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Old 07-09-09, 08:42 PM   #1
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Mary Ann's Plea

In the discussion of THIS blog, this comment was posted-

Quote:
Mary Ann said;

Are bike lanes in essence more dangerous to the cyclist than having none? Do they present a feeling of safety? Would riding in one make it easier to overlook a truck to the left of them with a turn signal on? What if the turn is made by a truck mid-block into an establishment or parking lot rather than an intersection? What can be done to avert these tragedies? Are there mirrors that prevent blind spots?

My nephew was run over by a cement truck while he was in a designated bike lane as the truck turned left mid-block into the company parking lot. I wonder if the outcome would have been different if he were behind the truck. He was conscious of safety. He rode motor cycles. As a firefighter, ambulance runs were a daily occurrence. He was alert by nature and aware by experience, yet still he was killed.

What can we do to make bike lanes safer?
How would you answer Mary Ann?

Kari Caffrey, the blog author, gave this response-


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Mary Ann,

Iím so sorry you have lost your nephew. Stories like this break my heart.

Unfortunately, bicycling safety is not as intuitive as it should be. One reason is the stigma our society has attached to it ó the belief is that bicyclists must stay out of the way as their primary objective. Another is the idea that cyclists should take advantage of their narrow profile and pass stopped traffic (perhaps to make up for being slow and shoved out of the way).

The problem with bike lanes is they reinforce both of those things. They discourage a cyclist from riding in a position that would prevent a truck from passing immediately before making a turn, and they encourage a cyclist to ride past a stopped truck. There really isnít any way to make bike lanes safer in the face of these human factors.

There are mirrors that can help a truck driver see into his blind spots, but it is still a human-factors challenge. The driver may need to focus on whatís ahead or around the turn. Or he may just be distracted. Not putting the cyclist there in the first place is by far the best solution.

I began my journey as an advocate trying to find a way to make bike lanes safer (because of conflicts I kept having in them). My research led me to the conclusion that the best solution is to get rid of themóat least in an urban environment where there are lots of driveways and intersections.

The best solution for cycling safety is to promote cycling education. It may seem counter-intuitive, but because cyclists are nimble, relatively slow and have 360į awareness of their surroundings, they are at a tremendous advantage to prevent crashes. They just need some knowledge of traffic dynamics and where the dangers are. Door zones and turning trucks are two killers that we really need to teach people to avoid because most just arenít aware. But education is made much harder by paint that contradicts it.
What do you think of Keri's answer?
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Old 07-10-09, 04:44 AM   #2
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USE a legible font size and color and I might reply.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:00 AM   #3
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USE a legible font size and color and I might reply.
not part of his agenda...

You just need better education to participate. It may seem counter-intuitive to make something readable, but you just have to be aware of BF dynamics to avoid the dangers of eye strain.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:57 AM   #4
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There are three points that need to be covered here:
1) Cyclists need to know how to improve their safety.
2) (Truck) drivers need to be instructed ho to drive safely.
3) Bike facilities need to be constructed per AASHTO guidelines (which does not support cyclists to the right of right turning traffic.)

Kari's answer is fine for just item 1 but neglecting the other two items implies "its always the cyclists fault" which I do not support.

My rant on our CDL manual: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/artic...81224105516487

Also note that the right side of large trucks (15%) has a much higher percentage of killing cyclists then with cars (3%). http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/People...lcyclists.aspx
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Old 07-10-09, 11:47 AM   #5
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There are three points that need to be covered here:
1) Cyclists need to know how to improve their safety.
2) (Truck) drivers need to be instructed ho to drive safely.
3) Bike facilities need to be constructed per AASHTO guidelines (which does not support cyclists to the right of right turning traffic.)

Kari's answer is fine for just item 1 but neglecting the other two items implies "its always the cyclists fault" which I do not support.
Except that both you Kari fail to note that: "My nephew was run over by a cement truck while he was in a designated bike lane as the truck turned left mid-block into the company parking lot." Maybe it was the tiny font.

There is an awful lot of information omitted that might explain how her nephew got struck by a left turning vehicle in mid block unless he also was not paying attention, or how the placement of mirrors on the truck would have made the slightest difference.
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Old 07-10-09, 12:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Except that both you Kari fail to note that: "My nephew was run over by a cement truck while he was in a designated bike lane as the truck turned left mid-block into the company parking lot." Maybe it was the tiny font.

There is an awful lot of information omitted that might explain how her nephew got struck by a left turning vehicle in mid block unless he also was not paying attention, or how the placement of mirrors on the truck would have made the slightest difference.
That struck me too. If the truck was turning left, I would assume the victim was riding in the opposite direction in a BL on the opposite side of the street. It almost had to be a perfect storm of mistakes.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:16 PM   #7
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How about opening your world view guys. Likely happened in the UK or Australia.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:43 PM   #8
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How about opening your world view guys. Likely happened in the UK or Australia.
The lady (Mary Ann) whose nephew had a fatal run-in with a truck doesn't disclose her location, but that blog is titled Commute Orlando, so I'd assume it happened stateside, unless someone else knows better.

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Old 07-10-09, 02:47 PM   #9
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What do I think about Keri's answer?

Society is at an impasse - how to plan for bicycle use in the transportation grid.

Bike lanes facilitate on street, lawful road bicycling in communities. fantasies like chipseal has, that mixing bikes and high speed motor vehicle traffic in narrow lanes could be considered a reasonable plan for bike transportation is bankrupt from the start. this flawed vision of narrow lanes, high speed motor vehicles and bicyclists mixing is the sub 1% modal share solution.

communities that fairly consider bicycle transit across their public rights of way have both higher- in some places much higher - cyclist ride share and much lower accident and fatality rates.

how to address intersection conflicts? Recognize that intersection conflict potential is present at every intersection regardless of the paint.

throw in speed differentials and right hook potential increases regardless of the road striping- motorists will just as readily pull wide in a wide lane or cross a stripe to pass a bicyclist to make a turn, even unsafely.

I feel for the family's loss. perhaps, in a society with both better bike infrastructure, better motorist and better bicyclist education these types of tragedies could be prevented.

Fantasies of narrow lanes and education as the sole consideration of bikes as transportation are fringe, extremist and marginalizing of bicycling. the sub 1% solution. This plan, enacted, leads to woefully low rider share and high accident rates relative to other communities that better plan for bikes with bike lanes and other cycling specific infrastructure.

Last edited by Bekologist; 07-10-09 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
That struck me too. If the truck was turning left, I would assume the victim was riding in the opposite direction in a BL on the opposite side of the street. It almost had to be a perfect storm of mistakes.
Or just negligence/not paying attention. I got hit by a woman making a left turn in to a Jack in the Box parking lot. It was at night, but there were plenty of lights on the street, I was wearing the fugly neon yellow vest, ankle reflectors, and had front lights. She still didn't see me.

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Old 07-10-09, 04:06 PM   #11
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Or just negligence/not paying attention. I got hit by a woman making a left turn in to a Jack in the Box parking lot. It was at night, but there were plenty of lights on the street, I was wearing the fugly neon yellow vest, ankle reflectors, and had front lights. She still didn't see me.

UD
Were her lights on?
Did you see her making the turn and were unable to stop or get out of the way?
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Old 07-10-09, 04:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
How about opening your world view guys. Likely happened in the UK or Australia.
What makes you think so?
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Old 07-10-09, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Except that both you Kari fail to note that: "My nephew was run over by a cement truck while he was in a designated bike lane as the truck turned left mid-block into the company parking lot." Maybe it was the tiny font.

There is an awful lot of information omitted that might explain how her nephew got struck by a left turning vehicle in mid block unless he also was not paying attention, or how the placement of mirrors on the truck would have made the slightest difference.
Thanks for catching that error and giving me a graceful way out but I just reread the op and something is off in the description and does not add up to a truck turning from the opposite direction and a few facts are wrong for a truck traveling the same direction so .... Anyway the question was what do we think of Kari's answer so I followed the same assumptions as Kari.
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Old 07-10-09, 08:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
fantasies like chipseal has, that mixing bikes and high speed motor vehicle traffic in narrow lanes
Not a fantasy. This is a daily part of ChipSeal's car-free life. If he was just yakkin' it would be one thing. But he is out there, on rural two-lanes with 55 mph limits and no shoulders, and in urban environments too.



I think education is the answer. Here in Texas, you can get a lot of tickets dismissed by taking a 6 hour driving safety course. I think that people who take that course should spend at least an hour discussing bicycles as vehicles on the road. The beauty of this is that the people who self-identify by getting a ticket are probably the ones who most need, and can most benefit from, this training.

Take it a step further... if the infraction they are trying to get dismissed involved a bicycle, make the majority of the 6-hour course about bicycles- vehicular cycling, collision avoidance, and traffic law as it pertains to bicycles.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-11-09, 12:42 AM   #15
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DUUUUDE,

DON'T QUOTE ME OUT OF CONTEXT. I take the lane plenty myself. high speed rural roads too. duh.

I said
Quote:
Originally Posted by bekologist
fantasies like chipseal has, that mixing bikes and high speed motor vehicle traffic in narrow lanes (as a)reasonable plan for bike transportation is bankrupt from the start
Like I said, it's the one percent solution. one percent rider share. coupled to higher accident rates, lower ridership, and greater sidewalk cycling, than in communities that facilitate lawful road bicycling with quality bike specific infrastructure.

Last edited by Bekologist; 07-11-09 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 07-11-09, 01:30 AM   #16
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I think Kari is absolutely correct. I think in most collisions, regardless who is at fault, the cyclist is in a better position to avoid the collision. One of the ways cyclists can do this is by riding further to the left than most tend to. Bike lanes are contraindicative to this. Especially in urban environments where traffic density tends to be higher, and speeds slower.
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Old 07-11-09, 06:02 AM   #17
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I think Kari is absolutely correct. I think in most collisions, regardless who is at fault, the cyclist is in a better position to avoid the collision
Except that Kari's response is totally irrelevant to avoiding or preventing a collision as described in the question. If anything, a cyclist in the far right side of a street has more time to respond appropriately to a vehicle turning left towards him.
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Old 07-11-09, 06:20 AM   #18
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Not a fantasy. This is a daily part of ChipSeal's car-free life. If he was just yakkin' it would be one thing. But he is out there, on rural two-lanes with 55 mph limits and no shoulders, and in urban environments too.
What does ChipSeal's "car-free life" add to his non-response to this accident (or any other accident scenario)? Or his his claims of 100% blissful cycling experience in the middle of the traffic lanes of high speed busy roads.

Note that ChipSeal provided no response to the accident scenario in his OP but just quoted Kari's response. Kari's answer is nothing more than the standard VC Zealot's response to any cycling issue, an all-purpose, all-situations "solution" - calls for vaguely described "education" and bike lane hysteria.
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Old 07-11-09, 12:25 PM   #19
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Regarding the international thing, perhaps we could alter our terms of reference and refer to outer, inner and/or central parts of the carriageway, rather than left/right positioning.

I'd say the answer given in the quoted blog was fair. It's hard to assess this without having the advantage of an eyewitness view of the incident. I wonder though, what anyone hopes to get by way of an answer from any self-appointed advocate. There's no authority on cycling, because everyones usage and "practice" differs with their requirements, experience, physical ability and confidence. That is why, ultimately, there's no meaningful answer to the question "are bike lanes good or bad?".

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Old 07-11-09, 04:03 PM   #20
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Regarding the international thing, perhaps we could alter our terms of reference and refer to outer, inner and/or central parts of the carriageway, rather than left/right positioning.
Makes sense if there was any "international thing". Only none of the posts on the blog in question gave any indication that an "international thing" was involved. The only "international thing" was someone on this thread grasping at straws trying to make sense out of a nonsensical reply.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:13 PM   #21
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Yes, I know, but I was going for the bigger picture (in the VC department, what was I thinking ). That is to say, I wanted to consider how we think about & describe the roadway in general on the forum, to aid in avoiding confusion. That thought came out of reading CB HI's post.

P.S. I ride and drive in the UK (though infrequently these days) and the US, so things like this have a personal relevance.
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Old 07-11-09, 05:17 PM   #22
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Except that Kari's response is totally irrelevant to avoiding or preventing a collision as described in the question. If anything, a cyclist in the far right side of a street has more time to respond appropriately to a vehicle turning left towards him.
A cyclist who has established their road position further to the left in the described scenario, would be less likely to be overlooked by a driver turning left from the on-coming lane(s).

A cyclist who has established their road position further to the left, has more room to maneuver, thus more options, to avoid the collision in the event of a situation as described in the above scenario.
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Old 07-11-09, 05:35 PM   #23
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A cyclist who has established their road position further to the left in the described scenario, would be less likely to be overlooked by a driver turning left from the on-coming lane(s).

A cyclist who has established their road position further to the left, has more room to maneuver, thus more options, to avoid the collision in the event of a situation as described in the above scenario.
Baloney. You are just guessing about what is more or less likely about "overlooking" scenarios without a shred of evidence to support your guess.
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Old 07-11-09, 05:50 PM   #24
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How about opening your world view guys. Likely happened in the UK or Australia.
I opened my eyes instead...which is why I noticed it was apparently in the US.
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Old 07-11-09, 05:51 PM   #25
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Were her lights on?
Did you see her making the turn and were unable to stop or get out of the way?
My question exactly. Both parties would have to not see the other.
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