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Old 01-16-14, 09:51 PM   #351
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Here's an interesting article that kind of speaks directly to the OP's question:

http://www.streets.mn/2014/01/10/cyc...feedback-loop/

Thanks for the link... Not sure if the OP and some others will be on board with its conclusions, also based on several studies, like the Pucher report it draws the conclusion that bike facilities, even if they only give a perception of safety will increase the numbers of cyclists.

Some posters to this thread seem unconvinced that it is infrastructure that raises the numbers as opposed to other factors like gas prices, recessions, economics and efforts at traffic calming.

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If residents perceive their cycling to be safer, they are more likely to bicycle and bicycle more often, which has the added benefit of increased safety through safety in numbers. Given this tautological reasoning, good bicycle facilities are the intervening element to initiate the “cycling safety positive feedback loop.”

It seems this thread has turned more to a discussion regarding what the best and most attractive bike facilities are and the battle is over the merits of separated facilities vs the merits of on street facilities.

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Old 01-17-14, 10:18 AM   #352
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The interesting thing about the perception of safety is that while this perception element is often dismissed by the anti-facilities people, at the same time our very road designs for motorists highly depend on perception for success... the very stripe in the center of the road is perhaps the clearest example of this... there is no actual protection from that stripe... yet the perception of that feature is quite satisfying to motorists... meanwhile indeed head on collisions do still occur.

Take the same roads and remove the car guiding stripes and traffic moves at a much slower pace... showing yet again that something as simple as a stripe of paint provides guidance and the perception of safety such that motor vehicle drivers will readily glide past one another at 100MPH closing speeds with little worry.
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Old 01-17-14, 05:01 PM   #353
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Thanks for the link... Not sure if the OP and some others will be on board with its conclusions, also based on several studies, like the Puchler report it draws the conclusion that bike facilities, even if they only give a perception of safety will increase the numbers of cyclists.

Some posters to this thread seem unconvinced that it is infrastructure that raises the numbers as opposed to other factors like gas prices, recessions, economics and efforts at traffic calming.




It seems this thread has turned more to a discussion regarding what the best and most attractive bike facilities are and the battle is over the merits of separated facilities vs the merits of on street facilities.
I suggest that the paper to which you refer is one by Pucher, who writes that kind of stuff.

Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years. Bikeways make many cyclists and potential cyclists feel much safer. Bikeway construction therefore will produce a switch from motor trips to bicycle trips. Motorists, insofar as they have any opinion in this matter think that bikeways make motoring more convenient. The comfortable feeling produced by bikeways is produced by the protection from same-direction motor traffic.

Other things also need to be said. This comfortable feeling has little connection with the actual traffic hazards of urban cycling, in which the great majority of car-bike collisions occur through turning and crossing movements. Nobody has produced a valid engineering analysis that predicts how real bikeways might reduce car-bike collisions, or has produced empirical evidence that they do. Furthermore, American bikeways are designed on the basis that American cyclists are not capable of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles; they treat cyclists like incompetent children.

American traffic laws have two special ways of treating cyclists. One way is the mandatory side of the road law (FTR law). The other way is the mandatory bikeway law (MBL law). Both of these are implementations of the policy of treating cyclists as incapable children, which policy must therefore be considered detrimental to the growth and effectiveness of American bicycle transportation. Those two laws have no justification whatever; placing motorist convenience above the growth of bicycle transportation is a sorry policy for bicycling advocates. Any program for increasing American bicycle transportation ought to include both those who prefer the illusion that bikeways make cycling safe and those who understand the safety and convenience of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles.

nd neither of these has been shown to make cycling much safer; indeed the opposite.
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Old 01-17-14, 06:50 PM   #354
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I suggest that the paper to which you refer is one by Pucher, who writes that kind of stuff.

Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years. Bikeways make many cyclists and potential cyclists feel much safer. Bikeway construction therefore will produce a switch from motor trips to bicycle trips. Motorists, insofar as they have any opinion in this matter think that bikeways make motoring more convenient. The comfortable feeling produced by bikeways is produced by the protection from same-direction motor traffic.

Other things also need to be said. This comfortable feeling has little connection with the actual traffic hazards of urban cycling, in which the great majority of car-bike collisions occur through turning and crossing movements. Nobody has produced a valid engineering analysis that predicts how real bikeways might reduce car-bike collisions, or has produced empirical evidence that they do. Furthermore, American bikeways are designed on the basis that American cyclists are not capable of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles; they treat cyclists like incompetent children.

American traffic laws have two special ways of treating cyclists. One way is the mandatory side of the road law (FTR law). The other way is the mandatory bikeway law (MBL law). Both of these are implementations of the policy of treating cyclists as incapable children, which policy must therefore be considered detrimental to the growth and effectiveness of American bicycle transportation. Those two laws have no justification whatever; placing motorist convenience above the growth of bicycle transportation is a sorry policy for bicycling advocates. Any program for increasing American bicycle transportation ought to include both those who prefer the illusion that bikeways make cycling safe and those who understand the safety and convenience of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles.

nd neither of these has been shown to make cycling much safer; indeed the opposite.

I don't mean to be overly dismissive of your post but I am afraid I can't help it.

You propose: "Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years."

Certainly the result is that we have moved into a new era of infrastructure. The argument is no longer infrastructure vs no infrastructure (VC and driver/cyclist education). It has evolved into a discussion about what kinds of infrastructure- bike lanes, sharrows, separated paths, interconnected rail trails, MUP's, bicycle super highways, Dutch style infrastructure, German style etc.

The points you are attempting to make are bordering on, if not fully, irrelevant to this new landscape. You seem to be still attempting to turn the clock back on the emphasis on infrastructure.

Even many of the differences of opinion being expressed in this thread are between persons who share some respect for well designed infrastructure. There's just not 100% agreement on what the best design is.

The changing nature of our congested urban spaces, the increases in overall population and concurrent increases in the number of private and commercial vehicles on our limited road space means a new playbook and/or a less narrow minded, dogmatic and polarizing stance is necessary. Or you could hold to the same old arguments and find your opinions similarly dismissed.
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Old 01-17-14, 08:03 PM   #355
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...
American traffic laws have two special ways of treating cyclists. One way is the mandatory side of the road law (FTR law). The other way is the mandatory bikeway law (MBL law).
...
Like I said before, good law is quite liberating.

Massachusetts has neither of those provisions. In fact, one of the special ways of treating cyclists here includes we can pass on the right under more circumstances than motor vehicle operators can.

Other states have cleared up that bicycle headights and taillights may blink.

But my all time favorite US bike "law" (the code is more what you'd call "guidelines") has to be UVC 11-1210 Bicycle Parking(c)(d)(e)(f). Good to know that not only we don't have to park with our right side wheels within 1' of the curb, we can park at any angle our little hearts desire. Not only that, we can park abreast of another bicycle or bicycles! (Two, three, four, more! Go crazy!) Be still my heart!

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Old 01-21-14, 01:45 PM   #356
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Why is it that any conversation with John Forester always results in "Pucher is wrong and Forester is right;" yet far more people ride bikes in the world described by Pucher than the world described by Forester.

I honestly cannot say that vehicular cycling doesn't work... only that it only works well when the speeds of all vehicles tend to be at "human scale." (speeds comfortably reached and maintained on a bicycle... )
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Old 01-21-14, 05:47 PM   #357
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The interesting thing about the perception of safety is that while this perception element is often dismissed by the anti-facilities people, at the same time our very road designs for motorists highly depend on perception for success... the very stripe in the center of the road is perhaps the clearest example of this... there is no actual protection from that stripe... yet the perception of that feature is quite satisfying to motorists... meanwhile indeed head on collisions do still occur.

Take the same roads and remove the car guiding stripes and traffic moves at a much slower pace... showing yet again that something as simple as a stripe of paint provides guidance and the perception of safety such that motor vehicle drivers will readily glide past one another at 100MPH closing speeds with little worry.
I come out of boredom and I can't help responding to stuff...

The strip in the pavement, while not a physical barrier, is most certainly a very real protection which allows traffic to move more quickly. What is it? It's a reference. When I am driving (I commute every day, on country highways where closing speeds easily exceed 100mph with only that line separating opposing lanes of traffic) I can tell at a glance, using the center strip as a reference, whether the car approaching from the other direction is on a collision course with me. Two points of the approaching car's location WRT the strip are sufficient to tell me the car's heading. With no reference, I have to track the car using triangulation using my own location as a reference to tell whether it is on a collision course. The former is a much quicker calculation than the latter, which allows both cars to travel at a faster rate of closing speed.

The concept of both a wide outside lane and sharrow as it pertains to cycling is actually to intentionally remove a reference point off the road and create ambiguity in the driver's calculation of the cyclist's path as he overtakes. The hope of this strategy is to slow overtaking traffic. But realize this is a gambit of sorts. The road designer is removing information from the overtake calculations in the hope the driver will be wise enough to slow down to take into account the spatial ambiguities. The gambit is 1) you are relying the driver making a more complex calculation and 2) you are relying on the driver's wisdom to slow enough to take the complexity into account.
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Old 01-21-14, 06:02 PM   #358
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I come out of boredom and I can't help responding to stuff...

The strip in the pavement, while not a physical barrier, is most certainly a very real protection which allows traffic to move more quickly. What is it? It's a reference. When I am driving (I commute every day, on country highways where closing speeds easily exceed 100mph with only that line separating opposing lanes of traffic) I can tell at a glance, using the center strip as a reference, whether the car approaching from the other direction is on a collision course with me. Two points of the approaching car's location WRT the strip are sufficient to tell me the car's heading. With no reference, I have to track the car using triangulation using my own location as a reference to tell whether it is on a collision course. The former is a much quicker calculation than the latter, which allows both cars to travel at a faster rate of closing speed.

The concept of both a wide outside lane and sharrow as it pertains to cycling is actually to intentionally remove a reference point off the road and create ambiguity in the driver's calculation of the cyclist's path as he overtakes. The hope of this strategy is to slow overtaking traffic. But realize this is a gambit of sorts. The road designer is removing information from the overtake calculations in the hope the driver will be wise enough to slow down to take into account the spatial ambiguities. The gambit is 1) you are relying the driver making a more complex calculation and 2) you are relying on the driver's wisdom to slow enough to take the complexity into account.
So the question rises... do bike lanes work? They provide after all no more physical safety than any other stripe in the road... yet the perception to cyclists is that bike lanes are safer to ride than roads without such lanes.

But it's just a stripe of paint. Nothing more than a reference point... Right?

Come back Brian and tell us more...
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Old 01-21-14, 06:12 PM   #359
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Your observations about the center line is exactly right.

But, now take the double yellow line in the middle, but add in a white line at the side.

When they are far apart, what does that tell your brain? You can go fast!
Now squish them together to narrow the lane. What does that tell your brain to do? Slow down.

It's a proven traffic calming technique, but deity help us we are somehow surrendering to motordom to take advantage of a right side line like that.

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Old 01-21-14, 06:34 PM   #360
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So the question rises... do bike lanes work? They provide after all no more physical safety than any other stripe in the road... yet the perception to cyclists is that bike lanes are safer to ride than roads without such lanes.

But it's just a stripe of paint. Nothing more than a reference point... Right?

Come back Brian and tell us more...
I would dare say that motorists respect painted lines a lot more than cyclists. A cyclist in the potential path of a car (defined a priori as "in the lane") is viewed as an obstacle. Cars slow to take the ambiguity into account because, in general, nobody wants to kill anyone, but as a cyclist, you know as well as I that we take sh*t for being there. It's because of the very real premise of the road, which is this: one can expect that, most of the time, there are no obstacles in the travel lane. This premise is intrinsic to why our roads are so safe and why our travel is so efficient (in what other era in the past could I afford to take a 20 mile one-way trip every single day for nine years to get to work?). We drill this premise into the heads of our children when we tell them to stay out of the road. It is part of our national psyche that the roads are to be kept clear of obstacles. Every time we fiddle with the radio dial, that premise is what keeps us safe. And it works, more or less.

A cyclist, when traveling much slower than the majority of traffic, in the travel lane, breaks this premise. Which is why we draw ire.

Do bike lanes work? This is asking for a statement of fact which I can't make in absolute terms. I suspect they work okay, particularly well if there are no intersections; maybe not so well if there are lots of intersections and driveways. And anyone paying attention can see that various people dispute the efficacy of alternatives.
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Old 01-21-14, 06:45 PM   #361
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With respect to bike lanes acting as reference points...

Cars are easy to figure. They look rather monolithic, which means it is very easy to judge both speed and heading if sufficient road reference points exist. Cyclists don't have a well defined outline. A driver trying to judge position, speed, and heading of a cyclist first has to go through the rigmarole of figuring out stable reference points on the bicycle/rider itself, before he or she can compare those points to points on the road. Again, this makes the calculation more difficult, which turns a cyclist into a cognitive burden.

A line between the cyclist and the driver should lower the cognitive burden on the driver passing a cyclist. I think both sides of the bike lane debate will acknowledge that cars pass cyclists more quickly when the cyclist is riding in the bike lane than without. My intuition says that, even though the car is passing more quickly, the situation is intrinsically safer because there is more information about heading and speed of the cyclist available to the driver. If the driver is not interested in hitting me in the first place (I think it is agreed that most aren't), I'd rather the driver have as much information available as possible to allow a safe pass. But I tend to measure the terms of a "safe pass" by the probability that our paths intersect, not by the speed of overtake; I don't really care how fast the car passes. Others are worried about overtake speed and come to different conclusions.
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Old 01-21-14, 07:08 PM   #362
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I don't mean to be overly dismissive of your post but I am afraid I can't help it.

You propose: "Now consider the results of all this discussion over the years."

Certainly the result is that we have moved into a new era of infrastructure. The argument is no longer infrastructure vs no infrastructure (VC and driver/cyclist education). It has evolved into a discussion about what kinds of infrastructure- bike lanes, sharrows, separated paths, interconnected rail trails, MUP's, bicycle super highways, Dutch style infrastructure, German style etc.

The points you are attempting to make are bordering on, if not fully, irrelevant to this new landscape. You seem to be still attempting to turn the clock back on the emphasis on infrastructure.

Even many of the differences of opinion being expressed in this thread are between persons who share some respect for well designed infrastructure. There's just not 100% agreement on what the best design is.

The changing nature of our congested urban spaces, the increases in overall population and concurrent increases in the number of private and commercial vehicles on our limited road space means a new playbook and/or a less narrow minded, dogmatic and polarizing stance is necessary. Or you could hold to the same old arguments and find your opinions similarly dismissed.
Your suggestion that I am "still attempting to turn the clock back on the emphasis on infrastructure" shows how little you understand and how strongly your ideology drives you. My motivation is to improve the safety and enjoyment of those cyclists who understand the value of operating according to the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. It apparently has not occurred to your mind(s) that for a long time and probably forever, operating in conditions in which obeying those rules will be advantageous. Bikeways will never be ubiquitous, and, from the evidence of years, there will be many examples of designs gone wrong. You and your associates have done nothing to further my effort. That's why your efforts are bad for cyclists.

You argue that building bikeways will relieve road congestion to a greater extent than would using the same space to increase road capacity. I recognize that you did not write that; I had to infer your meaning from your muddled argument. If you thought and wrote clearly, the discussion would go better. Maybe you really meant something else? Well, presenting arguments to be misunderstood is your own fault. But I think you have presented an interesting argument. I suppose that you have a paper demonstrating its accuracy? If not, then shut up.

You and your associates insist on obfuscating matters by refusing to use proper words. You say that your argument is about infrastructure. I don't see any evidence of that, because the major cycling infrastructure is our road and traffic system. What you are arguing about is bikeway designs; use the proper words and your discussion will go better. So, you think that the only relevant point of the discussion concerns "what the best design is". You all can argue all that you want about different kinds of bikeways, but I have never seen any criteria for determing the meaning of "best". So far as I have seen over many years of observation, you have no clear idea of what to accomplish, and therefore of working out how to accomplish it.
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Old 01-24-14, 03:01 PM   #363
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Infrastructure might be more important now than forty years ago when Mr. Forester was writint Effective Cycling. Roads are more crowded and drivers are farther from, in my book, being human. Cell phones, SUV's (the vehicle of choice for pigs and bullies) and the general aura of motorist entitlement all make me more eager to use bike-specific facilities where they exist and will get me where I need to go. VC is an idea from back in the days when drivers were also people.
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Old 07-30-14, 03:20 PM   #364
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because the major cycling infrastructure is our road and traffic system.
and these facilities are largely designed for multi-ton metal boxes hurtling around at very dangerous speeds. i'd like to see some infrastructure designed for people.
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Old 08-01-14, 08:07 PM   #365
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With respect to bike lanes acting as reference points...

........ I think both sides of the bike lane debate will acknowledge that cars pass cyclists more quickly when the cyclist is riding in the bike lane than without.
I dont' know about that, Brian..... the studies i've seen of road dieted roads show the 85 percentile speeds go down, sometimes almost 10mph reduction in averaged 85th percentile speed on road dieted roads.

do cars pass with bike in bikelanes more smoothly, with less lane and centerline encroachment, and make the roads generally safer for all road users? roadway studies suggest - Yes.

does proximity to a bikelane or bike way make it more likely for people to ride? I've seen studies that suggest they do.
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Old 01-27-16, 05:12 PM   #366
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So, let's take a look back at the oh woe Portland Biking is flat-lining, even going down, what's going on, the sky is falling, what are we doing so very wrong articles from 2013 and 2014.

Given that the 2015 data has been out for a while, I wondered what was happening.

So, here it is. Shown with *error* range. For Portland OR (red), and Cambridge Our Fair City MA (blue).



People really need to chill if they don't understand sampling errors.


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Old 01-03-17, 11:11 AM   #367
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Check out these photos of a "Protected Bike Lane" :
Protected_Bikeway_For_Sure_1370539466324727_8719889289589608202_o by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr
Protected_Bike_Lane_1371658486212825_1028614203_o by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr
It's out in the mountains of West Virginia. It's got some serious concrete pillars between the road and the bikeway, for sure!
Now, how many people go there to use it? ZERO. Nobody ever uses the Bike Lane , besides maybe a few locals.
This is a tunnel under the earthen embankment leading to the New Elkhorn Tunnel, built by Norfolk & Western Railway (now Norfolk Southern).
Photo's by Andy Oja.

Really, I love this kind of protection, but it seems only the Railroads built these into their tunnels... I have yet to see one under a highway overpass, with pillars like that.
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Old 01-24-17, 01:25 PM   #368
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Check out these photos of a "Protected Bike Lane" :
Protected_Bikeway_For_Sure_1370539466324727_8719889289589608202_o by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr
Protected_Bike_Lane_1371658486212825_1028614203_o by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr
It's out in the mountains of West Virginia. It's got some serious concrete pillars between the road and the bikeway, for sure!
Now, how many people go there to use it? ZERO. Nobody ever uses the Bike Lane , besides maybe a few locals.
This is a tunnel under the earthen embankment leading to the New Elkhorn Tunnel, built by Norfolk & Western Railway (now Norfolk Southern).
Photo's by Andy Oja.

Really, I love this kind of protection, but it seems only the Railroads built these into their tunnels... I have yet to see one under a highway overpass, with pillars like that.
Is the whole road the bikeway, or just the narrow area to the side, which looks an awful lot like a sidewalk to me... especially when viewing the outside tunnel view, and the short sidewalk outside of the tunnel.

In fact you state: "It's got some serious concrete pillars between the road and the bikeway..." So it IS a roadway... with what appears to be a sidewalk... just where is it designated "for bikes?"
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Old 01-25-17, 12:34 PM   #369
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Is the whole road the bikeway, or just the narrow area to the side, which looks an awful lot like a sidewalk to me... especially when viewing the outside tunnel view, and the short sidewalk outside of the tunnel.

In fact you state: "It's got some serious concrete pillars between the road and the bikeway..." So it IS a roadway... with what appears to be a sidewalk... just where is it designated "for bikes?"
I was saying this somewhat tongue-in-cheek... yes, I'm referring to the sidewalk ... There is simply NO Way a car could hit a bike or a pedestrian , the concrete pillars are too thick...

This is rural West Virginia... I have seen other railroad overpasses with four-lane roads under them ... Often , the sidewalk/bikeway is several feet higher than the roadway, so it is the ONLY way to get through after a heavy rain (flooding of the roadway)...

I didn't mean to upset you by suggesting you should use the sidewalk, feel free to take the lane. But you also should consider the darkness of a tunnel... Are you riding with tail lights? Can you reach to turn the tail lights on without dismounting?

It's a reductio ad absurdem, a protected Bike Lane could be built with much, much smaller concrete pillars than what I depicted, and still be "collision proof". I hope you saw the humor in it.
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Old 01-25-17, 12:48 PM   #370
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I was saying this somewhat tongue-in-cheek... yes, I'm referring to the sidewalk ... There is simply NO Way a car could hit a bike or a pedestrian , the concrete pillars are too thick...

This is rural West Virginia... I have seen other railroad overpasses with four-lane roads under them ... Often , the sidewalk/bikeway is several feet higher than the roadway, so it is the ONLY way to get through after a heavy rain (flooding of the roadway)...

I didn't mean to upset you by suggesting you should use the sidewalk, feel free to take the lane. But you also should consider the darkness of a tunnel... Are you riding with tail lights? Can you reach to turn the tail lights on without dismounting?

It's a reductio ad absurdem, a protected Bike Lane could be built with much, much smaller concrete pillars than what I depicted, and still be "collision proof". I hope you saw the humor in it.
I did not see the humor in it, as it was referred to as a bikeway, which it is not...

But I do agree that good bikeways could be built, without going to this level of absurdity.
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Old 01-25-17, 01:00 PM   #371
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I was saying this somewhat tongue-in-cheek... yes, I'm referring to the sidewalk ... There is simply NO Way a car could hit a bike or a pedestrian , the concrete pillars are too thick...

This is rural West Virginia... I have seen other railroad overpasses with four-lane roads under them ... Often , the sidewalk/bikeway is several feet higher than the roadway, so it is the ONLY way to get through after a heavy rain (flooding of the roadway)...

I didn't mean to upset you by suggesting you should use the sidewalk, feel free to take the lane. But you also should consider the darkness of a tunnel... Are you riding with tail lights? Can you reach to turn the tail lights on without dismounting?

It's a reductio ad absurdem, a protected Bike Lane could be built with much, much smaller concrete pillars than what I depicted, and still be "collision proof". I hope you saw the humor in it.
I did not see the humor in it, as it was referred to as a bikeway, which it is not...

But I do agree that good bikeways could be built, without going to this level of absurdity.
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Old 01-25-17, 01:41 PM   #372
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I did not see the humor in it, as it was referred to as a bikeway, which it is not...

But I do agree that good bikeways could be built, without going to this level of absurdity.
I found a few more in this website:
Crème de Memph: Railroad Underpasses 1: Downtown
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Old 03-31-17, 11:59 AM   #373
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Bike lane or no bike lane? You guys keep arguing, but no one makes a compelling argument either way. From what I've seen in rual America (Pacific Northwest), bike lanes DO work -- keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway. That being said, a lot of folks have talked to me and stated that they like the VC type of riding -- take the lane; act as a motor vehicle. It's all perspective. Where you live and where you ride.
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Old 06-27-17, 05:00 AM   #374
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Am I the only one who thinks there may be a linkage between aggressive assertive cyclists, and nasty angry motorists?
Not at all. I believe the former breed the latter, in nearly every case.

I see cats here and there in my cycling travels and they are always respectful, keep out of the way. If one did inadvertently run out in front of me I'd do my level best to avoid it I believe. Dogs on the other hand are nearly always aggressive to cyclists so I have a deep dislike for them when i see them off a leach while I'm biking. I just hope when I'm cycling I look more like a cat than a dog.

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Old 07-03-17, 06:27 PM   #375
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Bike lane or no bike lane? You guys keep arguing, but no one makes a compelling argument either way. From what I've seen in rual America (Pacific Northwest), bike lanes DO work -- keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway. That being said, a lot of folks have talked to me and stated that they like the VC type of riding -- take the lane; act as a motor vehicle. It's all perspective. Where you live and where you ride.
Thank you for defining what you mean by bike lanes "working": "keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway".

The implication is that bike lanes enable that to happen. So, let's consider, can we achieve "keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway" without bike lanes?

First, consider a road with a bike lane. Now, remove the signs, bike lane stripe and markings on the roadway. The width is still there, but just without the bike lane. Can we still "keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway", or do we need the paint and signs? Why or why not?

Next, consider a road with insufficient width for a bike lane. Perhaps there is onstreet parking that residents and/or businesses adamantly refuse to give up, or it's just too narrow. So physically, politically, or financially, it's just not possible to add a bike lane on this road. Can we never-the-less, "keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway"? Or is it impossible?

My point is this: you can't credit bike lanes for "keep[ing] the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway" unless it's impossible or very difficult to accomplish that without the bike lanes.

Further, let's also consider how important it is to keep that flow of traffic constant. By definition, since we're talking about roads with bicycle traffic, we're not talking about freeways where bicycles are generally prohibited unless they're allowed on the shoulder. Since we're talking about roads that are not freeways, even without bicycles, is the flow of traffic truly constant there? What about traffic lights, stop signs, roundabouts, traffic slowing to exit or enter the roadway, parking, pedestrians crossing, etc.? So if you add bicycles into that mix, how much less "constant" does traffic actually become. Isn't the actual relative impact of bicycles on traffic flow on roads without bike lanes really minor? Especially if the bicyclists do move aside as much as practicable to facilitate overtaking when safe and reasonable to do so, I rarely see cyclists impact traffic much at all. The main exception is a large group, but such groups are too large to fit in bike lanes anyway, so a bike lane does not help there either.

In short, I'm saying that bike lanes really shouldn't be credited for "keep[ing] the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway", because without the bike lanes the flow of traffic would not be much if any different.

The attraction of bike lanes seems obvious to me. People (motorists) like to put others (bicyclists) in their place, and they (bicyclists) like to know where their place is. It seems neat and tidy. So it feels right, and safe. I really think that's the main reason bike lanes are popular. The rest is comprised of layers of rationalization, like they "keep the flow of traffic constant without the congestion of bicycles on the roadway". Whether it actually improves the flow, or makes cyclists safer, is rarely seriously explored. And when it is it's usually comparing edge cyclists riding on roads with and without bike lanes, not cyclists who have learned how to use lane positioning to their advantage for safety as well as comfort.

Now, there is something to be said for well-designed physical separation that includes grade separation at intersections, Netherlands-style, but I presume that's not what we're talking about here.
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