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An Interesting Read About Commuting and the US of A

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An Interesting Read About Commuting and the US of A

Old 08-31-08, 05:24 PM
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An Interesting Read About Commuting and the US of A

https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26478179/

This article raises some interesting points...

Tim C.

Last edited by referee54; 08-31-08 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 08-31-08, 06:19 PM
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You might want to start the link on page 1.

It's a nice, short description of the bicycle situation in many parts of the world. The conclusion that if you build it, they will come is what one would assume.
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Old 08-31-08, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Danre View Post
You might want to start the link on page 1. OOPS! Done.

It's a nice, short description of the bicycle situation in many parts of the world. The conclusion that if you build it, they will come is what one would assume.
For one, Americans are going to not only change that aspect of their lives, but they also need to change where they live relative to whee they work. There are people who work in Cleveland who commute over an hour to an hour-and-a-half a day---one way.

TSC
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Old 08-31-08, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Anthony Lo
"People are waking up," he said. "This is a long-term trend, not a fad."
I think Mr. Lo is right, or maybe I just hope he is. In any case, this country, in my opinion, will not change its main means of transport for a decade or two. As you rightfully put, people in this country need to travel large distances daily. We all know that the black 'gold' got us here. What will drive the change, however, I am unsure of.

It would be wonderful if people would realize how optimal a bicycle can be as a means of transportation, but there is also the whole renewable energy movement which might have an impact in the future. If you provide the average person with a choice between a bike (as nice one as you can imagine) or an automobile that is 100% solar (yet retains most of the comforts of current cars), many more would choose the more complex vehicle because of its perceived conveniences. I think that the bicycle will be much more mainstream in 10-20 years, unless a green source is found for cars.
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Old 08-31-08, 06:51 PM
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Europe's full embrace
Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have been connecting the dots for three decades. They started in the mid-1970s, in the wake of the world's first oil shock and after 25 years of American-style, car-centric traffic management that had coincided with a sharp decline in cycling. There is now an integrated system of safe bicycling routes in most cities in all three countries. It allows cyclists to go almost everywhere on paths that are separated from automobiles and in "traffic-calmed" neighborhoods. Besides pampering cyclists, these countries punished drivers with fees and restrictions intended to make commuting by car expensive, slow and frustrating.
The policies have resulted in the developed world's highest per-capita rates of cycling and lowest rates of cycling accidents, the Rutgers study found.
In Berlin, biking now accounts for 12 percent of all transportation. The city has 3.4 million residents, and the city estimates that they use their bicycles a million times a day.
I should bookmark this article so each time the "we don't need infrastructure" debate comes up, someone can point to half a dozen bike-friendly countries that realized that yes, cities do need infrastructure and auto restrictions to make bicycle commuting a viable solution for more than 5% of a given population.
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Old 08-31-08, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by uke View Post
I should bookmark this article so each time the "we don't need infrastructure" debate comes up, someone can point to half a dozen bike-friendly countries that realized that yes, cities do need infrastructure and auto restrictions to make bicycle commuting a viable solution for more than 5% of a given population.
I've long ago put the "we don't need infrastructure" people in the same category as the "pfft yeah right, as if we're ever going to run out of oil production capacity" people. It's futile to try to engage rationally with those that start from an irrational premise.
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Old 08-31-08, 07:20 PM
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Aside from China/India/USA's negative feelings about cycling, don't you feel that their large land mass makes cycling difficult to promote? I do not agree that Taipei is an appropriate example of whether or not China & India will re-adopt cycling as their primary means of transportation. Taiwan is a small island with a dense population.

As for the USA, everything is so spaced out that I can't imagine cycling everywhere I want to go. The changes required to encourage cycling should include (but are not limited to) better urban planning and a fundamental shift in behavior. We do not have the public interest or legislative resolve to make that kind of change.
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Old 08-31-08, 08:26 PM
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I tell ya what's nuts.....
China was a cycling population as did India....but both now want to copy American ways with
cars....while America looks to bicycles to lower cost to travel and work!!!!!

They had it right and screwed up and now after we screwed it up we want to make it right!

Bartender, set up another round I wanna get good and drunk!!
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Old 08-31-08, 09:52 PM
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^^^Hmmm, funny ain't it...
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Old 08-31-08, 09:52 PM
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This article shows that one can't legislate against stupidity. As 'the car' is associated w/success more than 'the house' a bicycle will always be a second class form of transportation here in the States and other 'upwardly mobile' cultures. Here in rural TN horse riders get more respect than cyclists, which are considered a PITA.

Once, not long ago when confronting a cager about his repeated, unnecessary, aggressive hornblowing EVERY morning the man made the statement, "I almost ran over one of you A******S one time...ya need to stay the F*** off the road!!" He's a Highway Dept. employee who made the mistake of doing his little dirty rather close to where he worked and I was able to follow him into the parking lot and confront him. At that point a little crowd had gathered and I invited him to step out of his vehicle and repeat what he said to me and do me the service of including one swing...so I could take him apart. He, wisely declined the invitation. We parted w/mutual eff-u's and he's passed me every morning since w/no noise. Sometimes public shame can be an effective tool. I said several things in front of his co-workers that I MEANT and wasn't concerned about the volume of my voice or HIS feelings...I just wanted him to stop blowing his horn several times per day at me. And I was very clear that if he did it again he needed to be concerned about ME not the authorities. For those of you who think this may be a little harsh, overly macho, etc. this is a 'time honored' mode of conflict resolution in TN. I don't feel the least bit contrite.

I'm passed by about 200 cars everyday on my way into work and NOBODY else blows their horn at me...for ANY reason. I've been doing this over 20 years, so I know how to ride in traffic. This guy, obviously had an anger issue re cyclists and, I think until he was actually confronted and seriously challanged he would have continued to be a bully.

Slowly, but surely though as I'm getting to be known more and more by the local populace...my wife and I go to church and shop locally, which forments conversation(s) People are beginning to know who I am by my bicycle(s) and give me friendly waves and a little 'toot' now and then. W/t gas prices as they are and a known 40 mi rt cycle commute the locals respect hardwork and tenacity(especially when they see me in the rain, offer rides and I say, "I appreciate the offer, but I'm good".) They know I'm no 'weekend warrior' or Coca-Cola Cowboy. Earning that type of respect brings a great deal of satisfaction.

In so far as the infrastucture here goes there's plenty of space on the right side of the white line in the 'stone zone' so that diver's don't have to make alot of lane concessions to cyclists, though most do. On the roads where there's no shoulder the traffic is, usually so light one can be passed safely day or night. Nashville's been doing alot of work connecting 'greenways'(MUPs) w/safer cycling streets, but as I don't ride urban very much I'm not familiar w/t layout and/or how things connect up. Either way it's going to be a slow build, but I agree w/Mr Lo...it's NOT a fad. Cycle-commuting may never here in the States approach the German/Dutch/Dane model, but I believe there are more and more car-lite and car-free families in the making and the big-auto is losing the 'success symbol' status. Some of the women at work were talking about how 'cute' the Smart Car is and they were 'only' about $15-20,000.00. I said, "W/all due respect ladies a 'smart car' is one that gets 40mpg in the city and is paid off, like my wife's...now THAT'S a Smart car." They all laughed and agreed.

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Old 09-01-08, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by doughboy View Post
Aside from China/India/USA's negative feelings about cycling, don't you feel that their large land mass makes cycling difficult to promote? I do not agree that Taipei is an appropriate example of whether or not China & India will re-adopt cycling as their primary means of transportation. Taiwan is a small island with a dense population.

As for the USA, everything is so spaced out that I can't imagine cycling everywhere I want to go. The changes required to encourage cycling should include (but are not limited to) better urban planning and a fundamental shift in behavior. We do not have the public interest or legislative resolve to make that kind of change.
The size of the 'land mass' has nothing to do with it. Nobody commutes from Colorado to Ohio, just as nobody commutes from Denmark to France.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:07 AM
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The picture on the front page is of the bike lane on Blackfriars Bridge, which was once notoriously one of the worst bike lanes in London as it forced you into the middle of the road, between two lanes of traffic one of which was a bus lane. Following the bike lane siphoned you between two lanes of traffic, usually buses. It was changed after someone was killed on it doing exactly that - the bus driver was jailed.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by doughboy View Post
Aside from China/India/USA's negative feelings about cycling, don't you feel that their large land mass makes cycling difficult to promote? I do not agree that Taipei is an appropriate example of whether or not China & India will re-adopt cycling as their primary means of transportation. Taiwan is a small island with a dense population.

As for the USA, everything is so spaced out that I can't imagine cycling everywhere I want to go. The changes required to encourage cycling should include (but are not limited to) better urban planning and a fundamental shift in behavior. We do not have the public interest or legislative resolve to make that kind of change.
China isn't a very small country either, and it is plenty spaced out.

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Old 09-01-08, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by nashcommguy View Post
In so far as the infrastucture here goes there's plenty of space on the right side of the white line in the 'stone zone'...
stone zone... ain't it the dayum truth. Never heard that one before.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by referee54 View Post
For one, Americans are going to not only change that aspect of their lives, but they also need to change where they live relative to whee they work. There are people who work in Cleveland who commute over an hour to an hour-and-a-half a day---one way.

TSC
When I worked in Cleveland my commute was 45 miles each way...most days I split the commute between the car and the bike or between the a bus and the bike. Decent mass transit allows people to have long commutes. If we took a cue from the Japanese, long commutes using both bike and mass transit would be an easy alternative for Americans...but nationwide, our mass transit infrastructure is even less developed than our cycling infrastructure.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by doughboy View Post
Aside from China/India/USA's negative feelings about cycling, don't you feel that their large land mass makes cycling difficult to promote? I do not agree that Taipei is an appropriate example of whether or not China & India will re-adopt cycling as their primary means of transportation. Taiwan is a small island with a dense population.

As for the USA, everything is so spaced out that I can't imagine cycling everywhere I want to go. The changes required to encourage cycling should include (but are not limited to) better urban planning and a fundamental shift in behavior. We do not have the public interest or legislative resolve to make that kind of change.
So what you live in New York City and work in San Diego? No you don't and if you commute through city roads for up to an hour you can easily commute by bike in about 1.5 times your car commute, now if you spend a lot of time on the interstate then you should just rethink where you are living or where you work. In a city you have everything you could need always within biking distance. The "it is too spaced out" excuse is worthless since you might as well be saying that you are lazy and don't want to do it, which is the case for nearly all of America.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:58 AM
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The real problem getting the US to accept biking is that we're not going to give up time. Time is money, or time is "quality of life". There are lots of people who cycle because they find that time spent valuable. There are far more who either want to work that extra hour, or want to spend the extra hour with family or in some other form of recreation. It's just not time well spent for many people. It's not about cost in dollars, it's about cost in time.
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Old 09-01-08, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
I've long ago put the "we don't need infrastructure" people in the same category as the "pfft yeah right, as if we're ever going to run out of oil production capacity" people. It's futile to try to engage rationally with those that start from an irrational premise.
+1.

Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
The size of the 'land mass' has nothing to do with it. Nobody commutes from Colorado to Ohio, just as nobody commutes from Denmark to France.
Thank you. It's like saying flashlights are impractical in large houses because you can't illuminate every room at once.
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Old 09-01-08, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
When I worked in Cleveland my commute was 45 miles each way...most days I split the commute between the car and the bike or between the a bus and the bike. Decent mass transit allows people to have long commutes. If we took a cue from the Japanese, long commutes using both bike and mass transit would be an easy alternative for Americans...but nationwide, our mass transit infrastructure is even less developed than our cycling infrastructure.
Amen! Now cue up the choir...
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Old 09-01-08, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
The size of the 'land mass' has nothing to do with it. Nobody commutes from Colorado to Ohio, just as nobody commutes from Denmark to France.
Sure, but Americans are used to a mobile lifestyle. We don't blink at the thought of driving 2hrs to visit a friend or go camping at a reserve that is 200 miles away. What I meant by land mass is that the points of interest in this country are spread out. I suppose you can take a train ride for 2hrs and then ride the rest of the way but public transit does not always exist for those trips.

Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
China isn't a very small country either, and it is plenty spaced out.

Aaron
How many Chinese citizens travel a hundred miles to and from work? They also carry things on their bikes that we would much rather throw into our cars and drive with.

Originally Posted by Szczuldo View Post
So what you live in New York City and work in San Diego? No you don't and if you commute through city roads for up to an hour you can easily commute by bike in about 1.5 times your car commute, now if you spend a lot of time on the interstate then you should just rethink where you are living or where you work. In a city you have everything you could need always within biking distance. The "it is too spaced out" excuse is worthless since you might as well be saying that you are lazy and don't want to do it, which is the case for nearly all of America.
You can't dismiss the senseless commute distances that some people make everyday. Many of my coworkers (past & present) travel at least 40 miles each way to get to/from work. It's not my place to criticize their decisions about living close to/far from work. It's just a reality for many people. I also have friends in Texas who drive literally 100 miles each way to get to/from work. Then there's also Los Angeles, where I used to live...going from Santa Monica to Burbank is no joke. Not everyone enjoys a 5-10 mile walkable/bike-able distance to work.
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Old 09-01-08, 04:07 PM
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I've also noticed that the small uptick in bicycle commuters has faded with gas down around $3.50 in our area. I'm seeing more & more idiots on the road racing from light to light and more parking at the bike rack at work.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BA Commuter View Post
I've also noticed that the small uptick in bicycle commuters has faded with gas down around $3.50 in our area. I'm seeing more & more idiots on the road racing from light to light and more parking at the bike rack at work.
I've witnessed the same here as our prices eased a little. I might be getting a little cynical but it's exactly what I expected, and call me selfish but I'm happy to have the cycleways back and not have to deal with newbies that ride with the same arrogant attitude of self-entitlement that they drive with.

Unfortunately, 'new' cyclists are still prevalent on the trains and I fear their numbers will have negative repercussions. Hopefully they'll soon get back in their cages also.... at least their craptastic x-mart bikes have a very short use-by date built right in.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JMRobertson View Post
The real problem getting the US to accept biking is that we're not going to give up time. Time is money, or time is "quality of life". There are lots of people who cycle because they find that time spent valuable. There are far more who either want to work that extra hour, or want to spend the extra hour with family or in some other form of recreation. It's just not time well spent for many people. It's not about cost in dollars, it's about cost in time.
As correct as you are, the missing piece in your observation is one of point of view; too many people think that a pedaling commute is nothing more than the same misery they experience driving, only with the lactic acid burn and sweaty clothes. They don't catch the 'fun aspect', which is what makes it for me; when I drove, it was as straight a shot as possible -- get there, get there, get there, no time for anything else; on the bike, I turn a 2-mile coast into anything from a 5- to 9-mile fun-fest. This close to work, it would only cost me about 1-2 minutes over a car, but I leave for work anywhere from 35-55 minutes early, just to ride. I don't work in an office, so getting to work sweaty is a non-issue.

Not everyone would, or would NEED TO, abuse themselves on their commutes; just the realization that it doesn't have to be miserable, and likely won't be, would be enough to sway many.

My bro-in-law, recently a patient for heart surgery, was going for casual daily rides for a bit of exercise, until his doctor told him he was overdoing it. He was enjoying himself! My 10-y-o daughter could dust him on a bike, but he was loving every minute, talking happily about his growing accomplishments.

They need to realize the joy, then they will value the time spent.
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Old 09-01-08, 11:45 PM
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With the recent decline in gas prices I get a lot of "Since gas has gotten cheaper (an oxymoron), are you going to start driving to work again?"

Which is really annoying.. but I try not to be a jerk about it. I just say "I don't bike to woke just because of the price of gas.. in reality, I haven't even broke even this year with all the money I've put into the bike" They usually are pretty perplexed when I tell them this.

You and I know that the cost of gas is one of the smaller reasons we continue to bike to work... may have been a key motivating factor but not what keeps us doing it..

I do it for health. Relaxation. Political purposes (believing we need to use less oil), cost of gas, getting ready to go car-free, wakes me up better than the strongest cup of coffee, feeling refreshed when I get to work, losing weight, lowering blood pressure, an 'in your face' to those who said I couldn't or wouldn't before I started... the list goes on.

But the most important reason.. BECAUSE I CAN!
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Old 09-02-08, 12:24 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
With the recent decline in gas prices I get a lot of "Since gas has gotten cheaper (an oxymoron), are you going to start driving to work again?"

Which is really annoying.. but I try not to be a jerk about it. I just say "I don't bike to woke just because of the price of gas.. in reality, I haven't even broke even this year with all the money I've put into the bike" They usually are pretty perplexed when I tell them this.

You and I know that the cost of gas is one of the smaller reasons we continue to bike to work... may have been a key motivating factor but not what keeps us doing it..

I do it for health. Relaxation. Political purposes (believing we need to use less oil), cost of gas, getting ready to go car-free, wakes me up better than the strongest cup of coffee, feeling refreshed when I get to work, losing weight, lowering blood pressure, an 'in your face' to those who said I couldn't or wouldn't before I started... the list goes on.

But the most important reason.. BECAUSE I CAN!
Speak for yourself, buddy.... I ride because I'm the world's biggest tightazz (<- says the guy who just blew a couple hundred on building a high powered LED light that he doesn't need )
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