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  1. #351
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
    Here's an interesting article that kind of speaks directly to the OP's question:

    http://www.streets.mn/2014/01/10/cyc...feedback-loop/

    Thanks for the link... Not sure if the OP and some others will be on board with its conclusions, also based on several studies, like the Pucher report it draws the conclusion that bike facilities, even if they only give a perception of safety will increase the numbers of cyclists.

    Some posters to this thread seem unconvinced that it is infrastructure that raises the numbers as opposed to other factors like gas prices, recessions, economics and efforts at traffic calming.

    Quote Originally Posted by streets mn
    If residents perceive their cycling to be safer, they are more likely to bicycle and bicycle more often, which has the added benefit of increased safety through safety in numbers. Given this tautological reasoning, good bicycle facilities are the intervening element to initiate the “cycling safety positive feedback loop.”

    It seems this thread has turned more to a discussion regarding what the best and most attractive bike facilities are and the battle is over the merits of separated facilities vs the merits of on street facilities.
    Last edited by buzzman; 01-17-14 at 05:57 PM.

  2. #352
    genec genec's Avatar
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    The interesting thing about the perception of safety is that while this perception element is often dismissed by the anti-facilities people, at the same time our very road designs for motorists highly depend on perception for success... the very stripe in the center of the road is perhaps the clearest example of this... there is no actual protection from that stripe... yet the perception of that feature is quite satisfying to motorists... meanwhile indeed head on collisions do still occur.

    Take the same roads and remove the car guiding stripes and traffic moves at a much slower pace... showing yet again that something as simple as a stripe of paint provides guidance and the perception of safety such that motor vehicle drivers will readily glide past one another at 100MPH closing speeds with little worry.

  3. #353
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    Thanks for the link... Not sure if the OP and some others will be on board with its conclusions, also based on several studies, like the Puchler report it draws the conclusion that bike facilities, even if they only give a perception of safety will increase the numbers of cyclists.

    Some posters to this thread seem unconvinced that it is infrastructure that raises the numbers as opposed to other factors like gas prices, recessions, economics and efforts at traffic calming.




    It seems this thread has turned more to a discussion regarding what the best and most attractive bike facilities are and the battle is over the merits of separated facilities vs the merits of on street facilities.
    I suggest that the paper to which you refer is one by Pucher, who writes that kind of stuff.

    Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years. Bikeways make many cyclists and potential cyclists feel much safer. Bikeway construction therefore will produce a switch from motor trips to bicycle trips. Motorists, insofar as they have any opinion in this matter think that bikeways make motoring more convenient. The comfortable feeling produced by bikeways is produced by the protection from same-direction motor traffic.

    Other things also need to be said. This comfortable feeling has little connection with the actual traffic hazards of urban cycling, in which the great majority of car-bike collisions occur through turning and crossing movements. Nobody has produced a valid engineering analysis that predicts how real bikeways might reduce car-bike collisions, or has produced empirical evidence that they do. Furthermore, American bikeways are designed on the basis that American cyclists are not capable of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles; they treat cyclists like incompetent children.

    American traffic laws have two special ways of treating cyclists. One way is the mandatory side of the road law (FTR law). The other way is the mandatory bikeway law (MBL law). Both of these are implementations of the policy of treating cyclists as incapable children, which policy must therefore be considered detrimental to the growth and effectiveness of American bicycle transportation. Those two laws have no justification whatever; placing motorist convenience above the growth of bicycle transportation is a sorry policy for bicycling advocates. Any program for increasing American bicycle transportation ought to include both those who prefer the illusion that bikeways make cycling safe and those who understand the safety and convenience of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles.

    nd neither of these has been shown to make cycling much safer; indeed the opposite.

  4. #354
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    I suggest that the paper to which you refer is one by Pucher, who writes that kind of stuff.

    Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years. Bikeways make many cyclists and potential cyclists feel much safer. Bikeway construction therefore will produce a switch from motor trips to bicycle trips. Motorists, insofar as they have any opinion in this matter think that bikeways make motoring more convenient. The comfortable feeling produced by bikeways is produced by the protection from same-direction motor traffic.

    Other things also need to be said. This comfortable feeling has little connection with the actual traffic hazards of urban cycling, in which the great majority of car-bike collisions occur through turning and crossing movements. Nobody has produced a valid engineering analysis that predicts how real bikeways might reduce car-bike collisions, or has produced empirical evidence that they do. Furthermore, American bikeways are designed on the basis that American cyclists are not capable of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles; they treat cyclists like incompetent children.

    American traffic laws have two special ways of treating cyclists. One way is the mandatory side of the road law (FTR law). The other way is the mandatory bikeway law (MBL law). Both of these are implementations of the policy of treating cyclists as incapable children, which policy must therefore be considered detrimental to the growth and effectiveness of American bicycle transportation. Those two laws have no justification whatever; placing motorist convenience above the growth of bicycle transportation is a sorry policy for bicycling advocates. Any program for increasing American bicycle transportation ought to include both those who prefer the illusion that bikeways make cycling safe and those who understand the safety and convenience of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles.

    nd neither of these has been shown to make cycling much safer; indeed the opposite.

    I don't mean to be overly dismissive of your post but I am afraid I can't help it.

    You propose: "Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years."

    Certainly the result is that we have moved into a new era of infrastructure. The argument is no longer infrastructure vs no infrastructure (VC and driver/cyclist education). It has evolved into a discussion about what kinds of infrastructure- bike lanes, sharrows, separated paths, interconnected rail trails, MUP's, bicycle super highways, Dutch style infrastructure, German style etc.

    The points you are attempting to make are bordering on, if not fully, irrelevant to this new landscape. You seem to be still attempting to turn the clock back on the emphasis on infrastructure.

    Even many of the differences of opinion being expressed in this thread are between persons who share some respect for well designed infrastructure. There's just not 100% agreement on what the best design is.

    The changing nature of our congested urban spaces, the increases in overall population and concurrent increases in the number of private and commercial vehicles on our limited road space means a new playbook and/or a less narrow minded, dogmatic and polarizing stance is necessary. Or you could hold to the same old arguments and find your opinions similarly dismissed.

  5. #355
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    ...
    American traffic laws have two special ways of treating cyclists. One way is the mandatory side of the road law (FTR law). The other way is the mandatory bikeway law (MBL law).
    ...
    Like I said before, good law is quite liberating.

    Massachusetts has neither of those provisions. In fact, one of the special ways of treating cyclists here includes we can pass on the right under more circumstances than motor vehicle operators can.

    Other states have cleared up that bicycle headights and taillights may blink.

    But my all time favorite US bike "law" (the code is more what you'd call "guidelines") has to be UVC 11-1210 Bicycle Parking(c)(d)(e)(f). Good to know that not only we don't have to park with our right side wheels within 1' of the curb, we can park at any angle our little hearts desire. Not only that, we can park abreast of another bicycle or bicycles! (Two, three, four, more! Go crazy!) Be still my heart!

    -mr. bill
    Last edited by mr_bill; 01-19-14 at 06:46 PM.

  6. #356
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Why is it that any conversation with John Forester always results in "Pucher is wrong and Forester is right;" yet far more people ride bikes in the world described by Pucher than the world described by Forester.

    I honestly cannot say that vehicular cycling doesn't work... only that it only works well when the speeds of all vehicles tend to be at "human scale." (speeds comfortably reached and maintained on a bicycle... )

  7. #357
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    The interesting thing about the perception of safety is that while this perception element is often dismissed by the anti-facilities people, at the same time our very road designs for motorists highly depend on perception for success... the very stripe in the center of the road is perhaps the clearest example of this... there is no actual protection from that stripe... yet the perception of that feature is quite satisfying to motorists... meanwhile indeed head on collisions do still occur.

    Take the same roads and remove the car guiding stripes and traffic moves at a much slower pace... showing yet again that something as simple as a stripe of paint provides guidance and the perception of safety such that motor vehicle drivers will readily glide past one another at 100MPH closing speeds with little worry.
    I come out of boredom and I can't help responding to stuff...

    The strip in the pavement, while not a physical barrier, is most certainly a very real protection which allows traffic to move more quickly. What is it? It's a reference. When I am driving (I commute every day, on country highways where closing speeds easily exceed 100mph with only that line separating opposing lanes of traffic) I can tell at a glance, using the center strip as a reference, whether the car approaching from the other direction is on a collision course with me. Two points of the approaching car's location WRT the strip are sufficient to tell me the car's heading. With no reference, I have to track the car using triangulation using my own location as a reference to tell whether it is on a collision course. The former is a much quicker calculation than the latter, which allows both cars to travel at a faster rate of closing speed.

    The concept of both a wide outside lane and sharrow as it pertains to cycling is actually to intentionally remove a reference point off the road and create ambiguity in the driver's calculation of the cyclist's path as he overtakes. The hope of this strategy is to slow overtaking traffic. But realize this is a gambit of sorts. The road designer is removing information from the overtake calculations in the hope the driver will be wise enough to slow down to take into account the spatial ambiguities. The gambit is 1) you are relying the driver making a more complex calculation and 2) you are relying on the driver's wisdom to slow enough to take the complexity into account.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  8. #358
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    I come out of boredom and I can't help responding to stuff...

    The strip in the pavement, while not a physical barrier, is most certainly a very real protection which allows traffic to move more quickly. What is it? It's a reference. When I am driving (I commute every day, on country highways where closing speeds easily exceed 100mph with only that line separating opposing lanes of traffic) I can tell at a glance, using the center strip as a reference, whether the car approaching from the other direction is on a collision course with me. Two points of the approaching car's location WRT the strip are sufficient to tell me the car's heading. With no reference, I have to track the car using triangulation using my own location as a reference to tell whether it is on a collision course. The former is a much quicker calculation than the latter, which allows both cars to travel at a faster rate of closing speed.

    The concept of both a wide outside lane and sharrow as it pertains to cycling is actually to intentionally remove a reference point off the road and create ambiguity in the driver's calculation of the cyclist's path as he overtakes. The hope of this strategy is to slow overtaking traffic. But realize this is a gambit of sorts. The road designer is removing information from the overtake calculations in the hope the driver will be wise enough to slow down to take into account the spatial ambiguities. The gambit is 1) you are relying the driver making a more complex calculation and 2) you are relying on the driver's wisdom to slow enough to take the complexity into account.
    So the question rises... do bike lanes work? They provide after all no more physical safety than any other stripe in the road... yet the perception to cyclists is that bike lanes are safer to ride than roads without such lanes.

    But it's just a stripe of paint. Nothing more than a reference point... Right?

    Come back Brian and tell us more...

  9. #359
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    Your observations about the center line is exactly right.

    But, now take the double yellow line in the middle, but add in a white line at the side.

    When they are far apart, what does that tell your brain? You can go fast!
    Now squish them together to narrow the lane. What does that tell your brain to do? Slow down.

    It's a proven traffic calming technique, but deity help us we are somehow surrendering to motordom to take advantage of a right side line like that.

    -mr. bill
    Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

  10. #360
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    So the question rises... do bike lanes work? They provide after all no more physical safety than any other stripe in the road... yet the perception to cyclists is that bike lanes are safer to ride than roads without such lanes.

    But it's just a stripe of paint. Nothing more than a reference point... Right?

    Come back Brian and tell us more...
    I would dare say that motorists respect painted lines a lot more than cyclists. A cyclist in the potential path of a car (defined a priori as "in the lane") is viewed as an obstacle. Cars slow to take the ambiguity into account because, in general, nobody wants to kill anyone, but as a cyclist, you know as well as I that we take sh*t for being there. It's because of the very real premise of the road, which is this: one can expect that, most of the time, there are no obstacles in the travel lane. This premise is intrinsic to why our roads are so safe and why our travel is so efficient (in what other era in the past could I afford to take a 20 mile one-way trip every single day for nine years to get to work?). We drill this premise into the heads of our children when we tell them to stay out of the road. It is part of our national psyche that the roads are to be kept clear of obstacles. Every time we fiddle with the radio dial, that premise is what keeps us safe. And it works, more or less.

    A cyclist, when traveling much slower than the majority of traffic, in the travel lane, breaks this premise. Which is why we draw ire.

    Do bike lanes work? This is asking for a statement of fact which I can't make in absolute terms. I suspect they work okay, particularly well if there are no intersections; maybe not so well if there are lots of intersections and driveways. And anyone paying attention can see that various people dispute the efficacy of alternatives.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  11. #361
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    With respect to bike lanes acting as reference points...

    Cars are easy to figure. They look rather monolithic, which means it is very easy to judge both speed and heading if sufficient road reference points exist. Cyclists don't have a well defined outline. A driver trying to judge position, speed, and heading of a cyclist first has to go through the rigmarole of figuring out stable reference points on the bicycle/rider itself, before he or she can compare those points to points on the road. Again, this makes the calculation more difficult, which turns a cyclist into a cognitive burden.

    A line between the cyclist and the driver should lower the cognitive burden on the driver passing a cyclist. I think both sides of the bike lane debate will acknowledge that cars pass cyclists more quickly when the cyclist is riding in the bike lane than without. My intuition says that, even though the car is passing more quickly, the situation is intrinsically safer because there is more information about heading and speed of the cyclist available to the driver. If the driver is not interested in hitting me in the first place (I think it is agreed that most aren't), I'd rather the driver have as much information available as possible to allow a safe pass. But I tend to measure the terms of a "safe pass" by the probability that our paths intersect, not by the speed of overtake; I don't really care how fast the car passes. Others are worried about overtake speed and come to different conclusions.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  12. #362
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    I don't mean to be overly dismissive of your post but I am afraid I can't help it.

    You propose: "Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years."

    Certainly the result is that we have moved into a new era of infrastructure. The argument is no longer infrastructure vs no infrastructure (VC and driver/cyclist education). It has evolved into a discussion about what kinds of infrastructure- bike lanes, sharrows, separated paths, interconnected rail trails, MUP's, bicycle super highways, Dutch style infrastructure, German style etc.

    The points you are attempting to make are bordering on, if not fully, irrelevant to this new landscape. You seem to be still attempting to turn the clock back on the emphasis on infrastructure.

    Even many of the differences of opinion being expressed in this thread are between persons who share some respect for well designed infrastructure. There's just not 100% agreement on what the best design is.

    The changing nature of our congested urban spaces, the increases in overall population and concurrent increases in the number of private and commercial vehicles on our limited road space means a new playbook and/or a less narrow minded, dogmatic and polarizing stance is necessary. Or you could hold to the same old arguments and find your opinions similarly dismissed.
    Your suggestion that I am "still attempting to turn the clock back on the emphasis on infrastructure" shows how little you understand and how strongly your ideology drives you. My motivation is to improve the safety and enjoyment of those cyclists who understand the value of operating according to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. It apparently has not occurred to your mind(s) that for a long time and probably forever, operating in conditions in which obeying those rules will be advantageous. Bikeways will never be ubiquitous, and, from the evidence of years, there will be many examples of designs gone wrong. You and your associates have done nothing to further my effort. That's why your efforts are bad for cyclists.

    You argue that building bikeways will relieve road congestion to a greater extent than would using the same space to increase road capacity. I recognize that you did not write that; I had to infer your meaning from your muddled argument. If you thought and wrote clearly, the discussion would go better. Maybe you really meant something else? Well, presenting arguments to be misunderstood is your own fault. But I think you have presented an interesting argument. I suppose that you have a paper demonstrating its accuracy? If not, then shut up.

    You and your associates insist on obfuscating matters by refusing to use proper words. You say that your argument is about infrastructure. I don't see any evidence of that, because the major cycling infrastructure is our road and traffic system. What you are arguing about is bikeway designs; use the proper words and your discussion will go better. So, you think that the only relevant point of the discussion concerns "what the best design is". You all can argue all that you want about different kinds of bikeways, but I have never seen any criteria for determing the meaning of "best". So far as I have seen over many years of observation, you have no clear idea of what to accomplish, and therefore of working out how to accomplish it.

  13. #363
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    Infrastructure might be more important now than forty years ago when Mr. Forester was writint Effective Cycling. Roads are more crowded and drivers are farther from, in my book, being human. Cell phones, SUV's (the vehicle of choice for pigs and bullies) and the general aura of motorist entitlement all make me more eager to use bike-specific facilities where they exist and will get me where I need to go. VC is an idea from back in the days when drivers were also people.

  14. #364
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
    because the major cycling infrastructure is our road and traffic system.
    and these facilities are largely designed for multi-ton metal boxes hurtling around at very dangerous speeds. i'd like to see some infrastructure designed for people.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  15. #365
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    With respect to bike lanes acting as reference points...

    ........ I think both sides of the bike lane debate will acknowledge that cars pass cyclists more quickly when the cyclist is riding in the bike lane than without.
    I dont' know about that, Brian..... the studies i've seen of road dieted roads show the 85 percentile speeds go down, sometimes almost 10mph reduction in averaged 85th percentile speed on road dieted roads.

    do cars pass with bike in bikelanes more smoothly, with less lane and centerline encroachment, and make the roads generally safer for all road users? roadway studies suggest - Yes.

    does proximity to a bikelane or bike way make it more likely for people to ride? I've seen studies that suggest they do.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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