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Cycling infrastructure not only benefits cyclists but also drivers

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Cycling infrastructure not only benefits cyclists but also drivers

Old 08-25-11, 01:50 PM
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1nterceptor
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Cycling infrastructure not only benefits cyclists but also drivers

https://hembrow.blogspot.com/2010/04/...ffic-jams.html

Investing in cycling infrastructure which encourages a higher cycling rate not only benefits cyclists but also drivers and society as a whole.

What's more, it is easier to address problems for drivers by improving conditions for cyclists as even the best quality of cycle provision is less expensive and more compact than building roads.

Once again, it can be seen that promoting cycling is good not only for environmental and health reasons, but also for fiscal reasons.
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Old 08-28-11, 03:11 PM
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turbo1889
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I agree in principle that improving infrastructure to recognize and accommodate cyclists as legitimate transportation rather then seeing bicycles as “toys” is indeed an excellent, financially solvent, and honorable endeavor.

I would politely point out, however, that there is a considerable difference between quality bicycle infrastructure and horrifically not thought out dangerous and hazardous infrastructure for bicycles that actually create conflict points between cyclists and motorists usually at intersection points.


Separate divided bicycle paths that run alongside motor roadways but are not part of the main roadway (which looks like what is shown in the links you connected to) and are not routed through intersections as part of the main roadway but rather produce a secondary intersection to the side of the main intersection are extremely hazardous for both cyclists and motorists as I have personally experienced. In my personal opinion which is based on my personal experience bicycle lanes if properly constructed and routed through intersections are safer and benefit both cyclists and motorists and especially help keep pedestrians from “taking over” the bicycle right of way areas.

Let me give you guys the best two examples I have of very, very bad infrastructure and very good infrastructure that exist in my local area that I ride in. Both are around Kalispell which is the one of the biggest towns in my area has the most bicycle specific infrastructure in and surrounding it way up here in North West Montana.

The best example currently existing in my area of very, very bad infrastructure is a separated bike path that runs along the east side of Hwy-93 that runs north/south on the north end of Kalispell from the intersection of Hwy-93 and Grandview Drive to the intersection of West Reserve Drive. From here on out I will refer to this stretch of bike path as my local “Quack Way” because for that particular stretch of bike path you would be absolutely correct in calling whoever designed the darn thing as most certainly a quack a person who unquestionably is indeed actually a genuine quack.

The significant hazards and problems with my local quack way are as follows going south to north:

----- Uncontrolled and unmarked intersection where the bike path crosses the north entrance road to the FVCC campus. Extremely hazardous for bicyclists attempting to cross this intersection from about 15 minutes before the top of the hour to 15 minutes after the top of the hour on the hour every hour while the campus is in session due to students tearing in and out of the campus trying to make it to class on time or leaving after class. There is no traffic indicators indicating motorists are to yield to crossing bicyclists and there are no traffic indicators indicating bicyclists are to yield to motor vehicle traffic, thus both sides believe they have the right of way. Where the bike path crosses the roadway is not indicated on the roadway bed with painted lines. Massive concrete block campus logo sign blocks the view of motorists exiting college campus onto the main highway of bicyclists approaching the intersection on the path from the south.

----- Uncontrolled intersection where the bike path crosses the south entrance road to Wal-Mart. Extreme hazard to bicyclists attempting to cross this intersection from high speed north bound traffic exiting the hwy into Wal-Mart. There is no traffic indicators indicating motorists are to yield to crossing bicyclists and there are no traffic indicators indicating bicyclists are to yield to motor vehicle traffic, thus both sides believe they have the right of way. Where the bike path crosses the roadway is not longer indicated on the roadway bed since the painted lines faded away years ago.

----- Traffic light controlled intersection where the bike path crosses the main north entrance road to Wal-Mart and south entrance to Sportsman’s Ski House and movie theater complex. Bicycle traffic is merged with pedestrian side walk traffic to use the pedestrian cross walk. Much better then the uncontrolled intersections but still quite hazardous.

----- Uncontrolled intersection where the bike path crosses the north entrance right turn only ramp off of the hwy into Sportsman’s Ski House and the theater complex. Extreme hazard to bicyclists attempting to cross this intersection from high speed north bound traffic exiting the hwy using the right hand turn lane to maintain high speed into the parking lot. There is no traffic indicators indicating motorists are to yield to crossing bicyclists and there are no traffic indicators indicating bicyclists are to yield to motor vehicle traffic, thus both sides believe they have the right of way. Where the bike path crosses the roadway is not longer indicated on the roadway bed since the painted lines faded away years ago.


----- Uncontrolled intersection where the bike path crosses the south entrance road to Target. Extreme hazard to bicyclists attempting to cross this intersection from high speed north bound traffic exiting the hwy into Target. There is no traffic indicators indicating motorists are to yield to crossing bicyclists and there are no traffic indicators indicating bicyclists are to yield to motor vehicle traffic, thus both sides believe they have the right of way. Where the bike path crosses the roadway is not longer indicated on the roadway bed since the painted lines faded away years ago.

----- Traffic light controlled intersection where the bike path crosses the main north entrance road to Target and south entrance to Home Depot. Bicycle traffic is merged with pedestrian side walk traffic to use the pedestrian cross walk. Much better then the uncontrolled intersections but still quite hazardous.

----- Incredible and extreme danger where the bike path ends at the intersection of Hwy-93 and West Reserve Drive which is a very busy intersection. Of particular and extreme hazard is large quantities of north bound motor vehicle traffic using the long right hand turn lane to maintain speed as they fly around the corner. Since the bike path is to right of this right hand turn lane any cyclist attempting to continue straight across the intersection is in extreme danger of being run down from this steady stream of right turn traffic. But that is not the only hazard, there is also a heavy stream of south bound traffic turning left onto West Reserve Drive and due to the position of the bike path traffic sitting in the left hand turn lanes of West Reserve Drive block their view so they cannot see the exit of the bike path until after they have already started their left turn and are already committed and in the way of any oncoming north bound traffic.

----- All of these dangerous are exponentially magnified for any cyclist choosing to ride the path in the south bound rather then the north bound direction since every intersection has the additional hazard of motor traffic turning right onto the main highway not looking to the right before making the turn and only looking to the left into the traffic stream they wish to merge into.

----- Then of course there are the problems with the pedestrians on this path, namely that due to the bike path running along side the FVCC campus during certain parts of the day that bike path is clogged up with massive numbers of pedestrians who prefer to walk side by side blocking the path and refusing to yield to bicycle traffic and usually verbally assault and sometimes even physically assault bicyclists who are “on their walking path” even though it is clearly labeled as a bike path, but at this point as far as I am concerned they can have it to themselves.

Long story short the Quack Way is a hazard to public safety when used by bicyclists. They should take down the signs labeling it as a big path and just let the pedestrians have it. I used to use it but I had way too many close calls myself even being aware of the hazards and being extra careful at the intersections and only riding north bound. The last straw was when I saw another cyclists in front of me get nailed. I tried to call out to him because I could see the car behind him in the right hand turn lane coming at him as he entered the crossing but it was too late, he survived with only minimal injuries because he was knocked clear and didn’t go under but his bike was dead meat completely under the car front end. Now I ride on the shoulder of the main highway which is nearly as wide as a full lane and “hold the line” riding on the white line between the main traffic lanes and the right hand turn lanes that are all along that stretch and haven’t had any problems and feel and actually am much safer up on the main roadway rather then using the Quack Way.

The best example currently existing in my area of very good infrastructure is where the shoulder has been painted as a designated bike lane along both sides of Hwy-93 that runs north/south on the south end of Kalispell through the three or four stop lights on that end of town south of the old courthouse. The important thing is that this bike lane has been properly routed through all of those stop light intersections between the straight through traffic and the right hand turn lane so that bicyclists going straight don’t get nailed by the traffic turning right in the right hand turn lane. Found this picture using google image search which shows exactly how that bike lane is routed through those intersections:



It works great and helps less knowledgeable and experienced cyclists who otherwise wouldn’t know to “hold the line” through the intersection between the straight through traffic and right hand turn lane when going straight through not to mention the extra elbow room it creates when taking this line through such an intersection.

In addition, there are two very important things for a quality bicycle lane my opinion:

Bicycle lanes should never be laid out between parking zones and the main traffic lanes. Doors opening are the least of your troubles, cars pulling in and out of parking spaces are significantly more hazardous then an opening door. An open door isn’t a full ton or more of weight that could end up on top of you squashing you like a pancake.

The second thing is “rumble strips” which are washboard like grooves cut into the pavement on the edge of the road. Every single bicycle lane should have rumble strips separating it from the main motor traffic lanes. The significant benefit of having rumble strips separating you from the high speed motor traffic is often overlooked. Those rumble strips are a life saver for a cyclist that rides on the shoulder of a high speed highway, sometimes literally. A motorist that for whatever reason accidently strays out of their lane (fatigue, cell phone, distraction, etc . . . ) will be instantly alerted to their error when their tire hits those rumble strips and that almost without exception keeps them out of “your” shoulder riding area and out in the main roadway where they belong away from you since an impact even a slight nick on a close pass between a motor vehicle at high speed (45-75 mph) and a cyclist almost always ends badly for the cyclist. There is also a secondary benefit on your end of the rumble strips serving as an audible early warning system for you as the cyclist when a motor vehicle approaching from behind strays towards you from behind whether their approach be an honest mistake or a deliberate attempt to run you off the road either way you can hear them coming when their tires hit that rumble strip giving you a chance to avoid being hit.

In my personal opinion the best way to build bicycle infrastructure would be to take all high speed roadways (speeds greater then 25mph) and build them with wide shoulders that are marked as being bike lanes with rumble strips in-between the bike lanes and the motor traffic lanes. Obviously, this would involve widening a few roads that don’t have a shoulder as of present. Not a bad idea anyway. And of course no parking on the sides of those roads parallel or otherwise, even not considering bicycle traffic parking along the sides of high speed roads is a bad idea anyway and an accident waiting to happen between high speed traffic and those pulling into or out of parking spaces.

Parking areas along side the edge of roadways, parallel parking or angled parking, only make sense on low speed (25 mph or less) roadways and on those low speed roadways a bicyclist really doesn’t need a separate bike lane or path since it isn’t hard at all to keep up with motor vehicle traffic so the addition of a bike lane in the danger zone next to parked cars is not only dangerous but not necessary in the first place since the speed differential between motor vehicle and bicycle traffic is very small or non-existent.
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