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86 years old... and gone!

Old 11-07-12, 01:40 PM
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86 years old... and gone!

An eighty-six year old man died yesterday. He was riding his bike and was hit by a pickup truck.

Here's the link.

I almost hate to stir up another thread on this "integrated, same road - same rules" approach versus separated bike tracks. The truth is, I'm no expert on the subject and I've been trying to learn from many of you who have offered opinions.

Since reading Forester's "Effective Cycling" almost twenty-five years ago, I've long been an advocate for cycles being treated like vehicles. It's what I've believed in; it's how I've ridden.

Lately, though, I've become something of a community activist on many different issues. Only recently have I started looking into improving my small, suburban town's cycling infrastructure. In addition to extensive reading and conversations with statewide cycling advocacy groups, e.g. MassBike, I've spoken to many people right here in my town about cycling.

My ultimate goals are 1. to make cycling safer AND 2. to get more people out cycling. When I talk about sponsoring a cycling event or forming a casual cycling club, the response is almost always the same: "Cycling on the road with cars is way too dangerous." Ill-informed? Perhaps. Statistics show otherwise? Perhaps. I've heard all the arguments for an integrated (i.e. sharing the road) approach. The problem is that the masses are not convinced. If you're a "share the road" advocate, what's your plan to fix that? Or, is it, that you won't take responsibility for what you view as a misguided perception?

So, I'll ask this question about the separated track approach? I've heard the argument that very few accidents occur when cars overtake a cyclist from behind. I accept those statistics. I also accept that the parallel, separated track increases risk at intersections unless traffic signal sequencing is employed. The question is, if signal sequencing (i.e. separate traffic light timing for cyclists and cars) is employed, is this system safer or at least as safe as the integrated approach? The second question is, would cycling receive more prominence and funding leading to increased safety if more people were cycling?

I haven't seen any studies that attempt to project the impact of separated bike tracks on the number of people who cycle but I would venture a guess that it would be multiples of the number of people who currently cycle. This issue, obviously in addition to the safety issue, often seems to be ignored in these discussions.

In my view, as cycling advocates, we have a responsibility to not just increase cycling safety but to increase our numbers as well.
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Old 11-07-12, 01:52 PM
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All of the above.

Yes, I ride vehicularly. But separate infrastructure, when it's done right, is always welcome. My favorite method of travel though is riding through residential neighborhoods. Speeds are generally slow enough that bikes are not seen as the enemy. I ride some of the busier streets, but if I can ride a block over through a neighborhood, I'll take that option.
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Old 11-07-12, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2
Since reading Forester's "Effective Cycling" almost twenty-five years ago, I've long been an advocate for cycles being treated like vehicles. It's what I've believed in; it's how I've ridden.
[SNIP]
I've heard the argument that very few accidents occur when cars overtake a cyclist from behind. I accept those statistics.
Your concern about having a responsibility to not just increase cycling safety but to increase our numbers as well is commendable.

I suggest you relook the basis for some of your "beliefs" and "acceptance" on extremely shaky methodology "statistics" that produces shaky conclusions about relative risk of various cycling techniques and road treatments. Especially the use of faulty stats/methodology, found in numerous slipshod "studies" that substitute "crash rates" or "accident rates" for indications of relative risk or danger to cyclists. The phony baloney "crash rates" usually, if not always, give no consideration to actual injury or fatality severities of the cyclists involved.

The response often given is that nothing better is available. Maybe so, but still adds no basis for acceptance or belief in conjured conclusions.
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Old 11-07-12, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Your concern about having a responsibility to not just increase cycling safety but to increase our numbers as well is commendable.

I suggest you relook the basis for some of your "beliefs" and "acceptance" on extremely shaky methodology "statistics" that produces shaky conclusions about relative risk of various cycling techniques and road treatments. Especially the use of faulty stats/methodology, found in numerous slipshod "studies" that substitute "crash rates" or "accident rates" for indications of relative risk or danger to cyclists. The phony baloney "crash rates" usually, if not always, give no consideration to actual injury or fatality severities of the cyclists involved.

The response often given is that nothing better is available. Maybe so, but still adds no basis for acceptance or belief in conjured conclusions.
+1

I'll add a small story. Current "conventional wisdom" has it that the more segregated infrastructure you add, the more people you will attract to cycling. A couple of weeks ago, we had a traffic engineer from Portland, OR come speak here in Eugene. During his talk, he revealed that in spite of the fact that Portland has been one of the top cities in terms of adding cycling-specific infrastructure, the rate of increase in the numbers of cyclists in Portland has been the same as the nation as a whole over the past decade.

Ouch! That sure is a problem for the "build it and they will come" approach to attracting more cyclists. It is still possible that there will be a higher rate of increase once the system is better and more completely built out, and I'm not condemning their efforts to build infrastructure. In fact, I would like to see them not only build more, but do a much better job of it. Specifically, too much of what I see are door-zone bike lanes, "bike boulevards" that have ungodly numbers of stop signs and traffic lights that have cycle-specific phases but function by making cyclists wait longer than if they were not put in at all.
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Old 11-07-12, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
+1

I'll add a small story. Current "conventional wisdom" has it that the more segregated infrastructure you add, the more people you will attract to cycling. A couple of weeks ago, we had a traffic engineer from Portland, OR come speak here in Eugene. During his talk, he revealed that in spite of the fact that Portland has been one of the top cities in terms of adding cycling-specific infrastructure, the rate of increase in the numbers of cyclists in Portland has been the same as the nation as a whole over the past decade.

Ouch! That sure is a problem for the "build it and they will come" approach to attracting more cyclists. It is still possible that there will be a higher rate of increase once the system is better and more completely built out, and I'm not condemning their efforts to build infrastructure. In fact, I would like to see them not only build more, but do a much better job of it. Specifically, too much of what I see are door-zone bike lanes, "bike boulevards" that have ungodly numbers of stop signs and traffic lights that have cycle-specific phases but function by making cyclists wait longer than if they were not put in at all.
Really? I've seen evidence to the contrary. In particular, this report claims that Portland has seen the greatest growth since 1990 of 9 bike-friendly cities, and even greater increase over the US average. In the past decade, Portland's bike commuters apparently went from 3.5% to 5.8%, while the US average went from 0.4 to 0.6% over two decades. To be fair, that is only the commuter population, but it still seems like a significant improvement compared to the rest of the US.
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Old 11-07-12, 02:52 PM
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The bottom line is that to make cycling more popular, you really do have to make motoring less popular. The very issues that B.Carfree mentions are due to our system of not making motoring less convenient... so while there were cycling improvements in infrastructure, these were implemented in such a way as to burden the cyclist. Bike lanes do the same thing... they make it more convenient for motorists by shunting cyclists to a narrow out of the way location... and often create a "shotgun effect" that tends to push up speed limits on the associated roads.

When cyclists and motorists are treated as equals and facilities are designed that don't give preference to cars, then perhaps more cyclists will "join in." But frankly I think that motoring is plenty convenient, and since cyclists are non polluting and very low noise, perhaps even better is to give cyclists a priority... after all, more cyclists means less dependence on foreign oil... So designs should make it very welcoming to bike, not add biking in a shoehorn manner.

I saw very pro-cycling designs in Oulu Finland... the cyclists had the shortest connections to various locations throughout town, motorists on the other hand had to "go around a bit..." and parking for motorists near city center required a touch of a walk, were as cyclists rode right into the center.

Right now all systems for cyclists in the US are done in such a way to not inconvenience motorists, change that, and see where cycling goes. (there are even laws in CA that mandate thru-put for motorists that apparently "overrule" air pollution laws and were used in San Francisco to block bike facilities installations) cite: https://www.smartplanet.com/blog/pure...s-see-red/7456

Last edited by genec; 11-07-12 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 11-07-12, 03:55 PM
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I would love to see separated tracks, but they're just not practical to do in the suburbs.

I've always heard that hit-from-behind crashes are the least common but are the most fatal type of bicycle accident. Anything we can do to reduce the chance of a hit-from-behind accident is good with me.
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Old 11-07-12, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by spivonious
I would love to see separated tracks, but they're just not practical to do in the suburbs.
Why not?

Our main roads through town are fairly wide, single-lane each direction roads. It seems like there is plenty of room to add a separated track if that's our objective. The cost might normally be prohibitive but my town is looking at ripping up these roads to repair our system of water pipes that runs underneath them. It seems like the perfect time to address the bike track issue.

I don't think there's much need for bike tracks on the smaller side streets.
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Old 11-07-12, 04:11 PM
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That must be geographically influenced because the fatalities I have seen here in the last few years(not many but still existent) were distracted motorist with the cyclist riding on the shoulder.

In northern VA around DC I have seen many good examples of independent infrastructure to support bikes. Unfortunately it requires somewhat of a ground up approach during the planning phases but it pays off to have non-sidewalk non-roadway connection paths to use. In some places there I have seen cycle path over and underpasses to reduce road interactions even further. In rural PA, on the other hand I do not see such infrastructure proving practical to provide. Improved shoulders maybe but as a VC I do not embrace that idea all that much because on slower roads there is no need for such sidelining.
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Old 11-07-12, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
The bottom line is that to make cycling more popular, you really do have to make motoring less popular. The very issues that B.Carfree mentions are due to our system of not making motoring less convenient... so while there were cycling improvements in infrastructure, these were implemented in such a way as to burden the cyclist. Bike lanes do the same thing... they make it more convenient for motorists by shunting cyclists to a narrow out of the way location... and often create a "shotgun effect" that tends to push up speed limits on the associated roads.

When cyclists and motorists are treated as equals and facilities are designed that don't give preference to cars, then perhaps more cyclists will "join in." But frankly I think that motoring is plenty convenient, and since cyclists are non polluting and very low noise, perhaps even better is to give cyclists a priority... after all, more cyclists means less dependence on foreign oil... So designs should make it very welcoming to bike, not add biking in a shoehorn manner.

I saw very pro-cycling designs in Oulu Finland... the cyclists had the shortest connections to various locations throughout town, motorists on the other hand had to "go around a bit..." and parking for motorists near city center required a touch of a walk, were as cyclists rode right into the center.

Right now all systems for cyclists in the US are done in such a way to not inconvenience motorists, change that, and see where cycling goes. (there are even laws in CA that mandate thru-put for motorists that apparently "overrule" air pollution laws and were used in San Francisco to block bike facilities installations) cite: https://www.smartplanet.com/blog/pure...s-see-red/7456
Actually, your l;ink just shows that the environmental review laws that California has passed get in the way of development. When it affected the politically correct issue of cycling and walking development, people got upset that they had to meet the requirements. The guy's lawsuit only forced them to follow the same rules everyone else has to.
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Old 11-07-12, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
Actually, your l;ink just shows that the environmental review laws that California has passed get in the way of development. When it affected the politically correct issue of cycling and walking development, people got upset that they had to meet the requirements. The guy's lawsuit only forced them to follow the same rules everyone else has to.
Actually what they ran into is that the throughput laws only covered people in cars, and failed to count people on bikes or peds as throughput... so they were faced with biases in that law that made the environmental aspect harder to meet. People throughput is the goal of road engineers... not merely automobile throughput... and that was the flaw in the first place. The need to do an environmental impact study is not the problem... the throughput law or “level of service” requirement is what was flawed. It only considered automobiles as traffic. This case has since been resolved... but again this points to the whole issue of "motorists first," while ignoring that what we are trying to move is people, and goods.

The key to determining a bike lane’s effect on the traffic of any given street lies in monitoring the use of a roadway. Officials study a road’s so-called “level of service,” which calculates how many cars use the road during certain hours and gives that road a grade, A through F, with an F being gridlocked rush hour traffic.

But this level of service equation does not take into account the road’s other uses: pedestrians, bicycles or other alternative forms of transport. City planners and bike advocates say this oversight has caused too many simple bike lane projects to be forced into long environmental reviews — that if you look at all the uses of the roadway, the grades would be higher and need for environmental review lower.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2
In my view, as cycling advocates, we have a responsibility to not just increase cycling safety but to increase our numbers as well.
By the same token, do you believe that safe motoring advocates have a responsibility to not just increase motorist safety but to increase motorist numbers as well?
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Old 11-07-12, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
By the same token, do you believe that safe motoring advocates have a responsibility to not just increase motorist safety but to increase motorist numbers as well?
Not sure what point you're trying to make. Is this one of those "cyclists are the same as drivers and there should never be a difference" arguments?

If so, I don't agree. No, motorists should not try to increase their numbers. Why? Because vehicles pollute and driving does very little to "build community" or to improve public health.
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Old 11-07-12, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
By the same token, do you believe that safe motoring advocates have a responsibility to not just increase motorist safety but to increase motorist numbers as well?
Ask AAA, they strongly encourage drivers to take trips all the time... they provide route planning and even free maps... They send out magazines with wonderful trip locations... yeah I'd have to say that they really do encourage motorists both to drive more and to become drivers.

American Automobile Association... perhaps you've heard of them.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:37 PM
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One way to make it safer is to allow people to cycle on the sidewalk. It's allowed in my city and provides a safe place if the street is narrow and has no lanes for bikes. There needs to be suitable penalties for cyclists who would endanger pedestrians though.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
Ask AAA, they strongly encourage drivers to take trips all the time... they provide route planning and even free maps... They send out magazines with wonderful trip locations... yeah I'd have to say that they really do encourage motorists both to drive more and to become drivers.

American Automobile Association... perhaps you've heard of them.
Free maps? Not really, since they only provide the maps to paying members. They really are a profit business rather than a safety advocacy group.
Far from the mindset that the OP is suggesting for cyclist.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2
Not sure what point you're trying to make. Is this one of those "cyclists are the same as drivers and there should never be a difference" arguments?

If so, I don't agree. No, motorists should not try to increase their numbers. Why? Because vehicles pollute and driving does very little to "build community" or to improve public health.
Pollute - OK, but your waste and methane output is increased due to cycling. The production of bicycles causes pollution. And pollution is produced during the construction of bike paths. So maybe only true advocates are those who promote barefoot walking on dirt trails.

Your trying to limit cycling advocates to those who would work to increase cyclist is off base. Trying to tell cycling safety advocates that they are NOT advocates is screwed up.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
Your trying to limit cycling advocates to those who would work to increase cyclist is off base. Trying to tell cycling safety advocates that they are NOT advocates is screwed up.
I don't intend to engage in this combative drivel.

I'm not "trying to limit cycling advocates" at all. I simply stated "my view" of what I think our mission should be. I trust you'll agree I'm entitled to my own views, won't you? My statement was: "In my view, as cycling advocates, we have a responsibility to not just increase cycling safety but to increase our numbers as well."

If you don't accept that as a valid mission for cycling advocates, that's fine with me.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 009jim
One way to make it safer is to allow people to cycle on the sidewalk. It's allowed in my city and provides a safe place if the street is narrow and has no lanes for bikes. There needs to be suitable penalties for cyclists who would endanger pedestrians though.
Riding on the side walk is a dangerous practice in most localities and statistics would bear this out... it make the cyclist invisible to motorists at intersections and at entrances and exits from the road.

My daughters commute and like their dad, they take the lane and although we plan our routes through residential areas as much as possible there are places where this is not possible and where riding on the side walk may or may not be a good option.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
Free maps? Not really, since they only provide the maps to paying members. They really are a profit business rather than a safety advocacy group.
Far from the mindset that the OP is suggesting for cyclist.
There's this interesting rhetorical fallacy. It's called "no true Scotsman". You might want to look it up. Also, "false dichotomy".
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Old 11-08-12, 12:53 AM
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You mention that the roads in your town are one travel lane in each direction. Is there parking on each side?
How wide are the lanes? If you don't have many tractor trailers on your road(s) push your towns transportation department (Towns own most of the roads in Mass, so they are the fist place to start and they can tell you if some other entity such as MassDOT or DCR owns it)) to install 10'-6" wide lanes when they get re-built and push for a lower speed limit.
The risk of death from slower moving traffic is far less than faster: at 20MPH there is a 15% chance of a pedestrian being killed by a car, at 30MPH it is 45% and at 40MPH the chance is 85%. https://www.miwats.org/wats/leftside/...pedestrian.pdf

While off-street cycle tracks or Multi-Use Paths (MUPs) are a great way to get more people cycling, they do have some downsides: added cost, more right-of-way width required, maintenance, and separate snow removal just to name a few. Of course, getting the cycle track or MUP designed in such a way that it is safe, especially at intersections is a matter of contention. Some design info here: https://nacto.org/cities-for-cycling/design-guide/

If you don't have on-street parking a bike lane or even better, a buffered bike lane, may be the easiest and cheapest option to start with. Remember, you have to convince your town to spend money on a project that many will be see as only benefiting a few people at first. Look for a large symbolic project to start with (perhaps a Safe Route to School program incorporating bike infrastructure, because it's hard to say no to child safety). Develop a long range plan, and make political allies. Having the Mayor or several selectmen and the head of your city/town's Transportation Dept. (find out if any of them frequently ride a bike) on your side can make all the difference in the word. Remember this will be a multi-year, even a multi-decade fight, so don't burn yourself out.
Look up MassBike and take their free "Bikeable Communities" Training - you can find it on their website: MAssBike.org
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Old 11-08-12, 12:56 AM
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Forgot to ask: Where are you?
It sounds like you are in western or central Mass. While you may not be close by, the group Livable Streets Alliance is doing good work in the Boston Metro area: www.livablestreets.info/
(full disclosure: I'm a member of their advocacy committee)

Also if there are any pedestrian advocacy groups or "green" groups in your area it would likely help to be aligned with them.

And I fully agree - increasing the number of people on bikes is fundamental to bike advocacy.

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Old 11-08-12, 02:26 AM
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Until a cause is determined you would do better to withhold your whole premise. No fault has been placed according to this story from only YESTERDAY. While all of the responses have good points you seem to blame the driver automatically and you haven't got the right yet.
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Old 11-08-12, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2
I don't intend to engage in this combative drivel.

I'm not "trying to limit cycling advocates" at all. I simply stated "my view" of what I think our mission should be. I trust you'll agree I'm entitled to my own views, won't you? My statement was: "In my view, as cycling advocates, we have a responsibility to not just increase cycling safety but to increase our numbers as well."

If you don't accept that as a valid mission for cycling advocates, that's fine with me.
I am sure that you would agree that I can object to your attempt to define what a true cycling advocate should be. You are sort of like those who wish to define what a true cyclist should be.

Did your statement really have anything to do with the cyclist death?
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Old 11-08-12, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by telkanuru
There's this interesting rhetorical fallacy. It's called "no true Scotsman". You might want to look it up. Also, "false dichotomy".
Here comes the college kid again, trying but failing to prove that he is the smartest in the forums.
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