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Posted by on Apr 25, 2010 in General | 66 comments

New Facilities Catching On

I have been working in DC this past month and have been overwhelmingly impressed with the amount of cool bicycle facilities that they are constructing and implementing.  I plan on heading back up to DC this week, and I am encouraged by new articles that I am seeing in conjunction with Earth Day and DOTs allocating funds for summer implementation of new facilities in many US cities. This past week, Denver opened 40 B-cycle stations that will provide 400 bicycles for the city’s citizens and visitors to use. New York is pushing forward with adding new cycletracks and additional miles of bike lanes. Today Miami had another successful Bike Miami event that closed down streets and created a Cyclovia type atmosphere in the city’s downtown.

I am excited to see more of what DC is doing when I visit there this week and see how “a bucket of Portland is being spilled on the Capital“. The cycletracks that are being constructed there are the main arteries that are going to feed the city with cyclists. Bicycle ridership generally increases 18-20% when cities add cycletracks, but only 5-7% for bike lanes. New York’s cycletracks also reduced injuries by 56%, crashes by 48%, injuries to pedestrians by 29%, and injuries to cyclists by 57%. Pennsylvania Avenue is getting bi-directional cycletracks running down its median, 9th Street (a 1-way) is getting a new bike lane on the right side and a contraflow lane on the left, I and L Streets are getting buffered bike lanes, and many other streets are getting restriped with narrower travel lanes and new bike lanes.

I admit that not all of these facilities will be successful and I am sure that redesign will occur, but although they are not ideal, they are better than nothing and may be the best way to get cycletracks implemented on a broader scale. Cities that are implementing bike boxes, contraflow bike lanes, center bike lanes, turning lanes to the left or right of bike lanes, bicycle only lights, sharrows, chevrons, driveway markings and two-stage crosswalk cycle track turns, mixing zones… are going to be the cities that increase ridership and get the United States into the game of urban cycling. It will require some education to say the least, but good changes are on the horizon.

66 Comments

  1. >New York’s cycletracks also reduced injuries by 56%, crashes by 48%, injuries to pedestrians by 29%, and injuries to cyclists by 57%.<

    Can't find a cite for that. Got one?

    • The statistic you cite has taken on a life of its own. I think it is only for 9th Avenue. Oother “cycle track” facilities in New York do not have the safety features that one has (in particular, special bicycle signals preventing conflicts at every intersection) which this one does. The one on Grand Street is in my opinion mediocre and the one on Broadway is nearly unrideable due to pedestrian encorachment. But I agree, can anyone provide a cite?

  2. In today’s WSJ: More New Yorkers Take to Two Wheels

    “A report released Monday by a cycling advocacy group said that the number of New Yorkers who used a bicycle on a daily basis climbed by 28% to 236,000 last year.”

    “The report released by the Manhattan-based Transportation Alternatives said 2009 marked the city’s fourth straight annual increase in biking. More and better bike lanes have propelled the rise in cycling…”

    Cycling “zealots” under attack:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2010/04/13/2010-04-13_martys_got_road_rage_lays_into_dot_commish_for_being_bicycling_zealot.html

  3. Eric,

    I came across this NYC cycling resource this morning:
    http://bikingrules.org

    I’m impressed with their cycling education videos.

    Looks like Biking Rules is funded by Transportation Alternatives, whose website (http://transalt.org) has a variety of resource links that might interest you.

    Ken, thanks for the post. I believe these are some of the infrastructure changes that the ESPN guy Tony Kornheiser complained about, then used the opportunity to recommend running over cyclists. Subsequently he sort of apologized and hosted Lance Armstrong on his radio show to discuss the issue. I wonder what the rest of the metro DC non-cycling public thinks about the new cycling facilities?

    One hopes in a few years we will be just an expected part of the transportation landscape.

  4. One of the problems with such facilities is that even if one of them is designed well and works well within a particular context, others will try to build the same sort of facility in inappropriate locations. Very few planners and traffic engineers understand bicycling, how bicyclists are supposed to behave in traffic, or the most common types of conflicts and crashes. Design mistakes are the norm; examples of good design are the exception.

    I’m afraid that political support for such facilities would over-run sound engineering judgment.

    And those of us who avoid such poorly-designed facilities because we understand their problems are often harassed for doing so, and have to explain why we’ve chosen to avoid them (and those explanations often fall on deaf ears).

    The inevitable shift in the argument then goes, “But not everybody can ride the way you do.” This in nonsense on two points. First is that any adult (and any kid over about age 12) can ride the way I do; it’s very easy. Second is that it’s the novice riders who are most at-risk for the kinds of conflicts poorly-design facilities create, because they don’t understand the conflicts and they don’t have the bike handling skills to avoid them when they happen.

    There was a fatality on the sidepath along Crystal Lake Dr. and the airport some years ago (before it was widened). It was the typical cyclist-traveling-against-the-flow/motorist-pulling-out-of-a-driveway crash.

  5. Here’s a slide show of the bike way on Broadway (NYC). And the one on Grand. Looks a little different in person than a designer’s renderings.

    Much of the desire for separate bikeways in NYC comes from their dysfunctional, aggressive traffic culture. But you can’t build your way out of a social problem, as this photo demonstrates. (A couple slides before it, the bicyclists are violating the signal.)

    Another important point about NYC is that the infrastructure is mandatory-use. By law, bicyclists have no right to use the adjacent road. They are forced to deal with the increased delay of separated signal phases, pedestrian incursions, obstacles, and the inconvenience of not being able to directly access destination on the other side of the one-way street.

    Decreasing the level of service for people who have taken the time to learn to drive a bicycle in order to accommodate people who (facilities advocates incorrectly believe) can’t/won’t learn, is unfair to both parties. It robs the accomplished of their previously-enjoyed use of the street and it robs the uniformed of achievement and self-mastery, consigning them to dependence and limitation. It also undermines our ability to change damaging beliefs about safe practices and who the roads are for.

    Cycletracks involve large expenditures of taxpayer money for something that is entirely symbolic and unnecessary. That money should be put toward pedestrian infrastructure and transit. Most of the problems for bicycling in America come from bad beliefs and bad behavior. Segregated infrastructure not only won’t fix those social problems, it reinforces them. And believe. If enough of them are built, their use will be mandatory. The Kornheiser’s of the world will see to it.

    On the local level, downtown Orlando has a pretty good traffic culture. It’s actually a very easy place to ride a bike. As I have demonstrated here, here, and here. And will be happy to anyone on a tour for the asking.

    The reason urban cycling hasn’t caught on in America is a whole lot more complex than lack of fancy facilities. We’ve been told a oppressive story since the motor-age take-over of our public roads. Motor centric propaganda infiltrated our school systems decades ago, saying “roads are for cars, get out of our way or we’ll kill you.” That story has created a belief system with the power of a phobia. We aren’t going to cure that disease by pandering to it.

    I share Brock’s hope that we will be expected (and respected) as a normal part of the transportation mix. The best way to make that happen is by being (and helping others join us through social encouragement and education) an integrated part of the system. That’s what CommuteOrlando is about.

  6. The pre-automobile mental construct of the street was a multi-purpose space managed by government for the benefit of all. The modern construct of the street is a commodity, bought and paid for by motorists for the purpose of going fast. Other uses are tolerated, at best.

    Added to this construct is the bicycling-in-traffic taboo, which says that bicycling in mixed traffic is insanely dangerous. Like most taboos, it has no objective data to support it.

    It is the modern construct of the street and the bicycling taboo that underly much of the bad behavior we see. Motorists ignore the needs and rights of pedestrians and cyclists, and bully them into staying “out of the way” because it is “their street,” and bicyclists and pedestrians do not have a legitimate need to use it (after all, they’re just out there for “recreation). Some motorists also feel justified in harassing cyclists because they believe roadway cycling to be incredibly dangerous, and therefor irresponsible.

    When someone is being irresponsible on YOUR street, and they are IN YOUR WAY, you might feel justified in giving that person a hard time, especially if you’re of an aggressive nature, or maybe just had a bad day.

    Bicyclists behave erratically, timidly, and as pedestrians-on-wheels in response to the bullying, the bicycle taboo, and having bought-in to the modern street construct.

    Pedestrians scurry around in a similar manner, making their first priority to “keep out of the way” even when the law gives them priority.

    By segregating bicyclists, either through paint or some type of raised barrier, we reinforce the modern construct of the street. We enable motorists to go faster. With more segregated facilities, more motorists will believe not only that they own the streets, but that they paid for the facilities which were provided to keep bicyclists out of the way, too. (Read some of the newspaper comment sections; that attitude is quite common). They feel even more justified in bullying cyclists when a segregated facility is present.

    Segregated facilities also reinforce the bicycling-in-traffic taboo.

    • The psychological effects of the “segregated” facilities that you mention are almost always left out of the conversation between catering to vehicular cyclist infrastructure and improperly-riding cyclist infrastructure. There’s a very simple fact being overlooked and that is the fact that segregated facilities, whether you’re in favor or not, results in motorists not having to change their behavior one bit. This is why even cities like Portland which have had segregated facilities for a long time still has plenty of cyclist-motorist conflicts. The motorists there have been able to drive the same way they always have and that means that the mentality that says, “cyclists belong out of my way” goes on unchanged and unchallenged. Bike lanes will never end with better motorists who learn to accept bikes as traffic.

  7. Thanks for your comments. I hoped that this post would not turn into another pro-facilities/against facilities debate. I agree that a one-size-fits-all approach to design is not a viable solution, but I think it is an over generalization to say that ALL facilities should be avoided because SOME of them are poorly designed. As for those “deaf ears,” I think we have to find a better approach than it’s “all or none” to get more people on their bikes and on the road.

    I really appreciate the efforts that CommuteOrlando puts toward education and social encouragement. I feel that to increase ridership in a measurable way, it will take some on-road changes. When the political winds blow that way, it will happen, and we will have some of these new facilities and ridership will go up. It has been that way in many places and cyclists didn’t start dying. CommuteOrlando’s education and encouragement will still be needed to help make people ride correctly in all situations. You will be needed more then, than you do now, because so many more people will need to hear your message.

    Has there been any user surveys or other quantitative analysis done on the citizenry here in Orlando? I just wonder if people here are actually content with the way they are forced to ride here. Most people I talk to here wish they could ride, but don’t because they don’t want to take the risk.

    The argument that a false phobia of streets being dangerous is what keeps people from riding, is as absurd as saying that bike lanes or other facilities are dangerous, and so you would be better off in the road. I do ride in the road when there is no choice, but only because there is no choice. If I was told that i could either ride in a 7′ buffered bike lane or just out in the cart path, I would gladly take the bike lane any day.

    It isn’t a matter of it necessarily being safer, but a matter of riding comfortably and feeling safer. People don’t ride in Orlando because it is perceived unsafe to ride in the road, and it doesn’t matter how many classes people take or videos they watch, they don’t feel safe because accidents happen. That is why they are called accidents, because you never know when they are going to happen. People will choose their transportation upon how low of a chance they will have in getting in one of those accidents, and by how likely they will be unharmed in the accident.

    All the folks that take the lane here in Orlando deserve a medal for surviving each day that they ride amongst 3000 pound vehicles. I have my medal, 2 fake front teeth from getting hit by a truck that failed to yield. I was in a bike lane, but it wouldn’t of mattered where I was, because he was trying to beat me across the intersection. A complete accident, at no fault of the facility I was in.

    I continue to ride because I love it and I believe in it. That is the only thing that keeps me riding in Orlando while being yelled at, getting things thrown at me, swerved at, and almost killed in an accident. That is all happening now, I can’t honestly see it getting too much worse because we separate the users.

    • Ken, you wrote:
      “I just wonder if people here are actually content with the way they are forced to ride here. Most people I talk to here wish they could ride, but don’t because they don’t want to take the risk.”

      No-one is “forced to ride” in any particular way. If you are referring to vehicular cycling as that “way,” your assumption (or anyone’s assumption) that it entails more risk is false. Vehicular cycling has been shown over and over to be the safest way to bicycle. Vehicular cyclists have the fewest crashes. It is also an easy way to ride. It does not require exceptional bike-handling skills. Indeed, avoiding many of the conflicts created by some facilities requires BETTER bike handling skills than the average cyclist has.

      My argument was not that SOME segregated bikeways are poorly designed, but that MOST of them are*; the well-designed ones are the exception. That’s a position based on 15-years experience analyzing and reviewing bike facilities.

      *I’m referring to ones that are adjacent to roadways, not trails in independent rights-of-way.

      • First, let me say thanks to Keri, Mighk and others. This web site got me out on roads I simply would not ride without vehicular cycling. It has been life changing.

        “Vehicular cycling has been shown over and over to be the safest way to bicycle. Vehicular cyclists have the fewest crashes.”

        Mighk, I completely agree with most of what you have said about vehicular cycling. And while logic and the personal experience of many suggests vehicular cycling is safest, after much digging I’ve not found any non-anecdotal evidence that shows one style of cycling is safer than another. The closest I have found is a long report of yours on the Metroplan website. It is extremely well written and balanced in my opinion so I am confident I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know: Even if number of crashes for vehicular cyclists were known (I don’t get the impression that crash reports accurately capture that level of detail) it doesn’t mean anything without knowing relatively how much of that type of cycling is done.

        I’m hoping to be proven wrong as it would be great to be able to make a more informed decision. There does seem to be data that indicates cycling in general across the US might be approximately as safe as driving. If there is anything more specific than that then it needs to be broadcast better.

    • That is why they are called accidents, because you never know when they are going to happen.

      Crashes happen. They are called “accidents” because no one wants to own the behavior that causes them. As a result we don’t learn or solve intractable behavior problems.

      And I can tell you exactly the conditions in which >90% of bike v car crashes happen and exactly how to avoid them by preventing the conditions that cause them. I can also tell you that staying in the bike lane is the opposite of what you need to do to avoid most crashes.

    • Wow, bike lanes and facilities have not been good to me this month. Build it and they will come only works in the movies.

      I’ve seen bike lanes present and completely void of riders. The parallel sidewalk was getting all the love. Imagine if the “road paying motorists” saw that they’d be fuming and accost the ones too afraid to use the bike lane.

      You want more riders? Educate early! The bicycle is not a toy, it is and has always been a viable mode of transport. We just get lazy and take the “convenience” of the auto. Sprawl and sporadic connectivity add to the issue(s).

      Work for finding the root cause(s) and I believe more will be eager to ride.

    • “I hoped that this post would not turn into another pro-facilities/against facilities debate.”

      I’m not sure how you might have expected that, but thanks for the front line intel on how the anti-cyclist bicycling advocates are working these days.

  8. Ken wrote:
    “All the folks that take the lane here in Orlando deserve a medal for surviving each day that they ride amongst 3000 pound vehicles.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just fearmongering. My experience with lane control is that it has dramatically reduced the number of close calls I’ve had as a cyclist. Those of us who control our space don’t do so for for political reasons. We do it because it reduces conflicts and makes us more conspicuous.

    We do it because it is safer.

    “I have my medal, 2 fake front teeth from getting hit by a truck that failed to yield. I was in a bike lane, but it wouldn’t of mattered where I was, because he was trying to beat me across the intersection. A complete accident, at no fault of the facility I was in.”

    Don’t be so sure. You didn’t explain exactly how the crash occurred, but good lane positioning (which sometimes means leaving the bike lane) can counter many motorist mistakes.

    • Just so you know Mighk i was blocked from view by a large SUV with tinted windows that the driver waiting to turn couldn’t see behind. He started his turn before the SUV went by and sideswiped me. He didn’t even know that I was in the bike lane or in the travel lane. He actually saw me because i saw him, but he was already committed into his turn and we hit each other. If I hadn’t had a helmet on, I would have been killed. Road, bike lane, whatever, it was an accident.

      The safety stats aren’t what the people deciding to ride or not to ride are looking at before they decide to bike to work or not. Most people just have a gut feeling that it sucks to ride out there in traffic, and they choose with their gut.

      Either way, it is safe to ride a bicycle. I don’t care where you ride them. If you ride them properly and obey the laws, it is relatively safe to ride a bicycle.

      I don’t know how to attach an image to a reply, so i am going to edit my post to add it. I took it from some slides on Metroplan’s website. It clearly shows that it is safe to ride a bike, except on a sidewalk, which I completely agree with.

      • Ken, that wasn’t an accident. It was a crash and it was totally preventable by you.

        I have prevented that exact same thing from happening to me at that intersection and many others dozens of times because I know to leave the bike lane and position myself next to the center line behind the car in front of me.

        • Well the police that showed up, my lawyer and their lawyer, and the driver of the truck all said that it was his fault and not mine. They didn’t conclude that just because i was on a bicycle. If a truck is turning at an intersection, misjudges if he can get across or not before the bike gets there, and decides to gun it. That is an accident that the driver caused. Trust me, i tried several different evasive measures to try to avoid getting hit by the vehicle, but it was like dodging a squirrel. He was trying to miss me and I was trying to miss him.

          A crash that would have been my fault would be if the light was red and I ran it, if I was riding on the wrong side of the road, or even if I was signaling that I was turning and didn’t turn.

          On my ride home for lunch today i saw a rider going down Colonial in the opposite direction of traffic. He didn’t have a helmet on and I saw 2 more riders on Livingston that weren’t wearing helmets. I also saw a homeless guy (no helmet) that was carrying a shelf and 2 big bags of his stuff on each handlebar, on the sidewalk. Those people cause crashes and are the biggest part of your crash stats. Not people that get into accidents that would have occurred no matter if it was a bike or 2 cars hitting each other.

          • I checked the link to Street Smarts on our home page at CO. After reviewing Chapters Five and Nine, I found a couple of moves one could initiate to avoid a crash.

            I also learned and practiced these same moves while attending a Traffic Skills 101 class earlier this year.

            Oops, I’m sorry, did education raise its hand again?

          • Yes Ken, the motorist was clearly at fault. Keri did not say you were, she said you have the ability to prevent the motorist from making such a mistake and violation. YOU have the ability to prevent that type of crash, but the bike lane does not.

          • I was involved in a crash with a motor vehicle about 6 years ago. It was legally his fault. He was cited. His insurance company treated me well.

            I could have prevented it. I was hit because I was both in a bad position and going too fast for the circumstance. That type of crash will not happen to me again. Because despite that it was legally his fault, I took responsibility for how I set myself up for it and I changed my behavior.

  9. Good gravy, people. Isn’t the whole purpose of CommuteOrlando to get people out of their cars and trying alternative transportation methods? Every time I check out this website I see the same two names bashing every suggestion or idea that doesn’t involve “taking the lane”. Should cars give cyclists a break and realize that they have the right to ride the roads? Sure. Do they? Hardly.

    Keri, I love all your videos highlighting the good natured driving habits of Orlando auto drivers. But the fact is any of us who ride the roads regularly have had our share of near run-ins with idiots who think their steel steeds rule the road and there’s no room for our little ponies. I’d bet big $$$ you’ve had some too. Shoot, I’ve been run off the road 3 or 4 times in the last couple years and have had at least 2 guys get out of their cars and pick a fight with me because I yelled at them for getting too close to me as they passed.

    Are dedicated bike facilities the 100% answer? Of course not. But in the right place, they can be extremely helpful in getting the public to get out and ride on a more regular basis. Just think if downtown Orlando had some sort of “bike freeway” in and out of downtown in multiple directions. Don’t you think it’d help get those people who are afraid to “take the lane” out of their cars? I admittedly don’t have the data to back this up, but I’ll bet the bike lanes on Briercliff, Livingston and Edgewater have had tremendous impacts on bike ridership in those areas of town since they were opened.

    I digress. The whole point of this website, organization, etc. should be getting people out of their cars by whatever means are safe and effective. Dedicated facilities aren’t the 100% answer, but they are effective in increasing ridership. Are they safe? Well they can’t be worse than what we have now. We need to couple these discussions with better education and public discourse about the validity of cycling as a legitimate means of transport vs. just a recereational activity. I’d expect CommuteOrlando to be all over that, not just damning those who like, use, and feel comfortable in bike lanes.

    • Kevin the purpose of CommuteOrlando is to empower people, not enable them. And no, we’re not about getting people out of cars, we’re about helping people who are currently using a bike for transportation, or want to. The difference is, people who want to do something are willing to learn the best way to do it. If someone wants to ride a motorcycle, they take a class and learn to do it safely. If they want to swim, they take lessons. If they don’t want to learn to drive a bicycle in a safe and easy manner, they probably don’t want to use a bicycle. I’m not going to advocate changing the roads for them and make them worse for people who do want to drive their bicycles in the safest manner possible.

      Making things better for bicyclists is completely different from getting people to ride. We actively support infrastructure that makes things better for bicyclists. We don’t support infrastructure that makes things worse by using symbolic trickery to pander to the irrational fears of would-be bicyclists.

      The notion of enticing people out of their cars and onto bikes is bogus. As long as gas is cheap and parking is free, people are not going to hop on bikes just because there are facilities. Especially in the south where it’s miserably humid in the summer and the travel distances are formidable. If we want to get people out of cars, transit is a far better thing to promote.

  10. Ken, you are a classic case of a person who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and is more than happy to tell one all about it!

    You got Left Crossed in a classic manner. You were obscured by an SUV due to your lack of foresight and the bad positioning in the bike lane.
    You can read about this type of collision here:

    Unwitting bicyclists are like the proverbial frog in slowly boiling water. They are blissfully unaware that their poor riding habits create their own problems, and that they are losing their rights as they demand segregation, creating a caste system of bike lanes and paths and tracks and thus their counterpart “motor vehicle lanes” out of what once was simply traffic lanes.

  11. @ Kevin please read Keri’s comment “the purpose of CommuteOrlando is to empower people, not enable them.”

    Do you know what that means? Taking responsibility for your actions with other road users and trust fellow road users versus working only from the “us versus them”.

    Thank you Keri!

  12. Keri, I appreciate the opportunity to provide commentary on Commute Orlando. I realize now that there is only one viewpoint on this blog and rather than having respectful discussions, things tend to resort to name calling.
    Case in point.

    I care about cycling in Orlando and I would like to see more people on their bikes as well, but I don’t see where condescending statements are productive or in any way encourage people to participate. The cycling community is too small to alienate others.

    I really don’t have time to defend concepts or ideas that are widely excepted and statistically sound in many parts of the country and the world.

    I hope to see all of you on the road, because that’s where I will be.

    • There was no name calling here, Ken. We engage in critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Our readers are smart. They hold me as well as other authors to high standards. If authors present things they disagree with, they will articulate why, coherently. That is exactly what we did.

      Before you started writing for us, I sent you our facility pros and cons list and the Advocacy Strategy Pyramid. I didn’t tell you what to write about (other than suggesting you share with our readers some real experiences with being car-free in Orlando, so they could get to know you—something you have not done). But you might have recognized that if you promoted something that runs counter to our philosophies we would call it out. Like wise, if you’d actually been reading this blog you would know that if you call crashes “accidents,” we will call that out, too.

      That was my mistake. I should not have given you author privileges without ensuring that you were actually reading and participating here. But I was eager to get another point of view on the site.

      But even after you became and author, you didn’t come here and participate in this community. You came here and posted your ideas, some of which ran counter to our core philosophies. We didn’t attack you or call you names, we articulated our points of view. I have never censored you. Though I was tempted to delete your account after reading this in Hal’s newsletter:

      Ken Ray, an Orlando landscape architect, has been a recreational rider and bike commuter for 6 years and recently found the Saturday morning rides. He’s hooked! Says Ken, “I have been so inspired by cycling that I started blogging http://livininthebikelane.blogspot.com/ in February and have been picked up by Commute Orlando as a guest author. . . . As a designer/commuter, I have different views . . . and want to do whatever I can to get cycling facilities wherever they are appropriate. Please check out the blog and . . . thanks.” Needless to say, we’re adding Ken’s blog to our list of “favorites” below. You should check it out, especially scroll down to the most-excellent mountain-biking video!

      You wrote one post that stimulated debate (a really good discussion, I thought) and you couldn’t handle it? Grow up, Ken. If you can’t defend your ideas in an open forum, maybe you should think them through a little more. It might make you a better designer.

      Along those lines, understanding the dynamics of common crash causes would too.

      There are thousands of cycling blogs which do not offer their readers real tools to thrive in the world as it is. We do that and we’ve helped a lot of people achieve freedom of mobility on a bicycle.

      There are thousands of cycling blogs out there uncritically cheer-leading any infrastructure. We don’t. We look critically at the physics/traffic dynamics as well as the social/cultural implications.

      We look critically at laws, infrastructure, PSA campaigns, education methods. We do that because we care about the integrity of bicycling and the safety of bicyclists. We also care about fixing the root causes of the problems cyclists face.

      • You’re right, Keri, perhaps I should have posted about other things as well, but I do appreciate hearing what others’ experiences have been regarding these facilities. Frankly I don’t hear too many stories of the facilities causing issues, but rather rider error. I guess when multiple riders are getting run over daily in Portland and New York, I will have to reevaluate my design practices.

        And yes, for the most part the dialog has been engaging and challenging. However, calling someone a “vapid designer boy” or their motives “trickery” just isn’t constructive or professional…negative comments are fine (and I can handle it) but as the leader of this group you set the tone.

        I’m not sure why you would have wanted to delete my account because of an affiliation with Hal’s group. If you wanted another viewpoint, I’m glad I could help with that and probably added some traffic and commentary to the site.

        • Ken, you’re absolutely right about the FB comment. That was inappropriate and I apologize.

          It has nothing to do with your affiliation with Hal, it was the way you presented it… or at least the way it came across in the newsletter. The “different views” was on the heals of a single debate, which was I thought was healthy. It felt as though you were slamming us to promote your own website. Particularly since you knew that we have different philosophies. BTW, a reader sent it to me as well, getting the same impression. But I recognized that was an emotional temptation, so I didn’t act on it.

          Ken, we do welcome other views here. I welcome people to challenge my thinking on my posts. And several readers have (one example, off the top of my head). It keeps me intellectually honest. It improves my thinking.

          Honestly, I think you should stick around here. Participate in the community. Continue to write for us. Accept that if you’re writing something controversial, you will be challenged. If you’re prepared for the challenge, you might actually influence our thinking.

          Keep in mind that I started this website with a philosophy that was not populist. It pretty much runs against the orthodoxy. Standing up in a community that unquestioningly believes that bike lanes are the best way to accommodate cyclists and saying, “no, I don’t believe that, and here’s why” is not an easy thing to do. I’ve thought this stuff through, I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve spent a lot of time on the road. I have reasons for every stand I take, but I’m not only willing to defend them, I’m willing to re-examine them when presented with compelling counter-arguments.

          • No hard feelings, i can take a critique and can back things up as much as I have to. You know that we can both put up charts and graphs that support our different philosophies about particular facilities, but that is just because the numbers are easily manipulated to show weight for one side or another, not necessarily because one side is right or wrong. In the end, it’s not about who’s right, it’s about enabling more people to enjoy safe cycling. Or at least that is my end goal.

            I truly want to be a part of this community because of the great message that you do have for cycling education and social encouragement. I also think that these components are the most important things in keeping people safe, but reaching all of the garbage riders of the world is an impossible task. I want feedback on particular facilities to see what people actually think, because these types of things are going to start being implemented more and more from the greater political will to improve cycling and livable transportation.

          • Ken, Thank you for your grace in accepting my apology. I humbly appreciate it.

            I’m glad that you want to stick around. I would love for you to maybe post some non-facility cycling stuff about day to day family utility cycling. A lot of people think it would be impossible to survive without a car here, so it would be good for them to know what the challenges are and how you overcome them.

            On facility discussions, I’ve found an open-ended question draws some very good insight from readers:

            http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2009/07/02/the-dreaded-busy-two-lane-road/

          • Keri, I followed your link through to the reference to Hoffner Ave. I see just north of there at the end of Simmons Rd there appears to be a connectivity opportunity. I didn’t mark it on the map since I haven’t seen it in person.

          • Jayson, Thank you! Maybe we can get Rodney to check that out. I really appreciate all your input to the map!

  13. I worry that some of this stuff happening in other cities might start showing up here. Here is a recent one I saw:

    http://vimeo.com/10559007

    “You already watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk”. Maybe in Portland. On Friday I came close to getting nailed in a crosswalk by a right turning motorist. The commonly added insult of a horn honk followed.

    Perhaps the discussions here would be more productive if they focussed on facilities that would work for the Orlando area. I like some of our cycling facilities and would like more of the same. Below are things I like in approximate order of preference:

    1. Paved trails with few road or driveway crossings. Crossings should not be crosswalks at intersections.

    2. Quiet residential roads. Cycle specific facility would be creating cut-through paths, closing through roads to motor vehicles, pulling up long stretches of brick paving and allowing bikes to avoid stop signs. For the latter for example it is often possible to allow bikes to make alternating right angle turns to avoid stop signs. This is easy, perhaps enjoyable on a bike and a burden for a motor vehicle.

    3. Bike lanes on 2 lane collector roads with few side roads or driveways and no door zones. A good example of this is Lake Destiny Rd south of 414 in Maitland, adjacent to I-4. (Of course a trail adjacent to I-4 would be much better). By comparison, the section of Lake Destiny north of 414 requires vehicular cycling in a 12′ lane and is unpleasant to ride.

    Wide lanes with bike sharrows showing lane positioning would be great also.

    4. Narrow, low speed through roads. Palmer in Winter Park is busy and still a pretty decent ride. The facility request is just to put down sharrows on suitable roads.

    I am seeing a lot of interest from folks at work about biking in. The biggest excuse I can’t overcome for some of them is pleasant routes. From College Park it is 6 miles. The best route I can find has 2 miles of (2.) above, 2 miles of (3.) above and 2 miles of narrow 2 lane collector. Any one of my first 3 likes would make for a much more pleasant middle section.

    • Thank you Jayeson, this is more of what I want to see and know. How do people here really want to use bicycles and what do they need to have to accomplish that? I have never come out and said, “Hey I want cycle tracks and bright green painted bike lanes all over the city of Orlando.” That isn’t my mission or my intentions in any city that I design for.

      My daily ride to work is on Hampton, Livingston, and Orange Ave. There are only slight modifications to the actual roads that I would ever try to prescribe there. All of the riding that I see on my route just needs to take Keri’s class, or get a few rides in with people that can show them the proper techniques. Downtown riders just have a lot of bad habits and are either blatant law breakers or uninformed.

      Your suggestions for your route are interesting. They still have to do with level of comfort, which is typical. You have to keep in mind that the hardest improvement to get done are things that change the roadway surface or curbs, because that requires regrading and moving drainage structures. Which are both very expensive. That is why most of my recommendations start out with seeing where travel lanes can be removed and something can be put in their place.

      That is why I brought up cycle tracks, because cycle tracks are easy and relatively inexpensive because you can take a 10′ lane and just re-stripe the road or add a small median or buffer, but that doesn’t mean that they get put everywhere you take a lane away. In DC, they are only creating these on a few roads that will act like arterials to bring cyclist into the Capital’s core. If bike facilities aren’t put back in places where lanes are taken away, then most cities just slap on-street parking in the new 10′ space and call it a day. I would rather see more bike solutions put on the pavement instead of more car solutions. That’s all.

      • BTW, all of the things that Jayeson listed are things that we discuss on this site as solutions to improve comfort and access for cyclists in Orlando. Including problem-solving 2-lane roads. And while I prefer extra pavement to have no debris-collecting stripe, our readers know there are several 2-lane roads for which I would support bike lanes to get extra pavement. Since it’s essentially impossible to get sharable-width lanes anymore.

      • On level of comfort: my personal criteria are safety and comfort. For my example above, having a trail of cars tailing me, questionable overtaking and general lack of civility just sucks the fun out of a ride for me. I have a mile long run at the end of my route to work where poor motorist behavior shows up often enough and it is the difference between me feeling bothered for the day or happy, pumped and ready to go. I have been able to get folks interested in retrying bike commuting based on routing around unpleasant roads. I’m dragging on so the short summary is: a net enjoyable ride seems like a reasonable goal for anyone cycling, especially if that is going to be a regular route.

        I am aware that road widening is an expensive proposition. Conversely, our apparent spend on cycling facility seems to be disproportionately small compared to interest in cycling from my coworkers. For me the obvious place to attack is permeability for cyclists. Our community map has identified a lot of potential connections based on what appear to be existing easements or public land. If we were able to collect up existing routes that capture quality of ride information I believe an even better job could be done by targeting based on need, not just opportunity.

        In thinking about converting traffic lanes to cycle tracks, that does concern me. The only place I can think of off hand where a lane appears to have been removed is down Edgewater through College Park. The current parking + cycle lane is not something I’d personally ride on purpose, both because of the door zone and mess of crossing traffic. Replacing the parking lane/bike lane with a cycle track would, IMO, be likely to just create problems with turning motorists. What I think would be better would be a landscaped center median, the curb brought out to narrow the road and set back the on street parking, then sharrows down the center of the remaining lane. That probably isn’t going to be the popular choice for all (potential) riders but it would be harder to create new problems with than a cycle track or lousy bike lane.

        One key step IMO on deploying facilities like cycle tracks is that they should be trailed. With so few riders here how could that effectively be done?

        • I took a drive down Edgewater today to get some bike parts. I was surprised to see 4 cyclists in the bike lanes. It did seem to be getting folks off the sidewalk. They were all riding so slowly the door zone was probably not much of an issue either. Unfortunately 3 of the 4 were riding against traffic…

          • Yeah, there are a lot of salmon on Edgewater. There’s normally also a lot of sidewalk riding. The sidewalks are horrible, they’re actually difficult to walk on in some places, they’re too narrow to push a stroller and probably won’t accommodate a wheelchair, but some people manage to ride on them. My office was on Edgewater for 6 years I observed a lot of cycling behavior that hurt my eyes ;-)

    • “You already watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk”. Maybe in Portland.

      Good point Jayeson. Any facility that encourages a cyclist to act like a pedestrian creates much more than the average risk in Orlando due to the utter lack of respect for people in crosswalks.

    • I’ve been thinking about my list of preferences for a few days and I’m feeling that a wide 2 lane collector road without bike markings is quite preferable over one with a bike lane/shoulder striped. Riding such a road with bike lanes is an OK experience but involves a lot of in and out to handle defects, debris, door zones and intersections. This is all far easier IMO if there are no markings. I don’t think I even want sharrows on the edge of the road. That just implies required lane position but any cyclist or motorist already knows/expects the courtesy of riding to the right when possible. I have never personally been concerned about riding wide, moderately travelled roads. A bike lane would not have further help get me on a roadway. I had tended to interpret a bike lane as meaning a road needs it because it is dangerous to cycle on. I only have one shareable width collector on my route and it is one of the most enjoyable stretches. It is such a non-issue to ride it didn’t even occur to me when thinking about ride quality. Facilities for such a road? Maybe the 3′ passing sign and a bike route sign. Shade trees would be good. Hazard markings in the door zones as others have suggested. Slightly reduced sight lines work for me too which the one I mentioned above has.

      Tollgate trail (a road) up where I am has recently been redone and I think it was widened in the process. It is gently winding with light traffic. There were as many cyclists on it as cars so I guess that is why a shoulder was striped on it. Too bad that the shoulder was full of debris. I got about 30′ before almost being dismounted and rode the rest of the way on the spotless, silky smooth portion left of the stripe. Even if bike lanes did improve safety or ridership on busy roads I can’t see the point for a lazy neighborhood road. Widening, thanks very much. Deadly debris? I’ll pass. I’d be very happy to see the shoulder striping removed so I can actually ride nearer the edge.

      • Jayeson, Thank you for this observation!

      • I meant to add a note about trails. While I like riding them, I’m sure non-cyclist users would prefer I was elsewhere. When the weather is great my section of Wekiva Trail is near capacity for safe cycling at speed. It is not unusual lately to have to wait to pass and I have witnessed a couple of reckless “must pass pedestrian” incidents. Mixed use would probably stop working for that trail if cycling made a dent in commuting mode share.

        • “Must pass the pedestrian” is the cyclist version of “must pass the cyclist.” We’re all wired by the Culture of Speed (and the Culture of Me), no matter what we drive.

          • I too like to go fast, why else would I be commuting in a velomobile that looks like a torpedo, bullet, you name it. It does not prevent me from being considerate to pedestrians. Just today (or maybe it was yesterday), I was approaching a crosswalk with two pedestrians about to enter. They shied back, but I slowed, stopped and waved them on, pointing to the big flashy yellow sign stick (Stop for ped xing). Maybe because I look fast and maybe because I look dangerous, I take extra effort to give pedestrians the right of way.

            Now, step out in front of me on a major roadway, mid-block, and you’re a target! just kitten.

  14. “Cycle tracks” are a popular idea, part of the Northern European cycling environment that US bicycle advocates want to import. Noncyclists indeed say they would feel more comfortable cycling there.

    How have you solved the safety problems that led decades ago to urban shared-use paths being discredited in the US? (See John S Allen’s annotations on the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, and California’s MUTCD 9A.03(5).) For example, NYC addressed the intersection problem by experimenting with additional and extended signal cycles, and Portland addressed it by experimenting with extended colored paint. Will you publish the results of your experiments too?

    • If (like me) you haven’t purchased a hard copy, a bit more googling revealed you can download the complete AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities. See the definition on page 3 of “Shared Use Path” which describes the device popularly known as “Cycle Tracks”: “A bikeway physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier and either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way. Shared use paths may also be used by pedestrians, skaters, wheelchair users, joggers and other non-motorized users.”. Page 8 says “shared use paths should be used to serve corridors not served by streets and highways or where wide utility or former railroad right-of-way exists, permitting such facilities to be constructed away from the influence of parallel streets.”

      The inventory of problems (resulting from building shared use paths in an urban environment) is listed on pages 33-35. Those are the dangerous conditions I was asking how you had solved.

      • The same inventory of cycletrack design hazards can be found in the new draft AASHTO Guide, in section 5.2.2 starting on page 139.

        Since these things are so popular, I’m curious to see how designers and engineers will solve their safety problems. Until then, I hope we can keep them from being built in areas where they’re legally mandatory for cyclists to use.

  15. An excellent discussion, folks. Lot of interesting and respectful comments. Just wanted to commend everyone involved. Thanks!

  16. Ken, you say “Frankly I don’t hear too many stories of the facilities causing issues, but rather rider error.”

    My position, and I think others here would agree, is that if the facility reinforces the rider error, that’s a problematic facility. When cyclists get right-hooked, left-crossed, and doored while they are using a bike lane (and some get killed as a result), we could say they should have known better, and yes, these things happen even in the absence of bike lanes, but how would we expect uneducated bicyclists to know better when the bike lane itself encouraged that error? Now the uneducated bicyclist, the one you’re building the bike lane for in the first place, has to know enough to out-think the bike lane! But uneducated bicyclists can only assume that the people who put the bike lane there knew what they were doing!

    I say the facilities in those cases DID cause the issue, because they actively misdirected the cyclists, and gave them a false sense of security about the safety of their action and about the extent to which they could safely use that road without acting like vehicle drivers.

  17. Traffic engineering isn’t a game. If you screw it up, people die.
    A study from Copenhagen shows eye-opening increases in certain accident types, some of them fatal, directly attributable to their facilities.
    Similar data are also available from Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Berlin.
    Facility advocates like to pretend they’ve solved problems when they haven’t. When you study collision types, causal factors and countermeasures, you see that sidewalk riding, buffered bike lane riding, cycletrack riding, ordinary bike lane riding and gutter bunny riding are all ways to produce the same causal factors. Some do so with more deadly efficiency than others. So when “barrier separated bike lanes” got renamed “cycle tracks,” and separation advocates said, “We solved the problems with those earlier designs,” …. those advocates weren’t being honest.
    What counts are the movements. Safe movements are what make cycling safe. Direction cyclists to move unsafely is never safe, no matter what color paint you use to do it.

  18. Here’s an example of DC engineering incompetence:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=District+of+Columbia,+DC&sll=38.902522,-77.033386&sspn=0.241262,0.33577&g=District+of+Columbia,+DC&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=District+of+Columbia&ll=38.905689,-77.031955&spn=0.000951,0.00214&t=k&z=20

    You will observe a bike lane in the circular roadway portion of a roundabout intersection. Here is what the MUTCD says about such designs:

    ==========================
    Section 9C.04 Markings For Bicycle Lanes

    Standard:
    Bicycle lanes shall not be provided on the circular roadway of a roundabout intersection.
    ==========================
    It doesn’t get any clearer than this, yet the DC engineers flat out violated the standard. Why would I expect anything they build for bicyclists to anything but incompetent and hazardous?

    As a satellite systems engineer, I despize incompetent civil engineering and the cheerleading for such incompetence!! Why, becasue it breeds further incompetence and associated deaths as John Schubert discusses above. I suspect some DC dim-bulb will get the idea to put a cycletrack at the edge of a roundabout, thus making the crossing even more hazardous than a roundabout bike lane.

  19. Dan, that roundabout is a collection of right-hooks just waiting for an untrained cyclist to not-take the lane. Sheesh. Apparently if you want to progress beyond the 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock point, you are also expected to exit the circle, negotiate another right-hook intersection, and re-enter along the circle to continue.

    Is DC a mandatory bike path region?

    Too scary.

  20. Ken, another point bears repeating. People throw around “statistics” a lot.
    My ears perked up when I saw the “statistics” about accident rate for the New York cycle tracks because I have a lot of trouble believing them. Here’s why: I took many of the photos that were referred to in the discussion on this blog, when the paint had barely dried, in December 2008. The weather was clear and comfortable for riding, but I did not observe an appreciable amount of bicycle traffic. So from that, I would not expect to see a high enough “N” to produce robust study data very quickly. Yet I started hearing these “statistics” within months.
    Be skeptical of a statistic without a citation, especially when it’s new, counter intuitive, based on a low “N,” or otherwise quirky.
    Paint and path fans are notorious for playing with numbers. They leave out the numbers that don’t support their prejudices and include dubious numbers that do support their prejudices. Examples abound.
    I’d like to think that bicycle driving advocates don’t do that. If you find an example where we have, please let me know.
    There are huge safety problems documented with bicycle facilities in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and Helsinki. The paint and path advocates don’t want to go anywhere near those documents. I believe they’re more interested in upholding an unrealistic vision than in finding the best possible ways to treat the public.
    Any professional who would do something that affects other people’s well being has a moral obligation to live and breathe data, good and bad. Study it. Drill it. Know it. Be informed by it. Let it change your mind.
    There’s a lot of excitement in the ‘new urbie’ culture these days. It’s hard not to feel superior to the developers who have made such hash of the American landscape, making un-walkable communities, using broccoli subdivision design to make everyone drive everywhere. That doesn’t mean today’s planners can’t make bad mistakes too. A community that’s safe and appealing for cycling won’t look terribly different from a community that has hidden dangers for cycling: a shared-lane marking (properly placed) instead of a bike lane, speed enforcement instead of roughened pavement to keep motoristss in check; skill training instead of telling riders what victims they are…. at a quick glance, the differences are barely noticeable. But the difference in effectiveness, in safety, in quality of the cycling/walking experience, is profound.
    John Schubert
    Limeport.org

  21. I remember at the 2009 Bike Summit, Blumenaur (sp?) or some such bigwig political person said something like, “Why are we still not able to go out and ride down Pennsylvania Avenue in a bike lane?” The crowd cheered, but I was thinking, “Why can’t we just go out and ride down Pennsylvania Avenue right now without a bike lane?” And later that night, I did just that, and all over downtown, on the folding bike I had brought along. Granted it was evening, not rush hour, but I had no difficulty doing so, and I don’t remember there being any bike lanes.

    • John, Yeah, that’s who it was.

      There was a bike lane just below the window of my hotel at Bike Summit. I stood there one morning for about 20 minutes observing double parked cars, a wrong-way riding cyclist, red light running cyclists, a cyclist passing right-turning truck on the right, cyclists moving into the crosswalk to cross the intersection, and one near collision between two cyclists – one of whom was running the red light while swooping left from a right-side bike lane. I only saw one cyclist riding in a safe and sane manner. All of them appeared to be commuters (not homeless people or what you’d expect a garbage rider to look like). I started to write a post about it, but decided it was too grumpy.

  22. I, being late to this party, will attempt to be a bit contrarian (ok, I’m grumpy right now) ;) and offer the following:

    1) Bike lanes, in my experience, reduce (does not eliminate) harrassment. I’ll argue (for arguements sake, without any statistics) if you want many more cyclists, then you have to have an environment that keeps harrassment to a minimum. If you have a thick enough skin and can shrug off the honks and the yelling, then (rightfully) take the lane. But I think it’s harder to recruit and keep beginning cyclists when they have to deal with the harrassment. As Jayson said earlier — harrassment just sucks the joy out of a bike ride.

    2) I’m not yet convinced that bike lanes are such a safety concern. Mighk’s crash data suggests that wrong way riding, riding at night without lights, and sidewalk riding are much, much bigger risks. And, are you telling me that riders who have been educated about the possible pitfalls of bikelanes cannot ride in them safely? I think not ….

    There are other issues associated with bike lanes that I am (maybe even more) concerned about — manditory use laws, for example. I cannot support bikelanes if that is the case …… but it seems to me it will be hard to put this kind of infrastructure in place without requireing that cyclists use it in leu of actual roadways.

    • Andrew,

      What does one do when the war cry “get off the road” comes from a passing motorist in the inside lane of Semoran Blvd (436)? Mind you also, there are TWO empty travel lanes between myself and NO other vehicles area around. Yeah, bike lanes do have a calming effect.

      While I personally despise bike lanes or any separate facility, it is mostly because of housekeeping, or extreme lack thereof.

      Secondly, the berating of ignorant motorists while I am out of their way, adds insult to the injury. Cyclists are treated as, no offense, the proverbial red-headed step-child as pertains to extracurricular facilities. “Here’s your bright, shiny quarter! Now go away kid, you’re bothering me.”

      And, are you telling me that riders who have been educated about the possible pitfalls of bikelanes cannot ride in them safely? I think not …. Thank you.

      With proper knowledge, skill and confidence, one can take whatever position on the roadway, facility, or even sidewalk they choose. I’ve seen more grotesque actions with the “butts on bikes” sidewalk riders and road gutter bunnies than I care to digest.

      The education has to happen on ALL sides, engineers, designers, motorist, cyclist, and community. With education, proper and effective design, installation, and care, I cannot see why these new facilities would ever fail their intended users.

      • And, are you telling me that riders who have been educated about the possible pitfalls of bikelanes cannot ride in them safely?

        Who’s telling you that, Andrew?

  23. Bike lanes, in my experience, reduce (does not eliminate) harrassment.

    Andrew, I assume you’re saying that you experience less harassment on roads with bike lanes than on roads without bike lanes.

    Is there causation in this apparent correlation? Imagine some road in your mind with a bike lane that you know well. Now, in that image, remove the bike lane stripe, but not the space that it demarcates. Now ride on this road – do you really expect more harassment?

    In other words, is it the bike lane that reduces the harassment, or is it the extra space that the bike lane stripe happens to demarcate?

    • Interesting point Serge.

      I grew up in the midwest, biking everywhere up through my ‘teens. Nearly every road was wide enough to share, and I cannot recall one single instance where I was harassed while riding (not even a honk!).

      I’ve only lived here for a few years, but my observations are the road design and traffic mentality are a whole different creature. In my travels, I rarely encounter a road wide enough to share that does not already have bike lane striping. That said, bike lanes were a stepping stone for me to return to cycling full time. I rode where I could on bike lanes & gutterbunnied elsewhere before I knew better.

      I don’t think bike lanes reduce harassment, in and of themselves. They reinforce cyclist’s claim to the road, albeit in a “this is where you belong” manner. As a bicyclist starting out, they can be a comfortable space. On the other side of the coin I’ve had people shout at me while claiming a lane elsewhere saying, “you know, there are bike lanes for that!”. It’s nice to have a protected space, but we shouldn’t be confined to a separate path. Ultimately the culture has to change, and no bike-specific facilities will do that alone.

      • Ultimately the culture has to change, and no bike-specific facilities will do that alone.

        Not only will bike-specific facilities not do that alone, they are likely to prevent it from happening at all.

        As others have noted, how can a motorist or bicyclist learn that often bicyclists belong in the traffic lane when official markings indicate the exact opposite?

        And yes, bike lanes often exist in situations where bicyclists should not be in them.

        Also, ALL bike lanes exist in situations where bicyclists should not ride in them, at least some of the time (many most of the time), not just the particularly bad ones, since there is no bike lane on which it is never appropriate for a bicyclist to be riding outside of it.

        Separation is the problem, so separation cannot be the solution.

  24. Serge: Good point, and I’ll think on that. Could be a little bit of what you said and what Christopher said.

    Keri: No one has said this directly. I felt, perhaps incorrectly it was being inferred.

    I just think the safety issue of bikelanes gets too much imphasis when statistically, according to Mighk’s data, it’s does not rank that high compared to other issues, like wrong-way riding.

    I get tired of the pro/con facilites arguements when it seems to me we have bigger issues to tackle …..

    • I just think the safety issue of bikelanes gets too much imphasis when statistically, according to Mighk’s data, it’s does not rank that high compared to other issues, like wrong-way riding.

      Andrew, it’s subtle because bike lanes mask the really significant safety issue, which is cyclist behavior. It’s obvious to me that the single biggest factor, by far, that determines my safety is… my behavior. The problem starts with the fact that most cyclists don’t realize that, and extends from there by resulting in majority cyclist behavior that is contrary to their safety (in particular, by riding much too close to the edge of the road far too often). Bike lanes mask this by encouraging and reinforcing this relatively unsafe behavior.

      It is true that bike lanes have little measurable effect on safety because the vast majority of bicyclists ride in the same “childish” manner regardless of their presence, but I think it’s a big mistake to discount their effect on reducing safety. Bike lanes at least inhibit enormous potential increases in safety from occurring by continuing to encourage and reinforce the behavior that causes crashes and inhibits cyclists from engaging in the behavior that allows them to greatly improve their chances.