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Video of the Week: Scenes from a New York City bike lane

Posted by on September 27th, 2010 at 10:02 am

Just finished watching My Commuted Commute, a video that I think everyone should spend five minutes to check out. A woman from New York City, Rachel Brown, shot helmet cam footage and offers commentary about what it’s like to ride in one of the new, green-painted, curbside bike lanes. For all the positive buzz NYC is getting lately, this video shows that it takes much more than paint to create a truly functional lane for bike traffic.

As you can see in the video, Ms. Brown illuminates many problems with one particular bike lane on her daily commute. These include wrong-way bike riders and walkers, delivery trucks and cabs parking in them, left-turning vehicles that do not adequately yield, and conflicts between riders of different speeds. Beyond showing an unfiltered view of how NYC’s bikeways are working in the real world, many of the issues Ms. Brown talks about have relevance for other cities.

As American cities continue to evolve in their thinking about how to move bicycle traffic more efficiently and safely, I think the lessons in this video are extremely important. Here are some thoughts this video brought up for me:

  • We (the planners, advocates, and citizen activists that care about this stuff) must keep in mind that — perhaps unlike some European cities — American bike traffic is extremely diverse in terms of riding styles. Many people want to ride their bikes faster than some city planners have in mind and they possess the skills to do so alongside motor vehicle traffic. These type of riders should not be dismissed at “vehicular cyclists,” they should be encouraged and engineered for just as much as the “interested but concerned.”
  • If you agree with the the above point, then we should work on two things. Installing more sharrows and signage so cars expect bikes to be sharing the lane and we should abolish all mandatory sidepath laws.
  • Paint on the ground, while it might make for a nice press release from a city DOT, does not instantly make a good bikeway. Cities must give bike lanes the equivalent engineering and legal respect that they give other lanes. Marketing and law enforcement are also imperative when new lane treatments are installed (something I think Portland has done a good job on).

O.K., enough from me. Watch the video let us know what you think.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

78 Comments
  • Jonathan September 27, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I thought the video was deceptive and narcissistic. Too bad that there are other people using the street, and that Rachel and her buds aren’t able to fly down the avenues at 25 mph like they used to.

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  • Darwin September 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Great vid, but how is riding in the bus lane (one of Ms. Brown’s suggested options) any different from people walking/working/rollerblading in the bike lane? Two wrongs . . .

    It makes me appreciate Portland’s bike lanes even more.

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  • Ed September 27, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I was just in new york riding the NYC century, and almost no one respects the bike lane in the city. I could not believe how many cyclists were going opposite direction on the bike lane, or how every taxi driver just pull right into the bike lane cutting a cyclist off. Pedestrians using the bike lane as their sidewalk. Ridiculously dangerous! You can tell from the video it illustrates my point. I am surprised I didn’t witness any accident. Compare to NYC, Portland traffic law is much more respected and cyclist have it safer and better.

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  • cyc September 27, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I do love the 1st-poster Trolls on this site. Truly I do. Nice video, also.

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  • Joe September 27, 2010 at 10:52 am

    #1 come on… Great Video, we can all learn from this.. 4 years to get use to City.. NYC is harsh at times it looks like.

    Bike Lanes VS just safe areas to ride, huge factor these days.

    Ride Safe,
    Joe

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  • Jonathan L September 27, 2010 at 11:01 am

    wow, just a couple of days after I suggest that they don’t always put the bike lane on the right I see this video with a bike lane on the left when it should be on the right or non existent at all.

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  • h September 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

    It looks kinda challenging to me…going around obstacles… Portland bike lanes are relatively free of obstacles… Bike lanes sometimes make it more difficult than before without bike lanes.

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  • Jonathan L September 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Has anyone seen the new “bike lane” they put in for half a block on Se 52nd just south of Powell?
    The start of it is just a block and a half or two south of Powell, goes for about half a block then it just ends and shoots you out into traffic.

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  • Mike M September 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    @#8 – I saw that this weekend and had to laugh. I recall that 52nd is supposed to get the bike boulevard treatment in the coming years, so I hope that this is just the first step.

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  • JAT in Seattle September 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Brilliant video: really gives voice to the cylist’s dilemma of municipalities trying to encourage cycling – the oft stated belief is that new cyclists won’t ride unless there’s a bike lane and experienced cyclists, who have been finding their way for years, frequently find conditions worse once the lanes go in.

    I do have to say the commentary near the end “I just ride in the bus lane – two thumbs up!” is a bit solipsistic. (I was going to say he was a dick, but maybe I should probably tone it down…)

    Locally the long uphil stretch of 4th Ave had a bike lane put in on the left (W/ green paint and signage at intersections) to allow the heavy bus traffic to continue to flow inthe right side bus lane, but sure enough I see a lot of cyclists poodling on up on the right weaving in and out, pissing off the other road users, and negatively impacting the greater good (transit – go ahead, flame on!)

    So I guess with bike lanes it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

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  • Peter Smith September 27, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I thought the video was deceptive and narcissistic.

    Bing. Wow — this person summed up in one sentence what I was about to take 5 paragraphs to do. But I will add a few more thoughts. 🙂

    shot helmet cam footage and offers commentary about what it’s like to ride in one of the new, green-painted, curbside bike lanes

    i think it’s important to note that it’s a left-side, curbside bike lane (on a one-way street — which is implied by the design). if there are problems, the first two questions we have to ask are, “Why is this road one-way?” and “How long until it becomes two-way again?” The myriad problems introduced by one-way streets are not all going to be remedied by a protected bike lane on one side of that one-way street. We have to get to the root problem of these malignant road designs. The protected bike lane is great progress, and yes, it is not perfect, nor is any street, nor are humans.

    For all the positive buzz NYC is getting lately, this video shows that it takes much more than paint to create a truly functional lane for bike traffic.

    I think the positive buzz is not nearly enough to properly commend those who have helped to make these spectacular achievements in such a short period of time. History will remember all of these people — official and unofficial — very well.

    And this is not just ‘paint’ — this is a massive disruption to the existing order, with a full-on buffered bike lane, with physical separation/protection. It’s a very significant road re-design, with the myriad positive repercussions that such a laborious move can produce — those effects of a more cycle-friendly infrastructure.

    Ms. Brown illuminates many problems with the bike lane on her commute. These include wrong-way bike riders and walkers, delivery trucks and cabs parking in them, left-turning vehicles that do not adequately yield, and conflicts between riders of different speeds

    The ‘wrong-way/salmon’ bike riders/walkers is just one of many ill effects of one-way streets. Two-way contraflow bike lanes, like the one now hugging part of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, attest to this fact. That the new bike lane on First Ave did not fix problems which are rooted in the one-way street design is not a fault of the new bike lane — it’s a fault of the one-way street design. All one-way streets need to be made two-way, and in the process of getting there, we’ll take these separated bike lanes — however imperfect. We can’t go from zero to perfection overnight — progress is always imperfect and bumpy, not a smooth trajectory.

    As for the lawbreaking delivery truck drivers and cab drivers and left-turning drivers, we need a better road design, and more enforcement. Again, the fault is with the underlying road design — it being one-way instead of two-way, for starters — it causes high-speed traffic, which exacerbates the ‘failure-to-yield’ problem, among others. This bike lane has created myriad more bikers, and that will add political muscle to the campaign for an even-better street. And, not enough cops are bikers yet, but that is changing, so enforcement will get better over time — I’m guessing it already is.

    The ‘differing speed conflict’ is not a big deal. If the bike lane is too slow for you, then move out into traffic and/or in the bus lane, and call your councilperson and The Mayor and JSK to demand improvements. Simple. The idea that we should cater to the 1% instead of the 80% is narcissistic.

    I think the lessons in this video are extremely important.

    I think so too, but they are not the lessons the narrator talks about. The obviously-correct lessons, imo, are things like:
    * One-ways are bad and need to be converted to two-ways,
    * Some of the buffered/street parking needs to be converted to loading zones for trucks/cabs, so proper enforcement of people/objects/cars/trucks/things in the bike lane can begin.
    * Need more daylighting at the corners.
    * Continue to push for more and better bike- and walk-friendly infrastructure.
    * Continue to educate all road users about the importance of maintaining separation — no walkers/cars in the bike path, no bikes on the sidewalk, etc.

    perhaps unlike some European cities — American bike traffic is extremely diverse in terms of riding styles

    I highly doubt this is true.

    These type of riders should not be dismissed at “vehicular cyclists,” they should be encouraged and engineered for just as much as the “interested but concerned.”

    We _should_ promote ‘bicycle highways’ — so, two-way First Ave and then make the middle lanes express lanes for bike traffic, and outside lanes slower lanes. Vehicular Cycling policy can and should be ignored — it is detestable/morally reprehensible. These policies have contributed to the incredible suffering, harm, maimings, terrorizing, and deaths of millions of Americans — directly and indirectly. We’ve finally started to turn the corner and started making progress for bikes by explicitly rejecting vehicular cycling policies.

    Do ‘vehicular cyclists’ and/or ‘fast cyclists’ deserve as much attention as ‘interested but concerned’ cyclists? No – not even close.

    That will not be the case for another 50 years, probably. We have to allow everyone a modicum of dignity before we cater to the elites who are already riding — we have to allow everyone to ride before we worry about taking care of the top 1% even more.

    I don’t care if some Mercedes-driving nut can is inconvenienced by not being able to speed his way way through my town, endangering and harming innocents along the way — ditto for speeding cyclist nuts.

    we should abolish all mandatory sidepath laws.

    I actually don’t know what a ‘sidepath law’ is, but the root of much of threatening driver behavior is the ‘slower traffic must move to the right’ laws — they are insane and unjust laws and need to be done away with. Laws that further restrict/prevent drivers from using threatening, harassing, terrorizing behavior are good too, and continued to be passed across the land.

    * Paint on the ground, while it might make for a nice press release from a city DOT, does not instantly make a good bikeway.

    There are tens of millions of Americans dying for the chance to complain about ‘paint on the ground’ — and I do mean literally dying — please give us these problems. Hey, if Ms. New York doesn’t want to use NYC’s ‘paint on the ground’, please send it to San Jose, California, c/o Millions of Citizens Begging For The Chance To Have Such Catastrophic Problems With ‘Paint On The Ground’.

    The worst part of pushing to get anything done as an activist, is getting attacked by people who you hope would be sympathetic to your cause — to what you’re trying to do — even if you don’t do it to perfection, immediately. It’s a terrible feeling, and it’s on me and all people who care about the world we live in to stick up for those who are trying to change it for the better — we offer support and constructive criticism, not just criticism — that’s the easy part.

    Life is full of decisions.

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  • Lady Fuschia September 27, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Peter Smith wants us to “simply” use the road if we don’t like the bike lane, then admits he doesn’t even know what a mandatory sidepath law is. Brilliant.

    I’d also challenge him to name a single vehicular cycling “policy” — as if the legislatures are full of cyclists — cyclists who want to be treated as equal road users, no less.

    Jonathan #1 seems to think it is okay for cars to “fly down the avenues at 25 MPH,” but not cyclists.

    Anyway, what I thought the video demonstrated well is not only that these “protected” lanes are unsafe and slow for cyclists, they are downright dangerous for pedestrians. “Protected” for whom? These lanes create the illusion of a safe extension of the sidewalk, encouraging pedestrians to step out into them without looking, in a way they would never do into a lane obviously meant for vehicles.

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  • Max Rockbin September 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve biked in both for years. MANHATTAN AIN’T PORTLAND. Don’t draw too many lessons from the Manhattan experience. In Manhattan, every single street pretty much gets more traffic than Burnside. Traffic density is insane.

    In Manhattan, you can’t go one street over and find tranquility. In Manhattan, the courtesy to cyclists factor is orders of magnitude different. In Manhattan, practical visibility is much lower.

    It is VASTLY safer to ride your bike in Portland, bike lane or no. And the dynamics of bike lanes is hugely different. Look at the people who were blocking the bike lane in the video. You simply do not have all that street commerce with trucks loading and unloading going on in Portland.

    In Portland, do pedestrians frequently walk into the street because it’s less crowded?

    Most of the traffic in NYC is commercial (if you count cabs). Commercial drivers are a different animal from regular drivers. They’re in a bigger hurry and give less of a crap. In Portland, I find excessive politeness from drivers almost more of a hassle. I don’t know if I should go through an intersection or not, because they seem to be waiting for me when it’s clearly their turn. In Manhattan, signals and traffic signs are suggestions.

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  • Wade September 27, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Some of the NYC infrastructure is great-e.g., Sands Street approaching Manhattan Bridge, access to Prince from Bowery (although I only read about this), renovation of the Williamsburg Bridge, the west side bike path but other “improvements” seem to have been overtaken by the surrounding streets, like Grand Street (parts of grand street are so dirty and trash-strewn you barely can see the lines of demarcation and pedestrians have almost no consciousness that there is a bike lane there. it’s only good for a laugh and to expedite jaywalking), the cyclotracks on the westside, terrible, horrible places I think, sad gauntlets of velo-folly, better for lessons in all the incredible ways a cyclotrack can be used instead of cycling, the broadway bike lane, a most optimistically narrow strip, which would be better off reserved for pedestrians and replaced by a broadway bike boulevard free of cars, and all the new paint on the streets currently going from white to gray, which makes me think the idea of livable streets doesn’t exactly correspond with cycling mobility. my preference would be lowering speed limits and painting more sharrows and not building more cumbersome and suffocating cyclotracks. this applies to portland too. as long as the motorvehicle dominates infrastructure decisions, cycling lanes will only be a foothold into the landscape rather having access to roadways with wide lanes that are safe AND fast. it’s like we’re on a fifty year plan and waiting for a few generations to die off and the price of oil slowly be unsubsidized and then we’ll repaint everything.

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  • Brian September 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    A bike lane trapped between the curb and parked cars? It looks insane to me. I would ride in a traffic lane or on a different street — but certainly not there.

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  • Brian Johnson September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve never liked bike lanes. They don’t confer any additional safety. In my experience (in various cities and states) deivers seem to forget you once you’re in the bike lane– you become invisible.

    Bike lanes are often full of road debris– gravel, bits of broken glass, car parts, nuts, bolts, all kinds of stuff. After sanding/greveling in the winter, bike lanes are the last to get swept.

    I’m definitely an adherent to “vehicular cycling”. I prefer to ride in the right side of the lane where cars see me (at least not completely invisible). I ride predictably, and signal when I can and according to law. I still encounter dangerous drivers but at least, when I’m in the regular lane of traffic, I’m expecting the worst and ride defensively and am more aware.

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  • BURR September 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    usually I agree with Peter Smith, but not this time.

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  • rider September 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    From the looks of the video these bikers should invest in bells. Manhattan is a crazy busy place, compared to my expectations that video actually looked pretty tame.

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  • Peter Smith September 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Peter Smith wants us to “simply” use the road if we don’t like the bike lane, then admits he doesn’t even know what a mandatory sidepath law is. Brilliant.

    _not_ using bike lanes _is_ pretty simple, especially for someone for whom the bike lane is simply not fast enough — that’s about as simply as i can state it. and it’s what you were doing before anyways, so what’s the big deal? some drivers are now mad at you? and they weren’t before? c’mon. let’s get real.

    and it does appear i knew the gist of what a ‘sidepath law’ was — move to the right (and the case i forgot about, do not use regular roadway if a bike lane is present) — and my position is more extreme/fair than just getting rid of the ‘must use the bike lane’ requirement — i want the ‘move to the right’ stuff nixed as well. that should be a social norm that we achieve, not something enshrined in law, which serves only to allow motorists to legally terrorize cyclists.

    and, ‘sidepath law’ is wack terminology — nobody knows what it is, and nobody cares. a law with such an ambiguous name/alias is a probably an ambiguous law at best, designed to keep cyclists scared and scarce — much like vehicular cycling policy. the answer, then, is not to ban bike paths, but to ban stupid sidepath laws. this is common sense. baby/bathwater.

    and, so…what? which experienced cyclist here wants sympathy from me? you’re not gonna get it — not when there are people with real, pressing needs out there, relatively speaking. if you want to travel in a car lane and/or bus lane, you just do it. those ‘sidepath laws’ are all just about unenforceable anyways, which is why people just do what they want to do — they ride where they want to ride — ‘two thumbs up’, dude! 🙂

    got stopped by a cop for not adhering to one of the myriad laws of daily life that prevent you from living your life relatively freely in a common-sense fashion? so what? is this some new reality of modern-day American life that cyclists now have to contend with? no. just ride where you want to ride. some nutter town introduced some ‘bike ban’ or ‘sidepath’ laws — work to change it — struggle and heartache will always be with us — blaming bike lanes for sidepath laws makes about as much sense as blaming women for modesty laws — women are not the problem, the stupid modesty laws are.

    “Officer, I was preparing to make a right turn.”

    “You were in the right lane for six blocks.”

    “Well it’s too difficult to cross five lanes of law-breaking, speeding auto traffic further down, so I had to cross when it was safe to do so, and you guys don’t enforce trucks and taxis blocking the bike lane and freaks trying to left-hook me at every intersection, so it’s dangerous over there, and if you guys won’t protect me then i’ll protect myself.”

    “Just don’t do it again.”

    “OK.” (this is, of course, a lie. you can and should continue to break any unjust laws, and advocate for their repeal and/or fixing. you should even go out of your way to break unjust laws — civil disobedience — and you should be proud of doing it.)

    there are going to continue to be myriad unjust laws regarding cycling — some will be enforced by non-cycling cops until such time when they stop enforcing them and/or we fix the streets.

    I’d also challenge him to name a single vehicular cycling “policy” — as if the legislatures are full of cyclists — cyclists who want to be treated as equal road users, no less.

    here’s one — vehicular cyclists say that no bike lanes should ever be installed anywhere for any reason whatsoever — the vehicular cyclist former Bicycle Coordinator of Dallas, Texas was very open and explicit about this policy — and that is, no doubt, why he was chosen for his position. legislatures are full of vehicular cyclists, policy-wise — just look at cycling in most of America — thankfully, that’s starting to change.

    A Toronto Mayoral candidate was a vehicular cyclist until a day or so ago, and now, behind in the polls badly, he is in favor of separated bike lanes on major roads — he is, at least in word, no longer a vehicular cyclist. this is a good thing.

    the same is happening all across America. DC’s new mayor-to-be hates bikes — he is a vehicular cyclist, policy-wise — he doesn’t think bikes belong on major roads, and doesn’t want bike lanes on major roads, but cycling advocates in DC are wearing him down. he might even have to keep DC’s version of JSK.

    Jonathan #1 seems to think it is okay for cars to “fly down the avenues at 25 MPH,” but not cyclists.

    nonsense. cars are not bikes, and should not be treated as equal to bikes. this ‘cars and bikes are equal’ nonsense is the very root of vehicular cycling policy, which is why that policy is now widely viewed, correctly, as discredited and failed. alas, there will always be ‘dead-enders’.

    Anyway, what I thought the video demonstrated well is not only that these “protected” lanes are unsafe and slow for cyclists, they are downright dangerous for pedestrians.

    i say we let the numbers do the talking, instead — it’s a good way to get at the objective truth — which is the truth that actually matters. NYC streets are safer today thanks to this particular protected bike lane, and others like it. that’s reality — that’s objective truth — that’s what actually matters, and what _should_ actually matter.

    @BURR! why you gotta bail like that?! it’s cool. you’ll come around. 😉

    listen, we can go back and forth using all sorts of different rhetorical tactics for 200+ comments, but at the end of the day, you have to decide which side of this debate you are on — who do you support? — where do your loyalties lie? — which side of history do you want to be on?

    and i can help you figure out your position on this particular bike lane, and all bikes lanes (and, by extension, what type of person you are), by answering this one single, simple question:

    Q: Do you support bike lanes?

    If your answer is ‘yes’, then we’re golden.

    If your answer is ‘no’, then please see the last 30 years of US cycling policy, the 1% cycling mode share in the US, and the part above about vehicular cycling being ‘discredited and failed’.

    The question of imperfect bike lanes is no different than that of imperfect anything else. Example: Imperfect democracy vs. imperfect ‘Something Else’. I’ll take the imperfect democracy, please.

    You can have imperfect bike lanes, or imperfect something else — we know that ‘something else’, in this context, is ‘auto tyranny’. I’ll take the imperfect bike lanes.

    Some positions/decisions in life are actually difficult — this is not one of them.

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  • are September 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    re comment 11. “vehicular cycling” is not the name of a legislative “policy,” it is an adaptive response to automobile-centered policies. what has contributed to the killing and maiming of tens of thousands of people is the careless use of the private automobile. a mandatory sidepath law is a statue such as ORS 814.420 which requires that a cyclist use a bike lane or sidepath where one is provided, without regard to whether the cyclist, using independent judgment, might determine that it would be safer to use some other part of the road. in new york, the only condition in the statute is that the bike lane be “usable.” the oregon statute gives a cursory nod to the idea that the sidepath should be “safe,” but then defers to the local government to make that determination. i cannot speak for every vehicular cyclist, but i will say that you can put down all the paint you want for your interested but concerned crowd, i just want to be permitted to make my own judgments as to what is safe. there are many instances in which the striped bike lane is obviously less safe than the adjacent travel lane.

    repeal 814.420.

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  • Jessica Roberts September 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    There are so many different issues going on in this video. It makes no sense to simply blame the installation of bike lanes for all of the challenges that confront people using the facility in question. Just off the top of my head:

    1. Culture of drivers acting like entitled jerks who don’t obey traffic laws, traffic controls, or acknowledge the right of anyone without a steel exoskeleton to use the public right-of-way
    2. Far too little enforcement resources and respect addressing #1
    3. Dramatic inequity in NYC of too much roadway space being given to cars and too little to people walking and biking, which leads to people leaving overcrowded sidewalks to walk in the bike lanes
    4. Challenges of creating bikeways that attract the “interested but concerned” in such an intense car-dominated environment
    5. Lack of facilities to serve the obvious bike travel demand in both directions

    I’m not saying the design can’t be improved – I’m sure it can (though engineering alone won’t fix behavior if there’s no enforcement muscle along with it). But I got the vibe that the creator of the video thinks that it would have been better to do nothing and install no bike lanes. That’s great if you’re 25, strong and fearless, and riding a fast road bike, but I’m sure all of the riders who are slower, older, less experienced, carrying more stuff, transporting children etc. would be pretty bummed if NYC had done nothing.

    And I couldn’t agree more – one of the best things for all of us who ride bikes would be to abolish mandatory sidepath laws so Speedy McSpeederson bicyclists can mix it up with traffic and leave the bikeways for the rest of us.

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  • Michael M. September 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    The narrator and many of the people she solicits comments from betray an entitled perspective that, here in Portland, we usually associate with people who drive: “I can’t go as fast as I want! Pesky people using other modes get in my way! Pesky people using the same mode as me get in my way! Whaaa! Why don’t all these people just get outta my way?!”

    My feeling is that NYC transit planners are making a fundamental error in trying to create separated facilities for bicycles when they should be slowing down all vehicular traffic, and expanding and prioritizing pedestrian traffic. In the 1990s, many Manhattan sidewalks (especially in Midtown) were often so crowded that anyone who actually needed to get anywhere (as opposed to the legions of gawking tourists) spilled out onto the streets. Guiliani’s responses were an unsuccessful attempt to crackdown on jaywalking and to erect barriers that tried to keep pedestrians confined to sidewalks (people just stepped over them). Now at least there is more attention paid to creating pedestrian space, but too often it is done only in the name of livability and not transportation. People who haven’t spent a fair amount of time in Manhattan probably don’t get this, but walking really is the most efficient and prevalent form of transportation in the city, and any space pedestrians can claim they will. That’s not obstinacy, it is natural forces at work. Paint on the ground is not suddenly going to make people stay on sidewalks when they’re already used to threading gridlocked motorized traffic to cross the street anywhere the opportunity presents itself. People who drive regularly in the city already know that; people who want to cycle regularly in the city better learn it.

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  • Jim Lee September 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Dave Bragdon has a lot of work to do.

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  • BURR September 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I think this bears repeating once again:

    I do not consider myself to be ‘anti bike lane’ simply on principle, nor do I particularly consider myself to be a ‘Vehicular Cyclist’, as defined by John Forester, whose dogmatism, rhetoric and opposition to any and all bike lanes I usually find quite detestible.

    On the other hand, painting me or anyone else into the VC corner in order to more easily dismiss our valid criticisms of PBOTs consistently rather poor engineering designs for bike lanes is disingenuous at best.

    Therefore, I will reiterate that my opposition is not to bike lanes per se, but rather to poorly designed, poorly engineered right-hook and door-zone bike lanes.

    Simply put, the bike lanes that I can support are those that are placed on the roadway according to the well understood principles of ‘destination positioning’, which means placing cyclists and the bike lane to the left of right-turning traffic.

    In fact, in many cases, sharrows would work a lot better than bike lanes to delineate the appropriate location to bicycle on the roadway; yet, inexplicably, PBOT continues to avoid the use of sharrows on arterial streets where they might actually do some good.

    As such, I will continue to vocally speak out against every single PBOT bike lane design or project that ignores the principle of ‘destination positioning’ and instead places bike lanes to the right of right-turning traffic, and then applies band-aid fixes like bike boxes when the inevitable tragedies ensue.

    In summary, the designs that PBOT is promoting reflect very poorly on PBOT’s engineering practices and standards and deserve all the negative comments and criticism they receive.

    Repealing the mandatory sidepath law is essential as long as these are the designs that PBOT continues to insist on.

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  • Lady Fuchsia September 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Peter Smith: “DC’s new mayor-to-be hates bikes — he is a vehicular cyclist, policy-wise –”

    Absurd. He’s not a “vehicular cyclist,” policy-wise or otherwise, if he’s not a cyclist — he’s just someone who hates bikes. What vehicular cyclist “doesn’t think bikes belong on major roads”?

    A real example of a “vehicular cyclist policy” would be for a city BOT to educate people how to bike safely and confidently in traffic.

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  • JJ September 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Oh boo hoo, she might have to slow down and pay attention. What a shame.

    When you’re in a giant city, packed with people, you can not expect a traffic free highway built just for you.

    They tried that before. It destroyed cities.

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  • Peter Smith September 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    My feeling is that NYC transit planners are making a fundamental error in trying to create separated facilities for bicycles when they should be slowing down all vehicular traffic, and expanding and prioritizing pedestrian traffic.

    i think NYC DOT has slowed down all vehicular traffic by creating separated cycling facilities, which has induced many more cyclists into the streets, and limited asphalt for cars, etc. — all resulting in lower maximum and average speed limits. and they’ve already announced plans to start experimenting with ’20 is plenty’ speed limits. in short, NYC DOT ‘gets it’ — seemingly, the whole darn lot of them.

    and i think their work in expanding and prioritizing pedestrian traffic has been nothing short of astounding. i mean, the papers and blog posts and streetfilms and tv reports and radio bluster and headline-grabbing controversies pour out of NYC almost on a daily basis — somebody is doing something to make all that happen.

    Now at least there is more attention paid to creating pedestrian space, but too often it is done only in the name of livability and not transportation.

    imo, ‘livability’ includes ‘transportation’, among other qualities of daily life. and, really, who cares if the stated rationale of pedestrianizing Times Square is a) to give pedestrians more room to make the area more livable vs. b) to help people move/transport more effectively/efficiently? as long as we get better livability with better transportation, shouldn’t that be all that matters?

    that said, the primary stated objective of pedestrianizing Times Square was to ‘move soft and hard traffic more efficiently’ — i.e., it wasn’t ‘pedestrianizing Times Square’ at all, it was ‘transport/traffic-optimizing Times Square’. that’s my recollection, anyways.

    Paint on the ground is not suddenly going to make people stay on sidewalks when they’re already used to threading gridlocked motorized traffic to cross the street anywhere the opportunity presents itself.

    From what I can tell, JSK has followed the best practices suggested by both Jan Gehl and Jane Jacobs in getting more pedestrian space in NYC. It may not be perfect, but consider me a full-on fanboy of JSK. Rome wasn’t built in a day. NYC can now be talked about in a few different ways — one of them is pre- and post-Giuliani, and one of them is now pre- and post-Sadik-Khan. The approach that JSK has used, smartly in my opinion, has continued to allowed political support to develop in support of even further-reaching goals. it’s been a while since i lived in NYC, but darn — it’s still hard to believe what’s going on there. nothing short of incredible. world-beating.

    What vehicular cyclist “doesn’t think bikes belong on major roads”?

    all of them.

    i don’t know what the motivations of vehicular cyclists (VCs) are, and i don’t particularly care — what i do know is that VCs espouse strategies that result is approximately zero cyclists on major roads — this, by definition, means that VCs don’t want bikes belong on major roads. By advocating policies which effectively prevent cycling, VCs can truthfully and objectively be said to be ‘anti-cycling’ — they don’t like cycling, maybe they hate it, however you want to say it. to suggest that VCs are ‘pro-cycling’ is just plain false.

    as another example, consider self-described ‘anti-abortion’ folks — they try to close down abortion clinics while they work hard to elect politicians who will drastically cut social spending which results in increased abortions. ok, so we know what these people say, and we know what the results of their policies/actions are — trying to divine their intentions is really besides the point.

    are they just bumbling idiots who keep ‘getting it wrong’? or do they just hate women? or maybe just young women? or maybe sex? who knows, and who cares — all we need to know is that we need to reject their views/policies, because the results of those views/policies is increased misery _and_ increased abortions — and nobody wants increased abortions, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life.

    These self-described ‘anti-abortion’ people are not, in fact, anti-abortion — they are, by any objective/sane/rational standard, pro-abortion. that’s just fact, plain objective reality, whatever you want to call it.

    it doesn’t matter if these people claim to be anti-abortion — the truth is that they are pro-abortion. similarly, it doesn’t matter that vehicular cyclists claim to be pro-cycling — the truth is that they are anti-cycling.

    and i’m not talking about people who ‘take the lane’ to stay safe — that’s a VC strategy, as someone above described, and I’m fine with that — whatever you need to do to stay safe, have at it, more power to you. i draw the line, however, right there. once you cross that line into advocating against bicycle infrastructure, then you are now advocating VC policy — that is, you are advocating policies which deter/hinder/hurt/prevent cycling, so you can objectively and truthfully be said to hold and advocate positions and policies which are ‘anti-cycling’.

    so, don’t be that guy. don’t be that girl. be on the right side of history.

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  • Steve B. September 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I really enjoyed this video, if just for the fact that it made me question my own assumptions and conclusions about where and how you put in cycletracks, left-side bike lanes and considering the new challenge of more bike/ped conflicts due to the calmer nature of these bikeways.

    I think we should continue to challenge ourselves to think of alternatives to our own “best solutions” in order to make our roadways the best they can be. At the very least, we should always be listening to other perspectives.

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  • are September 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    peter smith, all i can say is, if you want to be understood, you might think of using words in the ways they are commonly used. as long as we have mandatory sidepath laws here and in new york and in approximately forty-eight or -nine other jurisdictions, the painting of a bike lane is a political act that relegates the vehicular cyclist (as that phrase is understood by everyone else) to the margins. forester and a handful of other dogmatists aside, the pushback is against this, not against facilities per se. there is, however, another layer to the problem. so long as motorists are given the upper hand in this culture, the striping of a bike lane will be understood as relegating the cyclist to the margin, even if the mandatory sidepath law is nominally repealed. so we need a massive re-education campaign. this video is a good grassroots example.

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  • BURR September 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Peter, you seem to assume that any bike infrastructure is good bike infrastructure. This is where we part ways.

    I was on the 90’s BAC that resulted in a lot of the bike infrastructure you see now in Portland. I supported most of it at the time (but never, for example, the SW Broadway bike lanes); but, after living with it and riding on it for the past decade it’s easy for me to now see the inherent and glaring safety flaws.

    PBOT in their great wisdom/ignorance, has chosen not to eliminate any of the bike lanes that have proven to be right hook and dooring hazards, nor have they improved on the designs in such a way that make newer bike infrastructure inherently safer; rather they have continued to install even more deadly right-hook door zone bike lanes with band-aid fixes like bike boxes applied to them, all of the while failing to make use of newer, better tools like sharrows.

    I understand the desire of those who want separation from motor vehicles, but every single separated cycle track the city is proposing in the new bicycle master plan will do nothing to eliminate right hook and other intersection hazards, and you would have to be delusional to think otherwise.

    We’d be much better off putting our bicycle infrastructure dollars into completing the Willamette greenway paths on both sides of the river, from the Sellwood to the St. Johns bridge, and completing the Sullivan’s Gulch trail – these routes have minimal intersection issues and actually do provide better routes for transportation cycling to many destinations than even the best on-street infrastructure will ever provide.

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  • BURR September 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    #29. actually oregon is among only a handful of states with a mandatory sidepath law.

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  • are September 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    you are right, at last count it was down to about fifteen. weird and sorry to see oregon among them.

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  • spare_wheel September 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    just curious if anyone has been ticketed for violating the mandatory sidepath law. i was told by a bike cop that its a low priority offense.

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  • Paul Tay September 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I’d take da bus lane. Tulsa repealed the mandatory sidepath ordinance almost 25 years ago.

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  • Peter Smith September 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    the painting of a bike lane is a political act that relegates the vehicular cyclist (as that phrase is understood by everyone else) to the margins.

    yes, this is what a bike lane means to vehicular cyclists — i agree — and this is true regardless of whether a state has a ‘mandatory sidepath’ law or not. this view is shared by less than 1/100th of 1 percent of the cycling population — it is an extremist, minority view, that is not supported by fact or real-life daily experience — it is not to be taken seriously. VC is dogmatism, by definition — it’s religion — it’s superstition — it’s whatever you want it to be, but it’s not rational/reality.

    i don’t know how else to say it — vehicular cycling policy has no weight — no moral force — that’s why most cycling advocates ignore it, and as more people become cycling advocates, a smaller and smaller percentage of people want anything to do with _any_ aspect of vehicular cycling — whether we’re talking policy or ‘just road-survival-riding-skills’ (b/c, generally-speaking, only older grizzled-veteran riders are VCs — many of the cyclists have been persuaded by the science and their own personal experience.).

    i would argue that any sidepath law is has less moral force, less enforceability, fewer consequences – legal and otherwise, and less meaning to most/all road users/cops/DAs than simple Stop Sign laws. nobody takes sidepath laws seriously — it’s only a matter of time until they’re gone. we still have to make them go away, but they _are_ going away.

    Peter, you seem to assume that any bike infrastructure is good bike infrastructure. This is where we part ways.

    any?

    no.

    most-just-about-all-and-can-hardly-imagine-a-scenario-where-i-would-actually-object-to-a-bike-lane?

    yes.

    _that_ is where we part ways, and _that_, i would argue, is the difference between responsible advocacy and irresponsible advocacy.

    only if you don’t actually care about people and their ability to get around could you stand by and ‘let the perfect be the enemy of the good’. we all can’t stay in our houses for the rest of our lives — it’s all about mitigating risk. we know the science regarding cycling policy. we know the risks of _not_ cycling — individually, on a societal level, and globally — we have to make progress — this is an emergency situation — real people are really suffering. and we know that the ability to cycle affects myriad aspects of folks’ lives — economic freedom, freedom to associate with friends and family, freedom from the constraints of an undignified, limiting public transit system, etc. etc. etc.

    if there were no real world consequences for us continuing to object to/block imperfect/flawed bike lanes, then i’d say, “Fine — let’s block these bike lanes until they [insert your requirements here],” but basic human decency requires us to act more responsibly.

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  • Peter Smith September 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    one of my statements might seem confusing b/c i accidentally deleted a word. that is, more confusing than usual! 🙂

    many of the cyclists have been persuaded by the science and their own personal experience.

    should be:

    many of the newer cyclists have been persuaded by the science and their own personal experience.

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  • are September 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    smith says mandatory sidepath law has “less meaning to most/all road users, [etc.] than simple stop sign laws. nobody takes them seriously,” and so on. at least three times in the past week i have been instructed by some passing motorist to “get in the bike lane.” in zero of these instances was my presence in the travel lane even a potential inconvenience to the motorist in question, as he was in another lane altogether. paint means a lot to these guys.

    smith says only [those who have survived to tell the tale] still believe in vehicular cycling principles, and that newer cyclists [who have not yet been doored or right hooked] have been persuaded by the [absence of] science and personal experience that bike lanes are a dream. tell that to the woman who was right hooked in a bike lane on couch at grand just last week. tell that to the woman who was killed in a bike lane at 14th at burnside three years ago.

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  • BURR September 27, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    there is absolutely zero ‘science’ behind the preference of inexperienced nOObs for separated cycle tracks; irrational fear is the only thing that drives these types of ‘advocates’.

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  • Peter Smith September 28, 2010 at 1:39 am

    paint means a lot to these guys.

    i’m renting a Xterra truck this week. thing is huge. i started having Inglorious Basterds-type daydreams about physically running over the top of/crushing the cars of terrorist drivers just after i spotted them terrorizing yet another biker or pedestrian. nobody was hurt physically, in my dreams, but i totaled their cars. pancakes. it just seemed like perfect justice. these sentences were being handed out justly, and b/c their cars were now flattened, these terrorists became instant walkers, bikers, and transit riders — an even more perfect justice. i saw it becoming an XKCD comic. i was in the moment. it was great.

    drivers are often hypocrites and cowards. bike lane or no bike lane, they’ll harass and/or terrorize you — we all have one/some/many/dozens/hundreds/more experiences with illegal, dangerous, immoral, reprehensible, terroristic driver behavior. so it doesn’t surprise me that some of them would recite scripture and then tell you to eff off, or break every speed limit known to man before telling you to get in the bike lane.

    there _are_ appropriate responses to the saintly busy-bodies telling you how to live your life, but i wouldn’t recommend them unless you’re really wanting to ‘Keep It Real’ — because it probably wouldn’t end well for you.

    it would be nice to have some significant percentage of bikeportland.org readers compile a list of their run-ins with drivers for an entire single week. 100 or so riders, hopefully, just try to act as you normally would (tho, i suspect that’d be nearly impossible due to self-censorship, etc.), and then we compile the results and list them out. maybe the list is very small and insignificant? or maybe it’s closer to 1 incident per week per rider and there was major drama and/or injuries/serious crimes? i suspect the number of incidents per rider is actually down near 1 per every month or two — and even less for bikers who don’t ever take the lane, etc. — but that one incident every two or three months can be very traumatic for us folks who saw our lives flash before our eyes.

    i feel like harassment/worse of bikers is comparable to the harassment/worse of women in the streets. when you’re a dude and you first start learning about that stuff — whether through reading or whatever else — you’re kind of shocked that you yourself are actually shocked. It’s so out in the open, and everyone ‘knows it happens’, including you — or so you thought, but somehow you’re still like, “For real? Holy #*#&. I didn’t know it was like _this_?!”

    Everyone does _not_ really know harassment happens, because without details about what happened, why it happened, how often it happens, under what circumstances, how it made the victims feel, etc., it was tough for any guy (or anyone without direct experience as a victim) to get a real sense of just how bad/anti-human/pervasive the behavior was/is. There are now anti-harassment blogs, and women started videotaping their harassers, etc. It’s this type of public education that could pave the way for anti-harassment-of-bikers laws — i’m pretty sure one/some have gone thru somewhat recently.

    i think the fact that it is so common/normal for so many bikers to be harassed and/or terrorized really needs to be brought into the mainstream more explicitly. it’s not enough for us cycling nerds to know that it is commonplace — we need to compile the list of info and report it to mom so that she can know we’re being bullied and victimized, and hopefully take corrective action. we don’t ride just to take beatings — we’re just trying to lives our lives in peace. Maybe even LaHood says something about it before next year.

    I’ve also long fantasized about handing out ‘Get In The Ring’ cards to ahole drivers — essentially challenging them to an MMA fight, so I could test their mettle inside the other steel cage. Eh, it’s all a pipe dream.

    tell that to the woman who was right hooked in a bike lane on couch at grand just last week. tell that to the woman who was killed in a bike lane at 14th at burnside three years ago.

    tasteless. and these incidents don’t prove anything except that cars are dangerous. every motor-caused death needs to be prevented, but we don’t need bike lanes to see all sorts of death and destruction caused by motor vehicles.

    there is absolutely zero ‘science’ behind the preference of inexperienced nOObs for separated cycle tracks;

    the science says that roads with bike lanes are safer for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, _and_ drivers.

    the science says that cyclist prefer bike lanes/bike infrastructure to nothing.

    the science says that bike lanes induce more bicycle traffic.

    the science says that more bicycle traffic induces greater per-rider safety.

    the science is clear.

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  • Shozo September 28, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Ed Koch. 1980.

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  • BURR September 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

    #39, sorry, none of that is hard science, at best it’s social studies.

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  • are September 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

    there is nothing tasteless about citing two specific instances (among many hundreds) in which the striped bike lane enticed a non-vehicular cyclist to place herself in harm’s way.

    the “science” you cite (without citation) is largely surveys asking people how they “feel.” people “feel” protected by paint. they do. i can’t stop it. and i have said i do not want to stop it.

    i. just. do. not. want. to. be. forced. to. participate.

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  • Peter Smith September 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    #39, sorry, none of that is hard science, at best it’s social studies.

    depends what your definition of is….is.

    there is nothing tasteless about citing

    telling folks to talk to dead people who have been killed by cars is tasteless.

    the “science” you cite (without citation) is largely surveys asking people how they “feel.”

    i agree completely — asking people how they feel, or how they “feel”, or even how they ‘feel’, is not science, it’s certainly not scientific, and it should not be taken seriously.

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  • El Biciclero September 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Bike lane creation is sort of a catch-22: The [non-cycling] Public does not want to give up road space and pay for bike lanes out of their hard-earned gas tax money (a fallacy, I know, but this is their thinking) if the stupid cyclists are going to ignore them. Our Esteemed Lawmakers have ameliorated the sting of spending .3% of the transpo budget on bike infrastructure by providing a guarantee to The Public that cyclists will thenceforth be confined to it. If cyclists cannot be legally confined to the bike lane, if bike lanes are only an “option” for cyclists to use, then why allocate the space and paint them in the first place? If they are not going to keep the stupid cyclists out of my way, I don’t want to pay for bike lanes.

    On the other hand, we have the dreaded “VC” contingent out there who say the inverse of the above, “I don’t want bike lanes if I am going to be confined to them.” The kind of “protected” bike lanes in the video are particularly despised by the VC types who are forced into “pedestrian” behavior by them.

    On the third hand, you have the perception problem wherein “n00bz” think the bike lane affords some kind of magic protection; all motorists will yield to them and they can cruise along obliviously listening to their i-Pods in complete safety, while again, the “VC”, or “experienced” cyclists see the bike lane as the debris/storm grate/right-hook/door/suicide zone. At the same time, the perception of many motorists is that if there is no bike lane, then cycling is not allowed on that street.

    I think the answer would be to paint all the bike lanes you want, but make them optional, and educate both drivers and cyclists on the true nature and intent of bike lanes. The problem with that explanation will be the “intent” part. I maintain that bike lanes should be considered bike refuge lanes, where a cyclist could move over to let someone pass, or could use while climbing a hill, but could feel free to move out of for visibility, turning, or other safety reasons. Unfortunately, the intent of most bike lanes today is to get bikes out of the way by any means necessary, even if it means putting them in greater danger.

    Quite a conundrum.

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  • John S. Allen September 29, 2010 at 5:17 am

    All these comments about how bicyclists should slow down — talk about stepping on one’s own foot! Need I say that the faster a cyclist can go, the more trips it is practical to make by bicycle? It’s no wonder that slow, obstructed facilities like New York’s 1st Avenue bikeway encourage lawbreaking.

    New York City’s mandatory bike lane law *and* bus lane restriction prohibit riding in the much faster bus lane. Many cities, on the other hand, have bus/bike lanes which do not restrict cyclists’ speed. Paris. Philadelphia. Madison…

    Let me make it very clear that I do not advocate running red lights. But, retiming them for slower speeds on a couple of Manhattan’s avenues would allow bicyclists to travel farther before catching a red, and encourage motorists in a hurry to choose a different avenue.

    As to the comments that streets should be two-way: why? Most Manhattan streets are one-way because that makes synchronized traffic signals possible, and eliminates head-on conflicts and delays when turning. Synchronized signals encourage travel at the speed they are set for, with one exception: they encourage motorists to race to the next intersection to catch a green both before and after turning. Solution? Separate turn signal phase, as implemented (imperfectly) on New York’s 9th Avenue bikeway.

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  • Red Five September 29, 2010 at 5:36 am

    That’s true, our bike lanes are pretty clear in comparison. One pebble in a Portland bike lane it becomes a city crisis worthy of protest.

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 8:19 am

    do you ever actually think before you post, red five, or are you just here to snark?

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  • El Biciclero September 29, 2010 at 10:08 am

    “All these comments about how bicyclists should slow down — talk about stepping on one’s own foot! Need I say that the faster a cyclist can go, the more trips it is practical to make by bicycle?”

    Amen, halelluja!

    Now I’m getting a little off topic, but this tends to be a burr in my saddle as well. Why do we always hear that cyclists should slow down? The upper limit of comfortable cruising speed on a typical bike on flat terrain is what, 20? 25? Good Heavens! 20mph is considered crawling in a motor vehicle, yet as we saw in stories about a recent bus/bike conflict, 10-12 mph is considered a “high rate of speed” for a bike. Why do we tell people using an inherently slower form of transport that not only should they take longer routes, you know, to “avoid traffic”, but that they should also slow down while doing it, ’cause, you know, traveling at a “high rate of speed” is dangerous? I’ll tell you who ought to slow down…

    Closer to topic, it seems the speed question is central to the bike lane debate. It almost–almost–seems as though some cities might want to take cyclists who would normally travel 15-20mph, let them know good and loud that that speed is too slow (dangerous, creates a hazard) for the street, then move them off to an obstacle course along the side of the road and tell them to slow down because they are being dangerous.

    This confinement to the obstacle course, in turn, creates a fork in the road for cyclists: a) ride in the legally designated obstacle course, which forces you to go slower and presents innumerable hassles from ignoramuses, or b) illegally ride in the street which allows you to get where you are going faster, but opens you up to legal hassles on top of the hassles from different ignoramuses.

    Both of these forks have the (intended or unintended) effect of discouraging the use of bicycles for transport.

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I agree with much/most/all of what @Jessica Roberts says.

    And I agree to a certain extent with what @El Biciclero (#44) says — I just don’t see imperfect bike lanes and imperfect human behavior to be all that problematic in the big scheme of things — and dangerous/illegal driver behavior continues to be clamped down upon — so everything is moving in the right direction.

    All these comments about how bicyclists should slow down — talk about stepping on one’s own foot!

    within the context of operating in/around/near other human beings not in cars, yes, bikers should slow down, and that goes without saying, regardless of whether anyone is in/near a bike lane or not. everything is as it was — now, however, we’ve provided a relatively-safe/safe-feeling area for non-speedy-types to roll – that’s it.

    i’d argue that most of us would be fine with/approve/support a move to slow down all cars planet-wide, too, and the ’20-is-plenty’ movement is a good start. so, there’s no “stepping on one’s own foot” going on here.

    the situation here can be characterized accurately in one of several ways, but i’d say some good options are:
    1) progress-with-growing-pains, or
    2) change-is-often-difficult-no-matter-how-worthy/right-the-cause, or
    3) medicine-is-good-for-you-but-that-doesn’t-mean-it-will-taste-good-too.

    To me, videos like this are like VCs who block bike lane development for reason ‘X’. The tactic is similar to me to those few Palestinian actors/terrorists who fire Qassam rockets at Israeli civilians to protest Israel’s myriad terror policies/crimes. One could argue that, in a very limited sense, those Qassam terrorist attacks are actually justified, as they are self-defense (or something else). OK, fine. But what about the 99% of the Palestinian population who did _not_ participate in the Qassam rocket attacks? These are the folks, women and children included, who will bear the brunt of the devastating Israeli retaliatory terrorist attacks — and they will be just as brutal/deadly as Israeli attacks usually are. And the end result will not be dealing with _just_ the initial Israeli retaliation, it will be the ongoing crimes of Israeli occupation/torture/state terror/etc., including the long-term imprisonment of Palestinians in ‘bantustans’ — i.e. there will be severe, long-term consequences for millions of innocents all because of the reckless/insane behavior of a few — the Qassam rocket launchers.

    So, what is the responsibility of a VC or ‘speedy New York cyclist’? What is the responsibility of a Qassam rocket-firer in Palestine? Do they:
    a) control their homicidal urges and grudgingly go along with what is right for the greater good?, or
    b) continue their behavior and make millions of people suffer immeasurable, long-term harm?

    a) is the answer. it must be the answer.

    That’s all this video is — a Qassam rocket launched at millions of innocent New Yorkers who could be prevented, as they’ve been for most of their lives, from being able to ride around New York in safety, comfort, and convenience.

    We’re all responsible for the predictable consequences of our own actions.

    On other topics, the no-bikes-in-the-bus-lane restriction should be lifted, as every other nonsensical bike restriction should be lifted.

    As to the comments that streets should be two-way: why?

    there are benefits to both one-way and two-way streets, but the benefits of two-ways greatly outweigh those of one-ways, imo. i have no problem talking about ‘bicycle freeways’, but i’d like to allow the 99% of the population to be able to bike around the block in safety, comfort, and convenience before we tackle these more-ambitious, and possibly worthy, goals. here’s one of my fave two-way links.

    Both of these forks have the (intended or unintended) effect of discouraging the use of bicycles for transport.

    i don’t believe that any existing cyclist has ever stopped riding because of the introduction of a bike lane along their route, however imperfect/broken it may be, do you?

    and we know that bike lanes have the very real effect of getting the ‘interested-but-concerned’ folks _and_ the ‘never-even-considered-it-before’ folks to start riding (see the latest Streetfilm about new female riders).

    so, new bikes lanes might slightly discourage the very few existing riders, while dramatically encouraging the huge number of non-existing riders.

    if our goals are more people riding more often more distances more safely/comfortably/conveniently, then bike lanes are clearly the answer.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Why does it have to be an either-or proposition?

    We should be making all of our public streets safe for bicyclists, and accomodating cyclists of all skill levels.

    This may mean building bike boulevards on low traffic streets for the timid and fearful novices, but it should also mean installing well-designed bike lanes and/or sharrows on arterial streets for the stronger, more experienced cyclists; in other words, we should be doing both, and not just one or the other.

    On the other hand, I see installing poorly designed cycle tracks on arterial streets as a huge waste of money.

    Besides, between the narrow rights of way, the insistence on the preservation of curbside parking, and PBOTs highest priority of providing capacity and level of service for motor vehicles, there is no way the City is going to be able to carve out the amount of space needed to install cycle tracks on inner city arterials, so we seem to be arguing about something that is mostly unlikely to come to pass.

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    let me first say, mr. smith, that i very much doubt that bringing in analogies to the continued construction of israeli settlements in gaza — oh, excuse me, the firing of rockets by some palestinian faction — will facilitate a civil discussion here. the video is not an attack on the bike lane, per se, though it does illustrate some of the design failings of this particular bike lane. it is an attack on the bike lane _as a mandatory sidepath_. you say, okay, get rid of the bus lane restriction for bikes. but that is not the condition on the ground, right now, that this woman has to contend with. nor any of the millions she has killed with her vc “policies.”

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I’m about to put Peter in the don’t-bother-to-read-his-posts-anymore, alongside wsbob.

    🙂

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  • El Biciclero September 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I would say that step ONE would be to repeal any and all mandatory sidepath laws. The current debate taking place here would then be moot. I don’t care if you want to lay miles of extra-large culvert pipe and designate it a mixed cyclist/pedestrian “causeway”, as long as I am not legally obligated to use it.

    THEN, we could start arguing with transportation policy-makers and funds-allocators about how it’s still a good idea to spend money to add bike infrastructure, even though I’m not likely to use it if you build/paint it in the same lame way most other bike ghettos are built.

    IMO, this is the heart of the catch-22 situation that we are in with bike infrastructure (at least here in OR): If we are legally mandated to use it, many current riders are going to protest it. If we’re not legally mandated to use it, Gov’t/The Public are not going to be able to find the $$ to build it.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    The irony here is that the cyclists interviewed in the film didn’t seem like ‘hard core VC’; they actually seemed to be the type of cyclist who would normally welcome improvements in the form of ‘infrastructure’, but tried this bike lane and found it sorely lacking in safety and convenience.

    PBOT should take note, and not repeat these mistakes, because unfortunately these are some of the same designs they will likely be pushing in upcoming years….

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  • El Biciclero September 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Oh, and Peter–I don’t think I would characterize my desire to ride in the street at 17-20mph a “homicidal urge”. When I leave the car at home and ride to work, I already have to forgo my direct freeway route and take surface streets, which adds 3 miles and 25 minutes to my 13-minute car commute. If, in addition to that, I had to navigate an overcrowded (not with bikes, but with peds, dogs, pallets, taxis, delivery trucks, etc) bike lane that restricted me to 8 mph. the entire way and sucked every ounce of enjoyment out of my ride to work, the 13-minute car commute would start looking pretty good again. I can drive home from work and then go for a ride on less crowded, bike-lane-free, rural roads. I still get my ride in, but now it’s purely recreational–I don’t reduce auto traffic at all…is that what we’re going for?

    I think very few would object to well-designed bikeways–not the circus illustrated in this video. The particular bike lane shown here is more like a cyclist prison/cage match than a safe, efficient bike route.

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Why does it have to be an either-or proposition?

    it doesn’t.

    We should be making all of our public streets safe for bicyclists, and accommodating cyclists of all skill levels.

    i think most everyone here agrees.

    in other words, we should be doing both, and not just one or the other.

    yes, i suspect most people here agree.

    On the other hand, I see installing poorly designed cycle tracks on arterial streets as a huge waste of money.

    care to elaborate?

    i’ve made the statement/case that all but the absolute worst/’poorly designed cycle tracks’ (which, in reality, don’t really exist) — on arterials or elsewhere — are a huge positive step, citing increased numbers of riders, increased safety, etc. etc. etc.

    you’re free to disagree, but, imo, you should have some exemplary/extraordinary reasons for objecting to even poorly designed cycle tracks, when the other alternative is _no_ cycle tracks.

    of course, most of us want perfect cycle tracks.

    and we should keep in mind that NYC/America doesn’t have a 30-year history of cycletrack design/construction — we’re just getting started — not that i saw anything wrong with the First Ave cycletrack. so, constructive criticism is important, and it needs to be done carefully.

    there is no way the City is going to be able to carve out the amount of space needed to install cycle tracks on inner city arterials, so we seem to be arguing about something that is mostly unlikely to come to pass.

    i think your pessimism is unwarranted. if there’s no room for cycletracks, we’ll have traffic-calmed streets and/or ban trucks/buses/cars — we’ll figure it out — it’s not a big deal.

    the phrase ‘anything is possible’ seems especially true to me now with regards to bike infrastructure. we’re not trying to solve global warming overnight, or raise taxes on the rich, or stop the project of US Hegemony — we’re just creating bike lanes and cycle tracks. we’ve got the wind at our backs — let’s put our heads down and grind it out and see what’s possible. bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave — who’d-a-thunk?

    i very much doubt that bringing in analogies to the continued construction of israeli settlements in gaza — oh, excuse me, the firing of rockets by some palestinian faction — will facilitate a civil discussion here.

    i think we’re all adults, here — a good metaphor can be useful to understanding what is going on around us. i honestly have no idea if anyone does find my metaphors useful, but they often seem like perfect fits to me, and they’re the things i understand best, and they’re familiar to many/most people precisely because they’re so high-profile, which is what we want in a metaphor — something as close to universal as possible.

    the video is not an attack on the bike lane, per se

    it is. but it’s not just that — it’s an attack on cycle tracks, and all bike lanes. really, it’s a horror.

    but that is not the condition on the ground, right now, that this woman has to contend with.

    people are free to criticize whatever they want, however they want, but they should do it responsibly, which means they should consider the context in which their arguments are going to be used – by both those pro- and anti-bikes.

    example? ok, imagine Peter Smith made a video criticizing whatever he perceived to be wrong with the 1st Ave bike lane — here’s what it might look like:

    1) What’s up, y’all? Yeah – bike lanes and cycle tracks rock, and JSK and NYCDOT have been rockin it lately. I’m a YUUUUUGE fan of bike infrastructure, including bike lanes, separated bike lanes (aka, cycletracks), bike parking, anti-harassment laws — you name it. Generally speaking, everything is moving in the right direction, thanks to committed activists, people who ride their bikes every day, and JSK, the city council, and Mayor Bloomberg. Good job, y’all, keep up the good work!

    2) OK, but I do want to point out what I think are some flaws with our transportation system, using the new 1st Ave bike lane as an example. So, the transportation system is still tilted heavily in favor of cars, against walkers and bikers. One way to right this wrong is to two-way all the one-way streets — let’s get started on that right away, and let’s start right here on First Avenue. We also need strict liability laws so careless and reckless drivers are not able to injure, maim, and kill walkers and bikers with impunity. We also need to repeal all those stupid ‘move to the right’ and ‘mandatory sidepath’ laws which really just serve to allow drivers to harass and terrorize bikers, and to do it legally — it’s a reprehensible situation and it needs to be rectified immediately.

    3) OK, all that said, I’d now like to criticize what I believe are some design flaws, and human behavior flaws, that I often find along the First Avenue bike lane — keeping in mind, that these problems exist only because of underlying flaws in the existing design of First Avenue and road laws in NYC which favor cars at the expense of walkers and bikers, as I just mentioned. So, we can make the new First Avenue bike lane work even better, even while coping with the existing pro-car, anti-walk, anti-bike environment — here’s how…

    [Proceed to make blasts, now.]

    [Reiterate your support for bike lanes in general, this bike lane, and future bike lanes.]

    [Done.]

    That’s how to criticize responsibly.

    nor any of the millions she has killed with her vc “policies.”

    VC policies have made millions suffer, and many die, directly and indirectly, just as Qassam rockets have.

    I would say that step ONE would be to repeal any and all mandatory sidepath laws. The current debate taking place here would then be moot.

    right – so let’s put a hold on all bike lanes until such time as we manage to repeal the mandatory sidepath laws. and thirty years from now we can continue to work to repeal the mandatory sidepath laws, while we continue to hold up all new bike lanes/paths. this totally disregards the very real suffering of tens/hundreds of thousands of people who are waiting to be able to ride their bikes to get to school, go to work, visit friends and family, try to raise themselves out of poverty, etc.

    If we’re living in a bubble where we don’t have to worry about the predictable consequences of our actions — that is, the real suffering of real human beings, then fine, yes, let’s halt all bike lane production and see if maybe one day we’ll be able to convince the powers that be to repeal all mandatory sidepath laws.

    Or, we can build new bike lanes while we work to repeal mandatory sidepath laws. This is not just the more-moral argument, it’s the more-politically-viable argument, because new riders represent increased political power.

    I don’t think I would characterize my desire to ride in the street at 17-20mph a “homicidal urge”.

    i wouldn’t either.

    i was referring to the ideological Qassam rocket launchers and anti-unperfect-bike-laners who would let/cause millions of innocents (to) suffer for no good reason.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    care to elaborate?

    i’ve made the statement/case that all but the absolute worst/’poorly designed cycle tracks’ (which, in reality, don’t really exist) — on arterials or elsewhere — are a huge positive step, citing increased numbers of riders, increased safety, etc. etc. etc.

    see my post #54

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    see my post #54

    i’m only interested in ‘hard science’ — how people ‘feel’ is not admissible in this Court of Comments.

    and that, is a wrap. 🙂

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    you’re free to disagree, but, imo, you should have some exemplary/extraordinary reasons for objecting to even poorly designed cycle tracks, when the other alternative is _no_ cycle tracks.

    exactly what makes cycle tracks the ‘gold standard’?

    Sorry, simply because cycle tracks are used in Holland and Denmark doesn’t count.

    why can’t Portland build ‘regular’ bike lanes with more appropriate destination positioning?

    or install sharrows to signal the likely presence and lane position of cyclists?

    In Amsterdam and Copenhagen, urban design, transportation infrastructure and public social interaction is entirely different than it is in the US from the bottom up, and what works there doesn’t necessarily work in NYC, or Portland, or anywhere else, true believers notwithstanding.

    I’ll also repeat that Portland doesn’t have anywhere near the available right of way space to implement any sort of contiguous network of cycle tracks in the inner city, and if they truly want to build separated paths, they should work on completing the East and West Willamette River paths from the Sellwood to the St. Johns bridge, and the Sullivan’s gulch trail, and forget about cycle tracks, which I predict will all be fraught with safety hazards.

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  • El Biciclero September 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    “right – so let’s put a hold on all bike lanes until such time as we manage to repeal the mandatory sidepath laws.”

    All I can tell you is that the kind of bike lanes we tend to get around here are the kind that make things more cumbersome/dangerous for cyclists. If you want to build more of those, and legally confine me to them, I’m going to be seriously discouraged from riding my bike anywhere. In the meantime, we will have “interested, but concerned”, inexperienced cyclists with heady notions of the blissful safety provided by poorly-laid-out bike lanes getting RUN OVER or doored by drivers who can’t be bothered to pay attention to what they are doing. Such cyclists would be safer moving into line with cars at intersections to avoid getting hooked, or riding outside the bike lane stripe to avoid doors–but the bike lane is going to keep them in the hook/door zone (and besides, merging with cars is a scary “VC” strategy!). So is it OK to increase these cyclists’ suffering to alleviate the suffering of the Millions and Millions of oppressed folks all over the US who are yearning to ride their bikes places, but can’t do it because there are no bike lanes?

    I say if you want to install a bike lane, it had better be at least safe. Trapping novice cyclists in a hazard zone created by a crappy bike lane is not any kind of step forward in my book. Furthermore, I always question the motivation for the placement of any bike lane: is it to give cyclists a safe place to ride, or merely to shove them off into the gutter to keep them out of the way of “real” road users? Using poorly-positioned, dangerous bike lanes to entice more riders onto the road borders on trickery. It offers only an illusion of safety.

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    exactly what makes cycle tracks the ‘gold standard’?

    they work best — they not only allow people of all ages and abilities to ride, but they are remarkably safe.

    Sorry, simply because cycle tracks are used in Holland and Denmark doesn’t count.

    i don’t feel too comfortable about predicting many things, but one thing I predict we will never see the end of is people saying, “We’re not [insert some country/state/city here].”

    why can’t Portland build ‘regular’ bike lanes with more appropriate destination positioning?

    Portland can/is/will build ‘regular’ bike lanes.

    As for destination positioning, Portland is already positioned as a biking destination.

    or install sharrows to signal the likely presence and lane position of cyclists?

    sharrows are not the worst things in the world. still, i’m sure they should be used to indicate ‘likely presence of’ or ‘lane position for’ cyclists.

    In Amsterdam and Copenhagen, urban design, transportation infrastructure and public social interaction is entirely different than it is in the US from the bottom up

    how so? in what ways, significant to bike policy, are they so different? and why is that supposed to be an advantage for Amsterdam/Copenhagen? and so what if they’re ‘entirely different’?

    and what works there doesn’t necessarily work in NYC, or Portland, or anywhere else, true believers notwithstanding.

    yes, the “we’re not Amsterdam” argument. elsewhere in the US, the argument is “we’re not Portland.” funny, innit?

    I’ll also repeat that Portland doesn’t have anywhere near the available right of way space to implement any sort of contiguous network of cycle tracks in the inner city

    i’ll repeat that even if that is true, cycletracks are only one possible solution we have at our disposal. when there is room, they are often the best solution.

    and if they truly want to build separated paths, they should work on completing the East and West Willamette River paths from the Sellwood to the St. Johns bridge, and the Sullivan’s gulch trail, and forget about cycle tracks, which I predict will all be fraught with safety hazards.

    i won’t re-enter the on-street vs. off-street bike infrastructure debate, but i highly doubt the Portland cycling community is going to allow the construction of cycletracks ‘fraught with safety hazards’, and if they were constructed, they’d be corrected quickly. as i’ve pointed out, one of the advantages of even imperfect bike lanes is that you get more bike advocates to help make sure future bike lanes are designed as close to perfectly as possible. i don’t believe your ‘safety hazards’ prediction has ever played out in any part of the world, but there’s a first time and place for everything — maybe soon in Portland will finally be that time and place?

    All I can tell you is that the kind of bike lanes we tend to get around here are the kind that make things more cumbersome/dangerous for cyclists.

    i might buy the ‘cumbersome’, but not the ‘dangerous’. got data?

    If you want to build more of those, and legally confine me to them, I’m going to be seriously discouraged from riding my bike anywhere.

    personally, i want all VCs confined to a little island in the Pacific where they can all rage at one another about being ‘confined’, but alas, i do not get to make those kinds of decisions.

    So is it OK to increase these cyclists’ suffering to alleviate the suffering of the Millions and Millions of oppressed folks all over the US who are yearning to ride their bikes places, but can’t do it because there are no bike lanes?

    if you have any evidence that a greater percentage of cyclists are suffering injury/death, or the same percentage are suffering worse injury/death, due to the introduction of bike lanes, then i’m all ears. it would fly in the face of all available research, so please point me to that evidence.

    I say if you want to install a bike lane, it had better be at least safe.

    what you and other VCs require is bike lanes that are perfectly safe, and that will never happen, because nothing is ever perfectly safe. have fun with that.

    Furthermore, I always question the motivation for the placement of any bike lane: is it to give cyclists a safe place to ride, or merely to shove them off into the gutter to keep them out of the way of “real” road users?

    This is a disease. It can be cured with a chill pill.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Peter, you really should try taking those rose colored glasses off.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    when there is room, [cycle tracks] are often the best solution.

    did you actually watch the video?

    this is a matter of faith, not fact.

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    smith: “as for destination positioning, portland is already positioned as a biking destination.” do you actually not know what “destination positioning” is? or is this some kind of smug joke?

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  • El Biciclero September 29, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Peter–

    “Got data?”

    Look up these names:

    Austin Miller – apparently didn’t expect the bus to be pulling over into the bike lane at the same time he was making a right turn from a mandated sidewalk position into a mandated bike lane position.

    Bret Jarolimek – apparently expected right-turning traffic to yield to riders in the bike lane. It didn’t.

    Tracey Sparling – apparently expected right-turning traffic to yield to riders in the bike lane as she started across an intersection after waiting for a red light to turn green. Again, it didn’t.

    I say “apparently” in all the above examples of cyclists being run over in bike lanes, because they are no longer around to give us the real story. These are just local Portland folks who, if they would not have felt protected by a bike lane, might still be around.

    Other stories, such as that of Jill Michaelree, reported on BikePortland recently are less tragic, because she just suffered a broken foot and some other minor injuries when she was run over in the bike lane by an inattentive right-turning driver.

    These are off the top of my head. I’m sure if a search of any kind were done, we could find hundreds, if not thousands of stories of riders injured or killed while riding in bike lanes.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that having bike lanes is any more dangerous than not having them, but it sure doesn’t seem any safer…

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    mr. smith, it really should be “a wrap,” but for some reason you keep talking.

    for the nth time: vehicular cycling is not a “policy,” it is a strategy. far to the right is a policy. mandatory sidepath is a policy. and god help us, lane striping and green boxes and faux “cycletracks” that defy destination positioning seem to be the policy around here.

    oh, i forgot, you do not know what destination positioning is. see “vehicular cycling,” which you apparently also do not understand.

    who cares what a completely different video you might make would look like. this is the video this person made. she has no obligation to frame her story in terms favorable to sidepaths generally. she has a story to tell: i use this street every day, and it used to work like this, which was okay, but now it works like this, and here are the reasons it is no longer okay. you have a different story to tell, make your own video.

    you said “science,” and i said give me citations that are not just surveys of how people “feel.” instead of doing that, you pretend to agree that such surveys are not “science,” but you still give no citations to anything harder.

    as far as i am concerned, this is in fact “a wrap.” i am out of here.

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  • El Biciclero September 29, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Furthermore, I always question the motivation for the placement of any bike lane: is it to give cyclists a safe place to ride, or merely to shove them off into the gutter to keep them out of the way of ‘real’ road users?

    This is a disease. It can be cured with a chill pill.”

    Really? Really? Tell me you truly believe that all bike lane stripes are painted with the best interests of cyclists at heart. If you really do, then explain why we have so many substandard-width, hazard-strewn bike lanes. Why do we have bike lanes that dead-end into curb extensions (with no cuts to allow bikes through). Why do we have bike lanes that peter out right when the traffic starts to get heavy–luring cyclists into a storm of auto traffic that will be hell to try to merge into at the last minute. Why do we have bike lane stripes–complete with the little bike lane symbol–two feet from the curb? Why are bike lanes painted immediately adjacent to parked cars whose drivers open doors or pull out into the bike lane without checking it? I’ll tell you why: because the people who paint bike lane stripes are legally mandated to do it in some form, but they are not given guidelines for how to do it in a safe and practical position. The reason so many experienced cyclists rail against “confinement” is because that’s what it is when we are legally relegated to the most dangerous possible position for a cyclist to occupy on the road. Sure, most of us are also de facto scofflaws because we leave the bike lane at will when safety demands it–even if an inexperienced outside observer can’t tell that safety demands it. Many of us stay safer by expressly ignoring the bike lane, yet you want to lure less experienced folks into bike lanes that they don’t know they ought to be ignoring.

    It sounds like you’ve come down with a case of fantasy. It can be cured with a dose of reality. You do actually ride, right?

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    The really scary thing is that there are folks in the engineering department at PBOT who agree with Peter and are willing and eager to build as many of these unsafe, substandard bicycle facilities that they can get funding for.

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I respect that y’all aren’t giving up wo a fight, but that y’all won’t acknowledge science and reality is really tiresome — it makes for boring, non-productive comments, which really decreases the quality of this blog — and that’s not fair to the people who’ve worked so hard to make this blog rock. Nobody is demanding perfection, but we do want a bit of honesty and integrity.

    Here is one study — it took me all of three seconds to google — were you generally interested in engaging, you’d have looked it up yourselves.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080903112034.htm

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    In my previous comment, “generally” was supposed to be “genuinely”.

    Study 2: Bike lanes bring out more riders:

    http://www.portlandtribune.com/sustainable/story.php?story_id=122402296838932000

    But wait, there’s more coming! If I feel like continuing to spoon-feed y’all…

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  • are September 29, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    the first study you cite shows that injury rates decrease as more cyclists get on the roads. says nothing about sidepaths. same should be true if there are more cyclists on thoroughfares.

    actually, a prevalence of sidepaths could end up hurting your numbers here, because with cyclists pushed off to the margins, motorists will be less aware of the [diminished] presence of cyclists, not more aware.

    the second study says simply that if you put infrastructure out there, [some] cyclists will tend to drift over there, rather than staying over here where there is less or no infrastructure. this is not the same as saying infrastructure brings out more people on bikes — prof. dill was handing these GPS tracking devices to people who were already on bikes, after all.

    i don’t think anyone would disagree that if you create a quiet sidepath over there, people will often choose it over a more crowded situation over here, all other things being equal. i myself will sometimes (but not always) take going rather than alberta, though alberta is really not much of a challenge.

    but often all other things are not equal. if i am trying to get somewhere, i would rather have the smoother pavement and only a couple of lights in thirty blocks.

    the links you condescendingly offer do not address what has been the crux of this argument, now running over seventy comments, which is that a lot of this stuff is badly designed and places the cyclist in an unsafe position. which was kinda the point of the video, as i remember it, way back there.

    if you get a lot more people out on bikes, and your primary educational tool is paint, you ought to put the paint in the right place.

    i challenge you to post a link to a study that says a bike lane to the right of a travel lane from which right turns are permitted has had the effect of reducing injuries. don’t waste my time with this other crap.

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Peter – Is it or is it not true that the majority of cycle tracks in Amsterdam follow densely developed streets without driveways and along canals which restrict and limit the amount of intersections and turning or cross traffic?

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  • BURR September 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Peter #69. I see how this is supposed to work, if we don’t agree with you we are ‘non productive’.
    :rolleyes:

    PS – ‘Safety in numbers’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the presence or absence of your beloved cycle tracks.

    It seems that we are playing ‘the last post wins’ game now, and Peter is the referee.
    :double rolleyes:

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  • Peter Smith September 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Study 3: Keys to higher cycling rates are cycletracks and traffic-calmed neighborhood streets:

    http://www.scribd.com/mobile/documents/3601847/download?commit=Download+Now&secret_password=

    Your apologies are accepted.

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  • are September 30, 2010 at 12:00 am

    why don’t you look at the text on pages 515 to 516 of the pucher article you have linked (“intersection modifications”) and tell me what this has to do with the facilities we have been talking about here.

    also, i am beyond tired of your sarcastic attitude. it is you who has shown complete ignorance of the terminology you blithely misuse, and you have yet to provide the requested “scientific” data that a striped lane to the right of a travel lane from which right turns are permitted has done anything but kill and injure cyclists who are misled by paint.

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  • Peter Smith September 30, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Also, you’re welcome.

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  • El Biciclero September 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Yes, thanks Peter, for indirectly supporting my and others’ points about bike lanes. If I look at page 512 of your last-linked article, it seems that there are a plethora of “Key Policies and Innovative Measures” that make cycling more enticing in the studied countries. This is the basis of the argument you are hearing from folks here: Painting a stripe does not a bikeway make. There are 24 bullet points on the page I am reading, and none of them is “Paint a stripe to separate the gutter from the main travel lane”. If even a small subset of these items were implemented in a cohesive way here in the US, I don’t think you would be hearing all the pushback you are. On one hand, you are claiming that even unsafe, substandard, death-trap bike lanes are better than nothing, but on the other you are citing studies that look only at extremely well-designed bikeways to support your claim. Apples and Oranges. I would agree that a complete, integrated system of bike lanes/cycle tracks, plus traffic control systems that take bikes into account, plus traffic laws that aren’t heavily biased toward automobiles, plus convenient access to transit for cyclists, plus bike parking and other amenities, plus general societal acceptance and understanding of transportational biking would entice many more people to ride their bikes. So there–we agree. Unfortunately, nothing like what is described in the study has ever been seen in the U.S.

    You can say that we have to crawl before we can can walk, but in this case, unfortunately, it means people have to die before we can be safe. Are you going to send your inexperienced loved ones out to ride in a hazardous bike lane without any instruction on when to break the law and leave it? Who would you choose to be maimed and/or killed to demonstrate that current bike lane “designs” aren’t safe? By painting a stripe, the transportation authorities are beckoning with crooked finger to novice cyclists, saying, “Come here, my pretty bike riders! Ride over heeeeerrrree!” Unless cyclists know not to trust this invitation, they will get injured and killed. Call me cynical, call me diseased, whatever–that is reality.

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  • Jim October 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Late to the party…

    In my own narcissistic view it takes years of collective cycling experience to design a proper cycling infrastructure, something the SF Bicycle Coalition is learning.

    I’m all for obeying the markings for bicycle lanes when it isn’t dumb. Priority #1 is always staying alive, no matter what the paint says.

    Jim

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