This is sort of fall out from Foresterís talk at Google
For those of you who donít know Baltimore it is a wonderful VC city, hardly any bike lanes, lots of nice 35mph or slower roads. It also has a nice grid network so if the road you are on is too busy for you, you can generally find a parallel one thatís better. It also has some nasty bike crash rates. Of course without any estimate on exposure it is hard to say just how nasty those nasty crash rates are. My instincts tells me there are fewer cyclists here then in NYC (for example) yet our injury rate is about three times higher and on average our fatality rate is slightly higher (per population.) NYC has bike lanes for crying out loud and we donít so what gives? Well about a third of our bike crashes involve a wrong way cyclist and not to mention sidewalk cyclists. So thus the incompetent cyclist enters the picture.
Forester seems to negate the incompetent cyclists as they can be taught but at the same time he is doubtful that the established educational system will be receptive to proper (or even adequate) VC training. That leads me to wonder just how this miracle transformation is going to take place.
In regards to bike lanes, they donít scare me one bit. If I am driving my car I chose the lane that facilities my travel and I do the same when I drive my bike. If I am driving a car and I donít like the right hand lane because it is too narrow and right next to parked cars (we have that kind of thing in Baltimore) then I donít drive there and most other drivers donít either. If cyclists need to be taught VC for their safety and once taught they can ignore bike lanes when appropriate then I donít see what all the fuss is about especially considering my next point.
Forester puts a lot of emphasis on studies and inferences on the superiority of VC over bike lanes but what about Bike Lanes vs the Incompetent Cyclists? I see studies that at least hint that bike lanes get most cyclists off the sidewalk and riding on the right side of the street. Other stats seem to indicate bike lanes increase the number of cyclists with the crash stats staying about the same. Which lead me to speculate that bike lanes at least trade non-vehicular cycling (really unsafe) with something that is relatively safer and if we can teach those cyclists VC we would have something safer yet.
Forester makes fun of the incompetent point stating something to the effect that as soon as you get on a bike you become incompetent in the eyes of law makers and road engineers but from looking at the cityís crash data it looks like we do have a lot of incompetent cyclists, I wish it was not true, but there it is.