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Seattle Times article on breaking the cycle of blame regarding bicyclists.

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Seattle Times article on breaking the cycle of blame regarding bicyclists.

Old 06-11-10, 06:44 AM
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Seattle Times article on breaking the cycle of blame regarding bicyclists.

This was published in today's (6/11/10) Seattle Times.




Friday, June 11, 2010 - Page updated at 12:01 AM
Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mail resale@seattletimes.com with your request.
Breaking cycle of biking blame
By Nicole Brodeur
Seattle Times staff columnist

Alia Peterson lifted up her bangs to show me the damage done.

"He hit me so fast I couldn't put my hands down," she said of the bicyclist who ran the red light in downtown Seattle a few weeks ago, just as Peterson was crossing with the light.

"I fell flat over."

In the weeks since I wrote about Velda Mapelli's death from injuries suffered when she was hit by a bicyclist on Renton's Cedar River Trail, I have become a clearinghouse for Tales from the Road.

Cyclists show me knees and elbows scraped from where they fell after cars clipped them or cut them off.

But more people — pedestrians — tell me of being hit by cyclists who don't think they have to follow the same rules as cars. Rules about speed, stoplights and weaving through traffic.

"You ever see a cyclist pulled over for going through a stop sign?" one man asked me. "They do whatever they want."

This longtime debate is becoming more urgent as Mayor Mike McGinn strives to make Seattle as gas-free and green as possible.

He's pushing something called a "road diet," in which a four-lane arterial is retooled, creating two car lanes, a center turn lane, two bike lanes and raised medians for pedestrians crossing the street.

The idea is to lower car speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The Seattle City Council's Transportation Committee this week had a full house when it debated McGinn's plan for such a change to West Nickerson Street between the Fremont and Ballard bridges.

I have no quibble with the greening of the city, with people using alternative transportation. But anyone who drives or bikes around here knows the two don't always mix well.

So if we're going to share the road, cyclists should be required to follow the same rules as drivers.

There are good cyclists out there. I see many who take to the road looking like they're about to summit Mount Rainier: flashing lights, bright clothing, helmets that would protect them from falling boulders. They follow the speed limit, they stop where they're supposed to, they look around.

God love them.

But there are those — like the person who hit Peterson — who seem to think they don't have to do any of those things. And if we're creating more lanes for them, well, that needs to change.

David Smith, 60, a certified instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, thinks the city needs to study cyclist-related accidents and behavior before it gives them more room on the road.

"It's shocking that we are reconstructing our entire road system without a simple study of whether cyclists would prefer learning the rules of the road and following those rules," Smith said, "or whether they just prefer their own lane."

Smith can't find any data proving that cyclists who ride in bike lanes are any safer than those who ride in traffic.

"It's like saying they won't study those who smoke and those who don't; they're only going to study treatments," he said.

For his part, Smith is updating his website to promote "self-improvement for cyclists."

"They do nothing for themselves and always blame the motorists," he said. "If you understand the rules of the road, you get along much better."

Velda Mapelli's death was enough for the city of Renton to take immediate action, by drafting new laws that would reduce the speed limit on city trails from 15 to 10 mph; increase signage; and establish passing, no-passing and dismount zones, among other things.

Police cadets will patrol the trails to assist with education. Violating cyclists will be issued warnings for the first two weeks, then citations for additional infractions such as running stop signs in various parts of the city, including the adjacent Lake Washington Boulevard.

The Renton City Council will vote on the proposal later this month.

Mayor Denis Law said he received a little blowback from bicycle groups and some cycling commuters who think the reduced speed limit will add time to their commute.

"But we didn't build the trails for their commute," he said. "We're not trying to be perceived as anti-bicycle at all. But those who aren't responsible are going to pay the piper for it."

I'd rather that than see more scars. Can't we all just get along and enjoy the ride?

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

She rides like Pee-wee.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:53 AM
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I don't know the situation, so I probably shouldn't comment (but that's not how anybody works on BF.net right?)

It really seems like 10mph is ridiculously slow! Maybe if the trail was very narrow or curvy.. but I can't imagine having to keep my speed below 10mph.. that would deter my commute and put me back in my car!
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Old 06-11-10, 07:35 AM
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Nicole Broeduer is a woman that sounds like she hates bicyclists. Her subtext is very critical of cyclist behavior. We must slow her down on her drives around town. Maybe she lives in queen anne and is furious that nickerson is being road dieted?

her column thinly veils the shortsighted, gas-addled entitlements of a motor addicted american.

Actually, i shouldn't be so strong in my criticism of Nicole. I've met her, even had breakfast with her at the Athenian Inn shortly after she moved to Seattle. She's a very compassionate person.


BUT,

The anti-bicycling tone she has been bringing to her column angers me as it fuels anti-cyclist sentiment in Seattle.

there's a reason cars and drivers are licensed. the potential for damage, injury and social costs associated with motor vehicles is OFF THE CHARTS compared to bicyclists.

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Old 06-11-10, 07:59 AM
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Another example of tackling the wrong problem for nothing but political grandstanding. From what I read about the Renton incident, the woman stepped out in front of the bike with no warning or looking. Heck, 10mph might have resulted in the same outcome. I wonder what the new signage will address? Probably nothing regarding pedestrians keeping a straight path, looking around them before zig-zagging across the entire trail, or most importantly, keeping to the correct side of the dang trail. I've lost count on how many times I come around a blind corner and meet a pedestrian right in front of me because they are on the wrong side of the trail.

I remember that incident up in seattle that was highly publicized when a vehicle hit a pedestrian who was in a crosswalk and killed them. Did they lower the speed limit for the cars? Not that I recall. Heck the driver only got a ticket.

10mph means I won't be using the trail. Which is too bad because the road next to cedar river trail sucks.
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Old 06-11-10, 09:02 AM
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what is this even about?

and seriously, a guy from the League of American Bicyclists, can't find any studies on the efficacy of bike lanes? a 2 second google search: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&r...=&oq=&gs_rfai=

this is the best: "And if we're creating more lanes for them, well, that needs to change."
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Old 06-11-10, 09:34 AM
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It's the same prattling on that happens any time drivers get in a snit about cyclists:

"They don't obey the laws"
"They don't pay for the roads"
"They don't blah blah whatever"

I just stop listening, really. Because logical counter-argument pointing out that far more pedestrians are struck and injured by drivers than cyclists disobeying the laws, yet we keep "creating more lanes for them"... well, those fall upon intentionally deafened ears.
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Old 06-11-10, 09:43 AM
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that david smith is a shill for the anti-accommodation arguments of the vehicular cyclists that rabidly promote john foresters dogma.

he's often trolling the background of media events eager to get his face time with ken schram and who ever to tell them how the problems are all are result of the misbehaving bicyclists that are doing it wrong.

he's strongly anti-bike facility, yet i saw him arrive at a greg nickels press conference using the I-90 trail. hypocrite. Additionally, he's espoused that the best way to get children riding between the Seattle Zoo and the Seattle Center is to have them take the lane across the Aurora bridge and hence down 99. he'd prefer there be no bike route developed with bikelanes between these two points in the city.
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Old 06-11-10, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
"You ever see a cyclist pulled over for going through a stop sign?" one man asked me. "They do whatever they want."
Does this man expect cyclists to pull themselves over after running a stop sign, or does it take two to tango? I think the right way to explain what he sees is that it's widely accepted ( by LEO ) that a different set of rules applies to cyclists.

Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
The idea is to lower car speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.
So cyclists are taking up the cause of pedestrian safety...? That lycra-clad arse hole is trying to prevent granny from being hit by a Hummer?

Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
So if we're going to share the road, cyclists should be required to follow the same rules as drivers.
Great! That means I can speed and run red lights as long as they haven't been red for longer than about 5 seconds. Plus I can litter with impunity and even use my bike as a weapon. But I can't park it in certain places at certain times?

Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
There are good cyclists out there. [...] They follow the speed limit, they stop where they're supposed to, they look around.
Those bikes doing 60 mph in a 50 zone are a real problem! But the people doing 80 mph on I-5 in the morning ... we can't impede the flow of traffic by enforcing the speed limit. ( And yeah, up near the Lake City Way exit half the cars on the road are doing 70+ mph. )

Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
But there are those €” like the person who hit Peterson €” who seem to think they don't have to do any of those things. And if we're creating more lanes for them, well, that needs to change.
If infrastructure depended on "good behavior" then on the whole, cars would have nowhere to drive. But it's fun to hold bikes up to a different standard, and then ***** about them not following arbitrary rules that you have to obey.

Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
David Smith, 60, a certified instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, thinks the city needs to study cyclist-related accidents and behavior before it gives them more room on the road.
Lets start a club called the "League of American Cagers" and promote the need for a study of driver-related accidents and behavior.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:01 AM
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i got ticketed for 'running' a couple of stop signs.

bicyclists are responsible for following the law, and can be cited for traffic violations. Nicole seems not to know how to do basic research.

And anyone that characterizes good cyclists as ones that 'follow the speed limit' obviously doesn't have a clue what she's talking about regarding safe cycling.

Safe, law abiding cyclists are often the ones in the middle of the road, safely taking the lane and upsetting the motorists. this is something an anti-cycling motorist doesn't consider when they make a plea for more law-abiding bicycling behavior instead of preferred class road facilities.

I wonder what Nicole thinks of the motorists that dont' 'follow the speed limit?' should there be traffic cameras doing widespread speed enforcement on roads like Nickerson where speeding motorists average 10 miles per hour faster than the posted speed?

Has Nicole talked to Nick Licata about pedestrian safety?

Road diets are being enacted in part to bring road crossings for pedestrians back into compliance with federal guidelines, reduce traffic speeds and ensure a safer road environment for all road users including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users as well as motorists. road diets are most clearly not simply adding lanes for bikes.


And as to what costs are enacted on society by transportation method, The huge financial scope of environmental, infrastructure, and liability costs aren't being caused by the bicyclists!

EDIT: posted to her comments section at the times.

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Old 06-11-10, 05:48 PM
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Well, Seattle will now have a very nice set of Off-Road Sidewalks (formerly called Bike Paths before they were called MUPs).

10 mph; increase signage; and establish passing, no-passing and dismount zones, among other things.
10 mph is the speed limit for many (maybe most) real sidewalks in other cities and states that were never intended for cycling.

Maybe some should have spent more effort protecting cyclist rights rather than ranting about 20 something roadies in lycra. As I recall Velda Mapelli blindly stepped in front of an almost 60 year old cyclist who was passing properly. Bet he did not have lycra on.

The walkers seem pretty intent on protecting their right to blindly step in front of cyclist.
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Old 06-11-10, 08:33 PM
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I'm anxiously waiting for Renton to establish 10 mph speed limits on all roads where motorists have killed or injured anyone and to have "dismount" zones where the obese carcissists have to push their tanks. Actually, I would like to see 6-month closures of every road where an injury-wreck occurs for the class of vehicle at fault (A, B, C, bike). Either people would learn to operate their vehicles safely or they would literally have no place to go (at least where I live).

"But we didn't build the trails for their commute," he said.
I would be shocked if the bike paths were not built with some federal or state money that was earmarked for TRANSPORTATION. Most bike paths really are built for people's commute, not for recreational strolling.
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Old 06-12-10, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Well, Seattle will now have a very nice set of Off-Road Sidewalks (formerly called Bike Paths before they were called MUPs).



10 mph is the speed limit for many (maybe most) real sidewalks in other cities and states that were never intended for cycling.

Maybe some should have spent more effort protecting cyclist rights rather than ranting about 20 something roadies in lycra. As I recall Velda Mapelli blindly stepped in front of an almost 60 year old cyclist who was passing properly. Bet he did not have lycra on.

The walkers seem pretty intent on protecting their right to blindly step in front of cyclist.
The age and clothing of cyclists are not germane to this issue.
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Old 06-13-10, 12:48 AM
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reduce the speed limit on city trails from 15 to 10 mph
I've ridden the Orting foothills trail many times. I recall on last year's Daffodil century, portions of the route were on streets running parallel to the trail, and notices were included on the route sheets that if we were to ride on the trail, please observe the 10MPH speed limit.

I was floored. First, I've yet to see a single posted speed limit sign anywhere on the trail. Second, there are certainly some congested sections, such as right in downtown Orting, but aside from that, the trail crosses largely rural areas. Seems rediculous.
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Old 06-14-10, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kneez View Post
The age and clothing of cyclists are not germane to this issue.
Tell that to those that rant about other cyclist riding on the Off-Road Sidewalks (formerly called Bike Paths before they were called MUPs).
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Old 06-14-10, 08:35 AM
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CBHI is overwhelmingly upset at the schism between the 1970's ideal of 'bikes only' bike paths and the reality of 21st century multiple use non-motorized trail corridors.

worst thing thats ever happened to bicycling.
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Old 06-14-10, 09:56 AM
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While I don't appreciate CBHI's confrontational approach to discussion here, I do confess that I am sympathetic to his position. The Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River Trails get so congested with walkers, skaters, dogs, toddlers, and who knows what else that they become not merely inconvenient for cyclists but outright dangerous for everyone. It is hard to mix people traveling at 2-3mph with those who are traveling at 15+mph in such a confined space. I would like to see bike only paths but I don't see how they could be politically or fiscally feasible. There should be places for people to walk and jog and play with their dogs but these activities don't mix well with cyclists who are trying to actually get somewhere. For the time being the BGT and SRT should stay as they are since they are the best we've got but it would be nice if there were paths that actually take into consideration how fast cyclists actually go.
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Old 06-14-10, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Tell that to those that rant about other cyclist riding on the Off-Road Sidewalks (formerly called Bike Paths before they were called MUPs).
Ah, I see I misunderstood your post. Sorry.
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Old 06-14-10, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kneez View Post
...it would be nice if there were paths that actually take into consideration how fast cyclists actually go.
They're called roads.

I don't have the same "somebody peed in my Wheaties" hatred of the MUP that CBHI has, but I am sometimes annoyed at the behaviours presented there; by everyone. The Tour de MUP time trialists, the dog walkers with 30' "retractable" leashes, the 50 person Team in Training jogging groups, bike ninja commuters, iPod wearing path-hogging triple-wide stroller pushers, and even my club (Seattle Randos) tends to span the entire path from edge to edge when our route puts us on the SRT/BGT.
We all suck. So there. The only reason any one group is "worse" is because of the perspective from some other group who doesn't like what's happening.

Rode 12 miles on the Centennial Trail over the weekend during a 200k permanent. The decision to ride the route in the direction we went was largely based on hitting the MUP at 6:45am instead of 4:30pm, even though it meant finishing a 200k with some fierce climbs between 175k - 195k.
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Old 06-14-10, 10:40 AM
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The MUP talk is a sidetrack from the anti-cycling vagaries presented by Nicole Broeduer in her recent anti-cycling column.

She's against the Nickerson Road diet despite this being a quality safety enhancement for the traffic corridor, is confused about what constitutes safe cycling on the roads, and entertains vague licensing wishes upon cyclists.

Broeduers' anti-cycling attitude is very lame.
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Old 06-14-10, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
The MUP talk is a sidetrack from the anti-cycling vagaries presented by Nicole Broeduer in her recent anti-cycling column.

She's against the Nickerson Road diet despite this being a quality safety enhancement for the traffic corridor, is confused about what constitutes safe cycling on the roads, and entertains vague licensing wishes upon cyclists.

Broeduers' anti-cycling attitude is very lame.
I'm often disappointed with the opinions expressed in her newspaper column, so her take on the 'road diet' wasn't too surprising.
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Old 06-14-10, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
They're called roads.

I don't have the same "somebody peed in my Wheaties" hatred of the MUP that CBHI has, but I am sometimes annoyed at the behaviours presented there; by everyone. The Tour de MUP time trialists, the dog walkers with 30' "retractable" leashes, the 50 person Team in Training jogging groups, bike ninja commuters, iPod wearing path-hogging triple-wide stroller pushers, and even my club (Seattle Randos) tends to span the entire path from edge to edge when our route puts us on the SRT/BGT.
We all suck. So there. The only reason any one group is "worse" is because of the perspective from some other group who doesn't like what's happening.

Rode 12 miles on the Centennial Trail over the weekend during a 200k permanent. The decision to ride the route in the direction we went was largely based on hitting the MUP at 6:45am instead of 4:30pm, even though it meant finishing a 200k with some fierce climbs between 175k - 195k.

Touche! Indeed, they are called "roads."

I roade BGT/SRT yesterday and it wasn't as bad as usual but there were still people of every stripe acting as though they were they only people there. About a week ago I saw a cyclist taken off the SRT on a stretcher from a head-on collision.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:45 AM
  #22  
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If this article upsets some of you, then you should (or maybe you shouldn't) read the hateful, vitriolic comments written by Seattleites in regards to this article: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...rbikes02m.html --Whether or not you agree with the standpoint of the suing cyclists, you can't help but wince when you read the majority of peoples reactions in the commentary....

There seems to be a preconception that cyclists are all anarchistic nere-do-wells whose primary concern is to inconvenience drivers.
What a vast majority of motorists fail to realize is that the problems that they perceive cyclists as causing are a direct result of the complete domination of our cities, towns, and roads by automobiles. In an environment so thoroughly based around catering to drivers, any effort by a cyclist to ride assertively is taken as an act of aggression. To be fair, there are cyclists who ride dangerously, but reckless drivers are not only vastly higher in number, but exponentially more dangerous. Even the crowding issues brought up regarding MUPs in this thread are result of every other road being geared only toward cars.

The opening punch line of Nicole Brodeur's article was that a woman was knocked over and scuffed up by a cyclist. So then where is the perspective? Where is the acknowledgment that if the same woman had stepped out in front of a car that she'd be in a coffin, and that the driver would likely never face charges? I'm trying to say that any argument regarding traffic safety that is leveled against cyclists is one that exists upon a backdrop of frightening hypocrisy.

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