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Re: [NewMobilityCafe] Re: urban cycling

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  • Rory McMullan
    High volumes of traffic can be relatively safe to ride through, but where high volumes combine with sections of high speed and large vehicles like hgv or
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 9, 2006
      High volumes of traffic can be relatively safe to ride through, but where high volumes combine with sections of high speed and large vehicles like hgv or buses, it becomes necessary to segregate the cyclists from other traffic for saftey.
      The naked street concept where there is no clear devision between traffic and pedestrians, increases the sense of risk to drivers slows down traffic and increases awareness of other users. This is the ideal situation for most urban roads where the the traffic flow is not excessively high.
      Interestingly I have found that some Far East Asian roads almost achieve this situation by chance, as pavements are often taken by street stalls and the mix of scooters and cars which often ignore the stop signs ensures everyone is aware that there is a risk of an accident.
      As a result I have found cycling in Taiwan (although not Taipei), Cambodia, and most Chinese towns to be relatively safe, although I didn't enjoy cycling in Bangkok.

      Zvi Leve <zvi.leve@...> wrote:
      From my experience as an urban cyclist (in North America), I would say that my primary consideration is the traffic flow pattern, which impacts directly on the speed which I can ride safely. Segregation of users is not well implemented in North America (for the most part), so I actually avoid designated bicycle lanes. I tend to prefer higher volume (relatively speaking) routes with traffic signals as opposed to smaller streets with double parking and stop signs, which lead to awkward "conflicts" with other vehicles (no one knows what to expect of the other). One way streets are best, as there are fewer conflicting movements to watch out for. With traffic signals, I expect (although I never assume anything!) that vehicles will stop when they have a red light. Smoothly flowing traffic is the best situation for an urban bicyclist (at least one which is comfortable with traffic).

      Concerning buses and other heavy vehicles - I always leave them as much space as possible. Buses are particularly problematic as they frequently stop and are often aggressive getting back into traffic. If I am playing "catch" with a bus for a few blocks, I might actually stop and just wait for the bus to move on far enough ahead of me.

      I ride fast (and relatively aggressively) but am always mindful of of my surroundings. If I ever have an accident with a vehicle, I will be the one who loses, no matter who was "right" so I must always be cautious.

      I have never ridden a bicycle in an urban area in a Asia. From my experience there, I honestly don't think that I would feel comfortable doing it. It was scary enough just walking! I actually remarked that there did not seem to be any children riding bikes and I asked my colleague about this. He replied that they go on the roads when the feel "up to it". Maybe there is a driving permit which is necessary as well (in China at least).

      As a pedestrian on the other hand, I definitely do look for routes which have the fewest number of vehicles. As a pedestrian I am less concerned with speed; the noise and emissions from the vehicles (and the street environment) is my principal concern.


      1. On personal experience I can't agree that buses and lorries are more
      irritating, even at a lower volume, than private cars for walkers. There may be
      some truth for cyclists, but:
      (a) The lower traffic volume would offer scope for roadspace reallocation which
      would give cyclists segregation from buses and lorries as well as cars.
      (b) I still think that it is the number of vehicles (as well as their speed, as
      pointed out by Stephen Plowden) that is the predominant issue in the quality of
      the cycling experience.

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