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Technorati Tags: bicycle advocacy, bicycle infrastructure, bicycle safety, bicycle video, cycling, traffic
Horrifying and funny video with a great message.
Scary! Images like that truck driver are why the vast majority of people simply refuse to cycle on roads like that. And I, for one, cannot blame them.
To quote my mother, “At my age, I am not going to play tag with two-tonne lethal weapons.”
I would not be surprised to learn that the cycle mode share on roads like those shown is less than 1% and the cycle mode share of children or people over the age of 65 is approximately zero.
Those lethal weapons need to be strictly controlled and safely kept away from people.
Good things happen when we do that! In The Netherlands, 24% (almost a quarter!) of all trips taken by people over the age of 65 are by bicycle.
Here is a video about how to contain and safely control these lethal weapons. And achieve a cycle mode share of 40%
Cycle mode share on almost every road in the US is only about 1%, so saying busy roads have less than 1% cycle mode share is hardly a stretch. Busier roads will naturally have fewer cyclists, because no one (not even motorists) wants to travel on a busy road, and cyclists are the only ones who can travel almost as fast on side roads as they do on highways.
As for your mother, is she a cycling instructor? A transportation crash expert? Has she ever even cycled on the road for any length of time as a commuter? If not, with all due respect, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Traveling on the road is not a game of ‘tag’, cars are not ‘weapons’ and the vast majority of drivers have never struck a cyclist. Most cyclists who are struck on the road are hit because they have been told by folks like you to fear ‘mixing it up with cars’ and advised by so-called ‘bicycle advocates’ to ride in ways that make them less visible to motorists and more prone to intersection collisions. It’s a pity these ‘bicycle advocates’ aren’t interesting in being advocates for cyclist safety. If they were, they might find time to cast a critical eye on their precious segregated infrastructure instead of parroting the dogma of the folks who want to sell more bikes and keep transportation engineers employed.
As for children, they are no longer allowed on bikes (as kids in my generation were) because since the ’70s fearmongers like you have been telling their parents that cycling is a ‘deadly game of tag with 2-ton lethal weapons’.
As long as cyclists must use the road (and they always will need to use it because the government will never fund bike lanes for every major road), the moral panic (about cars as weapons and roads as death traps) that seems to be a facet of today’s hipster-style of cycling advocacy doesn’t help the cause. You don’t get people to cycle by making them fear the road. This is why cycling advocacy in the US has been in perpetual stall mode since the 1970s.
Netherlands bicycle infrastructure cannot work in the US until motorists all become cyclists, and that isn’t going to happen for at least 50 years, and only then if Peak Oil makes motoring too expensive for everyone. Dutch seniors cycle so much for a number of reasons:
1. Dutch motorists get serious jail time for hitting cyclists and cyclists get priority (on the roads they’re allowed to ride on – and they’re getting fewer and fewer).
2. Almost all Dutch motorists are also cyclists.
3. Cars and gasoline have always been very expensive (relative to cost of living) in NL.
4. People in the Netherlands live very close to where they work and shop.
5. People in the Netherlands generally don’t cycle at even medium US cycling speeds because there are too many cyclists crammed onto narrow paths and consequently there is little room for safe overtaking.
6. Non-freeway roads are slower in the Netherlands for all vehicles, making cycling safer.
None of that is true in the US
So you can prattle on all you want about Dutch style bicycle paths and bike lanes, but it’s never going to happen here, partly because of the above and partly because Peak Oil will make segregated bike facilities obsolete. We’ll all be riding happily on automobile-free streets long before even one percent of America’s highways get bike facilities.
So you might want to stop with the fearmongering and utopian fantasies of a vast network of Dutch-style infrastructure. The infrastructure is never coming here and the fearmongering will only serve to keep more Americans in cars.
Ian, I agree with you about a lot of stuff, but this is absurd:
” You don’t get people to cycle by making them fear the road. This is why cycling advocacy in the US has been in perpetual stall mode since the 1970s.”
Cycling advocacy in the US was indeed in “stall mode” from the ’70s until the last 3 or 4 years. That, it so happens, is the same period in which vehicular cycling dominated cycling advocacy. Since then, many people have gotten a clue about what 97% of people actually want. To be clear: I’m with you in the 3%. I understand how traffic works and am not afraid to take part in it. But come on — how many people in any US city are like us? I live in a town of around 70,000 people, and I can count all the vehicular transportation cyclists on two hands. Yes, vehicular cycling is safer and more efficient. But nobody gives a s**t that it’s safer and more efficient — they’d rather have comfort and convenience. What we’ve figured out in the last few years — in NYC, Chicago, elsewhere — is that if you give people comfort and convenience, you’ll get people cycling at adequate levels of safety. If you don’t, you’ll get nothing.
Keep up the good work. “Popular” is not always the highest reward. Time is on the side of education provided we can minimize the fearmongering.
Of course people care about what is safer and/or more efficient. It’s just that they’ve been led to believe that separate bikeways make cycling safer. When someone effectively explains why they’re not, they mostly prefer to avoid the less safe options.
But those of us who promote training are constantly dealing with people (usually calling themselves “bicycle advocates”) who say we don’t care about the feelings (or safety) of “novice” cyclists.
I won’t pretend to speak for others, but it’s exactly those untrained cyclists I’m most concerned about, whether they are on a designated bikeway or not. They don’t understand the hazards they face or have the skills to avoid them. Those who have been trained are not the ones who are most likely to end up in the hospital or morgue because they followed the “advice” of a badly-conceived bikeway.