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Old 06-02-07, 02:43 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Should bike paths (in general) be opposed?

One argument in favor of opposing them is that they will compromise cyclists' rights on the roads.

However, this does not actually seem to happen in many cases, though it does happen in some.

Wouldn't it be worth asking the question, for each specific case, whether or not any serious loss of rights would be likely to occur?

***
There may be people whose agenda involves getting bikes off the road; but they also seem to be in the minority. If an individual has had disproportionate exposure to these people, then that individual may well end up having an exaggerated perception of this as a problem.

Does anyone know how much of a problem this is? How strongly or widely or proportionately represented are these people in actual fact? And how often are they able to succeed in pushing their agenda (certainly there would often be opposition)?

***
There are many cyclists who prefer not to ride on roads. Perceived and misperceived dangers are factors in this; but there are other factors.

Some people dislike riding on roads because they find traffic distasteful -- noisy, unpleasant, smelly, litter-and-other-detritus-leaving, unhealthful and polluting.

Just as they would rather be riding on scenic backroads, they also prefer good, scenic bike paths. Few of them would picnic alongside a busy, noisy road. They would seek out an attractive, quiet park with trees and shade. The same impulse or preference is expressed in their choices for riding.

Many of these people simply don't ride -- or ride very little -- because they don't find the options that are available locally to be attractive or enjoyable.

Isn't getting people out of cars and onto bikes something that is worth considering here?

***
Also, rather than opposing the bike paths, couldn't alert activists be proactive in other ways -- acting to preserve or ensure (or even strengthen) cyclists' rights on the roadways, while at the same time supporting (or at least not opposing) added facilities?

Couldn't they be active in making sure that the process of building bike paths is steered or kept clear of the (unnecessary) adjunct tendency to limit cyclists' rights on roadways?

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-05-07 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 06-02-07, 02:47 PM   #2
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Moot point - bike paths exist and will continue to be funded and built because people want them. End of story. Hand-wringing, chicken-little 'advocates' need to start working within the realm of reality, rather than remaining cooped up in their ivory towers.
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Old 06-02-07, 02:51 PM   #3
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"One argument in favor of opposing them is that they will compromise cyclists' rights on the roads."

That's a ridiculous argument, in my opinion. We need to reject any laws that might compromise our rights on the roads instead of opposing bike paths.
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Old 06-02-07, 02:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ekdog
"One argument in favor of opposing them is that they will compromise cyclists' rights on the roads."

That's a ridiculous argument, in my opinion. We need to reject any laws that might compromise our rights on the roads instead of opposing bike paths.
Absolutely.

I think bike paths are great. There's only one nearby my area that I know of. I have not seen anyone forcing the bikes that choose to ride along the adjacent roadway to use the path. If I were riding in that area though, I likely would choose the bike path just because it's relaxing and uncrowded.
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Old 06-02-07, 03:04 PM   #5
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No. The beauty of the bike is that you can use it places that cars simply cannot go. Road, bike path, MUP, BL, trail, whatever. It's all good. Well, maybe not sidewalks...
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Old 06-02-07, 04:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
One argument in favor of opposing them is that they will compromise cyclists' rights on the roads.

However, this does not actually seem to happen in many cases, though it does happen in some.

Wouldn't it be worth asking the question, for each specific case, whether or not any serious loss of rights would be likely to occur?

***
There may be people whose agenda involves getting bikes off the road; but they also seem to be in the minority. If an individual has had disproportionate exposure to these people, then that individual may well end up having an exaggerated perception of this as a problem.

Does anyone know how much of a problem this is? How strongly or widely or proportionately represented are these people in actual fact? And how often are they able to succeed in pushing their agenda (certainly there would often be opposition)?

***
There are many cyclists who prefer not to ride on roads. Perceived and misperceived dangers are factors in this; but there are other factors.

Some people dislike riding on roads because they find traffic distasteful -- noisy, unpleasant, smelly, litter-and-other-detritus-leaving, unhealthful and polluting.

Just as they would rather be riding on scenic back roads, they also prefer good, scenic bike paths. Few of them would picnic alongside a noisy road. They would seek out an attractive, quiet park with trees and shade. The same impulse or preference is expressed in their choices for riding.

Many of these people simply don't ride -- or ride very little -- because they don't find the options that are available locally to be attractive or enjoyable.

Isn't getting people out of cars and onto bikes something that is worth considering here?

***
Also, rather than opposing the bike paths, couldn't alert activists be proactive in other ways -- acting to preserve or ensure (or even strengthen) cyclists' rights on the roadways, while at the same time supporting (or at least not opposing) added facilities?

Couldn't they be active in making sure that the process of building bike paths is steered or kept clear of the (unnecessary) adjunct tendency to limit cyclists' rights on roadways?
The analysis is so simple that there is really little need to discuss it. The only bike paths that cyclists are required to use are those that are parallel and close to a roadway, and that is only in those areas in which there are mandatory-sidepath laws. And the cure of that is easy, get rid of the mandatory-sidepath law, which laws have been losing favor and have been being repealed for the last thirty years, since I and Dan Burden and some others started the campaign to repeal them.

However, there remains the question of safety. Every bike path connects to the road system (you don't take a train to the path, or sail your boat). In general, such intersections are more difficult to design properly and the cyclist has to use extra care and suffer some delay to handle them properly. If the intersection between road and path is also an intersection between road and road, the difficulties are much greater. If, also, the intersections between path and road system are frequent, then it may not be worth the extra bother and delay, required for safety, to try to ride such paths at normal road speeds. If, also, the path at that particular time is well occupied with other traffic, then the probably chaotic nature of that traffic may well make it not worth the extra bother, caution, and even more delay that is required to ride safely in such traffic.

I don't know what more there is to say.
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Old 06-02-07, 04:15 PM   #7
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Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

--Robert Hurst


To me, your siggy says it all.

In reality, for traffic to function well, there has to be a recognition that everyone is trying to go somewhere. Motorists need to recognize that other motorists, and people on bikes, scooters, and motorcycles etc are just trying to go places. They need to do what they can to facilitate everyone moving. People on bikes need to realize this too and do what they can to make life easier for everyone. What needs to be fostered is an atmosphere of cooperation on the streets.

Some might argue that this is a pipe dream, but I say no, not really. One person might not be able to change the whole mess, but one person can do a lot to ensure that their own interactions in traffic are peaceful.

What goes around, comes around.
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Old 06-02-07, 04:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Forester
The analysis is so simple that there is really little need to discuss it. The only bike paths that cyclists are required to use are those that are parallel and close to a roadway, and that is only in those areas in which there are mandatory-sidepath laws. And the cure of that is easy, get rid of the mandatory-sidepath law, which laws have been losing favor and have been being repealed for the last thirty years, since I and Dan Burden and some others started the campaign to repeal them.

However, there remains the question of safety. Every bike path connects to the road system (you don't take a train to the path, or sail your boat). In general, such intersections are more difficult to design properly and the cyclist has to use extra care and suffer some delay to handle them properly. If the intersection between road and path is also an intersection between road and road, the difficulties are much greater. If, also, the intersections between path and road system are frequent, then it may not be worth the extra bother and delay, required for safety, to try to ride such paths at normal road speeds. If, also, the path at that particular time is well occupied with other traffic, then the probably chaotic nature of that traffic may well make it not worth the extra bother, caution, and even more delay that is required to ride safely in such traffic.

I don't know what more there is to say.
Well said.
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Old 06-02-07, 05:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by John Forester
The analysis is so simple that there is really little need to discuss it. The only bike paths that cyclists are required to use are those that are parallel and close to a roadway, and that is only in those areas in which there are mandatory-sidepath laws. And the cure of that is easy, get rid of the mandatory-sidepath law, which laws have been losing favor and have been being repealed for the last thirty years, since I and Dan Burden and some others started the campaign to repeal them.
forget it....why do I even read this forum anymore?
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Old 06-02-07, 05:35 PM   #10
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Bike paths can increase the value of your property if you live near a nice one, and they can make for nicer, quicker, easier connections to other parts of town. No reason to oppose them. What you should oppose are mandatory use laws.
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Old 06-02-07, 05:49 PM   #11
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Niles H.,
Which cyclist are out right opposing bike paths? Some cyclist oppose dangerous designs (all of us should).

The people I see opposing bike paths are homeowners who fear "crime and decreased property values". As well as cities/states that do not want to spend the money.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:06 PM   #12
Niles H.
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Originally Posted by CB HI
Niles H.,
Which cyclist are out right opposing bike paths? Some cyclist oppose dangerous designs (all of us should)....
I've come across these sorts of arguments; I'm sure others have too.

Nobody has proven bike paths to be safer........

(does anyone ever examine notions of and assumptions about proof?, and the questionable association of rationality with statistics?)

There is no need for them.......

If people could just get past their 'irrational' fears........

The intent is to get cyclists off the roads........

They reinforce 'cyclist-inferiority' notions.......

and so on.
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Old 06-02-07, 08:08 PM   #13
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I use a bike path every day to get to work.

Nobody will run me over in a car on the bike path
Cops won't harass me for listening to my iPod
I can actually hear the iPod
I see children on their way to school -- lots of them (when was the last time you saw lots of children riding bikes on their way to school?)
I see lots of adults riding to work or just exercising
I see ducks, hawks, kites (the bird kind), crows, cedar waxwings, gold finches and even Western Tanagers, herons, egrets and more
I don't see any cars at all for miles and miles
I don't see any traffic signals and only one, no make that two stop signs for 5 miles (compared to the 30 intersections I would see on the main road)
I can ride as slow or as fast as I want (usually pretty slow)
I can ride in the dirt if I want
If I stop and look over the bridge I can probably see a turtle

What's not to like about this?
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Old 06-02-07, 08:46 PM   #14
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bike paths in Seattle serve as valuable transportational cooridors for bicyclists east, north and south into the city.

Even vehicular cyclists use bike paths in seattle.

Last edited by Bekologist; 06-03-07 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 06-02-07, 09:28 PM   #15
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Give me bike lanes or give me death (under the tire of a F250).

Not really that extreme...just wanted to say something amusing, really.

I ride a bike lane to work. I also ride an MUP to work. I also take the lane to work. Depends on my route. They all work. There's no real reason to discount one over the other except for personal preferences (i.e. I prefer to ride really fast, avoid the MUP; I prefer to ride relaxed, take the MUP or BL; I prefer to take some technical routes, take the BL-less road.)
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Old 06-03-07, 07:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I use a bike path every day to get to work.

Nobody will run me over in a car on the bike path
Cops won't harass me for listening to my iPod
I can actually hear the iPod
I see children on their way to school -- lots of them (when was the last time you saw lots of children riding bikes on their way to school?)
I see lots of adults riding to work or just exercising
I see ducks, hawks, kites (the bird kind), crows, cedar waxwings, gold finches and even Western Tanagers, herons, egrets and more
I don't see any cars at all for miles and miles
I don't see any traffic signals and only one, no make that two stop signs for 5 miles (compared to the 30 intersections I would see on the main road)
I can ride as slow or as fast as I want (usually pretty slow)
I can ride in the dirt if I want
If I stop and look over the bridge I can probably see a turtle

What's not to like about this?

Sounds wonderful.

I don't know of any such paths here in San Diego... there may be one down in the south bay... but I don't live or work in that area.

The only paths I have access to are noisy and most are narrow...

The best path in the area is quite wide and about 12 miles long, but with 3 intersections along the way, one of which is quite a pain. The path is along a freeway, so there is no break from the noise at all. Now don't get me wrong, I like that path for the simple fact that it is quite wide and I can go quite fast and I can get in a 20 mile workout at lunch on that path... but it offers me no transportational utility. That path offers a fair example of what a transporational path could be... parts of it are below grade and avoid intersections... with auto overpasses over head. It even has on ramps and offramps for cyclists. But it doesn't go where I need to go. (some folks do use it for transit though). So for me it is just a workout place.

Most of the other paths in the area are little more than sidewalks. I may chose to use them simply because they are shortcuts in some cases. (the Rose Canyon path as the best example).

The fact is, to enjoy a very scenic route, as you mention, I would probably ride on PCH, which IS an urban hiway with loads of different "moods."

I have only experienced similar situations as you mention, on back country roads... ages ago, before indian casinos. I would see riders on horses, but no kids going to school... these are country hiways. Kids around here ride on sidewalks and in canyons.

I suspect the very scene you describe is a daily event on the regular streets of Cary NC. And probably many small towns across America.

The fact is the paths around here are generally "poor," and the through surface streets tend to be mulilaned and fast. Not exactly the conditions for kids riding to school (which is quite a shame) nor to hear birds singing, or for slipping on the ipod and "drifting away."

What you have is unique. Too bad it doesn't exist everywhere.

BTW I always enjoyed cycling in SB... it was just a bit nicer there... from wide bike lanes to well tuned traffic light loops to your aforementioned path... there is a certain positive approach to cycling in SB that is very encouraging to cyclists.

Last edited by genec; 06-03-07 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-03-07, 08:05 AM   #17
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I oppose law that limits bikes to bike paths. My own city has a law that limits bikes to using a bike path where one is available. Thankfully there are no bike paths here.
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Old 06-03-07, 08:15 AM   #18
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I oppose law that limits bikes to bike paths. My own city has a law that limits bikes to using a bike path where one is available. Thankfully there are no bike paths here.
Shouldn't you and your fellow cyclists in Cincinnati focus your efforts on both repealing such a bad law and having bike paths built instead of being thankful there are no bike paths?
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Old 06-03-07, 08:18 AM   #19
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What you have is unique. Too bad it doesn't exist everywhere.
Yes, however, some would have me join them in opposition because they don't exist everywhere, or cannot, and that would be stupid.

There has to be a reason why slum (yeah, that bad) housing costs a million bucks in Santa Barbara. Must be what's outdoors.
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Old 06-03-07, 08:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Yes, however, some would have me join them in opposition because they don't exist everywhere, or cannot, and that would be stupid.
I would much rather the positives of SB cycling were spread far and wide.
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Old 06-03-07, 09:23 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by genec
......Sounds wonderful.


BTW I always enjoyed cycling in (Santa Barbara)... it was just a bit nicer there... from wide bike lanes to well tuned traffic light loops to your aforementioned path... there is a certain positive approach to cycling in SB that is very encouraging to cyclists.
yes, there is a positive, encouraging side to bicycling infrastructure if implemented in thoughtful ways. it's absolutely shameful bad people like john forester are out to ****** and attempt to dismantle positive effects of cycling infrastructure in communities like santa barbara.

that guy should be ashamed of himself. the bicycling community should ostracize his message. maintaining our rights to road cycling can be done concurrent with building bike infrastructure in communities.

the two (right to road cycling, bike infrastructure) are NOT mutually exclusive.

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Old 06-03-07, 10:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
yes, there is a positive, encouraging side to bicycling infrastructure if implemented in thoughtful ways. it's absolutely shameful bad people like john forester are out to ****** and attempt to dismantle positive effects of cycling infrastructure in communities like santa barbara.

that guy should be ashamed of himself. the bicycling community should ostracize his message. maintaining our rights to road cycling can be done concurrent with building bike infrastructure in communities.

the two (right to road cycling, bike infrastructure) are NOT mutually exclusive.
I oppose bicycle transportation programs that mislead cyclists and prospective cyclists with false promises of safety without skill, and promises to motorists that cyclists will stay out of their way, which are the content of the superstition that justifies the present bikeway program. I support means that encourage lawful, competent cycling. If the bicycle advocates could produce a program that really did encourage lawful, competent cycling, I would have been supporting them; it is their insistence on scientifically false devices that keeps us apart.
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Old 06-03-07, 10:25 AM   #23
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you really are deluded, john.

and you should be ashamed of your work opposing community bike infrastructure in cities like santa barbara.
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Old 06-03-07, 10:50 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
you really are deluded, john.

and you should be ashamed of your work opposing community bike infrastructure in cities like santa barbara.
I certainly have no problem opposing poor designs... which I abhor in anything... And that only makes sense.

But opposing on principal, things that really do work, is just being foolish.
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Old 06-03-07, 01:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H.
I've come across these sorts of arguments; I'm sure others have too.

Nobody has proven bike paths to be safer........

(does anyone ever examine notions of and assumptions about proof?, and the questionable association of rationality with statistics?)

There is no need for them.......

If people could just get past their 'irrational' fears........

The intent is to get cyclists off the roads........

They reinforce 'cyclist-inferiority' notions.......

and so on.
You really did not answer my question, Which cyclist are out right opposing bike paths? Some cyclist oppose dangerous designs (all of us should).

JF, HH, myself and the others here, that many have falsely labeled as "anti-facilities", have repeatedly explained how we have supported the good design for bike paths and many specific bike paths that are so designed.

What you provided is mostly responses to the claim that the roads are not safe to ride on, or cyclist do not belong on the roads. These are two completely different discussions, no matter how many people try and mix them.

As to highway side paths, the are generally dangerously designed with many poor crossings and wrong direction riding. What is wrong with opposing the dangerous design of such paths?

Maybe you do have some cyclist in your area that oppose bike paths, but I suspect it is home owners and opposition to tax spending that are the real anti bike path people. Those are the people that I have seen oppose bike paths in the many states that I have lived in.

Please name the BF members that out and out oppose well designed bike paths!

Last edited by CB HI; 06-03-07 at 02:08 PM.
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