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To be VC means riding in bike lanes.

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To be VC means riding in bike lanes.

Old 02-07-06, 09:42 PM
  #1  
chipcom 
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Yes, you read it correctly. Those who claim to be Vehicular Cyclists who do not ride in a bike lane, when one is available and safe, are NOT riding VC.

Many VC advocates in this forum like to rail against bike lanes and go out of their way NOT to ride in a bike lane if one is available and safe. This goes against the most basic premise of vehicular cycling - riding according to the rules of the road.

In the US, the roadways are seperated into lanes and vehicles are expected to travel within those lanes. It's not acceptable to straddle the lane stripe and the it should only be crossed when merging into another lane, making a turn, passing, or avoiding an obstacle. In some cases, special lanes are designated for special uses, car pool lanes being one example, truck lanes being another, and yes, our own favorite bike lanes being another. When a bike lane is present, the rules of the road dictate that cyclists use them, unless a reason exists not to - obstacles or other unsafe conditions, passing, merging to another lane to make a turn, etc. Note that this does NOT mean that bicycles are limited to bike lanes only, it merely means that if one is present and there is not a good reason not to use it, the bike lane should be used.

Conclusion: Riding in a bike lane when one is available and safe to use is following the vehicular rules of the road.

NOTE: Claiming that bike lanes are unsafe because they make the cyclist 'irrelevant' to other traffic is NOT a valid argument unless authorative studies can be cited that support this notion. As a driver, any traffic in any adjacent lane is relevant to me, so if you want to show me that my experience is not valid, you best have some facts to back up your argument.
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Old 02-07-06, 09:48 PM
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I concur. A vehicular cyclist will use the bike lane when available and safe for use. A vehicular cyclist would predominantly use the vehicular lane provided for bikes.
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Old 02-07-06, 10:00 PM
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No argument here.

However, we won't really know if you are correct until HH instructs us.
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Old 02-07-06, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Conclusion: Riding in a bike lane when one is available and safe to use is following the vehicular rules of the road.
A conclusion any sane, reasonable, logical and responsible cyclist might make.
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Old 02-07-06, 11:46 PM
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Bumper sticker? Why not.




D
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Old 02-07-06, 11:53 PM
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Thanks been out of the country for awhile. Never heard that term used before. Appreciate the definition.
Never would I move out of my safety zone if I did not have to.
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Old 02-08-06, 05:01 AM
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Unfortunately, the opinions of you folks are invalid. You see, HH did a poll. Not a scientific poll, mind you, but one that showed that a least 57 people in the universe agree with him. Therefore, he is right.

Sorry.

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Old 02-08-06, 05:41 AM
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I agree that to ride using vehicular cycling techniques does not exclude the use of bike lanes and paved shoulders. However, I have found that all of this stuff


Originally Posted by peregrine
........no one seems to see you, no one gives you the right of way, everyone passes you too close, bus drivers are abusing, SUV drivers are being absolutely obnoxious, cars are constantly cutting you off, and you've come too close to being hit far too many times for comfort........
increases the further I am from the center of the right most traffic lane.


Originally Posted by chipcom
As a driver, any traffic in any adjacent lane is relevant to me........
I do this too, but I consider that irrelevant, because I am a cyclist I actively look for pedestrians and other cyclists while I'm driving. In my experience most drivers who are not cyclists, don't do this and are more likely to look at the cyclist without seeing him/her, unless the cyclist is directly in their line of travel.

All other down sides to bike lanes aside.
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Old 02-08-06, 06:28 AM
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I can only think of one bike lane in the Baltimore metro area, which is (was) part of an old 'Bike Route' system from a zillion years ago that mixed lanes and sidewalks as 'routes' which thankfully died a proper death from benign neglect. The lane part of the 'route' can be seen along Lake Avenue in Baltimore City between Charles Street and Roland Ave. but at rush hour cars going east trying to move up to the right turn lane encroach on the bike lane even when stopped and waiting for the light. So, if you were on your bike trying to use the lane at that time, you would have a hard time passing stopped cars in your 'designated' lane.

But, using a bike lane is no different than riding on the shoulder of a high-speed road where a shoulder is provided. I do it all the time. But, all traffic including the occasional slow-moving farm implement seem to get along without the shoulder being designated as a dedicated 'lane' for anybody in particular. The particular heavily-traveled rural state road I am thinking of has a speed limit of 50 MPH, one lane each way and the shoulder is variable from 10' to 3' wide. In some instances I have been forced to merge in with traffic which has never been difficult. I look back for an opening, I signal and move into the travel lane - to go around something in the shoulder or to make a left turn.

Does that count as being VC? does anybody care? I don't.
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Old 02-08-06, 07:21 AM
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I would tend to agree, assuming your state or locality dictates that a lane MUST be used when available. Not all states and localities have this code.
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Old 02-08-06, 08:50 AM
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How much debris in the bike lane should I be expected to tolerate before readers here think it's appropriate for me to ride on the stripe or to its left in order to stay out of it?

My threshold is as follows: If I can see debris (sand, glass fragments, leaves, pine needles, gravel, nails, etc.), or I can hear it under the tires or spitting against my fenders or frame, I move left.

To some extent, this is about safety, since debris can cause loss of traction during maneuvering or destabilize the bike. But I also want to avoid flats from glass and metal. There's a lot less of that debris where the cars tend to sweep the roadway. I prefer to ride where I am unlikely to flat. I've never, in over 20 years of riding narrow-tire road bikes, puncture flatted while riding in a normal travel lane. I've had lots of puncture flats riding to the right of a stripe, usually a paved shoulder.

So isn't it VC to ride where the pavement surface looks good? If the bike lane really seems as clean as the travel lane then I ride there, otherwise I'm on the stripe or to its left.

Here are some pictures of the bike lanes where I live:





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Old 02-08-06, 09:18 AM
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Great pics sqqoodri!

They typify the stupidity of the 'white stripe' mentality. If the fog line where moved right or removed completely, the 'bike lane' area currently covered with sand and debris would be cleaner due to motor vehicle traffic occasionally driving there to pass left-turning vehicles or to use driveways. Therefore, the actual width of paving available to the cyclist and motorist would be wider and thus, the cyclist would be able to position themselves further right as necessary to facilitate passing motor vehicles or to use as a safety margin. Additionally, a bike lane on a 25 MPH road seems totally unnecessary to me especially with what appears to be at least 14' of consistent paving width.
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Old 02-08-06, 09:21 AM
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look good to me! good lines in all of them. of course, feel free to leave the bike lane when safety dictates.

a maxim for street bicycles, "when the going gets rough, the tough get bigger tires." a road bike is not a street bike in my opinion but that's the subject of a different thread.
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Old 02-08-06, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
How much debris in the bike lane should I be expected to tolerate before readers here think it's appropriate for me to ride on the stripe or to its left in order to stay out of it?

My threshold is as follows: If I can see debris (sand, glass fragments, leaves, pine needles, gravel, nails, etc.), or I can hear it under the tires or spitting against my fenders or frame, I move left.

To some extent, this is about safety, since debris can cause loss of traction during maneuvering or destabilize the bike. But I also want to avoid flats from glass and metal. There's a lot less of that debris where the cars tend to sweep the roadway. I prefer to ride where I am unlikely to flat. I've never, in over 20 years of riding narrow-tire road bikes, puncture flatted while riding in a normal travel lane. I've had lots of puncture flats riding to the right of a stripe, usually a paved shoulder.

So isn't it VC to ride where the pavement surface looks good? If the bike lane really seems as clean as the travel lane then I ride there, otherwise I'm on the stripe or to its left.

Here are some pictures of the bike lanes where I live:





Two things... sadly a bike lane exists where the traffic is only 25MPH... there really is no need for that. Second, you need to give notice to the city that you too are a tax payer and that they should do something to keep all the roadways clean.
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Old 02-08-06, 09:57 AM
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Do need encourage motorists to realize that bike lane maintenance can be shotty. Recall being to the left side of a bike lane and having an angry motorist giving me the bird and acting like a jerk. IT was so full of potholes.
I was riding on the white line and the road was ride and still acted jerkish. Some days can't win. But if available and in good condition, I will usually ride in the center of the bike lane. It is my safety zone.I hope.
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Old 02-08-06, 10:00 AM
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While I have no problem using bike lanes, I do leave them if safe to do so and their is a reason to do so... such as the kind of dirt and junk shown or if there are parked cars alongside, or if I am moving at the speed of other traffic, or if there are intersections ahead... and I don't wait for the dashed lines either.

The way that some bike lanes are drawn on the road, it is quite obvious that the designer thought cyclists were rolling pedestrians... not human powered vehicles easily moving at 20+MPH.
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Old 02-08-06, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Yes, you read it correctly. Those who claim to be Vehicular Cyclists who do not ride in a bike lane, when one is available and safe, are NOT riding VC.

Many VC advocates in this forum like to rail against bike lanes and go out of their way NOT to ride in a bike lane if one is available and safe. This goes against the most basic premise of vehicular cycling - riding according to the rules of the road.

In the US, the roadways are seperated into lanes and vehicles are expected to travel within those lanes. It's not acceptable to straddle the lane stripe and the it should only be crossed when merging into another lane, making a turn, passing, or avoiding an obstacle. In some cases, special lanes are designated for special uses, car pool lanes being one example, truck lanes being another, and yes, our own favorite bike lanes being another. When a bike lane is present, the rules of the road dictate that cyclists use them, unless a reason exists not to - obstacles or other unsafe conditions, passing, merging to another lane to make a turn, etc. Note that this does NOT mean that bicycles are limited to bike lanes only, it merely means that if one is present and there is not a good reason not to use it, the bike lane should be used.

Conclusion: Riding in a bike lane when one is available and safe to use is following the vehicular rules of the road.

NOTE: Claiming that bike lanes are unsafe because they make the cyclist 'irrelevant' to other traffic is NOT a valid argument unless authorative studies can be cited that support this notion. As a driver, any traffic in any adjacent lane is relevant to me, so if you want to show me that my experience is not valid, you best have some facts to back up your argument.
Chipcom when will you ever learn that reason and sanity are not allowed here.

Bits of metal are what always get me, and I always pick that up on residential roads because that's where the construction workers live and that's where the go to work.
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Old 02-08-06, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
Here are some pictures of the bike lanes where I live:
Your city council should be tarred and feathered.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
look good to me! good lines in all of them. of course, feel free to leave the bike lane when safety dictates.

a maxim for street bicycles, "when the going gets rough, the tough get bigger tires." a road bike is not a street bike in my opinion but that's the subject of a different thread.
I couldn't disagree more.

I always avoid debris. Flats are not the only safety hazard. Speaking of flats, the only flats I can even remember in recent years was a sidewall flat because my tires were old and a flat caused by a hole nest to my tire valve.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:17 AM
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I completely agree and so miss the well thought out bike lanes of Seattle.

What I will not ride in though is the bike lane that runs through West Hollywood and consists of a stripe just outside the door zone. I'll try and get a picture posted soon. It looks like it was designed by a personal injury attorney.
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Old 02-08-06, 11:25 AM
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Treespeed, does this mean you would ride in that sandy debris on the bike lanes shown in Steve's pics? Or does it mean you agree with Chipcom's original post?
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Old 02-08-06, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
Two things... sadly a bike lane exists where the traffic is only 25MPH... there really is no need for that. Second, you need to give notice to the city that you too are a tax payer and that they should do something to keep all the roadways clean.
I have gone on record with the city repeatedly stating my opposition to placing bike lane striping on low-volume 25 mph roads. The city planners' justification is that novice cyclists and parents are asking for the striping to make cycling "safe" for novices and children. The planners put the stripes on the low-speed roads instead of the high-speed roads because they fear that bike lanes on the faster roads will encourage novices and cyclists to use the faster roads (instead of staying inside their isolated subdivisions, I guess.)

The city thinks that sweeping the local roads four times a year is adequate. As for the higher speed roads, those are state maintained and never get swept. But there are no bike lane stripes on those, so they are actually cleaner in the places where I ride.

Note that the LAB "Bicycle Friendly Community" qualification process considers miles of striping, not the quality of the roads. That's part of the reason why the city, which won a BFC award from LAB, stripes these low-speed residential streets but doesn't sweep bike lanes as often as needed.
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Old 02-08-06, 12:42 PM
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Oh goody. Another thread designed with the express purpose of taunting and provoking a certain person, then getting all upset and pissy when that person responds as you think he will. I very much hope that HH totally ignores this pathetic little exercise in neurotic transference.

As for you riders, ride where it is safest. That might be bike lane, it might not. Walnuts in the bike lane can kill you, as Chipcom posted a few months ago. Bike lanes in my city are not even plowed. I guess not even chipper would think I shoul ride hrough 6 inches of slush, snow and ice, well mixed with gravel, tree limbs and glass shards?
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Old 02-08-06, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
look good to me! good lines in all of them. of course, feel free to leave the bike lane when safety dictates.

a maxim for street bicycles, "when the going gets rough, the tough get bigger tires." a road bike is not a street bike in my opinion but that's the subject of a different thread.
Note that these roads were much cleaner in the five feet from the gutter before the stripes were added. That is, the stripes are the cause of the debris collecting there.

I used to commute with slick fat tires. I found it to be slower and more tiring than with my road bikes. So I donated my fat tire bike and added a rack and fenders to my older (1983 Trek) road bike for commuting. In good weather I ride my 2001 Lemond Zurich. These bikes serve me very well.

Note that fat slicks aren't much protection from skids on sand. I avoid these situations when riding my mountain bike to the trailhead just as I do when riding my road bike to work. If I'm riding on the road, I want to use decent pavement.
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Old 02-08-06, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
While I have no problem using bike lanes, I do leave them if safe to do so and their is a reason to do so... such as the kind of dirt and junk shown or if there are parked cars alongside, or if I am moving at the speed of other traffic, or if there are intersections ahead... and I don't wait for the dashed lines either.

The way that some bike lanes are drawn on the road, it is quite obvious that the designer thought cyclists were rolling pedestrians... not human powered vehicles easily moving at 20+MPH
.
+1.

Who's going to tell you the best position for riding in ever changing conditions? Some engineer with a paintbrush who hasn't been on a bike since he was 12 years old? Or yourself, a trained and experienced traffic cyclist?
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