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Old 07-18-08, 06:56 PM   #1
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Keep the Pedestrian in Pedaling

I'm car free, militant and most certainly a vehicular biker. Here in DC, the law when it's convenient to cite, says bikers can take up the whole lane if the lane is less that 11 (eleven) feet. That's fine when it behooves me. Postings on this site discuss road vs. sidewalk problems; I don't owe allegiance to upcoming traffic, I'll go wherever is most efficient. Intersections: Most local laws seem to indicate that bikers have the same responsibilities as car drivers; ok, the sensors embedded within roads at intersections don't sense bikes- I've never seen a car driver have to get outta his/her car and push the "to cross" button.

We mostly know that our efficiency is in better visibility, great acceleration, and weaving thru. auto pileup situations. Why not align ourselves with the PED concept, vs. equal to automobiles. Pedestrians, mostly at hash marked intersections are supposed to cross, stopping vehicular traffic. Lets get the PEDaler image aligned with PEDestrian and stiil ride like banshees.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:05 PM   #2
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If you want to ride at a three or four mile-per-hour pedestrian-speed, okay with me. I never knew banshees were that slow, but, then, we are all ignorant about most everything.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:50 PM   #3
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daibutsu,

Sounds like you are more anti-car than you are VC.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:51 PM   #4
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Lets get the PEDaler image aligned with PEDestrian and stiil ride like banshees.
I have no idea what you are saying.
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Old 07-19-08, 06:27 AM   #5
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Segways fought hard to be a dual mode device so they can be both a vehicle and a pedestrian. Personally I think their arguments also make a lot of sense for cyclists as well with just one problem, if we allow bikes on the sidewalk then people think that's the only place bikes should ride. Wither this problem (of what other people think) is a good justification to prevent dual mode status or not I am really not sure.
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Old 07-20-08, 04:23 PM   #6
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Personally I think their arguments also make a lot of sense for cyclists ...
What was their argument?
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Old 07-23-08, 08:30 AM   #7
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What was their argument?
I wish I had the time to find their position paper for the law that was passed a few years back that legalized Segways. So from memory it went very roughly something like:
To encourage a cleaner environment and fewer cars... at slower speeds Segways can be operated safely in pedestrian spaces the same way motorized wheel chairs ... faster speeds the Segway has the same operating characteristics as a motorized scooter and can replace vehicular trips up to 20 miles... enabling the user to chose which mode (pedestrian or vehicle) that makes the most sense for their immediate purposes would get more cars off our streets.

Anyway their approach has an appeal to me that stresses that sidewalks are for slow travel and the streets are for faster travel and both modes are necessary to get people to leave their car at home.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:45 AM   #8
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Unsurprisingly the Segway did not revolutionise transport - I forget the initial selling price... plus the fact that IMHO anyone riding one looks like a complete turnip (I'm not alone in this)

The bicycle vs pedestrian thing is long debated. On the one hand we have some with a desire to allow cyclist some greater level of flexibility in use of the street. Safety is often invoked here, as is convenience. In places the sidewalk may legally be used by bikes. On the other hand, this can be problematic if the sidewalk is used by "a significant number" of pedestrians.
Of course, Safety and convenience are exactly the reasons put forward by alternate groups of cyclists for using the roadway exclusively. This is definitely true where the cyclist seeks to travel at speeds appreciably greater than walking speed that would make it difficult and dangerous to negotiate people and obstacles such as street furniture, poles etc. on the sidewalk - not to mention side streets & kerbs.

Use of the road, of course invokes its own issues of cyclist responsibity in adherence to traffic laws...

Oh, and if you really want to be aligned with pedestrians, you can always hop off the bike and push across that tricky intersection if need be. Car drivers can't do that
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Old 07-23-08, 11:33 AM   #9
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Unsurprisingly the Segway did not revolutionise transport - I forget the initial selling price... plus the fact that IMHO anyone riding one looks like a complete turnip (I'm not alone in this)
Plus the high weight (how many non athletic, disabled or lazy people are going to lift an 85 pound device up steps or into the trunk of a car and consider it practical), lack of ability to carry anything, and most of all the issue of it being a solution in search of a problem to solve.
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Old 07-23-08, 12:44 PM   #10
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In DC there are a fair number of Segwayists, Baltimore even has a handful of them. Even though they have not revolutionized transportation I think they are changing some transportation ideals with dual ped/vehicle mode being one and the other is going straight from the street into the store or office with your vehicle.

I am fully aware of the VC safety debate but I still can't help but wounder if some dual mode support might help bicycling as well. Perhaps rather then a full dismount of the bike to go into pedestrian mode allow bikes to be used in "scooter" mode (one foot on the pedal and the other propelling on the ground) to be used in pedestrian mode. (Just thinking out loud here.)

Anyway one major difference IMHO is the general acceptance of allowing a Segway to be driven into the office and kept there. Think about it, if Segways can do this then why can't bikes?
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Old 07-23-08, 03:26 PM   #11
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Think about it, if Segways can do this then why can't bikes?
Interesting point. Although is it really the case that Segways are generally accepted in buildings?
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Old 07-23-08, 06:10 PM   #12
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Interesting point. Although is it really the case that Segways are generally accepted in buildings?
My guess is that a Segway hasn't graced the entrance of 99.9% of the public buildings in the U.S., ever.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:42 AM   #13
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My guess is that a Segway hasn't graced the entrance of 99.9% of the public buildings in the U.S., ever.
I would venture to guess that the % of public and private buildings that Segways have acceptance in is greater then the transportation modal share of bicycles.

PS. I am off to Cycle Across Maryland, see you guys next week
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Old 07-24-08, 09:14 AM   #14
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I would venture to guess that the % of public and private buildings that Segways have acceptance in is greater then the transportation modal share of bicycles.

PS. I am off to Cycle Across Maryland, see you guys next week
Have a nice trip. BTW I think my guess is more likely to be true than your guess.
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Old 07-24-08, 11:53 AM   #15
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Segways Grow Old Nerdily
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/200.../index.html?hp

Besides the nerd factor, Segways are expensive (starting at over $5k for the i2 model), they have a limited range (15-24 miles for the i2, less for other models), they're heavy and they're bulky (they don't fold).

And there's no protection from the elements for the rider.

It's unclear what makes Segways safer and/or more useful than electric scootors or bicycles.

Even though many states have passed "The Segway Law" which basically allows Segways (alias: EPAMD) anywhere, Segway use is not universally legal.

During a 2002 demonstration for the city of San Francisco, one of the demonstration Segways slammed into a wall and knocked off chunks of marble, after which the city outlawed Segway use on sidewalks (that must have been some demonstration!).

And now for an opposing view:

Segways stage a comeback
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/site/new...id=81975&rfi=6
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Old 07-24-08, 12:44 PM   #16
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And now for an opposing view:

Segways stage a comeback
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/site/new...id=81975&rfi=6
Hardly a "view", but more a flack reporting her day on a promotional tour sponsored by a Segway dealer.

Two comments were especially relevant:
"we - [snip] pushed our 105-pound Segways downhill a short distance to Waryas Park"

Note that the dealer made sure the tour didn't include pushing the 105 pound beast up a hill, or worse pick them up to carry up steps or put in a trunk of a car.

"All 50 states allow Segway use on private property with the permission of the property owner. [snip] Jack White said his company's tours will continue because he has the permits he needs, but he still hopes sidewalks, multi-purpose paths and certain roads will be accessible to Segway users across the board."

Note that almost anything is legal (more or less) on private property with the permission of the property owner. The problem for Segway owners is getting from one property (private or public) to another and for the promoters to convince paying customers that the Segway is a significant improvement over much simpler, cheaper and/or traditional means such as a bicycle, cab or walking.
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Old 07-24-08, 02:44 PM   #17
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Let's abandon all traffic rules and rules of the road, eliminate sidewalks, and leave it to everyone's personal decision as to what is best for them as an individual at any particular moment. Let's make moving around just like surfing the internet. No more discrimination between cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, skates and pedestrians. Everything that moves is the same. Common sense is obsolete. Hey, maybe Barack will take that up. Let's all have hope and everything will work out.
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Old 11-13-08, 10:56 PM   #18
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(man, the VC forum must be slow...)

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Let's abandon all traffic rules and rules of the road, eliminate sidewalks, and leave it to everyone's personal decision as to what is best for them as an individual at any particular moment. Let's make moving around just like surfing the internet. No more discrimination between cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, skates and pedestrians. Everything that moves is the same. Common sense is obsolete. Hey, maybe Barack will take that up. Let's all have hope and everything will work out.
You realize that there are cities that have removed all traffic controls in parts of town with surprisingly positive results, don't you?
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Old 11-14-08, 08:10 AM   #19
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(man, the VC forum must be slow...)



You realize that there are cities that have removed all traffic controls in parts of town with surprisingly positive results, don't you?
Name 3; or any in the US or anywhere else with a sizable population and substantial motorized traffic.
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Old 11-14-08, 02:45 PM   #20
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Name 3; or any in the US or anywhere else with a sizable population and substantial motorized traffic.
Wikipedia has an article on the topic.
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Old 11-14-08, 05:47 PM   #21
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Wikipedia has an article on the topic.
Interestingly, the Wikipedia article mentions only one US city as getting this treatment, West Palm Beach, and the cited reference in Wired magazine makes no such claim of West palm Beach removing traffic signals and controls from the city streets, only a reconfiguration of several wide one way streets into two way streets.

The rest of the article mostly references a few small villages in Europe and a couple of streets in London. I didn't bother to see if the cited references actually state that the "removal of traditional road priority management devices such as kerbs, lines, signs and signals" really took place on any significant number of streets, or if the alleged treatments are considered successful by anyone besides the proponents like the late Hans Monderman. Either way, hardy evidence of anything to get excited about yet.
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Old 11-24-08, 02:53 PM   #22
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Well, I don't know about any other places, but most European small villages are completely incomparable to any US city (I am dutch, but live in DC now). The setup, the visibility and the width of the lanes are quite different, usually as a result of the towns being about twice as old as the US (still strikes me as funny, even living here for some time now).

Also, no offense, but it seems the drivers in western Europe are quite a bit better than most in the US. Or at least they pay attention to what is going on on the road, it seems.

EDIT: A small addition. It seems that, given my own experience, these situations are more safe but not because of the traffic situation. The real reason is that people stop relying on all sorts of signs to show them where to go, and instead are forced to be much more aware of the traffic situation.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:44 PM   #23
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Also, no offense, but it seems the drivers in western Europe are quite a bit better than most in the US. Or at least they pay attention to what is going on on the road, it seems.
Everybody claims the drivers are better somewhere else (ie. where they used to live), but it's really the road design and conditions that vary, not the drivers. European city streets are cramped and full of bikes and pedestrians, and the car drivers are forced to learn to accomodate them and accept that reality. American cities are more spread out and in many places there are very few bikes and pedestrians, so drivers don't usually have to make much allowance for them, and are irritated and impatient (or surprised or oblivious) when they do.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:07 PM   #24
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Everybody claims the drivers are better somewhere else (ie. where they used to live), but it's really the road design and conditions that vary, not the drivers. European city streets are cramped and full of bikes and pedestrians, and the car drivers are forced to learn to accomodate them and accept that reality. American cities are more spread out and in many places there are very few bikes and pedestrians, so drivers don't usually have to make much allowance for them, and are irritated and impatient (or surprised or oblivious) when they do.
Ah, but if our drivers here could be forced to learn to the same level we wouldn't have nearly the idiocy that we do now. But, our instruction sucks, and our tests are a joke. I'd piss off a lot of people if I were in a position to change driver testing.

I've never liked the idea of teaching the basics and then expecting drivers to learn more over time. That's like teaching someone the alphabet and expecting them to write poetry the next week. Once a new driver has finished driver's ed, they're mixing it up on the streets with no fewer responsibilities than anyone else... but they weren't taught well enough to understand that fact. Some newbie with a day-old license has just as much potential to damage or kill.

If you could ensure that new teenage drivers learn everything about driving that the safest, smartest 40-year-old drivers have figured out, don't you think things would improve?
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Old 11-24-08, 04:25 PM   #25
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Ah, but if our drivers here could be forced to learn to the same level we wouldn't have nearly the idiocy that we do now.
Our drivers could certainly be better, and taught better, but I doubt that there is anything special about European drivers or driver educators. I just think they develop the habits and skills that fit their situation.
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