motorist that passes me. I also don't have to jump off the road when they approach and will pull over when it is safe for me to do so. This attitude of motorist that 'cyclists should get the hell out of my way' is part of their problem with other road users.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
    I'm never embarrassed to tell people I drive an automobile. There are many times I don't offer that I'm an avid road cyclist, because it will automatically start a debate about why we're all such a bunch of jerks.
    Why don't you bring up that motorists are a bunch of jerks? Everyone of them is just as much of a jerk as everyone of bicyclists. Obviously there are law-abiding motorists just as there are law-abiding bicyclists. You don't apologize for the jerks behind the wheel, why apologize for the jerks that pedal bicycles? Perhaps you should point that out next time someone upbraids you for the actions of bicyclists whose actions you don't endorse. You are not your bother's keeper.
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  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    In light of the original Post article, I find this article extremely interesting. The number of cars...328 per 1000 residents...works out to 1.3 million cars. Maybe cyclists are much closer to a majority than we think.
    Stuart Black
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    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bontrager View Post
    I'm personally mixed over traffic signals and signs. They were made for drivers driving vehicles several thousands of pounds that could easily mangle each other in a crash and are generally less maneuverable and being many more times the weight of an average person. Slow moving bicycles are a little different in all those respects..
    That depends largely on the sign or signal; I can't think of any around here that could apply to many bicycles (70mph speed limit on an uphill stretch is pretty much wishful thinking) that aren't absolutely appropriate for bicycles to follow as well. I don't think I'd ever have a strong urge to violate any traffic laws on the bike if they'd just fix the traffic signals. (Texas has no provision (that I've found - if someone has a cite, let me know) for presuming that a signal is malfunctioning unless it's off or flashing, so if the bike won't trip it on my 3AM rides, the only legal choice is to wait an hour or more for a car to come along going my direction.)

  12. #12
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    I ride the Cherry Creek and Highline Canal Trails daily and the attitudes that I find are amazing. Like cyccommute, I announce when I am overtaking, yet most do not. This isn't just a courtesy, it is a safety thing. The same as seeing most riders of the Highline trail not stopping at stop signs. Where cyccommute and I disagree is that they do not just endanger themselves. People see that attitude and wrongly assume we all have that attitude and act accordingly.

    What gets to me, especially on the Cherry Creek Trail is the attitude you get from cyclists when pulling a Burley. It is like you are a speed bump that should be dealt with accordingly. Yeah, I'm slower pulling a trailer with my commuter, but to cop an attitude is stupid. Right now I have a 2 and a 3 year old who can't wait to go riding with me on their own bikes, but they notice those with an attitude problem.
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