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  1. #1
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Bike lanes are like sidewalks

    I was going to respond to THC with the following reply, but it would have completely derailed the thread. I think there is something to this idea. (Perhaps not!) Be thankful I discarded the thought of making this into a poll!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    We really need to oppose building sidewalks because they reinforce the notion that bikes do not belong on the road.
    You seem to have swerved into the truth! (I am not implying that truth is unusual in your posts, rather; What you intended to be a humorous line is actually, in a way, true. )

    Sidewalks absolutely do indicate that pedestrians ought not walk on the road. Sidewalks, by their very existence, say:

    1) People on foot have their own special lane.

    2) That lane is separated from the normal traffic lanes of the road.

    3) The mode of travel that is expected to be used in that lane is in its name: sideWALK.

    In light of the above facts, does that same reasoning also indicate that a bike lane is where bicycles belong, and not on the road proper?

    I would say that bike lanes for cyclists are thought of in the same way that sidewalks are for pedestrians. Is that notion good for cycling advocacy?

    I had always assumed that the idea for bike lanes springs from the "speed positioning principle". Could its origin actually be due to a "sidewalk principle"?
    Last edited by ChipSeal; 03-08-08 at 10:29 PM. Reason: grammar error, then to correct a spelling error
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  2. #2
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    I think we should eliminate all sidewalks and make the peds share the lane with motorists.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    I think we should eliminate all sidewalks and make the peds share the lane with motorists.
    You need to start a movement. You could call it vehicular walking.

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    Honestly I do tend to agree. It is a tough call though. I would be willing to bet that the sidewalk was born out of a desire to make walking safer with the advent of the car, especially when the car could start achieving greater speeds.

    Similarily bike lanes are mostly thought of for the same reasons.

    The problem with both is that they have the secondary issue of giving motorists yet another reinforcement that the road is just for them.

    Do I think we should eliminate all sidewalks? No. But we have to recognize that with the good also comes the bad.

    -D

  5. #5
    JRA
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    Actually, the main purpose of sidewalks originally was to get pedestrians out of the mud, muck and horse poop of early, unpaved roads-- before there were cars or bicycles and before the rules of the road became standardized. When the first bicycle craze took hold (before the motor car was common or practical) bicyclists demanded, and sometimes got, both paved roads and bicycle paths, well before the creator of the myth that bicycle facilities are some kind of motorist conspiracy was even born.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    I think we should eliminate all sidewalks and make the peds share the lane with motorists.
    absolutely! it's the only logical conclusion to the OP's analogy.

    no more sidewalks. and no more of those messy crosswalks. and no more of those pesky "walk" signals-why should those peds get their own separate signal? everybody needs to get out there with the cars and mix it up.

    and who pays for all those sidewalks? last time I heard they didn't tax those pedestrians, they don't pay registration fees for their shoes. Most people don't walk all that much why should we have to subsidize all those pedestrians with our hard earned tax dollars?

    and sidewalks are often really poorly maintained, they're messed up and people leave the trash barrels on them all day blocking them. And people walk any which way they want. In NYC where the sidewalks are really crowded there's pushing and shoving and people could really use some training. That's the real solution pedestrian training! They should be more predictable and walk in a straight line. and where sidewalks intersect with roads it's really dangerous. Sidewalks, if they're going to make one's that I'd use, should never intersect with roads or streets.

    absolutely, pedestrians would be much safer just walking in the street.

    Chipseal, this is brilliant! thank you so much for drawing this to our attention.

  7. #7
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Buzzman you're a panic!

    One thing I found interesting is they put a curb lane down a road in my neighborhood where there is no sidewalk and the joggers and strollers came out in droves. And I think the character of the road changed from "high speed motoring short cut" to a more civil neighborhood collector street as a result. Since there are many roads in MD with no sidewalks and narrow lanes I was thinking of trying to sell a multi-use wide curb lane as a way to minimize ROW requirements, give joggers something softer to run on and give cyclists some extra width.

    Anyway while a lot of post were in jest I really wounder what a JF of pedestrian issues would uncover. I would not be surprised at all that vehicular walking would be found to be safer.
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  8. #8
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    This discussion really illustrates the identity crisis of cycling: Is it more like walking, or more like driving a car? While VC theory explicitly claims that it is more like driving, due to its speed and linearity, most of the public, including a portion of the cycling public, assume it to be more like walking, and ride accordingly. And guess what? Some people DO cycle at speeds more approaching walking than motoring, stop and look at intersections, and so on. So the reality seems that it is somewhere in between, and very dependent on the individual cyclist, and so the debate continues.

    BTW, as a self-identified vehicular cyclist (but not ready to argue that it's best for everyone), I think the whole point of VC is that it's NOT like walking at all. Therefore separated facilities with minimal rules can and do work well for pedestrians, who CAN stop and change direction on a dime. Bikes are (or can be) different. The big question in "how different?"

    It also makes sense to me that this confusion of biking and walking is what makes it natural for many people to make the leap from "pedestrians should stay on the sidewalk and out of the road" to "bicyclists should stay in their lane (or path), and out of the road."
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
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  9. #9
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i doubt that notion is effective for bicycling advocacy, chipseal, becasue it is innacurate. Preffered class road lanes for bikes are nothing like sidewalks- what would give someone that idea?

    -Barry- pic bottom left of bike lane and ped lane striped on road.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    GNU Cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    You need to start a movement. You could call it vehicular walking.
    Too late. Hans Monderman got there first. According to some observers it sucks for cyclists.

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/traffic.html

    Several years ago, Monderman ripped out all the traditional instruments used by traffic engineers to influence driver behavior - traffic lights, road markings, and some pedestrian crossings - and in their place created a roundabout, or traffic circle. The circle is remarkable for what it doesn't contain: signs or signals telling drivers how fast to go, who has the right-of-way, or how to behave. There are no lane markers or curbs separating street and sidewalk, so it's unclear exactly where the car zone ends and the pedestrian zone begins. To an approaching driver, the intersection is utterly ambiguous - and that's the point.

    Monderman and I stand in silence by the side of the road a few minutes, watching the stream of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians make their way through the circle, a giant concrete mixing bowl of transport. Somehow it all works. The drivers slow to gauge the intentions of crossing bicyclists and walkers. Negotiations over right-of-way are made through fleeting eye contact. Remarkably, traffic moves smoothly around the circle with hardly a brake screeching, horn honking, or obscene gesture. "I love it!" Monderman says at last. "Pedestrians and cyclists used to avoid this place, but now, as you see, the cars look out for the cyclists, the cyclists look out for the pedestrians, and everyone looks out for each other. You can't expect traffic signs and street markings to encourage that sort of behavior. You have to build it into the design of the road."

  11. #11
    GNU Cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    Actually, the main purpose of sidewalks originally was to get pedestrians out of the mud, muck and horse poop of early, unpaved roads-- before there were cars or bicycles and before the rules of the road became standardized. When the first bicycle craze took hold (before the motor car was common or practical) bicyclists demanded, and sometimes got, both paved roads and bicycle paths, well before the creator of the myth that bicycle facilities are some kind of motorist conspiracy was even born.
    The Creation Myth according to the gospels of the True Believers! There is an heretical notion that there are actually two creative impulses at work within the transubstantiation of the One True Bicycle Facility. One of them was the desire for paved roads, a pure desire springing from the bosom of our earliest forefathers, which enabled them to swarm forth and roll their wheels upon All The Earth (Lo! even unto their children of today who are as mountain bikers). The other was a dark impulse, a malign outer spirit which saw and envied the Joy and Freedom of men and desired to banish our rubber to the Nether Regions of the road. This Spirit sowed Fear and Confusion upon the Highways, a dark seed of doubt which planted in the hearts of our earliest forebearers now bears fruit.

  12. #12
    GNU Cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    In NYC where the sidewalks are really crowded there's pushing and shoving and people could really use some training. That's the real solution pedestrian training! They should be more predictable and walk in a straight line. and where sidewalks intersect with roads it's really dangerous. Sidewalks, if they're going to make one's that I'd use, should never intersect with roads or streets.
    What absolute and unmitigated rubbish! It's pretty obvious that the solution to crowded sidewalks with large, topheavy people travelling at dangerously high velocities (I heard in the paper the other day about someone that fell and hurt their head when they were knocked down from behind ... thank god they were wearing a helmet or they'd be dead now!) is to create a special inner stripe on the sidewalk where we can travel safely.

    To the people that argue against this idea (pointing out that this would expose us to the danger of suddenly opening store doors and cause confusion at each intersection) I'd just like to point out that this will only be the case initially. Later, when the idea catches on and there are great numbers of us using it everyone will get the hang of the idea. Also we can create a network of high-quality SidepedLanes which are off of the sidewalk and avoid some of these problems. I ask you ... who wouldn't want to commute to work listening to the birds singing on such a SidepedLane.

    Later, after all these are filled up then we could add yet another special lane inside of the first special lane and so on...

  13. #13
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    I just wanted to chime in that Segways are the only vehicle that enjoys a dual pedestrian and vehicle status.

    PS. Walt your creation myth is a panic.
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  14. #14
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    I just wanted to chime in that Segways are the only vehicle that enjoys a dual pedestrian and vehicle status.
    Actually, it's a tri-status - vehicle, pedestrian, and dork.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  15. #15
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Cycling Advocate
    http://BaltimoreSpokes.org
    . . . o
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    =()>()

  16. #16
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Please allow me to quote myself from another thread:

    "The more I think about it, the less I like Bicycle Lanes. Motorists need to be taught respect and to share the road. The three-foot passing law should be mandated in all states.
    I brought up this question a while back: Aren't there a number of different kinds of bicycle lanes?

    1) a slow lane for climbing a hill,

    2) a fast lane for bikes to pass cars in downtown traffic-

    (The two are complete opposites and a mutual contradiction, are they not?)

    3) a continuous Bicycle Lane the whole length of the road, and

    4) Short segments of road widening, just where there are "Choke Points" now, like on curves, or on a main road, when and where there are no back-roads to use as an alternate, e.g.: Between sub-divisions. You know what I mean? Sometimes you can ride back roads through a residential area, but only within any or each sub-division. Then there's a stretch of busy County or State road that you have to ride on for just-one block before you can get to the next sub-division. This would save the lives of many children, even if the Bike Lane is just a five foot wide sidewalk (with existing wheelchair ramps)."

    [end quote]

    Under #4, I said a bike lane could be a 5 foot wide sidewalk. But I said it's just to get around a choke point. Please don't lobby for, or suggest to your congressman, a twenty mile sidewalk to nowhere.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    Actually, the main purpose of sidewalks originally was to get pedestrians out of the mud, muck and horse poop of early, unpaved roads-- before there were cars or bicycles and before the rules of the road became standardized. When the first bicycle craze took hold (before the motor car was common or practical) bicyclists demanded, and sometimes got, both paved roads and bicycle paths, well before the creator of the myth that bicycle facilities are some kind of motorist conspiracy was even born.
    JRA, you claim that it is not true that the bikeway standard designs were designed by motorists as means by which to keep cyclists at the side of the roadway or off the roadway. Upon what information do you base your information? Were you present at the design meetings? Do you know any of the designers? Do you offer any historical account? If one is to believe your claim, you need to offer stronger historical support than that which has been known for thirty-five years.

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    john, who cares?

    can you describe the differences between sidewalks and on road bike lanes?

    you could describe how, at signallized intersections, bike lane stripes sometimes place bicyclists to the left of right turning motorists, quite unlike sidewalks, for example

  19. #19
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    JRA, you claim that it is not true that the bikeway standard designs were designed by motorists as means by which to keep cyclists at the side of the roadway or off the roadway. Upon what information do you base your information? Were you present at the design meetings? Do you know any of the designers? Do you offer any historical account? If one is to believe your claim, you need to offer stronger historical support than that which has been known for thirty-five years.
    We all know that historical context is of the utmost importance as whatever the original purpose of a thing is (such as bike lanes) and that cannot be altered. We have proof of this historical importance in the fact that the bicycle was designed to be a toy and that can never change. Paved roads were first lobbied for by cyclists so their primary purpose to serve cyclists can never change.

    In fact historical context is a critical argument in all forms of bigotry towards gender, race and religion so it has to be a valid argument.

    [/sarcasm]
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  20. #20
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    I'll remember this the next time I meet one of those joggers taking the lane, and treat them as a vehicular pedestrian.

    **** me, I don't know whether to laugh or cry sometimes.

    Ed
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

  21. #21
    Senior Member CTAC's Avatar
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    Around 5,000 people are killed every year because of the improper lane positioning. Inattentional blindness cause cars stride from their lanes and kill pedestrians. We need to get rid of sidewalks to save peoples lives.

  22. #22
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    Wow, you should see what they are saying over at Pedestrianforums about this...
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    We all know that historical context is of the utmost importance as whatever the original purpose of a thing is (such as bike lanes) and that cannot be altered. We have proof of this historical importance in the fact that the bicycle was designed to be a toy and that can never change. Paved roads were first lobbied for by cyclists so their primary purpose to serve cyclists can never change.

    In fact historical context is a critical argument in all forms of bigotry towards gender, race and religion so it has to be a valid argument.

    [/sarcasm]
    I understand that you think that you are being sarcastic. And I also thoroughly dislike your argument that "historical context is a critical argument in all forms of bigotry" applies to this discussion. And your sarcasm that since "the bicycle was designed to be a toy and that can never change" just shows your ignorance of history. The bicycle was invented by people who knew exactly what they wanted: a vehicle faster than walking and cheaper than horses. The miracle is they outdid horses in both economy and speed.

    For your supposed sarcasm to be actual sarcasm, you have to demonstrate that the facts have changed. Bike lanes were designed by motorists to shove bicycle traffic to the side of the road out of the way of motorists. The facts have not changed: bike lanes keep cyclists to the side of the road out of motorists' way. So that invalidates your supposed sarcasm.What do you say?

  24. #24
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    What some people call 'keeping cyclists to the side of the road out of motorist's way', I call 'not unreasonably obstructing other road users', like it says in the road rules (remember them?). I ride to the side of car traffic if there's room, bikelane or not, not because I feel inferior or anything, but simply because it's common courtesy.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allister View Post
    What some people call 'keeping cyclists to the side of the road out of motorist's way', I call 'not unreasonably obstructing other road users', like it says in the road rules (remember them?). I ride to the side of car traffic if there's room, bikelane or not, not because I feel inferior or anything, but simply because it's common courtesy.

    i fully agree with this allister, i find it annoying when i am driving and there is space for a biker to move over and he chooses not to.
    i ride bikes on atlanta roads and there is no one that knows how to handle bike riders around here.

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