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  1. #1
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Are you happier without bike facilities?

    I've noticed a couple posts that have pretty passionate responses to the notion of biker inferiority, childish cycling behavior, anti-bikelane-ism and the like.

    Didn't want to create another poll but am interested in what is the majority opinion.

    I think that bike lanes, signs, signals, etc. are very important and can only help improve the safety and convenience of riding.

    I believe I am part of the majority. I plan my rides around safe routes that include well marked bike lanes. Since I've retired I concede that my strategy may not be helpful for commuters but I'd guess that most commuters would prefer not to have to fight traffic for room on the road.

    It isn't enough to add a stripe to the road. A bike lane requires a planned increase in width that is best achieved upon complete repaving or new routes.

    This does require advocacy and a unified front. That's probably the biggest challenge....

    On the other hand, do most think the more agressive 'it's my road too' will achieve more?

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    I've noticed a couple posts that have pretty passionate responses to the notion of biker inferiority, childish cycling behavior, anti-bikelane-ism and the like.

    Didn't want to create another poll but am interested in what is the majority opinion.

    I think that bike lanes, signs, signals, etc. are very important and can only help improve the safety and convenience of riding.

    I believe I am part of the majority. I plan my rides around safe routes that include well marked bike lanes. Since I've retired I concede that my strategy may not be helpful for commuters but I'd guess that most commuters would prefer not to have to fight traffic for room on the road.
    You're part of the majority that believes "well marked bike lanes" make routes safer.
    The majority is often wrong, and in this case is most definitely so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    It isn't enough to add a stripe to the road. A bike lane requires a planned increase in width that is best achieved upon complete repaving or new routes.
    I don't even know if the increase in width increases cyclist safety. But once the width is there, i don't see how a stripe of paint helps, and I certainly see how it hinders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    This does require advocacy and a unified front. That's probably the biggest challenge....

    On the other hand, do most think the more agressive 'it's my road too' will achieve more?
    I don't think believing that cyclists have equal rights, and riding accordingly, is aggressive. Why do you?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    You're part of the majority that believes "well marked bike lanes" make routes safer.
    The majority is often wrong, and in this case is most definitely so.


    I don't even know if the increase in width increases cyclist safety. But once the width is there, i don't see how a stripe of paint helps, and I certainly see how it hinders.


    I don't think believing that cyclists have equal rights, and riding accordingly, is aggressive. Why do you?
    Can you provide some supporting data, please. I don't mind being wrong but a little bit more support than your opinion would be helpful.

    And how does a stripe hinder?

    I can't help but observe that insistence on equal rights for something like a bike versus a car is pretty silly. And yes, agressive cycling sure helps all those OF auto drivers justify their shouts of 'Get on the Sidewalk!". They don't know and they don't care what the laws are.


  4. #4
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    You're part of the majority that believes "well marked bike lanes" make routes safer.
    The majority is often wrong, and in this case is most definitely so.
    You just keep on telling yourself that, Mr. expert

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    I don't even know if the increase in width increases cyclist safety.
    Which just highlights how little of a clue you have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    But once the width is there, i don't see how a stripe of paint helps, and I certainly see how it hinders.
    Why does a line of paint have such a magical influence on you, HH?
    Last edited by Tom Stormcrowe; 03-03-08 at 08:02 PM.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  5. #5
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    Can you provide some supporting data, please. I don't mind being wrong but a little bit more support than your opinion would be helpful.
    The only data I have is every study that attempts to show cycling with bike lanes is safer fails.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    And how does a stripe hinder?
    A bike lane stripe hinders safety in the following manner.

    1) Induces a false sense of security (if you think you're safer when you're not then you're probably less safe).
    2) guides through cyclists to go straight in space that is to the right of right turning motorists
    3) guides cyclists to ride in door zones
    4) makes presence of a cyclist up ahead in the road less relevant to motorists, thus cyclist is more likely to be overlooked. Since a cyclist who is noticed is more likely to inhibit a driver from choosing to attend to a distraction than is a cyclist up ahead who is overlooked, and a motorist is more likely to drift when he is attending to a distraction, a cyclist in a bike lane is more likely to be drifted into than is a cyclist who is in the same position but in the same lane as the motorist because there is no bl stripe. I wish there was a study on this, but it would be hard to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    I can't help but observe that insistence on equal rights for something like a bike versus a car is pretty silly.
    Cars and bikes don't have rights. Vehicle drivers and cyclists have rights. The comparison is not between cars and bikes, but between motorists and cyclists. Do you think truck drivers have more rights than Honda Civic drivers because insistent on equal rights for something like a Mack truck vs. a Civic is pretty silly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    And yes, agressive cycling sure helps all those OF auto drivers justify their shouts of 'Get on the Sidewalk!". They don't know and they don't care what the laws are.

    So you're saying we should ride on the sidewalk? What's your point?

  6. #6
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    Can you provide some supporting data, please. I don't mind being wrong but a little bit more support than your opinion would be helpful.
    I'm not a big fan of bike lanes or paths. That said, you're in the majority and you are not wrong. Cycling specific facilities play an important role in a totally integrated transportation system.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    Can you provide some supporting data, please. I don't mind being wrong but a little bit more support than your opinion would be helpful.
    Script I admire your attempt to open the dialogue.

    I get the sense sometimes that resistance to bike lanes/bike paths has more to do with the perceived loss of freedom to ride wherever a cyclist may desire than a sincere belief that bikeways never, under any circumstances, offer a safer and more enjoyable alternative to some streets and highways. Therefore all arguments will suffer under that load and no amount of evidence will shift that perspective.

    Like many issues that involve governmental authorities attempting to impose "safety standards" on the general public : helmet use, cigarette smoking, *** laws, seat belts, trans fats there will be strong resistance on the part of those who have a more "libertarian" view of such impositions and no amount of study will be enough to convince them that the loss of personal freedom and the ability to choose for themselves is worth the trade off. The catch-22 for those who oppose these restrictions is that should they admit to the value of any demonstration of the efficacy of the safety standard then their libertarian argument is in serious jeopardy of collapse.

    The compromise tends to be to make a law restricting the behavior based on age, which gives us laws requiring helmet use under a certain age, cigarette, alcohol and certain *** laws based on age. This way those in favor of such restrictions feel virtuous and those opposing can come out of the argument with their dignity and "rights to choose" intact.

    While I do not agree with those who see bike lanes/paths as a major threat to our right to ride on the road I do see it as a potential threat and worth keeping in check. This is why I think it's important for those of us who favor an occasional bike facility to continue to enlist strident vehicular cyclists to use as the attack dogs on that front. It's just a shame that they often turn on pro-facility cyclists as quickly as they do the non-cyclists who wish to restrict our rights to ride on the road.

    This is why so many straw man arguments, denials of facts, odd twists of logic come into play around the resistance to bike facilities- because it's not really about facilities- none of us like poorly designed facilities. Read through old posts and you'll see that some of the most ardent VC'ers admit to making use of bike facilities when it's convenient- even, at times, admitting to enjoying it once in a while. Granted there are some who will refuse to admit to ever having ridden on a bike facility that they liked but what are you going to do?- you can't win 'em all.

    And bike facilities by no means belong everywhere nor do they solve all problems. Nothing beats a good well designed road that can be safely shared by all kinds of vehicles but not all roads meet that standard nor can they all be modified to do so.

  8. #8
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    I'm not a big fan of bike lanes or paths. That said, you're in the majority and you are not wrong. Cycling specific facilities play an important role in a totally integrated transportation system.
    Even if that's the case, that's not what he said. What he said was, "'well marked bike lanes' make routes safer." Anyone have any data to support that claim?

  9. #9
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Script I admire your attempt to open the dialogue.

    I get the sense sometimes that resistance to bike lanes/bike paths has more to do with the perceived loss of freedom to ride wherever a cyclist may desire than a sincere belief that bikeways never, under any circumstances, offer a safer and more enjoyable alternative to some streets and highways. Therefore all arguments will suffer under that load and no amount of evidence will shift that perspective.
    I can't speak for any other anti-blers, but this is not quite right. Although I am a libertarian, my opposition to bike lanes has little to do with the whole loss of freedom thing. In CA, there are so many loopholes in the bike lane law (21208) that there is really very little actual loss of freedom (if you know the law). The direct impact of bike lanes on my own riding are minimal, the most immediate being debris, but I generally avoid that anyway.

    There are two indirect impacts: how much the mere existence of bike lanes reinforces the notion that cyclists are supposed to stay out of the way of motorists, and how much their existence reinforces the notion that cycling in traffic is so dangerous that cyclists need their own protected space in order to be reasonably safe. For obvious reasons I hope (let me know if not), it's significantly more challenging, perhaps impossible, to dispel those two notions in a society with more bike lanes than in a society with fewer bike lanes. And since as a cycling advocate it's very important to me to dispel those two notions (to make cycling more popular), I'm opposed to the facilities that inhibit us from doing so: bike lanes.

    In terms of safety, I strongly believe that in our culture the normal position for bicycling on roadways is generally considered to be "as close as practicable to the right edge of the road". Yes, that's what the law says, but there is a lot of flexibility in "practicable" (for good reason), and most states have a lot of explicit exceptions. But few people understand the nuances of "practicable" or know the exceptions. What most people know is "keep right", which many interpret as "stay out of the way of same-direction traffic". So what is poorly understood in our culture are the safety advantages of riding further left than most cyclists ride in terms of improved vantage, conspicuousness and maneuvering/escape buffer space. I sincerely believe the single most important safety improvement that could be made is for cyclists to learn to ride "further left" in many, many situations (I endorse Franklin's primary riding position method for defaulting to what Hurst calls a "centerish" position). I also believe that the existence of bike lane inhibits the development of this "further left" meme in our culture.

    Bike lanes leave the impression that cyclists are supposed to ride in one particular static lateral position, no matter the factors or conditions, or at least need to ride there often enough that it may as well be demarcated. But I think I'm much safer, and all cyclists would be much safer, by riding in a default centerish primary riding position, and only moving aside close to the right edge (or in the bike lane) when safe, reasonable and necessary to do so. If you accept that riding method, then bike lanes become ludicrous, just as that method seems silly given the existence of bike lanes. That's why I'm opposed to bike lanes.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 03-03-08 at 10:50 PM.

  10. #10
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    I strongly oppose bike lanes.

    In the city of Dallas, wide outside lanes (WOL) are rare. Almost all through streets that I ride on have two or three lanes each direction, with lane widths of between 8' and 12'. (By actual measurement. I had estimated them to be much wider than that before putting a tape to them!) Posted speed limits (PSL) are from 35 to 55 MPH, and poorly enforced. There is no curbside parking on our arterials.

    I think this situation is ideal for cyclists! I ride centerish to leftish in the lane, and it is naturally pleasant: After all, I have a 8' to 12' bike lane! How could a 3' or less lane that is exclusively set aside for bicycle use improve my situation?

    As Helmet Head points out, overtaking traffic in my lane know the moment they see me that I am a slow moving vehicle directly in their path. I am an obstacle that they MUST contend with. They often have more than 100 yards to either merge left of slow to my speed. In practice this all happens in an elegant way without any fuss at all. I do not ride with a mirror, and I have no concerns about being rear-ended of any kind.

    I logged more than 6,000 miles last year in and around Dallas, as I am car free. I had three close calls in all that time. Each of them were folks turning left across my path. I had zero right hooks and zero pull-outs on me.

    In contrast, I estimate that I rode some 40,000 to 50,000 miles in southern California between 1973 and 1989. That was predominantly WOL and there were no bike lanes that I can remember. It seemed to work just fine, but I like NOLs better.

    Bike lanes big claim to fame is the perceived reduction to the risk of being run down from behind, a very slight risk in any case. For this singular and dubious benefit, cyclists get a higher risk of right hooks, left crosses, being doored and pull-outs! Cars park in them and snow is piled high on them, so they are only occasionally available to a cyclist. Trees and brush encroach on them and they get filled with debris. What a bargain! Two scoops of that for me, please!

    I know that most conflicts with cars come at intersections. I need to watch for folks turning left or right into driveways. Pulling out as well. I know that I can see these hazards better (and be seen better) the further I am from the curb. I guess I could support bike lanes between intersections. For safety sake I would leave a bike lane anytime I approached a driveway (Intersection) though. Motorists just love cyclists in front of them when there is a bike lane present.

    Special facilities were built for poor folks. The Projects worked so well they were torn down within twenty years. You see, the folks who designed and built them, they built them for other people to use. They weren't going to live in the projects themselves. The politicians and engineers and committees who build bicycle facilities aren't building them for themselves either. They are just designing a ghetto for cyclists.
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    The only data I have is every study that attempts to show cycling with bike lanes is safer fails.


    A bike lane stripe hinders safety in the following manner.

    1) Induces a false sense of security (if you think you're safer when you're not then you're probably less safe).
    2) guides through cyclists to go straight in space that is to the right of right turning motorists
    3) guides cyclists to ride in door zones
    4) makes presence of a cyclist up ahead in the road less relevant to motorists, thus cyclist is more likely to be overlooked. Since a cyclist who is noticed is more likely to inhibit a driver from choosing to attend to a distraction than is a cyclist up ahead who is overlooked, and a motorist is more likely to drift when he is attending to a distraction, a cyclist in a bike lane is more likely to be drifted into than is a cyclist who is in the same position but in the same lane as the motorist because there is no bl stripe. I wish there was a study on this, but it would be hard to do.


    Cars and bikes don't have rights. Vehicle drivers and cyclists have rights. The comparison is not between cars and bikes, but between motorists and cyclists. Do you think truck drivers have more rights than Honda Civic drivers because insistent on equal rights for something like a Mack truck vs. a Civic is pretty silly?


    So you're saying we should ride on the sidewalk? What's your point?
    I'm still waiting for data to support no bike lanes.... not valid to answer a question with a question.

    What is a false sense of security? Anyone who rides the roads today better have a sense of anxiety and be prepared for anything.
    I completely disagree with the notion that drivers are more alert to the presence of a cyclist in the absense of a bike lane. Bad drivers are bad drivers no matter what the road configuration.

    We'd probably all be better off advocating the elimination of mobile phone technology and improving methods for screening unqualified or incompetent drivers drivers than spending any time on lane issues.

    Give me a break... do you really think my reference to car and bicycle was not in reference to drivers? Until the world fills up with AGVs, almost all vehicles have some operator so why waste energy on a comment comparing Honda to Mack?

    Ride wherever it's safe. On second thought is it ever safe? How about ride in a fashion that fits conditions. In my world, that does NOT include things like 'taking the lane' just to prove we have the same rights. It does mean follow the rules of the road while on the road. It does mean occasionally riding on a sidewalk while respecting the rights of pedestrians since, while on a sidewalk, we generally fall under the definition of pedestrian.


  12. #12
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    The only data I have is every study that attempts to show cycling with bike lanes is safer fails.
    Hmm, From what I have read there is not much of a difference. There is one European study that showed that European bike lanes (what we would call a side path) were less safe but outside of that not much difference.


    Quote Originally Posted by THC la Helmet Head
    Not having an adequate safe cycling education program hinders safety in the following manner.

    1) Induces a false sense of security (if you think every road is safe without understanding proper lane positions).
    2) Encourages cyclists to go straight in space that is to the right of right turning motorists
    3) Encourages cyclists to ride in door zones
    4) makes presence of a cyclist up ahead in the road less relevant to motorists, thus cyclist is more likely to be overlooked. Since a cyclist who is noticed is more likely to inhibit a driver from choosing to attend to a distraction than is a cyclist up ahead who is overlooked,
    The status quo is not safe ether.


    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    a motorist is more likely to drift when he is attending to a distraction, a cyclist in a bike lane is more likely to be drifted into than is a cyclist who is in the same position but in the same lane as the motorist because there is no bl stripe. I wish there was a study on this, but it would be hard to do.
    Then don't quote it as fact then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Cars and bikes don't have rights. Vehicle drivers and cyclists have rights. The comparison is not between cars and bikes, but between motorists and cyclists. Do you think truck drivers have more rights than Honda Civic drivers because insistent on equal rights for something like a Mack truck vs. a Civic is pretty silly? ... So you're saying we should ride on the sidewalk? What's your point?
    Being a literalist is not being helpful. If you are out to evangelizes you should be able to answer the question behind the question to show you are in touch with the reality of the person you are responding to, instead you make someone look silly ether the person you are answering our yourself and nether should be a goal.
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    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Even if that's the case, that's not what he said. What he said was, "'well marked bike lanes' make routes safer." Anyone have any data to support that claim?
    What he said was:
    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    I think that bike lanes, signs, signals, etc. are very important and can only help improve the safety and convenience of riding.
    The safety issue you covered but what about convenience? That sort of comes down to popular opinion does it not?
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  14. #14
    Conservative Hippie
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    Signs are a good indicator (reminder) that cyclists may be present.

    Bike lanes create more problems than they solve. Multiple, too narrow to share, same direction lanes are better.

    Even better if sharrows are present. They do the same thing as signs, just more plainly.

  15. #15
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Are you happier without bike facilities?
    I am not sure that's the right question for me. I'd rather ask myself, "Am I happy with the roads as they are?"

    There are a few bike facilities that are convenient to my destinations, but the lion's share of my riding is on the road, without bike facilities. The roads work fine for me, and I don't feel the need for any bicycle-specific facilities to get where I want to go. In some cases, the few bike facilities that exist create a nice, park-like atmosphere for riding (as long as pedestrians are few.)

    I know many people in my area greatly desire more bike facilities, and that's ok with me. But I don't have any special need for them.
    No worries

  16. #16
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Personally I prefer isolated bike paths... often shortcuts around here... they have the unique advantage of keeping speeding cell phone chatting motorists well away from cyclists.

    I enjoy a nice childish ride now and then... helps me stay young.
    Last edited by genec; 03-04-08 at 08:20 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post

    I get the sense sometimes that resistance to bike lanes/bike paths has more to do with the perceived loss of freedom to ride wherever a cyclist may desire than a sincere belief that bikeways never, under any circumstances, offer a safer and more enjoyable alternative to some streets and highways. Therefore all arguments will suffer under that load and no amount of evidence will shift that perspective.

    Like many issues that involve governmental authorities attempting to impose "safety standards" on the general public : helmet use, cigarette smoking, *** laws, seat belts, trans fats there will be strong resistance on the part of those who have a more "libertarian" view of such impositions and no amount of study will be enough to convince them that the loss of personal freedom and the ability to choose for themselves is worth the trade off. The catch-22 for those who oppose these restrictions is that should they admit to the value of any demonstration of the efficacy of the safety standard then their libertarian argument is in serious jeopardy of collapse.

    The compromise tends to be to make a law restricting the behavior based on age, which gives us laws requiring helmet use under a certain age, cigarette, alcohol and certain *** laws based on age. This way those in favor of such restrictions feel virtuous and those opposing can come out of the argument with their dignity and "rights to choose" intact.

    While I do not agree with those who see bike lanes/paths as a major threat to our right to ride on the road I do see it as a potential threat and worth keeping in check. This is why I think it's important for those of us who favor an occasional bike facility to continue to enlist strident vehicular cyclists to use as the attack dogs on that front. It's just a shame that they often turn on pro-facility cyclists as quickly as they do the non-cyclists who wish to restrict our rights to ride on the road.

    This is why so many straw man arguments, denials of facts, odd twists of logic come into play around the resistance to bike facilities- because it's not really about facilities- none of us like poorly designed facilities. Read through old posts and you'll see that some of the most ardent VC'ers admit to making use of bike facilities when it's convenient- even, at times, admitting to enjoying it once in a while. Granted there are some who will refuse to admit to ever having ridden on a bike facility that they liked but what are you going to do?- you can't win 'em all.

    And bike facilities by no means belong everywhere nor do they solve all problems. Nothing beats a good well designed road that can be safely shared by all kinds of vehicles but not all roads meet that standard nor can they all be modified to do so.
    True, true, true, true, and true.

    I guess I still think campaigning against bike 'facilities' will almost guarantee no improvement. It's not as if the general non-riding public is going to observe that bikers just want the same access to roads as 'we in our motorized vehicles have' and in doing so, change their behavior.

    Capmaigning for something visible, tangible and different, in my opinion, beats the 'we have the same rights' argument. That one, from my view, hasn't been successful and it's been making noise for quite a while.

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Well implemented bike infrastructure is a pleasure to ride.

    Well thought out bike lanes are a pleasure to ride.

    community infrastructure supporting bicycling can truly enhance bicyclists' presence along public rights of way, and corresponding lowers accident rates...proven around the world.

    Am I happier without facilities? Am I happier without cheeseburgers? Neither can be had 100 percent of the day or bike ride. Seattle, for example, has only 4 percent bike laned roads, but the city encourages cycling with bike lanes and other integrated and disparate 'facilities.'

  19. #19
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Well implemented bike infrastructure is a pleasure to ride.

    Well thought out bike lanes are a pleasure to ride.

    community infrastructure supporting bicycling can truly enhance bicyclists' presence along public rights of way, and corresponding lowers accident rates...proven around the world.

    Am I happier without facilities? Am I happier without cheeseburgers? Neither can be had 100 percent of the day or bike ride.
    Obviously you've never tried the beer and cheeseburger diet.

    Complete agreement with the balance.


  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Unfortunately for me if it has to be one or the other, the answer is yes. But this does not mean all bike facilities reduce happiness and does not mean no facilities universally increases it.

    Here is what makes me unhappy:
    -Bike lanes stripes at intersection approaches
    -Bike lanes adjacent to door zones
    -Narrow (4' and less) bike lanes
    -No daily sweeping of bike lanes

    I would love to ride as if the bike lane stripe was not present in these situations, but I can't. I can ignore the stripe, but others drivers do not. So I must account for the stripe in all my decisions I make in traffic.

    For me the dislike of improperly placed bike lane stripes is far more for practical reasons than political. However politically it is far easier to say no to bike lane stripes than to say maybe, depends, etc. If the standard guidelines for bike lanes were improved to eliminate these type of problems I note above, then I would be far more likely to be neutral toward and perhaps supportive of bike lanes.

    Other issues I have are the combination of traffic calming and bike lanes that are being implemented locally. The traffic calming (bulb outs with cut out path for bike lane, etc.) disrupt normal flow between right biased and centerish positions in wide lane. They are a hazard to cyclists far more than a hazard to motorist, so the tend to impact cyclists more than motorists.

    Al

  21. #21
    Senior Member Script's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    Unfortunately for me if it has to be one or the other, the answer is yes. But this does not mean all bike facilities reduce happiness and does not mean no facilities universally increases it.

    Here is what makes me unhappy:
    -Bike lanes stripes at intersection approaches
    -Bike lanes adjacent to door zones
    -Narrow (4' and less) bike lanes
    -No daily sweeping of bike lanes

    I would love to ride as if the bike lane stripe was not present in these situations, but I can't. I can ignore the stripe, but others drivers do not. So I must account for the stripe in all my decisions I make in traffic.

    For me the dislike of improperly placed bike lane stripes is far more for practical reasons than political. However politically it is far easier to say no to bike lane stripes than to say maybe, depends, etc. If the standard guidelines for bike lanes were improved to eliminate these type of problems I note above, then I would be far more likely to be neutral toward and perhaps supportive of bike lanes.

    Other issues I have are the combination of traffic calming and bike lanes that are being implemented locally. The traffic calming (bulb outs with cut out path for bike lane, etc.) disrupt normal flow between right biased and centerish positions in wide lane. They are a hazard to cyclists far more than a hazard to motorist, so the tend to impact cyclists more than motorists.

    Al
    Your 'unhappy' collection makes sense.

    In one of my main riding locations, the calming was done through replacing four way stops with rotarys, making huge( and I mean huge!) speed bumps and adding islands at intersections. When first installed, the clean white concrete was nice. Now, the obvious inability of drivers to negotiate these thing has turned them all black and has probably been a real windfall for alignment shops.


    From my cyclist perspective... one less stop sign but have to be aware that drivers have no clue about right of way.

    Speed bumps....Drivers going 25 mph through a neighborhood? How novel.

    The intersection islands, I think, were to be decorative but they served to narrow areas that were already narrow. Where it was done on a road with a bike lane, it just disappeared.

    The last is the only one I take issue with. The others improved my riding enjoyment.


  22. #22
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    I'm still waiting for data to support no bike lanes.... not valid to answer a question with a question.
    Sorry, you made the first claim about safety and bike lanes, in the OP: "well marked bike lanes" make routes safer. I'm just saying I don't know of any study that supports that claim, do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    What is a false sense of security? Anyone who rides the roads today better have a sense of anxiety and be prepared for anything.
    Anxiety is a way for your subconscious to tell you that you're somewhere where you shouldn't be. Don't ignore it, to be sure, but if I get anxious in a given traffic situation that tells me I'm in a situation about which I probably have more to learn, and I should probably be spending more time practicing in less challenging situations.

    I remember how anxious I was when I was first learning to drive. There was so much to pay attention to at once. I remember having to focus on what is going on immediately in front of the car and wondering how anyone does that and looks ahead, much less does mirror checks and checks for hazards coming from the sides. Of course, with time and exposure I got better at it, meaning my subconscious learned how to process the information directly in front of me and to keep the car going straight, so I could focus my conscious cycles on other tasks, just as it's my subconscious that keeps the bike upright for me (I don't have to consciously think I'm falling to the left so I need to turn left a bit to get the bike back in balance).

    Riding a bike in traffic is just another step, and riding a bike in fast traffic is a step, riding a bike in heavy traffic is a step, and riding a bike in fast/busy traffic is a step.

    Nobody can be prepared for "anything"; if that's what you're trying to do, you're setting yourself up for failure. What you need to do is try to maximize vantage, buffer space and conspicuousness; follow the rules, be predictable and become a student of driver behavior. Learn to focus on those who pose an immediate and near-immediate potential hazard to you, and ignore those who don't pose any kind of hazard to you at all (which means getting good at knowing the difference). If you're bothered by someone's misuse of a traffic signal, for example, that's a sign that your focus is misdirected from optimal use for your safety. You should be focused on what they're doing that is relevant to you, and ignore everything else. What's important is whether an oncoming motorist is turning left or not, not whether they are using their turn signals properly (which you can't rely on so why waste cycles on that). Developing these kinds of traffic skills is the only way I know to build confidence and know how to anticipate and avoid anxiety-inducing situations. But, again, anxiety is good; it's a sign that you have more to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    I completely disagree with the notion that drivers are more alert to the presence of a cyclist in the absense of a bike lane. Bad drivers are bad drivers no matter what the road configuration.
    Note: everything that follows is my own personal theory. If you find it convincing, great, if not, that's okay too. It's your life.

    What is a "bad driver"? Seriously, the concept of a "bad driver" is key to your point. What specifically do you mean by "bad driver"?

    All drivers drive well most of the time, and all drivers are inattentive and break the rules some of the time. It is true that some drivers break the rules and are inattentive more often than others, and I suppose if you could measure all that you could define some kind of arbitrary threshold and say any driver who is inattentive more often than that, or breaks the rules more times than that per 100 miles or per hour or whatever, is "bad", but what would be the point? What's important is that in any given instance, most drivers will be attentive and following the rules, but any driver may not be.

    In terms of overtaking traffic, what's important is not whether the driver approaching from behind is a "good" driver or a "bad" driver, but whether the driver is and will be paying attention to the road and to you as he approaches and overtakes you. Now, I understand the argument that when you're in a bike lane you don't care whether he notices you or not, because all you need him to do is stay left of that bike lane stripe which only takes minimal attention. That's what I used to think too but I've concluded that's overly simplistic. I read about way too many cyclists killed while riding in shoulders or bike lanes by motorists who inadvertently drifted across the stripe into cyclists that they hadn't noticed were there. And in every situation where there was enough information the theme was common: the driver had chosen to attend to a distraction some time before reaching the cyclist (that he or she did not notice or did not think was relevant to them), took their eyes away from the road to attend to the distraction, and drifted across the stripe at a tragically inopportune moment for the cyclist.

    To understand what I'm saying, it's important to consider the effect of the bike lane stripe on the driver. To many drivers a bike lane stripe is not different from any road edge stripe: a fog line, a shoulder stripe, etc. It marks the edge of the road. The lack of distinction between shoulders and bike lanes is prevalent even among cyclists. I can't tell you how many times I've heard cyclists talking about riding "in the bike lane" when what they meant was the shoulder. Let's face it, the technical distinction between a 4' bike lane and a 4' shoulder is minimal, and understandably insignificant to the driver. So, yes, he knows it's the stripe that marks the edge of the road, a stripe he's not supposed to cross. But he also knows that there is no traffic in the shoulder. Unless you're in a locale where there is lots of bike traffic, it's easy to see how a motorist can easily assume that the bike lane or shoulder is generally "empty"/unoccupied buffer space at the edge of the road. And, so, they use it accordingly. For example, you can see them encroach into bike lanes and shoulders on right hand curves (note the relatively high wear of the stripe at most such locations, and the relative lack of debris in the shoulder/bike lane at these curves - all evidence of regular encroachment at that one particular spot). But what they also do is glance ahead and allow themselves to drift into that unoccupied space while they are attending to a distraction.

    The final and arguably most important point is that a driver's primary attention ends at what he perceives to be the road edge. If there is a stripe, then that's where it ends. If there is no stripe, then his primary attention extends to the physical road edge. The reason for this is the same reason that you like bike lane stripes. The stripe demarcates the edge of the space in which he intends to travel, and actually travels. That is, the stripe works - drivers generally keep to the left of it. That proves they pay attention to the stripe. The stripe generally guides them to keep left of it. I don't dispute that. But my point is that because of that, what is in the space that is to the right of the stripe becomes much less relevant to the driver than it would be if the stripe was not there.

    I realize that's a lot to grasp at once, but when you put it all together you get this:

    1) A cyclist up ahead is perceived to be less relevant to a motorist if the cyclist is separated from the motorist's intended path by a stripe.
    2) The perceived relevance of a something or someone to the motorist affects how likely the motorist is to take notice of the something or someone.
    3) If a motorist notices a cyclist up ahead in his intended path he is significantly less likely to choose to attend to a distraction prior to overtaking the cyclist than if he does not take notice of the cyclist up ahead.
    4) A motorist is most likely to drift across a bike lane or shoulder stripe when he is attending to a distraction.

    This is why I believe drifts into cyclists across stripes seem to occur all too often, and hitting cyclists from behind that are not in shoulders or bike lanes (and doesn't involve a cyclist suddenly veering, or a right hook situation) are practically unheard of. This is why I reject the dubious claim that bike lane stripes make cyclists safer from overtaking collisions. I don't think they help at all, and probably make it significantly worse.


    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    We'd probably all be better off advocating the elimination of mobile phone technology and improving methods for screening unqualified or incompetent drivers drivers than spending any time on lane issues.

    Give me a break... do you really think my reference to car and bicycle was not in reference to drivers? Until the world fills up with AGVs, almost all vehicles have some operator so why waste energy on a comment comparing Honda to Mack?
    You make my point. Why waste energy comparing a bike to a Honda?
    The equality is between the operators, not between the vehicles.
    Thus a bike operator is equal to a Honda operator who is equal to a Mack operator.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    Ride wherever it's safe. On second thought is it ever safe? How about ride in a fashion that fits conditions. In my world, that does NOT include things like 'taking the lane' just to prove we have the same rights.
    No one I know, certainly not me, takes the lane in order to prove we have the same rights. When I take the lane, I take the lane because it's safer, period.

    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    It does mean follow the rules of the road while on the road. It does mean occasionally riding on a sidewalk while respecting the rights of pedestrians since, while on a sidewalk, we generally fall under the definition of pedestrian.
    I agree with that as long as you're choosing the sidewalk because it's advantageous to you for some reason (like a shortcut), and not a compromise because you think the road is inappropriate due to motor traffic.

  23. #23
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    The only data I have is every study that attempts to show cycling with bike lanes is safer fails.
    Hmm, From what I have read there is not much of a difference.
    Hmm? That implies you're disagreeing, but we're saying the same thing.
    There is no data that shows that bike lanes make cycling significantly safer (or less safe), which contradicts the claim made in the OP.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    The status quo is not safe ether.
    Well, "safe" is meaningless. I do believe the status quo allows an attentive and predictable cyclist to be reasonably safe, and that the variance in safety that depends on the cyclist's behavior dwarfs any potential variance that could be eked from traffic environmental changes (including design changes and driver behavior improvements). If it was not the case that it was reasonably safe to ride a bike in status quo traffic, I would not be a cyclist, much less a cycling advocate or an instructor.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Then don't quote it as fact then.
    Sorry. I try to qualify with "I believe" or "I think" when appropriate, but sometimes it seems obvious it is implied.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    Being a literalist is not being helpful. If you are out to evangelizes you should be able to answer the question behind the question to show you are in touch with the reality of the person you are responding to, instead you make someone look silly ether the person you are answering our yourself and nether should be a goal.
    I understand what you're saying, but this is the statement to which I was responding: "I can't help but observe that insistence on equal rights for something like a bike versus a car is pretty silly."

    This is not a question, it's a criticism of what I was saying, that cyclists have the same rights as drivers of vehicles. He was rejecting that on the basis that a bike is not equal to a car. Or am I missing something? If there is a point behind this rejection of the claim that cyclists have equal rights to drivers, I'm honestly not seeing it. The point, to me, is that the vehicle type (be it bike, Honda or Mack) does not matter.

  24. #24
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    What he said was:


    The safety issue you covered but what about convenience? That sort of comes down to popular opinion does it not?
    That's not the statement to which I was referring. My objection is to this statement in the OP: "I plan my rides around safe routes that include well marked bike lanes."

    The implication, unless I'm misunderstanding, is that what makes at least certain routes "safe" is the marked bike lanes; that without the bike lane markings these same routes would not be "safe".

  25. #25
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Script View Post
    Your 'unhappy' collection makes sense.
    I'm only one step beyond Al's position. I have concluded that it is not possible to create bike lanes to any significant degree without also creating the problems in Al's unhappy collection.

    So my political objection to bike lanes has a practical basis: Al's unhappy collection, which I believe are inevitable if you are to have bike lanes.

    In any case, a "bike lane" today is what is defined and allowed by the MUTCD, the recommended designs of which blatantly (and I believe necessarily) create the problems in Al's collection.

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