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  1. #1
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    vehicular cycling on the injured reserve list

    I've been on the mend from breaking my hip in April and have recently gotten back on the bike and riding on the street.

    My riding style has been assertive, deliberate and very 'take the lane' for many years. I usually kept pace quite well with traffic and was quite adept at claiming lanes and make lefts on high speed roads.

    Since returning to the bike two weeks ago (and riding with a crutch sticking out of pannier or saddlebag!) I am about half the speed I used to be while my muscles and leg sort out the recovery.

    My observations:

    Taking the lane, being traffic, and making lefts on high speed roads IS different when the bicyclists' speed is 7-10 MPH.

    I've still riding quite vehicular but also find myself able to ride closer to the edge of the road at slower speeds in marginally wide lanes when I'm moving 8mph versus 24mph.

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    Bek,

    First off, OUCH. How did you break your hip? I am luckily unfamiliar with broken bones, and a hip sounds extra painful.

    So with your newfound views on VC riding have modified your habits? Maybe things like seeking out routes that are better accomodated?

    You haven't said it, but I would imagine this is yet another argument for better facilities. For those who are new to cycling, or just out of shape, injured, or partially disabled. Pretty much anyone who for whatever reason is unable to keep up with traffic as easily.

    Hope you finish healing up quickly.

    -D

  3. #3
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    no 'newfound' views here, except as a rider on the injured reserve list.

    vc 'techniques' vary according to the riders' ability. what was once an easy move across lanes of traffic if you can sprint 27mph becomes a more difficult type of move when you're topping out at 12mph. Even the simple lateral move from lane sharing to taking the lane becomes a more bearish maneuver at slower speeds.

    But derath has a point, to facilitate vehicular cycling, maybe (american) society needs

    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    ....better facilities. For those who are new to cycling, or just out of shape, injured, or partially disabled. Pretty much anyone who for whatever reason is unable to keep up with traffic as easily.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-30-08 at 09:03 AM.

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    My observations:

    Taking the lane, being traffic, and making lefts on high speed roads IS different when the bicyclists' speed is 7-10 MPH.

    I've still riding quite vehicular but also find myself able to ride closer to the edge of the road at slower speeds in marginally wide lanes when I'm moving 8mph versus 24mph.
    Broadly speaking, I agree. A little extra horsepower definitely helps on high speed roads.

    Is this what I have to look forward to when I return to the bike? It has been 4 1/2 weeks since knee surgery.

  5. #5
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    Bek, good to hear you are on the mend, and retrospectively, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.

    I think your observations regarding speed and its influence on behaviour are spot on. I know if I'm simply not feeling well, then this has an affect on one's level of assertiveness.

    Get well soon,

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

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Since we are all so quick to jump on the bandwagon agreeing with Bek that indeed speed does count, why is it that the grandfather of VC John Forester so often disagreed that speed is an issue, and that speed should not matter, and never mind that the speeds of roads has been increasing in places like southern California, and that the average American car now has the acceleration abilities of muscle cars of days of old?

    Either Forester didn't get it, or you guys are not getting it. BTW for the record, I too believe that speed counts... and I argued that point often with Forester, even quoting his book where he mentions that a difference of 15MPH can make "negotiating" with motorists "impossible."

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Since we are all so quick to jump on the bandwagon agreeing with Bek that indeed speed does count, why is it that the grandfather of VC John Forester so often disagreed that speed is an issue, and that speed should not matter, and never mind that the speeds of roads has been increasing in places like southern California, and that the average American car now has the acceleration abilities of muscle cars of days of old?

    Either Forester didn't get it, or you guys are not getting it. BTW for the record, I too believe that speed counts... and I argued that point often with Forester, even quoting his book where he mentions that a difference of 15MPH can make "negotiating" with motorists "impossible."
    Which guys? Just trying to understand this blanket statement.

    -D

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath View Post
    Which guys? Just trying to understand this blanket statement.

    -D
    Just about everyone that responded to the thread at that point. But bear in mind that I was really pointing out that JF didn't get it... while everyone else commented that speed does matter in some way or another.

    No matter how you spin it... trying to merge with 50 MPH traffic while you are moving at say 8MPH is not going to be a breeze. And I am quite willing to bet that anyone that does say "I do that all the time" also has the word "gap" in their description of how they do it.

    BTW I don't think "facilities" would help... I think lower speed limits is the key. The 50MPH traffic can go use the darn freeway if they really need to "go somewhere fast."

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Just about everyone that responded to the thread at that point. But bear in mind that I was really pointing out that JF didn't get it... while everyone else commented that speed does matter in some way or another.

    No matter how you spin it... trying to merge with 50 MPH traffic while you are moving at say 8MPH is not going to be a breeze. And I am quite willing to bet that anyone that does say "I do that all the time" also has the word "gap" in their description of how they do it.

    BTW I don't think "facilities" would help... I think lower speed limits is the key. The 50MPH traffic can go use the darn freeway if they really need to "go somewhere fast."
    Hmm, I think I understand then? I was just trying to figure out where I had ever said I merge with 50MPH traffic or that the speed differential doesn't matter.

    And I do think well placed facilities can help. My only problem is that they don't negate the need to learn how to ride in traffic. Mostly due to the fact that even in the most bike centril locales, the percentage of roads with facilities is still tiny compared to the total number of roads.

    -D

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    who's EVER stated well placed bike lanes or networks of path facilities negate the need to learn how to ride in traffic? That's spin and nothing any conscious bike advocate would endorse.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-30-08 at 09:15 PM.

  11. #11
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    speed differential does matter. I am seeing "road" "traffic" cycling from a new perspective being on the injured reserve list. feeling much less traffic adept, being less able to take the lane, less opportunities to react as greater speed differential cuts closing times..... and moving 8mph in front of a crowd of motorists on 30mph streets feels a lot less 'okay' then when I am motorpacing traffic.


    Imagining myself in decline in a few more short years, I am totally able to relate better to a lot of the customers at the bike shop. the idea a higher stem, of handlebars with a little more reach or north road style make sense... everyone isn't able or willing to sprint off the stops to hold the lane over multiple city blocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    who's EVER stated well placed bike lanes or networks of path facilities negate the need to learn how to ride in traffic? That's spin and nothing any conscious bike advocate would endorse.
    Chill dude. Don't read too much into it. It was just a thought. You gotta admit that historically threads on this VC board typically ended up on both polarized sides. That's all I am referencing. I think good cyclist training and education is important. I think well designed accomodations can be equally important. It isn't an either or, its a both.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    speed differential does matter. I am seeing "road" "traffic" cycling from a new perspective being on the injured reserve list. feeling much less traffic adept, being less able to take the lane, less opportunities to react as greater speed differential cuts closing times..... and moving 8mph in front of a crowd of motorists on 30mph streets feels a lot less 'okay' then when I am motorpacing traffic.
    I am still curious. Has this caused you to re-think your route, maybe to pick roads that might not be so direct but more accomodating? Just considering that you live in one of the best cycling cities in the nation. It would be a good example of how having those accomodations gives you greater choice etc.

    Of course it may be that your route is already well accomodated, in which case there is no need.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Imagining myself in decline in a few more short years, I am totally able to relate better to a lot of the customers at the bike shop. the idea a higher stem, of handlebars with a little more reach or north road style make sense... everyone isn't able or willing to sprint off the stops to hold the lane over multiple city blocks.
    Oh please! I am willing to bet you are younger than I am. But it would be nice for people of all ages to feel comfortable getting out there to ride, rather than sitting getting even older in their cars.


    -D

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    bikelanes=traffic cycling ignorance is a fallacious straw man oft spouted by infrastructure opponents, and one no bike advocate posits.

  14. #14
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    who's EVER stated well placed bike lanes or networks of path facilities negate the need to learn how to ride in traffic? That's spin and nothing any conscious bike advocate would endorse.
    I recall that the typical argument is against people who push hard for accommodations while putting little to no emphasis on the human element. That is, it is more of an argument of omission.

  15. #15
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    the 'typical' strawman against bike infrastructure supporters is that they omit from their platform the GIVEN that bicyclists require skill to operate a bicycle along public roads?

    weak.

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    When did this turn into an anti infrastructure debate? Nobody so far on this thread has even said infrastructure is bad. I am sure your well accommodated city has made it easier to cope with your slower speeds while you heal. Yes that is a good thing.

    How about talking about that? Talking about the positives (something I have asked about twice, well three times already in this thread). Or are you simply interested in taking every opportunity to spout your Bek talking points.?

    -D

  17. #17
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    the 'typical' strawman against bike infrastructure supporters is that they omit from their platform the GIVEN that bicyclists require skill to operate a bicycle along public roads?

    weak.
    Assuming that by "skill" you are not discussing trivial matters such as balancing on a bicycle, what is given is debatable ... particularly to an average user which in all likelihood does not resemble the cyclists on this forum.

    The point is that creating lots of hoopla for accommodations while giving little lip service to the importance of the rider is misleading. For instance, I think that all of the emphasis on bike helmets does a real disservice to the community. Anecdotally, I see people putting on helmets thinking that they are making a significant improvement in their safety -- it is easy to find conversations where people talk about mortality and helmets -- and chiding others for riding without one.

    And as an aside, there are plenty of strawman arguments in this forum. For instance, in my post I did not write that this was an argument against infrastructure supporters like you suggest. I wrote ...

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    ... the typical argument is against people who push hard for accommodations while putting little to no emphasis on the human element.
    Anyway, I fail to see what is causing the big stink.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    speed differential does matter. I am seeing "road" "traffic" cycling from a new perspective being on the injured reserve list. feeling much less traffic adept, being less able to take the lane, less opportunities to react as greater speed differential cuts closing times..... and moving 8mph in front of a crowd of motorists on 30mph streets feels a lot less 'okay' then when I am motorpacing traffic.


    Imagining myself in decline in a few more short years, I am totally able to relate better to a lot of the customers at the bike shop. the idea a higher stem, of handlebars with a little more reach or north road style make sense... everyone isn't able or willing to sprint off the stops to hold the lane over multiple city blocks.
    Hmmm, seeing the road through the eyes of those with "a bit more experience in life," eh?

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath View Post

    Oh please! I am willing to bet you are younger than I am. But it would be nice for people of all ages to feel comfortable getting out there to ride, rather than sitting getting even older in their cars.


    -D
    AMEN!!!

    I am not of the belief that children need to be fully accommodated, but if grandma can't do it, then there are some serious design flaws with our cities and traffic system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    AMEN!!!

    I am not of the belief that children need to be fully accommodated, but if grandma can't do it, then there are some serious design flaws with our cities and traffic system.
    I don't think it is realistic to make anything that would be completely safe for children that requires interaction with other vehicles etc. Kids in most cases just plain lack the mental skills to make the judgements necessary to stay safe. Even a fully segregated path would have accidents from kids stopping in the middle of the path, freaking out and swerving etc.

    -D

  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath View Post
    I don't think it is realistic to make anything that would be completely safe for children that requires interaction with other vehicles etc. Kids in most cases just plain lack the mental skills to make the judgements necessary to stay safe. Even a fully segregated path would have accidents from kids stopping in the middle of the path, freaking out and swerving etc.

    -D
    Exactly.

    That is why I always view it as a strawman whenever bike facilities are discussed and someone throws in that such facilities "should be safe for children."

    The reality is that facilities need to be safe for reasonably trained operators... and I realize there is a bit of margin in that statement too, but it comes down to the fact that we expect motorists to have a certain amount of minimal training, pedestrians to have a basic knowledge of lights, signs and traffic conditions; we should expect that cyclists are also at least basically educated about the rules of the road and the situations to expect in traffic. Anybody that has the equivalent of driver's ed plus some specific bike handling/traffic knowledge should be able to negotiate any surface street in America. If that is not the case due to the design of the street, or the traffic situations or the speed of traffic... then those issues need to be resolved so that cycling is not considered an "extreme sport" by the general population.

    I would no more expect a child on a bike to successfully negotiate "traffic" than I would a tribesman from some lost south American tribe to understand how to cross a busy city street.

  22. #22
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    how do other countries make it safe for children to bicycle to school? How does the american 'safe routes to school' work to facilitate kids bicycling?

    I have long been a supporter of consideration of the less fit and the less abled when designing public space, genec. Also greater consideration for children as bicyclists and all ages of pedestrians.


    sorry derath, i take issue with the comment you made
    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    My only problem is that they (bike lanes) don't negate the need to learn how to ride in traffic.
    right, they don't and why is that a problem???

    your implied assertion that 'bike lanes eliminate the need to learn how to ride in traffic" is proven false seconds later when you posited
    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    even in the most bike centril locales, the percentage of roads with facilities is still tiny compared to the total number of roads.
    no one expects accomodations to negate the need to ride in traffic (at least on road facilities). Bike infrastructure goes hand in hand with bicyclist and public education, both abroad and in the USA-

    The League of American Bicyclists, when gauging cities for their various 'bikeability' ratings, considers bicyclist education efforts as one of the five rating criterea.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 07-01-08 at 10:00 PM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    how do other countries make it safe for children to bicycle to school? How does the american 'safe routes to school' work to facilitate kids bicycling?

    I have long been a supporter of consideration of the less fit and the less abled when designing public space, genec. Also greater consideration for children as bicyclists and all ages of pedestrians.
    I think it comes down to more than just the proper facilities. My thoughts when this comes up is the standard bike lane. Take a normal downtown busy road. Stripe a lane and suddenly it is safe for a child to ride? I think not.

    However, I biked/walked to school most of my life. And I had no accommodations. In fact the community I grew up in didnt even have sidewalks. But it was a walkable community with the elementary and high schools within it's limits. So every street was a 25mph or less neighborhood road. The other BIG key IMO is that I had little choice. We had no bus service (as we lived too close to the schools to warrant it). As a result there were hundreds of kids walking or biking to school each day. Safety in numbers works.

    Sadly today when I am there, I see far fewer kids walking, but there is a HUGE line of Cars dropping off the kids.




    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    sorry derath, i take issue with the comment you made

    My only problem is that they (bike lanes) don't negate the need to learn how to ride in traffic.
    right, they don't and why is that a problem???
    It is only a "problem" on this board, in that many people here hold up both sides of the argument as the end all be all. The hard core infrastructure folks hold it up as the solution. And as soon as someone cites "cyclist education" they must be anti infrastructure.

    This however seems to be only an anomoly here, not out in the real world.

    If you hold to the belief that infrastructure as well as education are key, then we have more common ground than you realize. (well throw in driver education as well).


    -D

  24. #24
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Since we are all so quick to jump on the bandwagon agreeing with Bek that indeed speed does count, why is it that the grandfather of VC John Forester so often disagreed that speed is an issue, and that speed should not matter, and never mind that the speeds of roads has been increasing in places like southern California, and that the average American car now has the acceleration abilities of muscle cars of days of old?

    Either Forester didn't get it, or you guys are not getting it. BTW for the record, I too believe that speed counts... and I argued that point often with Forester, even quoting his book where he mentions that a difference of 15MPH can make "negotiating" with motorists "impossible."
    Ignoring the fact that we could summarize JF simply as "often disagreeing" JF often posted here that staying to the right was the preferred road position over taking the lane in order to facilitate faster overtaking traffic. Faster implies a greater speed differential so while not in so many words to me he did imply that the cyclists speed can have a baring on the preferred road position. That's my take on it anyway.
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    It always seemed to me that Forester and others never encouraged dangerous moves in the name of assertiveness. For example, when positioning for a left turn, there will be times when it's just not possible and it's better to stop and wait until there is a reasonable break in traffic. Same with taking the lane. Vehicular cycling is at its best in real urban type riding where the speed of motor traffic isn't usually that much faster than a good road bike can go, or within towns and on country roads. But it becomes less safe when talking about the kinds of arteries that were deliberately designed to move large volumes of traffic fast. Bicycles really don't fit well in that scenario, which unfortunately includes many roads that can't be avoided in more suburban areas when you actually need to get someplace (because that's all there is). Vehicular cycling is the way to go, but it has to be combined with a measure of common sense. Lack of common sense can get you killed.

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