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Old 08-20-07, 01:18 PM   #51
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The bike lanes provide two simple things... they tell motorists that cyclists do indeed belong on the road, in spite of the freeway like speeds, and they help guide the motorist (stay between the lines) similar to all the other lines on the road.
Just like a shoulder stripe would help keep motorists in line. Probably not too many occurences of motorists going off the side of the road on a straight, wide road though, at least not due to the lack of a stripe. As to telling motorists that cyclists belong on the road, how many motorists care if cyclists are riding out of their way regardless of what the pavement is striped as (so long as it's not a traffic lane)?

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The BL for cyclists provide a guideline for cyclists and offer a guideline on where to ride and give psychological comfort.
Again, at the most dangerous point on that roadway, the bike lane goes away. Psychological comfort to most cyclists just means being on one side of a solid stripe. Again, no need to call it a bike lane.

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It has been long noted that BL on long intersectionless stretches of roadway are not a bad thing...
But no better than a similarly paved and maintained shoulder.

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Beyond that, the BL help to reduce the ambiguity of a shared WOL... a motorist can clearly see a cyclist is leaving the right edge relative to the BL, when such movements are required.
Again, no different from a shoulder stripe (please note that in my original post here I was not involving WOLs because a ~25 foot lane would cause some issues with ambiguity.

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BL are far from perfect, but then no line on the road offers anything more than guidance and psychological comfort and in this, BL are no different.
So in the situation described by Six Jours, the bike lane stripe is no different than a shoulder stripe, right?
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Old 08-20-07, 01:41 PM   #52
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Just like a shoulder stripe would help keep motorists in line. Probably not too many occurences of motorists going off the side of the road on a straight, wide road though, at least not due to the lack of a stripe. As to telling motorists that cyclists belong on the road, how many motorists care if cyclists are riding out of their way regardless of what the pavement is striped as (so long as it's not a traffic lane)?
Enough to yell "get on the sidewalk" or "get off the road" when BL do not exist on similar roads.

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Again, at the most dangerous point on that roadway, the bike lane goes away. Psychological comfort to most cyclists just means being on one side of a solid stripe. Again, no need to call it a bike lane.
True, as I said, they are not perfect... and an unstriped WOL doesn't add anything in this regard either.


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But no better than a similarly paved and maintained shoulder.

Again, no different from a shoulder stripe (please note that in my original post here I was not involving WOLs because a ~25 foot lane would cause some issues with ambiguity.

So in the situation described by Six Jours, the bike lane stripe is no different than a shoulder stripe, right?
Except on roads with curbs, there are no shoulder stripes. A striped BL puts the cyclist on the "traveled way" and removes the ambiguity of whether a cyclist is on the road or not.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:12 PM   #53
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What are the bike lanes providing in Six Jours case that would not be provided if all of the excessive lane width was just striped as a very wide shoulder?
So what's the difference between a bike lane a a wide, striped shoulder? <edit> I see the question has already been breached. And the answer seems to be, as I thought it would, semantics.

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His situation is not "facilities working"; it's just an area where they paved a lot more width than they really needed to.
Do you find extra pavement upsetting?

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He's even admitted that the bike lanes do nothing to help in negotiating the freeway on-ramps, arguably the most dangerous situation a cyclist might encounter.
Bike lanes also don't prevent drunk driving. That they are not absolutely perfect in every concievable circumstance is a pretty weak argument against them -- especially when the counter proposal is "you should just ride in front of traffic".

IMO, that traffic is "the most dangerous situation a cyclist encounters": same direction traffic at 30, 40, 50 mph faster than the cyclist. Anything that gets me a few feet farther away from that traffic is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Other folks are welcome to ride around in front of that traffic all they want, I guess, but I'm not too impressed with folks that want to force me into the same.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:42 PM   #54
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Except on roads with curbs, there are no shoulder stripes. A striped BL puts the cyclist on the "traveled way" and removes the ambiguity of whether a cyclist is on the road or not.
I'm not sure I understand. What's the difference between the traveled way and the road, and how does this apply to the difference between a wide outside through lane and a striped bike lane?

I personally like it when motorists are unsure if they have room to pass me without changing lanes in places where I know that they do. This causes them to slow down more, and if anything, pass me at greater distance.

I appreciate the possible marketing value of using bike lane striping to make cyclists more aware of which roads have enough room for motorists to pass without changing lanes. WOLs aren't as obvious to the inexperienced cyclists' eye, and sometimes not to me either. However, I am also concerned about the problem of using bike lane stripes to increase the confidence/entitlement of motorists passing cyclists where there isn't much room, particularly when the stripes are added to substandard width (some local cyclists and politicians here are clamoring for 14' lanes to be subdivided with a bike lane stripe into 11/3 or 10/4 lanes) or where door zones, debris, and other roadside hazards exist.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:51 PM   #55
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I'm not sure I understand. What's the difference between the traveled way and the road, and how does this apply to the difference between a wide outside through lane and a striped bike lane?
There is not a difference between the traveled way and the road, but there is a difference between the traveled way/road and the shoulder...

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I personally like it when motorists are unsure if they have room to pass me without changing lanes in places where I know that they do. This causes them to slow down more, and if anything, pass me at greater distance.
While that does happen, that slowing and the subsequent push pull of traffic as that slowing snakes down the line can cause accidents and tends to irritate motorists which doesn't do us cyclists any good over all.

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I appreciate the possible marketing value of using bike lane striping to make cyclists more aware of which roads have enough room for motorists to pass without changing lanes. WOLs aren't as obvious to the inexperienced cyclists' eye, and sometimes not to me either. However, I am also concerned about the problem of using bike lane stripes to increase the confidence/entitlement of motorists passing cyclists where there isn't much room, particularly when the stripes are added to substandard width (some local cyclists and politicians here are clamoring for 14' lanes to be subdivided with a bike lane stripe into 11/3 or 10/4 lanes) or where door zones, debris, and other roadside hazards exist.
The issue here is to not allow substandard bike lanes to be built. This is where advocates need to stand... in demanding that proper BL are the only standard, or that indications be given to the motoring public that cyclists can and will take the lane.
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Old 08-20-07, 03:48 PM   #56
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While that does happen, that slowing and the subsequent push pull of traffic as that slowing snakes down the line can cause accidents and tends to irritate motorists which doesn't do us cyclists any good over all.
I guess it depends on the situation - where I commute, that slowing of traffic means that the following cars also pass me at reduced speed, and it's also easier for me to negotiate a leftward merge in order to change lanes or avoid a pothole ahead.

I haven't heard of a cyclist in a WOL causing a slowing of traffic that resulted in a car-car collision. The speed reduction is usually not that sudden or drastic, compared to, say, slowing for a turn or red light. I have heard of a reckless motorist sideswiping another car where a cyclist was carefully using the center of a narrow lane while approaching a red light. The police officer who responded read the motorist the riot act. But this isn't related to WOLs versus bike lanes.

I think that where roads become more freeway-like, with far fewer junctions/driveways and signals, motorist speed reductions might have more pronounced negative effects than on typical surface streets.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:01 PM   #57
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The issue here is to not allow substandard bike lanes to be built. This is where advocates need to stand... in demanding that proper BL are the only standard, or that indications be given to the motoring public that cyclists can and will take the lane.
Preventing substandard bike lanes can be difficult when some bike lane advocates promote them on ideological grounds, preferring substandard retrofits to unmodified roads. This is where I have spent most of my WOL advocacy lately, trying to oppose the bike lane striping advocates where they want to put them in highly undesirable, substandard locations such as door zones, right-hook locations, the right side of right turn only lanes, narrow pavement and high speed downgrades, all for the sake of "continuity" and making novices "feel safe".

Where they advocate bike lanes stripes on wide, high-speed roads between junctions, I rarely say anthing more than to ask who will be in charge of sweeping them.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:05 PM   #58
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I guess it depends on the situation - where I commute, that slowing of traffic means that the following cars also pass me at reduced speed, and it's also easier for me to negotiate a leftward merge in order to change lanes or avoid a pothole ahead.

I haven't heard of a cyclist in a WOL causing a slowing of traffic that resulted in a car-car collision. The speed reduction is usually not that sudden or drastic, compared to, say, slowing for a turn or red light. I have heard of a reckless motorist sideswiping another car where a cyclist was carefully using the center of a narrow lane while approaching a red light. The police officer who responded read the motorist the riot act. But this isn't related to WOLs versus bike lanes.

I think that where roads become more freeway-like, with far fewer junctions/driveways and signals, motorist speed reductions might have more pronounced negative effects than on typical surface streets.
Exactly... on roads with say 35MPH traffic, there is little impact, but as speeds grow higher such as on the 50MPH arterials around this neck of the woods, then smooth traffic flow starts to become an issue.

If I had my preferences, it would be for lower speed roads... but as a cyclist my vote seems to count very little in that regard.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:31 PM   #59
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Reading these last few posts has brought something back to mind. For me, one of the most annoying experiences I feel on the street is the sudden slowing down of a vehicle coming up behind me, and just following me along for 50 meters or so, until they get a grip and move on. To me, a motorist who feels the need to suddenly grind to a nearly zero speed and inch along behind me shows a lack of ability to assess road width and passing options. A self respecting motorist should be able to assess distances in a fraction of a second, not 30-60 seconds. A motorist who inches behind me is in effect saying : "oh my god, I'm so scared of hitting that poor cyclist, what I am to do?" Anyone who lives with that much fear and INABILITY is someone I want to keep clear of at all costs because there's nothing more dangerous than an insecure driver. I aim to stay away from any dumb driver, whether on 2 wheels or 4.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:51 PM   #60
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and how, exactly, do you do that, tallard, (stay away from any dumb driver) when riding in front of said motorist? move off to the shoulder or into a well provided bike lane when one is available? and what if one is not, what do you do then?
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Old 08-20-07, 05:59 PM   #61
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Reading these last few posts has brought something back to mind. For me, one of the most annoying experiences I feel on the street is the sudden slowing down of a vehicle coming up behind me, and just following me along for 50 meters or so, until they get a grip and move on. To me, a motorist who feels the need to suddenly grind to a nearly zero speed and inch along behind me shows a lack of ability to assess road width and passing options. A self respecting motorist should be able to assess distances in a fraction of a second, not 30-60 seconds. A motorist who inches behind me is in effect saying : "oh my god, I'm so scared of hitting that poor cyclist, what I am to do?" Anyone who lives with that much fear and INABILITY is someone I want to keep clear of at all costs because there's nothing more dangerous than an insecure driver. I aim to stay away from any dumb driver, whether on 2 wheels or 4.
The driver may very well have quickly assessed road width and passing options, and slowed down precisely because he decided he could not pass you with a sufficiently wide buffer of say at least 3 feet.

To assume a driver slows down instead of passing a cyclist is done out of fear and inability is ridiculous.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:16 PM   #62
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To assume a driver slows down instead of passing a cyclist is done out of fear and inability is ridiculous.
...and assuming that "The driver may very well have quickly assessed road width and passing options, and slowed down precisely because he decided he could not pass you with a sufficiently wide buffer of say at least 3 feet." is so vastly different to tallard's assumption?
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Old 08-20-07, 06:32 PM   #63
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Enough to yell "get on the sidewalk" or "get off the road" when BL do not exist on similar roads.
When riding in a shoulder? I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised.

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True, as I said, they are not perfect... and an unstriped WOL doesn't add anything in this regard either.
True, but a WOL doesn't make the claim to keep novice cyclists safe or to provide dedicated space for on-road cycling. Neither does a shoulder. Bike lanes on the other hand...

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Except on roads with curbs, there are no shoulder stripes. A striped BL puts the cyclist on the "traveled way" and removes the ambiguity of whether a cyclist is on the road or not.
I'm just as confused as Steve is with the point you are trying to make. An unstriped WOL is about the only way to truly convey to motorists that the cyclist is using part of the "traveled way." A bike lane looks a lot like a shoulder stripe, and vice versa, as my daily riding on roads with unuseable shoulders has shown.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:40 PM   #64
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So what's the difference between a bike lane a a wide, striped shoulder? <edit> I see the question has already been breached. And the answer seems to be, as I thought it would, semantics.
You are making my point. A typical bike lane and a shoulder are pretty much one and the same. If you go back and read my original post I was responding to Gene's claim that the bike lanes in your area "work" which is why he thinks blanket dismissal of facilities is wrong. I was simply pointing out that your bike lanes do nothing more than a wide shoulder would.

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Do you find extra pavement upsetting?
About as upsetting as I find any unnecessary destruction of green space (a bit but I realize there are much worse things people are doing).

My question for you is do you really think they needed to pave 15 feet of bike lane/shoulder on that road? Wouldn't 8 have been sufficient?

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Bike lanes also don't prevent drunk driving. That they are not absolutely perfect in every concievable circumstance is a pretty weak argument against them -- especially when the counter proposal is "you should just ride in front of traffic".
That's pretty far from my counter proposal and I could see why you disagree with me so much if that's how you've interpretted my argument. My argument (in response to Gene's claim that your area's bike lane's "work") is that your bike lanes do nothing more than a shoulder would. A shoulder is just as bad as a bike lane for encouraging certain behaviors in cyclists and motorists but at least shoulders aren't claiming to do the things that bike lanes claims to do or more appropriately stated, what their advocates claim them to do).

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IMO, that traffic is "the most dangerous situation a cyclist encounters": same direction traffic at 30, 40, 50 mph faster than the cyclist. Anything that gets me a few feet farther away from that traffic is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Other folks are welcome to ride around in front of that traffic all they want, I guess, but I'm not too impressed with folks that want to force me into the same.
Ok, so you prefer to have some extra width on the roadway. Again, that says nothing about how well your bike lanes "work" which is my point.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:46 PM   #65
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The driver may very well have quickly assessed road width and passing options, and slowed down precisely because he decided he could not pass you with a sufficiently wide buffer of say at least 3 feet.To assume a driver slows down instead of passing a cyclist is done out of fear and inability is ridiculous.
Cycling in Fort Lauderdale, as I've mentioned before, is the narrowest lane experience I've ever experienced on any continent. However vehicles in Florida drive safely by me doing 45mph. I flow, they flow, no problems.

It's when I'm in Canada, on wide lanes, where speed limits are half the US speed limits, that drivers are like deer in headlights, you can hear their brain going: "can I do it" "oh I'm not sure" "I don't know how wide my car is" "what if I shake", and then after a minute or so of following me, they finally rack up the nerve to pass me, without going into the next lane, BECAUSE THERE IS PLENTY OF SPACE IN THE LANE WE HAPPEN TO BE SHARING.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:58 PM   #66
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Ok, so you prefer to have some extra width on the roadway. Again, that says nothing about how well your bike lanes "work" which is my point.
Well, we can have extra width with a stripe and call it "shoulder", or "bike lane" or "Great Aunt Martha", as long as there's shoulder with a stripe.
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Old 08-20-07, 08:40 PM   #67
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I'm just as confused as Steve is with the point you are trying to make. An unstriped WOL is about the only way to truly convey to motorists that the cyclist is using part of the "traveled way." A bike lane looks a lot like a shoulder stripe, and vice versa, as my daily riding on roads with unuseable shoulders has shown.
Ah the view of the west coast verses the east coast... Really. We don't have shoulders here in CA. Quite often where the pavement ends, so does the road. Now this is hardly true in say Oregon, where generous shoulders are indeed wide bike lanes. But here in the "enlightened land" where the auto is king, you either have room or you don't, in the latter case you take the lane. Bike lanes, when they exist, tend to be the 4-5 feet to the right of a stripe, between that stripe and a curb, the latter which well defines the extent of the traveled way. To the right of that often there is a sidewalk... so the term shoulder hardly applies... and where it may apply, is often dirt. If it is pavement, it is driven upon.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:36 PM   #68
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Would photos of roads with shoulders help disabuse you of that particular bit of silliness?
And then I could refute you with an equal or greater number of photos of roads without shoulders... what is your point?

And do the shoulders go the entire length of the road, or are they partial as is the case for most roads in CA.

Compare and contrast the roads in Oregon. Start with hiway 1; it is a low number, easy for you to remember.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:40 PM   #69
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and how, exactly, do you do that, tallard, (stay away from any dumb driver) when riding in front of said motorist? move off to the shoulder or into a well provided bike lane when one is available? and what if one is not, what do you do then?
I'm not only a very expressive driver, I also pay very close attention to the language (verbal and non) or other road users. The only times I'm in the car's width is when I'm faster than the car, otherwise I am between the right tires and the line. I don't require three feet of buffer space. Sometimes I am glued to that line and sometimes I am within a foot of that line, but I NEVER ride farther than that.

As the saying goes, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.

To me in fast traffic a close call is within 6", too close is when the vehicle brushes my clothing. At slow traffic speed or stopped traffic, I require only an inch or two outside by handlebar tips.

Oddly enough, I trust cars more than fellow cyclists in many regards as when I'm coming up behind another cyclist at speed, they don't know I'm coming and mostly cyclist's behaviors are quite erratic, which makes them difficult to overtake. If I need to overtake a pedestrian however (never on sidewalks), from 25' away I shout "coming through on your left" just as the etiquette of cross-country skiing dictates. I still slow down, it works well.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:53 PM   #70
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That is utter nonsense.
And yet, still no point to make.
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Old 08-21-07, 03:01 AM   #71
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The point, which you continue to not understand, is that your claim, "We don't have shoulders here in CA." is fallacious.

Perhaps if I wrote it out in crayon you might begin to understand...
My point, since you apparently wish to dance on the head of a pin, is that some states have policies within the state to ensure wide shoulders as the norm within the state... such as Oregon, (and apparently the states to the east referenced earlier in this thread) where wide shoulders for instance encompass the length of Hiway 1 and are designated as a bike lane. In contrast however, as one crosses the CA/OR border, it is quite obvious that the same policy does NOT exist in California, as the once nice wide shoulder one sees to the north disappears. Now this is not to say that an occasional wide area doesn't pop up from time to time, but it is more likely an exception rather than the rule.

On the other hand, those states that do provide a nice wide shoulder may have occasionally a narrow section, but this is their exception, whereas the rule is wide shoulders.

In California oddly enough the limited access freeways do have wide shoulders, but then cyclists are generally banned from the freeways. However exceptions exist in this case too, as certain limited areas of freeway do allow bicycle access... but again this is an exception.

So the bottom line is that here and there in California, a hiway where a bicycle may travel, such as hiway 1 (or 94, or 54 or even parts of 101 and others) may have shoulders, generally one should not anticipate and expect such shoulders throughout the state as may be the case with other states which do provide nice wide PAVED shoulders as a matter of course.

Now is that "crayon" clear enough for you?
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Old 08-21-07, 05:29 AM   #72
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Ah the view of the west coast verses the east coast... Really. We don't have shoulders here in CA. Quite often where the pavement ends, so does the road. Now this is hardly true in say Oregon, where generous shoulders are indeed wide bike lanes. But here in the "enlightened land" where the auto is king, you either have room or you don't, in the latter case you take the lane. Bike lanes, when they exist, tend to be the 4-5 feet to the right of a stripe, between that stripe and a curb, the latter which well defines the extent of the traveled way. To the right of that often there is a sidewalk... so the term shoulder hardly applies... and where it may apply, is often dirt. If it is pavement, it is driven upon.
I'm not sure what this has to do with the east coast. I could show you major routes with and without shoulders. These shoulders vary in width from an inch to 8 feet on the same road, sometimes tapering down slowly, other times ending abruptly. I've seen plenty of overhead views of California bike lanes that look a lot like our shoulders, which are the same as most of our bike lanes except they're missing the stencil. I say "most" because there is one road where for a short section they routed the bike lane to the lef of right turn only lanes. Of course, they didn't add any width to the road so you have a somewhat narrow turn lane, a 2 foot bike lane, then normal width 45mph straight lane.
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Old 08-21-07, 06:11 AM   #73
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I'm not only a very expressive driver, I also pay very close attention to the language (verbal and non) or other road users. The only times I'm in the car's width is when I'm faster than the car, otherwise I am between the right tires and the line. I don't require three feet of buffer space. Sometimes I am glued to that line and sometimes I am within a foot of that line, but I NEVER ride farther than that.

As the saying goes, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.

To me in fast traffic a close call is within 6", too close is when the vehicle brushes my clothing. At slow traffic speed or stopped traffic, I require only an inch or two outside by handlebar tips.

Oddly enough, I trust cars more than fellow cyclists in many regards as when I'm coming up behind another cyclist at speed, they don't know I'm coming and mostly cyclist's behaviors are quite erratic, which makes them difficult to overtake. If I need to overtake a pedestrian however (never on sidewalks), from 25' away I shout "coming through on your left" just as the etiquette of cross-country skiing dictates. I still slow down, it works well.

Well that is clear enough. Now I can read your posts and know where you are coming from; a place just like HH, a completely different planet from me; and a very different perspective on risk.

BTW, How is your translation of non verbal language emanating from groups of high speed drivers approaching from the rear in hours of darkness?
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Old 08-21-07, 06:57 AM   #74
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Probably a nitpick, but I don't consider myself a bicycle "driver" and don't think the labels are important one way or another. I'm just a guy on a bicycle trying to enjoy myself and not get killed. And when it comes to riding in traffic, I really don't think it takes a whole lot of brain power to manage it. Yeah, a guy who is absolutely brand new to cycling has a learning curve, but I don't see that textbooks and classes are necessary here.
Just catching up on some old posts - your description of handling the freeway ramp is similar enough to that of mine - so I think we're roughly in the same boat. On one hand, I agree with you that much of this "bicycle driving" and "VC" is common sense. On the other hand, from my experience in bicycling advocacy and talking to non-cyclists, this common sense doesn't seem so common.
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Old 08-21-07, 07:14 AM   #75
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IMO, that traffic is "the most dangerous situation a cyclist encounters": same direction traffic at 30, 40, 50 mph faster than the cyclist. Anything that gets me a few feet farther away from that traffic is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Other folks are welcome to ride around in front of that traffic all they want, I guess, but I'm not too impressed with folks that want to force me into the same.
Relative risk is a function of not just severity (yes, death is likely if hit from behind by 30-50 mph faster traffic) but frequency also. A couple of bicycling crash studies have shown that turning/crossing movements make up a large majority of the car/bike crashes, while overtaking collisions are much less common. Getting hit by car in a turning/crossing collision can also have a high severity. So I would consider the turning/crossing movements to be a greater overall risk.

But having said that, I'm more than happy riding in the extra road width (whether it's a bike lane, wide outside lane, or shoulder) on the long intersectionless sections without driveways that are common in our area. But my primary reason for doing so is for the convenience of overtaking drivers.
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