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Old 01-08-08, 09:11 AM   #1
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Why do the VC want bicyclists on shoulders?

in numerous threads about high speed road design the vc lobby for 'improved shoulders' opposed to bike lanes. Even if the road would support a bike lane design thats vehicular.

I'm curious what makes the vc crowd think riding on a shoulder - outside of the travelled way- would be safer or more vehicular than a preffered class lane for bikes on the travelled way of the road itself?

what makes riding off the road preferable to riding in a lane on the road preferable to the vc platform?

vehicles travelling outside of the travelled way seems very unvehicular -you're not even on the road, riding outside of the lines, for gosh sakes - but the vc crowd insists shoulder riding is preffered accomodation for high speed roads.


Why is this? and is shoulder riding considered vehicular to the vc crowd? Is this vc kowtowing to the motorists AGAIN, because cars can't use bike lanes in a vehicular manner but bikes can?
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Old 01-08-08, 09:15 AM   #2
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Shoulders are not part of traffic, nor legally part of the "travelled way", nor carry any right-of-way status. I guess even VCers get seduced by the motorist conspiracy that bikes aren't real vehicles!

Shoulders = bike lanes for those suffering from "cyclist inferiority complex". ;-)
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Old 01-08-08, 09:27 AM   #3
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Where I live, bike symbols and signs generally increase the degree of boorish territorial behavior, particularly harassment by motorists, without improving the quality of the pavement for cycling. Also, roadway use by cyclists is explicitly allowed here where shoulders exist, but this may not be the case where striped bike lanes exist.

It doesn't have to be this way. Bike lanes could be designed to perform better than wide paved shoulders, e.g. they could be better positioned at intersections than wide paved shoulders, and they could be maintained to be as good as the roadway. Bike lanes could be marked totally outside the door zone. Unfortunately, our state DOT appears disinterested in these operational issues, so we get striped bike lanes marked to the right side of RTOLs, debris accumulation that never gets swept, door zone bike lanes, etc. along with increased harassment when cycling outside of these problem areas. So by comparison, the undesignated shoulders seem preferable, since they are explicitly optional.
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Old 01-08-08, 09:29 AM   #4
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Where I live, bike symbols and signs generally increase the degree of boorish territorial behavior, particularly harassment by motorists,

...

It doesn't have to be this way. Bike lanes could be designed .

You can't change behaviour problems with engineering solutions.
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Old 01-08-08, 09:34 AM   #5
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optional to whom? I bet the motorists still want you on the shoulder despite their apparant 'optionality'.

Steve, so if a new road was being designed in your comunity, a high speed road to the suburbs without a lot of intersections, would you lobby for well designed bike lanes, or just go with the motorist superiority, autocentric designs and settle for unvehicular shoulder riding?

and this totally sounds like poor road design, steve....

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Where I live, bike symbols and signs generally increase the degree of boorish territorial behavior, particularly harassment by motorists, without improving the quality of the pavement for cycling.
yeah, that's a problem that could be rectified by better infrastructure design.
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Old 01-08-08, 10:33 AM   #6
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NCDOT's standard design for new road construction on non-curb-and-gutter cross sections includes 12' lanes and at least 4' wide paved shoulders. This design is standard outside of municipal areas, i.e. between suburbs as you suggest.

If the road is inside a municipal area where curb and gutter is specified, the state works with the municipality to determine the cross section. NCDOT recommends wide outside lanes on curb-and-gutter thoroughfares. NCDOT will not sweep striped bike lanes so they generally discourage them on state-maintained roads, but whey will build them if the municipality insists.

On those roads where NCDOT proposes to build striped shoulders through many intersections, I actively lobby for wide outside through lanes. Where a municipality proposes to include bike lanes on a state-maintained roads, I lobby the municipality to allocate funding and develop a plan to sweep them regularly. On those roads where a municipality or the state proposes a door-zone bike lane or a bike lane that sweeps to the right of a right-turn-only lane, I speak against the bad design. Other than these situations, the default cross sections for new construction in Cary and surrounding Wake County are acceptable to me. (Cary's standard for new thoroughfares is wide outside lanes).
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Old 01-08-08, 10:37 AM   #7
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You can't change behaviour problems with engineering solutions.
Cops here sometimes harass and/or ticket cyclists for using the travel lane instead of an alternate facility such as a sidewalk path. Bike lane markings won't help convince the police not to harass/ticket the cyclist in the travel lane. But I have some hope that sharrow markings in the travel lane have some potential.
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Old 01-08-08, 10:44 AM   #8
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Cops here sometimes harass and/or ticket cyclists for using the travel lane instead of an alternate facility such as a sidewalk path. Bike lane markings won't help convince the police not to harass/ticket the cyclist in the travel lane. But I have some hope that sharrow markings in the travel lane have some potential.
If you have problems with police behaviour, discuss that with your chief of police. If you have problems with the law, advocate for the law to be changed. If you have problems with the behaviour of the public, time for an education campaign, media blitz, etc.


You can't change behaviour problems with engineering solutions.
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Old 01-08-08, 10:56 AM   #9
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remember, steve, wide lanes encourage gutter hugging, unsafe positioningt by bicyclists and are perhaps better marginally than shoulders. However, wide lanes alone on high speed arterials do NOTHING to encourage bicycling as transportation; a well provided, vehicular bike lane can and does provide better more visible, on road position for the bicyclist versus shoulder riding.


I'm still intrigued why the vc insist shoulders -outside of the travelled way are preferable to well designed bike lanes on road, preferred class lane on high speed roads? is riding on a shoulder even considered 'vehicular'?
is it because cars can't use a bike lane - a vc perpetuation of motorist superiority disorder?
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Old 01-08-08, 12:31 PM   #10
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remember, steve, wide lanes encourage gutter hugging, unsafe positioningt by bicyclists and are perhaps better marginally than shoulders. However, wide lanes alone on high speed arterials do NOTHING to encourage bicycling as transportation; a well provided, vehicular bike lane can and does provide better more visible, on road position for the bicyclist versus shoulder riding.


I'm still intrigued why the vc insist shoulders -outside of the travelled way are preferable to well designed bike lanes on road, preferred class lane on high speed roads? is riding on a shoulder even considered 'vehicular'?
is it because cars can't use a bike lane - a vc perpetuation of motorist superiority disorder?
Bek,

Extreme statements are generally unconvincing.

Why do you think that WOLs on arterials do nothing to encourage cycling? How many bike lanes satisfy the conditions you lay out in your first paragraph? How many bike lanes fail those conditions? It is realistic to advocate bike lanes when cycling advocate control of their construction is less than perfect? Who determines the VC stance on various topics? Who are the VC?

Bike lanes can have a positive effect in some of the dimensions you reference. I also suspect that bike lanes probably result in better flow -- although not necessarily safer -- than WOLs in various instances.

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Old 01-08-08, 12:51 PM   #11
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Most of the VC advocates I talk to are not in favor of shoulders to "accommodate" cyclists. Shoulders are inferior to the roadway. The pavement is worse, they collect debris, the seams develop longitudinal cracks, there are often ledges where the traffic lane gets repaved but the shoulder doesn't. I don't want to ride in a shoulder. I want to be respected as a slow-moving vehicle and have traffic pass me safely and courteously. Any advocacy for shoulders (or bike lanes) as bicycle accommodations takes us in the wrong direction - away from creating a roadway environment in which we are not second-class citizens.
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Old 01-08-08, 03:26 PM   #12
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You have to do everything. You have to have decent riding conditions and you have to have people using and maintaining those conditions. If you don't have all of it you won't get people to use bicycles as basic transportation.
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Old 01-08-08, 04:34 PM   #13
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You have to do everything. You have to have decent riding conditions and you have to have people using and maintaining those conditions. If you don't have all of it you won't get people to use bicycles as basic transportation.
How are you defining decent riding conditions? Physical structure? Social structure? Weather?

If you concentrate effort on issues that make all roads safe for all users - driver education, cyclist education, traffic law enforcement, smooth pavement, civility (public awareness) - you can create an environment that is inviting enough to encourage people whose only obstacle is related to traffic safety.

Most people have many more excuses than that, it's just the easiest one to use. It's widely recognized that our traffic culture suffers from distracted driving, excessive speeding, red-light running, outbursts of frustration, etc. Bike facilities don't fix those problems or protect us from them. If you eliminated those conditions, you might encourage more people to ride, you'd definitely make riding more pleasant for those of us who already ride, but for the rest, there would still be a long queue of new excuses.
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Old 01-08-08, 04:47 PM   #14
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You can't change behaviour problems with engineering solutions.
I know for a fact that you're way too smart to believe this. Stop lights were engineered to stop the problem behavior of cars entering intersections without checking for cross traffic. Subway stiles were engineered to stop the problem behavior of people not paying to ride. Store security cameras were engineered to stop the problem behavior of shoplifting. Bike lanes were engineered to stop the problem behavior of VC cyclists riding too slowly in "car lanes." I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
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Old 01-08-08, 05:08 PM   #15
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I know for a fact that you're way too smart to believe this. Stop lights were engineered to stop the problem behavior of cars entering intersections without checking for cross traffic. Subway stiles were engineered to stop the problem behavior of people not paying to ride. Store security cameras were engineered to stop the problem behavior of shoplifting. Bike lanes were engineered to stop the problem behavior of VC cyclists riding too slowly in "car lanes." I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
And digital rights management (DRM) was invented to stop movie/music piracy... even Sony is now admitting that solution doesn't work!

Admittedly I should have used a less ambiguous word than behaviour, but I stand by my statement. At best the engineering solutions may restrict expression of some behaviour, but they don't meaningfully change it. Stop lights/signs are routinely ignored - I bet if every driver's priority was safety first, we could do without them. Shoplifting still occurs despite security cameras and "iventory control tags" - it may be somewhat reduced, but the overall cost of the system and its hassles gets spread to everyone.

If the people are the problem, you need to fix the people. I don't think new laws have made smoking less socially acceptable - rather I think the laws happened because social views had been changed (there was relatively little opposition to Ontario's smoking ban in public buildings). I don't think laws, court challenges, etc. are the reason that I seldom hear homophobic remarks in "polite company" anymore - rather it has become socially unacceptable to be seen as homophobic, and even our right-wing prime minister was oh-so-careful in discussing the marriage issue.

Yes, bike lanes and signage etc. can be a tool for social change, but they do not by themselves change behaviour. If sggoodri is correct that local drivers are "boorish" to cyclists and local cops harass cyclists, I see little to reason to believe that tossing a few signs or sharrows on the road will address the problem.
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Old 01-08-08, 05:52 PM   #16
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And digital rights management (DRM) was invented to stop movie/music piracy... even Sony is now admitting that solution doesn't work!

Admittedly I should have used a less ambiguous word than behaviour, but I stand by my statement. At best the engineering solutions may restrict expression of some behaviour, but they don't meaningfully change it. Stop lights/signs are routinely ignored - I bet if every driver's priority was safety first, we could do without them. Shoplifting still occurs despite security cameras and "iventory control tags" - it may be somewhat reduced, but the overall cost of the system and its hassles gets spread to everyone.

If the people are the problem, you need to fix the people. I don't think new laws have made smoking less socially acceptable - rather I think the laws happened because social views had been changed (there was relatively little opposition to Ontario's smoking ban in public buildings). I don't think laws, court challenges, etc. are the reason that I seldom hear homophobic remarks in "polite company" anymore - rather it has become socially unacceptable to be seen as homophobic, and even our right-wing prime minister was oh-so-careful in discussing the marriage issue.

Yes, bike lanes and signage etc. can be a tool for social change, but they do not by themselves change behaviour. If sggoodri is correct that local drivers are "boorish" to cyclists and local cops harass cyclists, I see little to reason to believe that tossing a few signs or sharrows on the road will address the problem.
It does, however, change the propensity that people engage in the behavior. And -- in my opinion -- it is far easier to change the incentives that people face than to change their attitudes.
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Old 01-08-08, 06:14 PM   #17
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I know for a fact that you're way too smart to believe this. Stop lights were engineered to stop the problem behavior of cars entering intersections without checking for cross traffic. Subway stiles were engineered to stop the problem behavior of people not paying to ride. Store security cameras were engineered to stop the problem behavior of shoplifting. Bike lanes were engineered to stop the problem behavior of VC cyclists riding too slowly in "car lanes." I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
Just for giggles, Rood...if there were not laws specifying that one must stop for a stop light, enforcement of those laws and well-known penalties for non-compliance with the law, do you think stoplights would be effective, no matter how well they might be engineered (short of some kind of force field that knocks offenders on their butts if the run the red built into them)? I'm not sure that stop lights are a good example of how engineering can be used to modify people's behavior.
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Old 01-08-08, 07:05 PM   #18
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It does, however, change the propensity that people engage in the behavior. And -- in my opinion -- it is far easier to change the incentives that people face than to change their attitudes.
True, but I believe that without addressing the underlying behaviour/beliefs, the problem will just resurface sooner or later. It may even make the problem worse. However the very act of debating and/or adding those incentives may produce a great deal of social change. That's why I wish Ontario would discuss a 3-foot passing law - I'm sceptical it would be effective or enforced, but the added attention would be good.
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Old 01-08-08, 10:21 PM   #19
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Just for giggles, Rood...if there were not laws specifying that one must stop for a stop light, enforcement of those laws and well-known penalties for non-compliance with the law, do you think stoplights would be effective, no matter how well they might be engineered (short of some kind of force field that knocks offenders on their butts if the run the red built into them)? I'm not sure that stop lights are a good example of how engineering can be used to modify people's behavior.
Great question!
A slight variation: imagine there were no tickets for running red lights, but you were held responsible for any crash that resulted from you running a red light.

Either way, I bet they would be treated like yield signs.
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Old 01-08-08, 11:53 PM   #20
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there'll already treated as yield signs, head!

so, given a choice, vc crewe out here, between a high speed road design with a vehicular bike lane, or no accomodation save a wide paved shoulder, along a 2 lane, congested 50MPH road.... which would you prefer?

I believe its' the forestorite POV the shoulder is the preffered design accomodation for bicyclists. OFF the road, out of the way of the faster traffic.

personally i like bike lanes over well maintained shoulders on high speed roads. keeps me on the road, closer where traffic is looking for other traffic, and not off on the shoulders outside of the travelled way.
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Old 01-09-08, 01:23 AM   #21
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On a high speed road, there's probably going to be few intersections and driveways, so practically speaking whether it's a shoulder stripe or a bike lane stripe makes little difference. But legally speaking (at least in California) I'm required to use a bike lane (with exceptions) but shoulder use is optional. Even so, I'd probably be riding to the right of the stripe regardless of whether it's a bike lane stripe or shoulder stripe. But if I have to leave a bike lane due to hazards, the burden of proof is on me to justify why I left the lane if I am cited, but that is not the case for the shoulder stripe.

It's true that most states (don't know about Canadian provinces, patc) don't have a law specifically requiring cyclists to use a bike lane when one is present. But in most of these states, it's arguable that bike lanes are part of the roadway and therefore use is required due to the "ride as far right in the roadway as practicable" laws.
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Old 01-09-08, 01:49 AM   #22
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WHAT? where do you get the 'therefore' bike lane use is required due the far right rule? what a dishonest way of looking at bike lanes, brian.

Oh, by the way, you vote you prefer a shoulder -outside of the travelled way- to a well implemented bike lane- on road preffered class lane- due the incredibly slim chance you're going to have to justify your leaving it if cited..... weak. I see a growing case of motorist superiority disorder affecting the VC out here.
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Old 01-09-08, 10:51 AM   #23
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True, but I believe that without addressing the underlying behaviour/beliefs, the problem will just resurface sooner or later. It may even make the problem worse.
You are correct that bad legislation can result in agents/people acting in perverse ways.
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Old 01-09-08, 11:30 AM   #24
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They should put as much effort and thought (though not necessarily as much money since it wouldn't need as much) into the bicycle transportation system as they do to the motor vehicle transportation system, and that does not preclude the bicycle transportation system being the motor vehicle transportation system.

In other words, if you have separate facilities they have to be as useful and maintained as the motor vehicle transportation facilities. Keeping bike paths maintained, making intersections that make sense etc. is an example of that.

If they are the same facilities they also have to be as useful and maintained. Sweeping the streets and not letting potholes get to bicycle-swallowing size would be an example of that. Making intersections safer is another. Streets that have bicycles, pedestrians and motor vehicles should not be built like freeways. Build streets like freeways and that's what you will get.

I'm just saying that you guys throw the baby out with the bath water. You don't believe that you can make the existing streets workable for cyclists so you make up a bunch of baloney about how if you're just macho enough you can do it. You also don't believe that separate facilities can be made workable so you toss them out altogether. The fact is if you build decent facilities and build decent roads that take bicycles into account from the get go and forever after you will create a better situation that the neglectful one we have now and you won't have to preach silly VC nonsense to anybody. Cycling will just be normal, not a super hero activity that requires macho behaviors.
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Old 01-09-08, 11:37 PM   #25
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interesting jhon hasn't chimed in on this, the vcist, motorist superiority affected pledge to keep bikes out of the way of the motorists.
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