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  1. #1
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    John Forester's thinking in Canada's Transportation Planning

    The relative merits of these two styles of infrastructure from a safety perspective are the subject of a great deal of debate. As an example, a California transportation engineer, John Forester, has advocated cycling on roads in vehicle lanes with cars as the safest mode of travel (“vehicular cycling”). His thinking has been integrated in part into North American transportation planning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    The whole program behind that website is based upon asking people what might/might-not make them more likely to cycle. It's another attempt to determine what the cycling environment should be based upon the opinions of non-cyclists.

    People that don't cycle have no idea what they need or what in practice would actually end up making their cycling more pleasant or safe. Those that wish to cycle already do so. Those that find it difficult, inconvenient, tiring, scary are probably never going to be persuaded to take it up in any serious way. So designing _our_ environment around _their_ predjudices just cripples us to no good effect.

  3. #3
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I find it hard to believe that cycling carried much weight into the transportation plans of most major cities.

    While I think that the studies cited there are interesting, ignoring survey/data collection methodology, there are a lot of models that fit the observations. They pretty much state something along those lines ...

    Combined, these studies do not provide a consistent picture of which types of cycling routes would be safest, in part because the infrastructure was characterized in broad categories, grouping route types that might have different risks (e.g., paved and unpaved off-street paths), and did not take into account multiple infrastructure features.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    As an example, a California transportation engineer, John Forester, has advocated cycling on roads in vehicle lanes with cars as the safest mode of travel (“vehicular cycling”).
    It probably doesn't need to be said, but that's a VERY simplistic view of vehicular cycling. A better summation in my opinion would be that Forester has advocated that cyclists are safest (or fare best) when they act as drivers of vehicles. This does not always mean riding in the (or in middle of the) traffic lane, a point which many cannot seem to comprehend.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaltPoutine View Post
    The whole program behind that website is based upon asking people what might/might-not make them more likely to cycle. It's another attempt to determine what the cycling environment should be based upon the opinions of non-cyclists.

    People that don't cycle have no idea what they need or what in practice would actually end up making their cycling more pleasant or safe. Those that wish to cycle already do so. Those that find it difficult, inconvenient, tiring, scary are probably never going to be persuaded to take it up in any serious way. So designing _our_ environment around _their_ predjudices just cripples us to no good effect.
    I agree that having the opinion of such folks is dangerous if used directly to form the basis of what is done on the roads... (even thought really that IS generally what happens when road engineers and motorists share their opinions of what should occur). But consider this, if non cyclists are offering ideas about what they think they need to ride a bike... perhaps we should listen if we expect to ever increase cyclist mode share of all transportation needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I agree that having the opinion of such folks is dangerous if used directly to form the basis of what is done on the roads... (even thought really that IS generally what happens when road engineers and motorists share their opinions of what should occur). But consider this, if non cyclists are offering ideas about what they think they need to ride a bike... perhaps we should listen if we expect to ever increase cyclist mode share of all transportation needs.
    But there is always the difference between expert knowledge and public superstition. Consider the well-known example of landsmen thinking that sailors should head for shore when bad weather approaches. Not on your life! Get out to sea, with plenty of water between you and a lee shore, unless there is so much time certainly available that you can get into a protected harbor. Bicycle advocates want to run the bicycle transportation program according to the superstitions of the non-cycling and motoring publics, because they think that this will attract transportationally significant numbers of non-cyclists and motorists into bicycle transportation. The trouble with this is that those publics want what is good for motorists but bad for cyclists. It's a bit like lowering the water level in the swimming pools to three feet deep because the non-swimmers are afraid of getting a noseful of water.

  7. #7
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    But there is always the difference between expert knowledge and public superstition. Consider the well-known example of landsmen thinking that sailors should head for shore when bad weather approaches. Not on your life! Get out to sea, with plenty of water between you and a lee shore, unless there is so much time certainly available that you can get into a protected harbor. Bicycle advocates want to run the bicycle transportation program according to the superstitions of the non-cycling and motoring publics, because they think that this will attract transportationally significant numbers of non-cyclists and motorists into bicycle transportation. The trouble with this is that those publics want what is good for motorists but bad for cyclists. It's a bit like lowering the water level in the swimming pools to three feet deep because the non-swimmers are afraid of getting a noseful of water.
    But in this case the expert knowledge is doing nothing to increase the number of participants. At least in the swimming pool model there are shallow pools available for non-swimmers.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    But in this case the expert knowledge is doing nothing to increase the number of participants. At least in the swimming pool model there are shallow pools available for non-swimmers.
    The bicycling analogy of shallow pools for non-swimmers is empty parking lots and quiet streets for beginner/novice cyclists.

    Putting bike lanes on a 45 mph arterial in order to accommodate novice cyclists is like putting a padded bottom at the 12' end of the pool to accommodate non-swimmers. All it can do is create a false sense of security and encourage people to do something that they are not ready to do.

    If someone "needs" a bike lane to feel safe or comfortably ride on some road, they almost certainly have no business riding on that street, and nobody has any business enticing them to do so anyway by putting bike lanes on it.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I agree that having the opinion of such folks is dangerous if used directly to form the basis of what is done on the roads... (even thought really that IS generally what happens when road engineers and motorists share their opinions of what should occur). But consider this, if non cyclists are offering ideas about what they think they need to ride a bike... perhaps we should listen if we expect to ever increase cyclist mode share of all transportation needs.
    I think it's important to listen. But you have to analyze too. In particular, you have to identify root causes and address those, not perceived problems and address those.

    You also have to differentiate between statements of the problem and proposed solutions. People tend to think about solutions before they fully understand the problem.

    If you ask someone why he won't ride on some street, and his answer is "because there is no bike lane", that's someone who is jumping the gun. The reason he won't ride on the street is probably because he doesn't feel it is safe to ride. The reason he says it is because it has no bike lane is probably because he believe if it had a bike lane it would be safe to ride. But we know a bike lane does not make it safer to any significant/measurable degree. And we do know how the root safety issue can be addressed: cyclist skills/knowledge/behavior. There is no alternative. The fact that it may be hard to do is no excuse to not do it.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    I think it's important to listen. But you have to analyze too. In particular, you have to identify root causes and address those, not perceived problems and address those.

    You also have to differentiate between statements of the problem and proposed solutions. People tend to think about solutions before they fully understand the problem.

    If you ask someone why he won't ride on some street, and his answer is "because there is no bike lane", that's someone who is jumping the gun. The reason he won't ride on the street is probably because he doesn't feel it is safe to ride. The reason he says it is because it has no bike lane is probably because he believe if it had a bike lane it would be safe to ride. But we know a bike lane does not make it safer to any significant/measurable degree. And we do know how the root safety issue can be addressed: cyclist skills/knowledge/behavior. There is no alternative. The fact that it may be hard to do is no excuse to not do it.

    How about offering a third solution... Find out what keys the fears of the potential cyclist and address those... if said potential cyclist said that they were not comfortable with large speeding vehicles passing within a foot or so of themselves... what then would be your solution?

    Were you ever able to convince your dentist to ride a bike to work, or even on the streets?
    Last edited by genec; 02-23-08 at 01:33 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Putting bike lanes on a 45 mph arterial in order to accommodate novice cyclists is like putting a padded bottom at the 12' end of the pool to accommodate non-swimmers. All it can do is create a false sense of security and encourage people to do something that they are not ready to do.... and nobody has any business enticing them to do so anyway by putting bike lanes on it.

    But you don't create bike lanes to accomodate "novice" Cyclists. That's not what they do, or are for. this whole argument is based on skewed logic that VC enthusiasts swallow whole because it makes for a convenient diversionary tactic and seems to make it easier to dismiss the usefulness of bike facilities. IMO.
    Last edited by rando; 02-23-08 at 10:02 AM.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  12. #12
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    even among experienced riders, high speed streets with narrow lanes rack DEAD LAST in what types of streets they prefer. Bicyclists (as a class and group of citizens) prefer off street paths and traffic calmed roads.

    Asking to listen to the EXTREME minority view of how cyclists purportedly 'fare best' is much more useless to bicyclists than attempting to accomodate the majority of bicyclists and potential bicyclists.

    Taking lessons from other countries compared to the us and canada with our coorespondingly weak, paltry cyclist share, one clear pattern emerges:

    CYCLISTS FARE BEST when accomodated in communites as human powered vehicles with unique operating characteristics. Not the forestorite fallacy. despite the wrongful vehlemence fo the forestorites, 'vehicular cycling' is NOT in conflict with bike paths, bike lanes and wide lanes, traffic calming and off road infrastructure and social programs designed to benefit bicyclists. all vehicular cyclists have the ability to recognize a shoulder or a bike lane that is vehicular to operate in, and ride accordingly.

    for those of you that are still drinking the 'no special treatment' koolaid, you are doing bicyclists a grave disservice.

  13. #13
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    yes, the world of transportation engineering is happy to distance themselves from forestor's prejudices and crackpot social theories he attaches to 'vehicular' cycling.

    Anyone not blinded by the fallacies of the vc camp recognize that



    letting the extreme minority decide on how cyclists 'fare best' is even MORE of a disservice than attempts to accomodate bicyclists and potential bicyclists thru engineering redesign and social programs to stimulate and encourage bicycling.

    The fallacy 'cyclist fare best when acting and treated as vehicles' is completley erronous- There is a large and ever growing body of statistical and very strongly implied cause and effect between bicycling, bicyclist safety, accomodations and social programs.

    Bicyclists fare best in communities where they are recognized as unique human powered vehicles and accomodated as such.

    Leave the planing for bikes up to guys like head and jon? guys that are most braggardly about their riding attitude? or listen to people that are considering all abilities and styles of bicyclists when planning social programs and engineering enhancements for bicycling?

    I think planning for all bicyclists is a better idea than just for head and his proud retorts about his abilities riding 50 mph roads . Besides, the 'vc' are MOST capable and correspondingly need LESS consideration, right? they are ALWAYS going ON and ON about how they can ride ANY road.....(except a lot of roads that jon f. helped get bikes banned from in California when a slow speed alternative is available)

    Remember, too- bike facilities, bike paths, end of trip facilities, education for both biker and motorists, social education efforts, and even bike lanes that are vehicular in design ARE NOT in conflict with vc belief- ( which is just riding like you want to act like a vehicle, right ?

    Since there is no blanket 'vc' argument condemming the planning of accomodations for bicyclists, and the vc are also supossedly the most able to decipher the road environment in a vehicular manner- BIKE LANE STRIPES OR NOT-

    the idea of vc acting as a roadblock to greater planning & accomodations for bicyclists ( greater numbers of bicyclists riding safer), really shows a very selfsh level of sociopathic ***********.

    forestoties- worthless rapscallions of the lowest order.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 02-23-08 at 08:42 PM.

  14. #14
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    It probably doesn't need to be said, but that's a VERY simplistic view of vehicular cycling........This does not always mean riding in the (or in middle of the) traffic lane, a point which many cannot seem to comprehend.
    It also means they can and do ride vehicularily in bike lanes, ride on bike paths, ride out of the way of traffic off to the side, take advantage of community bike infrastructure, get advantages from social programs that favor bicyclists and bicycling, ride on the shoulders of roads, etc.....

    forestor himself has a overly simplistic, even dishonest view of 'vehicular' bicycling....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    yes, the world of transportation engineering is happy to distance themselves from forestor's prejudices and crackpot social theories he attaches to 'vehicular' cycling.

    Anyone not blinded by the fallacies of the vc camp recognize that



    letting the extreme minority decide on how cyclists 'fare best' is even MORE of a disservice than attempts to accomodate bicyclists and potential bicyclists thru engineering redesign and social programs to stimulate and encourage bicycling.

    The fallacy 'cyclist fare best when acting and treated as vehicles' is completley erronous- There is a large and ever growing body of statistical and very strongly implied cause and effect between bicycling, bicyclist safety, accomodations and social programs.

    Bicyclists fare best in communities where they are recognized as unique human powered vehicles and accomodated as such.

    Leave the planing for bikes up to guys like head and jon? guys that are most braggardly about their riding attitude? or listen to people that are considering all abilities and styles of bicyclists when planning social programs and engineering enhancements for bicycling?

    I think planning for all bicyclists is a better idea than just for head and his proud retorts about his abilities riding 50 mph roads . Besides, the 'vc' are MOST capable and correspondingly need LESS consideration, right? they are ALWAYS going ON and ON about how they can ride ANY road.....(except a lot of roads that jon f. helped get bikes banned from in California when a slow speed alternative is available)

    Remember, too- bike facilities, bike paths, end of trip facilities, education for both biker and motorists, social education efforts, and even bike lanes that are vehicular in design ARE NOT in conflict with vc belief- ( which is just riding like you want to act like a vehicle, right ?

    Since there is no blanket 'vc' argument condemming the planning of accomodations for bicyclists, and the vc are also supossedly the most able to decipher the road environment in a vehicular manner- BIKE LANE STRIPES OR NOT-

    the idea of vc acting as a roadblock to greater planning & accomodations for bicyclists ( greater numbers of bicyclists riding safer), really shows a very selfsh level of sociopathic ***********.

    forestoties- worthless rapscallions of the lowest order.
    More ideological illogicalities from you, bekologist. The only items among those you list that contradict vehicular cycling are bike lanes and some types of bike paths. That's where the controversy exists, nowhere else.

  16. #16
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    and bike lanes provide an effective 'carrot and stick' effect to getting bicyclists ON road and garnering greater recognition from motorists... theres' a significant body of evidence showing facilities enhancements and social programs get bicyclists on the streets in greater numbers and a reduction in acidents.

    the evidence is out there. the vc camp purporting it does not is disengenous.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 02-24-08 at 09:00 AM.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    come on, john, just SOME portions of SOME bike lanes are in 'conflict' with 'vehicular cycling. and I've seen proud , anti-facilities forestoties 'vehicle drivers' using bike paths.

    john, you support (some) bike paths, if i recall correctly, jon. How about Denver's system of over 100 miles of bike specific paths routing bikes across the city with a minimum of intersection conflict with motorists?

    You also concede there are bikelanes that do not violate vehciular principles.

    jon, get off the simpleton horse. it isn't flattering. Your prejudices are showing!!!

    (and why so rude? you agree with the majority of my comment...)
    Last edited by Bekologist; 02-24-08 at 12:34 AM.

  18. #18
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I live a car free life and in 2007 rode 16,000 kilometres in Edmonton, Alberta... of that, more than 12,000 kilometres was spent commuting and doing utilitarian riding and can also say that I am out on our streets nearly every day in every kind of weather.

    In addition to that I am deeply involved in the cycling community, sit on the board of our commuter's society, and volunteer many many hours as a mechanic which puts me in touch with hundreds of riders who are for the most part, commuters.

    I consider Edmonton to be a fairly good city to ride in and one of the reasons for that is because there has been some strong cycling advocacy going on for several decades and our city government actually has several individuals who's jobs are to work closely with cyclists and in most cases, it is our commuter's society that provides that voice.

    Because of these prolonged effoirts to improve the conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, every new development has to consider the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. This has resulted in a marked increase of dedicated multi use / car free routes available.

    Within our city of 1 million there are 400 km of bike paths, bike lanes, and multi use trails that cyclists and pedestrians can use to get around the city but there are always situations where you will have to share the road with vehicles and in these cases, a vehicular approach is often what is needed.

    My 13 km commute takes me across the city in a north south direction and of these 13km more than half can be ridden in a car free / car light environment and riders travelling east and west can also enjoy a great deal of dedicated multi use, car free routes.

    With that being said, I take the lane when I need to and find that most motorists here are fairly considerate although there will always be those asshats who don't think bikes should be on the road.

    If there is a prevalent concern it is that people are fearful of cycle-commuting because of the very real risks one takes in putting themselves in traffic. Even the most experienced cyclists have to acknowledge that as soon as you start sharing space with objects that weigh more than 100 times as much as you do and travel at much higher speeds, your risk of accidents and injury goes way up.

    I was in one accident this summer where I was cut off and broadsided a car that pulled out of a blind alley on a quiet residential street and posted bike route and in another instance was clipped by the mirror of a truck that passed me too closely on a very busy 4 lane where I was taking the lane.

    I have also had a few incidents on the multi use paths that involved other cyclists who were not riding in a safe manner... there were no injuries incurred and I only suffered minor damage to my bike.

    In a perfect world, cyclist and cars would never have to mix and the respective safety of those cyclists would go way up and we see this when we see statistics form European countries where cycling is considered a normal means of transportation and not an anomaly.

    Cycling in North America is still seen my most as a recreational activity and not a viable means of transportation and changing this erroneous view will go a long ways to making the roads safer for cyclists

    A bike lane does not guarantee your safety but in many areas of our city, we have shared use lanes for buses, taxis, and bicycles and when I ride these I find that I am given respect by the buses and taxis and do feel that I am relatively safer than I would be if I was taking the lane. Very few cars intrude into these lanes due to strict enforcement and fines for drivers who think they can use these dedicated lanes.

    I feel that if we increased the amount of dedicated roadways we have for cyclists that would decrease risks and by decreasing the risks we will see more cyclists on the road. Our current level of driver education also needs to be updated to include more information on cyclists and how to safely share the road with non motorized vehicles. Right now, there is pretty much nothing in the curriculum.

    The problems we face as cyclists are real and recognized but the solution is not a simple one as it has to be done on so many levels and involve so many disparate groups and individuals.

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I feel that if we increased the amount of dedicated roadways we have for cyclists that would decrease risks and by decreasing the risks we will see more cyclists on the road. Our current level of driver education also needs to be updated to include more information on cyclists and how to safely share the road with non motorized vehicles. Right now, there is pretty much nothing in the curriculum.

    The problems we face as cyclists are real and recognized but the solution is not a simple one as it has to be done on so many levels and involve so many disparate groups and individuals.
    Well said overall. Sadly your last paragraph is not quite right... as apparently the problems we face are not fully recognized by some...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    come on, john, just SOME portions of SOME bike lanes are in 'conflict' with 'vehicular cycling. and I've seen proud , anti-facilities forestoties 'vehicle drivers' using bike paths.

    john, you support (some) bike paths, if i recall correctly, jon. How about Denver's system of over 100 miles of bike specific paths routing bikes across the city with a minimum of intersection conflict with motorists?

    You also concede there are bikelanes that do not violate vehciular principles.

    jon, get off the simpleton horse. it isn't flattering. Your prejudices are showing!!!

    (and why so rude? you agree with the majority of my comment...)
    Please describe the characteristics of the bike lane that does not contradict the rules of the road. This is the second such request for your wisdom; the first was not fulfilled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    come on, john, just SOME portions of SOME bike lanes are in 'conflict' with 'vehicular cycling. and I've seen proud , anti-facilities forestoties 'vehicle drivers' using bike paths.

    john, you support (some) bike paths, if i recall correctly, jon. How about Denver's system of over 100 miles of bike specific paths routing bikes across the city with a minimum of intersection conflict with motorists?

    You also concede there are bikelanes that do not violate vehciular principles.

    jon, get off the simpleton horse. it isn't flattering. Your prejudices are showing!!!

    (and why so rude? you agree with the majority of my comment...)
    As I have always said, bike paths that have only infrequent intersections with motor traffic, and those intersections are well managed, present generally low risks of car-bike collision. However, I have also said that such locations are generally few in most urban areas, and, also, might well not be located to serve significant transportational purposes. Bike paths are fine in reasonable locations, but they cannot be relied upon to provide for useful cycling by persons without normal traffic-cycling skills, the ability to operate as drivers of vehicles. I also point out that the traffic on many urban paths is frequently chaotic and so dangerous that it requires slow cycling, which destroys the utility of the path at those times.

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    OK, john, DENVER????? are you PRO or CON? (although, judging from your knowledge of bike lighting, don't expect you to be current regarding ANY aspect of bicycling....)

    for or against that system, and expanding that system in Denver metro?

    How about using Denver or Minneapolis as examples of american path networks to enhance bicycling in communities? FOR of AGAINST?


    your post above is (very) thinly veiled disapproval.

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    john, you have ridden your bike vehicularily in a bike lane. you also have ridden your bike vehicularily on a shoulder.

    I'll leave it to you -


    why don't YOU describe what makes bike lanes not contradict the rules of the road to allow you to ride in them?

  24. #24
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    ... as apparently the problems we face are not fully recognized by some...
    IMHO The problem is with the solutions to the recognized problems.
    Cycling Advocate
    http://BaltimoreSpokes.org
    . . . o
    . . /L
    =()>()

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    OK, john, DENVER????? are you PRO or CON? (although, judging from your knowledge of bike lighting, don't expect you to be current regarding ANY aspect of bicycling....)

    for or against that system, and expanding that system in Denver metro?

    How about using Denver or Minneapolis as examples of american path networks to enhance bicycling in communities? FOR of AGAINST?


    your post above is (very) thinly veiled disapproval.
    I have not cycled in Denver; all I know is from the maps. It appears that some of the paths shown follow waterways and have few intersections with motor traffic. What volume and type of use these paths attract I do not know.

    I have cycled in Minneapolis, where I used to have family cycling connections, (people who cycled across town to UM in St. Paul almost all year round). In those days, the bike path system did not do much for bicycle transportation because it didn't really go to desired destinations. If I have the location right, there is a new bike path using an abandoned railbed, running east-west considerably south of the city center. This benefits from the grade separation that had existed for the rail line. Again, however, I do not know the volume or type of traffic that this attracts.

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