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Posted by on Mar 22, 2010 in General | 67 comments

No Excuse Zone Orlando-Update

Yesterday my friends and I rode another installment of the No Excuse Zone-Orlando project. We rode toward College Park and were able to explore the College Park area, north of downtown Orlando.

We have become accustomed to the automobile traffic along these large roads, and it has become very interesting to see how they react to cyclists. We haven’t had many issues with confrontations, and most people give us plenty of room when they pass us.

We are typically seeing a lack of bicycle facilities in Orlando, and in some cases are present on extremely wide/fast roads. It brings to question why many of these roadways are not re-striped to narrow the lane widths or even remove some of the unnecessary lanes. This would in turn slow the automobile traffic and also make them more safe for cyclists and pedestrians. It could also create more roadway space that is available for painting a minimum 5′ bike lanes for cyclists, and give pedestrians on sidewalks a buffer from the speeding cars.

We are on track to complete the roadway survey portion of this project, in a week or two. Then we are on to more in-depth statistical analysis.

67 Comments

  1. Please support the statement that narrow streets with bike lanes are safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Cite the relevant study that reached that conclusion and be prepared to defend the methodology.

    Given that ‘most people give you plenty of room’ when they pass, how do bike lanes improve their passing? If you already have plenty of space, how does a painted line improve on it?

    And is that a stock photo or was it taken for this piece? The rider is dangerously far to the right, a position that some undereducated cyclists believe is a more courteous one for overtaking traffic. Yet it encourages motorists to pass even if the lane is narrow or on-coming traffic makes passing dangerous. It’s poor practice, but a common one for newbies and the traffic averse.

  2. “We haven’t had many issues with confrontations, and most people give us plenty of room when they pass us.”

    If that’s the case, why argue for bike lanes? Further, if instead of riding virtually on the white line as in the photo one uses more of the lane, motorist behavior improves even further. In essence you get the entire lane because motorists change lanes to pass. An axiom is that the more lane you use, the more passing clearance you get. And, using more of the lane results in other operational benefits with turning and pullout traffic. There’s no excuse for poor riding, and we don’t need excuses like “pedestrian buffer” to justify painting what amounts to restrictions on bicyclists.

  3. I enjoy reading commuteorlando from across the country (I’m in Utah). Ken’s article reminds me of a recent resurfacing project of the main highway through our valley.

    The 4 lane road with curb and gutter, even past alfalfa fields and horse pastures was blessed with a really nice wide outside lane that was a clean joy to ride on as overtaking traffic hugged the line on the left as they passed.

    But, with the new surface, they added a “fog line”. Now we have narrow lanes and a debris strewn shoulder. What’s more, overtaking motorists don’t hug the left stripe anymore. Riding on the shoulder now is less pleasant and less satisfactory than riding in the same place before they added the stripe.

    now, if Ken were a professional, familiar with the literature, he’d know that putting down a stripe on wide pavement doesn’t make a magical, traffic calming, narrow road. It just makes a narrow lane. Roadside objects have an apparent angular velocity, which affects a motorist’s sense of their own speed. The linear paint stripe doesn’t change that effect so calming is a baseless expectation.

    So, my roadway experience and my review of the research suggest that Ken is imagining some pleasant results that aren’t the consequence of the changes he proposes.

    In the meantime, share the lane – laterally when there is room and sequentially when there isn’t room. I’ve seen Keri do it in tennis shoes on a cruiser so I’m sure that Floridians, like Utahns, will respond appropriately.

  4. The purpose of CommuteOrlando is to provide useful tips and insight for “Orlando Metro Area cyclists who are currently using their bikes for transportation, or want to.” How does cycling on almost deserted roadways on a Sunday contribute to this goal?

    If your stated intent is to “encourage cycling to work a few days a week”, I would think you would want to execute these trial routes during peak commute times. Otherwise, how do you expect to gather any meaningful data for “in-depth statistical analysis”?

  5. I commute to work everyday. I ride on some roads with bike lanes and some roads that do not. I am willing to ride in the road and take the lane, but many commuters are not and they choose not to even try to commute by bicycle because of the fears that a road full of fast cars can create. That is my personal goal, to get people on bikes commuting and riding in a fun/comfortable manner. Bike lane or not.

    I assure you that even though this particular ride was on a Sunday, roads are just as busy as a week day. Bike lanes are not appropriate on every roadway and I am not suggesting that they get painted everywhere, but on some of the roads that we have ridden, they could have been used.

    All of the photos for this project have been taken with a helmet mounted camera that takes photos and videos. Our riding style was strictly based on feeling comfortable in the roadway. The “fish eye” view from the camera does make the shot seem at a funny perspective, but we were at least 2′+ from the curb. We were riding with multiple riders, so we were comfortable riding closer to the edge because were were more noticeable to the passing traffic.

    As far as support from studies for my belief in slower traffic speeds from narrower lane widths, Noland was one of the first to publish traffic speeds and their relationship with lane widths.

    “as more arterial and collector lane widths are increased up to 12 ft or more, traffic fatalities and injuries increase….” The Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

    These results are quite stunning as it is general practice to ‘improve’ the safety of roads by increasing lane widths. Reducing lanes from 12′ down to 10′ has been found to drop speeds by 5-7mph.

    None of these roads are rural and are urban/residential in nature. I understand your concerns about the rural road in Utah. That treatment sounds like it was the wrong prescription for that particular roadway, but some of the roads here feel like they could be reviewed for the possibility of road dieting/traffic calming.

  6. Ken, we need to talk.

    After one trip to College Park for your “no-excuse zone” exercise, you’re ready to stripe most of Orlando with bike lanes. Where to next? Winter Park and side paths? Baldwin Park and segregated bike lanes?

    I spent many years as a group and solo rider hugging the curb, just like the cyclist in your photo. But I became educated to the hazards and dangers of riding in bike lanes and narrow shoulders and now ride assertively on two-, four- and six-lane roads all over town. Why would I want to ride in a five-foot lane when I get a 12-foot lane now?

    Come ride with us. Let us show you how to take the lane skillfully and confidently. You owe it to yourself, and to the cycling community, to be educated on all aspects of the issue.

    • Context is everything. On some high speed arterials, bike lanes may be appropriate (key word *may*. Properly sized bike lanes, not lanes that count the gutter pan as part of the lane width…

      Edgewater drive in College park is a great example of why bike lanes are inappropriate in certain contexts. They’re undersized and adjacent to parking. Certain parts of the urban core are very likely not appropriate for bike lane treatments, while others might be good candidates. It’s not an either/or scenario.

      • I used to be more supportive of bike lanes on the arterial roads. But as I became more comfortable riding assertively even in a high speed environment, I really found I hated it when that ability was taken away from me (socially and legally) by a bike lane (in most cases a 4ft, debris-filled gutter lane).

        Furthermore, I observed the behavior of other cyclists (and particularly the target group of young families and non-roadies). Those people are utterly unconvinced by the stripe. If they have to use a stretch of that type of road, they ride on the sidewalk. In fact, at least half of the cyclists I see on Lakemont Ave are on the sidewalk, and that’s really not a bad bike lane (except for some improper intersection striping).

        I think it’s magical thinking to believe adding a bike lane to an arterial road is going to suddenly produce cyclists.

        I’d rather see us focus on (as Angie pointed out below) connecting low volume street networks. I feel completely comfortable claiming the lane on an arterial road, but I tend only to use short stretches of arterial roads to connect more pleasant streets. I don’t want to breathe exhaust and deal with the noise for long periods of time. When I do use an arterial road, I want the ability to control my space and not have to be constantly worrying about being hooked, crossed or swiped by a zoned-out moron who didn’t pick me up in his peripheral vision.

        That’s another point about introducing people to cycling. Bike lanes are rife with conflicts if you don’t know what they are or think that space is a safe haven. A novice doesn’t understand that dynamic, so they get indoctrinated into a belief system that the roads are dangerous and motorists are incompetent.

        I used to be there. I started this journey looking for a way to make bike lanes more obvious because 90% of the conflicts and close calls I was having were in bike lanes. And like Ken, I thought they were the answer, so my approach was to try to solve the problems they create. Well, in 40 years, no one has been able to solve the problems they create. But all this time, people who learned to ride assertively have been able to ride without constant conflict.

        Knowing there is a better answer, I could not in good conscience continue to support a system which puts the most unsuspecting user into an inherently flawed system that they don’t have the knowledge to outsmart.

        Interestingly, just as I was coming to that conclusion for my own advocacy, 2 young cyclists were killed in crashes that were more the fault of the bike lane and what it told them to do than anything else. It is not OK to knowingly use a traffic control device that can mislead a novice user into a potentially-deadly situation. No goal is that noble.

  7. Ken,
    Somewhere here on CommuteOrlando is a graph of actual measured data showing lateral overtaking clearance as a function of the cyclist’s lane position. A verbal summary: the more space you take, the more you get. Want great overtaking with plenty of breathing room? Take the lane. Want a brush pass? Ride like the dude in your photo.
    Do cyclists have some civic responsibility to cringe and allow brush passes? Absolutely not.
    Brush passes subject us to a level of stress and danger that no motorist has to put up with. They are especially frightening for novices. Add a blustery wind, a rider who wobbles momentarily, a slightly careless motorist, and you get contact. Counterintuitively, the best way to avoid that contact and insure your safety is to claim more space. But once you make the leap and do it, you’ll love the results. You’ll never go back to being a gutter bunny.
    A debris-filled bike lane isn’t safe, isn’t pleasant, encourages an unending steam of brush passes, and is a good reason for would-be cyclists to take up racquetball instead.
    Uh, Keri, what’s the URL of that terrific graph?
    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

  8. I would not be surprised to see more traffic problems with 12 foot lanes than with narrower ones. Cyclists riding assertively in either lane width are rare, and a motorist is more likely to try a non-change pass with the wider lane, with sideswipes resulting from the attempt.

  9. Ken, (John):
    Link to the graphic showing “how lane position influences the behavior of overtaking drivers and results in increasing passing clearance with leftward lane position”
    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/passingplotchart.jpg

    Graphic relates to a story on the naiveté of expecting a 3 foot passing laws to “give the cyclist more safety space” (somewhat analogous to bike lanes?).

    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2009/04/06/law-enforcement-bias-and-the-3ft-law/

    @ Steve A “… non-change pass with the wider lane”, if the travel lane is 14 ft wide, neither the motorist or cyclist will likely have a “brush pass”

    Re: “Noland and relationship of narrow lanes and crash rates”, full citation, please.

    Suggest you and your friend try one of the Commute Orlando fun bike classes as reality relaxer from trying to “engineering” safety for everyone.

  10. I rode 120 miles by bicycle last week. I have ridden at least about 100 miles/week for the past 3 years on the streets of Orlando. That doesn’t mean that I feel that Orlando provides facilities for cyclists or that they have optimum conditions. It just means that I am like you and are willing to commute by bicycle no matter what, but as you know, not everyone is like us.

    The premise of this project is to demonstrate to other riders and non riders, how far they can travel by bicycle within a reasonable amount of time. We are strictly riding on roads that appear to be direct routes into and out of downtown. Most of these roads were designed specifically to carry only automobile traffic. They are wider than 12′, there is no buffer for pedestrians on the sidewalk, and the only way to ride on these roads by bicycle is to take the lane.

    My dream isn’t for all of these roads to be striped with bike lanes or colored lane markings. My dream is for there to be more riders on them, and I feel that the only way to do that is to put an effort into balancing these streets and making them usable for everyone. We can’t make these roads strictly for cycling, or cars, or pedestrians. We have to make them “complete” for everyone, and this requires rethinking the way that these roads perform and adding facilities that can accommodate everyone.

    Please tell me what your favorite street to ride on is, and why. Please tell me what your least favorite street to ride on is. and why. I believe that our comfort level is at a different level than many riders. Cities like Portland, Madison, San Fransisco, NYC, etc, didn’t just encourage everyone to ride on the road to get their ridership up. They invested in making cycling a priority and set goals for increasing ridership.

    I think we have to follow the 5Es of the Bicycle Friendly Communities; Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation. We can’t pick and choose which ones we want to apply to our city, we must use a blend of all of them. Only then will we truly increase the ridership and make Orlando a city where people have no excuse not to ride!

  11. Thats great that there are so many aggressive and well educated cyclists on the streets who argue against bike lanes. My question is: Why dont I EVER see you on the road? I cycle everyday, yet I NEVER see you all owning your lane. Thats curious. Why would you not want to see a more legitimate status for cycling? Why is it only feasible to own the lane? I work with several people who are terrified to ride on the streets for Orlando and your solution is to deny them of bike lanes? Great. Good work. Im sure citing graphs on overtaking will make them feel better.

    • ‘Cuz there just aren’t that many of us, David. I’m out there every day controlling the lane on South St., Summerlin, Anderson, and Mills, and rarely see other vehicular cyclists either.

      (And many readers of this blog are from outside of Orlando.)

      But you’re right that rational, data-based arguments don’t make much difference for many people. That’s why we’re developing a course that SHOWs them what it’s like. Experiencing it (at least in small pieces) beats verbal argument every time.

      The problem we run up against is the idea that a bike lane can replace the need for training, so many novices (or otherwise traffic-fearful cyclists) take the strategy of waiting until the bike lanes come instead of learning how to ride anywhere they wish today.

      We also have suffered from less-than-compelling cycling courses. We hope our new course will change that and result in the kind of word-of-mouth advertising that will really get people to take the course.

      We have to get away from these endless “you’re wrong!” on-line arguments and focus on what we can do.

      The vehicular cyclists need to quit wasting time arguing against facilities, because every minute spent doing that is a minute not spent training actual cyclists. The vehicular cycling community has spent 20 years on this strategy. How’s that workin’? Sorry guys, but the Paint & Path bunch is eating your lunch politically-speaking.

      And the facilities folks need to quit insulting the vehicular cycling instructors who are trying teach people how to ride in the safest possible manner today. I’ve been told I don’t care about and don’t understand the needs of novice cyclists. I can’t think of another activity in which the experts are deemed ignorant of the needs of novices.

      • great post Mighk!

        I think your course idea is the best thing to happen to Orlando cycling since I’ve lived here. Bike lanes will never be provided on every roadway and even with a bike lane, cyclists (and motorists) need to be educated in how to use them safely.

        Sign me up for your course! My kids are riding regularly around town without me. After going from sidewalk riders they are now riding in the road, but they still would benefit greatly from a course.

      • Well said, Mighk! Sometimes I think I’m about as bi-polar as possible…I’m for trails (about as pro-facility as one can get) AND riding in the lane! ;p As always, nothing is ever black or white.

        It’s not a simple problem. I think people want to feel safe and also want to not be harassed. Even though safety should win out over fear of being disliked, that doesn’t always happen. Adults aren’t immune to peer pressure! No one strategy can resolve both of those issues. I think education is one of the most effective ways to address these issues. I also think pleasant alternatives (low-traffic residential roads and trails) are extremely effective. I take lanes on higher-traffic roads out of necessity; I ride the trail and quiet roads out of desire.

      • Whether you are in favor of bike lanes or “taking the lane”, I think we can all agree that the public right-of-way (land that we own!) has been dominated by one mode of transportation for too long. After reading these posts, I guess I consider myself a youngish novice rider that is apparently too close to the curb, but will take the advice on “taking the lane”. I have been comfortably commuting from College Park to Downtown for 2 1/2 years. One of my dreams would be to utilize some of the right-of-way for these trail connections that Angie mentioned. Imagine a trail system that could connect all of the major metropolitan neighborhoods to downtown/Lake Eola, and connect some local parks. This could serve the entire cross section of our population: walkers, casual cyclists, the eldery, children, parents pushing strollers, etc. etc. The city of Indianapolis has adopted this idea “The Indianapolis Cultural Trail”, has built the first phase, and is currently building the future phases. They started with the simple idea of removing one lane of traffic, and dedicating it to a trail. A trail system could link parks and open spaces, cultural centers, neighborhoods, and provide options for a multitude of users, not just cyclists. Hopefully this report can at a minimum raise some awareness, and provide some insight into our needs.

        • David, yes! We definitely agree on that!

          I think there are fundamental connectivity problems in Orlando. I’ve been studying the street grid for bike routes here for over 20 years. Some parts of town are horrible! Using trails to increase connectivity is, I think a viable option if we decide that’s important and develop the political will to do it.

          We need to address both the big picture and the root causes. Perhaps my strongest objection to the focus on bike lanes is that it does neither. It’s like this shiny object everyone’s gotten distracted by. Worse, it actually reinforces the bad belief system (that bike drivers should be gotten out of the way, too often at their own expense). We need a fundamental change in our beliefs about the road system, what it does and who it serves. We need to change our land use policies. We need to address the roadway right-of-way and bring it back to humans. Personally, I want to see more pedestrian infrastructure, more trees. I do want to see narrower traffic lanes… just not for the purpose of adding bike lanes. :-)

        • Agreed! And I love the idea of connecting everyone via trail/quiet roads to the city center. Talk about economic development!

          I also feel strongly that we’ve got to stop pitching this as an “alternative transportation” thing. This culture of speed is deadly for *everybody* on the roads–not just people using different modes of transport. Try driving a car the speed limit anywhere around here–you’ll be harassed just as much as you would on a bike. When I tell people someone yelled at me for riding my bike on my own residential road, they glaze over. However, when I pitch the story that somebody sped past me on my residential road, they get all fired up. Same story, different pitch. People can relate to feeling threatened by speeders and they care about it–I’d like to find ways to capitalize on that.

      • That’s two shout-outs for the new cycling course in one thread. I like fun. How does one sign up for it?

        • Jayeson,

          We’re running one more pilot course next month to tweak and finalize the teaching materials (and expose the course to some community leaders). Hopefully, by then the Safety Council will have the system set up. We will advertise the heck out of it here and everywhere we can. You’ll be able to sign up on line. Here’s a basic overview.

    • Ditto to what Mighk said. I’m out there assertively using my space in the lane every day. I’m also seeing more and more cyclists riding this way. 2 years ago, I’d never seen another cyclist (other than the few I knew personally) riding more than a foot from the curb. Now I see a couple a week. We’re making progress. By offering good information and by being visible ourselves, people are starting to catch on.

      Soon, we’ll get the new bike ed program ramped up through the safety council and can promote it. It is a fun, engaging format that people will enjoy and it really does empower them. Students from our pilot class ride assertively and confidently with very little previous cycling experience. Riding this way makes the bike a viable form of transportation NOW, on any road. Additionally, people who are taught to ride this way from the beginning are more comfortable with the space they get in a 10-12ft traffic lane than being pinned out of sight, out of mind in a 4-5ft gutter lane.

      Everyone approaches cycling for the first time with the same cultural bias (stay out of the way) and lack of information. But they can be educated in a matter of hours. Luring people onto the road with paint creates a dependency on paint. It doesn’t empower them to use the bike fully. It doesn’t teach them the best practices of staying safe — in fact, it teaches them the opposite.

    • David wrote “Thats great that there are so many aggressive and well educated cyclists on the streets who argue against bike lanes. My question is: Why dont I EVER see you on the road? I cycle everyday, yet I NEVER see you all owning your lane.”

      Actually there are few well educated cyclist, far too few (excepting a few in this blogshere). An educated cyclist is rarely “aggressive” rather assertive. Bike lanes have some limited value but usually more drawbacks like generally poorly placed and maintained compared to a road.

      David wrote: “Great. Good work. Im sure citing graphs on overtaking will make them feel better.”

      Actually a taking a bicycle class with any of the Commute Orlando folks will open you eyes more than graphic, video, etc . This information are tools to illustrate how to be drive a bike and change the irrationality associated with risks of riding in the street.

    • I’m surprised you haven’t seen me either. 98% of the trading I do is within a 3 mile radius of my residence.

      Perhaps you misunderstand the fact that the main arterial roadways are not all too pleasant to ride in this city. Many of the authors and commenters are accomplished commuter/utility cyclists here at CommuteOrlando.com.

      We know the difference and for us have eliminated the “direct line, Point A to B, get-there-itis” mentality of motorists. (which was a difficult habit to break for myself….I’m over it now because I found the cure!)

      I can be seen roaming the range from Silver Star Rd/N. OBT, Princeton/N. Orange, Michigan St./S. Orange, Cross Seminole Trail/Cady Way Trail/Little Econ Trail, Forsyth Rd/ E. Colonial, and various places while on my commute to Orlando Intl Airport.

      It may be helpful to point out I trailer my toddlers(s) to many of the county parks in the above area. And YES, I command the lane with my children in tow. See you out there!

  12. I think this is a really great idea for a project, so I don’t want to come across as nit-picky…that being said, it makes me uneasy to hear talk of more bike lanes. I don’t know what range of riders is included in your test group, but I think I fall into a more “nervous” group of riders. However, I won’t ride in a bike lane with my kids (and, in general, I try not to ride solo anywhere I wouldn’t ride with my kids since it’s just as important to keep myself safe). They simply aren’t wide enough for me to feel safe and I feel strongly that drivers just don’t have the ability to see me when I’m way out in their peripheral. I know a bike lane actually makes me feel *less* comfortable riding. In the picture, all of the test riders look like young-ish males. Are you including women (particularly those with kids) in your test group? I think it would be good to ensure that you are getting real feedback from the group of people you are trying to reach.

    I admit that I often feel uncomfortable taking the lane. But I feel uncomfortable because I think people are going to be mad at me, yell at me, etc. I feel uncomfortable in a bike lane because I feel like my life is at risk.

    I do agree with narrower lanes and, as always, I would love nothing more than to see more trails and more trail connections. I’d rather see more trails that serve as alternatives to the worst arterial roads than a bike lane on said road. I think increasing trails, lowering speed limits, and educating the public about sharing the roads is critical.

  13. I think that we are all singing the same tune, and it is encouraging to see so much passion for solutions to the problem. I really love the talk about encouraging trails and have that idea in the back of my mind, but just didn’t play that card yet.

    Why is an urban trail system not an option? I think that it is. Hypothetically if you have an over-sized, 5+ lane road, and additional unused ROW, then the options are wide open to take a lane or two and reduce the lane widths. We could then utilize the created space for new facilities.

    What could you do with an extra 10′-30′ to use as a multi-purpose, urban trail? Cyclists and the pedestrians are taken care of, and cars can still flow smoothly and at a slower, more efficient rate. If we are going to truly take the roadways back and balance their use for all users, why isn’t this a viable option?

    Check out the project that David H. mentioned. I have used this as a case study on other projects and it works.

    http://www.indyculturaltrail.org/

    • I think at this point, any kind of push for facilities is a hard sell (financially and socially). So to me, pushing for more bike lanes is in direct conflict with a trail system like this. And frankly, leaders are going to take the cheaper way out–which is a bike lane– and call it a day.

      I would absolutely be onboard with a cohesive trail system–in tandem with a public education effort to promote safe road riding (which, in my opinion, means full use of the lane). That trail cannot take you everywhere, so you can’t just take one strategy alone.

      Is it possible for this community to find enough to agree on and mobilize? I sure hope so. I think waiting around for gas prices to somehow drive that kind of political will is a pipe dream.

      • Oh, and just so all my cards are on the table–for me, I would love to see the cycling community in Central Florida agree to:

        ~stop asking for/promoting bike lanes–I’ve never seen anyone with kids ride in a bike lane and I don’t believe they are safe.
        ~push for connectivity through expanding trails *and* by improving connections between quiet roads.
        ~educate riders and the public about riding in the lane
        ~get onboard with initiatives to lower speed limits (i.e. the EPA’s new effort to curb emissions)

        • I like bike lanes, and have been commuting daily for almost 6 yrs. I like the trail, and ride them on weekends, I “take the lane” when it feels like the safe thing to do. I don’t insist on taking the lane when there’s adequate space to share. I haven’t seen many others, as people have asked “where are you”?. We work different places, at different times, and live on different streets. I see 4-8 bikes on my daily commute, compared to 1-2 when I started. I think bike lanes, and car drivers seeing people safely in bike lanes, help people get started. I work with Ken and David and we have between 10-15 every-day bike commuters at our office. We are all about finding ways to get more people on bikes, and less car/more bike/pedestrian space wherever we can. Say what you want about Ken’s No Excuse Zone, I think it’s raising awareness and has stimulated an active dialog. Ride Safe!

          • Let’s not lose perspective here. I think everyone is supportive and enthusiastic about the No Excuse Zone. You can see that in the comments on Ken’s previous posts as well.

            Bike lanes have become an orthodoxy in this country and as such they are mindlessly accepted as the way to accommodate cyclists. Most of the claims used to justify them are based on “research” with blatantly poor methodology and just plain magical thinking. This blog is frequented by critical thinkers, questionable assertions about bike lanes will be challenged here.

            And that, too, is a valuable discussion.

      • Well said Angie.

        I think we have to take a somewhat sober look at resources.

        Building a continuous facility at over a million dollars per mile will give people one corridor. If that facility is on its own right of way (as most of the Cady Way trail, for example) it will be a pleasant facility and probably worth the expenditure. If it is running parallel to an existing road, it’s going to have intersection issues that need to be solved with separate signal heads, increasing expense, but also increasing delay (and we know, in this culture, who is going to get the lion’s share of the increased delay!).

        Now take a look at the existing network of low-volume streets. In Orlando, these suffer from serious connectivity issues due to a combination of lakes and stupid land use. But, if you can use a couple hundred thousand here and there to build bicycle-specific connectivity between those streets, you can create network of pleasant routes that serve multiple corridors and destination for the same or less money than it cost to serve a single corridor with a continuous facility.

        If we were to combine that strategy with readily-available education, we would probably accommodate the vast majority of people who are willing to try a bike for transportation (at least for short trips). Additionally, that type of system benefits not only the novice rider, but the experienced rider as well. I can ride safely on any road, but I usually plan my routes on quiet streets because it’s more enjoyable. So, this benefits me by giving me better routes AND because if I do choose to take that more direct arterial route which has not been adulterated with bike lanes, I can claim the lane and ride in the way I am most comfortable. It’s win for everyone.

        • In looking at my work commute there are quite a few opportunities for adjacent paths that would have have few or no crossing conflicts. In fact there are a few long, pristine, unused, set back sidewalks with no crossings that would be a good opportunity to relax and let some cars pass. Problem is that there is no way on and/or off of them. They just start/stop with a ditch and high curb between it and the road. One runs about 1000′ along a hedge before terminating into a 10′ high concrete block wall.

          One opportunity I never see mentioned is along interstates and other freeways. Back in Perth, Australia where I am from, pretty much all such roads have an adjacent, paved, multi-use path following the right of way. Even when shielded from the roadway by vegetation they don’t make for very pleasant riding but it is a ton better than a bike lane on SR436. They are also very practical for commuting or just getting to better riding trails. One down I-4 would make my work commute faster, safer and easier. All that said, they are probably much easier to build at initial road construction time.

          Bike lanes. That isn’t keeping me off my bike. It sure isn’t getting me riding down 8 lane highways (10 with bike lanes, plus several turn lanes, yikes!) with lights every few hundred feet. I think those are a lost cause as far as making them comfortable to ride. My biggest barriers to entry are all problems related to connectivity issues. There are lots of great riding roads. It is just really hard to go anywhere on them.

          • I’ve sat in a traffic jam on I-4 and looked at the wide grass median and thought how cool it would be to have a bike highway there. Wouldn’t it be fun to causally pedal past the hundreds of bumper to bumper cars? :-)

            Seriously, Summit County Colorado has a trail network that uses the interstate median from Frisco to Vale.

          • +1 on down the middle of I-4 bike-ways. Especially if some overpasses are already in the works that could be used to provide access. I’m not sure it will ever quite look like the Summit County trail you referenced:

            http://tinyurl.com/y8f8n3y

    • Ken:

      Urban trails next to roadways are extremely problematic. Indeed, way more than bike lanes, because they encourage half the cyclists to travel against the flow of traffic, which we know increases crash risk four-fold. It also reinforces the idea that bicyclists don’t belong on roadways. Put in a dedicated shared use path next to a roadway and I guarantee that the cyclists who choose to stay on the roadway will get harassed.

      Those are just two of the more than a dozen reasons why AASHTO and FDOT recommend against placing shared use paths next to roadways.

  14. Bike lanes are a benefit to motorists and an expense to bicyclists. Ever wonder why bike lanes are often mandatory? And if they are not legally mandatory they certainly are practically mandatory. Reframe them as Bike Reservations and they become less appealing.

    Bike lanes are little more than shoulders with an appealing name, and function as such for the motoring public. Ever wonder what is the purpose of shoulders?

    If prospective bicyclists need symbolic empowerment to pedal, rather than place restrictions on all bicyclists with bike lanes let’s place the
    R4-11 BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE sign and formally expand our space.

  15. On the subject of converting a 4 or 5 lane road to one with bike lanes by narrowing the general travel lanes, I think it’s useful to see what that really looks like:

    Now, you might get an extra foot for the bike lane by narrowing the suicide lane, but it wouldn’t make much difference. The arterial roads in question have significant truck and trailer traffic.

    A bike lane only creates an illusory improvement for one small demographic of cyclists — the spandex road warriors who are currently riding the white line. It does nothing for the timid rider who wouldn’t ride on the road there anyway and it punishes the educated rider who knows how to ride safely on the road there. In that way it actually HURTS our efforts to educate and empower cyclists. What’s the use of education and empowerment if the environment has been altered to remove your legal right to use it?

    That’s just about space and comfort. This drawing shows the intersection conflicts as well. Many of these arterials have numerous driveways and intersections.

    • Where are the cars/trucks in the right hand land in the graphic on the left? I’d love to see roadways with one lane empty at all times, but that’s not reality. Yes, the cars/trucks will move over, but if it’s peak hour cars/trucks will stack up behind the cyclist waiting for a chance to pass (not that I care about that). Or, what happens if you narrow the inside lane to 10′ and leave the outside lane at 14′ with no bike lane? Assuming the truck will move over giving a 3′ clearance, where is the cyclist positioned? In the right tire track? It’s still not an overly pleasant experience and only incrementally safer. It’s not going to get anymore cyclists on the road.

      I understand the arguments for/against bike lanes. Bike/Ped projects included in the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Plan are NOT bike lane projects. Trails are quite popular though and I have no problem spending a million dollars per mile of bike trail when we spend orders of magnitude more than that on roadways that continue to make conditions worse for all (Semoran and Colonial interchange anyone? how much do you think that cost?).

      Roadway designs need to address all modes and they are required to address bicycles and pedestrians – I will never argue against that. Addressing bicycle needs does not require a bike lane however – it can be a wide curb lane, signage, etc. My fear in actively arguing against bike lanes is the needs of bicyclists will be ignored as in ‘look, we tried to accommodate bikes but the cyclists didn’t want us to’ here’s your 6-10 lane arterial with a 55mph speed limit.

      I think if we advocated for roadways to just simply be more humane, we’d gain a lot more than picking at specific facility designs. Why not envision a place where the number of cyclists on the road are equal to the number of cars? Why not dream of being the Netherlands one day?

      Would removing the bike lane on Edgewater Drive make it a more pleasant Street? Would placing a sharrow in the middle of the travel lane help? Edgewater is a great street with lots of potential, how can we get Angie and her kids to ride down it? I suspect that simply removing the bike lane wouldn’t really make that great a difference. Maybe it would, I don’t know. Angie’s not like most moms anyway, but I think she and her kids are the demographic we want to reach. If moms with young children are comfortable riding in the street…I think that’s the measure of success we should shoot for – wide lanes without striped bike lanes won’t get you there.

      • Laura, I definitely prefer wide lanes to the stripe for a number of reasons (listed here). Technically, there is not enough space for ~9ft vehicle like a box truck, semi or utility trailer to pass a bicycle in a 14ft lane. 16ft is really a minimum shareable width with large vehicles. Most vehicle drivers will move all the way left in the lane to pass when there is no stripe, giving the bicyclist more space. Also, because cars will travel on most of the available pavement when no cyclist is present, there will be less debris accumulation than in a bike lane.

        From a safety standpoint, a cyclist is still at a disadvantage operating in a small space beside the flow of traffic (stripe or no stripe). I was riding to the right in the WCL on Tuscawilla one evening when a platoon overtook and a stream of bumper-bumper cars turned right onto Gabriella, essentially cutting me off.

        I’d much rather see us focus on making our humanways accommodate pedestrians with better infrastructure, cyclists with better social structure and our humanity with better streetscapes. We need to get beyond segregation-by-vehicle-type as making a complete street. We have the opportunity to see an influx of low-powered, eco-friendly vehicles in the traffic mix, I think we should embrace that by replacing the Culture of Speed with a new, more human paradigm.

        Bike lanes are the spawn of the Culture of Speed, they serve only to reinforce its tyranny.

        Regarding heavy traffic. Traffic comes in platoons. Yes, there is a bit of shuffling that occurs, but it’s not as bad as you envision. I have quite a lot of video of this. There’s typically about 45 seconds to a minute of a platoon passing and another 30-40 seconds of no traffic. Check out this video of Orange Avenue at rush hour. And notice how long the traffic was backed up at the red light at Mills. We rode that way for the purpose of video, if I was going that direction at that hour, I’d probably choose a different route (and still get there faster) because I don’t like passing queued traffic.

        I can guarantee that no option is going to be comfortable for a bicyclist in very thick and heavy traffic. Definitely, being squeezed into a marginal space, stripe or no stripe isn’t going to be any more pleasant than having a lane change shuffle going on. When traffic is very heavy is when I most want alternative route options.

  16. So if someone is more than 6 miles away, they have an excuse not to ride? I guess I don’t have to ride the 17 miles to work anymore, then….

    ;- )

  17. Keri,

    Nice drawing. Nitpick: max vehicle width is 8ft 6in, and 10ft 2in with mirrors (at least in CA; I’m not sure which other states regulate mirror width).

    • I got the measurements from Robert Seidler. He measured a semi, a box truck, a utility trailer and all kinds of cars and trucks with plumb-bobs for the LE Toolkit.

  18. Just to clarify, I’m all for the No Excuse Zone. Let’s just not use it as a rationale for building or painting dangerous and ill-conceived bicycle facilities.

  19. The No Excuse Zone effort is merely to be used as a tool to show Orlando how far they can travel by bicycle in a certain period of time. Other analysis can be applied to estimate ridership goals, cars removed from the road with increased ridership, CO2 reduction from the fewer cars on the road, etc. It is merely a tool.

    This project can also be a survey tool to show where there are deficiencies in facilities and connectivity. It can also show alternate routes that run parallel to the main arterial roads running through the city.

    I think that the comments that have been made from this post highlights the different preferences that riders have on how they prefer to ride. Some people on here like to ride in the lane, others in bike lanes-if they are present, most like trails, and everyone thinks that there should be something done to the existing streets in Orlando to improve their quality and increase their ridership.

    As a designer I take the stance that riders should be provided options with types of facilities that are present. Believe it or not, some of Orlando’s roads warrant bike lanes because of their traffic speed and congestion. Other roads should just have sharrow markings and be striped to allow proper “share the road” dimensions. There are also several roads that are in a totally different category because they are engineered strictly for the car, and cyclists and pedestrians need a separate facility to allow direct routes and fewer conflicts with automobiles.

    If the proper facilities are put in the proper locations and are maintained properly, then there are no issues. The beefs that everyone mentioned seem to have to do with user error and poor maintenance and even the wrong facility in the wrong locations. If more thought and planning are put into the initial design development, then maybe some of the issues with certain facilities can be illuminated. It is also crucial that the education classes are promoted and that the information is taught to not only cyclists, but automobile drivers as well. If everyone knows how the facilities are supposed to be used, then there is no reason that they can’t work in the way that they are intended to.

  20. I haven’t read through all the posts above, I don’t have the time. But from what I’ve read, people need to realize that this site is dedicated to improving cycle commuting and recreation IN THE CITY OF ORLANDO – THE MOST DANGEROUS PEDESTRIAN CITY IN THE U.S.

    I’ve been bike commuting to work for almost 8 years now, and have used all types of facilities. My observations can be summed up like this: Orlando drivers are not properly educated on the rights of cyclists and how to operate their vehicles around us. Compounding the problem is the City of Orlando code, chapter 10, regarding bicycling within the city limits.

    Sec. 10.02. – Rights and Duties; Generally.
    Every person operating a bicycle has all of the rights and all of the duties granted or imposed by law as to the driver of any other vehicle, except as to any special regulations in Florida Statutes ch. 316, or this Code, and except as to provisions of this Chapter which by their nature can have no application.

    Sec. 10.07. – Roadway Travel.
    Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway, at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing, shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

    (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
    (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
    (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

    Sec. 10.15. – Riding on Sidewalks; Joint Use as Bicycle Path.
    (1) No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within the corporate limits of the City unless the sidewalk has been designated for joint use as a bicycle path and posted with appropriate signs indicating such use. [I can tell you there aren't many of these around.]

    Allow me to sum up what the code says: Cyclists, you have all the rights of a vehicle, use them. Cyclists, you’re not cars, so stay as far to the right as you can – except when approaching that little hazard on the side of the road that will affect you, but the motorist behind you doesn’t see. Then you can swing out into the lane to avoid it, just don’t sue the City when that motorist that didn’t see the hazard runs you over. Cyclists, you’re not welcome on sidewalks, you were clearly given permission to ride the roads in Sec 10.02.

    Folks, I’d love to say Orlando is as enlightened as certain other locales around the country when it comes to cyclists’ rights, facilities, and public education of full use of public roads. It’s just not the case. Bike lanes aren’t the answer everywhere, as I’d guess Ken and metroplan would agree. A family of 4 or 5 certainly wouldn’t use one to travel down S. Orange Ave, for instance. But that’s not their intended user. In Olrando, for commuters and to clearly delineate cycling space as an alternate to educating motorists, they’re a good start in certain situations. Dig it.

    • Orlando is the most dangerous city for pedestrians. It is only dangerous for bicyclists who act like rolling pedestrians. The crash studies prove it. The crash contributors are: staying far right, riding on the sidewalk or doing illegal things like riding against traffic, riding without lights and disobeying TDCs.

      Cyclists who act like other drivers with an equal right to the road ARE the safest. We are the ones who ride with very little conflict.

      Orlando drivers aren’t terribly enlightened and they (as all American drivers) could use some education. But if you talk to those of us who ride assertively and do not stay far right, you will find that we get along just fine in Orlando. I have ridden in places that are better (Dallas TX, believe it or not) and places that are way worse.

      Your interpretation of the statute is the problem with the way it is written. 316.2065 (a) (3) is the RULE, not the exception. 90% of the lanes in Central Florida are of “substandard” width.

      Kevin, I do recommend you read all the comments and other material on this site. Start here.

  21. If these facilities aren’t intended to increase the number of users as well as the breadth of those that can safely use the system (ie families, older users, etc), then you’ll just get more of the same–a few adventurous souls trying out biking. It will continue to be something done by outliers and thus continue to be on the outskirts of public discussion/public support. Furthermore, I maintain that many that get out in the bike lane will be scared silly and never go back. You cannot get to be like any of the great biking cities without improving your ability to serve ALL users! Public support is especially critical in a state like this, where car is king.

    I think the No Excuse Zone is a great tool for promoting riding. But even though you are coming from your “designer/planing” perspective, I think it’s heavily influenced by the fact that you are a) a young-ish male and b) childless. I can almost guarantee that your mind and riding habits will change when you have kids. I don’t mean any of this as a criticism–I just really hope that those people involved in designing bike facilities will do more work to broaden their network and get more diverse user feedback. If women are seen as an indicator species for riding, building this tool based on feedback from a bunch of men doesn’t seem valid.

  22. I am really appreciative of all of the diverse feedback that this work is getting. I will admit that it is difficult for me to imagine riding on any of Orlando’s facilities with children. A few of the trails are “kid friendly” at best, and that is just my opinion and I applaud those of you that have taught your kids the rules of the road and have ventured out with them.

    Just so everyone knows, I am getting female/parent feedback from this project. I work and socialize with plenty of women and people with children and they have vocalized many of the issues that have been mention in these comments and will be addressed.

    My wife for example commutes by bike too, but only rides on streets with bike lanes or those that are residential in nature. We are lucky that we are both only 2 miles from our employers and don’t have to ride far on the roads that we are surveying. If she did have to venture onto a major roadway, I know that she wouldn’t ride without me being there to buffer the cars from running up behind her. It is just her preference. She wants to have a pleasant ride, that she doesn’t have to fear or wonder what the car is going to do behind her. She would rather feel like she is in control because she can visually see what the drivers are doing around her. I don’t pressure her to get in the road and won’t tell anyone else to do that style of riding if they are not comfortable doing so.

    My desire is to serve ALL users. My design process focuses on all riders and not just people wearing spandex, commuters, parents, weekend riders, or just people that want to putz around their neighborhood by bike. That is why the correct facility in the correct place is key, and not having any facility present at all isn’t going to help attract anyone to try cycling. My colleges and I get to work on projects across the country and across the globe. We get to see some of the most elaborate facilities imaginable, and it is tough to come home and in most cases just see a share the road sign at best. The successful cities that have made cycling a priority for transportation have educated and invested in infrastructure that supports the needs of all of their users. The facilities don’t work perfect for everyone, but they catch enough people that their ridership increased dramatically after their implementation. We can all argue what facility goes where, but i hope that we can agree that we need something done, and a louder voice to push the politics toward our views.

    Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day, so hopefully more people will catch the bug of riding, and more voices will be heard for what Orlando needs.

    • Ken,

      I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and commitment you are bringing to this project. I can see that you really care about improving biking in this area.

      On the one hand, I get what you are saying about not wanting to pressure people to ride a certain way. It’s part of the consensus building process. However, on the other hand, I feel it’s a lot like a doctor not wanting to pressure a patient to change his diet to prevent a heart attack. When it comes to safety, some things are non-negotiable.

      I simply can’t see that this is a matter of opinion or preference–the data (and my subjective experience) both suggest to me that taking the lane significantly lowers the risks for the most common types of conflict. Looking at your wife’s example, she feels unsafe riding alone on a higher-traffic road. I felt the same way when I first started. As I’ve said previously, now that I take the lane–I feel *uncomfortable* at times. I’d rather be uncomfortable than unsafe.

      I am with you that we can all agree that improving biking in our area is a matter of great importance–the benefits are innumerable. I just hope we can all stay committed towards pushing for best practices and the safest standards, not just what is easiest/cheapest.

    • Re Ken’s statement: “I will admit that it is difficult for me to imagine riding on any of Orlando’s facilities with children.”

      I completely agree. Is there anyone out there that would feel comfortable bike commuting with their child (in a trailer) here in Orlando? I for one am not (yet). My child’s daycare facility is just 2 blocks from my workplace.

      Despite my own confidence with solo bike commuting, I just can’t help feel that it’s different when I am out on the road during weekday traffic with my 2 year old daughter in a trailer. I take her out on Cady Way Trail and even a Sunday morning from Baldwin Park to B3 cafe but that’s it. Part of it is definitely perception due to negative pressure from my wife and colleagues. Despite what I know about safe cycling on the roads, it still feels “safer” to use a separate bike path when I have a trailer & child attached.

      I would be interested in the thoughts of other readers, and perhaps I just need to be convinced that taking my daughter to daycare in a Burley D’lite is safe. On the other hand, why should I be taking any risk at all?

      • Vincent, the issue you bring up is why elementary schools all across the nation have empty bike racks. We have let fear be the deciding factor in too much of our lives (and our children’s lives), so much so that it often overrides caution and reasonableness.

        I recently watched a young mother pulling her child through traffic during rush hour on a 6-lane collector, signaling, negotiating lane changes, and controlling her lane. Cars were giving her so much clearance that I thought for second it was the trailer.

        But then I remembered seeing some scenes in San Antonio Texas of a similar mother and child. The duo was in a substandard bike lane at first, and then on a 6-lane thoroughfare without a bike-lane. She always rode to the far right, and cars and trucks were passing her (and her child) within two-feet because they weren’t changing lanes to pass but merely squeezing by (bike-lane or not). It was scary to see.

        Point being, it wasn’t the trailer that motorists were giving the extra space to, it was the competent/confident cyclist claiming her proper share of the roadway.

      • Vincent,

        Want to ride with your children in a trailer ON the roads? Drop me a line and I can show you how easily it can be done.

        My wife and I took our children from Curry Ford Road/SR 436 to E. Concord St./ N. Mills Ave. She piloted the trailer.

        I take my son fishing and playing to county parks from Michigan St./S. Orange Ave. to Goldenrod/Lake Underhill.

        With the RIGHT skills, you and your wife can gain the confidence to do the same. I’m teaching mine what little I already know. Waiting to go for a ride. Hope to hear from you very soon.

        • Let me know how I can contact you, Rodney

      • Vincent,

        I definitely recommend taking Rodney up on his offer. He’s a great teacher.

        I do not have children, so I cannot comment on a parent’s fear. I do think it is perfectly understandable and probably takes another order of magnitude of confidence in the safety of cycling to overcome it.

        I can offer experience pulling a Burley all over Orlando. It was full of professional video equipment, not a child. But I never experienced anything that made me feel as though what I was doing would put precious cargo at risk. By riding assertively, motorists gave me plenty of space and there were no conflicts. Among the many roads we used that week: Colonial, Curry Ford, Maguire, 436, Gore, S. Parramore, Orange, Robinson… I pulled that trailer 75 miles at a typical cruising speed of 12mph.

        One of the things that scares me is seeing people pull trailers on the sidewalk. There are so many hazards on the sidewalk that can upset a trailer, and the risk of being hit by a car is 4x as great. Bicycling is plagued by culturally-embedded fears (taken as “common sense”) that causes cyclists to act in ways that put them at greater risk.

        • One more small point…

          The compensatory behaviors that put cyclists at greater risk account for ~90% of the crash statistics! We look at the crash statistics and think they confirm our belief that cycling is dangerous… but they were caused by a reaction to the belief that cycling is dangerous! It’ a vicious circle and a HUGE impediment to encouraging people to use a bicycle for transportation.

          Vincent,
          you can contact Rodney via private message on the forum. Are you the Vincent who joined the forum this morning?

          Anyone can request a mentor on the forum, too! We’re here to help. We will ride with you, help you plan routes, whatever you need.

        • Today for the first time I commuted from work to home with my daughter in tow! It went well without any hitch. Appreciate the advice and encouragement from Rodney, PM, and Keri.

          • Vincent! Congratulations!

            Fun, wasn’t it? If you don’t have one, get a nice bell for your bike, and ding-a-ling it at every child you see. Big smiles, and they’ll want their folks to take them in a bike-trailer, too!

          • Vincent, that is so great! Congratulations! And thank you for sharing it with us! You have surely put a smile on my face for the rest of the weekend :-)

            See you on the road!

      • Also, I highly recommend this read (written by a pediatrician):

        http://totcycle.com/blog/is-family-cycling-safe.html

        I understand the family pressure–nothing cuts to the quick quite like having your parenting abilities challenged. For my husband and I, I know that we have discussed it endlessly and still agree that we feel safe and that the benefits far outweigh any risks. I hope you do ride with Rodney, because *how* you ride will make all the difference in how you feel about it. Ultimately, though, it’s a personal choice and one based on the routes available.

  23. Ken, you cover a lot of ground, and I can’t address every thing you’ve said. But:

    – Do not lump pedestrians and bicyclists together, either in discussion or in any planning. Pedestrians can stop in one stride, instantly look in any direction, instantly move in any direction, have a zero turning radius, and can walk backwards. Bicyclists can do none of these things. Thus, the two don’t mix well together, and the facility design needs for one are different from the needs for the other. Remedial safety measures for one may be quite different from such measures for the other.

    – First rule of public policy is to be ready for what you advocate to be enacted badly. Frankly, your statement that “If the proper facilities are put in the proper locations and are maintained properly, then there are no issues” scares me. It conditions good results on a bunch of promises you don’t have the power to keep. The more ambitious a plan for changing society, the bigger the defects as it gets built.

    – If you ask for a bikelane, and think everyone understands that you mean a safe, well-designed bikelane….. and then you get a door zone bike lane with a gutter pan seam in the middle, and blind approaches to intersections, right-hook collisions designed into the system…. that’s business as usual.

    – I’m pretty tired of the over-hyped concept that roads were designed for cars. From the ancient Romans’ Appian Way to the streets of Manhattan in the 1800s, roads were… pretty similar to what they are today. We’ve added a little paint and made them wider and smoother. They’re still roads.

    – What counts are the _behaviors_. Safe behavior doesn’t change because you put down paint. The paint is supposed to be used to reinforce safe behavior, not direct road users to a less safe behavior. But so many people don’t get that some changes are worse than the do-nothing option, we get unsafe behaviors directed to us by paint. When an unsafe behavior is reinforced by paint, the current faddish “fix” is to change the color of the paint. Crikey!

    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

  24. Poor Ken. So about your map. Thanks. It isn’t of much use to me personally but I like the idea of cycling maps in general and hope this leads to more. I’ve been thinking a lot out previous cities I have cycled and looking at what kinds of facilities and tools they have. The cycling map for Marin county is pretty darn awesome (http://www.marinbike.org/Map/Index.shtml) but I think I like Perth’s the best for commuting: http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/cycling/14679.asp

    It identifies all cycling facilities but also rates ordinary roads on how they are to cycle. I don’t know how they decide how to rate a road for cycling, it appears to be about how much pressure is put on the rider by typical passing traffic. Roads I basically refused to ride on are appropriately red and roads I would ride but would have liked an alternative to are orange. At first glance all I saw when looking over the maps was a cycling infrastructure with gaps everywhere. But when looking at some of my old commutes I realized that it is super helpful, preparing you up front for what is there and allowing you to see the options in order to make route compromises that work for you. I wish I’d had this in college. I quickly gave up on my 6 mile commute which included a 5 mile uninterrupted stretch of riverfront trail because of half a mile of what they call “poor riding environment”. Turns out there is an alternate marked bike route I could have used with much better riding roads. What I don’t like about the Perth maps is that the color rating is lost for marked bike routes although you can sort of infer it based on surrounding roads.

    Vancouver by comparison marks all their routes in green: http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/documents/bikeRouteMap.pdf . Maybe they are in fact all super awesome, stress free routes (I doubt it) but it would still be good to see where all the sewer roads fit in.

    I think the no excuse map would benefit a lot from color coding the routes it has now. Note that the Perth map identifies bike lanes (there are few) independently of the road riding quality which I think is very wise. So SR436 would be red (poor) + yellow border for bike lanes. It looks like many of the roads in the no excuse map actually fit that description. I should note that I don’t think Perth has any roads as horrible as lets say South OBT.

    What I’d really like to have are maps for the whole area that could be used to quickly plan any commute. I think it would make a handy aid for facility planners also – the color coding quickly identifies connectivity issues and their severity. Heck, maybe we can even get some signed bike routes at some point. An Orlando map should probably identify existing back road connections as well as potential sites for creating them.

      • Interesting. I think that data is definitely in the right direction although it isn’t really ready for route planning. The scale of making a great data set for Orlando is obviously large. Right now the map has only a few local street connections, short connector paths etc. That is exactly what I was asking for though. A more complete set of data would capture the comments I got from you about the route Mighk proposed for me. That is, Hattaway being a nice bike route and the bypass for the 90 corner on Oranole.

        I’d be interested to know how traffic interaction level was calculated. It appears almost random to me, certainly not consistent with my experiences on roads I know. I think it would be much more accurate to just rank all 2 lane collectors as orange and everything else larger as red.

        As it stands now Google maps new bike thing seems to be best as a starting point. But it paints everyone with one brush and I don’t have much idea of what I’m getting into. It also does silly things like route down wash board dirt roads and through sewage plants. I know cycling is bottom tier road use but damn.

        • Mighk can give you more info on how the metroplan map thingum works.

          I’ve had mixed results from Google Maps bike mode. I have a post half-written, but I want to try out a route it created for me on some southeast-Orlando roads I’m unfamiliar with before I finish my full evaluation. It’s one thing to measure it against roads I know, I’m curious to see what it’s like to plan a map and go ride it blind (of course, not totally blind, I did check the satellite and street views for supporting info).

          Google does seem to bias toward two-lane roads when sometimes nearby multi-lane roads are better options. It’s much more comfortable to ride assertively when motorists have another lane they can use to pass. And there are a lot of strategies no software algorithm will ever account for.

  25. Interesting on the vehicle widths measurements. The federally mandated max width is 8ft 6in, so maybe the 4 extra inches is 2 inches of structure on each side that the manufactures don’t consider to be part of the mandate.

    Ken repeats the same tired mantra that some of us have heard for decades. “As a designer I take the stance that riders should be provided options with types of facilities that are present.” He’s an altruist designing for ALL bicyclists, but has yet to admit that when bike lanes are present there is no option but to use it.

    And this statement shows he’s a slave to some crappy manual written by bubble heads with a bike lane agenda. “Believe it or not, some of Orlando’s roads warrant bike lanes because of their traffic speed and congestion.” No, motorists slow for the presence of slower traffic, like bicycles.

    Out and closet bike lane evangelists ought to admit to themselves and others that their preferred outcome is really a benefit to motorists who are glad to have bicycle users sequestered out of their way.

    Wayne

  26. All this talk about making improvements for bicyclists by constructing bike lanes, multi-use paths, cycletracks, etc and ad infinitum, comes down to one essential fact. People are afraid of riding bicycles in traffic. It’s scary. So the usual response by planners is to build something, build anything that looks like it will be good for cyclists, regardless of whether it’s actually of benefit.

    But what of a simple, cost-effective method to reduce the fear factor without building those expensive facilities? What one thing can we do to immediately make our streets better for cyclists and pedestrians?

    You just had to know I had an answer, didn’t you?

    It’s really quite simple. Reduce speed limits on all surface streets – that is, all streets except for limited access roads – to no more than 25mph. It costs far less than all that pavement, and it makes our cities more like Europe! Think of it as Amsterdamnation.

  27. Angie,

    “May the Force (always) be with you!” ;-)

    It’s very exciting to see cyclists learn that they are roadway victims only when they act like victims, and that taking responsibility (and the lane) afford cyclists their freest and safest journey. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men (and women) dread it.”

    It’s equally sad to see others promote victim-hood for cyclists, either out of a lack of experience/education, condescension, or even selfish motives.

    Ken, I applaud your no-excuse zone, but I encourage you to see (as others have pointed out) that the demand for segregation is just another excuse for most.

    How can I get one of your maps!