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Old 02-21-07, 08:15 AM   #1
sggoodri
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Bike Facilities Supported by Forester and other Vehicular Cyclists

John Forester, vehicular cycling proponent and author of Effective Cycling, is often accused of being opposed to all bicycle facilities, rather than just the problematic ones, and is often accused of not wanting to use engineering improvements to encourage cycling. These accusations are often applied to other vehicular cycling proponents as well. The purpose of this thread is for vehicular cycling proponents to list bicycle-oriented facilities engineering changes that they support to encourage cycling and improve their own cycling conditions. Please refrain from discussing what you oppose or arguing with others who might support something that you don't. Let's at least start this by being informative and positive.

I will start the thread by including some quotes of writing published by John Forester in support of several types of facilties improvements that I have promoted in my area.

-Steve Goodridge, Cary, NC

Excerpts from John Forester's book, Bicycle Transportation, MIT Press, Copyright 1977, 1983, 1994:

Quote:
Wide Outside Lanes
...Both motorists and cyclists are happier and more comfortable with one another on roads with wide outside lanes. Wide outside lanes reduce the emotional tension between the parties. Cyclists know that there is sufficient room to overtake them even if opposing traffic appears. ... Alleviating the tension between motorist and cyclist encourages cycling in two ways: it makes motorists less intolerant of cyclists, thus reducing the tendency toward discrimination and bad behavior, and it increases the attractiveness of cycling.

Fewer Wide Lanes versus More Narrow Lanes
...It is true that many cyclists, even those with strong traffic skills, don't like to take a full lane in fast urban motor traffic, even when the law allows them to, and particularly not for long distances. It is one thing to control a lane just at an intersection where all the lanes are narrow, but another thing to do so block after block. Even if the cyclists don't feel endangered, they feel that they are made to feel like villains who are delaying traffic, and the motorists behind them probably think so. If cycling transportation is to be encouraged, then we need to provide wide outside lanes on the major streets, both to prevent motorists from objecting to bicycles on the streets and to make cyclists more comfortable about using the streets that provide the most efficient routes for them.

Shoulders
...Most cyclists are happy to ride on a smooth shoulder unless there is some reason to use one of the main traffic lanes, but few cyclists will ride on a rough shoulder...In other words, a smooth shoulder acts just like a wide lane.

Shortcut Bikeways
There may be locations in your area that, either by design or by chance, are connected to the external road system by only a few roads so located that there is no through route. ... Therefore there may well be popular support for bicycle-and-pedestrian paths connecting the adjacent but disconnected neighborhoods. This is particularly true where schoolchildren must travel from one neighborhood to another. Examine your area for such neighborhoods. It may well prove that through the provision of several short paths a continuous, low-traffic, pleasant route may be designed that is more desirable for many cyclists because it is either shorter or has less traffic than the motor route.

Recreational Bikeways
Recreational bikeways serve two different functions. If properly located and designed, they provide an enjoyable park-like experience, and cycling on them partially develops, or redevelops in adults, the childhood ability to pedal and steer a bicycle. The recreational benefit is self-explanatory and is the rationale for many bike paths in parks or parklike areas. ... Recreational routes should be kept well away from parallel heavy motor traffic because motor traffic degrades the aesthetic experience. ... However, good recreational routes may cross heavily traveled arterial roads if they approach and leave the arterial road quickly.

Zoning for Parking
It is much easier to influence new construction than to change existing facilities....One such change is to change the zoning requirements so that new construction of commercial and industrial buildings and multi-occupant housing must include bicycle parking spaces, and commercial and industrial buildings must include showers and locker rooms for cycling employees.

Bicycle Parking
Whenever the building code requires parking spaces, there should be a requirement for part of that space to be for bicycle parking of one kind or another. At an employment center, cyclists either should be allowed to take their bicycles into their workplaces or offices or the employer should provide parking stalls.

Last edited by sggoodri; 02-21-07 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 02-21-07, 08:35 AM   #2
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So Steve, tell me the difference between a smooth shoulder and a bike lane. Around here, the only difference would be the presence of a curb.
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Old 02-21-07, 09:49 AM   #3
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i think the difference, chip, is that cars get to park and use the wide shoulder, and the entire width of wide outside lanes, versus bike specific infrastructure. And with mr foresters allegiance with the american dream coalition, cars should not be excluded from any part of the roadway.

look at what happens in Europe and % of transportation by cycling when you add bicycle specific infrastructure integral with public rights of way, chip.

Can't have all those helmetless, blue jean wearing, wal-mart bike riding transportational cyclists out giving american serious road cyclists a poor image now, can we?
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Old 02-21-07, 11:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
So Steve, tell me the difference between a smooth shoulder and a bike lane. Around here, the only difference would be the presence of a curb.
Here's as neutral a response as I can provide.

Here in NC, striped paved shoulders are typically used only on roads without curb and gutter.

Depending on the state or municipality, a cyclist may be required to use a striped bike lane, but not the shoulder.

A paved shoulder may be any width, and is not marked specifically for bicycle use.

A properly designed bike lane would be striped to the left of a right-turn-only lane. A striped shoulder typically ends or is positioned to the right of the right-turn-only lane.

I have promoted the idea that if a striped shoulder is provided on a busy/fast road with RTOLs, the outside through lane should be widened where there are RTOLs to provide more comfortable space for cyclists left of the RTOL to allow passing in the same through lane.
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Old 02-21-07, 11:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
Please refrain from discussing what you oppose or arguing with others who might support something that you don't. Let's at least start this by being informative and positive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
So Steve, tell me the difference between a smooth shoulder and a bike lane. Around here, the only difference would be the presence of a curb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
i think the difference, chip, is that cars get to park and use the wide shoulder...

Can't have all those helmetless, blue jean wearing, wal-mart bike riding transportational cyclists out giving american serious road cyclists a poor image now, can we?
So much for a positive thread. And I was really hoping we could pull it off...
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Old 02-21-07, 11:55 AM   #6
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So in essence, in the case where curb and gutter is present, the only difference between a WOL and a bike lane is paint. So what is the difference between painted bike lanes and painted traffic lanes? I mean both cyclists AND motorists sometimes feel a false sense of security within their bounds and both will attempt to do something stupid to remain within those bounds. It seems to me the problem isn't the paint itself, but rather the cyclist/motorist and their obsession with staying within the paint.

I guess what I am saying is, and I think you, HH and others will agree...whether there is paint or not should not effect how you cycle or drive. But that cuts both ways, both as a reason to not have paint at all, but also as a reason to not be so darned opposed to its existence.

So I guess in the context of this thread, I am just trying to understand why smooth shoulders, which are usually painted, and WOLs are ok, but bike lanes are not...strictly from a physical attribute standpoint.

Edit: I do understand the problems with RTOL, though again it seems the differences between what is acceptable and what isn't goes right back to paint.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
So much for a positive thread. And I was really hoping we could pull it off...
We can and are, so far. Despite the result in A Christmas Story, one does not have to respond to every double-dawg-dare and stick their tongue on a frozen pole.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
So Steve, tell me the difference between a smooth shoulder and a bike lane. Around here, the only difference would be the presence of a curb.

Bike lane: part of the travelled way, follows ROW rules. Shoulder: nope.

Bike lane: to the left of RTOL lanes. Shoulder: nope.

Bike lane: no parking allowed. Shoulder: parking allowed.

Bike lane: includes traffic loop detectors to trigger lights. Shoulder: nope.

Bike lane: integrated into the intersection. Shoulder: may narrow out of existence at the intersection, may be cut off by a curb, etc.

Bike lane: part of the road, must be maintained to road standards (e.g. pot-holes fixes). Shoulder: nope.


Your bike lanes must suck if they are no better than shoulders!
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Old 02-21-07, 12:12 PM   #9
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I think the problem is that right off the bat, the OP's stated intent was entirely ignored.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:13 PM   #10
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It will be interesting to see how we can blame HH for turning this thread into yet another bike lane discussion, if he doesn't post.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
Your bike lanes must suck if they are no better than shoulders!
Bingo! Around here, with only a few exceptions, 'bike lanes' are either shoulders or gutters.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I think the problem is that right off the bat, the OP's stated intent was entirely ignored.
No, I am sincerely trying to understand why paint seems to a key factor between what is 'supported by Forester' and what is not. That is my take - that the root difference is paint.

Edit: I can start a new thread on this if desired.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:32 PM   #13
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A facility I support is having traffic light triggering sensors tuned for bicycles (and marked where needed) in all possible destination lanes.

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Old 02-21-07, 12:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
No, I am sincerely trying to understand why paint seems to a key factor between what is 'supported by Forester' and what is not. That is my take - that the root difference is paint.
Ok. thanks for the clarification.

I don't have a problem with anyone's sincerity, just adherence to the context of the OP's original intent for this thread.
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Old 02-21-07, 12:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc


Your bike lanes must suck if they are no better than shoulders!
I think there may be substantial geographic differences which are played out by different state/local standards across the country.

In Maryland luckily there are very few bike lanes. The ones we do have are far inferior to a standard shoulder. Why? Bike lane = 4' wide. Shoulder = 9' wide. Bike lanes are painted to close to on-street parking (door zone). Shoulders only have parked cars in emergency situations. Bike lanes are haphazardly laid out without any thought to connectivity. Shoulders are routinely along MD state routes and continue on for miles and miles and connect to other MD state routes that continue on and so on. Not all MD state routes have shoulders so it's not a sure thing on every state route in which case one will ride in the travel lane (no biggie to me).
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Old 02-21-07, 12:53 PM   #16
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Here are 'facilities' I support to encourage transportation cycling as well as walking in metropolitan areas:

1) Repeal of right turn on red
2) Removal of right turn yield lanes at intersections
3) Reduce speed limits to 30 MPH on all roads but limited access roads
4) When roads are reconstructed build curb lane 14' wide or greater
5) Re program traffic lights to respond immediately to a pedestrian pushing the 'walk' button - all lanes stop and pedestrian can cross intersection in any direction
6) Repaint intersections to show entire intersection is a crosswalk
7) When roads are reconstructed remove road-grate inlets and replace them with curb opening inlets.
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Old 02-21-07, 01:00 PM   #17
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I propose that we not strictly limit this thread to a narrow definition of "Vehicular Cyclists," since the definition can be too exclusive and prevent much valuable information from being gathered. "Vehicular Cyclists," being synonymous in the minds of many with "Foresterites" (if I may call them that,) excludes many very experienced cyclists with much to contribute.

That said, I would like to see (or see more):

1) Speed limits enforced, and perhaps lowered.
2) Conspicuous "Share The Road" signage.
3) Sharrows.
4) Bike lanes when present should be 6 feet wide and swept clean regularly, with no bike-unfriendly pavement. (I realize this one might be too much to ask for, 5 feet is almost as good, but 4 feet including the paint is not my cup of tea; I've seen them about 3 feet wide.)
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Old 02-21-07, 01:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
The purpose of this thread is for vehicular cycling proponents to list bicycle-oriented facilities engineering changes that they support to encourage cycling and improve their own cycling conditions.
I support:
  • Well-designed bike paths for transportational (short cuts, freeway bypass) and recreational ("family") purposes. By "well-designed" I mean good surface, sufficient width (at least 12'), center stripe, good sight lines, no blind corners, and, most importantly, well integrated intersections with roadways.
  • Good smooth clean pavement.
  • Traffic signal detectors that are triggered by bicyclists.
  • Wide outside lanes on 2-lane roads.
  • Narrow (9-10') outside lanes on multi-lane roads, perhaps with sharrows painted in the center (I say "perhaps" because the sharrow might inhibit cyclists from merging left in order to make left turns). Cyclists should control the full slow lane on multi-lane roads, particularly if there is any onstreet parking and/or frequent intersections (including driveways, commercial entrances, alleys, etc.).
  • Roundabouts instead of traffic signals or stop signs (no one benefits more from not having to stop than a cyclist!)
  • Traffic calming measures in certain areas.
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Old 02-21-07, 01:52 PM   #19
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I'd like to see more well designed bike lanes, not because I want to use them, but because the public in general seems to prefer them.
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Old 02-21-07, 02:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
I think there may be substantial geographic differences which are played out by different state/local standards across the country.
Countries - this is an international forum.

I think it has been established and accepted (by all but a few) long ago that regional variations are extreme and may outweight all other factors. I am hoping that we (this forum) can take the next step and realise the *implementation* of faccilities may be just as important.

And when I say "bike faccilities", I always mean every possible bike faccility, including plan old generic lanes.
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Old 02-21-07, 02:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
I'd like to see more well designed bike lanes, not because I want to use them, but because the public in general seems to prefer them.
How novel, someone on BF.net who is willing to look beond his own wants.
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Old 02-21-07, 02:52 PM   #22
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How novel, someone on BF.net who is willing to look beond his own wants.
... and it's this kind of thinking that is truly advocacy, not black and white views of this or that dogma.
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Old 02-21-07, 07:41 PM   #23
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Facilities or changes to facilities I support :


Removal of on street parking (no more door zones).
Wide outside lanes.
“Cyclist may use full lane” signs on narrow outside lane roads.
Well-designed bike paths for transportation (that actually go to destinations cyclist desire to travel to) and recreation (that have scenic value). I am currently advocating a bike path as an alternate route through a gulch for cyclist, particularly kids that want to ride bicycles to a large park on the other side of the gulch.
Idaho’s law that cyclist can treat stop signs as a yield (for all states).
More freeways open for cyclist use (particularly the H-3 freeway in Hawaii).
Bicycle friendly rumble strips on freeways.
Secure parking facilities/lockers.
Shower facilities.
Remove road-grate inlets and replace them with curb opening inlets.
Change all beer bottles to plastic.
Bicycle friendly traffic signal detectors.
Cycle boxes in the right lane, at traffic signals with traffic lights that allow cyclist to start first (on multi-lane roads).
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Old 02-21-07, 07:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
I'd like to see more well designed bike lanes, not because I want to use them, but because the public in general seems to prefer them.
The "public in general" seems to prefer - no bicyclist period!
Do you support that?
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Old 02-21-07, 07:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
... 4) Bike lanes when present should be 6 feet wide and swept clean regularly, with no bike-unfriendly pavement. (I realize this one might be too much to ask for, 5 feet is almost as good, but 4 feet including the paint is not my cup of tea; I've seen them about 3 feet wide.)
From inside strip to inside strip, I can show you a 2 foot wide bike lane in Hawaii on a heavy tourist bus and truck traveled highway. And it is located on a curve.
2 foot bike lane on curve

Plus, the travel lane adjacent to the bike lane is only 9 to 10 feet wide.
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