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RE: [CF] Re: Car-Free

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  • Fitzsimmons, Diane
    My experience has been the same as Leonard s, although we are still in the infancy stage (might even say fetal) stage. Bike routes were established by putting
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
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      My experience has been the same as Leonard's, although we are still in
      the infancy stage (might even say fetal) stage.

      Bike routes were established by putting up signs. No special lanes.
      The bike-touring community was instrumental in setting this up by
      insisting that the road be shared with bikes. Which it should be. But
      right now it is an uneasy truce between bikes and autos, with the
      cyclists doing a combination of being brave and risking their lives or
      taking to the sidewalks (it's legal here) when necessary and drivers
      being alternately overly careful (I hate it when they have the
      right-of-way and stop and wave you on) and obnoxious.

      But I have noticed a real increase in bicycle traffic. The city built a
      wide sidewalk along a major four-lane road that forms a northern
      boundary. A lot of people laughed; one guy even campaigned about it as
      a waste of tax dollars. "Why build that? No one walks there."

      They do now. And ride their bikes. (BTW, that guy didn't get elected.)

      But it does require people to be pioneers.

      Diane Fitzsimmons
      Norman, Okla., USA

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: lsegnitz [mailto:lsegnitz@...]
      > Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 3:16 PM
      > To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [CF] Re: Car-Free
      >
      >
      > A "Bicycle Master Plan" was drawn up for the city I live in. They
      > looked at the network of roads and assigned values to "current usage"
      > and "latent usage". The "latent usage" was interesting in that it
      > asked "if facilities were built how many more would cycle there?".
      > They approached the problem from a "build it and they will come"
      > perspective. Bike lanes do wonders for attracting more cyclists.
    • Michael Graff
      If we hope to see an increase in cycling, and a decrease in motoring, then we need to not describe cyclists on roadways as being brave and risking their
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
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        If we hope to see an increase in cycling, and a decrease in motoring,
        then we need to not describe cyclists on roadways as "being brave and
        risking their lives". We don't describe motorists on roadways
        (piloting a two ton vehicle at high speed) as being brave and risking
        their lives, even though they certainly are (at about the same rate as
        cyclists). If roadway motoring is normal, then so is roadway cycling.

        Likewise, if we really are worried about cyclists risking their lives,
        then we need to not describe sidewalk cycling as either necessary (to
        stay out of the way of more important traffic?) or safer.

        Cycling on roadways, according to the same rules of the road as
        everybody else, is known to be the safest way to operate a bicycle.
        And it's the best way to reliably travel anywhere by bicycle using the
        roads that exist today and for the forseeable future.

        It's also a lot more enjoyable being a cyclist when you treat yourself
        as a first class citizen and not as an interloper. [I've tried it
        both ways. Interloper is no fun.]

        I don't mean to pick on Diane here, but this sort of wording is common
        and I believe it's counterproductive to the goal. We tend to describe
        cyclists as being in the way, risking their lives, being crazy, or
        otherwise abnormal for being on the roads. That doesn't strike me as
        particularly effective way to encourage more people to use cycling as
        transportation.

        --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Fitzsimmons, Diane"
        <dcfitzsimmons@o...> wrote:

        > Bike routes were established by putting up signs. No special lanes.
        > The bike-touring community was instrumental in setting this up by
        > insisting that the road be shared with bikes. Which it should be. But
        > right now it is an uneasy truce between bikes and autos, with the
        > cyclists doing a combination of being brave and risking their lives or
        > taking to the sidewalks (it's legal here) when necessary and drivers
        > being alternately overly careful (I hate it when they have the
        > right-of-way and stop and wave you on) and obnoxious.
      • De Clarke
        it s a tough call -- to decide how much emphasis to place on road danger. local conditions vary a lot, so it s hard to generalise. it s easy to scoff at
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 29, 2004
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          it's a tough call -- to decide how much emphasis to place
          on road danger. local conditions vary a lot, so it's hard
          to generalise. it's easy to scoff at scaredy-cats if one's
          local conditions are semi-civilised.

          I really noticed in Bellingham that drivers there seemed more
          moderate, more respectful of cyclists and peds, less speedy,
          than what I am used to (ugh) back home. the contrast was
          vivid. for example: today, when occupying the lane at a red
          light (as is my right under CVC) I was honked at by some young
          feller in a monster truck who came up behind me and wanted to
          turn right.

          there was no R turn lane and so he had to wait for the light to
          turn green, just as he would if I had been in a car. this
          upset him. he rolled his giant truck forward until his bumper
          was nearly touching my rear wheel and honked some more. where
          did he expect me to go? onto the sidewalk, possibly -- he
          wouldn't be the first driver to yell "Get on the sidewalk" at a
          local cyclist.

          instead of making helpful suggestions :-) this guy contented
          himself with yelling "A**hole!" out of his window as the light
          turned green and I pulled away. evidently he doesn't "get" the
          basic idea that cyclists have equal rights to the road. or that
          he might have to wait his turn at a light. ditto the guy two
          days earlier who almost nailed me at the same intersection
          by jumping the green light with his left turn, tyres screaming,
          determined that he was not gonna wait for oncoming traffic
          to clear, CVC be damned.

          something like this happens just about every week during my
          brief commute, and sometimes more than once per week. last
          night I saw a motorist win the Clueless Award by speeding past
          and then cutting off (seriously, only a couple of feet to
          spare) a police motorcyclist. that one, needless to say, was
          noticed and pulled over :-) if I were an officer I could
          hand out citations for extralegal and dangerous driving
          just about every day.

          my point -- aside from general VC kvetching -- is that
          dangerous/aggro/abusive driving is more common in some places
          than others, and so our feelings of being safe or at-riski on
          our local roads may not be good indicators of conditions
          elsewhere. aggro driving has got much worse in my town over
          the last 10 years or so.

          now, that still doesn't make me a "facilities" wonk -- for
          reasons I go into in more detail in essay cited earlier

          http://www.ucolick.org/~de/AltTrans/BikeSafeDebate.html

          but I do acknowledge that not everyone has the stubbornness, or
          the tolerance for verbal abuse, that it can take to stake out
          one's road turf as a cyclist in a town where bad driving is
          prevalent. if you live in a town or county where the local
          police culture is very pro-car, enforcement is lax, and
          motorists have a tradition of speeding and bullying without
          consequences, then it can sometimes *feel* like you are at
          great risk on the road.

          here, for example, it takes a lot of persistence to get the
          police to follow up on a dangerous driving incident, even if
          you have the license plate and vehicle description. there is
          only one community officer for ped/bike complaints and it is
          not his entire job description. most people don't bother to
          report bullying behaviour by drivers, since no action is taken
          by the cops and the bad behaviour is so ubiquitous.

          the *real* risk of being nailed by some spoiled brat having a
          traffic tantrum is actually fairly low, but the *perceived*
          risk is high, especially to those without a combative, type-A
          personality that "rises to the challenge" of constant
          provocation and rudeness. last weekend a buddy of mine had a
          penny thrown at him from a passing truck on the local highway --
          a trivial nuisance, you might think, but a copper penny
          launched at 65 mph hitting the exposed back of a cyclist
          sweating uphill at 8mph is fairly painful. his reaction was to
          flip off the rapidly-disappearing mv and keep riding, cussing
          for a mile or so. a more timid, younger, or less aggressive
          personality might have turned around and headed for home,
          vowing never to ride that road again. a novice cyclist
          might have swerved and crashed.

          ---

          a headline I read this morning said "Bike and E-Bike sales up
          due to higher gas prices". my guess is that the more light 2-
          wheelers there are on the road, the less acceptable will be the
          menacing, bullying, and aggro behaviour among drivers. some
          rather convincing recent research suggests that the single
          most important factor in both cyclist and ped safety is
          numbers -- the more the safer. so things may get better...

          de

          .............................................................................
          :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
          :Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
          :Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
          :1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
        • Fitzsimmons, Diane
          Thank you, Michael, for your kind correction. I know that you have shared before that statistics show that being on a sidewalk is not as safe. I have no
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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            Thank you, Michael, for your kind correction.

            I know that you have shared before that statistics show that being on a
            sidewalk is not as safe. I have no reason to doubt your statistics.

            But in my city during the last 10 years all the vechicular-pedestrian
            deaths and vehicular-bicyclist deaths have taken place in the street and
            not on the sidewalk.

            For instance, a young bicyclist was recently killed when he sat in the
            left-turn lane of a four-lane, major road with no bike lanes, with a
            40-mph speed limit that is, quite frankly, frequently flouted and with
            red lights that are frequently "beaten" by speeding drivers. It was
            after dark, his bike had no lights. The intersection is well lit. The
            driver of the car behind him hit him and knocked him into the oncoming
            traffic where he was hit again and killed.

            When I have to travel this road (about three times a year) I always take
            the wide sidewalk next to it. There are few, if any pedestrians, and
            few curbcuts, which I always slow down for. When I have to cross the
            street, I wait for the pedestrian walk light and make sure all traffic
            has stopped. Red lights are run so frequently there that I must take
            that precaution.

            Perhaps now would be a good time to explain under what circumstances
            sidewalk biking is more dangerous than road biking. Perhaps in large
            urban areas where there are lots of pedestrians? Perhaps because
            children are being factored in?

            I don't see myself as an interloper. In fact, I feel I have more of a
            right to the road on my bicycle than a car (it's unlikely I will kill
            anyone with my bike and I'm not polluting). :^) But in a world where
            road rage seems to be increasingly common and driver's education is no
            longer taught in the schools, I sometimes prefer a sidewalk to mixing
            with auto traffic without the benefit of bike lanes. Obviously YMMV (or
            whatever the car-free equivalent is :^) )

            Diane Fitzsimmons
            Norman, Okla., USA

            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Michael Graff [mailto:michael.graff@...]
            > Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 4:49 PM
            > To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [CF] Re: Cycling and safety
            >
            > If we hope to see an increase in cycling, and a decrease in motoring,
            > then we need to not describe cyclists on roadways as "being brave and
            > risking their lives". We don't describe motorists on roadways
            > (piloting a two ton vehicle at high speed) as being brave and risking
            > their lives, even though they certainly are (at about the same rate as
            > cyclists). If roadway motoring is normal, then so is roadway cycling.
            >
            > Likewise, if we really are worried about cyclists risking their lives,
            > then we need to not describe sidewalk cycling as either necessary (to
            > stay out of the way of more important traffic?) or safer.
            >
            > Cycling on roadways, according to the same rules of the road as
            > everybody else, is known to be the safest way to operate a bicycle.
            > And it's the best way to reliably travel anywhere by bicycle using the
            > roads that exist today and for the forseeable future.
            >
            > It's also a lot more enjoyable being a cyclist when you treat yourself
            > as a first class citizen and not as an interloper. [I've tried it
            > both ways. Interloper is no fun.]
            >
            > I don't mean to pick on Diane here, but this sort of wording is common
            > and I believe it's counterproductive to the goal. We tend to describe
            > cyclists as being in the way, risking their lives, being crazy, or
            > otherwise abnormal for being on the roads. That doesn't strike me as
            > particularly effective way to encourage more people to use cycling as
            > transportation.
            >
            > --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Fitzsimmons, Diane"
            > <dcfitzsimmons@o...> wrote:
            >
            > > Bike routes were established by putting up signs. No special lanes.
            > > The bike-touring community was instrumental in setting this up by
            > > insisting that the road be shared with bikes. Which it should be.
            But
            > > right now it is an uneasy truce between bikes and autos, with the
            > > cyclists doing a combination of being brave and risking their lives
            or
            > > taking to the sidewalks (it's legal here) when necessary and drivers
            > > being alternately overly careful (I hate it when they have the
            > > right-of-way and stop and wave you on) and obnoxious.
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • Whitney Turner
            I have a sort of evolutionary game I play in similar circumstances: If I am first in line, I take a position in the center of the sensor loop, behind the
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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              I have a sort of evolutionary game I play in similar circumstances:

              If I am first in line, I take a position in the center of the sensor loop,
              behind the stopline. Most corners here have wide corner radii. I have a
              helmet mirror. If someone comes up behind me with their right turn signal
              on, or turns it on in time for me to see it, I move forward and to the
              left, still well inside the lane, to let them make a turn to my
              right. This seems to be universally appreciated as a cooperative kindness.

              Then there's the folks without the sense to use signals. They get to
              admire my trim and muscular butt until the light changes. Maybe they enjoy
              it...


              Whitney


              At 06:18 PM 4/29/04 -0700, De Clarke wrote:
              >For example: today, when occupying the lane at a red
              >light (as is my right under CVC) I was honked at by some young
              >feller in a monster truck who came up behind me and wanted to
              >turn right.
              >
              >there was no R turn lane and so he had to wait for the light to
              >turn green, just as he would if I had been in a car. this
              >upset him.
            • Michael Graff
              ... I think much of our problem is that transportation safety in the U.S. is largely defined by crashworthiness. Cyclists and pedestrians are not very
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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                --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, De Clarke <de@u...> wrote:
                >
                > it's a tough call -- to decide how much emphasis to place
                > on road danger. local conditions vary a lot, so it's hard
                > to generalise. it's easy to scoff at scaredy-cats if one's
                > local conditions are semi-civilised.

                I think much of our problem is that transportation safety in the U.S.
                is largely defined by crashworthiness. Cyclists and pedestrians are
                not very crashworthy.

                There's much less discussion here in preventing crashes in the first
                place. Think of how many crashes you know about that DIDN'T involve
                some sort of human error (motorist impaired, motorist speeding,
                cyclist wrong-way, cyclist with no lights, etc.) compared to those
                that did.

                In this environment, it's not unreasonable to start with a fear of
                crashing. But we do ourselves a disservice if we go along with those
                fears instead of challenging them.

                If we continue to allow transportation safety to be defined by
                crashworthiness, then we've lost. Anybody with less than 6000 pounds
                of vehicle surrounding them is a crazy risk taker.

                We need to shift the safety debate to talk about behavior.
              • Michael Graff
                The relative danger of sidewalk cycling is because of interections, driveways, poor sightlines, etc. You can mitigate these problems by slowing down. It
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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                  The relative danger of sidewalk cycling is because of interections,
                  driveways, poor sightlines, etc. You can mitigate these problems by
                  slowing down. It sounds like that's what you're doing. For your
                  situation, that may be a prudent thing to do, though that doesn't mean
                  a roadway cyclist in the same location is being imprudent.

                  It sounds like you have a motorist behavior problem. Unfortunately,
                  being on the sidewalk (or shoulder or bike lane or wide curb lane) is
                  little benefit when a motorist misbehaves. We have some high profile
                  cases in the San Francisco area of impaired motorists going out of
                  control and killing cyclists and pedestrians on sidewalks and shoulders.

                  What concerns me about this scenario is that the bad motorist behavior
                  is taken as a given, not just the extreme cases, but also the everyday
                  speeding and light-running. Instead, we need to make this behavior
                  unacceptable. This isn't just a carfree/cyclist/pedestrian issue,
                  it's something that would benefit everybody.

                  --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Fitzsimmons, Diane"
                  <dcfitzsimmons@o...> wrote:

                  > Thank you, Michael, for your kind correction.
                  >
                  > I know that you have shared before that statistics show that being on a
                  > sidewalk is not as safe. I have no reason to doubt your statistics.
                  >
                  > But in my city during the last 10 years all the vechicular-pedestrian
                  > deaths and vehicular-bicyclist deaths have taken place in the street and
                  > not on the sidewalk.
                  >
                  > For instance, a young bicyclist was recently killed when he sat in the
                  > left-turn lane of a four-lane, major road with no bike lanes, with a
                  > 40-mph speed limit that is, quite frankly, frequently flouted and with
                  > red lights that are frequently "beaten" by speeding drivers. It was
                  > after dark, his bike had no lights. The intersection is well lit. The
                  > driver of the car behind him hit him and knocked him into the oncoming
                  > traffic where he was hit again and killed.
                  >
                  > When I have to travel this road (about three times a year) I always take
                  > the wide sidewalk next to it. There are few, if any pedestrians, and
                  > few curbcuts, which I always slow down for. When I have to cross the
                  > street, I wait for the pedestrian walk light and make sure all traffic
                  > has stopped. Red lights are run so frequently there that I must take
                  > that precaution.
                  >
                  > Perhaps now would be a good time to explain under what circumstances
                  > sidewalk biking is more dangerous than road biking. Perhaps in large
                  > urban areas where there are lots of pedestrians? Perhaps because
                  > children are being factored in?
                  >
                  > I don't see myself as an interloper. In fact, I feel I have more of a
                  > right to the road on my bicycle than a car (it's unlikely I will kill
                  > anyone with my bike and I'm not polluting). :^) But in a world where
                  > road rage seems to be increasingly common and driver's education is no
                  > longer taught in the schools, I sometimes prefer a sidewalk to mixing
                  > with auto traffic without the benefit of bike lanes. Obviously YMMV (or
                  > whatever the car-free equivalent is :^) )
                • Steve Robbins
                  ... Sounds good to me. I think the knowledge that a crash is really going to hurt is a powerful incentive to care about safety. Unless crashing is really cool,
                  Message 8 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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                    --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Graff" <michael.graff@p...>
                    wrote:
                    >We need to shift the safety debate to talk about behavior.


                    Sounds good to me. I think the knowledge that a crash is really
                    going to hurt is a powerful incentive to care about safety. Unless
                    crashing is really cool, like in trick biking. "Hey, here's where I
                    got my skull fracture, watch this cool movie!" 8-/

                    Steve
                  • SHYRLEY WILLIAMS
                    Michael Graff wrote: The relative danger of sidewalk cycling is because of interections, driveways, poor sightlines, etc. You can
                    Message 9 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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                      Michael Graff <michael.graff@...> wrote:
                      The relative danger of sidewalk cycling is because of interections,
                      driveways, poor sightlines, etc. You can mitigate these problems by
                      slowing down. It sounds like that's what you're doing. For your
                      situation, that may be a prudent thing to do, though that doesn't mean
                      a roadway cyclist in the same location is being imprudent.



                      Driveways are just as much problem on the road, just a bit further out. I was cycling up a main road with houses on either side. One lane in each direction. Each house had a diveway. One idiot reveresed straight out onto the road. If I had been a truck he would have been a pancake. Luckily I can brake in a short distance.

                      Shyrley



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                    • Michael Graff
                      ... Yes, and that margin of safety (time and distance) can sometimes be huge. People using driveways generally don t expect fast traffic on sidewalks. Being
                      Message 10 of 10 , Apr 30, 2004
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                        --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, SHYRLEY WILLIAMS
                        <shyrley.williams@b...> wrote:

                        > Driveways are just as much problem on the road, just a bit further out.

                        Yes, and that margin of safety (time and distance) can sometimes be
                        huge. People using driveways generally don't expect fast traffic on
                        sidewalks. Being on the roadway gives everybody more time to react.
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