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Thread: The Division

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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    The Division

    The division that exists among cyclists today seems to be not so much about vehicular cycling techniques, but about the controversy over bike facilities vs. road use. Nobody seems to oppose practical methods of road riding, and most people here use the roads, even if they also use bike facilities. Many of us can agree that the roads are useful and essential for our transportation and recreational needs. Many of us also see bike facilities as equally useful and essential.

    Where we seem to part ways is over whether implementation of bike facilities will eventually result in our being restricted from using the road. We agree that being restricted from the road would be a very bad thing, but we don't agree on whether that's likely to happen.

    The question I would like to pose is whether or not a "hybrid system" of bike facilities and roads is possible, or will the implementation of bike facilities coincide with fewer and fewer rights for us to use the road, if we so choose. Keep in mind that we are already required in some places to use facilities where they exist, and in other places, we have a choice which to use.

    What do you say? Is it possible to have both sytems together, or in the long run, will it tend towards having one pure system, either road based or bike facility based? Please support your views with some instructional examples, if possible.
    No worries

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    What do you say? Is it possible to have both sytems together, or in the long run, will it tend towards having one pure system, either road based or bike facility based? Please support your views with some instructional examples, if possible.
    Is it possible? Of course it is, that's the system that exists today. There is little to no evidence of any significant trend to implement any "pure system" as the OP suggests.

    There is a lot lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over a few local restrictions that seem to upset a few Internet chatterers who live thousands of miles away far more than any real life cyclists in the affected area. Dwindling numbers of unenforced Side Path Laws, especially in the absence of sidepaths or any plans to build them really is not much of a trend to be concerned about.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    The division that exists among cyclists today seems to be not so much about vehicular cycling techniques, but about the controversy over bike facilities vs. road use. Nobody seems to oppose practical methods of road riding, and most people here use the roads, even if they also use bike facilities. Many of us can agree that the roads are useful and essential for our transportation and recreational needs. Many of us also see bike facilities as equally useful and essential.

    Where we seem to part ways is over whether implementation of bike facilities will eventually result in our being restricted from using the road. We agree that being restricted from the road would be a very bad thing, but we don't agree on whether that's likely to happen.

    The question I would like to pose is whether or not a "hybrid system" of bike facilities and roads is possible, or will the implementation of bike facilities coincide with fewer and fewer rights for us to use the road, if we so choose. Keep in mind that we are already required in some places to use facilities where they exist, and in other places, we have a choice which to use.

    What do you say? Is it possible to have both sytems together, or in the long run, will it tend towards having one pure system, either road based or bike facility based? Please support your views with some instructional examples, if possible.
    It's not just the concern that more and more implementation of bike facilities will coincide with fewer and few rights for us to use the road. The concern is deeper, and has more to do with societal attitudes and beliefs about the reasonableness of using bicycles vehicularly in traffic than legal rights.

    The concerns are about the role that the creation and existence of facilities play in reinforcing and popularizing (even more) the following notions:
    • Bicyclists are sitting ducks in traffic, having no way to protect themselves from motorist errors.
    • It is inherently dangerous to ride a bike in traffic.
    • It is stupid and unreasonable to ride a bike in traffic.
    • Bikes don't belong in traffic.

    These notions are contrary to the interests of bicycling advocacy. What we should be doing is working towards making more and more people realize the opposite:
    • Bicyclists who know what they are doing (practice VC) can reduce the risk to something very reasonable.
    • It is not inherently dangerous to ride a bike in traffic, if the cyclist knows what he is doing.
    • It is not stupid or unreasonable to ride a bike in traffic, if the cyclist knows what he is doing.
    • Bikes DO belong in vehicular traffic, when they are also operated in the vehicular manner.

    I don't have an issue with a good bike path here and there, or even a bike lane on a long intersectionless stretch of road. My problem with having too many facilities, bike lanes all over the place, "hybrid systems", etc., is that their creation and mere existence reinforces the first set of notions above, and quashes the spreading of the notions in the second set.

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    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    My problem with having too many facilities, bike lanes all over the place, "hybrid systems", etc., is that their creation and mere existence reinforces the first set of notions above, and quashes the spreading of the notions in the second set.
    I don't agree. We have both systems in place here and both systems are used. You find faster riders in the road and slower riders and families on the MUP.
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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input, I-Like-To-Bike, HH, and Deputy Jones. These are the kinds of straight-forward opinions I'm looking for. I really do want to know what everyone thinks, and why.
    No worries

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    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I was going to say... The "hybrid system" is already in place and is evolving, with the network of bike lanes, bike paths, and vehicular street access I have in my local. I believe that all practical solutions to basically all problems are hybrid solutions of various sorts. And neither the doomsayers nor the rose glasses folks are correct and the effect lies somewhere between the two extremes.


    ...that it's neither one nor the other
    there's a paradox in every paradigm.

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    I certainly don't think that bike facilities will lead to a ban of bicycles on the roadway. I just can't see there being facilities on every non-freeway road in America, and that is what I thnk it would take for such a ban to be enacted. And if there were that many facilities... well.
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    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
    And neither the doomsayers nor the rose glasses folks are correct and the effect lies somewhere between the two extremes.
    I second that opinion.

    Although I suspect that there will be extremes across localities and over time. For instance, someone posted an editorial about Tampa and the responses were primarily of the "get off the road sort." In the DC area, there is a strong network of cyclists such that the responses would have been quite different.

    Just to be clear, in regards to HH's post, I think that there is a negative component to the supposed "bike path" which never seems to be just for bikes. But I think that the effect is small. More generally, there is an inertia for maintaining the status quo which is a hybrid system. I find it difficult to believe that the present state can be moved much in either direction.

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    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    I think there is a reality that is all too easily dismissed by people who promote bike lanes and paths. This reality is that every cyclist, if they want to go anyplace they want by bike, will have to ride on a road with motor traffic and without any bike lane or MUP sooner or later and most likely sooner. To think that every urban environ has not only the physical space for, the need for or the money to construct facilities on or parallel to each and every road is preposterous on it's face.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    To think that every urban environ has not only the physical space for, the need for or the money to construct facilities on or parallel to each and every road is preposterous on it's face.
    To be more accurate, such a proposal is really just a big fat preposterous STRAW MAN ARGUMENT made up by Henny Penny's to get hysterical about and shoot down with ease.

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    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    A Hybrid system is possible.... as others have said, it's what we have now. I personally think the chance that having facilities will force cyclists off the road is remote, but who knows? that's a fight for the future if it EVER happens. Every road doesn't necessarily need facilities, just as every cyclist doesn't need/want facilities. My hope is that we can get beyond the bike lane debates, as that seems to be the source of most of the animosity around here (that and that guy... what'shisname)
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    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    To be more accurate, such a proposal is really just a big fat preposterous STRAW MAN ARGUMENT made up by Henny Penny's to get hysterical about and shoot down with ease.
    1+ On certain roads, cyclists benefit from bike lanes. On other roads, not. Sometimes banning cars from certain roads helps both the neighborhood and cyclist alike. And, by golly, sometimes a bike path or MUP is the best of all options.

    Hence, the hybrid part of "hybrid system."
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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    My hope is that we can get beyond the bike lane debates, as that seems to be the source of most of the animosity around here (that and that guy... what'shisname)
    We could get beyond the debates, and even if we decided that "what'shisname" was all wet and losing our right to the road is not a probability, that wouldn't make the division go away.

    It's best to bring it out in the open and talk about it honestly. I think that can be done if we respect each other and agree to disagree. We have nothing to fear from that.
    No worries

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    Last edited by Horse; 04-18-07 at 10:08 AM.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan

    It's best to bring it out in the open and talk about it honestly. I think that can be done if we respect each other and agree to disagree. We have nothing to fear from that.
    Certainly. But you'll not get there as long as ideologues (as found in msg #9 ) continue serving up plates of hot steaming "stuff" and claiming this is what the other guys really want.

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    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Think of it this way. The folks that ban cyclists from road use are elected. The more people who ride bikes the larger the constituency of people who will not accept being banned from using the road. A hybrid system has the best outcome for everyone.
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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Think of it this way. The folks that ban cyclists from road use are elected. The more people who ride bikes the larger the constituency of people who will not accept being banned from using the road. A hybrid system has the best outcome for everyone.
    Correction: The folks that theoretically "could" ban cyclists from road use ...

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    What do you say? Is it possible to have both systems together, or in the long run, will it tend towards having one pure system, either road based or bike facility based? Please support your views with some instructional examples, if possible.
    Yes it is possible and indeed the reality at present in most of the United States. It's far from complete, of course, and like anything else will never be complete, but rather always a work in progress. There will never be one 'pure' system as long as the pro and anti <your preference here> learn to compromise then work together to speak with one unified voice to:

    1. Guarantee our right to use the roads
    2. Implement well-designed facilities and improve those that exist.

    Unfortunately there does not seem to be much willingness to compromise among the hard-core on either side, and these extremists ensure that no compromise or unity can be reached. If that continues to be the case, there is only one logical outcome - a pure system of facilities that eliminate our right to use the roads. Why? Because the majority consider the roads too dangerous to ride, and given the choice of facilities vs losing their right to the road, they will give up the right to the road, especially since those who advocate so strongly for it seem to oppose them more than assist them. If we lose our right to the road, no 'side' will be able to blame it other, it will be everyone's fault...the facilities people for giving up the rights of others so easily, and the vc people for being inflexible and making it easy for the facilities people to give up their (vc) rights in exchange for getting their own wishes. There's the cold hard reality in my opinion. Until both sides reject the extremist positions and come to some compromise...the all-facilities option will be the future.
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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Think of it this way. The folks that ban cyclists from road use are elected. The more people who ride bikes the larger the constituency of people who will not accept being banned from using the road. A hybrid system has the best outcome for everyone.
    Maybe, but also consider my neighbor who rides bikes with her kids on the sidewalks & MUP exclusively (in my 25mph residential neighborhood) just about every evening.
    She has seen me cycling and told me I shouldn't be on the road - now that a MUP connector has been built between two parks to cross the freeway, she told me that cyclists should be banned from using the alternate roads. She also wants railings put up on all sidewalk curbs to prevent cyclists/peds from falling into street. Met her at a neighborhood party.
    But on average I see your point.
    Al

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    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horse
    Thing is, the vast majority of our recent bike facilities appear to have nothing to do with effective transportation. What they've been doing is they've been taking wide roads that didn't need bike paths, and replacing them with narrow ones where you have no choice to take the lane, and they've been adding a segregated multi user facility next to it, so you're essentially riding on the sidewalk with stops every time it crosses any street. Also these segregated facilities don't get plowed, so they're useless for a good part of the year - now inclusively. Oh, but the designers were considerate enough to provide the occasional parking lots so people can go ride their bikes...


    So yeah, seeing this progression from the old bike facilities to the new ones, well we still have a hybrid system here, but it looks like they're heading in a direction to get bikes off the roads, or at least to make using the roads less attractive and kinda forcing the alternative onto users. The horrible MUPs they've been installing are sure to stay for several decades, and oh you'd swear the people who though these up were on drugs... Obviously, having an anti-cyclist mayoress doesn't help at all. I recall a few months ago she mentioned something about banning bikes off from boulevards... Slippery slope.
    Oh, there is still a strong motivation for cycling advocacy.

    What did the local organization do when these MUPs were being designed and implemented?

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    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Unfortunately there does not seem to be much willingness to compromise among the hard-core on either side, and these extremists ensure that no compromise or unity can be reached.
    The first part of the sentence is true about a lot of subjects. And I doubt that the second part is true in a meaningful way.

    If you put those two bullets in a poll for all of the forums, what do you think that "support" versus "don't support" will look like? It will never be 100%, but I think it would be much higher than the vote for any US President.

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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    One thing I'd like to see......

    A Coast to Coast touring trail away from auto traffic. Now, before I get blasted..this is NOT to avoid the road because I'm nervous about traffic. Instead, I'd like to see a trail that you can run a road bike down and not even see smell or hear a car! Camping facilities along the way and services available. I realize it's totally impractical, but wouldn't it be a great ride?
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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    The first part of the sentence is true about a lot of subjects. And I doubt that the second part is true in a meaningful way.

    If you put those two bullets in a poll for all of the forums, what do you think that "support" versus "don't support" will look like? It will never be 100%, but I think it would be much higher than the vote for any US President.
    The second part is too true. We're not talking about a vote here (I wish it were that easy), we're talking about public debate in front of a governing body, which is where we normally have to make our case. So no matter what compromise that you and I come up with, the extremes from both our camps show up and undermine the whole thing, making us look fractured and like we don't represent the constituency we claim. Extremists have no problem jumping ship and going off on their own, claiming that the parent body no longer represents their interests. Indeed, perhaps (in the context of cycling advocacy) LAB itself might be an example of where this has happened. Isn't there now a LAB reform group that consists of former members who believe LAB no longer represents their best interests? I've seen such things happen in the NRA and other groups, as well as within the political parties themselves. Example: neocon Republicans who used to be Jackson Democrats.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  24. #24
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Unfortunately there does not seem to be much willingness to compromise among the hard-core on either side, and these extremists ensure that no compromise or unity can be reached.
    There are some of us who have been labeled as 'extremists' in BF who are OK with bike lanes on intersectionless faster roads. Who also support practical MUPs with well designed intersections (as long as they are infrequent)

    I think one of the best things that could be done to improve bicycle facilities across most of the US is if those across the spectrum of support/unsupport of the sub set of bicycle facilities known as bike lanes worked together to eliminate the stripe where they have been implemented in clearly dangerous or inappropriate ways as agreed by 'everyone.' - examples as seen in threads such as "Bike Lake Follies"

    Eliminating these stripes will benefit all cyclists and would also strenghen the pro-bike lane stance greatly.

    Al
    Last edited by noisebeam; 03-26-07 at 03:47 PM.

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    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    The first part of the sentence is true about a lot of subjects. And I doubt that the second part is true in a meaningful way.

    If you put those two bullets in a poll for all of the forums, what do you think that "support" versus "don't support" will look like? It will never be 100%, but I think it would be much higher than the vote for any US President.
    I don't know about that. In a discussion, when the hardcore advocates on both sides start having at it, it forces even the moderate to take a side. The conversation becomes polarized and people either leave the room, are start moving out towards one wing or the other of the argument. For an example, look no further than the A&S forum.

    In a different context, I'm pretty sure that most people, with one or two exceptions, will play the part of moderates. In the A&S forum though, with one or two extremists stirring the pot and forcing everyone to harden their positions, there can be no moderates. The one or two moderates left are either ignored or shouted at by both sides.

    In this way, one or two extremists can absolutely work to ensure that there is absolutely no compromise. They fight from the wing, on principle, and to fight back, people have to take sides, which means backing into their own wing of extremists, and you have a shooting war. Therefor, no compromise.
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