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  1. #1
    High Roller
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    No-Win Situation

    I would like nothing more than to see more people using bicycles for transportation, and fewer using motor vehicles. I understand the theory that bikeways attract new cyclists, though I have yet to see any hard evidence proving cause and effect.

    I will happily ride in a well-designed, well-maintained bike lane when I encounter one. But bike lanes do not exist everywhere I need to go. Where they do exist, some are poorly designed, poorly maintained, or force me into a road position that compromises my safety and efficiency.

    I will happily ride on a segregated bike path when one is available to serve my transportation needs. But on the rare occasions where such paths coincide with where I need to go, they are often poorly maintained, implemented as parkways rather than practical transportation corridors, and congested with unpredictable obliviots, again compromising my safety and efficiency.

    So I must have the option of utilizing the public roadways if I am going to use my bicycle for safe and practical transportation. I don’t see this reality changing any time soon, certainly not within my lifetime.

    I like to live and let live, and I wish this was the end of the story. You ride where you want to, and I’ll ride where I need to. But it’s not the end of the story. Because when the non-cycling taxpayers (the people who outnumber you 200 to 1) spend their hard-earned money building you somewhere special to ride your 2-wheeled toy, they tend to feel that they are within their rights to force you to use it. And along come mandatory use laws. This has happened where I live. Don’t make the mistake of believing it won’t happen where you live.

    The other thing that bothers me about bikeways is that a separate set of rules comes with the package. One of the key survival strategies that has kept me alive on a bicycle for more years than I care to count is predictability. This means that other drivers can plan their actions based on their knowledge of what I am going to do, before I do it. And I can do the same with them. Are we all mind-readers? No – we’re just all working off the same playbook, called the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. With bikeways, we throw this single playbook out the window. If some motorists have such difficulty learning and following a single set of rules, what makes us think they will eagerly embrace a whole different set of rules that does not even apply to them? Score another blow to my safety.

    If I support the creation of more bikeways in the na´ve belief that they will attract more people onto bicycles, I risk forfeiting my right to use the travelled way. My bicycle then becomes a much less viable transportation alternative.

    If I favor reduced urban speed limits, stricter laws pertaining to inattentive and impaired driving, elevated standards for drivers license qualification, higher gas taxes so motorists finally pay the full cost of their atrocious habit, shareable width lanes, stepped up enforcement, and improved cyclist education over cycling-specific infrastructure and cycling-specific laws, then I’m branded as a filthy, elitist, VC obstructionist.

    Seems like a no-win situation to me.
    Last edited by High Roller; 07-23-10 at 08:08 AM.

  2. #2
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I think you make some very good points. I tend to follow the rules of the road when I ride. I would rather see reduced urban speed limits, stricter laws pertaining to inattentive and impaired driving, elevated standards for drivers license qualification, shareable width lanes, stepped up enforcement, and improved cyclist education over cycling-specific infrastructure and being forcibly segregated.
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  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Roller View Post

    If I favor reduced urban speed limits, stricter laws pertaining to inattentive and impaired driving, elevated standards for drivers license qualification, higher gas taxes so motorists finally pay the full cost of their atrocious habit, shareable width lanes, stepped up enforcement, and improved cyclist education over cycling-specific infrastructure and cycling-specific laws, then I'm branded as a filthy, elitist, VC obstructionist.
    There is nothing wrong with supporting all those things mentioned in the paragraph above... what gets one branded as a "VC obstructionist" is blanket statements like "bike lanes will never be any good, now, in the past or future." Or standing in the way of well designed bike paths that offer far better and safer connectivity than alternative high speed mulilaned roads. Or refusing to use a suitable smooth road shoulder on a highway that has few intersections, or "taking the lane" when it may not be necessary.

    Becoming a "VC obstructionist" has more to do with dogmatic and "political" responses than cycling in a safe and practical manner.

    Another ticket to becoming a "VC obstructionist" is the use of the term "bikeways" over the more descriptive terms: bike path, bike lane, sidepath, bike boulevard, et al.
    Last edited by genec; 07-23-10 at 09:26 AM.

  4. #4
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    You're riding the way you want to(on the street) and others are doing the same(on paths).
    We're all winners!

  5. #5
    High Roller
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Another ticket to becoming a "VC obstructionist" is the use of the term "bikeways" over the more descriptive terms: bike path, bike lane, sidepath, bike boulevard, et al.
    Good point. If someone can provide a glossary of politically correct terms, I will be sure to use it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    @High Roller....doesn't Boise have some mandatory bike lane/path laws????
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  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    MBL laws in boise? boy, so does portland. same with San Francisco, isn't both states? big whoop. bicyclists seem to be having little problems when there is regional planning for bikes that include bikelanes as part of the accomodations for roadway bicycling.

    sour grapes.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Roller View Post
    Good point. If someone can provide a glossary of politically correct terms, I will be sure to use it.
    Is it a matter of "politically correct" or is it merely semantically correct... after all, an interstate freeway and a farm highway and a residential surface street are all "roadways," but are hardly the same thing. Why wouldn't the term "bikeway" also fail in the same manner... and yet bikeway as a term covers "lines of paint" as well as "separated pathways,"all of which have different characteristics.

    Interestingly, "bikeway" shows up as an error in my word processor, but neither bike lane nor bike path fail in that way.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Is it a matter of "politically correct" or is it merely semantically correct... after all, an interstate freeway and a farm highway and a residential surface street are all "roadways," but are hardly the same thing. Why wouldn't the term "bikeway" also fail in the same manner... and yet bikeway as a term covers "lines of paint" as well as "separated pathways,"all of which have different characteristics.

    Interestingly, "bikeway" shows up as an error in my word processor, but neither bike lane nor bike path fail in that way.
    Bikeway is a legal term defined by law, and covers three classes of facility. Class I is a bike path; Class II is a bike lane; Class III is a bike route. By and large, we don't worry about bike route, which is merely designated by signs with only the worst features removed or repaired. Bike lane you understand, I suppose. Bike path covers two general types of path, that alongside the roadway, which I named side path (but which seems to be promoted these days under the name of cycle track), and which presents great problems of traffic conflict, and bike path in general, well separated from any roadway.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    Bikeway is a legal term defined by law, and covers three classes of facility. Class I is a bike path; Class II is a bike lane; Class III is a bike route. By and large, we don't worry about bike route, which is merely designated by signs with only the worst features removed or repaired. Bike lane you understand, I suppose. Bike path covers two general types of path, that alongside the roadway, which I named side path (but which seems to be promoted these days under the name of cycle track), and which presents great problems of traffic conflict, and bike path in general, well separated from any roadway.
    Highway is the legal term defined by law, but indeed would you agree that there are differences between interstate freeways, farm highways and residential streets? Significant in these differences is the fact that interstate freeways tend to NOT have intersections, tend to have minimum speeds and tend to be limited access. (I use the term "tend" here as I am sure there is some exception somewhere).

    Lumping all bikeways in one term is akin to lumping all highways in one term, when indeed there are different characteristics among them. To prove my point, drive an interstate freeway at residential road speeds and see if you do not find yourself in a discussion with a patrol officer.

    At the same token, bicycle use is generally legal on all "highways," but interstate freeways, where it is generally posted that they are not permitted... exceptions of course do exist.

    The term bikeway lumps both painted lines and fully separated paths together, which in some cases is akin to comparing residential roads to interstate freeways. Granted, there are quite poor definitions for the variety of Class 1 bike paths... some of which are barely sidewalks (and may even have stairs), others of which are 10 foot wide two lane high speed bicycle thoroughfares.

    Perhaps better descriptions of Class 1 bike paths, by bicycle advocates, at the political level, would help these definitions.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Highway is the legal term defined by law, but indeed would you agree that there are differences between interstate freeways, farm highways and residential streets? Significant in these differences is the fact that interstate freeways tend to NOT have intersections, tend to have minimum speeds and tend to be limited access. (I use the term "tend" here as I am sure there is some exception somewhere).

    Lumping all bikeways in one term is akin to lumping all highways in one term, when indeed there are different characteristics among them. To prove my point, drive an interstate freeway at residential road speeds and see if you do not find yourself in a discussion with a patrol officer.

    At the same token, bicycle use is generally legal on all "highways," but interstate freeways, where it is generally posted that they are not permitted... exceptions of course do exist.

    The term bikeway lumps both painted lines and fully separated paths together, which in some cases is akin to comparing residential roads to interstate freeways. Granted, there are quite poor definitions for the variety of Class 1 bike paths... some of which are barely sidewalks (and may even have stairs), others of which are 10 foot wide two lane high speed bicycle thoroughfares.

    Perhaps better descriptions of Class 1 bike paths, by bicycle advocates, at the political level, would help these definitions.
    The examples of paths that you advance are not bike paths, Class I bikeways, because these must meet the specified standards, which make them akin to small roadways, except where they cross roadways.

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    The examples of paths that you advance are not bike paths, Class I bikeways, because these must meet the specified standards, which make them akin to small roadways, except where they cross roadways.
    Which example? I mentioned two very divergent examples... "some of which are barely sidewalks (and may even have stairs), others of which are 10 foot wide two lane high speed bicycle thoroughfares. "

    Both of which exist in the San Diego area... They can both be found on these bike maps as gold colored "bike paths." One, "the ten foot wide high speed bicycle thoroughfare" parallels highway 56, in the north county and is on this map.
    http://www.icommutesd.com/Bike/docum...ap_Web_000.pdf

    The other, "with stairway", terminates at Damon Ave at the north end of the Mission Bay "bikeway"
    http://www.icommutesd.com/Bike/docum...ap_Web_000.pdf

    So John, which exactly does not meet the standard of a Class 1 "bikeway?" They are certainly very divergent in character and design. I'd be happy to show you either one.

    BTW the latest additions to the San Diego "bikeway" network (is it Class 1?) is the San Diego River path dedicated recently and running from near West Mission Bay drive, paralleling Interstate 8 and ending at the baseball fields in Mission Valley. (see the lower green line designated as Ocean Beach bike path in the following google link).
    http://maps.google.com/maps?client=f...&z=16&lci=bike

    Now oddly, this path seems to be yet of a different "standard" altogether, as it is narrower than the 56 path, yet has no stairs as does the Mission Bay path.

    BTW the photos below are pictures of the 56 path. Does it meet the "standards?"
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by genec; 07-24-10 at 06:47 PM. Reason: add photo

  13. #13
    High Roller
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    @High Roller....doesn't Boise have some mandatory bike lane/path laws????
    Yes, Boise has a mandatory use ordinance. There is no such law in the Idaho statutes.

  14. #14
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    high roller is confused about a few of the rudiments of the discussion!

    Quote Originally Posted by highroller
    If I support the creation of more bikeways in the na´ve belief that they will attract more people onto bicycles, I risk forfeiting my right to use the travelled way.
    why in the world do you think that? Most bikeways are located within the travelled way dontchyaknow?

    you might have been better off saying something like this....


    Quote Originally Posted by what high roller actually meant
    If I support the creation of more bikeways in the knowledge that they will attract more people onto bicycles, i naively think i risk forfeiting my right to use the travelled way.
    and the answer to that is NO, cyclists do not risk their right to the travelled way when supporting a FHWA green book compliant transportation plan for regional road and highway bicycle use.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  15. #15
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I thought one of the great benefits of travelling by bicycle is elevated mood. Why so grumpy, High Roller?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  16. #16
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Highway is the legal term defined by law.....
    Perhaps better descriptions of Class 1 bike paths, by bicycle advocates, at the political level, would help these definitions.
    in all frankness, Genec, I believe both MUPs and dedicated Class 1 bikeway bike paths meet the generally accepted qualifications for "Highways".
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    in all frankness, Genec, I believe both MUPs and dedicated Class 1 bikeway bike paths meet the generally accepted qualifications for "Highways".
    Bek, you're going in the wrong direction there.

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    fairly ancillary to the conversation, isn't it?

    a bikeway off the roadway is still a highway and a developed and maintained travelled way despite some supreme vehicular cyclists thinking this is anathema to bicycle transportation.

    sorry to have to bring reality into the vc pledgefest.

    widespread recognition that Class I bikeways ARE Highways WOULD be beneficial to bicycle advocacy IMO.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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