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Old 06-26-07, 01:31 PM   #1
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What if?

What if the roads were built as though the default vehicle was a bicycle?
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Old 06-26-07, 01:40 PM   #2
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Same as it ever was. Except perhaps a substandard lane would be any lane less than 7' instead of 11'

Oh, and road sweepers would be more common.

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Old 06-26-07, 01:45 PM   #3
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dedicated lanes with separate lights? I always liked the looks of thos bike lanes in the middle of the street with trees on either side in places like Bogota, yes, more frequent sweeping. lower speed limits.
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Old 06-26-07, 03:19 PM   #4
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No I mean, what if the default vehicle that roads were designed for was the bicycle?

Everybody says the roads we have are fine. But I think that they are designed too much around a single type of use. Got me thinking, what if the default use they designed them around was bicycling? How would people who drive have to adapt? They'd probably be the ones cowering at the side of the road, don't you think? I'll betcha there'd be lots less 4-way stops and a lot more roundabouts. Drivers would have to figure out how to take the lane -- or take two lanes in their case -- without being yelled at. Things would be different.
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Old 06-26-07, 03:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
No I mean, what if the default vehicle that roads were designed for was the bicycle?

Everybody says the roads we have are fine. But I think that they are designed too much around a single type of use. Got me thinking, what if the default use they designed them around was bicycling? How would people who drive have to adapt? They'd probably be the ones cowering at the side of the road, don't you think? I'll betcha there'd be lots less 4-way stops and a lot more roundabouts. Drivers would have to figure out how to take the lane -- or take two lanes in their case -- without being yelled at. Things would be different.
If roads were built at bicycle scale, many roads (assuming single bike-size lane in each direction) wouldn't even be useable by larger motor vehicles without causing opposing bike traffic to have to pull off the roadway. Motor vehicle traffic would be in a real bad situation. If roads were only built to withstand the weight of cyclists but saw motor vehicle use too, we'd all be riding full suspension mountain bikes in a few weeks.
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Old 06-26-07, 03:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
No I mean, what if the default vehicle that roads were designed for was the bicycle?

Everybody says the roads we have are fine. But I think that they are designed too much around a single type of use. Got me thinking, what if the default use they designed them around was bicycling? How would people who drive have to adapt? They'd probably be the ones cowering at the side of the road, don't you think? I'll betcha there'd be lots less 4-way stops and a lot more roundabouts. Drivers would have to figure out how to take the lane -- or take two lanes in their case -- without being yelled at. Things would be different.
You would probably starve to death through inability to deliver food and other necessities.
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Old 06-26-07, 03:55 PM   #7
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You would probably starve to death through inability to deliver food and other necessities.
Really... they manage to deliver food just fine using very narrow vehicles in places like the Latin Quarter in Paris France, where no regular car will fit.

As an aside I did happen to hear of one place where there is no motor traffic... North Korea. The pronoucement of this situation came from a UN visitor just the other day on NPR. No traffic... if that was what you really desired.

Here is a travelogue by someone else on a trip to NK outlining the same situation:

http://www.travel-library.com/asia/n...ip.bakker.html
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Old 06-26-07, 05:58 PM   #8
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Oh puleeze. No imagination.
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Old 06-26-07, 06:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
What if the roads were built as though the default vehicle was a bicycle?
Go take a look at the road system on Okinawa. I think it would be about like that. Granted their roads, particularly in residential areas, are built with cars in mind, but a lot of them are teeny-tiny cars, not much bigger than a Amercan golfcart.

Imagine residential roads that are not only one lane, but a narrow single lane.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:14 PM   #10
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What if roads were built for bicycles? Depends on who builds them!

If it were me, they would look fairly much like our current streets and highways, with the following differences:
– Lanes would be 1,5 to 2.0 m wide (5-6.5 ft), with good passing opportunities.
– More protection from the elements: trees not only enhance the scenery, but they protect from headwinds.
– There would be one or two car lanes per direction with 3,5-3,75 m (10-12 ft) lanes for trucks, cars that need to be there, etc. Basically cars and trucks would be required to use the expressways, except for the local portion of their trip (a bit like trucks usually have to do in many jurisdictions), so there would not be a flood of cars everywhere.
– There would not be situations with "right lane must turn right", freeway-style entrances and exits.
– Traffic lights are necessary and so are stops, but they would be required much less frequently.
– Route configuration depends on topography, but generally there would be more curves and less hills. Curves would have a reasonable radius so a tandem bicycle with trailer would easily negociate them at 30-35 km/h (faster downhill).

And the last ones (humour on...):
– Have motor vehicles stop each time they have to cross a bicycle lane. Even if they could merge safely otherwise. And at intersections, motor vehicles would arrive at an odd angle and have to stop for bicycles and pedestrians in all directions.
- Why not put bollards where motor-vehicle lanes cross the bicycle lanes. Car drivers would have to stop, remove the bollard, cross the intersection and re-install it afterwards. 200 $ fine.
– For difficult intersections, maybe we should ask people to stop their engine and push their motor vehicle through the intersection. Ditto for narrow passages.

Now if they were designed for bicycles by our current (motor)-transportation engineers, they would have:
– lots of tight curves – especially useless ones – with poor visibility, trees or lightposts in the way, etc.
– bollards everywhere, painted black so they are more effective (i.e. more roadkill).
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Old 06-26-07, 08:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
What if the roads were built as though the default vehicle was a bicycle?
About the same as they are currently. I can't think of any aspect of the paving of roads which would need adjustment if bicycles were the default. Assuming there were any cars at all the widths to accommodate
cars would be necessary. And modern road surfaces are very kind to cycling.
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Old 06-27-07, 06:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
What if roads were built for bicycles? Depends on who builds them!

If it were me, they would look fairly much like our current streets and highways, with the following differences:
– Lanes would be 1,5 to 2.0 m wide (5-6.5 ft), with good passing opportunities.
– More protection from the elements: trees not only enhance the scenery, but they protect from headwinds.
– There would be one or two car lanes per direction with 3,5-3,75 m (10-12 ft) lanes for trucks, cars that need to be there, etc. Basically cars and trucks would be required to use the expressways, except for the local portion of their trip (a bit like trucks usually have to do in many jurisdictions), so there would not be a flood of cars everywhere.
– There would not be situations with "right lane must turn right", freeway-style entrances and exits.
– Traffic lights are necessary and so are stops, but they would be required much less frequently.
– Route configuration depends on topography, but generally there would be more curves and less hills. Curves would have a reasonable radius so a tandem bicycle with trailer would easily negociate them at 30-35 km/h (faster downhill).

And the last ones (humour on...):
– Have motor vehicles stop each time they have to cross a bicycle lane. Even if they could merge safely otherwise. And at intersections, motor vehicles would arrive at an odd angle and have to stop for bicycles and pedestrians in all directions.
- Why not put bollards where motor-vehicle lanes cross the bicycle lanes. Car drivers would have to stop, remove the bollard, cross the intersection and re-install it afterwards. 200 $ fine.
– For difficult intersections, maybe we should ask people to stop their engine and push their motor vehicle through the intersection. Ditto for narrow passages.


Now if they were designed for bicycles by our current (motor)-transportation engineers, they would have:
– lots of tight curves – especially useless ones – with poor visibility, trees or lightposts in the way, etc.
– bollards everywhere, painted black so they are more effective (i.e. more roadkill).
I love it Micheal!
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Old 06-27-07, 07:53 AM   #13
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I always thought that cars should be designed to be wide enough for a single person, with passengers behind the driver. Then we could have more lanes simply by making them narrower. If all the lanes were narrow, it would be easier for a bicycle to control a whole lane.

I think the balance of "power" would be more equal between motorcycles, bicycles and cars, too, since they'd be roughly the same width. Plus with so many lanes, they'd understand how to change lanes to pass a bicycle. Since most cars usually carry only a single passenger anyway, they should probably be that size.

So then the roads would have skinny lanes. You could have tiny roads in residential areas with wide green spaces for kids to play or people to landscape nicely. You'd have way more parking available at shopping centers, or less parking lots.

Maybe people wouldn't be so fat, too. I mean, you buy bigger pants and that gives you a license to overeat until you have to buy bigger pants next time. Seems to work the same for cars. Buy a bigger car and start shopping at the warehouse stores buying vats and cases of food. Even in my town full of skinny perfect people, just stand outside the big-box store and see how huge the people who shop there are. Then take a look at the size of the SUV they're putting all that junk into. Some seem to be outgrowing their SUVs, just like their pants.

Yep, I guess ol' JF is spinning in his, well he's not dead yet, but I'm sure he's foaming at the mouth at my obvious hatred of Amer'ca. I just think that saying the roads are just fine the way they are means you never gave any thought to how much they've been shaped to serve only one mode of transport. So if they were designed for another mode, how would the others have to learn to cope? As useful as vehicular cycling is, it really is a form of coping with a system not designed for us.
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Old 06-27-07, 08:40 AM   #14
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Speeds would be slower and the air would actually have a wonderful fragrance to it much of the time.

I'd probably still seek out alternate afternoon routes away from the bicycle traffic jams.

There would be businesses built around cycling, just like they are around motoring. Not just bike shops as we know them, but food and rest stops tailored to small trips, hotels, hostels, and B&B's centered around longer trips, more and better accomodation on transit such as air and rail, bike parking everywhere, huge bike accessory businesses, lots of bicycle racing and competetion, etc.

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Old 06-27-07, 09:09 AM   #15
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Speeds would be slower and the air would actually have a wonderful fragrance to it much of the time.

I'd probably still seek out alternate afternoon routes away from the bicycle traffic jams.

There would be businesses built around cycling, just like they are around motoring. Not just bike shops as we know them, but food and rest stops tailored to small trips, hotels, hostels, and B&B's centered around longer trips, more and better accomodation on transit such as air and rail, bike parking everywhere, huge bike accessory businesses, lots of bicycle racing and competetion, etc.

NASBIKE!
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Old 06-27-07, 09:18 AM   #16
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Ban all Dunkin' Donuts and have pedal-thru espresso carts!
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Old 06-27-07, 09:42 AM   #17
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Hold on, I thought this exercise was just designing roads with bikes as the default vehicle. That doesn't mean that bikes are going to be any more popular. Do you think that just because road designers mainly have bikes on their mind will change the fact that the human species has evolved to be as lazy as possible (much like any other species)?
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Old 06-27-07, 09:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
For difficult intersections, maybe we should ask people to stop their engine and push their motor vehicle through the intersection
Bahahaha.
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Old 06-27-07, 01:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
What if the roads were built as though the default vehicle was a bicycle?
I think/hope one thing that would happen is, similar to lanes where folks swim laps in the pool, the faster riders would get in one lane, probably the one on the left; and slower riders would be successively further to the right. Then the fast cyclists could yell at the slow cyclists get the hell off the road!

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Old 06-27-07, 09:20 PM   #20
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Hold on, I thought this exercise was just designing roads with bikes as the default vehicle. That doesn't mean that bikes are going to be any more popular. Do you think that just because road designers mainly have bikes on their mind will change the fact that the human species has evolved to be as lazy as possible (much like any other species)?
Of course, building roads with bicycles as the default vehicle would not make cycling suddenly more popular.

But this is not the American nation. This is the Imagination.

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Old 06-27-07, 09:22 PM   #21
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Then the fast cyclists could yell at the slow cyclists get the hell off the road!

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"Bwahahahahah!!!"

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Old 06-28-07, 10:23 AM   #22
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Roads are currently designed based on the speed limit - from sight lines, to signage, to grade and sharpness of turns. A system designed for bikes would be based on vehicles traveling no faster than 40km/hour (at least, that is the standard proposed locally). That means the roads would be difficult, if not impossible, to use at high speeds, effectively forcing motor vehicles to slow down.

A system designed primarily for bikes would also see less regional separation, more bridges/links at natural barriers (e.g. rivers), and fewer long detours around obstacles. Overall the system would also be more pedestrian-friendly.

Since the system would take far less surface area, main transportation corridors could be at least 50% more narrow, and we could eliminate 75% of parking lots. This space could be re-claimed as green-space, and/or zoned for mixed-use development - thus making more efficient use of municipal services and countering urban sprawl.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:31 AM   #23
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Roads are currently designed based on the speed limit - from sight lines, to signage, to grade and sharpness of turns.

I honestly have to question that... While one would think those factors are evaluated... how does that explain increasing the speed of a road without modifying any of the above factors.

How does road design explain 55MPH speed limits on narrow coast hiways with hairpin turns?
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Old 06-28-07, 10:47 AM   #24
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Roads are currently designed based on the speed limit - from sight lines, to signage, to grade and sharpness of turns. A system designed for bikes would be based on vehicles traveling no faster than 40km/hour (at least, that is the standard proposed locally). That means the roads would be difficult, if not impossible, to use at high speeds, effectively forcing motor vehicles to slow down.

A system designed primarily for bikes would also see less regional separation, more bridges/links at natural barriers (e.g. rivers), and fewer long detours around obstacles. Overall the system would also be more pedestrian-friendly.

Since the system would take far less surface area, main transportation corridors could be at least 50% more narrow, and we could eliminate 75% of parking lots. This space could be re-claimed as green-space, and/or zoned for mixed-use development - thus making more efficient use of municipal services and countering urban sprawl.
Good thinking. As a minor adustment I'd hope in this fantasy world that primary (bike highway/arterial) roads would be designed for 30mph (~50kph) instead and even higher speeds for downhills.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:53 AM   #25
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I honestly have to question that... While one would think those factors are evaluated... how does that explain increasing the speed of a road without modifying any of the above factors.

How does road design explain 55MPH speed limits on narrow coast hiways with hairpin turns?
Sports car owners?
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