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Does having more cyclists riding in your area make the experience better?

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Does having more cyclists riding in your area make the experience better?

Old 10-26-06, 10:36 AM
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AlmostTrick
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Does having more cyclists riding in your area make the experience better?

Reading these forums I can tell that some area's have a lot more cyclists on the roads than we have in my area, which is very few. This got me wondering; How does having more active cyclists effect the overall experience compared to having hardly none? I would guess it to be mostly a positive thing, but can also imagine some exceptions. (more scofflaw cyclists, more anti-bike motorists)
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Old 10-26-06, 10:47 AM
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Well, it does make me feel like I have some company.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:48 AM
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Depends on the cyclists and depends on what you want for the day.

Most of the bike paths in L.A. seem a lot less fun when there a re more cyclists on them. More usually means slow and far to often inconsiderate, riding two or three abreast actually over into the lane going the other way. This makes it very difficult to pass. Sometimes the same will happen with bike lanes. If car traffic if heavy again it creates a passing problem.

But having other cyclists going at a speed near mine can be nice. It sure makes it nicer on the road where more cyclists means that car drivers come to expect cyclists.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:51 AM
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I think that if drivers regularly see cyclists on the roads, they come to expect them and eventually learn to treat them with some level of respect...or, at least, tolerance.

In places with a large cycling culture (e.g,. college towns, most of Europe), I think there's less of the "get off the road!" mentality when compared to mid-America, the rural South, etc. Of course, some of that could also be redneck fears of lycra and sexual identity issues.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:08 AM
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yes and no. there are a lot of cyclists here so people tend to watch out for them slightly more than they would otherwise. however,most (99%) of those riders I see are on the sidewalks anyway, and thus not that visible to most drivers. I still get and see a lot of "get off the road" honks and yells.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:57 AM
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Most of the cyclists in central Maryland live in Baltimore City or the older, inner suburbs. Probably more still in DC and surrounding inner suburbs (MD & VA). The further out you get, the less dense the population and the cyclist population. Plus, I think by and large (trying not to be overly stereotypical) cyclists tend to not be afraid of their fellow man so don't flee with the herd to the exurbs, thus being concentrated in metropolitan areas.

That being said, I would say the most 'sharing' drivers are in Baltimore and the inner 'burbs as they are most likely to see cyclists out and about - commuters, rec/competitive cyclists and the ever-present sidewalk using cyclists. When I am out in the hinterlands, I would say the 'experience is better' can be dictated by how few redneck pickup drivers there are. So, Carroll & Harford Counties would be the worst with Baltimore County and Baltimore City being better.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:28 PM
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In the short run: no
In the long run: yes

I say no to the short run due to inexperience, wrong way riding, no lights, etc
Yes to the long run is due to an increased exposure to motorist hopefully making things easier. Of course, that depends upon the new cyclists learning appropriate methods. The long run could very well be worse depending upon the results.

Is this applicable to Bike To Work Day? The trails and, to a lesser extent, roads were flooded with weaving inexperienced, no lights, don't pay attention newbies. That was positively the worst day of cycling. Next year I am staying home, I feel safer that way. Or I could switch my route entirely to the streets.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:34 PM
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Yes and no.

I have to experience daily, twice a day at least, total humiliation as someone passes me. Worse yet is when the entire UCSB triathelon team passes me. Oh, how they scoff.
A couple times a week or so I have to decide whether or not to pass someone who could go faster than me if he just stepped on it.
I have to wave at the same old regulars all the time. Can we just give it a rest already?

Otherwise, it's good. It's not like the MUP when you are sharing the road with hoards of regular cyclists. It like sharing the road with hoards of regular cyclists. In other words, it's not a big deal. There's still no traffic jam in the bike lane--yet.
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Old 10-26-06, 01:53 PM
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Most of the cyclists I see are riding down to the variety store 50 yards down the street from my place. I find them a pain. More cyclists on the street make the drivers more aware of cyclists so are a good thing. In summer afternoons the extra cyclists on the bike paths, mean I have to slow down a bit but it doesnt bother me.
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Old 10-26-06, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rando
yes and no. there are a lot of cyclists here so people tend to watch out for them slightly more than they would otherwise. however,most (99%) of those riders I see are on the sidewalks anyway, and thus not that visible to most drivers. I still get and see a lot of "get off the road" honks and yells.

Well you also live in a Bicycle friendly (Tempe gold maybe) community. So that is huge plus.

In the Valley I think one more people here ride for pleasure in a park. Rather than commute, hence more understanding drivers.

I hardly see any cyclist, with out a Jersy on out on the street. However most drivers for me share the road. Merging infront, going against the law to give me the right away, and passing way to the left. It is not utopia by no means.
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Old 10-26-06, 06:10 PM
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In general, I think motorists who encounter RESPONSIBLE (courteous, safe, rational, essentially lawful) cyclists frequently will tend to be on the lookout for us and will honestly try to accommodate us safely. On a Class I MUP, however, the fewer users, the better.
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Old 10-26-06, 06:13 PM
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Yes, because it gives me hope for the future.

No, because too many of them ride like total idiots.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:39 PM
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Motorist awareness of us increases as our numbers multiply. It's certainly safer that way.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:55 PM
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Not around here, because most of the adults seen on bicycles are on the sidewalks. Having said that, I generally don't have too much trouble, but I don't think the lack of trouble is due to the other cyclists in the area. I've seen two car/bicycle crashes this year, both bikes were coming from the right trying to cross an intersection.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:12 PM
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the more the merrier! is the defacto truth about numbers of bicyclists.

greater numbers of bicyclists encourage more visibility of bicyclists, greater cognizance of a community as a whole of bikes.

oooh, the 'complainers' about too much traffic on MUPs! wow, get a grip. lucky to even have such a facility for the community to enjoy. you want to go fast on an MUP, you pick an off time to rip em. those paths are for ALL users, all the public.

bikes begat bike think, both politically and on the ground.

i think the communities that DON'T have a lot of bicyclists during the good riding months are intimidating to the public at large.
the road systems and community infrastructure, the way the public space is laid out and allocated, are all too intimidating for the majority of americans that would even consider biking more regularily.
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Old 10-27-06, 10:12 AM
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There are many hundreds of cyclists out using the roads on weekends in and around metro-Phx. Almost all are on roads, with the exception of course of the many mtb riders in S.Mtn, McDowell, etc. There are also more familiy oriented riders that use canals and MUP, I personally don't see many as I don't use these paths.

There are quite a number of commuters too - one sees fewer as they are spread around instead of on the common recreational routes. But most use the sidewalk, even when acceptable infrastructrure is in place on the road, even on 25mph roads with WOLs or BLs!

It is unfortunate so many use the sidewalk, it sets the norm for where motorists expect/want cyclists to be and is more dangerous (based on stats for the area and also as I've seen quite a few sidewalk accidents/close calls happen or that just happened - many are minor and don't even get reported into the stats) If even a few learned to use the road, the experience for all would be better.

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Old 10-27-06, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by wheel
Merging infront, going against the law to give me the right away, and passing way to the left.
If you ask (arm signal, looking back) to merge in front of a motorist and they yeild and you merge in front of them, they are not and you are not breaking any law.

Al
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Old 10-27-06, 08:44 PM
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Or possibly if it is a good experience, then you have more cyclists. I have lived in all sorts of places and have not seen a solid connection either way. I have lived in two places with good all year cycling weather and only one was seriously cycling friendly. I live there now and Bicycling is legally and politically integrated into the system. No, it is not Davis, California. Just the town that is getting TWO stages of the Amgen Tour of California next year.
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Old 10-28-06, 08:20 AM
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Now that I have moved to a small town (pop. 2000), the majority of the cyclists I see are the few kids that bike to school. I would be the town's eldest cyclist if it weren't for the aging gentleman who, after cruising the streets on his riding lawnmower, cycles downtown for his evening perch on the town's only park bench.

Occassionally, as I swing on my front porch, sipping an iced tea, I see a blur whiz by, which I can only assume was a roadie on a training ride. In a small town, anything that moves that fast is hardly noticed.

I gotta go feed the chickens...
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