Have any of you numb nuts actually been to NL?
Have any of you numb nuts actually been to NL?
1. Everyone should obye the rules of the road
2. The rules of the road should be different for different types of users
3. In a perfect world, the rules should be based on research, not politics
4. Bike lanes and other dedicated infrastructure should be provided where justified
Sorry if this is naive. There's obviously a lot of history here and I probably shouldn't stick my nose in it.
Why is it that Dutch people persist in using bicycle transportation when the system is so stacked against them? Why do they still cycle when the system restricts them to slow speed and more and longer delays, disadvantages forced on them by the dangerous design of the system that they are forced to use?
http://johnforester.com/Articles/Fac...her%20Revs.htm Section 6, 'The Real Question'
Of course there is more, but Mr Forester can tell us whether this represents his true current opinion of Dutch cycling, or whether he has changed his mind. Terms like 'stacked against them,' 'restricts them to slow speed and...delays...dangerous design' are not at all ambiguous.
In relation to VC, my riding style on such roads and streets has been a compromise. I rarely take the lane, and never in high speed traffic. I recognize that some VC techniques can work, in particular when it comes to intersections in not-too-fast traffic. I've actually learned a thing or two when it comes to avoiding being doored (though it never happened to me in my pre-BF days).
Judging from posts here, I think that continental European drivers are generally more tolerant towards cyclists than are British and American drivers. But there are (a small percentage of) ***holes and fools everywhere :(
Hagen...are you able to verify whether and to what extent John is on the mark about all cyclists in the Netherlands, regardless of their travel speed ability, being confined by law to infrastructure that obliges them to ride with and at a speed no faster than slow bike traffic?
My familiarity with Netherlands cycling infrastructure is limited, gained from news articles and other peoples' reports and comments. I've read about different use types of road in the Netherlands by way of Mark Wagenburr's article, 'Sustainable Safety', http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com...afety-not.html ...but I don't believe that article details how extensive is the obligation for relatively fast 15-25 mph cyclists obligation to ride bike lanes and separated cycle tracks where they're present, instead of, if they find it necessary for the conditions, to ride main lanes of roads.
Here in the Portland Metro area and in the state, obligation on the part of people that bike to ride bike lanes and MUP's where they exist, is, with some guidelines specified by ORS 814.420 ( http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420 ) ...largely left to the discretion of the person riding. Simply summarized, the law says a person riding a bike in a bike lane is relieved of their obligation to ride there for a wide range of possible, though not exactly specified reasons, and take the main lane of travel as needed. For example, by way of the reasons detailed, the law effectively acknowledges a basic right of the road people riding have, to leave bike lanes, enter and transition across main travel lanes to make left turns without leaving the road, essentially involving the use of basic in traffic maneuvering skills for making lane transitions required for directional changes.
As someone commenting back thread, pg 2 or so, type of road and cycling infrastructure, and travel mode specific skills to use it probably should not be an 'either or' situation. Some people on bikes are able to safely zip along in traffic amongst motor vehicles. Other people riding will never want to do that, even though they may be capable.
But of course, in the narrow streets and on heavily trafficed arteries you'll have to go slower. You could say that it's part of the social contract of traffic, there as here in Copenhagen.
Edit: I should add that if you live, say, 10 miles from central Copenhagen, you can go almost as fast as you wish on most cycle paths for the first 8 miles. The same seems to be true of Dutch conditions. The average speed on Dutch cycle paths is 10 mph, and that includes all cyclists, small kids, elderly etc. As that is the average, it implies that lots of cyclists are going a lot faster. The average is a little higher in Copenhagen, mostly because a lot fewer kids ride to school :(
Anti-sprawl does not equal "anti-motoring".
Sane urban planing taking into consideration the struggles we will face as oil becomes less available to power our cars is smart and forward thinking. Creating urban centers that push more people toward mass transit, cycling, and walking is healthy and, refreshingly, ignores some of the mass monomania Americans have suffered from for 70 years in creating a car dominated transit infrastructure.
The trouble with allowing this ideology to guide the policy for bicycle transport is that it, in America, produces results that discriminate against the cyclists who, obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, are using cycling in the safest and most useful way. This is, of course, associated with what the author calls "the mass monomania Americans have suffered from"; American bikeways were designed by the motoring establishment to make motoring more convenient by clearing bicycle traffic out of the way of motorists.
If one is "anti" pollution, excessive noise, obesity epidemies, energy-dependency related wars and environment-devastating drilling, it more or less follows that one is to a degree anti-motoring and anti-sprawl.
Are we to understand that you are "pro" pollution, excessive noise, obesity epidemies, energy-dependency related wars and environment-devastating drilling?
Those two sentences are artfully done and quite disingenuous. Let's unpack them.
"Dutch cyclists are limited by law to the slow bicycle traffic, being prohibited by law [sic] from joining the faster motor traffic."
For one thing, that first clause 'limited by law to the slow bicycle traffic' is deliberately misleading. There is certainly no law saying that bicycles must travel slowly. And 'slow' and 'faster' are relative terms, meaningless without context: Mark Cavendish crossed the finish line on the Champs Elysees before Chris Froome last year; Cavendish was faster but that does not mean that Froome was slow. From my own observation while cycling in the NL, cycle traffic moves quite quickly, as Dutch commuters are accustomed to riding every day, are fit, and simply want to get to their destination. This may be hard for hard-core US riders to understand, as the everyday Dutch riders don't wear spandex, and most are on clunky bikes rather than carbon fiber, but it's true. It seemed to me that even elderly cyclists moved faster than typical US riders, but that's just an impression.
We did not ride much at rush hours, but it seemed to me that in a center-city environment (Amsterdam, Den Haag), congestion could make cycle traffic slow down on some blocks, just as for auto traffic. Probably on the same blocks, in fact. For short urban trips, cycling might well be faster than travel by car, as it already is in many US cities. Mr Forester might comment knowledgeably about this---if he had ever observed cycling in the NL, which he has not.
There is also a rich irony in cyclists complaining about not being able to go as fast as they want, whenever and wherever they want. One of the common complaints here in A&S, including from cyclists who ride VC, is about motorists behind them who are in a hurry to pass, honk, etc. The comments are usually that such motorists are too impatient and should slow down!
"Their major intersections have such dangerously conflicting traffic movements designed into them that, to make them safe, they have to be fitted with traffic signal systems that give cyclists less green time than they otherwise would receive."
This is a wonderful example of 'loaded' language aimed at delivering an impression at odds with the facts. It may have escaped Mr Forester's notice, but many intersections in the US have such "dangerously conflicting traffic movements" that they must be fitted with traffic signal systems that include red, green, and yellow lights, and even arrows! Mr Forester's bike is capable of such "dangerously rapid speeds" that it must be fitted with brakes to prevent it going out of control. See how that works?
In practice, the Dutch intersections are designed as a system, including the signalling, work very well and are quite safe. At least, my wife and I found them so, and so do thousands, maybe millions, of Dutch cyclists every day.
One would think that if Mr Forester's complaints about Dutch cycling had any basis in truth, he would be able to find some data or at least anecdotes to back him up, even if he cannot be bothered to go there himself. Where are the hordes of injured Dutch cyclists, the families of those killed, the 'A&S' style forums of frustrated Dutch cyclists bemoaning their country's horrible, slow, deadly cycling infrastructure?
Whatever the merits of his own cycling methods, Mr Forester does his reputation no credit by keeping up this ridiculous rear-guard action, denying the reality of Dutch cycling.
Hagen, thanks for answering the question...I'm reading from your answer, that to your knowledge, neither the Netherlands or Denmark generally prohibit by law, people that bike, from riding on the road with motor vehicles, where bike lanes, cycle tracks and other bike specific infrastructure are near to a given road; and that significantly so, it's social contract, rather than law, that encourages people riding bikes to use bike lanes, cycle tracks and whatnot.
Your description is, from news, people's descriptions of riding over there, and so on, the general impression I've had of freedom to use the road, people that bike are given in Netherlands and Denmark. I was skeptical, reading the claim made that cyclists over there were somehow compelled to confine their rate of speed traveled to that of people traveling at speeds of say....10-12 mph, a biking speed that might be regarded as 'slow'...when they might want to, and comfortably be able to whip it up to 15-25 mph...and even faster in many situations. It helps to have someone living there confirm that it is legal to ride the road, even where well designed and maintained biking infrastructure exists nearby.
Biking infrastructure in the Portland Metro area gradually improves. There's no 'one size fits all', but transportation officials, community activists, bike advocates and others around here seem to pay close attention to what works in other parts of the world, and introduce some of it here where it fits and as budgets allow. I rather doubt the Metro area, which I'll roughly guess is maybe 25-30 miles square, will ever have bike specific infrastructure across the whole of it, to which people biking would be exclusively confined, rather than having access to the roads themselves as well. Maybe though, this is something some people worry, could happen.
Dutch cyclists are prohibited from using the roadway when there is a bike facility adjacent. There's no doubt about that. Therefore, on the occasion when the motor traffic is moving faster than the cycle traffic, which appears to be frequently, cyclists are prohibited from increasing their speed by joining the faster traffic. If Chicago Al chooses to dispute this, he is welcome to do so, provided that he provides factual evidence instead of verbal foolishness.
As I wrote about the Dutch (and Danish) traffic signals with special bicycle phases, these additional phases are required to prevent the dangerous car-bike collision movements, that are designed into these intersections, from occurring simultaneously and thereby causing car-bike collisions. That is how these otherwise dangerous intersections are made safe. These additional traffic-signal phases provide cyclists with less green time than do the conventional American traffic signals. It is the difference between the green time proportion provided to cyclists under the two systems that is significant.
It is obvious that the Dutch like their system very much. The interesting question is why they do so, despite these limitations. The answers to this question shed much light on the issue of whether the Dutch system would be both practical and enthusiastically accepted in the USA.
Firstly, yes Dutch traffic will be split on some roads -- with a good reason. Cyclists are not allowed to ride on the 80 km/h roads, let alone the 130 km/h highways. But a lot more kinds of traffic aren't allowed on those roads. Agricultural machinery for instance. Simply because there are minimum speed limits on those roads as well.
From this simply does not follow that there is a speed limit for cyclists.
And anyway, for slower traffic alternative routes will be there. And often these routes for cyclists will be shorter going from A to B than for cars.
In the cities the only roads shared by cyclists and cars without bicycle lanes will always be 30 km/h streets. And any car driver who will speed there will not only kill cyclists, but runs the risk to kill playing children as well.
And on the second willful misrepresentation: most intersections in the Netherlands on the roads cyclists share with other traffic will have been replaced by roundabouts by now. In my town cyclists always have the right of way there before car traffic. However, this is not always true.
Moreover, in most towns cyclists will never enter major intersections. Tunnels or overflies will have been made nearby, to allow the constant flow of the bicycle traffic.
The only place where this may not be the case is in the center of the old and big cities. But the situation in big cities like Amsterdam is not really representative for the traffic solutions common in the rest of the country. Just like many big city problems do not tell anything about a nation.
John...'Prohibited' ? How so? By law? By social contract? There most certainly does seem to be some doubt about whether cyclists in the Netherlands are prohibited from using the roadway when there is a bike facility adjacent.
If you're understanding is that Dutch cyclists are prohibited by law, from using the roadway when there is a bike facility adjacent, perhaps you could provide some source...text for the specific law or laws and a link to the site you're getting this information from, or other reference material that has brought you to understand this to be what it is Dutch cyclists are obligated to.
"...Hagen, thanks for answering the question...I'm reading from your answer, that to your knowledge, neither the Netherlands or Denmark generally prohibit by law, people that bike, from riding on the road with motor vehicles, where bike lanes, cycle tracks and other bike specific infrastructure are near to a given road; and that significantly so, it's social contract, rather than law, that encourages people riding bikes to use bike lanes, cycle tracks and whatnot. ..." wsbob
"Hagen did not write that there is no Dutch or Danish law prohibiting cyclists from roadways where there is a bicycle facility nearby. To claim otherwise is false." John Forester
No, I did not say Hagen had written that there is no Dutch or Danish law prohibiting cyclists from roadways where there is a bicycle facility nearby. I said that I had read from what he'd written, that there is no such law, and use of bike specific infrastructure is brought about significantly by social contract, rather than the by law. In other words, 'my interpretation' of what he wrote, is that there is no such laws regulating cyclists use of the road in that respect. If he believes my interpretation of what he wrote is incorrect, he's welcome to correct me.
I asked the initial question of Hagen about cyclists use of bike specific infrastructure and the road in Denmark and the Netherlands in the hope of helping to clarify what laws there were or weren't with regards to biking over there. He seems to have given a fair answer, if not saying outright that law does not prohibit cyclists from using the road. Again, if you believe law over there does prohibit cyclists use of the road where bike specific infrastructure is present, and have the material to back it up, please do so.
I was not 'disputing' that cyclists are prohibited from leaving the cycle tracks and going onto the roads, but pointing out that NL cycle traffic moves very quickly, and that I could not see a reason any cyclist would want to do so. (Maybe, if said cyclist is the kind of immature male 'me first' type who, when driving a car, imagines that he is in the latest 'Fast and Furious' movie, gunning the engine, squealing tires at takeoff, doing dangerous passes on narrow streets, etc.) Also, these laws are not so absolute as Forester imagines, as some cycle routes outside of cities actually are on the roads. I have no idea what the actual laws are about this...and I suspect that Forester does not, either.
Nor was I denying that in some intersections cyclists get different green times than in US traffic signals. What a ridiculous claim. What I was saying was that ALL intersections, everywhere, are potentially dangerous and control by signal is part of making them safe. That the Dutch have signals to ensure the safety of cyclists (and often give them first priority in crossing) seems to me an advantage. If the times are slightly less...in practice it does not seem to matter. Again, this kind of impatience seems to come from an adolescent male perspective, the kind that expects the world to revolve around one's immediate wants. One would have thought that a man of Forester's advanced years would have outgrown this.
The interesting question is indeed: if the Dutch cycling system is so onerous, why are they not complaining about it? Why is the person with the biggest beef against it John Forester, who has never bothered to go see it, much less ride it?