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Old 10-14-07, 01:22 AM   #1
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required bike lane use: common?

I don't really know about all the fissures and divisions in the bike community; as you can see, I'm a noob. It seems to me that the position of John Forester is pretty sound, namely, that bike lanes introduce new hazards, and slow cyclists down, without solving any problems. People here have often posted that they easily use the bike lane, or not, as conditions permit. In other words, many who use the bike lane don't feel constrained by it. But, how common is that? And, is there any emerging trend to require cyclists to use the bike lanes? If they are almost always optional, that certainly makes things better. If they are optional, the only worry would be to do with motorists who resent bikes not in the bike lane, but, that would seem to be a rarity, judging from Youtube footage of people's commutes, replete with filtering or lane-splitting.
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Old 10-14-07, 04:06 PM   #2
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I don't feel constrained by using the bike lane. It puts no new hazards into the mix than just using a narrow right lane. The car drivers are going to drive the same whether we're in a bike lane or using the right lane. Same right hooks, but from the left lane instead, and same not seeing us even though we're 8-9 feet out from the right edge of the road.
We rode in many bike lanes today. The road was filled with lots of Sunday traffic that went right by us at 45 mph, while we rode in a bike lane about 8 feet wide.
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Old 10-20-07, 11:19 PM   #3
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From http://www.nyc.gov/html/look/html/cy...ety_text.shtml

"Must use a bike path or lane if provided"
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Old 10-20-07, 11:38 PM   #4
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From http://www.nyc.gov/html/look/downloa...ity_report.pdf
"Key New York City and New York State Traffic Laws for Motorists and Bicyclists"

"Bicyclists must use a bicycle lane or path if provided except for access, safety, and turns."


===


"Second, the vast majority of deaths occurred outside of bicycle lanes and other bicycle facilities. When a fatal bicycle crash with a motor vehicle occurred on a city street with a bicycle lane, the bicyclist was always outside of the lane itself, suggesting that dedicated bicycle paths or lanes may help reduce crashes with a motor vehicle."
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Old 10-21-07, 12:57 AM   #5
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Plenty of lanes end up being debris zones (and which is more dangerous, holding a steady line on a clean patch of pavement in the lane, or zig-zagging in and out of the lane to avoid debris?)--- and around here they can narrow to maybe a foot wide. I refuse to ride a foot from the curb for safety reasons. I believe you will always have a legit case to take the lane due to safety.
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Old 11-06-07, 03:03 AM   #6
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"Bicyclists must use a bicycle lane or path if provided except for access, safety, and turns."
Yeah, just looked that up. NY 34.1234 That is a pretty tight requirement. There is a specific narrow-lane exception, but it's basically turns and hazards only.

Mandatory bike lane laws really make no difference as far as I can see. I've ridden in both kinds of state. Either you need to be in the bike lane, or you need to be near the right-hand curb, where bike lanes generally tend to be.

Bike lane laws or not, I don't like how few exceptions there are in that law. The California version says the bike lane must follow some standards - and some of them don't. Three feet including gutter is not a bike lane. I'll also move out at high speeds, and after crashing on a descent this summer, I can totally justify that in the name of safety.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:17 AM   #7
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The Australian rules simply state
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"The rider of a bicycle riding on a length of road with a bicycle lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction as the rider must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so."
Things that I consider to make it impracticable include; debris, inadequate width, overhanging branches, parked cars, the need to make a right turn, pedestrians, left turning vehicles, etc.

It reads as a 'mandatory' bike lane use rule, but in practice all it's really mandating is that you ride the same direction as the traffic in the adjacent lane. I have no problem with that.
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Old 11-06-07, 12:20 PM   #8
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Bike lanes are defined as "a portion of a roadway that has been designated by stripes, signs, and bicycle pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists." Note the word "roadway." Any state that requires cyclists to ride "as far right as practicable on the roadway" has de facto mandatory bike lanes, subject of course to the exceptions in that law.
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Old 11-06-07, 12:32 PM   #9
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The Australian rules simply state Things that I consider to make it impracticable include; debris, inadequate width, overhanging branches, parked cars, the need to make a right turn, pedestrians, left turning vehicles, etc.

It reads as a 'mandatory' bike lane use rule, but in practice all it's really mandating is that you ride the same direction as the traffic in the adjacent lane. I have no problem with that.
The problem with that is that it puts the legal, moral, practical and cultural onus on the cyclist to justify whenever he's not riding in a bike lane as being "practicable".

One of the biggest defenders of bike lanes on this forum, patc, feels there is no such constraint where he lives (in Canada). That use of the bike lane by cyclists is purely optional. He also seems to think that there is no cultural expectation for cyclists to use bike lanes. I don't know how accurate that is. I'll just say that I don't know anyone else who feels so free about it.
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Old 11-06-07, 02:50 PM   #10
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The problem with that is that it puts the legal, moral, practical and cultural onus on the cyclist to justify whenever he's not riding in a bike lane as being "practicable".
You know what, Serge? I've never once had to justify leaving the bike lane to anyone. Ever. In practical terms, your 'problem' doesn't exist. In practical terms, 'practicable' is broad enough that there's no need to justify leaving the bike lane, as pretty much any reason is a valid justification.

Your fearmongering about bike lanes is getting pretty boring. Do pull your head in.
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Old 11-06-07, 03:42 PM   #11
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The problem with that is that it puts the legal, moral, practical and cultural onus on the cyclist to justify whenever he's not riding in a bike lane as being "practicable".

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You know what, Serge? I've never once had to justify leaving the bike lane to anyone. Ever. In practical terms, your 'problem' doesn't exist. In practical terms, 'practicable' is broad enough that there's no need to justify leaving the bike lane, as pretty much any reason is a valid justification.

Your fearmongering about bike lanes is getting pretty boring. Do pull your head in.
Fearmongering is the correct description. Fear of a legal, moral, practical and cultural onus is a condition known only by VC ideologues.

I think the correct cure for HH is to pull his head out of his onus.
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Old 11-06-07, 03:50 PM   #12
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You know what, Serge? I've never once had to justify leaving the bike lane to anyone. Ever. In practical terms, your 'problem' doesn't exist. In practical terms, 'practicable' is broad enough that there's no need to justify leaving the bike lane, as pretty much any reason is a valid justification.

Your fearmongering about bike lanes is getting pretty boring. Do pull your head in.
I don't know. I've had to justify my use of a traffic lane to a cop (and soon a judge) because the area to the right was mistaken for a bike path/lane by the police officer.

Don't forget to ask those cyclists in Portland who got tickets for making left turns from left turn lanes how they feel about mandatory bike lane laws.

[edit]I don't think the problem is so much the law itself as it is the (improper) interpretation of the law by both law enforcement and justice-enforcing motorists on the road.[edit]
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Old 11-06-07, 04:49 PM   #13
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I don't know. I've had to justify my use of a traffic lane to a cop (and soon a judge) because the area to the right was mistaken for a bike path/lane by the police officer.

Don't forget to ask those cyclists in Portland who got tickets for making left turns from left turn lanes how they feel about mandatory bike lane laws.

[edit]I don't think the problem is so much the law itself as it is the (improper) interpretation of the law by both law enforcement and justice-enforcing motorists on the road.[edit]
It's just my opinion, but if we take away the bike lane those same police officers will just find another section of the vehicle code to write bicycle riders a ticket under.
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Old 11-06-07, 05:11 PM   #14
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I don't know. I've had to justify my use of a traffic lane to a cop (and soon a judge) because the area to the right was mistaken for a bike path/lane by the police officer.
I've had to explain something similar to a police officer too, on a road that has no bikelane, or even a shoulder, and 10' lanes. He thought the law said I had to ride on the footpath (it's not even a true shared path). I didn't get a ticket.

In your case, I would probably have been riding to the left in the RTO lane. I'm eagerly waiting to hear the result of your case. Instinctively, I think you should get the ticket cancelled, but it hinges on your ability to convey that the RTO lane really was impracticable to ride in, so it could really go either way.

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Don't forget to ask those cyclists in Portland who got tickets for making left turns from left turn lanes how they feel about mandatory bike lane laws.
Like you say, that has nothing to do with the law.

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[edit]I don't think the problem is so much the law itself as it is the (improper) interpretation of the law by both law enforcement and justice-enforcing motorists on the road.[edit]
True. So what are you arguing for? The law functions fine. If stupid cops are the problem, removing bikelanes, or changing laws will fix nothing. Talk about a solution looking for a problem.
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Old 11-06-07, 05:27 PM   #15
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It's just my opinion, but if we take away the bike lane those same police officers will just find another section of the vehicle code to write bicycle riders a ticket under.
I'm not convinced they're that imaginitive.

In case mentioned in my previous post, the cop could've called me on the 'not to cause an unreasonable obstruction' clause, which is more subjective and difficult to argue empirically (not that I don't think I had a valid argument), hinging on what is or isn't 'unreasonable'. Good thing he wasn't all that familiar with the road rules.

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125 Unreasonably obstructing drivers or pedestrians
(1) A driver must not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or
a pedestrian.
Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.
(2) For this section, a driver does not unreasonably obstruct the path of
another driver or a pedestrian only because—
(a) the driver is stopped in traffic; or
(b) the driver is driving more slowly than other vehicles (unless the
driver is driving abnormally slowly in the circumstances).
Example of a driver driving abnormally slowly—
A driver driving at a speed of 20 km/h on a length of road to which a speed
limit of 80 km/h applies when there is no reason for the driver to drive at
that speed on the length of road.
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Old 11-06-07, 06:26 PM   #16
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You know what, Serge? I've never once had to justify leaving the bike lane to anyone. Ever. In practical terms, your 'problem' doesn't exist. In practical terms, 'practicable' is broad enough that there's no need to justify leaving the bike lane, as pretty much any reason is a valid justification.

Your fearmongering about bike lanes is getting pretty boring. Do pull your head in.
Fearmongering? Fear of what?

Anyway, you're speaking for yourself, and I can't blame you for that.

It is true that for cyclists with a strong familiarity with what the law actually states, and have a relatively assertive personality, the problem does not exist. For them.

But the problem does exist for the vast majority of cyclists (not to mention potential cyclists) who are either not that familiar with the law, or not that assertive. Many of them think their obligation to ride in the bike lane is much stronger than it actually is, and so they end up riding in bike lanes when they shouldn't. For practical implications of this, look no further than the recent "Cyclist in Bike Lane" thread in this subforum for a very recent example of how this was arguably a factor in a tragic death. He was riding downhill at a high speed (30 mph is easy to achieve here), and yet in the bike lane, just a few few feet from the curb, going around a curve. At that speed, he obviously should have been way out in the traffic lane, to lengthen his sight lines if nothing else. But, it probably never occurred to him to ride anywhere else (laterally speaking). After all, he was in the bike lane, where he "belongs".
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Old 11-06-07, 07:01 PM   #17
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Fearmongering? Fear of what?
Don't be coy, Serge.

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But the problem does exist for the vast majority of cyclists....
... and that's about the point I fade out. I'm fed up hearing what you think the 'vast majority' of cyclists do. There is absolutely no way you can speak with any degree of certainty about what the 'vast majority' do or do not do. It's all static, Serge.
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Old 11-06-07, 08:06 PM   #18
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Don't be coy, Serge.



... and that's about the point I fade out. I'm fed up hearing what you think the 'vast majority' of cyclists do. There is absolutely no way you can speak with any degree of certainty about what the 'vast majority' do or do not do. It's all static, Serge.
Is the death of a 15 year old boy all static for you, Allister. It happened right around the corner from where Gene works.

Do you know of many cyclists, as compared to all of the cyclists that you know, who would read about that story and realize that at least part of the problem was that he was going way too fast for being in a bike lane?
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Old 11-06-07, 08:37 PM   #19
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...what you think the 'vast majority' of cyclists do. There is absolutely no way you can speak with any degree of certainty about what the 'vast majority' do or do not do.
I think most people can readily observe how most other cyclist ride on the road (or not) and draw reasonably accurate concisions how the majority of cyclists ride in their area. Thoughtful and/or careful observers will understand and/or see that there are notable exceptions. I do note (not intending to imply I am particularly thoughtful or observant ) that the way you ride as shown in several of your videos is unlike how the vast majority of other cyclists ride in my locality. I also noted that the other cyclists I noted in your videos were riding quite unlike your style.

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Old 11-06-07, 09:14 PM   #20
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here's some video of me riding a bike lane in NYC. I leave the bike lane when it is blocked or doesn't serve my needs. I think I use the bike lane in fairly typical NY fashion.

Bike Lane in NYC
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Old 11-06-07, 09:51 PM   #21
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Bike lanes are defined as "a portion of a roadway that has been designated by stripes, signs, and bicycle pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists." Note the word "roadway." Any state that requires cyclists to ride "as far right as practicable on the roadway" has de facto mandatory bike lanes, subject of course to the exceptions in that law.
Interesting observation. The above reflects Ontario law, but it never occurred to me that it was essentially the same as a mandatory use law (which the nearby province of Quebec has).

I have never, ever, heard of either the Ottawa Police or Ottawa By-law Enforcement tell anyone to "get in the bike lanes".... but then again, they ignore side-walk cyclists too (illegal here).
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Old 11-06-07, 10:07 PM   #22
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I also noted that the other cyclists I noted in your videos were riding quite unlike your style.
But they in no way represent the 'vast majority'. I see all kinds of riders around, spanning the entire scale of skill and experience (as much as I can tell as a casual observer). I also subscribe to a local bike mailing list, which accounts for at least as many cyclists as I might see over a week's commuting, most of whom have considerable on-road experience. There is also a very active road riding community here, especially on weekend mornings (lots of groups ride out to the Bayside where I live on Sunday mornings, but pretty much any day of the week groups head out somewhere around the city) Footpath riding/kerb hugging/amateurish types are in no way the majority.

I admit I don't see many ride as boldly as I do, but that doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing, nor that they're any less safe.

The upshot is that the level of road skill I observe is quite diverse, and the clueless newbie that Serge seems to think constitutes the 'vast majority' are actually quite a small proportion of riders. Any statements about what the 'vast majority' do are going to be innaccurate, and probably laden with prejudices of all kinds. Of course, it may be different in your area, but I suspect you're just not looking hard enough.
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Old 11-06-07, 10:14 PM   #23
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Is the death of a 15 year old boy all static for you, Allister.
No Serge, only your assumption laden analysis of it, and your ridiculous habit of extrapolating what the 'vast majority' does from a very small sample (in this case, one).

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Do you know of many cyclists, as compared to all of the cyclists that you know, who would read about that story and realize that at least part of the problem was that he was going way too fast for being in a bike lane?
I know that anyone with a properly functioning faculty of reason would say that there was insufficient information in the posted article to draw that conclusion.
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Old 11-07-07, 09:18 AM   #24
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Of course, it may be different in your area, but I suspect you're just not looking hard enough.
What I see locally is about 75% of weekday solo riders on the sidewalk. Of those on the road pretty much all are riding far to the right very close to the curb/roadway edge and follow the contours of as far right as physically possible.

On weekend there are lots of group rides, some causal recreational and smaller groups of competitive/training. I've observed within those groups, mostly the more causal that about half ride to the very far right and follow physical contours of the right edge of the roadway. Almost all the RTOL as a thru lane.

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Old 11-07-07, 09:40 AM   #25
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around these parts, where we have a fair percent of bike commuters for a large city in the US,

bicyclists weave in and out of the bike lane here without much issue. Certainly without any legal harassment, heads' argument of 'legal onus' is folly.

I beleive most bicyclists learn by watching other bicyclists,(not by taking classes!) and seeing bicyclists move out of bike lanes to avoid hazards is very, very common on roads in Seattle.

and bike lanes do bring advantages to bicycling in communities, csr. Don't believe the forestior hype.

bikelanes encourage on road bicycling, if implemented well bike lanes move bicyclists out of the door zone and into more visible road positions, and encourage speed differential transportation modes to mix with minimum of conflict along higher speed roads.

proper design of bike infrastructure has a ways to go in this country, but well implemented bike specific infrastructure does provide advantages for bicycling across communities.
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