The Monday Roundup: Cleveland’s backward bike lanes, folding cargo bike & more

Posted by on September 21st, 2015 at 9:26 am

backward bike lane

Wait a minute…
(Photo: Streetsblog USA)

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by Metro’s Bike There! Map, now available at local bike shops.

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

Backwards bike lane: Good news: Cleveland is now installing buffered bike lanes. Bad news: it’s painting the buffer on the wrong side.

Folding cargo bike: Xtracycle just launched a Kickstarter for its new invention, available for $1,600.

Sage advice: “If you are truly desperate,” the Mercury concedes in its guide to getting around for Portland newcomers, “you can also get a car.”

School parking: Lincoln High School is in “transit Valhalla,” says Oregonian columnist Steve Duin, but that isn’t stopping it from considering construction of a new underground parking garage that might be partially financed by an upcoming school levy.

Timbers transit: Portland Timbers fans are crying foul over the team’s decision to swap free game-day transit passes for season ticket holders for discounted Uber rides.

Breaking Away: Three stars of the 1979 bike-racing classic reunited at the U.S. bike industry’s annual convention.

Industry sexism: Surly’s marketing manager puts her industry’s latest leerish advertisements in the context of the horror stories she’s had to weather as a successful woman in the bike business.

Walk-shaming 101: Streets.mn offers an overview of how it works.

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Suburban protest: Several dozen Outer London residents held up a coffin last week to signify the death of their community due to the installation of $42 million to improve biking (work that would also, in some cases, impair driving).

Cars’ problem: This tweet makes a pretty good case for why you can’t be pro-transportation without sometimes being a little anti-car:

Health priorities: Hospitals are banning smoking and fast food, so why aren’t more of them discouraging driving to reach them?

Bike-share concepts: Here are 15 ideas, some pretty far out of the box, for ways to (maybe) improve bike-share systems.

Bike-share equity: A new NACTO report shares some best practices.

Nice, cheap and close-in: Most of us want all three in our housing. Thing is, under the best-case scenario you’re only going to get two.

Protected intersections: The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is putting out a new design manual with engineering-level instructions on how to install the Dutch-inspired facilities.

Bus safety: Clark County’s C-Tran agency will install a camera-powered collision avoidance system that alerts operators before a possible collision.

Automated braking: Ten automakers have agreed to make it a standard feature.

DOT reform: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a $100 million commitment to biking and walking around the state, but the money may actually just be a means to the end of getting the agency to escape its cars-first mindset.

Portland’s green brand: Cities can earn a reputation, but a reputation “doesn’t last forever” when it’s on autopilot, warns former Metro President David Bragdon in Politico.

Bike vacations: Bikeabout wants to know why Airbnb doesn’t let you search for rooms to stay in based on whether they offer loaner bikes.

Finally, your video of the week seems destined to be the first media coverage in the career of future Los Angeles Mayor Matlock Grossman:

(You can read more of Grossman’s letter here.)

— If you come across a noteworthy 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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9watts
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9watts

Ivan Illich bears re-reading, every year.

As for this the Nice, Cheap, And Close in (Link goes to bike share),
I think you can/could have all three, if people stayed put. We here in the Frontier West have completely lost (or never acquired) any cultural memory of people staying put, so we have trouble imagining that someone might live in their parent’s or grandparent’s house or neighborhood.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

You can’t stay in your parent’s or grandparent’s house anymore since the city basically taxes you right out of it. Our property tax system in this city is so broken.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I see several things wrong with your analysis.
(1) that is not my understanding of how our property tax system works. In the absence of regular property *sales*, there are no jumps in the property taxes on a house.
(2) if you have always lived there/move back, you’re not, in principle, out any money to keep buying the house, so the taxes would be it, pretty much.
(3) I live in a house in inner SE I bought 13 years ago, a small one to be sure, but one where the taxes, though they keep going up, are still ~$2500/yr. While that is plenty of money compared to what they used to be, if those taxes—in my example above—represent a sizable chunk of your non-negotiable housing costs, I think you’ll qualify for the nice, cheap, close in finals.

canuck
Guest
canuck

My property tax is reasonable, but then again that’s not all I pay on that bill. It’s the PPS bonds, the TriMet, fire department, parks department and all the other bits and piece per $1000 value that take that $2500 in property tax up to $5k.

9watts
Subscriber

I was talking about the whole bill, the one we got this week. I realize there are lots of taxes mixed up there, but I (thought it was a common shorthand to) refer to the whole bill as my property taxes.

lop
Guest
lop

I thought property tax assessment values in Portland weren’t reset on sale?

http://www.oregon.gov/dor/ptd/pages/ic_303_670.aspx

soren
Guest
soren

For decades people moved out of cities into ex-urban areas and now that demographic trend is reversing. I welcome the end of the american love affair with an ex-urban car-dependent lifestyle. Don’t you?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Well sure, but I don’t think we were talking about that. My point was that we have so internalized frenetic moving (and therefore buying and selling) that we are blinded to the fact that those who for whatever reason didn’t go that route might actually have solved all three objectives.

Josh G
Guest
Josh G

This is the link to Nice, Cheap, Close In: http://oobrien.com/2015/08/living/
& its visualization http://vis.oobrien.com/living/

9watts
Guest
9watts

Aha.
Thanks for that, Josh G.

And he confirms my point: Ultimately, you have to pick your favoured two out of the three!
He is writing to—assuming an audience of—people seeking to move to a desirable location. While this is obviously a large demographic, I felt we should keep in mind that the non-movers may be one step ahead.

Josh G
Guest
Josh G

It’s a corollary to the bike rule- lightweight, cheap, strong- pick 2.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m not familiar with that rule. I take it the rule refers only to *new* bikes? ’cause my (used) bikes seem to me to fit all three.

I see a pattern here.
Journalists who see themselves as writing to an audience of mobile, fairly wealthy, Middle Class individuals are bracketing the solutions, the strategies, the lives that (might) yield all three desirable outcomes simultaneously, because the behaviors or choices that correspond to those outcomes are invisible to him or her, or they have never considered them. This is unfortunate.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

There could well be exploitive use of the idea, but I think there’s a far more general bit of wisdom involved. It’s a matter of compromises among many competing factors when looking for an optimal solution. With enough factors, one (or more) will always compete with another in a way which cannot satisfy both. In a word: tradeoffs. The idea often gets reduced to the “rule of three” in engineering, management and other fields: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management_triangle

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

True, but there is no way I could ever afford to live in the suburb I grew up in. Unless you’re the only child someone is not getting the house. Even buying the house next door you face most of the issues someone does when moving in from the other side of the country.

Val
Guest
Val

What if you shared the house? I know that’s culturally so discouraged but I don’t think it has to be.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

I live about a mile from the house my wife’s mother grew up in (Both in South Tabor). I almost sold our house to buy that one when her grandfather moved into a retirement facility about little more than 10 years ago. But a screwdriver which easily passed through the wood foundation framing made the decision for me – even though the offer was half of what it was sold for after we refused.

Though I suspect the people that bought it, fixed it up and flipped it made out ok on it (though not great, since I know what they bought it for and what they sold it for. there were many other issues as well like sloping second floor).

And honestly, I think about this house a lot when people complain about demoing these old houses in favor of new. Old and charming doesn’t mean that it is worth saving. In the case of grandmas house – it was likely a break even point between fixing and starting from scratch. And the decision likely had more to do with the fact that they were pre-recession flippers and not developers, and likely didn’t have the knowledge or structure to do a complete rebuild.

But either way, my children are growing up in the same neighborhood that their grandmother grew up in. So yes it is still possible.

lop
Guest
lop

Congratulations! You live in a desirable location. Many don’t, but would like to. The anti growth policies you support make that unaffordable for many who don’t already have what you have.

Most people in the Portland metro haven’t been in their residence for all that long. 2014 census estimates 43.7% moved in 2010-2014. Another 32.3% moved in 2000-2009. Most people don’t live in one house their whole lives, the same house the parents lived their whole lives, the same place their grand parents built.

Just because a person’s parents or grandparents moved to the suburbs should not prohibit them from moving to a walkable and bikeable area. The extent to which that is already true would be drastically reduced if anti growth development restrictions were not in place.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Congratulations! You live in a desirable location. Many don’t, but would like to. The anti growth policies you support make that unaffordable for many who don’t already have what you have.”

I don’t think that is entirely fair, lop. Though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you’d phrase it that way. I am trying to take the long view, find ways for the millions already here to have a chance to not fight over the crumbs. As we’ve had many occasions to discuss here already I don’t see the point (for me or for you or for any of the renters featured in the recent article in which we discussed some of this and for which I’m working on some responses to your questions) of encouraging, welcoming, subsidizing millions more. It just doesn’t compute.
Crowing for more growth to solve all of these problems is so 20th Century. When will we accept that we overdid it, that just because we can expand the Urban Growth Boundary doesn’t mean the groundwater or infrastructure or clean air or food or … will be there to accommodate all those expected to move into the Urban Growth Boundary?

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

Go, Matlock Grossman! I always enjoy it when young kids get the spotlight for taking on adult issues. I’d like to think that nay-sayers at least pause in their reflexive trolling when an 11-year-old who rides five miles a day to school says it’s scary and unsafe–but that he’s been doing it for half his life anyway.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Have the police/CPS showed up at his house yet? Isn’t this a clear case of child neglect/endangerment?

I’m being sarcastic, but also waiting for the chain of “logic” to register with authorities: child rides alone–>child admits it’s “scary” (i.e., “dangerous”)–>child should not, then, ride alone–>parents are being neglectful/endangering their child by allowing child to ride alone–>parents need to be publicly reprimanded/humiliated/have their sanity called into question and put on a government-approved probationary “plan” to become better parents else be threatened with more drastic steps.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

9watts, It is a thing that a mobile society like us cowboys have had for a while especially since way before cars came into the equation. Not enough circuses to run away from home to. Teens just don’t trust their parents enough to realize they did it before themselves.

Dave
Guest
Dave

C-tran has so few buses running that I’d worry more about getting hit by falling space junk! Nice to see them thinking about safety, though.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I have never voted no on a school bond even though we don’t and will never have children, but I will actively work AGAINST this one. It is time to reset our property taxes on sale and funnel this into education. We also must stop all of these “soft” auto subsidies. 1000+ auto spaces in the central city? I can not morally pay for that.

soren
Guest
soren

” It is time to reset our property taxes on sale and funnel this into education.”

It’s time to reset property taxes period.

9watts
Guest
9watts

How do you mean? Do you think our taxes are too high, or that we don’t get as much for them as we should?

soren
Guest
soren

Too low and not equitable.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Too low?! Wow in what part of town do you live?

lop
Guest
lop

Assessment hikes are capped. So gentrified areas close in pay a lower property tax rate than much of east Portland. Reset on sale would mean the assessment value jumps up to the market value on property transfer, even if it means more than a 3% annual hike. It’s supposed to be a compromise that offers stability to existing residents while reducing the tax rate disparity. Reset period means getting rid of the goofy assessment cap and matching the property tax to the market value for everyone, not just new residents.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

In 1978 California passed Proposition 13 (rather appropriately numbered, I always thought). Oregon foolishly followed suit. It boils down to generational warfare. The selfish old coots who passed this junk are mostly dead. Can we undo it now and have equitable property taxes and the public amenities they used to pay for?

lop
Guest
lop

You can hike taxes but that money isn’t going to go to increased services. It’s going to go to promised but never paid for pension and other retirement benefits for public employees.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Without evidence, you smear a whole group of people.

lop
Guest
lop

What are you asking for evidence of? Unfunded retirement benefits in Oregon?

Mark
Guest
Mark

I would love to see a 10 percent real valuation. When I see a home that is paying 20 percent tax with bonds….that is stupid. Everyone pays 10 percent…and the various governments can duke.it out. Bonds and levies can be paid special out of that 10 percent.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Wouldn’t know from just reading the Monday Roundup intro, but the parking PPS proposes for LHS upgrades wouldn’t be just for the school, but instead for a number on interests in the area the district has an idea it may be able to bring together on the project. According to the O, the district hasn’t yet much shared its idea with the other hoped for partners.

The info offered in the O writer, Duin’s story, offers a reminder that the area is served well by mass transit, and that with the school and the soccer stadium nearby, there’s often lots of people on foot in the area. Supporting the use of motor vehicles in the area by providing a bunch more accommodation for parking them, raises the possibilities for diminishing quality of life in the neighborhood, Goose Hollow.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

It sounds like the bond money is mixed in with other renovations, maybe making it difficult for voters to stop. This is disturbing news. How did the NA meeting go?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…How did the NA meeting go?” Eric Leifsdad

Walking and spending some time in the area may be the best way to get a sense of how quality of life of the Goosehollow neighborhood could be affected by further increases in motor vehicle traffic. Though I have done this, it was from the O story that I got the drift that the neighborhood association isn’t enthusiastic about further use of motor vehicles in the neighborhood that a parking garage (that might be built under the athletic field) may support.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

From the article on 15 ways bikeshare could be better: London has got much right – it “went big” which is expensive but the only way to have a genuinely successful system that sees tens of thousands of journeys on most days.

I hope the City is listening. That article has some excellent advice.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I disagree that those buffers are painted “on the wrong side.” IMO the engineer is doing bicyclists a favor by putting them within the peripheral view of drivers, and keeping them at the same relative distance throughout the length of roadway variations. In my observations, it’s the “mid block overprotection syndrome” – keeping bikes as Far Right As Possible – that encourages drivers to accelerate and hook right rather than view bikes as vehicles they need to merge with.

I can go on and on – believe me – but I’ve used one road as a case study. The city of Sunnyvale, CA put buffered bike lanes in when they repaved E Fremont Avenue. I’ve been recording video and alternating riding strictly in the bike lane versus just to the right of traffic and taking the lane at intersections and lane drops. You’d be amazed at the number of near-misses and behavior of drivers when I stay in the bike lane. When I take the lane I get honked at once in a while (rarely), but only by drivers who don’t know the road and suddenly realize they’re about to be in the bike lane that rejoins my trajectory anyway.

Someday I plan to write up a case study of this, but for now this is the only brief footage I’ve managed to edit and post – I call it “Buffers Gone Awry”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D4Y50th_lc

(Also note how wide the travel lanes are versus the bike lanes in this video. Speed limit is 40 MPH here, and the bike lanes are frequently littered with debris from trees currently suffering from drought stress).

Mark
Guest
Mark

Thankfully, there is a mountain of data and prior use by multiple countries that differ. Thank you…but I prefer to be farther from passing traffic. There are a few folks out there that apparently love to be closer to traffic…most people don’t.

Cleveland screwed this up…big time.

Pete
Guest
Pete

So you’re telling me the bicyclist that’s pictured in the article is positioned optimally to be seen by overtaking drivers?

There are “mountains of data” that support many arguments, for or against, but I’d love to see yours. And which other countries are you talking about, the ones with dedicated cycle tracks free of intersections and pedestrians?

Mark
Guest
Mark

Geeze, I have no need, desire or reason to disprove your point. If YOU want to ride right next to cars, trucks, buses, semis…cars…because YOU think the po wittle drivers need someone at exactly some degree of goodness to avoid them..then YOU do it. Look on the bright side, you can joint in with the minority of commenters on street blogs who also like dicing with death.

It’s actually kind of nice that should the driver NOT see you (all the time), they are past you before they even notice. Hence the buffer.

Everyone else will be happy for a little paint between them and death. Me included.

Good thing Cleveland is saving bikes from the evils of the deadly gutters.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Riding in a bike lane that is also a gutter does kinda suck, though. For example, every time we get a little snow in Portland it gets plowed where? Into the gutter (aka bike lane.)
And then they scatter lots of fine, pointy gravel all over the road which in the ensuing weeks winds up where? In the gutter (aka bike lane.)
I think I like the general idea of a buffer at the curb side, but preferably it’d be narrower and the bike lane could be wider.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Not to mention broken glass, wet leaves and all kinds of other stuff.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

And those double-wide sunken drainage grates…

Pete
Guest
Pete

“..then YOU do it.”

Fortunately, I can do it legally in California. As I’ve already stated, it works (for me) much better than being right-hooked all the time, so I think I’ll take my chances with the rare scenario you describe (and there are indeed mountains of data to support its rarity, especially in urban settings).

I’m also one of those “po wittle drivers” who appreciates seeing where bicyclists are instead of them “coming out of nowhere.”

Mark
Guest
Mark

I am sorry..you are just being naive. It seems your solution has in essence made you feel more protected than you really are. Look at the number one accident on the road-rear end collisions. The right hook scenario is very, very rare. But…it has consequences..namely legs are amputated. So you are trading one rare event for a common event

I was almost right hooked last week-by a bus, but I wasn’t. I can see that coming. The key is to take stock of what traffic is doing around you. Blowing by bunched up cars in the right lane…is a bad idea. Best (and you will like this) just merge over before the intersection. If a semi gets next to you..brake..let it go by.

My issue with your comments, and other riders that hate any sort of bike infra that isn’t designed by rambo for maximum adrenaline, is that somehow the detractors believe..people aren’t real riders unless they are “in the lane dude!” and “people should learn how to ride with cars!”. Yeah, whatever. I dream someday of taking my family on a ride-on the street in a secure web of protected bike lanes. None of this “come on kids, you should be tough and ride with cars!”.

This isn’t the wild west anymore in some towns when it comes to bikes……just realize that.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Please list one study or survey, I’ve got at least 50 in bookmarks, Xerox’s and pdfs on this computer – with notes on bicycle safety data and infrastructure and I’ve never ONCE seen any claim that being overtaken is the predominant collision scenario in an urban setting. However I have numerous studies that put intersection collisions (hooks in particular) is about 75% of the fatalities, and roughly half of all injuries.

Infact I can’t remember the last fatality in Portland (other than on the one where the bicycle rider was crossing the 205 awhile back) which wasn’t a hook. I can only recall ever hearing of one overtaking incident (again at an intersection while waiting for a light at 60th and Division), which resulted in some injuries and damage.

In rural setting overtaking is a more common situation, at roughly 20% of the fatalities.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

BTW, I’ll take the lane when needed, and on greenways I’m pretty easy to spot since I’m one of the few that actually ride in the middle of the lane of travel on my 60# vintage 3 speed bike moving at a “brisk” 12-15 mph (I hit 20 on the downhills).

I don’t use mirrors, and I don’t yield to traffic behind me either – if I was in my car I wouldn’t pull over because someone honked or tailgated (I’ll usually slow down in my car), why would I do so on bicycle? (yeah I’m legally supposed to – so sue me, but allowing a car to pass in the lane is more unsafe than debris in the gutter).

Infact I see honking as a good thing, it’s confirmation that they know I’m there and that they have slowed down to my speed. I ring my bell back in appreciation.

I’m definitely not a max speed/adrenalin rider. No spandex, no helmet, no bike computer/speedometer, old pipe steel bicycle, upright position, usually riding in a button down, with shorts or pants, and heeled loafers (the original bike shoe – heel keeps the feet from slipping off platform pedals) and a pair of cheap sunglasses. The only bicycle clothes I wear are for special occasions wool three by fours and knee high argyle socks.

Pete
Guest
Pete

You are correct – it’s all about perception. I feel safer taking the lane at intersections and it works for me. Others feel safer staying at home or wrapping themselves in sheet metal and air bags, and it seems to work for them.

You have no idea of my experience cycling, teaching bike safety as a licensed instructor, or working with city and county BPACs and engineers on improvements for people walking and biking. In NO way have I ever advocated that all bike infrastructure must mix bicycles and cars, and clearly you’ve missed the many, many times over the past ten years that I’ve stated on this blog that people involved in bike advocacy need to consider riders of ALL abilities and preferences. I personally avoid riding with joggers and dog-walkers on MUPs because I’ve ridden with traffic for decades and am comfortable doing so at high speeds. I do NOT believe that this is for everyone – quite the contrary.

As far as right (or left) hooks being rare and rear-end collisions being frequent, you and I have seen very different data.

Mark
Guest
Mark

You said, in your post..and posted a video that mixing was traffic was good while avoiding the video. That’s a fact.

I want my kids, my spouse..my friends..to have the opportunity to be as separated from the death machines as possible. Period. I’ll fight for that right for them…knowing it will save lives.

I generally find those that rode “back in the day” are hanging on to mixing with traffic. I recall back in 1992 being almost pushed off the road by a van because, at that time, there was no bike lane. I stopped riding for years. Now…I am back riding because there are options to be separated from traffic.

Ride in traffic all you want. You are one text message away from injury or death. I know that..and find a bike lane whenever possible. Even if it has a dreaded piece of glass that might pop my tire.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Mark:

Stan Wicka was one text message away from death, and he was riding in a bike lane wider than the one pictured and had a tendency to ride very far to the right. You don’t have to resort to scare tactics with me, nor am I “hanging on” to anything (especially from the `90’s! ;).

I posted a video showing a bike lane that directs bicyclists to stay within a 5′ bike lane (with 1′ gutter pan) on the Far Right of a road whose width varies dramatically (and adds and drops lanes four times). The net result is that cyclists who ride strictly in this lane go in and out of the peripheral views of drivers while they proceed in a linear trajectory: “out of sight, out of mind,” you might say. The intersections in my video – especially the ones that add a lane for a short distance without designating it a right-turn-only lane – create what I call “mixing zones”. These are areas where bicyclists mix with cars whether they want to or not. BUT, cyclists do have some control over whether drivers turn/pull out in front of or behind them by their positioning (and to a degree, their speed).

I was somewhat involved in the planning of this restriping, and NONE of the city engineers had ANY experienced bicycling on that road, which I had done daily for years. They claimed that Alta Planning was responsible for that layout, so I contacted my friends there only to discover they were consulted for a small portion of that roadway, and that not all of their advice was actually incorporated in the implementation. I do credit Sunnyvale with putting in the RTOL at Bobwhite at my suggestion, but I have to think it was because we stood on the corner and watched several experienced bicyclists place themselves as I am in this video, which was in the middle of a huge hashed buffer zone just to the right of cars proceeding straight. We also saw MANY drivers VERY confused about what to do when they encountered the big hashed area, especially the ones turning right (plus, yellow-vested people standing on a corner tend to get drivers to be wary of their moves ;).

NOWHERE did I EVER say that all bicyclists should ride in traffic lanes at all times. At intersections where you WILL mix with cars, what works for me is to position myself directly in front of them rather than stay to the right of them. If you want to ride slowly and stay to the right of them and vary your speed to let them pass you or pull out in front of you, then nobody has challenged either your right to stay in that bike lane or my right to leave it at intersections (in California, according to CVC 21202 exception 4).

You, your family, and friends have opportunities to ride your bikes on completely separated facilities in many places, and if you want to avoid cars completely you can do so, but it will limit your choice in destinations and routes. I have worked very hard helping to plan and fund (and keep open) several facilities of this nature, so it’s ironic to be accused by you of saying that everybody needs to take the lane everywhere.

Believe me, I am ALL about having facilities that let you and your children ride bikes safely while minimizing impact with cars (literally and figuratively). I wish nothing but the BEST and SAFEST of cycling opportunities for you, and I hope we see more and more separated facilities built – provided they don’t falsely present the perception of safety when they have to cross paths with cars.

soren
Guest
soren

“You are correct – it’s all about perception. I feel safer taking the lane at intersections and it works for me. Others feel safer staying at home or wrapping themselves in sheet metal and air bags, and it seems to work for them.”

That is an absurd false dichotomy. To my knowledge, there is no good evidence that aggressive cycling is safer than more cautious cycling. I should also emphasize that despite repeated claims that buffered bike lanes are less safe that conventional bike lanes you have provided no evidence to support your argument. (Your opinion and a youtube video is not evidence.) On the other hand, there is plenty of correlative evidence in Germany and Belgium that very wide bike lanes are safe infrastructure indeed. Moreover, what limited data exists in Portland suggests that buffered bike lanes are not only perceived as safe but are associated with a very significant increase in cycling traffic. That’s more than good enough for me to be a very enthusiastic proponent of well-designed buffered bike lanes.

I also want to add that while you and gutterbunny may feel safer riding at high speeds in close proximity to motorized traffic, the vast majority of people cycling do not. Moreover, it’s 100% feasible to ride safely in portland without “taking the lane” or riding at high speeds near motorvehicles. In fact, the ability of so many people to ride safely without being “experienced”, “skilled”, and/or “vehicular” cyclists is one of the reasons that league of american bicyclist or cycling savvy classes are nonexistent in Portland. (And good riddance to those 0.5% mode share for ever cycling education programs.)

PS: In my opinion, “taking the lane” is language that accepts people cycling as second-hand road users.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

There is a difference between ‘aggressive’ cycling and ‘assertive’ cycling, just thought you should know that…

soren
Guest
soren

OK…swap aggressive for assertive.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I’d say the one being naive is the person who thinks the compromises involved in segregated bike infrastructure can be directly imported to America. Are our drivers paying $5000 to get the training necessary to get licensed? Do we have extensive automated traffic law enforcement? Do we take away motorists’ licenses for breaking the law? Do we have a real test for driving competence and knowledge? (I’m sorry, but scoring 70% isn’t a demonstration of competence or knowledge.)

An Amsterdam system could work here, if we had Dutch drivers. We don’t, we have American drivers. It’s beyond silly to think that our motorists are going to change where they look for hazards simply because you move the cyclists out of their normal scanning area. There’s nothing Rambo about it; it’s the voice of experience.

Mark
Guest
Mark

So, we should never advance, never improve…because what…Americans are just too stupid to understand…a curb? A lane? A light? A sharrow?

Ok..you win.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Are our drivers paying $5000 to get the training necessary…” b carfree

People that bike, aren’t obliged to get training for biking in traffic, so most don’t. Communities find themselves under some pressure to try devise complex bike specific paint on the road, road infrastructure to try counter that lack of knowledge of how to ride a bike safely in traffic.

gutterbunnybikes
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Mark, and that is my point. So what happens if we tout all this infrastructure as improving “safety” and it doesn’t? What if it’s all just a hoax and marketing scheme put on by DOT’s and “think tanks” which are doing so to increase their funding?

And none of us are saying no to infrastructure, but a bike lane is just a road shoulder with little stickmen in peril drawn on it. Their number one function is not to make riding a bicycle more safe, but to keep bicycles from slowing down automotive traffic. That is apparent in the fact that most lanes are barely bigger than 3-4′ which which violates the unwritten (and in some areas written) 3′ rule for passing (and in my case I apply it to any potential object in the street – including curbs and parked cars).

Infact, I largely suspect that bike lanes are inadvertently teaching drivers that it is safe to pass a bicycle rider with less than 3′ since even in a 4′ wide bike lane, if you ride in the middle of it cars are probably less than 3′ from you when they pass.

Believe it or not, the data on it (even segregated lanes) is inconclusive and the effects either way (statistically) are very small. There is a lot more going on in the big world bike share capitals than just some paint and bollards. Even in those towns/cities, most the bike travel is on the roads with cars.

soren
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soren

How is a wide/buffered/painted bike lane “segregated?

wsbob
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wsbob

gutterbunnybikes at: http://bikeportland.org/2015/09/21/monday-roundup-clevelands-backward-bike-lanes-folding-cargo-bike-159857#comment-6556104

“…Their (bike lanes) number one function is not to make riding a bicycle more safe, but to keep bicycles from slowing down automotive traffic. …”

Bike lanes’ number one function is to provide a refuge away from traffic in the main lanes for people traveling by bike. Part of that function is to provide some increase in riding safety, which I believe bike lanes in good condition can do.

I should look it up before I write, but I think Beaverton’s standard bike lane width for new streets and upgrades is either 5′ or 6′. True, there are many bike lanes in cities and around the state that are just glorified road shoulders using the fog line to designate a bike lane. Riding them can present plenty of problems, which serves to emphasize the importance of people that ride, understanding well their full legal right to use the road, and having good judgment, biking skill and experience to support it.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

The only thing missing from that bike lane is a 1-2ft buffer (and maybe occasional bollards) on the traffic side. Riding too close to the curb is probably just as dangerous as riding too close to traffic. It also depends on how fast you’re riding.

I’m really tired of the vehicular vs protected argument. There’s a sweet spot in the middle and the best approach would be to give biking priority in design and enforcement, but it seems like I’m always hearing arguments between “bikes are cars” and “get these bikes out of the road” when we should probably just figure out how to get these cars out of the road.

soren
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soren

that “sweet spot” pretty much guarantees a society with single digit bike mode share.

no thank you.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

I’m not sure how you draw that conclusion. As I said, you have to start with enforcement (of traffic laws, particularly speeding) and priority (for bike mobility). Then, add diverters, buffers, wider, and protected lanes. Most of what I’ve seen for “protected” designs don’t address intersections well or at all, so all you’re actually getting is segregated designs to get bikes out of the way so drivers can go faster and hit you harder at the right hook. I would rather ride near or in slower traffic than into the gutter of every off ramp and be forced to ride to copenhagen each time I want to turn left.

We might not spend long in this painted “sweet spot” on the way to 8-80 facilities, but I think a fully connected network of big and visible painted lanes and strictly enforced speed limits would grow our modeshare much faster than short disconnected bits of experimental failures to emulate dutch designs. When the “Enthused and Confident” can roll through their whole trip at 12-15mph without needing to stop, we’ll be on the right track and ready to pour some concrete for the “interested but concerned”.

wsbob
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wsbob

There’s a lot of comments to the streetsblog story. I’ve just read a few so far. The concept of putting bike lane buffer zones next to the curb instead of between the bike lane and main lane of the road is just so silly. In that location, such a zone is not a buffer between motor vehicle and bike traffic.

True, in that location, it does have some merit, helping to avoid hazards extending out from the curb…and possibly right hook potential…but it’s being assigned to do things that people biking should be equipping themselves to know not to do before they take a bike into traffic.

Notice the guy shown riding in the picture at the top of the streetsblog story, is riding in the buffer rather than the bike lane. If a curb adjacent buffer zone is clean, people obviously will choose to ride such a buffer zone than be riding next to motor vehicle traffic screaming down the road.

Pete
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Pete

“The concept… is just so silly.”

Oh my friend, how could I guess we’d disagree on this? 😉

Actually, we don’t, really, but I guess I’m not articulating my point in many of my comments (big surprise). In the picture, I would neither 1) ride in his position, nor 2) design a lane with such a wide buffer to the curb and no (hashed) buffer on the left. There is ample room in the bike lane pictured to have a 1′ buffer to the left and a little extra width in the bike lane itself (IMHO), with only a narrow buffer to the curb (which is usually where the gutter pan is on many roads – and their seams).

Encouraging bicyclists (via paint) to not trawl the gutter and have to pop in and out around obstacles is not that silly an idea. Speed factors into the equation, though. At higher cycling speeds it’s typically safer to be seen by traffic as well as positioning for more reaction time/space by staying away from curbs and gutter pans. At traffic speeds it even makes sense to me to ride with that traffic. Slower speeds? Yeah, you’ve probably got time to stop when someone cuts you off or pulls out in front of you, no problem, and drivers tend not to trawl gutters so you get extra space too.

People can just ride in the right-hand buffers like this guy, instead of riding over left-hand buffers like I do! 😉

gutterbunnybikes
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All the advantages of road position apply to slower riders too. More vision (you can see around corners further back as you approach intersections, visibility, more reaction space, no need to worry about opening doors, less debris/objects (even potholes tend to occur more at the edges of the street than in the middle).

And though a bit old, this is a decent run down of bicycle accident types and how they stack up against each other in terms of how often they happen. But note it is all incidents without a separation of rural and urban, but it’s a good overall view for those that are curious.

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/PED_BIKE/univcourse/pdf/swless04.pdf

wsbob
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wsbob

The silly idea, is thinking that a lot of funny paint on the road is a better way to encourage people biking to avoid road hazards, than is actually equipping them with the knowledge they need to avoid road hazards.

Laws are on the books that allow people biking, essentially free range to use all parts of the road to avoid hazards to riding. Help people riding to understand they’re not legally obliged to ride too close to the curb, or in the bike lane at all if it’s hazardous to do so.

I think the paint sometimes can make it more difficult to see bits of junk. Another interesting thing about the bike lane and buffer together in the streetsblog picture, is that their total width looks together to be maybe 8′ wide. Even allowing for 18″ or 2′ distance from the curb, that’s a nice wide bike lane. More typically, a 6′ wide bike lane includes the 2′ or so area out from the curb…so effectively, such lanes are only 4′ bike lanes.

Nick Falbo
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Nick Falbo

Your video isn’t necessarily anti-buffer, as much as it is anti-excessive auto capacity. The travel lane that appears and dissapears is basically useless, and had it not been installed, you could have a full buffer along the length of the corridor without the weaving about.

Additionally, the excessive asphalt and wide corner radii (classic California!) encourage high speed turns across the bike lane, no matter where it is located. In conditions like this I’d rather be at least a little farther away so that I can make evasive maneuvers. A 5 ft bike lane directly adjacent to moving traffic offers zero chance of avoiding a right hook made by an inattentive driver.

Pete
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Pete

Exactly! The reason (I was told) that the traffic lanes couldn’t be narrowed is because of the ‘class’ of that road (based on its daily volume). Those lane drops (there are three major ones) accommodate people turning right into the gas stations and malls that follow those intersections, but they also encourage people to accelerate hard and pass on the right during red cycles (which is why I take the lane, which also allows free-flowing right-turners who, as you’ve correctly pointed out, are accustomed to not stopping due to the road design).

I worked with the engineering staff to get the right-turn-only lane installed that you see in this video, arguing that the huge road width at the point would easily accommodate it. If you notice, directly after it the trajectory has the bicyclist go back to the far right, which even puts them temporarily out of view of drivers pulling out of the next street (red Honda, that you’ll notice is a full car-length past the stop line just to see). The argument I was given is that there’s a risk of the bicyclist being hit by a driver merging from the right. Ludicrous! I recommended a “No Turn On Red” sign if that were really a risk, but in years of riding that road in traffic daily, drivers don’t dare pull out into that speeding traffic on their (short) red anyway.

This same staff recently took out a slip lane at a nearby intersection due to pedestrian incidents and its proximity to a school. In doing so, I (successfully) argued for them to place the bike sensor further away from the curb and keep the width of the first traffic lane constant (it widened, then narrowed across the intersection at a mall). At first they explained that their design goal was to keep the bike lane a constant 5′ wide at all points – until I pointed out that my proposal was exactly the configuration they had at the opposite side of the very same intersection. (I also sent video showing bicyclists lining up next to cars while other cars safely turned to the right of them).

You hit the nail directly on the head, Nick!

Pete
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Pete

Also ironically, about a mile west of here (same road) they narrowed the travel lanes to add a 1′ non-hashed buffer to the 5′ bike lane for several residential blocks. Go figure…

gutterbunnybikes
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I agree with you (Pete) on this one. Personally I’d rather take my chances with the very rare (about 5% incidents in an urban setting – but again most of those are at intersection too) instance of being overtaken by a motor vehicle than getting T boned or blocked by a car driving into the lane from a driveway to get a better view of cross traffic before they proceed into the street.

It also gives the bicycle rider better visibility as well.

Mark
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Mark

I watched your video. Looks to me like someone who makes an effort to ride in traffic. Why? Don’t know. Personally, I avoid being rear ended at all costs.

Pete
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Pete

Why? Because the number of right-hooks and near-misses I’ve encountered on this exact stretch of road taught me to ride this way. Doesn’t happen anymore, and my likelihood of being rear-ended is extremely low (in the daytime, especially, and yes, I use mirrors too).

You’ll notice this is at intersections with lane drops immediately after. If I were standing in the bike lane I’d be corking right-turning traffic – these are long lights, by the way – and even putting myself in danger of being hit by someone looking left to gap oncoming traffic. Also note that I’m a strong rider, so I accelerate the same or faster than cars up to ~20 MPH, which means I’m only slowing down those people looking to accelerate hard to pass on the right before the lanes drop – who tend to be the ones willing to continue driving down the bike lanes some distance anyway.

Note that this video is at a non-peak time (Sunday morning) and shows only one vehicle (https://youtu.be/4D4Y50th_lc?t=1m3s) pulling out, and the nose of their car is not blocking the bike lane. That is unusual for these popular strip malls – you’d be repositioning yourself where I’m riding on a frequent basis to get around them. Salmoning, I think they call that.

Of course, there’s always staying strictly in the bike lane as an option – all depends on how quickly you’re approaching people turning right (usually without signalling) in front of you. Actually, wsbob may argue with me on this one, but as I read ORS that’s your only option there. Good thing Oregonians don’t drive like Californians… 😉

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

What if the cost is being T-boned?

wsbob
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wsbob

“Health priorities: Hospitals are banning smoking and fast food, so why aren’t more of them discouraging driving to reach them?” bikeportland

Efforts made to support biking don’t necessarily discourage driving. How much parking for motor vehicles, hospitals typically plan for may be something worth looking at. As would be looking at to what extent, they plan and provide such parking for people other than those that by way of illness, aren’t well advised to bike, walk, or in some cases, even ride mass transit. Also, parking for families and friends of people that come visiting people that are patients.

Hospitals supporting biking to their facilities, for people that are healthy and capable of biking, could possibly reduce dependence on motor vehicles and mass transit to get to hospitals. Some hospitals have many employees, so providing such support could be a big help in having travel to and from the hospital not be confined excessively to motor vehicle and mass transit.

Here in Portland, the OHSU medical facilities both up on the hill and directly down on the waterfront, with the city’s help in building the at the time very controversial tram, has made some definite efforts in this direction; well run bike parking facilities at the base of the tram, helps too.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

From what I’ve heard, the south waterfront facilities are much more convenient for drivers. I’m sure this would be even more true if anybody ever got a speeding ticket on Terwilliger or perhaps some diverters around Condor/Hamilton. Bicycle access to south waterfront still seems like it was an afterthought or at least treated as a major inconvenience by the transportation designers.

wsbob
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wsbob

I drove from the west, Market to Moody over to the Skourtes Tower and the dental school this past winter-spring. The route east of Naito didn’t seem very convenient for driving…confusing and difficult would be more accurately descriptive, what with lane changes and different traffic modes to travel along with (trolley, bikes…). Approaching, I think it’s Harrison, a lot of people riding tend to be on the street; relative to Portland, rather than the big biking cities outside the U.S. They seemed to moving along quite well.

I mean, every day I was there, relatively scads of people on bikes. With the weird lane changes to be made, streetcar tracks to figure out, and people on bikes to watch for, the drive through that fairly small area doesn’t feel easy. Got better with familiarity, but even then, I’d say it’s a demanding drive, compared with say, Downtown streets.

Route difficulties associated with travel by bike or motor vehicle in the South Water front area around the OHSU buildings and the tram, I expect have a lot to do with the general layout of that area. The city has made a bunch of redesign improvements to the streets in that area as it has gradually converted it from a primarily industrial area to the high density bustling, professional, residential, retail it’s become. Very likely there will be refinements introduced to reduce some of the quirks in the design that are bugging people that have to contend with them.

Rob Chapman
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Rob Chapman

That new Xtracycle is awfully tempting for a studio dweller like me. Which bikes would I sell to finance one? Hmmmmm.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

Why do they have a kickstarter for bolting a freeradical onto a tern? Also, didn’t they do that last year and call it “cargo joe”? Did I miss something? 24in wheels?

Rob Chapman
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Rob Chapman

Damn, thanks for pointing out the Cargo Joe Eric. I had no idea it existed (it was also much more affordable than the new iteration).

Chris I
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Chris I

And there is the Bike Friday Haul a Day…

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

Not a folder, but 20in wheels and very adjustable frame (shrinks to fit on a bus bike rack.)

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

Expecting or forcing hospital patrons to chose non-automotive travel options in a land as car centric as America is …
… is as ridiculous as expecting that “market forces” will allow patients to select the cheapest hospital while the ambulance is rushing them to the hospital while they are having a heart attack.

Sure, provide the options, encourage it even.
Understand that as soon as you start restricting access to critical life saving hospital services you will be affecting survival rates for the poorest citizens unable to afford to live close to either the hospital or effective public transit.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

Critical life saving services and scheduled appointments are quite different. If you had to pay $10 to park a car at the hospital, how many lives would be saved because ambulances could get there faster with less traffic in the way?

Mao
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Mao

Discouraging driving rather than encouraging biking is a poor idea. I try to donate blood and when I do I also bring my friend who can double donate. It would be dangerous for me to make the uphill return trip, as bicycling is a physical activity and it takes me about three hours to get back to normal after a donation.

My Dad can have gout flareups and since it’s random when it happens he can’t get a disability parking permit. As long as he doesn’t put presser on his left foot he can drive, but walking is very slow.

This aren’t life-or-death problems, but the more barriers in the way could have a long term effect. Of those people who ride normally, how many would be able to climb to OHSU?

Chris I
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Chris I

You can ride a bike after donating blood. I do it several times per year. Just hydrate well and take it easy.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

What about if you are elderly?
What about if you are injured?
What if you have mobility issues?
What if × 1,000?

The problem is that in the absence of a real comprehensive public transportation system the only people who will be able to afford concierge travel to all medical facilities will be the rich.

In our dismal American Car Heaven the automobile is subsidized in to being the most affordable and “common sense” travel option for the poor. Restrict that and you are indirectly impacting the health and longevity of the poor.

Full stop.

Val
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Val

How many people work at any given hospital? Come to visit patients? They might be capable of biking.

Pete
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Pete

My wife works at a nearby hospital here in California, and the traffic is so bad just in the traffic circle by their parking garage that she’s grown to love bike commuting. This Kaiser also has plenty of bike lockers for safe keeping (even though her bike got stolen last week while locked with a U-lock on the rack in front of a busy entrance – advice: always grind the key code off of your U-lock…). Like me, I’m surprised more people don’t just try bike commuting, as it’s so much more enjoyable than sitting in traffic.

mark
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mark

gutterbunnybikes
Mark, and that is my point. So what happens if we tout all this infrastructure as improving “safety” and it doesn’t? What if it’s all just a hoax and marketing scheme put on by DOT’s and “think tanks” which are doing so to increase their funding?And none of us are saying no to infrastructure, but a bike lane is just a road shoulder with little stickmen in peril drawn on it. Their number one function is not to make riding a bicycle more safe, but to keep bicycles from slowing down automotive traffic. That is apparent in the fact that most lanes are barely bigger than 3-4′ which which violates the unwritten (and in some areas written) 3′ rule for passing (and in my case I apply it to any potential object in the street – including curbs and parked cars).Infact, I largely suspect that bike lanes are inadvertently teaching drivers that it is safe to pass a bicycle rider with less than 3′ since even in a 4′ wide bike lane, if you ride in the middle of it cars are probably less than 3′ from you when they pass.Believe it or not, the data on it (even segregated lanes) is inconclusive and the effects either way (statistically) are very small. There is a lot more going on in the big world bike share capitals than just some paint and bollards. Even in those towns/cities, most the bike travel is on the roads with cars.Recommended 1

Here is the deal…Portland’s fatalities for cars and bikes is well below the national average. The dutch model is the gold standard and we are well imitating that badly. In my view, even that poor imitation is saving lives.

I seriously don’t even know why we are debating bike lanes. They aren’t new or complicated. They simply put everyone in their place on the road.

are
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i think gutterbunny’s point is that bike lanes often put cyclists in the wrong place on the road

soren
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soren

i’m seeing lots of judgement (e.g. wrong place on the road) and very little actual evidence. moreover, the idea that someone riding in a bike lane should exit a bike lane and mix it up with fast moving vehicle traffic at intersections is a complete non-starter in portland. if someone wants to do this…fine…but making it some sort of litmus test of “safe” cycling is patently absurd.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

But you don’t have to leave the bike lane to “mix it up” with motor traffic at an intersection—it just happens, whether you like it or not. Exiting the bike lane (or installing separate signals with different timings for cars and bikes) is a way for a cyclist to better control the interaction that will inevitably happen.

soren
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soren

the exiting and controlling part is stressful for many people and entirely optional.

i honestly can’t remember the last time I saw someone do the little VC dance when approach an intersection in portland. oh wait…there was that video of john allen riding around portland. 😉

Pete
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Pete

“They simply put everyone in their place on the road.”

My (safest and legal) place on the road in several intersections I ride through is outside of the marked bike lane (and I’m not willing to debate that with you anymore). One recent intersection that was “improved” for bicyclist safety (Moorpark & Williams in San Jose) now causes a problem for cyclists doing this, though (and I’m not the only one, believe it or not ;).

Before, there was no bike lane or dedicated right-turn lane, and I could merge with traffic in the first lane and signal and turn right with traffic, no problem. Other riders had a wide enough marked shoulder they could ride in, and they had to run a gauntlet of merging traffic and two right turns into a strip mall to get to this turn (which isn’t bad if you’re riding slow enough and some drivers are willing to yield to you). The new configuration establishes a RTOL and a marked bike lane to the left continuing straight into a new road diet on Moorpark (bike lanes are often used by planners to calm traffic, but I assume you know that).

If this new configuration augmented the RTOL with a sharrows it would help, but instead if you merge and position yourself within the flow of right-turning traffic (to avoid being squeezed into the curb), the drivers behind you assume you’re going straight onto Moorpark – and it’s not really the driver’s fault for not being able to figure out where you’re going, because the marked shoulder disappears and they’re now inclined to believe bicyclists are only allowed to ride straight (cuz that’s what the paint says).

It’s not so simple in practice, really. (BTW, try suggesting sharrows alongside a marked bicycle lane to a city engineer and see how that goes).

Oh, and now it’s marked with green paint, which means it’s really illegal for me to ride outside of it! 😉

soren
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soren

“My (safest and legal) place on the road in several intersections I ride through is outside of the marked bike lane…

Pure anecdote. I personally know people who have been cycling safely for many years who cycle like pedestrians on busy roads or at busy intersections.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…I seriously don’t even know why we are debating bike lanes. They aren’t new or complicated. They simply put everyone in their place on the road.” mark

Do you believe similarly that laws acknowledging the right of people traveling the road by bike to leave the bike lane, for reasons such as turns and avoidance of hazards, among others, is part of putting people that bike, in their place?

Bike lanes offer ‘a place’ on the road for people biking, though it’s by no means ‘the only’ place on the road they’ve a right to ride.

Mark
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Mark

You are over complicating bike lanes and further conflating bike rights with bike responsibilities. If they pose a philosophical problem to you, then do what’s right for you. Ultimately… You will either be found right or wrong by the natural order and will pay with your body like we all do…biking.

Bike lanes are no panacea.

Pete
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Pete

If it was “philosophical” I wouldn’t be posting videos and examples. If you don’t believe it’s complicated, get involved with bicycle planning and funding.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Per Cleveland…facility innovation takes many forms and is usually a based on the local engineer’s filter of what they “think” the “bike safety” problem to solve is…in Cleveland it may be “fixed objects” or glass along the gutter. [Note: Tongue in cheek.].. or the need for snow storage? [Straight face: It snows there.]

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

The reason might just be the striping crew / contractor held the standard detail upside down and the inspector did not know any better…or more likely (and worse) they did a field change by over thinking what the design engineer/ consultant engineer wanted and flipped the design without telling the engineer (perhaps it was a weekend work task or during the engineer’s summer vacation) it was about the be “corrected”.

These things happen a lot in the real world and the outcomes are often like this when public works departments / contractors do not have a lot of institutional experience with new designs especially bikeway facilities they have no direct experience in using as an end user.

Pete
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Pete

soren
“You are correct – it’s all about perception. I feel safer taking the lane at intersections and it works for me. Others feel safer staying at home or wrapping themselves in sheet metal and air bags, and it seems to work for them.”That is an absurd false dichotomy. To my knowledge, there is no good evidence that aggressive cycling is safer than more cautious cycling. I should also emphasize that despite repeated claims that buffered bike lanes are less safe that conventional bike lanes you have provided no evidence to support your argument. (Your opinion and a youtube video is not evidence.) On the other hand, there is plenty of correlative evidence in Germany and Belgium that very wide bike lanes are safe infrastructure indeed. Moreover, what limited data exists in Portland suggests that buffered bike lanes are not only perceived as safe but are associated with a very significant increase in cycling traffic. That’s more than good enough for me to be a very enthusiastic proponent of well-designed buffered bike lanes.I also want to add that while you and gutterbunny may feel safer riding at high speeds in close proximity to motorized traffic, the vast majority of people cycling do not. Moreover, it’s 100% feasible to ride safely in portland without “taking the lane” or riding at high speeds near motorvehicles. In fact, the ability of so many people to ride safely without being “experienced”, “skilled”, and/or “vehicular” cyclists is one of the reasons that league of american bicyclist or cycling savvy classes are nonexistent in Portland. (And good riddance to those 0.5% mode share for ever cycling education programs.)PS: In my opinion, “taking the lane” is language that accepts people cycling as second-hand road users.Recommended 0

1) My lane positioning is not “aggressive” (but I appreciate the compliment ;), nor is allowing yourself to be on the right of cars that you know are turning right a “safe” practice. Furthermore, Portland and Silicon Valley are two radically different places to ride (with differing laws, in fact), and I can introduce you (maybe on 10/1) to several of my Portland friends who’ve ridden with me down here who’ll vouch for that. For one, cars are required to use bike lanes as right-turn lanes here, by law. Mixing bicycles and cars at intersections here is completely unavoidable (as it is in many other cities besides Portland) – unless you’re on a MUP, where you mix bicycles with pedestrians instead.

2) “…despite repeated claims that buffered bike lanes are less safe that conventional bike lanes you have provided no evidence to support your argument.”

I’ve made no such claim. I’m a huge fan of buffered bike lanes and have played a role in getting them implemented here in silly valley. The road in my video has what I consider good buffers just previous to the section shown, and the RTOL in the video came from my proposal, which you may notice includes a 1′ buffer (that I asked to be hashed).

The large, uneven, hashed bulb-outs (in my video), on the other hand, do neither cyclists nor drivers any favors, nor does yo-yo-ing bicyclists in and out of view with road variations. Did I not articulate that?

3) “…what limited data exists in Portland suggests that buffered bike lanes are not only perceived as safe but are associated with a very significant increase in cycling traffic.”

Tell me something I don’t know.

4) “…very wide bike lanes are safe infrastructure indeed.”

Indeed! But I don’t live in Europe, I live in an area where a company as wealthy as Apple can get away with building a gigantic new headquarters while leaving rough, littered, tree-rooted and pocked 5′ bike lanes with 18″ gutter pans (with tire-swallowing seams) in place for their employees and the community to risk using on a daily basis. I live where city engineers disagree that 14′ is too wide for each of three travel lanes, but keeping bike lanes at a consistent 5′ width adjacent to curbs is a design goal – and they believe that consistency is what will prevent bicyclists from straying into traffic and getting themselves hit.

5) “In my opinion, “taking the lane” is language that accepts people cycling as second-hand road users.”

No, a society with a legal system that fails to pursue and prosecute drivers who kill and leave bicyclists and pedestrians is what accepts people cycling as second-hand road users. Safe lane positioning (and the laws that support it) asserts people bicycling as actual road users. Oh, and bike lanes, conservative use of sharrows, and replacing “Share The Road” signs with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane.”

6) “That’s more than good enough for me to be a very enthusiastic proponent of well-designed buffered bike lanes.”

Would you consider the bike lane in my video to be well-designed, and why?

7) “…good riddance to those …cycling education programs.”

So you’ve taken those classes, yes? I take it you consider them too “VC” for Portland? What existing alternatives might you suggest?

8) “I also want to add that while you and gutterbunny may feel safer riding at high speeds in close proximity to motorized traffic, the vast majority of people cycling do not.”

Glad you got that off your chest. You ride as slowly as you wish and stop chastising me for riding fast safely and nowhere near pedestrians. My style of riding may inconvenience an impatient driver now and again, but it’s virtually eliminated near-misses for me. I don’t know why you see it as a threat to wide, buffered bike lanes.

Pete
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Pete
soren
Guest
soren

nor is allowing yourself to be on the right of cars that you know are turning right a “safe” practice.”

Despite thousands of daredevils riding to the right of cars, portland is still among the safest places to bike commute in north america.

I’ve made no such claim.

well that’s how I interpreted this:

I disagree that those buffers are painted “on the wrong side.” IMO the engineer is doing bicyclists a favor by putting them within the peripheral view of drivers, and keeping them at the same relative distance throughout the length of roadway variations.

I would appreciate a massive hatched buffer on the 5 foot US30 bike lane!

And gutter trawling is not the nicest turn of phrase:

Encouraging bicyclists (via paint) to not trawl the gutter and have to pop in and out around obstacles is not that silly an idea.

No, a society with a legal system…“Bicycles May Use Full Lane.”

I feel no need to “take” something that is my right.

So you’ve taken those classes, yes? I take it you consider them too “VC” for Portland? What existing alternatives might you suggest?

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/151364
No advanced lane-taking techniques are taught or required!

Glad you got that off your chest. You ride as slowly as you wish and stop chastising me for riding fast safely and nowhere near pedestrians.

I love riding fast, in traffic, but most people do not.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Soren: “Despite thousands of daredevils riding to the right of cars, Portland is still among the safest places to bike commute in north america.”

I’d argue that’s because drivers are required by Oregon law to yield to us rather than merge with us, but after reading this blog for a decade it seems that’s changing there. Here, by law, all bike lanes turn into right-turn lanes 100′ before each intersection (and drivers often extend that). We get dashed lines… you get bike boxes.

Pete: “Encouraging bicyclists (via paint) to not trawl the gutter and have to pop in and out around obstacles is not that silly an idea.”

The bike lane in my video not only encourages but constrains bicyclists to the furthest 5′ of a very wide roadway. It is indeed gutter trawling because the crown of this roadway forces debris from fender-benders and trees into the bike lane, and you already lose 1′ of that 5′ to the gutter pan. As I mentioned, this space is often obscured with the noses of vehicles pulling out of the malls shown on the right.

My proposed solution took 1′ away from each travel lane and added it to both the right and left of the bike lane, giving you a 1′ hashed buffer between 40 MPH traffic and an extra foot of width (mitigating that taken by the gutter). Unlike Cleveland, you wouldn’t have to paint a buffer on the right of the bike lane because the gutter pan does that for you. Just a mile before this, 1′ total was taken to become a (non-hashed) buffer for several residential blocks, as I mention above.

Soren: “And gutter trawling is not the nicest turn of phrase…”,
“I feel no need to “take” something that is my right.”

Neither are terms I coined, nor is sensitivity my forte, so sorry if I’ve offended anyone.

Soren: “No advanced lane-taking techniques are taught or required!”

Thanks for the link (I’d attend if I were still nearby). How are left turns taught? Do they cover how to leave bicycle lanes for any reason?

LAB’s Smart Cycling course teaches that the ‘proper’ lane position for a bicyclist is in the right-most lane that goes in the direction they’re heading. Best case is that that’s a bike lane, but the course goes on to show positioning relative to cars based on the width of that lane – since, of course, not all roads have bike lanes. If the lane width won’t allow for safe/legal passing, then you’re taught “scanning” for gaps in traffic, proper signalling, and positioning yourself in the center of that lane.

I really don’t see how this compares to the Foresteresque “Vehicular Cycling” that I’m being (falsely) accused of advocating here, and I consider it basic enough for children to understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGR8LLHtGE8

Whether parents want their children armed with this education, or to constrain them to MUPS, bike lanes, and Copenhagen lefts is up to them.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…The bike lane in my video not only encourages but constrains bicyclists to the furthest 5′ of a very wide roadway. …” Pete

Bike lanes don’t “…constrain…” people biking to the area of roads paint striped for bike lanes. Done responsibly and with care, no problem rolling right over the painted line, as needed.

Pavement paint designating main lane from bike lane in part serves to indicate to people driving, that part of the road they’re restricted from traveling on (except in states that have chosen to allow use of the bike lane to approach an intersection in preparation for turns, left or right as the case may be.

People biking can, according to the law, ride any lane of the road they legitimately need to. It’s people that drive that are limited from traveling with their motor vehicles in the bike lane.

Pete
Guest
Pete

That’s funny, when I posted a video of me riding outside of a bike lane, your ‘bike community’ called me out for advocating “VC riding everywhere!”. My point was actually in complete alignment with just about everyone else’s, ironically, in that bicyclists shouldn’t have to leave properly designed bike lanes, either in order to be seen, or in order to avoid debris, tree roots, gutter pan seams, or vehicle bumpers and hoods (like the Cleveland lane is trying to accomplish, albeit I think we’ve established not ideally).

You’ve said yourself that bicyclists in general don’t take opportunities for education, but rather rely on experience to modify behavior (i.e. positioning on the roadway, riding on the sidewalk, or neither for those who encounter situations that scare them out of bicycling altogether, like Mark noted). Given that assumption, observe where bicyclists place themselves. As we stood on this roadway at these key intersections over a few peak hours, the majority of the bicyclists stood on the little bike-person* (that tells us where to stand to be sensed) while cars either backed up behind them or cut sometimes very closely around them.

Every once in a while you’d see someone position just to the right of cars going straight, or even centered as I was, which freed up the right-turning flow of traffic, but what I pointed out was to watch the other side of the intersection when the light turned green. In every case someone did this, cars turning into the malls would signal (always, which is unusual here) and patiently turn in behind the bicyclist (who was then on the left edge of the bike lane or to the left of it, but rarely centered like I was in the video). In every case that bicyclists were only in the bike lane (sometimes both positions were taken), the first car in the right lane would accelerate hard to turn in front of the biker – but the most important observation was that the following cars would do the same. The bicyclists who started out across the intersection from the center of the bike lane were always forced to stop and wait for right-turning traffic into the malls (and we did see near-misses, too).

There is a reason why people refer to this positioning as control.

So yes, we agree that bicyclists have a legal right to position themselves where they feel safest on the roadway (which I find ironic to get called out for here), but for the most part they don’t – especially if the paint tells them not to.

*Note that these particular intersections use video detection.

soren
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soren

No one called you out or accused you of being “VC”. I did criticize your repeated suggestion that “taking the lane” or “lane control” (VC techniques) maximizes safety. And I stand by Portland’s bike safety record as evidence that “lane control” is not necessary for safe cycling.

Pete
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Pete

…in Portland, yes.

wsbob
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wsbob

Don’t know what you mean by ‘bike community’ supposedly passing judgment on your ideas.

If people seeking to drive weren’t legally required to be tested for ability to drive a car in traffic, many likely wouldn’t bother to learn about doing that so they could at least pass the test. Skills and knowledge necessary to ride bikes safely in traffic, differ in significantly from skill and knowledge required for driving.

It logically figures that with people not being required to prepare to be tested for ability to ride safely in traffic, a lot of people biking on the road, are not well equipped with knowledge necessary for safe biking. This being true, is commonly evidenced by examples of people biking that aren’t effectively using their right to use of road in ways that help insure their own safety, and manage traffic situations they enter into.

I think some of these infrastructure ideas like the buffers and bike boxes, come about in part to help deal with this unpreparedness on the part of people biking. People riding that are strong and quick, don’t need all that stuff so much anyway, but the people that are going to want to be riding say, not much more than 5 mph to 10 mph, should have available to them in various locations, a greater level of bike specific infrastructure. First and foremost, underlying all safe riding, should be people acquiring some solid knowledge of how they can help themselves to travel safely in traffic with lots of motor vehicles.

Pete
Guest
Pete

A question I thought of after your last response: do you think most drivers who watch me ride through that huge hashed buffer section in my video think to themselves “Oh, he’s going straight” or even “he’s allowed to be there…”, or do you suppose they may be more inclined to think “Why isn’t that idiot riding over there in that bike lane??”

So the ‘bike community’ thing is my sarcasm coming through, stemming from the dogmatic belief of many online commenters that we should somehow “police our own”… like I’ve got Cousin Bob’s cell phone number and can talk him out of running that stop sign that I just know he’s gonna do next time he mounts his bicycle… cuz, you know, all bicyclists run stop signs, and he might just become Dead Right mixing it up out here with us Cars!

I did see reference to a “VC dance”, and I did get accused of making “an effort to ride in traffic” – which I somehow proclaimed was “good” – and I was also called “naive” for adjusting my positioning to avoid being right-hooked as much as I was getting when I first moved from Oregon to California a few years back and had to adjust to the difference in traffic speed and volume, unprotected merges, and lack of turn signal use that is prevalent here. It’s a VERY different world than the Portland microcosm, which holds true for several other places I’ve ridden. It’s even a different Portland now than I knew: SW Harrison, for instance, didn’t have bike lanes, so yeah, taking the lane was your best option to south waterfront but timed lights and a slight downhill made it easy – and no, there wasn’t a pedestrian bridge.

Apologies, though, as I’ve had a particularly tough week and maybe took it out a little on other commenters here. The reality is that we all follow this blog because we’re passionate about (particularly staying safe while) bicycling, and either still live in, want to move to, have ties with, or want to learn from bicycling in Portland specifically. Some of us tend to ‘vehemently agree’ sometimes…

Frankly I was hoping to get up to Portland this weekend (actually wanted to head out this Friday to hit Crater Lake rim road being car-free) so I could attend next Friday’s BP anniversary and meet many of you, but home and work obligations (I do work from home, but travel often), and friends climbing Mt. Ham on Sunday will postpone my North-bound tendencies (capitalized for you Jerry Joseph friends and fans 😉 by a week – when, coincidentally, some Portland friends will find themselves cycling in the Shasta area.

Anyhow, I digress. I think you already know my thoughts on providing a minimal of bicyclist education through DMVs, as well as reformatting their preparations for the drivers’ tests to address situations instead of rote memory of laws (i.e. the question I got wrong when taking CA driver exam was that you have 5 days to register a new car with the DMV… silly me, I thought it was 10).

Example 1: For what reason might you see a bicyclist riding in the middle of a travel lane next to a marked bicycle lane?
A) They’re avoiding debris.
B) They’re self-entitled and think they own the road.
C) They’re preparing to turn left.
D) Both A and C.
E) All of the above. 😉

Example 2: Why should you stop before a marked crosswalk before making a right turn at a red light?
A) It’s not necessary because the law allows right turns on red.
B) Traffic might be coming and hit me.
C) A pedestrian may be entering on the right.
D) A pedestrian in the crosswalk may not see or hear me.
E) Both C and D.

BUT, this is not what we have, so until then bicyclists will tend to ride where the painted lines tell them to, and not where many drivers (and bicyclists, and even police) believe that it’s actually illegal for them to.

And I think you nailed it on the head: education is key.

KTRSD!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Pete…this week’s edition of the Roundup is getting old, and the mods are sometimes slow to post my comments, so I’ll catch you in the next discussion.

Kind of doubt there can, or should be a simple ‘one size fits all’ infrastructure to support the wide range of people that are biking, or could be biking in conditions met their needs. Definitely, there are people that, considering themselves riding, just don’t want to have to mess with riding in motor vehicle traffic. For them the VC thing is essentially out; they need protected bike infrastructure if they’re going to ride.

Plenty of people though, I think do have the will and the strength to hold their own in the main lanes of traffic. A lot of them nevertheless may not ride much outside the bike lane, or may be anxious about doing so due to vagueness about the extent of the road the law acknowledges they have a right to use.

I’m glad to see better infrastructure created that will support the ‘no VC 5 mph to 10 mph people riding’ as cities are able to do it. It seems likely that having such infrastructure be common, will take years. So I’d hope that more people realize this, and not wait, instead developing a familiarity with bike specific laws and acquiring at least some bike specific riding skills beyond the basic hand signals, for riding a bike in traffic.

soren
Guest
soren

I also believe that people cycling should be able to ride in any lane but this “belief” did not prevent me from receiving a $260 ticket.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Pete

soren But I don’t live in Europe, I live in an area where a company as wealthy as Apple can get away with building a gigantic new headquarters while leaving rough, littered, tree-rooted and pocked 5′ bike lanes with 18″ gutter pans (with tire-swallowing seams) in place for their employees and the community to risk using on a daily basis. I live where city engineers disagree that 14′ is too wide for each of three travel lanes, but keeping bike lanes at a consistent 5′ width adjacent to curbs is a design goal – and they believe that consistency is what will prevent bicyclists from straying into traffic and getting themselves hit.5) “In my opinion, “taking the lane” is language that accepts people cycling as second-hand road users.”No, a society with a legal system that fails to pursue and prosecute drivers who kill and leave bicyclists and pedestrians is what accepts people cycling as second-hand road users. Recommended 0

San Jose/Cupertino “bay area”…there is no bigger shrine to the automobile.

Well…maybe LA.

Pete
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Pete

We also have entire networks of connected bike trails, year-round formidable bicycling conditions, and some of the most scenic and beautiful biking opportunities on the west coast, not to mention a very large and engaged population of bicyclists working with communities to improve biking and walking in the region.

Have you ridden extensively both here and in Portland? What’s your point?

Pete
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Pete

Oh, and we already have bike share, too… 😉

Mark
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Mark

You were complaining about it. Now it’s awesome?

Pete
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Pete

You’re right, I should stop riding because there are too many cars here.