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NCallahan said on June 25th, 2013 at 9:58 am

What we want, of course, is our own dedicated space on the road. And it continues to surprise me how resistant cities can be to the idea, because of “something something civic planning” despite all the examples of it working out just fine. We have the fundamental problem that cycling makes sense for a lot of people but has no place in the current civic paradigm.

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:applause:

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wsmcneil said on June 25th, 2013 at 10:52 am

“I have literally had drivers get out of their car and shout at me when I was waiting for them to advance at a stop sign.”

Oh, god, this.

At least once a week I get my ass trapped out in the middle of an intersection at which I am trying to turn left, and through which I should already be long gone because I had timed my well-signaled approach to coincide with the hole in traffic behind the approaching car. But that car has now stopped dead, even though its driver has the right of way.

Sigh. Brake. Unclip. Stop. Wave the driver through the intersection, and then the four cars that have backed up behind it in the meantime.

Inevitably, these drivers get upset when I refuse to move and wave them past — they’re helping! They’re doing me a favour! They’re letting me go first!

I don’t *want* to go first. I don’t *want* you to stop unexpectedly and illegally when you have the right of way. Because when motorists do the unexpected, cyclists die. Follow the fucking rules. I am turning left and I have no advance green so it’s not my turn to go, and you are not doing anybody any favours by arbitrarily deciding that all traffic laws are suspended withing 20 yards of a bicycle.

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@wsmcneil

That’s one of my biggest pet peeves while driving, although I’m sure there aren’t as many opportunities for it as there are when you’re a cyclist (I’m too terrified of being hit by vehicles to get on a bike in anything busier than a residential neighborhood). We have right-of-way laws for a reason: when drivers can’t accurately predict what the cars around them are going to do, people get hurt.

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tenken347 said on June 25th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

“unlike their relationship with other drivers, the relationship a driver has with a cyclist is inherently an imbalanced one”

This is the reason I feel that cyclists should be treated as pedestrian traffic, not motor traffic (although I am aware that under the present law, they are not). There’s a reason that pedestrians don’t share the road with traffic, or when they do, move counter to the flow of traffic, and that’s because a vehicle will destroy a pedestrian in a collision. While cyclists are also potentially dangerous to pedestrians, I think the imbalance there is much less than the one between cars and bikes.

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highlyverbal said on June 25th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Wait, you still have newspapers in Canada?

How quaint!

Of course, you are totally and completely right on all counts in this posting, but I think that the problem is the media and the need to write stories that fit a certain pattern — and the willingness to generalize wildly from anecdotes and accept reporters’ assertions in “human interest” pieces as “news.” Let’s wrap it up with a nice, tidy bow that makes everyone feel good! And no statistics, ewww, gross. Big turn-off for the readers.

And so it goes.

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@tenken347

The imbalance, perhaps, but the danger, no. Which is to say, unless we create special pedestrian lanes for walking each way, standing still, grabbing a smoke, talking on a phone, walking with a cane, et cetera, the sidewalk is no place for a cyclist. (Except in suburbs, perhaps, where people are a bit unsure why there is pavement on the side of roads, and what this ‘walking’ thing is that people occasionally go on about.)

Bikes are vehicles. They take time to start, they take time to stop, they turn rather than stepping to one side, and an impact with them is dangerous for both cyclist and pedestrian. They are capable of high speeds. They cannot step off the road when a car comes by.

Bikes need roads, not sidewalks. Ideally their own, because that’s safer for everyone, but they’re definitely more vehicle than they are person.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 25th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Tenken347 — I seriously hope you’re not suggesting we have bicycles zipping around city sidewalks, because that’s a great way to get a whole lot of people injured (the cyclists included).

I suspect we either need (1) a full network of bike paths and lanes, or (2) bike licences along with bike licence plates… the plates being a signal to drivers that “this vehicle follows rules of the road just like you, don’t start making shit up”.

Now, whether anything like that can or will happen?…. *sigh*

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Pantsless Pete said on June 25th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Speaking as a pedestrian and user of public transport (Hey. Light Rail is awesome and every city should have it), and thus apparently never going to have my opinion consider I want both groups of dangerous, inconsiderate maniacs to go die.

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Sean D. Martin said on June 25th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Siding, slightly, with Pantsless Pete.

As a pedestrian who has gotten creamed by a cyclist because I had the audacity to step into the crosswalk while they were busy ignoring a red light, and come frighteningly close to that on several other occasions, I can’t see cyclists as paragons of virtue victimized by the always nasty motorists.

Yes, cars are more dangerous given their bigger size, etc. and drivers can be inconsiderate or even downright assholes.

But I’ve seen a significant number of cyclists who believe traffic laws don’t apply to them, ignoring lights and lanes as they wish. Cyclists can be assholes, too.

A pox on both houses.

(Yes, wsmcneil, shame on that car for stopping when it had the right of way to let you thru. I get that it can cause disruption, but they are trying to be considerate of you and, if they’ve stopped and surrendered their right-of-way, why not take advantage of it and go thru the hole in traffic in front of that car instead of the hole you were expecting behind it?)

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Johnathan said on June 25th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I too live in fear of the wheeled ones, Pantsless Pete. I currently live in Halifax, where cyclists have been given pretty short shrift and could come at you from virtually anywhere.

Before that I was in Victoria, where the bicycle activists have won enough victories that they used to yell at me for getting in their way when I had legitimate right-of-way.

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This is generally the point where some well-meaning driver just exclaims in frustration that no, they really do care, they just wish cyclists would obey traffic laws. But any experienced cyclist knows this is bullshit, because it is a tossup at any given time whether drivers get pissed at you for disobeying traffic laws or pissed at you for obeying traffic laws.

Oh, wait, it gets better: do people even know what the law is? Maybe! For example, in Washington, DC, this is what the municipal regulations say about biking on the sidewalk: “There shall be no prohibition against any person riding a bicycle or personal mobility device upon a sidewalk within the District, so long as the rider does not create a hazard…” There’s more to it, but that’s basically it: in most of DC, you can bike on the sidewalk if it’s safe. Safety varies from block to block (crowds, width of sidewalks, construction), and switching back and forth frequently would be dangerous, but you’ll get yelled at and/or honked at no matter which you pick often enough. And I thought I had a good understanding of what the law was, but now that I look them up I’m surprised by a couple myself.

I get that it can cause disruption, but they are trying to be considerate of you, and if they’ve stopped and surrendered their right-of-way, why not take advantage of it and go thru the hole in traffic in front of that car instead of the hole you were expecting behind it?

OK, sure, when someone tries to help someone else it’s nice of them, so warm fuzzies all around. It’s just the driver is trying to be helpful in a way that does not, in fact, help. Momentum matters to bikes, so needing to stop when you don’t expect to is a pain. It’s even worse if the biker is using the kind of pedal that they have to clip into. (Which, now that I look things up, may be illegal in some places. But anyways.) There’s also the fact that another car may try to pass the driver on the left, so it might not be safe for the biker to go, but that depends on the intersection.

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At least once a week I get my ass trapped out in the middle of an intersection at which I am trying to turn left, and through which I should already be long gone because I had timed my well-signaled approach to coincide with the hole in traffic behind the approaching car. But that car has now stopped dead, even though its driver has the right of way.

Serious question: why not just go when that happens?

Things may be different in Canada, which this article deals with, but here in the states it is, in fact, legal to waive your right of way in favor of others.

I’ve done it myself once or twice; I remember very clearly an incident three, four years ago when a station wagon with what had to be at least five mattresses strapped precariously to the roof lumbered up to an intersection with the clearly signaled intent of turning left.

I did NOT want a piece of that shit. I stopped and waved them through. This was, as far as I know, legal; my waving at them to go first constituted a legal waiving of my right of way. Had I waved them through, them stepped on the gas and gotten t-boned by them, I would have been unable to virtuously claim right-of-way.

So if a guy in a car slows down and waves you by, why not just go?

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Serious question: why not just go when that happens?

Well, for one thing there are times when it may not be safe. For example, if there are two lanes of traffic and I’m biking and want to turn left, someone in the middle lane I’m crossing may yield to me, but the other lane may still be moving. (Obviously, that could happen if I’m driving a car too, but a driver would get through the intersection faster than a biker.)

But the main thing is, whether you go or not, it’s annoying because stopping while on a bike is annoying. If the biker assumes you’re going to yield, they’ll plan to bike through, only slowing down enough to make the turn. If the biker assumes you’re not going to yield, they’ll plan to slow down but probably not come to a complete stop. In general, the best way you can help is to be predictable and yielding when you don’t have to and most drivers wouldn’t is unpredictable. (In general… usually…) If someone insisted on yielding to me, I’d probably take it rather than yielding back to them and completely refusing to go until after them, of course, but it would be annoying.

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Two things that cyclists NEED to stop doing.

1) Passing me on the right when I’m making a right turn. Seriously. I’m in the lane. It is MY LANE. Even if it’s a bike lane, I’m allowed in it to make my turn. That’s why it has a dashed line at the intersection. (in fact, the line is dashed to encourage me to get in the lane so that you can’t pass me on the right.) DON’T PASS ME ON THE RIGHT. My signal is on. I have right of way. You’re going to get shmucked, as my biggest concern is pedestrians stepping in front of me.

2) Riding from the sidewalk into traffic. I’m not expecting anything at high speed to come off the sidewalk. You’re not supposed to be there anyway. But, I fully understand and appreciate why you’re doing it. But when you change contexts, it’s your responsibility to do it safely. EVEN IF you have a green light and I’m turning.

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highlyverbal said on June 25th, 2013 at 5:52 pm

@chris: “You’re not supposed to be there anyway.”

Actually, as Cyrus suggests, many places allow bikes on both roads AND sidewalks. e.g. LA, DC. It messes everyone up, of course, but permissible.

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highlyverbal said on June 25th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

@Murc: “…it is, in fact, legal to waive your right of way in favor of others.”

Technically, 100% accurate. But in practice, it is nearly impossible to get insurance claims adjudicated based on hand signals, or at least that has been my limited experience.

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Hm. I’m actually a bit stumped on whether the car or bike should have right of way when the car wants to turn right, but it makes the most sense to give it to the bicycle.

For one, the cyclist — being potentially beside the car — may not be in a position to see your turn signals. I’m thinking specifically of when the lights turn green; I start up as quickly as possible and try to get out of the way of any turning traffic (generally moving beside the pedestrian traffic) — I honestly can’t tell if the car beside me is intending to turn right. Their turn signal is behind me. I’ve got a faster start than most cars, (really, I do) so I get out of the way the old fashioned way, once the light turns.

If you have a turning lane — well, yes, I shouldn’t be in the turning lane, unless I’m turning, too. The smart bike paths will even indicate that on the road, to remind cyclists to stay out of the turning lanes.

If there is a bike lane on your right, on the other other hand, then the cyclist has right of way. It’s their lane. You don’t get to cross it without waiting for it to be clear any more than you get to cross the pedestrian crosswalks without checking. Even if you have a turning lane. It is your responsibility to make sure any lane you cross is clear.

In the case where you’re waiting to make a right turn and I whiz past you on the right, and it’s not a turning lane, … well, I wouldn’t do that if the way was clear, but I will if there’s pedestrian traffic blocking you. You can’t go anyway. — except if the way was clear, you’d have already gone. So this is only really an issue if I’m coming up on behind you, and the way *just* cleared, so you’re capable of going and don’t want to have to check if there’s a cyclist behind/beside you that is ready to go, and they don’t want to come to a stop in case that’s your moment to go…

… yeah, I’m going to give that one to the cyclist. Their movement is obvious and predictable, and the car — having come to a stop — is not. But that one is definitely a tough call, and I can definitely see it argued the other way. I’m honestly surprised that it happens enough to be an issue, unless you’re talking about turning lane traffic, which I can believe. — the cyclist is clearly in the wrong there.

Also: as a cyclist, I’m often shocked at other cyclists. I haven’t seen much red-light running; the main thing I see is people wearing dark clothes, no helmet, no lights, no reflective-tape biking at night. There’s a Darwin award waiting to happen, there. There’s only been a few times where I’ve come to a complete safe stop and had another biker whisk past me.

On the other hand, I’m a cautious biker — if I want to make a left turn, I get off my bike and walk with the pedestrians, then mount up again at the other side. It takes a little bit longer, but it feels a lot safer than trusting cars to recognize my right to be there. A cyclist can turn into a pedestrian at any time — they just have to dismount.

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Saw a reference somewhere to the cyclist moving to the left of the rightmost lane when approaching an intersection and going straight through. It sounds more dangerous, in most cases; I’m wary of any time when I have to pass through traffic, which isn’t generally kind at yielding to bikes. Good for turn lanes, bad for other streets.

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Tim O'Neil said on June 25th, 2013 at 9:19 pm

It seems as if there is only one real, rational solution to this problem, but it’s not one I foresee anyone in any municipality will be able to muster the political will to pass: ban bikes in urban areas. Of course, I live in a city with the US bicycling hall of fame, and a damn bicycle in the town’s logo, so I don’t see that happening any time soon – but we can dream!

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Better solution: Ban cars. ;)

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It seems as if there is only one real, rational solution to this problem, but it’s not one I foresee anyone in any municipality will be able to muster the political will to pass: ban bikes in urban areas.

Can we ban them from roads designed for cars in rural areas while we’re at it? I’m sick of being slowed down as I drive home in a mountain canyon here in Colorado while a pack of spandex-clad bikers go uphill at a blazing 10 mph.

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As a person living in a vaguely poor suburb of Chicago, all of this is foreign to me. Round here, if an adult is riding a bike everyone just assumes that they have a DUI.
The few cyclists we have ride on the sidewalk because there is no damn room for them on the roads, and there aren’t enough pedestrians on the sidewalks for there to be any real danger of striking one.

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Pantsless Pete said on June 26th, 2013 at 1:28 am

Oh yeah.

Cyclists are in a lot of ways worse than motorists. Motorists at least seem to grasp that they are in a dangerous vehicle that could do injury to someone.

The attitude of cyclists tends to be I HAVE TAMED THE MIGHTY BICYCLE AND AM BOUND BY NEITHER THE LAWS OF GOD OR MAN!

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Generalizations are fun!

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To my mind, MGK’s post reads like a cyclist version of the standard feminist criticism of the hoary old “men and women are both awful, there’s a middle ground between feminism/misogyny that can be bridged by understanding” argument. He’s talking about a fundamental power dynamic that operates between cars and bikes in favour of cars: both an institutional dynamic (few bike lanes, poor police support) and a fundamental physical dynamic (cars are huge and made of metal, bikes aren’t).

I think the comments above that say “a pox on both your houses” rely upon a deficit of empathy. Sure, bikes and cars might both impact you negatively, but there really is a difference between the shitty behaviour of one and the shitty behaviour of the other! Namely, uh, the amount of people actually dying. And the attitude of the majority of motorists. And everything else MGK said in his post.

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(Obviously I don’t believe that the cyclist/motorist relationship is equivalent to the male/female relationship, nor do I believe the suffering of cyclists is in any way comparable to the suffering of women. In case that wasn’t clear.)

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In the case where you’re waiting to make a right turn and I whiz past you on the right, and it’s not a turning lane, … well, I wouldn’t do that if the way was clear, but I will if there’s pedestrian traffic blocking you. You can’t go anyway. — except if the way was clear, you’d have already gone. So this is only really an issue if I’m coming up on behind you, and the way *just* cleared, so you’re capable of going and don’t want to have to check if there’s a cyclist behind/beside you that is ready to go, and they don’t want to come to a stop in case that’s your moment to go…

… yeah, I’m going to give that one to the cyclist. Their movement is obvious and predictable, and the car — having come to a stop — is not. But that one is definitely a tough call, and I can definitely see it argued the other way. I’m honestly surprised that it happens enough to be an issue, unless you’re talking about turning lane traffic, which I can believe. — the cyclist is clearly in the wrong there.

You’ve described the situation perfectly. But you’ve missed a couple of key points.

1) At an intersection, the bike lane has a dashed line, not a solid. That means that cars are allowed in there to make a turn.

2) The cyclist passing on the right is coming through the car’s blind spot, at a speed that no one expects. Legal or not, this is a bloody stupid and dangerous move.

Also, If you’re off my front bumper, then you’re highly visible. This isn’t the situation I’m talking about.

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wsmcneil said on June 26th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

“…wsmcneil … if they’ve stopped and surrendered their right-of-way, why not take advantage of it?”

“Serious question: why not just go when that happens?”

Two reasons.

One is principle. I don’t want to encourage poor driving habits when it comes to interaction with cyclists. If a driver stops at an intersection he is supposed to be driving through, in order to cede right of way to a cyclist — or any other vehicle – who is not entitled to it, then he is acting dangerously and in direct violation of the rules of the road, rules that are the only thing that keeps anybody on the road even remotely safe. No, it’s *not* being considerate. It blocks traffic behind the offending vehicle, it confuses and endangers the cyclist, it probably blocks traffic behind the cyclist as well. Like I said: traffic laws are not magically suspended within twenty yards (or even twenty metres) of a bicycle, and I’m not about to start behaving like I want or expect them to be, or to start showing appreciation for drivers who act as if they are. “Taking advantage” of the situation means acting as if just because I’m on a bicycle that I’m entitled to ignore traffic laws at my whim, and makes me the asshole cyclist that drivers quite rightly complain about.

The second, more important reason, is self-preservation. Such a situation is inherently uncertain, and therefore highly dangerous to the cyclist — grossly asymmetrically so, as MGK has pointed out.

I’m approaching the intersection, signaling my turn, reading the distance and speed of the approaching vehicles. None is signaling any intent to turn, the light’s green, they should be moving straight through, and I’m planning my turn accordingly.

Closer to the intersection. Why is the lead car slowing? Turning? Lost? I have no idea. Better slow down.

At the intersection. Now the lead car has stopped. Why? WTF? Is she turning left as well, and just hasn’t signaled? I’m not about to jump out in front of her, in case she decides to start moving again. Stop. Unclip. Foot down. Aaaaand now we’re just staring at each other, while my ass is blocking traffic in the middle of the intersection.

That’s why not. I’m a cyclist. I cannot afford to guess what a driver’s unstated intentions are when that driver’s behaviour is contrary to the rules of the road. If I guess wrong, I probably die. So please don’t make me guess. You want to be a driver considerate to cyclists? Do what you’re supposed to do, drive like you’re supposed to drive, and I’ll do the same. Because doing the unexpected puts cyclists in danger.

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Patrick C. said on June 26th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

“At an intersection, the bike lane has a dashed line, not a solid. That means that cars are allowed in there to make a turn.”

It means they’re allowed, certainly, but it also means that they’re legally required to yield. That means, yes, checking their blind spot. It is the responsibility of the motorist to check their blind spot whenever they make a turn or merge. As a prudent cyclist, I take extra caution in a bike lane when I’m passing turning vehicles on the right, but the right of way is mine.

I agree with everything MGK said, and I want to add two points:

1) On balance, whenever there’s a political discussion on concerning car/bicycle interaction, my first sympathies will go to the cyclist. That’s not just because I myself am a commuting cyclist. It is because, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the cyclist speaks with the perspective of BOTH a driver and a bicycle rider. Most commuting cyclists own cars, or drive cars regularly, or are car share members, or have had cars in the past. (This is not necessarily true in, say, Copenhagen, but it is true in the United States and Canada). There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, the cyclist speaks with the perspective of both drive and rider. Although I’d estimate 80 percent of my non-walking trips are made by bike, I still drive. So I understand both sides. The converse is absolutely not true. So for the most part, I think the cyclists are better-informed.

2) The scofflaw cyclist thing comes up a lot in the discourse, and not entirely unjustly, but I hope people can understand why it’s frustrating. When an asshole driver cuts you off, you think “What an asshole that single individual is!” You don’t think “I fucking hate all motorists!” (Usually) But when a cyclist runs a red light, suddenly all of cycling is impugned. Speaking as a pretty damn law-abiding cyclist, I’m getting tired of having to answer for every idiot who straddles a bicycle.

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How terrible it must be for a driver to kill a cyclist. Their lives will never be the same, will they?

I’m sure this is just selection bias, but the two times I can vividly recall someone pointedly and obviously yielding the right of way to me when I was on a bicycle, if I had done what they expected I would have been hit by a car going more than 30mph, and in both cases the yielding car was blocking my view of the car that would have hit me. On the other hand, the one time I was at fault and hit a car with my bike, I broke the car’s windshield and did irreparable damage to my bike. I’ve never been hit by a car going 30mph, but…

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As a prudent cyclist, I take extra caution in a bike lane when I’m passing turning vehicles on the right, but the right of way is mine…

No it’s not. (I fully understand that threads are hard to follow in this, so I’m clarifying, not arguing.)

The original discussion of this was:

Passing me on the right when I’m making a right turn. Seriously. I’m in the lane. It is MY LANE. Even if it’s a bike lane, I’m allowed in it to make my turn. That’s why it has a dashed line at the intersection. (in fact, the line is dashed to encourage me to get in the lane so that you can’t pass me on the right.) DON’T PASS ME ON THE RIGHT. My signal is on.

I’ve already moved over into the bike lane (legally). I did a shoulder check when I moved in. I HAVE RIGHT OF WAY. Don’t pass.

Every near miss I’ve ever had with a bicycle has been due to the fact that the cyclist was in the wrong — doing something, that if he were in a car, would net him a careless driving infraction. And then they get angry with me.

I’m know there are idiot drivers out there. I avoid accidents with them almost daily. Usually due to lack of proper lane discipline.

I’ll even concede that there are more idiot drivers on the road than idiot cyclists, but only due to the fact that there are enormously more cars on the road. But the percentage of idiot cyclists is much greater.

I have a simple proposal: If you want to use the road. Get a certificate of some sort that proves you’ve studied the rules of the road and completed a test verifying your knowledge. Some sort of license.

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cole1114 said on June 26th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Maybe instead of blaming one group and getting angry about this there could be compromise. I don’t want to get cut off in the middle of an intersection by some asshole on a bicycle, and he doesn’t want me to sideswipe him when he’s going about his business legally. Why not just have neither thing happen and stop blaming other people.

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highlyverbal said on June 26th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

@chris: “But the percentage of idiot cyclists is much greater.”

Citation, please.

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There’s lawbreakers all around. Violating speed limits and not using turn signals all the time are accepted behavior for drivers. Bicyclists often roll through stop signs for reasons that make sense to them, or speed through them for dumber reasons. Pedestrians often jaywalk. Everyone violates the law situationally for reasons that make sense to them.

OTOH, while bikers may occasionally kill people, they’ve got to be far far less deadly than cars, which are 20x heavier and often much faster.

“The United Kingdom Department of Transport has provided a more dramatic
illustration of the difference speed makes. The department determined
that when pedestrians are struck by cars traveling at 20 mph, only about
five percent are killed and most injuries are slight, with 30 percent of
the walkers left virtually unscathed. At 30 mph, though, 45 percent are
killed and many seriously injured. Cars zipping along at 40 mph kill 85
percent of the pedestrians they strike (Bicycle Federation of America,
1993b).”

Sidewalk riding is legal in Massachusetts, outside of designated business districts.

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stellars jay said on June 27th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

blame displacement

cyclists are the ones in danger from bad behavior, therefore cyclists have to be to blame for bad behavior

all part of living a world based on the demented, degenerate notion of “personal responsibility”, instead of responsibility to each other

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Sorry, but I just see urban bicyclists riding on the roads. As a hazard (primarily to themselves) and a nuisance (to damn near everybody else). Admittedly, I live in an area with a ton of bicyclists and also a TON of hills. Ideals-wise I think that bicycling as opposed to driving is waywayway better, but in a practical sense watching bicyclists obstruct traffic and public transportation while crawling up a hill is both annoying and terrifying. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen buses (and/or been on buses) that get mind-boggling lay off schedule because they are trapped behind bikes with riders that absolutely cannot match the speeds of street traffic going up hills. Watching these vulnerable folks surrounded by massive high-speed death-machines is super-scary and seems like the heighth of arrogance. I would love to see dedicated streets for bikes and would be all for reducing streets for cars to do so, but putting bicyclists on streets designed for and used by cars seems like the worst kind of non-solution there is. It’s like saying that toddlers should have an open play space on an in-use NFL field. Someone is inevitably going to get destroyed and it will not be the NFL players (much as they might love and try to work around the kids).

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Sorry for all of the errors above. Shouldn’t try to make a quick comment from my phone without double-checking everything first.

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Ed Ward, I’m having a hard time understanding that. First of all, are bikes not allowed on the sidewalk at all? But mainly, I think wherever you live has a problem with bad road design as much as it does with dumb bikers. DC isn’t the hilliest city there is, but even here there are a few hills that really slow me down. However, I can think of very few streets that (a) are steep enough that I can’t maintain a faster average speed than a bus; and (b) are too narrow for a car or bus to safely pass a bike; but (c) have bus routes on it. (To be exact, I can think of five blocks like that. Not streets, blocks. There must be more somewhere, but there can’t be too much.)

I’m not sure if that is because the city planners presciently laid out bus routes to account for bikes (hah), because that battle was already fought here and the bikers won, or because it just makes sense to put buses on wide and hopefully multi-lane streets, whether bikers are around or not.

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any moose said on June 28th, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Right, its not the people in the high speed death machines who’re arrogant

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Well, on a cultural level I think the rise of the automobile is Not Good in most ways, and definitely arrogant. As far as individual riders/drivers? The drivers are using the roads in the method they were designed and paid for. Bicyclists are taking advantage of a (at least in my city) hazardous, poorly thought out, and massively underfunded retro-fit. So, yeah, I’m going to call them the arrogant nuisance. (I live in Seattle by the way which was recently assessed as ‘worse than Manhattan’ for bicyclists by Rutgers Professor John Pucher whose focus is city-planning emphasizing making spaces bicycle and pedestrian friendly.)

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Bicyclists came before cars. In fact, the roads were often first paved at the demand and for the benefit of bicycles. Everyone used the streets — pedestrians, bikers, horsecabs, streetcars — before the high speed death machines came through and took over.

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highlyverbal said on June 30th, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I thought the NFL analogy was sufficiently convincing that he was neither thoughtful nor well-informed enough to be taken seriously. I am glad he included it. Very entertaining, too, considering the post immediately prior.

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Synonymous said on July 1st, 2013 at 11:23 am

I have to agree with Ed Ward on bikes being ill-suited to High-Speed Death Machine traffic, though, for the reasons cited in his first post: they’re extremely vulnerable and generally can’t match the flow of traffic (no, not even on a bus level). The exception, of course, is when car traffic is stopped or particularly congested, whereupon many riders will just weave through the cars where they can. This illustrates another problem with bikes in traffic, though: the bikes want to be treated as regular traffic until they don’t, which, for many, is when they can use their smaller size to cut through (creating, as noted above, a traffic hazard for those who aren’t expecting an object to be passing them on their right or weaving in front of their bumper or moving in any number of ways contrary to what’s allowed by traffic laws). Yes, of course there are stupid motorists, but sheer size usually prevents cars from pulling these squeeze-through, pass-on-the-right tactics, whereupon with cyclists, they’re almost de rigeur, apparently just too great a temptation. I appreciate the effort to cut down on carbon emissions, but the insistence on obeying traffic laws has to work both ways, and you can’t demand that the entire flow of traffic be redesigned around vehicles that by turns move either so slowly or so erratically that they’re a hazard to everyone.

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you can’t demand that the entire flow of traffic be redesigned around vehicles that by turns move either so slowly or so erratically that they’re a hazard to everyone.

First of all, “demand that the entire flow of traffic be redesigned” is ridiculous hyberbole for adding more bike lanes and not putting buses on streets too narrow to pass. Second, if there were more bike lanes, bikes probably wouldn’t be moving erratically so much. Third, your example is bikes squeezing between cars that aren’t moving due to congestion, and how dangerous can that be if cars aren’t moving?

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stellars jay said on July 4th, 2013 at 2:11 am

The drivers are using the roads in the method they were designed and paid for.

According some kind of moral imperative to the following of a system designed completely and utterly for your own benefit to the exclusion and endangerment of everybody else is pretty much the definition of arrogance, entitlement and privilege.

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