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Posted by on Apr 29, 2009 in Safety | 43 comments

The Politics of Sharrows

edgewater2sizes

Note the size and parking-placement differences. The pick-up truck has a much larger door than the economy car, too.

The narrative for this video is pretty compelling. First reaction is, “Wow! What an improvement over the door zone bike lane!” But looking closely at the distance between the cyclist and the door, it looks like that sharrow should be moved a few feet to the left. Notice that the car in the video is small, and parked well inside the designated parking area. Add a larger vehicle that fills the parking space, and the door could extend as much as 2 feet farther into the lane than that—quite close to the peak of the chevron. The photos on the right illustrate the large variations in the reach of the door zone.

Shared Lane Markings should not be a lane position indicator. They should be used as Winter Park has used them on Palmer. Unfortunately, compromises with anti-cyclist forces were made to get them into the MUTCD. One of the compromises allows them to be placed a minimum of 11 ft from the curb when next to on-street parking. This puts the right half of the sharrow in the door zone. The recommended distance is 13 ft. My preference would be to center the mark in the “virtual lane,” which is the space between the door zone and the center line. That way it maintains its integrity as a shared lane indicator and can’t be misconstrued as a lane position indicator.

dzsharrow

The startle zone is the area in which a suddenly-opening door can startle a cyclist, causing her to swerve into overtaking traffic.

We should ask ourselves why anyone with a conscience would insist on such a callous placement when it costs NOTHING to place it farther left. And once you’ve contemplated that, wrap your head around this: several city bike coordinators complained about the 11 ft minimum because they wanted to place it closer! One of those was responsible for this.

Can you see the gaping holes at the bottom of the pyramid? This doesn’t just fail in respect for cyclists as vehicle drivers, it fails in basic respect for us as human beings.

I guess if there’s a lesson in here, it’s never trust paint. And a heads-up to cycling advocates to pay attention to the process of sharrow placement wherever on-street parking is involved.

BTW, our Metroplan Coordinator was one of the voices requesting the distance be increased. So at least we know they’ll be placed better here.

43 Comments

  1. Never trust paint? Paint is everywhere! I’m feeling all stressed out now…

  2. No stress if you trust your knowledge :-)

    I’m accustomed to ignoring badly-implemented paint, it has no influence on my safety. I feel stressed for the people who don’t know… the ones I see every day skimming car doors—unwitting participants in a game of Russian Roulette.

  3. For God’s sake she was a doctoral student not a savant. This could have happened to anyone and there are possibly thousands of close calls like this. I was driving through Baldwin Park at 2pm today after school let out and there were crowds of bicycling kids on their way home, none of them being particularly observant of everything going on around them.

    I’m not so sure I agree with the dogma of this pyramid and I’m not excusing the SUV or bus driver in this incident at all but perhaps it may have helped Ms. Laird if she were more more clearly seen and heard (for example a loud horn and clothing).

  4. I see Carbon Trace picked this up, so I’m reposting my comment from there to here.

    I prefer fully-separated bicycle lanes with the separation featuring barriers that keep cars out. And Copenhagen-style protection through intersections.

    Ideally, the barrier is strong enough to stop dead an out-of-control car so that it cannot, possibly, ever get to the bike lane. The best one I’ve ever seen is in Toronto. See:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/masachiba/2537322527/

    Second best is curbs, but they must be at least as wide as the door zone. See an example at:

    http://www.bricoleurbanism.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/09/img_0779.jpg

    Worst of all is mere paint. But paint can at least mark the door zone to warn cyclists NOT to ride there. “Here there be dragons.” See an example at:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/loewenherz/354569988/in/set-72157594576463970/

  5. Hey Dennis, go look up the word dogma.

    The pyramid is a new way to look at advocacy, not “a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative”

    The dogma is that facilities solve all problems, supplant education and create mode share. What we’re doing here is combating dogma and thinking holistically about the factors that inhibit or could facilitate cycling in our community.

    Kevin, I like the photo of the door zone marked as a hazard area. It’s certainly a better idea than striping a bike lane through it! I think it would be good if the danger was understood without the need for paint, but clearly it is not. Some very intelligent people have been killed by car doors. I blame that on the idea that a cyclist’s first obligation is to stay out of the way of overtaking traffic. Other hazards are overlooked due to that belief system.

    Some of the problems with barrier-separated bike lanes are: they restrain cyclists, making it hard to reach mid-block destinations on the opposite side of the streets and they create the same kind of crossing conflict as sidewalks. You basically end up with a choice between safe and inconvenient. You can’t have both. And particularly in American culture, if anyone is going to suffer the bulk of increased delays, it’s going to be the cyclists.

    Thanks for joining us here!

  6. Keri wrote:

    “You basically end up with a choice between safe and inconvenient. You can’t have both.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    I do not agree with this. There are many examples of safety and convenience built into transportation infrastructure. Including in American cities such as Davis, California.

    Copenhagen has done an excellent job of protecting cyclists through intersections. Examples include bike boxes at:

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/07/117-safer-intersections-in-copenhagen.html

  7. Kevin:

    I just saw a video recently on the internet of bike boxes being put in NY City. Seems like the same thing as in Copenhagen. Pretty cool stuff but I don’t know how well it works. Can’t quite visualize it. Worth a try though. Videos are either on Vimeo, YouTube and/or Blip.tv.

  8. I said: “You basically end up with a choice between safe and inconvenient. You can’t have both.”

    Whew, I was tired. I meant the choice is between safety and convenience.

    But Kevin knew what I meant.

    My recollection is that Davis installed barrier-separated bike lanes in the 70s, measured the results in a study published by Lott, Tardiff, and Lott, determined that barrier-separation greatly increased intersection crashes and removed the facilities – going back to regular paint-striped bike lanes.

    For an analysis of Copenhagen’s crash study, I’ll point you to the Cycledog.

    NYC has taken all the steps to mitigate the safety problems with side paths.* For a good analysis of NYC side paths, visit my friend John Allen, with guest-posting by John Ciccarelli. Mr. Allen also has a good analysis of bike boxes.

    *Let me point out that NY has a mandatory side-path law, as does Oregon. This means when such a facility is built ALL cyclists are forced by law to use it. Cyclists who are confident and competent in traffic will not want to deal with the loss of service inherent in urban sidepaths. I’m curious if the people who want these facilities would be OK with forcing those cyclists to use sidepaths, or if they would be willing to put the same effort into changing existing discriminatory laws AND preventing new ones. Realize, there will be attempts at laws to keep cyclists off the roads when a community spends millions of dollars engineering such infrastructure.

  9. I’m afraid I have to correct Keri on a minor error.

    Sharrows were indeed originally intended as a lane positioning guide. James MacKay in Denver developed the original version as a way to encourage cyclists to stay out of the door zone and provide a “bicyclist space” if you will on streets with on-street parking and insufficient width for bike lanes.

    FDOT tested them on a wide curb lane (no on-street parking) in Gainesville some years ago and found more cyclists shifted from sidewalk to roadway, more cyclists traveled with the flow, and motorists gave a little more space when passing.

    In recent years bicycle planning and engineering professionals and advocates have identified other potential uses for them.

    Those who contend that barrier-separated bikeways are safer have not ready enough of the research. There are some rare situations in which they can work, but setting an expectation that they will work everywhere is a serious disservice to cyclists, and reinforces the dangerous motorist attitude that cycling in mixed traffic is unsafe.

  10. Mighk said: “James MacKay in Denver developed the original version as a way to encourage cyclists to stay out of the door zone”

    I didn’t realize he used them for that. I knew he created it (originally as the “bike in a house” symbol).

    I read the FDOT study a long time ago.

    While I’d prefer sharrows to bike lanes in that situation, it’s simply the lesser of two evils. I think using them at the edge of a wide lane undermines their meaning when used on narrow streets. AND, I don’t want motorists to know the lane is wide enough to share because I’ve figured out where in the lane I can ride to get them to quietly change lanes.

  11. I tried the barrier-separated bikeways when I was in Germany. They had been there a long time, probably pre-war since the barrier was an a 15 foot island with huge trees growing along it. Very pretty, shady and inviting.

    As I have posted in here before, I am no speed demon and usually ride at less than 10MPH, but even I became frustrated by them. At every intersection, and the blocks were short, there was a stop sign for the bikeway, but not for the street. I was told the signs were placed because people had been hit by turning cars.

    As I have also posted here, the Germans take their laws very seriously. Whether that is the homicide law or the traffic law, law enforcement is applied strongly and uniformly. So when a friend of mine got stopped and cited for not stopping on one of these bikeways and putting his foot down, I was more surprised at his behavior than the policeman’s.

    My way to deal with the bikeways was to avoid the streets that had them. Usually there was some sort of paved country lane I could use which was fine except for when the cows were being driven out from town to the fields or back to town for milking. Sort of like avoiding a rush hour.

  12. To Mighk’s list, I’ll add the Helsinki crash study, finding that the 2-way side paths were 5x more dangerous than riding on the road with traffic.

    Around the same time Helsinki did a “survey” of cyclists asking what they preferred. Of course the answer was the 2-way side-paths.

    Predictably Irrational

    If you don’t teach people how easy and safe it is to ride in traffic, they’ll have no context but primitive hind-brain instinct and enculturation — 60 years of car-centric propaganda to get us out of the way.

    The roads are ours too. They always have been. We just need to reassert ourselves.

  13. OOpps… Last night’s post was cut in half. Entirely my fault. It should have read…

    Keri wrote:
    “You basically end up with a choice between safe and inconvenient. You can’t have both.”

    Kevin’s comment:
    I do not agree with this. There are many examples of safety and convenience built into transportation infrastructure. Including in American cities such as Davis, California.

    Copenhagen has done an excellent job of protecting cyclists through intersections. Examples include bike boxes (note how cheap they were to install) at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/07/117-safer-intersections-in-copenhagen.html

    Or blue paint (again, cheap) to show the bike route through the intersection at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/11/copenhagen-blue.html

    Or roundabouts (less cheap, but cheaper than human life) at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/01/countryside-bicycle-lanes-and-city.html

    Giving cyclists the right-of-way (signs are cheap) at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/02/cars-stop-for-bikes.html

    And separate traffic signals (cheap) for bikes at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2007/12/copenhagen-berlin-bike-traffic-lights.html

    With the sole exception of reconstructing intersections as roundabouts (expensive), all these items are cheap and easy to do.

    There are many North American examples, ranging from Davis to Toronto. I disagree with having to choose between safe and convenient. It is possible to have both, and many cities do just that.

  14. Some more examples of protection through intersections:

    Blue paint (again, cheap) to show the bike route through the intersection at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/11/copenhagen-blue.html

    or roundabouts (less cheap, but cheaper than human life) at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/01/countryside-bicycle-lanes-and-city.html

    Giving cyclists the right-of-way (signs are cheap) at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/02/cars-stop-for-bikes.html

    And separate traffic signals (cheap) for bikes at:
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2007/12/copenhagen-berlin-bike-traffic-lights.html

    With the sole exception of reconstructing intersections as roundabouts (expensive), all these items are cheap and easy to do.

    There are many North American examples, ranging from Davis to Toronto. I disagree with having to choose between safe and convenient. It is possible to have both, and many cities do just that.

    My test for safety is “am I OK with sending my 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son cycling on this infrastructure?” If the answer is “no,” then the infrastructure is broken and needs to be fixed.

    Here is an example of children going to elementary school in Assen, NL. It is both safe and convenient for them to cycle at:

  15. Yes, you can provide improved safety at signalized intersection through signalization. But good luck convincing traffic engineers to provide a separate bicycle phase — adding delay to all other users — for the sake of a few percent of the road users.

    Even if you solve the conflicts at signalized intersections, you still have all the unsignalized ones and all the driveways. On American streets those far outnumber signalized intersections, and that’s where our crashes are already happening. Barrier-separated paths aggravate conflicts at those unsignalized locations, they don’t solve them.

    Just because the Europeans are putting things on the ground doesn’t necessarily mean they work. No-one’s shown evidence that they do.

    Davis, CA does not have many barrier-separated bikeways. The vast majority of their system is bike lanes and paths in independent rights-of-way. I can’t speak for Toronto, but I’m hearing complaints on their facilities.

  16. Mighk said: Yes, you can provide improved safety at signalized intersection through signalization. But good luck convincing traffic engineers to provide a separate bicycle phase — adding delay to all other users — for the sake of a few percent of the road users.

    Additionally, bicyclist compliance with the signals would likely be much lower in the US than it is in Europe. In my observation of sidewalk riders, they treat the “don’t walk” as irrelevant.

    In contrast to popular belief, bicycling is incredibly safe and even unsafe cycling is relatively forgiving. Paradoxically, the problem with that is that people get away with behaviors that carry a high risk of injury or death for a long time… until they don’t.

  17. “Just because the Europeans are putting things on the ground doesn’t necessarily mean they work.”

    This one in Paris looks like a dream:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rrho/3026085520/
    You folks that like to zip along would love this one.

    My French is awful, what’s the painted sign trying to say?
    ” Attention Pedestrians” Something like that?

  18. Forgot to mention that the German on the page says “One of many new cycle tracks in Paris.”

    So this must be a new and improved model.

  19. Yes, “Pietons” means Pedestrians. Notice all the skid marks.

    Something cycle-track advocates usually ignore is the potential impact on pedestrians. In this document:
    http://www.bikexprt.com/bikepol/facil/sidepath/unsafe.htm
    notice that after the cycle track was installed, “Pedestrian Other” crashes increased from 12 to 35. Now, what might “Pedestrian Other” mean? Not cars; that’s already noted in another data point. I sure looks like they’re getting hit more by bicyclists (and possibly mopeds, which often permitted in cycle tracks).
    And of course bicyclist/motorist crashes went up while the number of cyclists remained the same.

  20. Here is an example from Toronto of using signalization to protect pedestrians and cyclists through an intersection. It was installed mostly for the benefit of pedestrians, but I have used this intersection myself by walking my bike through when the cars are stopped in all ways.

  21. Mighk wrote:

    “Just because the Europeans are putting things on the ground doesn’t necessarily mean they work. No-one’s shown evidence that they do.”

    John Pucher has. His evidence is published in peer-reviewed journals, so these facts may be considered somewhat trustworthy. See, for example, his article “Cycling for everyone: lessons from Europe” at:

    http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/Cycling%20for%20Everyone%20TRB.pdf

    Or his article:

    Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from the Netherlands and Germany

    http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/AJPHfromJacobsen.pdf

    He has another relevant article, but I’ve been told three links triggers the anti-spam device, so I’ll post it in a separate post.

  22. John Pucher brings the facts to bear directly upon these ideas in his article “Cycling safety on bikeways vs. roads” at:

    http://www.vtpi.org/puchertq2.pdf

  23. If you go into Google Images and search for “fietspad” or “Fahrradweg” you can catch the drift pretty quickly.

    They fall into two groups, one was a walking path that goes no where near a street except to cross it, and the other is where sidewalks are painted into designated cycle tracks.

    They weren’t doing so much that when I was there. A few places, but not many.

    For folks like me, who go pretty slow, I suppose it is somewhat acceptable, although sharing a sidewalk with pedestrians (such as I routinely have to do along Lakeside Drive in Winter Park since the bricks went down) becomes tiresome. I stop when they get in my way.

    Sharing a sidewalk certainly isn’t ideal since it presents a serious danger to pedestrians.

    If you have ever been a pedestrian when a large group of cyclists have come along and start going around you, you can see why there are so many angry letters to the editor in Europe about cyclists! It’s like being in a swarm of bees — you want to get out of the way, but you are afraid to move, so you cringe and hope that they all see you and steer around you.

    I was crossing a street once when I got caught that way. It was truly frightening.

  24. I’m certainly familiar with Pucher’s work. He confuses cause with correlation — a rather pathetic mistake for a university researcher.

    Those European cities and countries already had high bicycle ridership before they built so many bikeways. In Germany their cycling made a jump before they installed bikeways (then they notice the increased crashes and started having second thoughts). The Dutch doubled their bikeway mileage during the late 80s/early 90s and so NO increase in cycling as a result.

    Locally, we’ve seen no serious increase in transportation cycling along suburban trails, but have seen huge increases around downtown Orlando with its minimal (and all on-roadway, barrier-free) bikeway system.

    Short distances and a fine-grained, well-connected street network results in more cycling. Reduce auto parking supply (or increase the cost) and you’ll see even more. Once again, that’s what they found in Europe.

  25. “Here is an example from Toronto of using signalization to protect pedestrians and cyclists through an intersection.”

    What’s old is new again. I saw my first “scramble” intersection in 1963. I was shocked when holding my father’s hand, we walked diagonally.

    It was removed a few years later because fewer people were walking and motorists hated them. I think they used to be routinely used in NYC, too. Same with roundabouts (we used to call them traffic circles).

    I saw some pretty big ones as a child, where maybe 8 streets came into one circle. Gone now since motorists hated them, I wonder where the statue went?

  26. Mighk said: “I’m certainly familiar with Pucher’s work. He confuses cause with correlation — a rather pathetic mistake for a university researcher.”

    Hmm. Pathetic mistake, or wily strategy? I betcha that guy is making a whole lot more in speaker’s fees telling his audience what they want to hear, than those of us who point out the obvious flaws in his work.

    BTW, I believe Pucher recently admitted that European-style bikeways will not create a transportationally significant switch in modes — only forceful restriction of motoring will accomplish that goal. And Americans won’t tolerate that.

    Mighk also said: “Short distances and a fine-grained, well-connected street network results in more cycling.”

    Scream it from the rooftops, baby! That’s the Truth.

  27. Mighk wrote:

    “I’m certainly familiar with Pucher’s work. He confuses cause with correlation — a rather pathetic mistake for a university researcher.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    Amazing how all his professional peers miss this each and every time he publishes in peer-reviewed journals.

    All those university professors and other professionals – they all missed what Mighn picked up on.

    And such a basic mistake too. One taught in every elementary statistics course. All those university professors and transportation professionals doing the reviews in peer-reviewed journals should be ashamed of themselves.

    I sure wish that I was as smart as Mighn. Because I have to admit that I missed that too when reading John Pucher’s work.

  28. Mighk wrote:

    “Those European cities and countries already had high bicycle ridership before they built so many bikeways.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    Actually, bicycle use in The Netherlands was declining. I refer you to the historical section of “The Dutch Bicycle Master Plan,” published by The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In other words, an official government publication. It may be found in English at:

    http://www.fietsberaad.nl/library/repository/bestanden/The%20Dutch%20Bicycle%20Master%20Plan%201999.pdf

    From p. 31:

    “Until the early 1970′s, attention to bicycle traffic was minimal. The prosperity expectations were such that with the foreseeable future bicycle traffic would decrease, certainly for commuting, to a negligable share compared to car traffic.”

    What happened in the early 1970′s, of course, was the Arab Oil Embargo. The government’s response is contained in the section entitled “1950-1990: The decline and rediscovery of the bicycle.”

    The title rather says it all. Bicycle use was in sharp decline until the early 1970′s. I won’t bore everyone with all the graphs and numbers and statistics. That’s all in the document. But one of the tragic symptoms of the decline does stand out on p. 37:

    “… virtually no bicycle paths and lanes of any significance were constructed in the Amsterdam city centre in the 1960′s. The Amsterdam city council and its Traffic Committee were against an (absolute) separation of the various modes of traffic on the basis of practical arguments (“no room”) as well as policy considerations (“traffic participants have equal rights”).”

    This was, of course, a formula for failure and that failure is duly recorded.

    To turn around this situation and transform failure into success the government set objectives and targets for bicycle use and put in place policies, laws and infrastructure to achieve those targets. For an example, see p. 51.

    The entire document makes for fascinating reading. Once upon a time, The Netherlands was a lot like the USA. Steadily increasing car usage rates, disrespect for cyclists, failure to provide cycle infrastructure and a firm belief that the future of transportation did not include bicycles.

    That changed in The Netherlands. I believe that it can also change in the USA, and that Dutch history provides important lessons in how to bring about that change.

  29. Mighk wrote:

    “The Dutch doubled their bikeway mileage during the late 80s/early 90s and so NO increase in cycling as a result.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    The Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management disagrees with this statement.

    Bicycle use increased 11% between 1986 and 1995. Take a look at Table 18 of:

    http://www.fietsberaad.nl/library/repository/bestanden/The%20Dutch%20Bicycle%20Master%20Plan%201999.pdf

    And what about “doubling” the bikeway mileage?

    From p. 61:

    “The number of kilometers of bicycle paths and lanes increased between 1990 and 1996 by around 2,000 to 19,000 km.”

    That is a little more than 10%. Not quite doubling.

  30. I think everyone should just take a look at Eric’s recent post here on CO — how is the UK getting it done increasing the number of cyclists, without huge amounts spent on infrastructure?

    Hint: plant the seed early ……

  31. Kevin Love wrote:

    “John Pucher has. His evidence is published in peer-reviewed journals, so these facts may be considered somewhat trustworthy.”

    and

    “Amazing how all his professional peers miss this each and every time he publishes in peer-reviewed journals.

    All those university professors and other professionals – they all missed what Mighn picked up on.

    And such a basic mistake too. One taught in every elementary statistics course. All those university professors and transportation professionals doing the reviews in peer-reviewed journals should be ashamed of themselves.

    I sure wish that I was as smart as Mighn. Because I have to admit that I missed that too when reading John Pucher’s work.”

    It appears that you missed this too:

    Transportation Research Board (TRB) SPECIAL REPORT 292
    Safety Research on Highway Infrastructure and Operations

    on page 40 it says,

    “One outcome of the shortage of trained highway safety researchers is that the technical literature is all too often characterized by poor-quality research leading to unreliable conclusions. [See Hauer (2002a) for examples.] In most research fields, peer review is effective in restricting the number of unsatisfactory research investigations appearing in the professional
    literature. In the road safety field, however, a shortage of qualified reviewers has sometimes led to low barriers to publication. As illustrated by the previous examples, the publication of poor-quality research can have a lasting and deleterious effect on efforts to improve road safety.”

    It’s even worse than this in bicycling related research!

    Wayne

  32. Peer review is what we’re doing here and if there is a problem with peer review it’s not Dr. Pucher’s fault, it’s academias.

    When I was stationed in Europe in the ’80s my car broke down and I was forced to buy another. In the interim I rode a bike. On a return trip home from work and while I was still in my camoflage uniform, a young german guy in a car passed me and clearly saw me and he made a right turn in front of me. I ran into his right rear and left a small mark on his car from the handlebar tape. We called the german police and they ended up siding with him even though he almost killed me.

  33. I like Mighk’s comment: “Short distances and a fine-grained, well-connected street network results in more cycling. Reduce auto parking supply (or increase the cost) and you’ll see even more. Once again, that’s what they found in Europe.”
    but,
    Europe doesn’t suffer from a developer-centric culture like the US where none of the roads between developments are connected (with the exception of Baldwin Park) except by primary arterials. European’s attitudes about Urban Planning have evolved completely differently from ours because they already had very dense population centers before they experienced a lot of technical innovations whereas our attitudes about Urban Planning have had to play catch-up to technical innovations. What Mighk actually means is that Europe already had the basics that “results in more cycling” because of the way their societies evolved and it’s not at all hypocritical to say that we can learn from them.

    Finally, when my parents moved to Europe in the early ’70s I was of the opinion that the USA was the greatest and all great things came from this nation. But when my parents drove on their streets there were these funny but really neat reflector things that warned you were crossing into other lanes and I had not seen them anywhere in the USA. How could any country come up with something so useful a thing before the USA which kicked Germany’s butt during the war. In addition, in Germany the law of slower traffic driving on the right is legally and socially strictly enforced.

    How about reflectors separating bicycle and car traffic and cars being legally and socially forced to honor and respect slower traffic.

  34. “How about reflectors separating bicycle and car traffic”

    Lots of those in Seminole County. The damned things cause bicyclists to crash when they need to leave the bike lane to avoid the debris, sand and broken glass that collects there. Introducing real hazards to calm irrational fears of same-direction traffic is foolish.

    “cars being legally and socially forced to honor and respect slower traffic”

    Cars are inanimate.

    People should honor and respect other people in the public space, no matter their vehicle or their speed.

    The prejudice is primarily social. The rule is first come, first served, and it’s not based on how fast you can go. The notion that faster traffic has more rights is a cultural disease.

  35. Yeah, I don’t know what got in your pants Keri???

    Not to disrespect you!

    You know what I’m trying to communicate and they are fantastic ideas – especially the reflectors – and your dissing me only informs me about you.

  36. Dennis,

    The idea that people should respect slower traffic is a great idea. And it has a foundation in the forgotten rules of the road. I was agreeing with you.

    I do have an issue with anthropomorphizing cars because it releases human drivers of responsibility. It is also a framing trick to make them seem like threatening robots rather than vehicles driven by humans.

    The reflectors are NOT a great idea. They are a bad idea. I have had to deal with them plenty and would very much like to shove them up the ___ of the person responsible for placing them on shoulder and “bike lane” lines. They cause bicyclists to crash. They also induce motorists to out-drive their headlights at night by lighting the road like a runway.

    Have you noticed that you are the only person here that is constantly harping on fear of same-direction traffic? You have been reading this site for a long time. Have you noticed that our stories, our experiences, our videos and our lessons are all aimed at dispelling the mythologies of danger from same-direction traffic? Do you think we are all operating some vast conspiracy to lure you into danger?

    Have you asked yourself why our experiences are so different from yours? Have you considered that maybe there is something you could learn from us since we don’t seem to have the constant conflicts and problems that you do?

    Dennis, I’m not dissing you. I’m trying to REACH you. This is something we have clearly failed to do so far.

  37. Hi Dennis,

    One of the problems with attempting to separate bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic is that the separation device inevitably causes accidents. You mention the reflectors. My files are full of accidents caused by a cyclist losing control on small obstructions like reflectors. While I think potholes and debris are inevitable, and tell cyclists they have to look for them, I have a problem with paying taxes to install devices that will inevitably cause some cyclists to lose control and fall — and raised reflectors fall into that category.

    There are other issues I won’t go into just now for reasons of time crunch, but that’s a small start.

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

  38. Someday, somebody is going to make a bazillion dollars by coming up with highway line treatment that can be seen well day or night, wet or dry, clear or foggy and at any angle.

  39. Eric said; “Someday, somebody is going to make a bazillion dollars by coming up with highway line treatment that can be seen well day or night, wet or dry, clear or foggy and at any angle.”

    Yup! Until then we have to rely on vehicle operators using due care by slowing down when conditions warrant. Just as we will after our intrepid inventor has become a bazillionaire.

    The problem we face now, as it has always been, is the lack of responsible behavior and how our society deals with it.

    Right now, or society wants to give deadly irresponsible behavior a pass because “judging others” is frowned upon. Driving under the influence of text messages is socially acceptable. Bending the traffic laws in the name of Traffic Flow is encouraged instead. Motorists wish that the public roads were their exclusive domain, and so they operate as if they are.

    These are not problems that are fixed by infrastructure. Law enforcement can increase the cost of a cavalier attitude, but it is a blunt and ineffective tool to change the zeitgeist.

    To pursue liberty, we must change how society views public space and individual rights. tyranny awaits at the end of the road marked “infrastructure and ordinances will make you safe”.

  40. To pursue liberty, we must change how society views public space and individual rights. tyranny awaits at the end of the road marked “infrastructure and ordinances will make you safe”.

    Amen!

    The roads are public space. They are ours, too! They belonged to all people LONG before they were taken over and believed to be the exclusive domain of people driving cars.

    BTW, check out this video Andy posted yesterday.

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