Is seeing Believing? Or Does It Require Death?

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So, I should never have to write another word about inappropriate bicycle lanes every again — right? — because Keri Caffrey has made it clear just how wrong it is to paint any ol’ lines on the road and think you’re being an effective advocate for bicyclists.

Take a look, again, at this picture:

This is immoral. This lane puts bicyclists — especially novices — in grave danger of being doored (and squeezed). Doorings kill. What would you call sending a novice into a dangerous situation with the promise of safety?

I call it immoral.

I would never ride in that lane. NEVER. Why? Because I do not wish to die early from something as preventable as a dooring.

Check the statistics. Study after study demonstrates that hit-from-behind and sideswipes are the least of your worries (associated mostly with darkness and rural roads). The danger is in front of you at intersections, not with you or behind you on the street.

Now take another look at this graphic (click for original size):

Your safest route is in the lane as a normal part of traffic.

The danger in bicycling also comes from advocacy that would fool you about safety and put you at “death’s dooring” all for the sake of a few more numbers on the road.

One word: immoral.

[Note: Not all lanes are immoral because not all lanes are so poorly designed as the example above. It is my opinion that the number of situations in which lanes are appropriate is quite limited, so lanes should be a low priority in advocacy work. Want paint on the road? Think sharrows.]

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Comments 33

  1. Keith R. wrote:

    Very well said. I am so glad that I started reading your blog! I used to think that bike lames were important. Now, I have seen the light and actually get upset when I hear someone say they would only ride on a road with a bike lame. Now, I ride anywhere I want — obeying the laws like any other vehicle on the road. Doesn’t stop me from getting cussed, flipped off, and sometimes passed with a great cloud of exhaust… [I usually just wave at them — trying to kill with kindness.] It is good for me to now know the right way to ride and the dangers being heaped upon us by seemingly well-meaning city planners. Planners who at the very least have never had to change a flat and who never thought what might happen if a person were to hit an open car door at 20 MPH…

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 1:10 pm
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Keith… Experience is a great teacher ;-) Thanks!

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 1:29 pm
  3. khal spencer wrote:

    “Bike lames”. Is that a freudian slip?

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 1:36 pm
  4. Eric B. wrote:

    Unfortunately the door zone as a buffer is a concept that is lost on AASHTO. Luckily some cities have adopted this into their bike lane design standards. New York being the most prominent.

    While I don’t want to take away on-street parallel parking (because the alternative is more surface lots) adding a bike lane becomes dangerous without doing so. Luckily here in Kansas City we have all kinds of underused six-lane arterials that could be put on road diets.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 2:20 pm
  5. Michael wrote:

    Dang! Yeah, I’d never ride in that one.

    One of the reasons I tend to be pro bike lane is that you rarely see stuff like that where I’m at and when it does happen the lanes get fixed mighty quick.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 2:21 pm
  6. Robert wrote:

    Andy, a group in KC has put in for a TE grant to teach bicycling to traffic engineers. They did a pilot last year with the MODOT district staff. From what i umderstand it was a huge success. I think that as advocates we need to understand that most people will not live their life the way that we do ( flipped off, honked at, etc ) and unless gas reaches 20 bucks a gallon we are going to be a minority on the roads sans facilities of some type. However, these public works folks often do not know anymore about bicycling than the kid who bags your groceries so I love these education programs. Im fairly proud of our bike lanes in Columbia and as you know probably many of the streets were sharrowed bc that was more appropriate. We prob have more sharrows than any other city. My bottom line: the facility vs. no facility argument is not productive in 2011 but better training these traffic professionals and continuing to refine the AASHTO and MUTCD standards is key.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 2:27 pm
  7. Keri wrote:

    “we are going to be a minority on the roads sans facilities of some type”

    And we can build facilities all over the place and still be a minority on the road until gas gets to $20/gallon. Only we’ll be a minority dealing with an increased expectation that bicyclists belong on facilities.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 3:00 pm
  8. R Wharton wrote:

    Michael – where do you live and can you show us some “Proper” or “Fixed” bike lane photos from your area? Last I checked, there weren’t many examples of them.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 3:17 pm
  9. Andy Cline wrote:

    Wow… good discussion so far.

    Robert… Yes. I’m not anti-facilities. I’m pro good facilities and pro good roads.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 3:29 pm
  10. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… I really need to ride in Columbia again. I’m just forgetting the lanes — if I ever saw them. As you’ll recall, I arrived in town needing rescuing from my harrowing and aborted Katy Trail ride :-) Mostly I rode in the streets downtown as I made my way to Pednet because, well, the roads there are narrow and easy to ride. I need to come take a look at the other ultrastructure — sharrows and lanes.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 3:39 pm
  11. Robert wrote:

    Keri,

    Minority yes, but its hard to argue that these lanes and sharrows and trails do not increase bicycling mode share. Im sure you have been to portland. Columbia could also be a great example.

    Im a fan of VC, have taught courses for years and know that ot works. Ive also have an interest in seeing bicycling rates increase beyond 1% nationally.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 4:16 pm
  12. robert wrote:

    Keri,

    This video is proof that hard core bicyclists can also enjoy bike lanes. LOL Actually, I dont know what it’s proof of but it makes me laugh every time I watch it.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/210889/portlandia-bike-rider

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 5:00 pm
  13. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… hahahahahahahahaha!

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 5:06 pm
  14. Keri wrote:

    So Robert, if mode share is that important, why not support cycletracks and sidepaths? Most people are not fooled by some lame little white stripe. It’s now commonly recognized by bike advocates that bike lanes are just for road warriors “who feel comfortable riding next to traffic.” The rest of the population needs REAL separation to feel comfortable.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 5:46 pm
  15. Robert wrote:

    Hi keri,

    Of course I support cycle tracks IF they are done correctly. The problem is that until about two years ago every single one in the US that I knew of was a sidewalk without any attempt at controlling the intersections. From what I understand ( and I havent seen them ) is that the ones in NYC do a nice job of lessening what has always been the danger with sidepaths, the intersection. For most people, it was about safety. If mode share isnt important to you, what is?

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 6:38 pm
  16. Robert wrote:

    Keri, i guess I should ask, “if safety and/or mode share arent what makes you so passionate, then what does?”

    I feel like you disagree with me and that you believe that there is a totally different answer but its not clear to me what it is.

    The only specific was that the 4-lane arterial in Columbia you would remove the bike lanes and shoulders. Which I admit, would keep me from riding it but I guess I dont see how that helps anything.

    Andy- think kansas expressway. Would you bicycle it?

    There is a piece im missing.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 6:48 pm
  17. Andy Cline wrote:

    Keri, Robert, et.al. … I’m wondering about mode share as it is often played against other things, e.g. mode share v. safety. Methinks we might be dealing in false dichotomies. Hmmmm… I feel a post coming on :-)

    I appreciate your participation here!

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 6:48 pm
  18. Robert wrote:

    Andy, IDK what the engineers in orlando do, or in Springfield do but in 2011 it should not be one or the other. That’s what I do not understand. I feel like it’s 1975 and it’s Davis, Ca versus John Forester all over again. Everyone, including guys like John Allen, have moved on. The conversations not even the same. The variables arent even the same. IDK where that photo came from but THATS dumb and dangerous NOT all cycling infrastructure. How could someone not agree with that. It’s confusing, really.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 6:56 pm
  19. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… re: dumb and dangerous Yet, it happens. Thus my use of “immoral” to describe it.

    As I’ve tried to make clear, I’m not anti-infrastructure. But it has to be intelligent and integrated. So people like you, me, and Keri MUST keep our eyes on the situation to make sure nothing like to above winds up in Springfield, Columbia, Orlando, or elsewhere.

    Confusing? You bet.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 7:06 pm
  20. Robert wrote:

    Andy, I know that you are not. My questions are for keri, whom I respect and admire and have told her so in the past. However, I dont always understand what her solutions are.

    I do not like internet discussions for various reasons, one being that everything sounds much more confrontational then it really was. The other is that I get wrapped up in them and then have to work until midnight! Ha!

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 7:19 pm
  21. Michael wrote:

    @R Wharton

    I live just outside of Tacoma WA. Now that I think of it, there is a short door zone bike lane just down the street from me. It was put in about 20 years ago and no one rides in it, ’cause it’s in the door zone! But, most of the bike lanes around here are done well.

    Maybe the difference is that we got started earlier up here and have already made all the rookie mistakes?

    What Andy’s posts on bike lanes and such have shown to me is that there’s a need to understand things and to do them well.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 8:11 pm
  22. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert… That’s what smileys are for ;-)

    Michael… re: do them well … Exactly.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 9:25 pm
  23. Keri wrote:

    Robert,

    My solution is to take the long way. To work deliberately to change the cultural beliefs, while staying true to the principles of equity I hold dear. Our problems are a result of behavior. Behavior is driven by beliefs. We have to change beliefs to change behavior.

    I am opposed to bike lanes because they reinforce the very beliefs we need to change —that cyclists are inferior and need to be segregated to be safe, or be kept out of the way so they don’t cause delay. Segregation is done to the detriment of cyclists. The cost of segregation-by-vehicle-type is safety, workload or delay. The burden will always fall upon the minority.

    Bike lanes give cyclists inferior sight lines and debris-filled space. They encourage poor destination position, thus reinforcing the very behaviors that cause the majority of crashes. Segregation retards cyclists’ learning of proper behaviors. By manufacturing conflict, they conceal from the uninformed cyclist how easy and safe cycling is when one is assertive, thus reinforcing fear and creating dependency.

    Bike lanes reinforce the corrosive belief of motorists that bicyclists must not get in their way and that it is not safe for us to be in general traffic lanes. That was seen very clearly in the editorials written in support of Florida’s mandatory bike lane law:
    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2010/05/22/so-much-ignorance-where-do-i-begin/

    When I hold two conflicting and irreconcilable ideals, I know I must let go of one of them to be true to the other. I will not compromise long-term equity for short-term mode share. And I have faith that achieving true equity, in the long term, will produce a culture conducive to higher mode share.

    I also do not believe that bike lanes increase cycling to any significant degree. Mode share is driven by many other factors, such as viable transit, major universities, urban growth boundaries, urban demographics, availability of cheap/free/easy parking, hospitable climate, etc. Even now, cities like Portland are admitting that bike lanes are a dead end to creating more than a single-digit shift. IMO, that is hardly worth the cost of feeding the same corrosive beliefs that are a barrier to bicycling in the first place.

    People think they want bike lanes because they have been programmed to want bike lanes. They don’t understand how they work.

    In most urban environments, intersections and driveways are too close together for bike lanes to be any more than a high-workload-pain-in-the-ass at best, and deadly-to-the-uninformed at worst. Even beyond the door zone issue.

    In the suburbs, the equation is different. We don’t have the intersection conflicts as often, but traffic speeds are high, debris is removed infrequently, or never, and the bike lanes are inadequate in width to provide a comfortable buffer. Unlike a regular traffic lane, a bike lane has no built in buffer. A 7ft car in a 12ft lane has 2 1/2 feet on either side of it, and 2 /12 feet from a 7ft car in an adjacent lane, in addition, its driver is encased in steel and glass. A bike lane is barely wider than its intended user—a user that is NOT encased in a shell. Thus that exposed person relies upon a deliberate movement from the drivers of other vehicles in other lanes to provide adequate and comfortable passing clearance at high speed differentials.

    Admittedly, when I was a gutterbunny, I felt like bike lanes gave me more space, but compared to controlling a normal travel lane, I find the passing clearance in a bike lane appalling and infuriating (particularly since the things are mandatory here and their presence means I lose my right to get better passing clearance). My discomfort is not unique, a study of bike lane use on Orlando’s suburban arterials showed only between 2 and 8% of cyclists used the bike lanes, the rest were on the sidewalk. It’s not a mystery why.

    If a suburban bike lane was 7ft wide, kept clean, and had long distances with no driveways or intersections, it would be acceptable to me as a place to ride. Once we dismiss the unlikelihood of the car culture giving us that much designated space on that many thousands of miles of roadway, then there’s the practicality. Lets take a sober look at trip distance, population density and actual reasonable expectation of mode shift balanced against impervious surface, heat-island effect, oil-based asphalt, the encouragement of higher traffic speeds, etc.

    I’d prefer to focus on other solutions, like connecting low-volume roads. As comfortable as I am controlling the lane on a high speed road, I would prefer a quieter route.

    There are no shortcuts. The end cannot justify the means. We can change the culture if we stop undermining ourselves with illusory things that reinforce it. We deserve better.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 9:45 pm
  24. robert wrote:

    Keri,

    Ive responded below. I’m still working tonight so I’m not editing what I write. Forgive the misspellings and poor grammar. I wrote it in word and typed in blue font, however, it didnt show up here so I’ll put quotes around yours.

    “”My solution is to take the long way. To work deliberately to change the cultural beliefs, while staying true to the principles of equity I hold dear. Our problems are a result of behavior. Behavior is driven by beliefs. We have to change beliefs to change behavior.

    I am opposed to bike lanes because they reinforce the very beliefs we need to change —that cyclists are inferior and need to be segregated to be safe, or be kept out of the way so they don’t cause delay. Segregation is done to the detriment of cyclists. The cost of segregation-by-vehicle-type is safety, workload or delay. The burden will always fall upon the minority.””

    I’m not sure that I agree with you here. In other parts of the world cyclists are segregated on many roadways and every aspect of the culture (courts, police, design) favors the bicyclists.

    “”Bike lanes give cyclists inferior sight lines and debris-filled space. They encourage poor destination position, thus reinforcing the very behaviors that cause the majority of crashes.””

    _why the poor destination position? why can’t a bicyclist simply leave the bike lane before, for example, making a left hand turn? That is what is taught in Columbia. A motorist can leave a lane to make turns, merge into another lane, etc. Perhaps you are arguing against local problems as opposed to bike lanes in general?

    “”Segregation retards cyclists’ learning of proper behaviors. By manufacturing conflict, they conceal from the uninformed cyclist how easy and safe cycling is when one is assertive, thus reinforcing fear and creating dependency.””

    -Well you first have to get people out on the roads in the first place. You admitted yourself that you started as “a gutter bunny.” Few bicyclists are goign to start off by taking the lane on a 50 mph 30,000 vehicle a day arterial.

    “”Bike lanes reinforce the corrosive belief of motorists that bicyclists must not get in their way and that it is not safe for us to be in general traffic lanes. That was seen very clearly in the editorials written in support of Florida’s mandatory bike lane law:
    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2010/05/22/so-much-ignorance-where-do-i-begin/“”

    Keri, there are editorials written about everything. From how every Mexican American should be rounded up and jailed to how the government should nationalize energy companies to keep gas prices low. People often comment in our local paper about how I should leave town (they dont realize that I actually have!) etc.

    I can tell you that in Columbia we just went from not having any bike lanes to having nearly every street bicycle laned (where appropriate) and the drivers attitudes have improved if anything. Having any sort of visible sign on the street seems to rely the fact that bikes can be on the road at all. Sharrows seem to have a similar effect. You have to remember that Columbia has underwent a transformation that few communities get. 28 million dollars are being spent on bicycling and walking facilities in a town of 100,000 in 6 years.

    “”When I hold two conflicting and irreconcilable ideals, I know I must let go of one of them to be true to the other. I will not compromise long-term equity for short-term mode share. And I have faith that achieving true equity, in the long term, will produce a culture conducive to higher mode share.””

    I disagree slightly here: You must create some mode share before there is acceptance to spend money on these projects. Example, Portland which I’ll get to in a minute.

    “”I also do not believe that bike lanes increase cycling to any significant degree. Mode share is driven by many other factors, such as viable transit, major universities, urban growth boundaries, urban demographics, availability of cheap/free/easy parking, hospitable climate, etc.””

    -The only one of those that Columbia has is a university and before the bike program our bicycling rates were likely 1/3 of what they are now just a few years later. The university has been there since 1830.

    “”Even now, cities like Portland are admitting that bike lanes are a dead end to creating more than a single-digit shift. IMO, that is hardly worth the cost of feeding the same corrosive beliefs that are a barrier to bicycling in the first place.””

    Keri – have you been to Portland? Those bicyclists do not feel inferior. They feel like they are far better off than bicyclists in any other American City. The inner part of Portland feels different than anywhere else I’ve been because of the thousands of bicycles and bicyclists traveling around. If you had that type of mode share in Orlando, you would have much more politcal power to do whatever things you want to do.

    Portland is going to be installing more segregated facilities, however, they wouldn’t be if people were not already bicycling there and people starting bicycling there because of their bike lane installations. Have you read the book, “Joy Ride?” It’s gives a good explanation. It’s nearly impossible to win the political to do that in a community with a 1 or 2% mode share.

    I believe that users and infrastructure must be created together and that they feed off of each other. For example, we operate the largest walking school bus program in the united states (40 routes, 435 children and 120 volunteers) and that program has directly resulted in increased sidewalk spending, which has grown the WSB program.

    “”People think they want bike lanes because they have been programmed to want bike lanes. They don’t understand how they work.””

    Most dont, but I’ve notice that several of those people start riding because of them. That might sadden you, but it doesnt me. I want them to be educated, no doubt, but people often have to ride before taking a course.

    “”In most urban environments, intersections and driveways are too close together for bike lanes to be any more than a high-workload-pain-in-the-ass at best, and deadly-to-the-uninformed at worst. Even beyond the door zone issue.””

    Bike lanes do not have to be to the right, which is what you are imagining here. In dense urban environments I agree with you and prefer something like sharrows, which you might also be opposed to, since you likely feel that no bicyclists should feel like they need paint to feel comfortable.

    “”In the suburbs, the equation is different. We don’t have the intersection conflicts as often, but traffic speeds are high, debris is removed infrequently, or never, and the bike lanes are inadequate in width to provide a comfortable buffer. Unlike a regular traffic lane, a bike lane has no built in buffer. A 7ft car in a 12ft lane has 2 1/2 feet on either side of it, and 2 /12 feet from a 7ft car in an adjacent lane, in addition, its driver is encased in steel and glass. A bike lane is barely wider than its intended user—a user that is NOT encased in a shell. Thus that exposed person relies upon a deliberate movement from the drivers of other vehicles in other lanes to provide adequate and comfortable passing clearance at high speed differentials.””

    Keri this is what I dont understand about you. I described a 4 lane, 45 mph arterial with a 6 foot shoulder and a 6 foot bike lane, which most use as a 12 foot bike lane. It is also about 3/4 of a mile between intersections and at the intersections the right turn only lane crosses the bike lane prior to the intersection, eliminating the right hook risk at the intersections. you were outraged. Said that it should just be 4 traffic lanes and that bicyclists should just get in there and mix it up. You may have been trying to make a point, but it makes you hard to relate to, even to a hard ass bicylists like myself.

    In case anyone here does not know me. I havent own a car for years and ride my bicycle everywhere. I have ridden hundreds of miles down interstate type highways. Ridden all across the state of Missouri and my longest one-day “commute” was 160 miles. I’m not a “bunny hugger” nor do I have a bicylists “inferiority complex” but you sound a little crazy when you say things like that. Literally, no one (I suspect even you) would ride that road with the bike lane and shoulder and go, “damn, I wish I was taking the lane on this road!”

    As a car free individual I don’t have the luxory (nor would I) of driving to places that i find uncomfortable. Are you simply riding to easy to get to destinations (your low traffic roads) and driving/taking transit to other destinations? If so, that might also make me better understand the perspective.

    For example, while traveling down a US highway (like 63) there are 70 mph traffic and I ride on the 10-foot shoulder. Would you chose the travel lane? I’ve ridden it at night in a driving rain storm so heavy I could look only a few feet further than my front wheel. Would you have “taken the lane” at night with 70 mph traffic in a driving rain storm?

    The shoulder is full of all kinds of debris but I don’t find it nearly as hazardous as traveling down the travel lane would be. I get the idea that you would find the shoulder beneath you as the operator of a vehicle. I find it a nice reprieve.

    If you answer yes, and it’s ok if you do, you have to realize that you are probably 1 in 1,000,000. Literally, not even John Forester himself would do that.

    “”Admittedly, when I was a gutterbunny, I felt like bike lanes gave me more space, but compared to controlling a normal travel lane, I find the passing clearance in a bike lane appalling and infuriating (particularly since the things are mandatory here and their presence means I lose my right to get better passing clearance). My discomfort is not unique, a study of bike lane use on Orlando’s suburban arterials showed only between 2 and 8% of cyclists used the bike lanes, the rest were on the sidewalk. It’s not a mystery why.””

    Again, your differences might not be with me but with whoever is designing your roads in Orlando. I was heavily involved in the Columbia bike lanes and forced the City to do things like end them all some distance before intersections so that bicyclists could signal, scan and take the lane at every red light or stop sign and we lost our mandatory sidepath law 15 years ago.

    “”If a suburban bike lane was 7ft wide, kept clean, and had long distances with no driveways or intersections, it would be acceptable to me as a place to ride.””

    IDK, you dismissed a 12 foot wide one a few weeks ago.

    “”Once we dismiss the unlikelihood of the car culture giving us that much designated space on that many thousands of miles of roadway, then there’s the practicality.””

    Even less likely as long as you have 1 or 2% mode share in your community.

    “”Lets take a sober look at trip distance, population density and actual reasonable expectation of mode shift balanced against impervious surface, heat-island effect, oil-based asphalt, the encouragement of higher traffic speeds, etc.

    I’d prefer to focus on other solutions, like connecting low-volume roads. As comfortable as I am controlling the lane on a high speed road, I would prefer a quieter route.””

    Why does it have to be one or the other?

    Doesn’t a quieter route only further the idea that bicyclists should only be on quiet roads? How is that different than your bike lane reasoning?

    “”There are no shortcuts. The end cannot justify the means. We can change the culture if we stop undermining ourselves with illusory things that reinforce it. We deserve better.””

    Keri, I understand your point of view better now and I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that your differences are not with bike lanes, but with whoever is designing them in your community?

    When you blew my mind and made me realize that you are very, very unique is when you discussed that Columbia road. If there was some confusion about that then perhaps we are not that far off.

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 10:53 pm
  25. robert wrote:

    I wrote “bunny hugger” when I meant ” gutter bunny.”

    It’s hard to keep these negative stereotypes correct!

    Posted 23 Feb 2011 at 11:03 pm
  26. Michael wrote:

    My experience has been that bike lanes calm traffic thereby making it easier for people to bike. The main effect seems to be on the drivers of cars, not the riders of bikes.

    Experienced riders tend to take the lane, inexperienced riders tend to be gutter bunnies, regardless of whether there’s a bike lane or not.

    I generally support bike lanes, as long as they are done well.

    Posted 24 Feb 2011 at 12:55 am
  27. Robert wrote:

    Am i reading that diagram correctly, a three foot bike lane? The AASHTO minimum is 4.5′ and it will be increased to 5 when the new book is released. The standard is 6′, which is what i think nearly every lane in COMO is.

    Posted 24 Feb 2011 at 1:27 am
  28. Andy Cline wrote:

    Robert and Keri.. I should hire you two as CT bloggers! :-)

    Oh, and I totally missed your question, Robert, about Kansas Expressway. I would try to avoid it. I would use it only for short distances. I would take the lane if traffic is light to normal. Rush hour? Forget it. I’m on the shoulder. In any case, I can usually avoid those multi-lane, 45+ mph roads with a little planning. I have no problem taking the lane on multi-lane roads that are 35 mph such as Sunset. I’ve traveled the length of it many times.

    OK, now I need to digest your latest comments.

    Posted 24 Feb 2011 at 10:31 am
  29. robert wrote:

    Andy,

    If you did I would have to actually consider what I write and edit it. I have enough of that going on in my life! : )

    However, if you ever have trouble falling asleep you can always read the 50 or so columns that I’ve had published in Columbia and use those.

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/staff/robert-johnson/

    -Robert

    Posted 24 Feb 2011 at 12:17 pm
  30. Michael wrote:

    I just got back from Amsterdam. It was so awesome to see how cars, trams, buses and bicycles can all work together in a fairly limited space. Now, Amsterdam’s setup is a bit of an anomaly… it wouldn’t work for all situations, mostly just Urban. But, the Dutch really know what they are doing when it comes to bike lanes in all situations. I’m sure they would be glad to help any governing entity to understand the best ways to institute bike lanes into various environments. They even have traffic lights specifically for bikes in Amsterdam and Eindhoven. Very cool.

    Posted 24 Feb 2011 at 12:41 pm
  31. Wayne Pein wrote:

    Robert wrote:

    “In other parts of the world cyclists are segregated on many roadways and every aspect of the culture (courts, police, design) favors the bicyclists.”

    So they favor bicyclists so much that the segregated facilities are mandatory!

    “I can tell you that in Columbia we just went from not having any bike lanes to having nearly every street bicycle laned (where appropriate) and the drivers attitudes have improved if anything. Having any sort of visible sign on the street seems to rely the fact that bikes can be on the road at all.”

    Classic case of victimhood syndrome. Columbia used at lot of paint to turn wide lanes into bike lanes, reducing bicyclist space to the worst part of the road and facilitating higher motorist speed. Now the motorists allegedly love bicyclists and bicyclists feel gifted.

    I’d love to see before/after pictures of these roads.

    Posted 25 Feb 2011 at 11:07 am
  32. Keri wrote:

    Robert,

    You are operating from the belief that bike lanes produce mode share. As I mentioned before there are multiple factors that have driven mode share in the places with high mode share. Most of those factors do not exist in sprawling, sunbelt metros.

    You seem to place failth in education to teach people to outthink the paint and avoid the intersection dangers bike lanes lead them into, and yet where’s the faith that education can empower people to act as equal road users in the first place?

    In Orlando, we are empowering people right now, by deprogramming them from the car-culture beliefs and baggage. Mighk and I, and recently-trained CSIs, are changing people’s beliefs about their role on the road. They are changing their behaviors and the roads they choose to ride on. They are riding more often, more miles, more places without the need or desire for bike lanes. And yes, most people would rather control the lane than ride in a bike lane once they are given all the information and shown how easy it is to use a general use lane.

    Bike lane proponents make assumptions about what people want based on culturally-programmed opinions. An entire generation was brought up to believe margarine was healthier than butter, too.

    You asked why not have both connected quiet streets and bike lanes. Connected quiet streets provide an option for all cyclists. Bike lanes disempower empowered cyclists by taking away our lane rights and force us to use a less-desirable position. The more cyclists become empowered, the more cyclists are disenfranchised by inequitable design. It’s counter-productive.

    As for your 12ft bike lane… IIRC, it was a bike lane plus a shoulder on a road with curb and gutter. “Outraged” is a mischaracterization. I was yanking your chain for offering up a rare, obviously-overbuilt road as a counter-example to Andy’s point about bike lanes. Now you’re using that to divert the discussion about bike lanes to 10 foot shoulders on highways in an effort to make me look like an extremist. (That is a tiresome tactic, BTW. Do bike lane advocates get talking points from some central source?) And let’s skip the Forester associations as well. There is no excuse for you to exaggerate my position, the links I provided previously, making the case for not converting wide lanes to bike lanes, demonstrate that my position is carefully considered for the well-being of all levels of bicyclists.

    So back to BIKE LANES. While I would find a clean 7ft bike lane on a typical 4- or 6-lane suburban road acceptable to ride in, I wouldn’t lead a charge advocating for them. I also wouldn’t fight against them. I have advocated for converting the right lane of 6-lane arterials into preferential bike/tranist lanes with access for right-turns. I will continue to do so, unless I am presented with compelling evidence that it would be unsafe for bicyclists.

    I see value in adding extra pavement for bicyclists on narrow 2-lane roads with high traffic volumes (or at least finding some solution!). But I don’t want bike lanes, I want wide lanes with no stripe. I want to choose my lateral position based on dynamic conditions at the time and place I am riding, and not have that space collecting debris.

    My differences are with bike lanes—psychologically, sociologically, physically, politically—I generally oppose them, except in a few appropriate well-designed applications. My position on them is definitely reinforced by the design stupidity we endure. The current obsession with bike lanes is a failure of imagination and a distraction from solving real problems.

    To echo what Andy said in the follow-up post, I will not advocate for something I wouldn’t want to use myself. If I have the choice between a 45mph 6-lane arterial with or without bike lanes, I will take the one without. I do have the option to drive a car. So if I have to travel significant distance on an arterial road with bike lanes, I am more likely to use my car instead of my bike. Ironically, one of the few times I saw a cyclist using the bike lane instead of the sidewalk on one of those roads, I watched him get hit by a car.

    I’m not interested in getting people to use bikes for transportation. I’m interested in helping people use bikes for transportation with the best results and least barriers. I can’t do that while pandering to the beliefs that create the barriers in the first place. I’m passionate enough about that that I restructured my life to reduce expenses so I could put my own professional skills, energy and resources into creating the change I want to see.

    Posted 27 Feb 2011 at 11:04 pm
  33. Eric B. wrote:

    Wayne:

    Yeah, Portland has a mandatory bike lane law. I don’t agree with it. But this is a red herring. It doesn’t change the fact that Portland has the highest mode share of any major US city. They progressed from a city with average bicycle usage to the US bicycle mecca by spending 1% of their transportation budget on innovative bicycle facilities.

    Would I rather bike in Portland than your average US city with no bicycle facilities? You bet!

    I am an LCI. I would venture a guess that I have taught VC to more cyclists than 99% of LCIs. So I definitely support the cause, but I just recognize the reality that the average American is 1) never going to take a bike class, 2) will never feel comfortable on most urban streets and 3) much more likely to bicycle if provided bike lanes or multi use trails.

    Posted 02 Mar 2011 at 6:43 pm

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    […] properly and kept clear of debris), can encourage more people to ride. When built incorrectly, they are a hazard. And the Park Slopers suing to get rid of the lanes on Prospect Park West are full of shit because […]