The Monday Roundup: Peak bike in Sausalito, engineering revolt, beach biking & more

Posted by on March 16th, 2015 at 9:30 am

hamburg

A planned freeway cap in Hamburg.

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Ride the Heart of the Valley Bike Ride. Set for April 18th, this ride is a benefit for the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis.

Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Hamburg post-auto: Germany’s second-largest city is planning to ban motor vehicles from “significant swathes of the city by 2034” in favor of a “Green Network” of biking, walking and public transit.

Beach biking: Fat-tire biking on Oregon’s beaches could be enough to end your love of long walks.

Sidewalk biking: A British cop warned a four year-old girl using training wheels that if she didn’t stop biking on the sidewalk on the way to school, he would take away her bike.

Minneapolis bike share: The Nice Ride system, now up to 1,700 bikes and anticipating another 18 percent ridership growth in 2015, is expecting to open early due to Minnesota’s mild spring.

Iditarod by bike: A 36-year-old on a fat bike rode Alaska’s 350-mile Iditarod route last week in 1 day 18 hours — 10 hours shorter than the previous record and eight hours shorter than the all-time dogsled record. He credited the lack of snow.

Biking vs. parking: Eric Jaffe of Citylab gathers 12 different studies from around the world comparing the impacts of biking and car access to retailers.

Vibration warning: Too-close cars are literally a pain in the butt (or the wrists, depending on their location) if you’re riding this new Dutch bike.

Amtrak bikes: A new Amtrak bill passed by the House of Representatives would improve boarding for people with wheelchairs and bikes.

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Counterrevolutionary action: Facing both political and scientific pressure to add new protected bike lane designs to official U.S. manuals, the conservative committee of engineers who control American road signs, signals and markings seems to be arming for a fight.

Anti-infrastructure advocate: In the comments beneath the previous post, biking advocate John Forester says Amsterdam-style separated bikeways “work only because their whole society is different from American society.”

Would-be riders: National advocacy group PeopleForBikes has completed the first-ever national survey of “interested but concerned” bike users. Infrastructure is a big barrier but it’s one of many.

E-bike pricing: What does it take to get a new e-bike to market in the Anglosphere? Doubling the price and marketing it to yacht owners, apparently.

No bikes welcome: Sausalito, Calif., now gets hundreds of bike tourists each day of summer, and it’s considering a cap on the number of bikes entering its borders. “It’s just unsustainable to have those numbers exponentially increase every year,” one city council member says.

Finally, Streetfilms’ latest comes from a series of conversations at last week’s National Bike Summit about the many things bikes enhance. It’s your video of the week:

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
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kiel johnson

cool, there are clips from the Beach Bike Train in that video!

Josh G
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Josh G

good video on the River View situation https://vimeo.com/122273197
(6 minutes)

colton
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colton

I still can’t quite get out of my mind the idea of a vibrating saddle. I suppose it might bring more people into biking.

9watts
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9watts

About the Sausalito proposal, my first reaction (before the link showed up) was predictable: crazy misguided fools. But reading the article, I’m coming around to a more nuanced perspective. Why should any place, large or small, simply roll over and automatically accept whatever rolls into town as natural, inevitable? We here are sympathetic to bicycles and the people who pedal them, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t or couldn’t be too much of a good thing under certain circumstances. I don’t know—and the article didn’t illuminate—what the number of people who drive into Sausalito is, and whether it too has perhaps increased rapidly. So this could be just another misguided jab at people who it is easy to pick on because they are not conforming to what Car-head tells us they should be doing, or it could be a reasonable concern about capacity.

Pete
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Pete

If you’ve ever tried to cross Bridgeway without getting hit, you’d be inclined to believe it’s the first of your suggestions.

Champs
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Champs

“Minnesota’s mild spring” – winter and summer are bookends to a few weeks of random weather in Minnesota, but none dare call it spring until May, and summer is full swing by Memorial Day.

In Sausalito: congestion is congestion, isn’t it? If you want room on the ferry, slap a bike surcharge onto the (non-Clipper) fare. At the right price you’ll get a “sustainable” level of traffic *and* more money for operations. At a thousand bikes a day, it’s pretty easy to figure how much you’ll collect.

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

Yeah I remember well getting caught in a snow storm in Boundary Waters the last week of May back in the late 80’s. Everything was amazing, highs in the 50’s, no bugs (can you imagine) got two days into the interior with a couple pretty big portages and woke up the next morning with 5″-6″ on the ground.

Luckily, a compass and a couple of machetes and we were able to bushwhack our way back to the car in 11-12 hours. (ice on the keel and paddles the whole way). And to this day the best pizza I ever had was at some hole in the wall in Virgina on the way back home – which I’m pretty sure really wasn’t all that good.

Pete
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Pete

One of my intelligent transportation colleagues posted this that may be of interest if you follow the development of automated driving:

http://www.erticonetwork.com/ertico-news/entry/3480-citymobil2-to-assess-the-impact-of-automated-road-vehicles-large-scale-diffusion

http://www.citymobil2.eu/en/

Glenn
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Glenn

Regarding NCUTCD’s intransigence on the part of bicycles.

“[Scientific] progress advances one funeral at a time.”

— Niels Bohr

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

I think Frank Krygowski’s comments farther down make two very important points about “Dutch style” protected/segregated infrastructure and its viability in the U.S.:
1) It only really works if a project and its legal jurisdiction is all-in; without new legal structures, enforcement strategies, separate signals and signal phases, inconveniencing motorists, etc., it does not meet Dutch standards and is not the safety enhancement many people imagine—you have to have the whole enchilada, not just the “salsa verde”.

2) There are certain locations where separated infrastructure actually does make perfect sense, even within the U.S. system, e.g., long stretches with few intersections or destinations, but most places where such infra is planned do not meet these criteria and are not physically compatible with safe, separated infrastructure unless…(see point 1 above).

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

* Farther down in the Streetsblog article about new bikeway standards…

Pete
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Pete

Absolutely, and I think Simon Phearson summed that up well (after the introductory banter) in his comment. It’s why I continue to strongly advocate that *all* approaches are necessary, because I see the attitude: “OK, we’ve built this MUP alongside the expressway and added big concrete walls to keep the bicyclists safe, now they can ride over there with the dog walkers and lunch strollers and not be on the street anymore. Our job is done here!”

That article illustrates a very difficult challenge we face: there are no standards that govern the decision-making process when it comes to mixing bikes and cars (and no, sharrow placing guidelines don’t count for what I’m talking about). Time and again when I see city planners forced with implementing bike lanes, the only thing they know is: as far right as possible, and as far away from cars as we can get them. (Bay area readers can look at Fremont Ave in Sunnyvale as the most recent example I know of). An example of where this (dangerously) fails is where I call ‘mixing zones’, where a travel lane is suddenly added to the right, the bicyclist goes from riding in the bike lane to riding in the middle of the first travel lane (which is actually most often the safest place in that scenario), and then suddenly is expected to appear in the new bike lane about 9′ to the rider’s right (often followed immediately by a popular right turn). The concept of safely ‘mixing’ cars and bikes at that location (possibly with sharrows leading past an intersection where the bicyclist can then safely resume being far right) scares the crap out of planners and engineers, but it’s that counter-intuitive ideally that ironically prevents experienced riders from being right-hooked at those locations.

I once saw a commenter here nail it on the head: VC isn’t an ideology, it’s a tool that can sometimes be the safest option depending on the roadway at the point you’re riding. Some of us are just fearful that too much emphasis on “separated” infrastructure takes that tool away from us.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

“I once saw a commenter here nail it on the head: VC isn’t an ideology, it’s a tool that can sometimes be the safest option depending on the roadway at the point you’re riding. Some of us are just fearful that too much emphasis on “separated” infrastructure takes that tool away from us.”

This is it. In a state (Oregon) where sidepath use is mandatory, inferior, unsafe infrastructure takes away safe options, or at best, reduces bicyclists to the same level as pedestrians, having to stop, look, and yield at every intersection and driveway regardless of whether they have right-of-way or not. It can also lure cyclists into what appears to be a safe, “protected” bike lane, only to dump them out into traffic when the protection ends, or into “mixing zones” with no advance visibility of the auto traffic they are to merge with (depending on the barrier used for “protection”), and no time to plan a comfortable merge. Further, with no respect for or enforcement of rules to keep cars, trash cans, sandwich boards, pedestrians, dogs, etc. out of protected bike lanes, it leaves cyclists subject to a potential gauntlet of obstructions with no means of going around.

I have yet to see an example of safe intersection treatment for separated bike infrastructure (other than signage of a “Cyclists Stop! Cars will kill you if you don’t!” nature) anywhere in the U.S., let alone Portland. Do we have anything here that meets “up-to-date Amsterdam standards”? Even if we had the physical infrastructure, we still believe as a society that cyclists are asking for it and deserve to be run over if they don’t stay out of the way, even if they have the right-of-way.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…use is mandatory, …” bic

Accurate reference to Oregon law 814.420 would be: ‘conditionally mandatory’.

Some basic understanding of this law and how it applies to use of the road whether by bike or by motor vehicle, is important to safe use of the road. People on bikes, having some knowledge and techniques associated with Vehicular Cycling, can take advantage of the benefits that 814.420 offers them.

Which basically, is that this particular law directly, and otherwise, alludes to a wide range of circumstances in which someone riding a bike can legally ride parts of the road other than the bike lane. If that is, they know, and are comfortable using VC techniques on the road amongst motor vehicle traffic. If they’re not knowledgeable with or comfortable using VC techniques, for them, infrastructure such as cycle tracks, will likely be felt to be a beautiful thing.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…too much emphasis on “separated” infrastructure…” Pete

Too much emphasis on separated infrastructure? Or too much of that type of infrastructure? Here in the Portland Metro area, there’s no need to worry about the latter being a problem, because there’s hardly any of it here.

Road system design of many cities in the U.S. today, likely do need a lot of well thought out revision to support increasing use of bikes for travel. My ‘shoulder to Portland’, suburb of Beaverton has plenty examples of this, as does Portland itself. It’s a gradually evolving transition though, and transportation officials and engineers are obliged to support in large part, the major transportation component that’s essential to the stability of the economy: the motor vehicle.

Bottom line, I think, is that some people disposed to the idea of riding instead of driving, have no interest or intention of ever putting themselves on a bike in traffic situations that would oblige them to ‘vehicular bike’. These people need separated bike infrastructure, and so accordingly, do cities that seek to have more people switch out their cars for a bike, for many of the day of the day to day trips they’re making.

Pete
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Pete

The Utopian roadway revision that you refer to (and I dream of) is only going to come about with planners and engineers who are educated on mixing bicycles with cars in a manner that supports the way experienced or properly-educated bicyclists ride – and more importantly don’t endanger inexperienced riders. This isn’t going to happen without guidelines to help them make proper planning decisions, and that certainly isn’t going to come from MUTCD. The very fact that NACTO exists shows that experienced transportation planners recognize this, and it’s a big step in the right direction.

I think we all recognize that anyone using a bike for transportation will inevitably mix with cars and/or poor infrastructure, and that protected infrastructure simply doesn’t – and won’t for the foreseeable future – service all destinations.

The problem of communicating that bicycle riders have a right to center themselves in a travel lane and integrate with automobile traffic *must* be addressed, and in areas where it’s the safest place for a bicyclist it should be communicated to both drivers and bicyclists at the same time. My criticism of “separated” infrastructure here is that too much emphasis on it won’t do much to prevent city engineers from striping bike lanes in the manner that I illustrate ad nauseam in these comments. NACTO’s Urban Street Design Guide is currently our best hope of addressing this problem in a nationwide design standard, but it still doesn’t address the situations I’ve described (primarily lane drops, additions, misalignments, and road width variations).

wsbob
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wsbob

“The Utopian roadway revision that you refer to (and I dream of) …” Pete

That word has acquired some bad connotations, unfortunately. I’m aware of the consequences of proposing ideas on a scale that’s impractical. What I’m thinking, when I suggest cycle tracks, distance separated from main lanes of the road, is not that this type of infrastructure should be everywhere, on every street, but that a minimal number of examples could be effective, strategically located in the form of a basic, connecting grid.

Pete
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Pete

Ironically – based on what I’ve seen – separated cycle facilities are an easier sell (at least here). Cities believe they make them more ‘livable’, they can get easier funding for them (from county and state level), and insurance companies are happy because they believe the facilities remove bicyclists from roadways, reducing risk. Here in the bay area we have several such facilities (San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail, Guadalope, Stevens Creek, Bay Trail, etc.), and we have funding for years to come to extend and connect them. They are certainly an asset, are critical to avoiding otherwise extremely dangerous highway overpasses in some places, and the ones I mention go underneath intersections instead of sending you into them around blind corners (for the most part).

No, the stuff I’m talking about are the derelict add-ons that we’ve inherited on increasingly busy roadways. Tonight we’ll go to our BPAC meeting and ask them to repaint and add buffers to one existing bike lane, move sharrows on one roadway, tweak two insensitive bike sensors, and repaint yet a different bike lane to align it with the one it connects to across the intersection. We’d probably have better luck asking them to build an elevated cycletrack on Lawrence Expressway… oh wait, that’s already in the planning phase.

Nick Falbo
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Nick Falbo

1) No new legal structures are needed to bring protected bike lanes to the U.S. Bike signals with separate phases are legal and used today. People driving must still yield to bikes before turning across a bike lane.

2) There are plenty of Dutch protected bike lanes in areas with frequent driveways. Driveways require high quality design and careful consideration, but their presence alone is not a reason to opt out of protected lanes.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

I guess by “legal structures”, I mean something that puts the fear of enforcement into drivers, who currently pretty much get away with not yielding, sometimes even if they run over a bicyclist while failing to yield. We would also have to outlaw—and enforce the prohibition of—right turns on red, in the event that bike signals are actually used. I think separate bike signals would go a long way toward taming motorist behavior, though.

I think I said (or tried to say) that places with frequent intersections or driveways are not physically compatible with safe protected bikeways within the current U.S. traffic system. They could work in more locations if we go the whole nine yards, instead of our tendency to stop after the first six feet.

The main point is that for safe separated infrastructure to work, i.e., actually be safe without reducing all cyclists to pedestrians, we have to change more of the system than just the paint and parking spaces.

Nick Falbo
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Nick Falbo

Oh yes… I’m with you 100% in the sense that I think bad bike lanes are bad. Cheap “paint and posts” protected bike lanes are not going be as safe and successful as high-quality, raised protected bike lanes.

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

But according to the studies, protected bike lanes show generally an increase in collisions at intersections, usually up 5-10% depending on the study.

And the studies that show the greatest safety improvements with the protected bike lanes are often criticised because they leave intersection collision data out of the study.

Intersections are by far where the lions share of collisions occur anyway. Cars over taking a bike rider are the most uncommon collision type in urban environments (much more common in rural).

I’m not saying how I feel about protected bike lanes one way of another, I know I don’t particularly feel I need them personally – I have no problems with riding in traffic on most streets. However, I know they give the perception of safety, which is really more important than the facts when it comes to increasing ridership.

Tim
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Tim

When riding on a separated bike lane in Munich I was concerned about the crossings being 3 to 5 meters from the intersection. Only once did a car stop in the bike crossing. When they saw us coming, they backed up quickly, looking embarrassed. I never got the feeling, that drivers were angry or resented bikes on the road. Big change from my observations in the US.

My conclusion: safety is more about courtesy and attitude than infrastructure.

Tim
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Tim

What I noticed about the Dutch road use was that most bike travel was done on regular streets without any bike infrastructure – no lane marking, no signs, nothing. Cars, scooters, bikes of all styles, and pedestrians all shared the same space and the same rules (or lack of rules).

Once the streets got larger and the car traffic faster, bicycles were restricted to bike infrastructure. It was not uncommon to see crowded 10-foot bikeways carrying far more people than the adjacent 40 foot car road. It becomes very clear in Holland, where bikes are the majority, that bike infrastructure is for the convenience of car users to keep the bikes out of their way.

Pete
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Pete

Edit: “counter-intuitive ideally” –> “counter-intuitive idea”.

Chris Anderson
Guest

I like the study mentioned by CityLab about misperception by merchants in Bristol. “Merchants guessed only 6 percent of customers rode a bike, when it was actually 10 percent.”

Maybe a good next round in the parking discussion is to actually measure what role parking places play in nearby business. It would be a lot of data to collect, but if you knew how many people came to eg NE 28th St by car / bike / walked / parked right out front. (Does parked 2 blocks away count as walked?) You’d probably find that the on-street parking generates some paltry number of customer trips in the scheme of thing, and especially compared to the role it could play as bike connector bringing business into the district.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

From the top voted commentor at the Streetsblog article on bikeway signage a comment by “Reality Broker” that finally makes me ashamed to have ever pretended to be a vehicular cyclist:
Link (https://disqus.com/home/discussion/streetsblogdc/engineering_establishment_sets_out_to_purge_deviant_bikeway_designs/#comment-1907711743)

Reality Broker
“Observing the rhetoric of the Foresterites here — perhaps aided by Angie’s delicious reference to “deviant” bikeway designs — brings back vivid and uncomfortable memories of growing up as a gay young person in the early 1990s.

My generation experienced the duplicity of religious zealots simultaneously asserting that they were here to help save us from our horrible future as LGBT people (You’ll never have kids! You’ll never get married! You’ll die of AIDS! You’ll be fired from your job, etc.)

And of course, these same religious zealots were simultaneously working to create the tools and systems of oppression to ensure that such a horrible, self-destructive future was, in fact, the only future that young gay men could plausibly imagine.

Thankfully, the power of love and reason — and persistence by people who stood on the right side of history, both gay and straight allies alike — overcame the power of religious zealotry. For all their efforts to prevent people like me from getting married, they lost. Gay men and lesbians can adopt children in most US population centers. And the young gay people at my work are embraced equally for who they are – with photos of their same-sex partners proudly on their desks.

It’s very hard not to see clear parallels between LGBT liberation and liberation from the hard-line VC mindset. Just as religious zealots couldn’t accept the notion that millions of people like me could simultaneously be gay and also be whole and perfectly complete human beings, VC zealots can’t accept that there are individuals like me for whom VC just doesn’t work — and there’s nothing wrong with us.

You can’t “train the risk-aversion away” across diverse, all-ages, mixed gender populations anymore than a prior generation of zealots could train LGBT people like me to “pray the gay away” — no matter how loud their adamant insistence in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.

Throughout this discussion, hard-line VC advocates simultaneously have sought to assert that they are working for our own best interests, while actively working to deny our having any alternatives to that narrow view they’ve worked for decades to impose upon us as our sole alternative. And as Mr. Forester did here, they even have the audacity to claim to be doing it for our own best interests, just as a generation of anti-gay religious zealots once did in claiming to be “saving” gay men like me through their systematized oppression.

There’s no question that, like the religious zealots of the 1990s and 2000s, this is a battle that has already been won by those of us who embrace a more pluralistic and more inclusive world.

Our culture may trivialize bicycling as a recreational luxury, but access to safe and affordable transportation is a very real equity and social justice issue. So thank you to everyone who has taken steps to overcome frameworks of oppression in your own communities, by making safe bicycling open to everyone.”

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

This person’s comment needs love; go up vote HIM.

Pete
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Pete

Frankly I’m an even bigger fan of Simon Phearson’s reply to him (starting at his third paragraph), and I mentioned that in my reply to El B’s comment above (that I completely agree with) that was laid waste by BP’s arbitrary moderation feature (hence my orphaned edit comment above).

I think this article points out an important challenge we face, and that’s that there are no standards for applying bike infrastructure. Sure, there are signs, sharrow placement guidelines, and lane width and separation classifications, but what remains is that city planners by and large rely on two rules: keep bicyclists as far to the right and as far away from cars as possible.

Now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we need to advocate for *all* approaches. I’ve seen this line of thinking in action: “We built a MUP next to the expressway and protected the people on it with big sound-deadening concrete walls, so our job is done here – check!”. Sure, that might get some people to drive their bikes to the end of that MUP and ride up and down it with their kids – maybe even get some folks to consider it a safe and healthy alternative to sitting in traffic – but it does little to stop the categorization of bicyclists as recreational and pedestrian, or even legitimate road users.

I remember a commenter here who said it quite eloquently some time ago: VC is not an ideology, but rather a technique that can be applied if appropriate for your safety on the roadway you’re on at the place and time you’re on it. I think some of us are afraid that too much focus on ‘separated’ facilities will continue to emphasize that bicycling in traffic is dangerous, and will increasingly take that technique out of our tool bags.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

As a big engineering geek I am a solid advocate for consistent signage, both as a cyclist and as a long haul truck driver who gets to see and be slightly confused by local variants of standard signage.

I understand that there is value in letting localities experiment with signage for new situations (bikeways) that are not currently covered in the MUTCD.
The problem comes when these things go mainstream or are even simply installed for 10+ years.
Populations move, truck drivers are usually from out of state.
If we expect that bicycle specific signage is going to protect the cycling public from the motoring public reading the sign needs to be the ONLY step. At speed we have no time nor safety margin for confusion as to what the heck that sign may mean.

This is what the MUTCD helped solve many decades ago by standardizing road signage: making all the important signage similar enough that people driving don’t have to guess and possibly guess wrong fatally.

It is no excuse for purging all bikeway signage but there is so much anarchy in the power structure now that they can’t even agree if bikeways are a good enough idea that they will stick around long enough to deserve proper signage. Different regions are all approaching bikeways and the signage in almost complete different ways such that every city has their own unique way of doing it that they think is superior.

How do expect the non-cyclists of the MUTCD committee to have any clue what is right?

Pete
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Pete

You may have seen my opinion previously that signs are essentially invisible, but regardless, you won’t get any argument from me on the value in standardizing them (and making their message recognizable universally, for instance by ESL people and visiting foreigners). We totally agree.

What I’m talking about is more of a policy guidance driving design decisions. MUTCD has them for different street classifications, for instance: lane width based on speed limits, turn lane buffering based on peak volume, etc. When it comes to bicyclists, though, the measurement metrics barely exist, let alone the ability to apply them to design decisions. Sure, NACTO is a step in the right direction, but in my opinion continues to emphasize separation rather than combination, the latter of which in many places is completely unavoidable.

Just watch fear in the eyes of a city engineer when you propose that in (what I call) a ‘mixing zone’ the safest place for a bicyclist is in the *middle* of the first travel lane (best indicated by sharrows) rather than on the far right. Yes, it’s counter-intuitive to even some of us bicyclists, but in many places bike lanes spit the bicyclist out in the middle of added lanes anyway, then expect them to immediately transition to the far right, usually in the midst of one or more right turns popular with car traffic (aka the right-hook zone). Even worse, those same engineers and planners will paint the bike lanes accordingly, communicating to drivers and bicyclists alike that the cyclists are *not* supposed to be in the middle of the lane that the bike lane just spat them into. The resulting expectation of the driver who’s following is that the cyclist is supposed to immediately move to the far right and get out of their way – even if that driver is about to turn right. The driver inevitably accelerates, and Lord forbid you remain in the middle of that travel lane, especially since you’re now riding to the left of that clearly-marked bike lane (which LAB would teach you is the safest position in that situation).

Example 1: https://goo.gl/maps/iBJXA
Example 2: https://goo.gl/maps/dHYXR

So yeah, you won’t hear me argue *against* separated infrastructure where it makes sense, but you will always hear me argue *for* bicyclists who need to safely coexist with car traffic to get wherever else they may be going.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

Actually if you understand how the eye works, being pushed to the right is counter intuitive.

The main focus of your vision is roughly 5 degrees directly between the center of your lenses. Then from from 5 degrees to roughly 30 degrees out you can perceive color and motion, after that it is only motion and light/dark (not color).

This is why people can seem to be looking at you by the position of their head, but don’t see you because they have looked away with their eyes, especially if you are moving slow or standing still.

And that is why I prefer riding in the lane over the riding on the shoulder (oh excuse me bike lane). A drivers vision is nearly always (unless a text has come in) focused on the the center of the lane they are traveling in.

It’s not rocket science, it’s just how the rods and cones are organized on your retina.

Of course you can also use this knowledge to your benefit as well. When navigating at night, if you shift your focus slightly over the horizon and relax your eyes a little bit (loosen up the focus), you’ll actually increase your field of vision. This opens up the cornea and increases the light available to the cones -they don’t detect color but are the primary photoreceptors in your eye for night vision) in your eyes.

Guess an art school education pays off occasionally.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Cool, thanks for the explanation! I’ll be riding home in the dark tomorrow night and will try that trick, too.

I put together a little video clip of a bike lane recently installed in Sunnyvale (starting just before the intersection in my example #1 above – note that it’s a Sunday afternoon so traffic is very light and the busy post office by the first big hashed buffer – where I would have put sharrows – is closed). I had tried to explain to the engineers that the rider should be kept in a relative position to the drivers, and that undulating bicyclists closer and further away from traffic flow will not keep them safer, regardless of the paint stripes – it is even contradictory to grade-school teachings of riding steadily and predictably. You can see the result of my pleas.

At ~1:18 you’ll see a Right-Turn-Only Lane, but look closely at the pavement and you’ll see the markings for the massive paint bulbout they were going to install. I had to fight very hard for this, but notice on the other side of the intersection they would not heed my request to keep the bicyclist in the line of sight of people pulling out of the next intersection (see red car I pass at 1:35). One engineer explained that the bicyclist would be hit from the right by drivers pulling out of that street (Bobwhite), but she does not give drivers enough credit (sorry, I ride in that road position almost daily and encounter drivers waiting to pull into traffic, and even on the rare occasions I don’t have cars next to me the drivers will wait their turns properly).

But no, the “as far right as possible” mentality wins out, and inexperienced riders are coerced to swing back and forth with the road width variances and even forced at the bumpers of cars pulling out of some of those malls (I’ve got lots more photos and video of traffic on this road, and its “Lombard Street” of bike lanes).

http://youtu.be/4D4Y50th_lc

I was told by one engineer that Alta Planning were the consultants on this job, and if that is true then I am disappointed (but it may have been to get me off their backs).

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

Blah, I ride pretty much VC (though I’m not a stop at every stop sign, sit at every light kind of guy), but I’m not a some zealot about it. It’s just how riding bikes was taught in the 70’s and 80’s and how I grew up riding. And I’m glad I learned this way, it’s in large part why I’ve been riding pretty steady for nearly 40 years without a major collision.

And regardless if you agree with Forrester or not on the issues infrastructure. Even in an utopian system of bicycle infrastructure, you will still on occasion need to ride with auto traffic, and most of the VC method is the best way to do so.

My biggest criticisms of infrastructure come from bad data and misleading studies and surveys. I wan’t the truth first and foremost. Prove me wrong please. Too much of the data we have is “studied” by the people who have the most to gain from doing such studies. Be it insurance companies and helmet studies, or infrastructure improvements and civil engineers. If one takes the time to read this stuff and not just the conclusions, most this stuff is biased from the very onset.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

I wish cyclists considered Vehicular Cycling as a universal, life-saving tool that can be used by all riders when necessary instead of just a “style” of riding.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

If people like Forrester didn’t actively lobby against separated infrastructure, people probably wouldn’t. For folks like Forrester (and several people on BP), VC is a religion.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

A little late here, but last week South Dakota’s governor signed a bill requiring drivers to pass cyclists with six feet between the two vehicles on roads with speed limits over 65.

http://legis.sd.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1030&Session=2015

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

It’s 6 feet when speeds are greater than 35, if I read that correctly.

The bill also includes language requiring “continuous signaling for the last 100 feet before a turn” unless hand is needed for operation of bicycle. Is this similar to Oregon law?

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Oh, yeah. I looked repeatedly at that number and didn’t even catch my error. Haha. Thanks.

As to your second point, the bill also allows one to signal “intermittently if the hand is needed in the control operation of the bicycle”. I would also like to know if Oregon has a similar law, though.