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Old 04-11-08, 06:52 AM   #1
markhr
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more bike lanes :/

I disagree with the insistence on bike lanes and possible road widening but I'm sure there'll be some creative defence of this.


http://centretownnewsonline.ca/index...217&Itemid=103

Poor planning puts cyclists at risk
Friday, 11 April 2008
By Kristina Urquhart

April’s showers haven’t yet brought flowers, but they have brought out the cyclists.
Ottawa’s slow-but-steady thaw has encouraged more bikers to hop on their two-wheelers and take to the widened and drier streets.

In some parts of the city, this annual migration is a car driver’s nightmare. It means sharing the road, double-checking blind spots, and often creeping at a snails’ pace behind the cyclists – who, arguably, are just trying to get from point A to B with a bit of exercise, environmental awareness, or financial savvy (perhaps all of the above).

But the cyclists’ also often disregard the rules of the road, whether they’re running red lights, pedaling down the wrong side of the road, riding recklessly or ignoring one-way street signs.

Spring can be hassle-free for a number of drivers. While some roads have paved shoulders or ample lane space to accommodate cyclists on the move, most areas in Centretown do not. Cyclists are left in a no-man’s land between their banishment from the sidewalk and their possibility of jamming traffic when riding in the same lanes as cars.

Bicycles, whether electric or manpowered, are considered vehicles by Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. So in theory, cars and bicycles, as “vehicles”, should be able to share the road. In reality, it’s a bit tricky.

The act states that “every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting a person traveling on a bicycle shall allow the cyclist sufficient room on the roadway to pass.” But what about when the cars have nowhere to go?

Two-lane Bank Street is hardly a safe place for bicycles to interact with cars, and erratic weaving only complicates the problem. Cyclists just can’t pedal as quickly as a driver can accelerate, and so vehicles often tail so closely that one quick squeeze of the bicycle brakes is a devastating collision waiting to happen.

And let’s face it – drivers aren’t always paying the closest attention. Critical Mass, a worldwide monthly event where cyclists amass and ride in large groups, was originally started to bring awareness to oft-ignored bikers. The affair usually involves cyclists overtaking the road, leaving car drivers powerless to stop them. This behaviour is not safe. It’s not effective. It’s not the long-term solution to a growing problem.

Instead, road planners must review the current blueprint for Ottawa’s roads and seriously consider adding bike-specific lanes to streets. Clearly demarcated lanes where cyclists should drive is a highly effective way of organizing the traffic so bikes and cars aren’t riding in tandem with one another. Everyone shares the road, but there’s no tailgating and no slowing down traffic.

Cycle Ontario Alliance, a bike advocacy group, echoes this sentiment in their recently released Ontario Bike Plan, which consists of a number of recommendations for the province to improve cycling facilities. The report suggests the planning of road infrastructure should include consideration of bicycles as long as the cost allocated for the “provisions” does not exceed 20 per cent of total costs of the project.

So if the province is going to call these two-wheelers “vehicles,” bicycles need to start being treated as such – with proper planning and ultimately a safe place to ride. In return, cyclists need to respect cars and learn the rules of the road.
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Old 04-11-08, 07:31 AM   #2
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Old 04-11-08, 08:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for putting it in perspective
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Old 04-11-08, 09:40 AM   #4
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LOL. I bet this Kristina Urquhart person thinks that was a well thought out and unbiased article. She reveals her true colours, however, with this line "But what about when the cars have nowhere to go?"

Apparently 'wait' is a four letter word.
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Old 04-11-08, 11:21 AM   #5
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LOL. I bet this Kristina Urquhart person thinks that was a well thought out and unbiased article. She reveals her true colours, however, with this line "But what about when the cars have nowhere to go?"

Apparently 'wait' is a four letter word.
You can't really blame her though -- the most visible cycle advocacy organization in Ontario is supporting the conclusion: bicycles can't use the road network according to them and need a special bike lane in to the side. The journalist is merely reflecting the aggressive lobbying and retailing of a point of view held by many bicycling advocates and the frustration felt by car drivers who have been reinforced in their belief that they should be allowed to tear along at high speeds in urban areas.
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Old 04-11-08, 11:35 AM   #6
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As someone who lives in Ottawa - and can therefore speak from experience and not some idealogical soap-box - I want to point out something. The street referred to - Bank - and many of the streets in our urban core are very narrow. In some cases (Wellington) the lanes are so narrow that a city bus's rear bumper actually overhangs the lane line one EACH SIDE.

So before people start their usual (and tiresome) pro/anti bike lane rants, please remember that these example you pick to death online are real places with real people in them. People like me, who daily deal with narrow lanes, congested streets, and heavy traffic. We are in a city with a road network over capacity, a public transit system over capacity, and a "draft cycling plan" that has been delayed since 2003!

So don't give me BS about not being able to/wanting to use the road system. I certainly want to use the road system, unfortunately right now there isn't room on it for all users, and if recent "open house" events at city hall are any indication, we cyclist had damn well better show up to make sure we are considered in designs plans.
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Old 04-11-08, 11:42 AM   #7
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So before people start their usual (and tiresome) pro/anti bike lane rants,
Ironically you're the first person to post one in this thread.
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Old 04-11-08, 01:48 PM   #8
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Ironically you're the first person to post one in this thread.
Just out of morbid curiosity, did you opt to read that as a pro-bike-lane rant, or an anti-bile-lane rant?
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Old 04-11-08, 02:19 PM   #9
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As someone who lives in Ottawa - and can therefore speak from experience and not some idealogical soap-box - I want to point out something. The street referred to - Bank - and many of the streets in our urban core are very narrow. In some cases (Wellington) the lanes are so narrow that a city bus's rear bumper actually overhangs the lane line one EACH SIDE...
You don't really think Ottawa is the only city with narrow streets, do you?

Kristina Urquhart seems to conveniently forget a few things with this article. Number one is that the vast majority of cyclists also own cars. Number two is nothing gives motor vehicle operators any special privilege to road use. If they're behind a bike with "nowhere to go" they can slow until it's safe to pass. It doesn't hurt.

She summarizes with:
Quote:
So if the province is going to call these two-wheelers “vehicles,” bicycles need to start being treated as such – with proper planning and ultimately a safe place to ride. In return, cyclists need to respect cars and learn the rules of the road.
Total BS. She shows herself to be just another anti-cyclist. Respect and following traffic laws are a two-way street. Motorists wear no halos.

She comes across to me as an incompetent driver who is afraid.
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Old 04-11-08, 02:49 PM   #10
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I don't care for or against BL right now. But I found this funny

"In some parts of the city, this annual migration is a car driver’s nightmare. It means sharing the road, double-checking blind spots"

Shouldn't drivers ALWAYS be doing this?

God forbid.

-D
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Old 04-11-08, 03:08 PM   #11
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Just out of morbid curiosity, did you opt to read that as a pro-bike-lane rant, or an anti-bile-lane rant?
LOL. I love the idea of renaming them as "bile-lanes" given the discussion they provoke!
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Old 04-11-08, 05:32 PM   #12
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LOL. I love the idea of renaming them as "bile-lanes" given the discussion they provoke!

I take no responsibility for that, the keyboard generated the typo all on its own.
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Old 04-11-08, 05:46 PM   #13
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nothing gives motor vehicle operators any special privilege to road use. If they're behind a bike with "nowhere to go" they can slow until it's safe to pass. It doesn't hurt.
I'm not too concerned about car drivers having to wait for me - after all I consider them as doing something anti-social, so they should suffer for it. My concern is how much delay and inconvenience cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users have to deal with.

While I don't think the article was particularly well-written or comprehensive (and its made the rounds of local email lists as well), I don't disagree with the sentiment: cyclists need to be and must be considered, along with other road users, when designing/re-designing streets. Where insufficient road width exists for the traffic volume, we need to :
  • remove some of the traffic (e.g. cars), or
  • allow priority access to more desirable traffic (bus lanes, bike lanes, wider sidewalks, etc.) or
  • widen the road corridor

As pointed out in the article, here in Ottawa (and yes, elsewhere too ) that last option is, well, not an option.

As a much more trivial example of the need to include cyclists in planning: about two years ago Ottawa starting phasing out parking meters in favour of "pay and display" units - you drop in your change, and get a ticket that you display on your car. One of these units may replace a dozen parking meters... a bit of a problem for cyclists, since under Ottawa by-laws parking meters are the only sidewalk furniture (other than bike racks) we are allowed to lock our bikes to. So effectively this decision removed existing bike parking. Because cyclists were not part of the planning process, the city had to say "oops, sorry guys" and add ring-and-post racks. Relatively minor event, but great example of what happens when you fail to consider all road users in the planing process. (At least that lesson has stuck - the Bank St. redevelopment plans show lots and lots of bike racks.)
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Old 04-12-08, 07:04 PM   #14
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Warning! VC advocate/anti-bike lane post! Those with low tolerance for such posts should avoid reading this entry to avoid feelings of rage and the urge to kick posters out of the forum... Proceed at your own risk! You have been warned!

From the article:

Quote:
"Clearly demarcated lanes where cyclists should drive is a highly effective way of organizing the traffic so bikes and cars aren’t riding in tandem with one another. Everyone shares the road, but there’s no tailgating and no slowing down traffic. ...

So if the province is going to call these two-wheelers “vehicles,” bicycles need to start being treated as such – with proper planning and ultimately a safe place to ride."
The two stated reasons for implementing bike lanes is for motorist convenience and the danger posed by overtaking traffic. John Forester has been vindicated in this case.

Also, in order to be "treated as vehicles" bicycles should have a place to ride outside of motor vehicle lanes.
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Old 04-12-08, 07:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by patc View Post
As someone who lives in Ottawa - and can therefore speak from experience and not some idealogical soap-box - I want to point out something. The street referred to - Bank - and many of the streets in our urban core are very narrow. In some cases (Wellington) the lanes are so narrow that a city bus's rear bumper actually overhangs the lane line one EACH SIDE.

So before people start their usual (and tiresome) pro/anti bike lane rants, please remember that these example you pick to death online are real places with real people in them. People like me, who daily deal with narrow lanes, congested streets, and heavy traffic. We are in a city with a road network over capacity, a public transit system over capacity, and a "draft cycling plan" that has been delayed since 2003!

So don't give me BS about not being able to/wanting to use the road system. I certainly want to use the road system, unfortunately right now there isn't room on it for all users, and if recent "open house" events at city hall are any indication, we cyclist had damn well better show up to make sure we are considered in designs plans.
Usual and tiresome anti-bike lane rant: It sounds to me that Wellington is a ten foot wide bike lane. What's not to like about that?
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Old 04-12-08, 08:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
Warning! VC advocate/anti-bike lane post! Those with low tolerance for such posts should avoid reading this entry to avoid feelings of rage and the urge to kick posters out of the forum... Proceed at your own risk! You have been warned!
Thanks for the warning but given your previous posts on the subject it wasn't necessary.
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Old 04-21-08, 07:56 PM   #17
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Thanks for the warning but given your previous posts on the subject it wasn't necessary.
With the handful of usual suspects around here (myself included,) I think we all know what to expect from each other by now.

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