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Will the COVID bike boom help us get cycling infrastructure in the US?

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Will the COVID bike boom help us get cycling infrastructure in the US?

Old 12-19-20, 07:00 AM
  #26  
Thomas15
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Originally Posted by jhodgson View Post
The crazy thing about all this to me is all the years of working on bicycle advocacy I thought the barriers to getting people on bikes were stuff like, being embarrassed, not feeling fit enough, not knowing where to go... that sort of thing.


It feels to me like the "real" competitors of cycling were, in fact, bars and sports.

People in general and Americans in particular are addicted to passive entertainment.
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Old 12-19-20, 01:21 PM
  #27  
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As others have noted:

Bike shops have been closing (the one nearest to me (maybe a twenty minute drive) shuttered this year, which bothers me because i had a shop but no bike. Now i have a bike (albeit a big box bike) but no shop. Talked with the guy a few times too. He seemed nice, willing to give people starting out on box bikes a hand up rather than a middle finger. Sad to see that shop isn't a thing anymore.

On the other i did see some road widening near the middle of town which helped me as a walker with vision issues and a distrust of the local driving population.

Now about twenty minutes out from town? two lane roads with no curb to speak of and you're lucky if the beside the road grass isn't a steep embankment.

Based on my experiance seeing social services and 'accessability' programs for disabled or elderly getting cut as canary in the proverbial coal mine? What we had was at best a microboom followed by everyone realizing they can mark prices up through the roof. I could be surprised and things turn out more favoreably. However I would expect a shrink in active cycling, and 'mayor pete' paying at best lip service.

Mind you I have never driven. Eyes won't allow it. However I have pretty well always been baffled by the 'take once and never again' state of US driving tests. Roads change. People change. If anything the laxness of the driver's test has allowed for infrastructure to be so widely and easily spread out pedestrians and bikers aren't thought of at all except as a nuisance in the majority of the country. The question OP asks is the same I've faced most of my adult life. 'When will things get better for people who aren't in a car.'

Answer: When the majority of America is willing to bare the expense of making it so, and so long as it's dirt easy to get a car... most people won't care because they have what they want.
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Old 12-19-20, 02:13 PM
  #28  
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This got me thinking: bicycling infrastructure can be much less expensive than automobile infrastructure. Just clear a path and dump gravel on it. Make so it can be paved in the future, but ridable now. If we can pitch bike paths as a way to save limited local funds, maybe we could make more progress.

Originally Posted by aplcr0331 View Post
No it won't help infrastructure at all. In fact, it will probably harm it.

The "bike boom" is good for manufacturers, LBS's, and others-like all those people with bikes left in their garages for 4 years bringing 'em out and selling for 175% of what they normally get-since they will all make more money.

But it's been bad for other business sectors and in particular governments are having to make due with a lot less funding from a decrease in tax base.

Since almost all cycling infrastructure comes from city/state/county budgets and for the foreseeable future those are and will continually be decreasing. You're looking at a lot less infrastructure.

How the Coronavirus Will Harm State and City Budgets

Pandemic Brings Fresh Challenges for City Budgeting

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-a...local-budgets/

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-fr...ocal-revenues/

States Continue to Face Large Shortfalls Due to COVID-19 Effects

Cycling infrastructure will more than likely get "cut" from many cities budgets.
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Old 12-19-20, 03:04 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
This got me thinking: bicycling infrastructure can be much less expensive than automobile infrastructure. Just clear a path and dump gravel on it. Make so it can be paved in the future, but ridable now. If we can pitch bike paths as a way to save limited local funds, maybe we could make more progress.
While a bike path is certainly a whole lot cheaper than a road, most folks would be surprised how expensive an undertaking it is. It is not like building singletrack MTB trails in the woods. About 10 years ago I served on the Board of an organization that was in charge of fundraising and volunteering coordination for an urban greenway (paved path) project. I no longer remember the figures, but I remember being really stunned at the costs per mile. It is more than just the construction itself, there are issues of obtaining right-of-ways, the costs of engineering and planning, getting approval and buy in... it adds up.

If you are talking about paths outside of town that will be used mostly recreationally, costs will be less.... but doing it in an urban setting where it is often most needed things can get pretty complicated and expensive.

Of course, LONG term I think the cost of urban greenways are a bargain, and may well pay for themselves. But that is not the easiest sell while municipalities are already having to lay off public employees.
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Old 12-19-20, 03:13 PM
  #30  
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Tried to watch your video. Didn't make it, pretty bad.

I actually feel sorry for you, such a cynical and biased way to go through life.
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Old 12-19-20, 03:17 PM
  #31  
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I think land is the main expense for making an MUP. If the path actually goes to places people want to go, then usually there is already stuff in the way. if it is a purely recreational path .... just a few long loops in otherwise undeveloped area ... sure that is cheaper, but a lot of suburban areas (places where there is the population density to support an MUP) there is also very little land that is not either earmarked for eventual development, of is being held privately in anticipation of being sold eventually for commercial/residential development.

Rails to trails works so well because it is land no one wants and usually narrow enough corridors that it cannot be developed. Buying land that is privately or corporately held and building paths .... people will want to sell at the same rate as they would to a developer, and they might not want to spit up a parcel which would be worth more intact.

The other thing is .... who would be served? Sure, there might be a few people who come out of the CCP-Virus era with a newfound love for recreational riding---but it looks to me like they want to ride exclusively on segregated paths--sidewalks or MUPs. That means no new bike lanes on roadways, which is what I ride.

Bike commuting is great---if you either share the road, or are amazingly lucky and have an MUP that goes near your job. In my experience most MUPs go nowhere useful (there was a short trail in Orlando, FL which connected a few malls, for kids with summer jobs.) But almost everywhere I have lived, most bike trails were purely recreational, and actually less quick and convenient than surface street, bike lanes or not.

So, as a road cyclist ... I expect zero lasting infrastructure built due to the CCP virus.

I am not opposed to MUPs but they don't really help me, so .....
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Old 12-19-20, 03:47 PM
  #32  
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I've been watching the construction of a bike path for a couple years (Rose Creek bike path, the new part that goes under the 5 for you San Diegans) and it looks like regular road construction (to my amateur eye). I wonder if there's a requirement that it has to support a fire truck or something.

Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
While a bike path is certainly a whole lot cheaper than a road, most folks would be surprised how expensive an undertaking it is. It is not like building singletrack MTB trails in the woods. About 10 years ago I served on the Board of an organization that was in charge of fundraising and volunteering coordination for an urban greenway (paved path) project. I no longer remember the figures, but I remember being really stunned at the costs per mile. It is more than just the construction itself, there are issues of obtaining right-of-ways, the costs of engineering and planning, getting approval and buy in... it adds up.

If you are talking about paths outside of town that will be used mostly recreationally, costs will be less.... but doing it in an urban setting where it is often most needed things can get pretty complicated and expensive.

Of course, LONG term I think the cost of urban greenways are a bargain, and may well pay for themselves. But that is not the easiest sell while municipalities are already having to lay off public employees.
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Old 12-19-20, 04:48 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I've been watching the construction of a bike path for a couple years (Rose Creek bike path, the new part that goes under the 5 for you San Diegans) and it looks like regular road construction (to my amateur eye). I wonder if there's a requirement that it has to support a fire truck or something.
Could be a need to support emergancy vehicles. Could be regulations on drainage. Building a road that won't wash out is a fairly involved affair involving several layers that have at least some engineering to them so you don't get water stagnating on the surface itself or the surface break apart at the least amount of traffic on it.

i'm kinda in agreement of what an above poster stated about 'bike trails go nowhere useful.' Either the land is already developed so putting trail there can't be done, or it's earmarked, or it isn't anywhere useful so any trails would be recreational. As someone with vision that makes driving a problem I had wanted bikeable roads between locations I would actually need to get to (Job, store, etc etc.) That is not even touching bike trail/road that isn't within a downtown or suburban area. Same questions exist here that exist for pie in the sky wifi mass internet/intranet schemes. Where population density is high this has use. Difficulty because of all the existing buildings and such, but the people that could most benefit from that connection it is unworkable because they live too far away.

And I've not been able to square how to get your average person willing to go 'yea I'll be willing to take a harder driving exam every fifteen or ten years' or 'I'd be willing to have my taxes rased to pay for bike lanes' or even 'oh I'll stop using the pike lane as a passing lane while driving.'

Til you get people to care it won't get done and they have no reason to care.
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Old 12-19-20, 04:57 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by BlindGuyRides View Post
...
And I've not been able to square how to get your average person willing to go 'yea I'll be willing to take a harder driving exam every fifteen or ten years' or 'I'd be willing to have my taxes rased to pay for bike lanes' or even 'oh I'll stop using the pike lane as a passing lane while driving.'
...
I'd like to frame the issue as "adding bike paths is a cost effective way to reduce traffic congestion and pollution". Maybe that's not possible (truthful) given regulations and other constraints mentioned.
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Old 12-19-20, 05:25 PM
  #35  
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It's a heavy lift. Here in Honolulu the city has a major problem funding a major heavy rail transit system. They fired the guy running the project (also the highest paid govt employee in the state). The funding (state sales and hotel tax) is in the crapper. So just paying for the garbage men is going to be tough enough. The auto is the perfect social distance transit option so you are going to have to fight that.

What jerks my chain is they're building a new subdivision near me. They came around with their powerpoint presentations to get buy in from existing population. The glossy slides talk about how good it will be for cycling and walking, but when you look closely at how they are upgrading the access roads, you see it will be a nightmare for cycling. HIDOT had a big presentation on the on/off ramps at the freeway. But many cyclists cross the freeway there on the overpass to access trails on the far side. No consideration about how hard it will be for cyclists not entering/exiting the freeway.

scott s.
.
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Old 12-19-20, 06:00 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I'd like to frame the issue as "adding bike paths is a cost effective way to reduce traffic congestion and pollution". Maybe that's not possible (truthful) given regulations and other constraints mentioned.
Often not possible, but that is a good way of framing the issue since health and public good can get brushed aside by 'ooo the health nuts want MY tax dollars to pay for THEIR hobby!' sorts of people. Hit people where most people care about, the fact that getting more people to bike instead of road at least in feasible areas, reduces gas usage, reduces risks of major accidents, frees roads up for emergancy vehicles (ever see an ambulance get in an accident? Not pretty) and frame the whole thing as a net cost benefit.

Those overly macho 'biking is for Fruits and Flakes' types can be reached with cutting the arguments to cost and freeing resources up. A road with fewer people clogging it means fewer people THEY have to worry about getting in THEIR way after all.

Thing is? Beyond that you have to look at the entry level for biking itself. From personal experience (with admittedly a small and very local sample size of a few dozen people asking at most maybe a few dozen more) 'average' people where i live don't understand why $500 is seen as 'entry level' when they can go to walmart and get something on sale for $50 (not even kidding. Pre Covid sale to clear old stock had a bunch of kent and genesis marked down in the $50 - $80 range from their usual $200.... Mind you I personally think component wise they're more in line with $50 even by bargain bike standards, but still, point stands.

the bottom end needs to come up in quality drastically for the sake of safety without the price going up that much for less well off folk to not write cycling off because the opportunity cost is too high. It's a feedback cycle. No bike roads because people don't want to bike, and people don't want to bike because, barring diamonds in the rough, walmart bikes are built for flash and then fall apart (shocks on a $90 bike. MAG WHEELS on similarly priced... as far as I'm aware you can't true a mag wheel. Why do those even exist i don't even?!) And yet you won't get better without more people demanding better.

And to do that we need to pressure the companies themselves to find ways to bring the low end up so they get more customers and more people they can leverage into getting a more bike friendly America.

What jerks my chain is they're building a new subdivision near me. They came around with their powerpoint presentations to get buy in from existing population. The glossy slides talk about how good it will be for cycling and walking, but when you look closely at how they are upgrading the access roads, you see it will be a nightmare for cycling. HIDOT had a big presentation on the on/off ramps at the freeway. But many cyclists cross the freeway there on the overpass to access trails on the far side. No consideration about how hard it will be for cyclists not entering/exiting the freeway.
And that's the other thing. 'We' are fighting against people who want to say the rights words and are experienced in slick presentations and already have 'working relationships' with developers and municipalities 9aka Bribes) to get their own way with at best lip service to cycling.... where the cold reality is the end result being almost anti-cycling in forcing cyclists to deal with cars, and in car v cycle the car wins. Then blames the cycle for being in that space.

So we need to organize more than we have been. Anyone have any starting points? I'm sure this has been a thing for ages....
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Old 12-19-20, 06:03 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
Tried to watch your video. Didn't make it, pretty bad.

I actually feel sorry for you, such a cynical and biased way to go through life.
Haha, okay. I'm gutted that I let you down, Penis Joke Guy.
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Old 12-19-20, 06:06 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by BlindGuyRides View Post
the bottom end needs to come up in quality drastically for the sake of safety without the price going up that much
I don't think cost is a barrier.

As I say in the film, people pay 1000 for a phone no problem. Why do bikes have to be $100?
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Old 12-19-20, 06:25 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by jhodgson View Post
I don't think cost is a barrier.

As I say in the film, people pay 1000 for a phone no problem. Why do bikes have to be $100?
Because phones are an ultra-convenience. iphones made smart phoens a status item to have, a show 'I am well off enough to have this thing' yet it is also a utility that can go anywhere and provide a great deal of functionality. A bike? Less convenient for a majority as right now many live in areas that are not bike friendly either in actual use or locations that they can park that serve actual functions beyond recreation. Phone? That's a thing you pocket and it's out of sight out of mind. Moreover while a bike is better than walking, car beats bike in distance traveled. Biking is seen as a hassle where you'll be sweaty and dirty when you get where you are going.

Now I'm one of those people who has kept a flip phone for the past twenty years (not the SAME phone, just a case of when one breaks get another flip phone) because I don't want the problems associated with an iphone (I have a cheap fifty dollar amazon fire for the distractions, and ebooks. LOTS of ebooks. Love ebooks. Then again I've used fire toolbox to make it feel less like it's constantly funneling me to amazon's ecosystem and more like 'this is my tablet.) My cheapo phone survives drop after drop, has pretty solid battery life measuring in days rather than hours, and if need be i can tether it to another device for internet. Which was handy when moving.

A bike? you have to have proper storage, you have to have a proper lock if you take it out, basic mantinancing, and on and on.

The phone wins out on convenience, and most people don't outright pay a thousand bucks for their newest iphone. Their carriers subsidize that cost so it trickles through on their bill as an invisible expense over a series of years.
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Old 12-20-20, 06:09 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
HIDOT had a big presentation on the on/off ramps at the freeway. But many cyclists cross the freeway there on the overpass to access trails on the far side. No consideration about how hard it will be for cyclists not entering/exiting the freeway.

scott s.
.
I am always so gratified to see cycling infrastructure and legal decisions made by people with no clue about cycling.

For maybe $20 K per annum I will be any town's or city's "designated guy who actually rides a bike and makes planning suggestions"-----at least until I get fed up being ignored by people who have no clue.
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Old 12-20-20, 06:32 AM
  #41  
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Also .... Welcome to America. You cannot make laws saying bikes have to meet some imaginary safety standard unless you can prove that they don't ..... and Most people who buy Walmart bikes are fine riding them (and some amazingly huge percentage of bikes sold are sold by big-box stores.) The market speaks.

Fact is .... and this undercuts the "More bikes, fewer cars" argument---people Do Not Want to have to work to go to work. People do not want have to work to go to the store. There is no evidence that a cycling culture will spring into being just because there are designated bike lanes----and for most people there would need to be designated bike trails, with zero auto traffic, for them to feel safe. And still .... there is the "riding a bicycle" part.

If all the money is spent and the cyclists don't just show up ... it is because the real barrier to entry into the cycling community is ... Cycling.

We have sidewalks. Why don't people just walk everywhere within a couple miles? Why don't people walk to grocery stores and pull a cart home? Why is "walking" either a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner---which some folks do on Walmart bikes---or a sports/health activity?

Because people don't really want to be that active---and certainly not at 7 am to get to work, and even more certainly not a 5 p.m., fighting rush hour to get home and relax.

As well ask the question, why Do we bike?

I did whitewater rafting and kayaking for a while and it is Awesome. Why do people waste time biking when they could save up and do weekend kayaking trips?

I sometimes ride by tennis courts or basketball courts filled with people playing. Why don't they smarten up and ride?

Basically, it really works for some folks and really doesn't for some others.

Back when a horse and buggy was the pinnacle of transport and most people walked, any upgrade looked good. Nowadays when only poor people can't own cars .... I have to admit it is hard to beat a car for comfort and convenience And practicality too.

I considered buying another motorcycle .... but I would need to buy a trailer too, if I wanted to use it for photography jobs---too much gear which Must be kept waterproof. And on the rare occasion I needed to pick up relatives at the airport, I'd need to relay. Much as I like to ride, it is one more expensive toy---it doesn't sell itself on practicality.

A car, on the other hand, for all the waste and pollution inherent (and one less car on the rod has negligible impact) can do almost anything related to transport. Want to go to work in decent clothes and be clean when you get there? Need to take the kids to school on the way? Need to stop for the dry-cleaning on the way home?

Also .... some people can handle an hour commute or more---in a car. it makes your typical nine-hour work day 11 hours long, and really cuts into free time, but for some folks the job is worth it. But a fifty-mile commute on a bike? Six or seven hours, daily. And probably more because all the direct routes are four-lane limited access.

Some people like or even love cycling. The rest, pretty much, don't. Not because of the cost of bikes, not because of the paucity of infrastructure, but because cycling is... riding a bike. And it just doesn't turn on some people.
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Old 12-20-20, 06:35 AM
  #42  
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[QUOTE=vacyclist68;21839055]I doubt it. Once people can get back into the Gyms or back to work/school full time it will die down again. Sad because I have liked what has happened[/QUOTE

maybe there will be some nice quality used bikes for sale....cheap..
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Old 12-20-20, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
maybe there will be some nice quality used bikes for sale....cheap..
OH yeah. I predict a huge year for used bikes in 2021.

No joke. I'm hoping to snag a super sweet titanium MTB that someone bought and hasn't ridden since. Maybe a Moots.
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Old 12-20-20, 03:21 PM
  #44  
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Perhaps Covid bike boom will have some impact but a lot may also depend on the next administration?
https://www.bicycling.com/news/a3499...-for-cyclists/
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Old 12-20-20, 04:26 PM
  #45  
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No

Revenues are down, expenditures related to COVID policy enforcement are up. Bad recipe for low priority expenditure. Definitely not.
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Old 12-20-20, 04:58 PM
  #46  
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I would be happy if they would just fix the damned potholes, in the regular road! And, make an effort to make them smooth and level.

Last edited by Wanderer; 12-20-20 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 12-20-20, 06:54 PM
  #47  
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LOL. No. And frankly, I would rather ride on the road anyway.
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Old 12-21-20, 10:09 AM
  #48  
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If politicians could get their palms greased I’d say yes.
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Old 12-21-20, 10:33 AM
  #49  
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Covid won't help push infrastructure. However, what Covid has contributed is more cycling from people otherwise who wouldn't, and this helps the cycling cause.

Ultimately, what may force a change in infrastruture, awareness, and legislations, are.............. E-BIKES!!!
Yep, ebikes will be the catalyst that will push cycling into the mainstream as an actual altnernative mode of transportation for people to use to communite to work, and not just anohter expensive niche hobby for snobbish spandexters "freds" and "racerbros" sipping gourmet latte.
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Old 12-21-20, 11:18 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
This got me thinking: bicycling infrastructure can be much less expensive than automobile infrastructure. Just clear a path and dump gravel on it. Make so it can be paved in the future, but ridable now. If we can pitch bike paths as a way to save limited local funds, maybe we could make more progress.
Yeah just dump gravel and walk away. plus the parking cause people drive to ride bikes, toilets need toilets(cant poop in the woods), constant land management(grass and trees grow), handicap and strollers need to be able to use it. Land management is a full time job most trails are managed by a park service. We have some that its very clear the idea was just dump gravel and walk away. Only people using them are MTB guys and maybe some gravel guys. No way thats a infrastructure trail, its a park trail. A park trail might get you from A to B but odds are its just a spot to have fun.
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Also .... Welcome to America. You cannot make laws saying bikes have to meet some imaginary safety standard unless you can prove that they don't ..... and Most people who buy Walmart bikes are fine riding them (and some amazingly huge percentage of bikes sold are sold by big-box stores.) The market speaks.

Fact is .... and this undercuts the "More bikes, fewer cars" argument---people Do Not Want to have to work to go to work. People do not want have to work to go to the store. There is no evidence that a cycling culture will spring into being just because there are designated bike lanes----and for most people there would need to be designated bike trails, with zero auto traffic, for them to feel safe. And still .... there is the "riding a bicycle" part.

If all the money is spent and the cyclists don't just show up ... it is because the real barrier to entry into the cycling community is ... Cycling.

We have sidewalks. Why don't people just walk everywhere within a couple miles? Why don't people walk to grocery stores and pull a cart home? Why is "walking" either a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner---which some folks do on Walmart bikes---or a sports/health activity?

Because people don't really want to be that active---and certainly not at 7 am to get to work, and even more certainly not a 5 p.m., fighting rush hour to get home and relax.

As well ask the question, why Do we bike?

I did whitewater rafting and kayaking for a while and it is Awesome. Why do people waste time biking when they could save up and do weekend kayaking trips?

I sometimes ride by tennis courts or basketball courts filled with people playing. Why don't they smarten up and ride?

Basically, it really works for some folks and really doesn't for some others.

Back when a horse and buggy was the pinnacle of transport and most people walked, any upgrade looked good. Nowadays when only poor people can't own cars .... I have to admit it is hard to beat a car for comfort and convenience And practicality too.

I considered buying another motorcycle .... but I would need to buy a trailer too, if I wanted to use it for photography jobs---too much gear which Must be kept waterproof. And on the rare occasion I needed to pick up relatives at the airport, I'd need to relay. Much as I like to ride, it is one more expensive toy---it doesn't sell itself on practicality.

A car, on the other hand, for all the waste and pollution inherent (and one less car on the rod has negligible impact) can do almost anything related to transport. Want to go to work in decent clothes and be clean when you get there? Need to take the kids to school on the way? Need to stop for the dry-cleaning on the way home?

Also .... some people can handle an hour commute or more---in a car. it makes your typical nine-hour work day 11 hours long, and really cuts into free time, but for some folks the job is worth it. But a fifty-mile commute on a bike? Six or seven hours, daily. And probably more because all the direct routes are four-lane limited access.

Some people like or even love cycling. The rest, pretty much, don't. Not because of the cost of bikes, not because of the paucity of infrastructure, but because cycling is... riding a bike. And it just doesn't turn on some people.
Enter the ebike. The E bike will probably do more for trails than anything has.
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