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BIke Lane....To Use or not To Use

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

BIke Lane....To Use or not To Use

Old 09-07-04, 03:12 PM
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BIke Lane....To Use or not To Use

Was wondering as I passed thru a small town today that had newly installed bike lanes running the entire length of town if....

1. Does your town have bike lanes?

2. If so, do you ride there or ride outside of town in the country (if avail). I know alot of people live in the Metros (i.e. New York) so where do you ride?
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Old 09-07-04, 03:22 PM
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It's nice if the town has bike lanes everywhere but I always prefer riding in areas with the least cars even if there is a lane. There's an area around here where I can take the bike lane or a trail paved just like the road and I prefer the bike lane because it's actually illegal for joggers or pedestrians to use.
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Old 09-07-04, 03:29 PM
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There are bike paths here and I ride 'em during the week. I get out of town for the weekends.
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Old 09-07-04, 03:36 PM
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I think bike lanes are the first steps in getting us off the rode. So I don't use them.
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Old 09-07-04, 04:12 PM
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If there's a bike lane, I'll use it. On one stretch of road that I regularly ride, there is a bike path seperated from the road by a row of trees. There's a bike lane on the road too. I always use the lane and never the path. If there's no lane I ride in the traffic lane.
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Old 09-07-04, 04:16 PM
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I use the common sense rule: If the bike lanes try to consign me to an undesirable part of the road, like the apron/gutter where the seam is, or too near to parked cars where people are getting in/out, I prefer to ride closer to the traffic. This way, I can keep up with flow of traffic in metro areas, avoid major hazards, and stay in motorist's field of view, as they are looking for other vehicles as well.

If, on the other hand, someone with a modicum of intelligence and any experience riding a bike has designed the bike lanes, I try to use them. Here locally, they are wide, away from cars (moving or otherwise) and out of the way of garden recycling debris which is placed right on the street.

Really not much of a problem here anyway, as it is at the fringe of suburbs/open spaces there is not really a problem with car traffic.
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Old 09-07-04, 04:22 PM
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Yes I use them when they are availible. What I find frustrating is when they
"come and go" on the same street! At least the streets are wider in central California compared with SF or the Bay Area.

I figure if we use them, perhaps it might tempt one other person to try biking. The air here in the valley is "chunky" and we need a lot more people to bike.

a.c.
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Old 09-07-04, 05:05 PM
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It's not an either/or proposition. Whether a street has a bike lane is only a single factor in whether it's a safe and convenient route for me. Here in Sactown, there are lots of streets with bikelanes that are poorly designed, poorly paved, and tend to disappear midblock. And then there are non-bike lane streets that are smooth and safe.
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Old 09-07-04, 05:17 PM
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G'day,

In Oz, the state i live in, Victoria, has been very proactive in setting aside bike lanes on roads. Generally, they are just realigning the car lanes & adding a 5ft wide bike lane on the edge of the road. Whilst the thought is there, the execution often leaves much to be desired!. Generally the edge of the road is where the potholes, major damage & degradation has taken place....now if they would actually fix the damage in the buike lanes, we might be getting somewhere.....I actually saw a white line marking a bike lane the other day that was painted through a pothole & out the other side!......still its a start...at least they are thinking about the issue, which is more than most,

cheers,

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Old 09-07-04, 08:23 PM
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Around Madison the bike lane is no more then renamed curb, car use to pass. Not kidding this spring I was driving downtown and some guy tried to pass me on the right whole car in the bike lane Moved over enough to block him and kept my eyes open for bike ahead. I was doing the speed limit.
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Old 09-07-04, 09:18 PM
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What's a bike lane?
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Old 09-07-04, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CPcyclist
I was doing the speed limit.
Isn't it funny that you could be doing the speed limit or greater on a bike and motorists simply cannot ride behind a bike.
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Old 09-07-04, 09:55 PM
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a lot of people (particularily in boston/cambridge) just think the bike lane is either the turn lane, or another place to park. bike lanes are pretty dumb if you think about it too, they never get cleaned, and all the glass and other crap from the car lanes just gets swept into them. plus, the geniuses who decide where to put them, always put them right next to parked cars. i usually either avoid riding in them like the plague, or ride right on the white line that marks them.

i was flying down mt. tamalpais at the beginning of the summer, trailing pretty close, but not too close behind a car, and this jerkass comes up behind me, starts tailgating, and eventually passes me, forcing me to slow down to increase my following distance for him...this was on a narrow, winding, 2-lane road too...i just don't understand why a few people just cannot handle being behind a bike. i could understand if he was worried that i'd fall and he'd run me over, but i don't think that was his concern as he tailgated me for a good long while before finally passing around a blind curve.
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Old 09-07-04, 10:13 PM
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I think that people don't consider their speed or anything when they're behind a bike. They just go into "pass the bike" mode. In their minds if they're behind a bike, they must be going too slow regardless of speed.
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Old 09-08-04, 01:29 AM
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I ride in the bike lane when I can.

I live in a small town so frequently the roads are so thin that we don't have bikelanes and I'm riding alongside parked cars. The laws in California are that bikes are not allowed to be on the sidewalk. We are supposed to ride in the street and be safe as far as I know.

We have severla colleges in our town and I understand why there isn't more bikelanes: because if you have enough room for a bikelane, you have enough room for another tiny lane. Another lane means a lot for traffic.

I think they might have made more lanes on less trafficed streets.
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Old 09-08-04, 06:44 AM
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Virtually zero bike lanes here in Baltimore. There are in the suburbs, where I am more likely to use them because traffic moves a lot faster than I can pace. But in town, I can keep up better and be more visible. I guess I'd use them if we had them, but we don't have them, so..... It's pretty discouraging actually. Our streets absolutely suck, you can barely pilot a car down many of them, much less a cycle. So there is very little incentive for anyone other than buff anarchist critical mass messengers to use a bicycle as a means of transport.
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Old 09-08-04, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Ben Cousins
In countries I've been to in Europe with separate cycle lanes not attached to the road (like Sweden and Austria), the lanes seem to be full of very slow cyclists, and they are not respected as much as the road by peds. In these countries I would much rather ride on the road than risk hitting a ped at 30mph or be constantly stuck behind someone shopping.
In Munich where bike paths/lanes are provided you are legally obliged to use them- sometimes the bike paths can be OK- at least you feel safer as you are separated from the impatient idiots in cars even if you really are not any safer as they just get you at the intersections. Sometimes however they can be much more dangerous particularly when they run on the wrong side of the road- in this case I just find a different route. Peds are also problem as they often (maybe even usually) just dont look at before stepping out on a bike path. They seem to think that they can take 120 kilos of man and metal travelling at 30 mph without any problem!. Even other cyclists switch off their brains as soon as they get on the bike path and do things like cycling in the wrong direction. The bike paths are really only practical for slow cyclists but unfortunately all cyclists are forced to use them.
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Old 09-08-04, 09:32 AM
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I don't use them. There's too much glass and crap on them.
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Old 09-08-04, 10:42 AM
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I use the lanes to get to the paths away from cars.
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Old 09-08-04, 01:56 PM
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In Toronto, they have bike lanes. Thye keep the cars out with a white painted line, which means they are used for parking, especially by the cops.

I think that non-barrier bike lanes are unsafe and worse than no lane at all. True bike lanes should have cement barriers (like Montreal).
 
Old 09-08-04, 02:54 PM
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The one time I was hit by a car was when I was on a paved bike path, separated from the main roadway, and crossing an intersection with a green light. An approaching motorist making a right-hand turn did not stop at the bike path crosswalk, but rather stopped at the roadway, ten feet too late for me. I see that move all the time. Drivers making right hand turns onto my road are not prepared to stop at the crossing. Even drivers making right hand turns from my direction to cut across my path with a green light ignore the green light the bike path also has. I feel much safer on a wide, paved shoulder.
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Old 09-08-04, 03:00 PM
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They can't put bike lanes everywhere, that's communism, so they should get more bikes on all roads so that the car drivers will get used to looking for them.
Penalties for hitting a cyclist are ridiculous. I was hit by a motorist in a bike lane when I was a student, the car drove on after hitting me. He was charged with hit and run and leaving the scene (if I were a car driver, he would have been guilty), he was found guilty of "driving in a restricted lane". $42. The judge didn't even want to hear my testimony.
 
Old 09-08-04, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by DocRay
They can't put bike lanes everywhere, that's communism
Cyclists of the World, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

(Hang on! We need chains.)

I know it's in here somewhere:The Communist Manifesto. Nope. Maybe it's in The Little Red Book. You know how those Chinese love their bikes and all.
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Old 09-15-04, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ben Cousins
I didn't know that you were obliged to use them, that sucks. Still - you get to live in Munich, which is a nice city, if I remember my visit there as a ten year old properly. Is the velodrome in the olympic complex still open?
Hi yes Munich is a nice city and good for biking despite the bike lines- I am not sure about the velodrome- you could try asking Daniel Molloy- he is a track bike fan and is on this forum.

I see you sold your Helios XX- nice bike- I would have been sorry to part with a bike like that.
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Old 10-08-04, 04:15 PM
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In our town we are adding lanes seperated from the roadways quickly. Unfortunately, though even the government refers to them as "Bike Lanes," they are posted as "Multi-Use" lanes. Regrettably, what this actually means is walkers, joggers, skateboards, tricycles, bikes and even horses are among the multi-users, or might be. They are a delight to ride on when empty, but one must always take care, not only of other users, but the cars at intersections which are operated by folks totally unaware of the so-called bike lanes.

They are actually beautifully paved and landscaped little road ways. Sometimes they end rather abruptly. I use them a little. Most of the time though I am trying to get aerobic exercise out of my riding. In that case the road works best.
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