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Posted by on Mar 13, 2011 in Uncategorized | 77 comments

What could possibly go wrong?

77 Comments

  1. wow, one hand on the bars? He might spill his drink if he hits a bump or has to make an evasive move of any sort. Right turn signal on vehicle overtaking and he’s riding in the door zone lane, the paint stripe put on the road to protect drivers when they open their doors.

    • Correction. The paint stripe is there to protect the doors of cars from being damaged by large, heavy vehicles when the silly humans open them. It is also there to protect the paint on passing cars from being damaged when silly humans suddenly open the doors of parked cars.

      The stripe is all about protecting cars. Because if it was about humans, we would have to admit that the people who drive cars are more important than the people who drive bikes. Because the paint obviously sacrifices the safety of the people who drive bikes to create an advantage for those who drive cars.

  2. A couple of weeks ago, I loaded up my toolboxes to service a business on Edgewater on a weekday afternoon. That is one busy street on working days!

    Just for fun, I followed the law and rode in the bike lane. After six or eight blocks, I was a nervous wreck because there was just so much activity coming at me from all directions. Car doors opening 50 feet ahead, cars crossing right and left ahead and behind me, cars passing too close, others hanging back and shadowing me until they thought it was safe to pass — gunning their engines as they did so. Jee-pers!

    I skipped the bike lane going home and things were much calmer even though it was 5 PM.

  3. Interesting strategy – someone cracks a door open and he tosses that cup of hot coffee in to teach the scofflaw a lesson! Actually, it seems a little extreme to me. Are there no nearby streets without such nonsense?

    • North of Princeton/Smith (the streets you see in the background, looking south) there is a nice grid of paved streets to the east. South of Princeton/Smith most of the streets to the east are brick (and really awful brick, at that). To the west, there is a narrow, 2-lane road that runs parallel.

  4. OK, so, yes, I agree with you that this is a stupid, stupid lane design that will probably get someone hurt, if it hasn’t already. 100% agreement.

    But…

    Something else strikes me about this photo: while for a lot of us the first thought was probably “that guy’s gonna get doored,” followed closely by “that guy’s gonna get right-hooked,” the fact that he’s drinking takeout coffee while riding with one hand indicates that he’s probably not going very fast — probably, not fast enough to make dooring a real concern. He’s probably going slow enough to brake fairly efficiently with one hand. (Now, a right hook is a right hook, no matter how slow you’re going, but it’s still much more likely to be a problem if you’re going fast.) When we design roads and promote policies, this is the guy we should be thinking about — not ourselves, the efficient vehicular commuters, but the folks who just want to mosey around comfortably.

    What I’m saying is that while this guy is being really poorly served by the current bike lane design, if we were to try to integrate him into traffic on that particular road, we’d be serving him equally poorly. Yes, this guy is clueless about what will make him safe on the road — but I’m not actually sure that, even if he had been trained in safe traffic cycling, he’d want to do it. He appears to be happy at a slow speed with a coffee. For myself, I’m with Eric: I want to ride on the road, and I do. But if you gave this guy a genuine choice, would he rather be on a safe, modern separated track, even if that track went more slowly than he could go in the main traffic lane? And in return for that comfort, would he tolerate a risk level that’s (initially, until numbers drive it down) higher than integrated traffic cycling, but lower than painted lane cycling? I don’t know; you’d have to ask him. But my money’s on yes to both questions — and I think that folks like him are the ones who matter now.

    • Brian,

      You seem to feel speed is a pre-requisite for integrated behavior. In my experience, the causal arrow points the other way: I need to ride safely so that I can ride as fast as I need to travel, to accomplish my purpose.

      You think low-speed dooring is not “a real concern”. How fast does one need to travel before a door is a threat?

      Yes, an attentive skillful cyclist (who would probably be traveling like this guy at near-walking speed because of the hazards here) would be able to stop short of a door or instant-turn to avoid a right hook. We teach those skills in the parking-lot drill section of Road 1. Such a stop requires full application of the front brake, which this guy can do because his left hand is near the front brake lever, but also requires the right hand on the bar to counter the weight shift. Such an instant turn requires an initial shove on the right handlebar to initiate the countersteering, and this guy wouldn’t be able to do that because of the coffee cup.

      In your description of the “separated track” alternative, you confuddle safety with comfort.

      You seem to believe in SIN, and you’re willing to sacrifice this cyclist – who’s not being asked whether he’s willing to knowingly tolerate a higher risk level – to get the N part.

      • You seem to feel speed is a pre-requisite for integrated behavior. In my experience, the causal arrow points the other way: I need to ride safely so that I can ride as fast as I need to travel, to accomplish my purpose.

        Yes, see, the problem is that your experience has very little to do with most people’s experience. Nor does mine, for that matter. I suggest you open your eyes and ears and listen to what the vast majority of people in your culture think about where they do and don’t want to bike. You may not like it. Heck, I don’t much like it. But it is what it is. And most people want biking to be more like walking than like driving. I’m sorry — I really, really wish it were otherwise, believe me — but it’s true.

        You think low-speed dooring is not “a real concern”. How fast does one need to travel before a door is a threat?

        5 mph, give or take a little. Basically, any speed that’s too fast to stop by putting your feet on the ground. People who ride bikes a lot wouldn’t even think to do that, but I’m pretty sure that’d be this guy’s first reaction. As for weight shift, instant turn, etc. — I teach that stuff in Road I, too, and I believe in it. It works. But my point is that we’re not teaching that stuff to THIS guy, and nobody has shown that more than a few percent of people actually want,/i> to learn it. It’s not a question of ability — I agree with you that anybody can learn to ride safely in traffic at any speed — but rather a question of desire. I’m happy to teach the minority to deal with the roads we’ve got, but I don’t think it’s a serious way to make a major change in the transportation system. Show me a place ANYWHERE in the world where enforced integrated cycling has achieved a mode share over 10%, and maybe I’ll believe you. But it has failed in the USA, UK, Australia, and everywhere else it has been tried, because people simply don’t want to do it. Even Japan has both higher safety and higher numbers than the US, and they ride on sidewalks!

        In your description of the “separated track” alternative, you confuddle safety with comfort.

        You seem to believe in SIN, and you’re willing to sacrifice this cyclist – who’s not being asked whether he’s willing to knowingly tolerate a higher risk level – to get the N part.

        Yes, I absolutely am willing to make that sacrifice. I’m convinced that it’s what people want. Having been offered the choice of high safety and low comfort for thirty years, they have decisively said “no thanks,” with the result that the roads have actually gotten less safe. “Safety” has been fetishized to the point where it’s counterproductive. I mean, you could also tell people that the way to avoid coffee scalding injuries is simply to stop serving hot coffee, and you’d be right — but that’s not what they want. Most people are willing to accept the risk, in order to get the experience they want. People are indeed willing to tolerate a slightly higher risk (given that the overall risk is pretty low in any case) in exchange for higher comfort. I think it’s time to listen to them.

        • Brian,

          I think you are missing a major point (and I suspect a minor point).

          The key point is that these lanes are mandatory in FL, and enforced in other states regardless of the actual law. Since bicyclists’ ROW is typically not enforced regardless of the law, I agree with you that most bicyclists are more comfortable not trying to use a safe space to ride if motorists and police will not respect it. What everyone here is trying to say is that by designing lanes where people can walk their bikes, it effectively prohibits any one from legally riding for transportation. In PA and DE, I am typically harassed the most for using the lane on congested roads where there may not be bike lanes (and right and left hooks even when there are), and so many cars and traffic lights the cars slow me down – and motorists tell me to get off the road. These lanes make it explicit that you (and Keri and others) do not have the right in FL to ride in the main lane if there is a DZBL.

          As a minor point, I notice the solid stripe is very short. It looks like the dotted line and road behind is very close and the dotted line and turning truck indicate this is a very short block, but even even in this case there is a mandatory BL to keep any bicyclist (even you) from legally following a path to avoid turning motorists and opening car doors.

          • In CA, the mandatory bike lane law includes escape clauses for this situation: “When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions” and “When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized”. One police sergeant told me a DZBL doesn’t constitute a hazardous condition until there’s actually a door open – a potential or probable hazard “isn’t enough to justify impeding traffic” (his words). And regardless of the law there’s strong social pressure against merging into the travel lane, purposefully intending to block overtaking traffic and defend against a right hook.

          • Angelo, I think you’re missing _my_ point. My point is that even if cyclists were consistently told by the law that they should ride in the main traffic lane (which, you’re right, is not the case in FL — NC (where I now live, though I grew up in Daytona) is much more flexible), and even if everyone had that training from a young age, *I still don’t think they would choose to do so.* Why is no one clamoring to take our classes? You and I know that vehicular cycling is the safe and efficient way to get around, but I see no indication from anywhere in the world that there’s some sort of pent-up demand for it beyond the few percent who are already practicing it.

            Rather, whenever anyone bothers to ask the public what they want, they say they want the opportunity to ride their bikes away from heavy traffic, wherever possible. You’ve probably seen this before, but here you go: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?a=158497&c=44671

            There’s a huge group of people who would like to use bicycles more, “if cars were slower and less frequent, and if there were more quiet streets with few cars and paths without any cars at all.” Those are the people we need to be thinking about.

            So, I totally agree with Keri that connectivity in smaller streets is very important. We should be working to connect cul-de-sacs everywhere they exist, and stop the construction of new ones. Above all, we need zoning for urban density and mixed use. But I think we also need to do something that will actually make people feel valued and respected if they want to bike on large, busy roads, and that’s to give them a separated track. “Real” safety is irrelevant — subjective safety is what matters. It’s not what you or I want, but it’s what the people we need to think about want.

            Why do we need them? First of all, there’s every indication that subjective safety produces “real” safety. You know the Jacobsen study, I’m sure; it’s gaining support every year from NYC and elsewhere. More importantly, we need the numbers to get political will for cycling and walking. Right now, it’s a losing game. When 25% of people in Central Florida commute by bike, foot, or transit, it will be a different situation entirely. But if we keep on telling people that what they want doesn’t matter — that we know better than they do — we’ll never get there.

          • It’s no different for many motorists. They don’t need to drive well; they’ll just rely on others to not hit them. http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4237.msg93406#msg93406

            Why do most motorists drive reasonably well? Perhaps part of it is a sort of “conformity in numbers”, but there’s also social and legal pressure to not drive like a maniac. But when The Man tells you it’s OK to ride in the door zone, and social pressure tells you that you must not impede motorists, it’s hard to do otherwise.

        • And Isaac Newton should have just listened to the majority of people of his day, who believed that gods and spirits made things move, and not the force of gravity.

          The-Hard-Reality-of-how-bicyclist/motorist-crashes-happen does not care what the majority thinks or feels.

          • Brian,

            I’m not missing your point. I know many people will not choose to bicycle in the lane.

            My understanding of all your posts is that you agree with local advocates that keep telling me that bad facilities are better than no facilities, and that if we get enough horrible facilities eventually people will demand good ones. The new lanes they’ve installed locally with great publicity are as bad as the lanes installed 30 years ago, and illegal parking is not prohibited by police on the street in the 2% of the new bike lanes that are finally wide enough to remove parking and the door zone. 98% are DZBL (good at walking speed), and the other 2% still have parked and moving cars in them.

            In my experience putting the rider in the photo in the door zone still won’t make him ride much if he has any choice. When I’ve ridden with beginners, car doors quickly convinced them the DZBL were a serious hazard and they stopped using them – they really did not find bad lanes better than no lanes, regardless of advocates.

            My point is that if the culture and the police don’t respect bicyclists’ right to use roads, these facilities make things worse for current bicyclists without offering anything of lasting value to new bicyclists.

            I could comment more on your Portland link (I find planners use this classification to dismiss “dedicated bicyclists” desires to ride safely at more than walking speed – they should ride in the door zone like the rider in the photo and stop going as fast as cars), or safety in numbers (numbers seem to be high where bicyclists have legal rights, or I think NY increases come from opening bridges, not DZBL), but I don’t think I’ll convince you that facilities are eroding cyclists rights to ride safely (think MBL), and you’ll never convince me that restricting bicyclists to pedestrian speeds will make bicycling practical for transportation.

        • Alrighty then. Brian has admitted to being willing to “make that sacrifice.”

          I’m sure he’ll be happy to take on the task of going around to the families of the victims of boneheaded bikeway designs to tell them they died for the greater good.

          • Sure, Mighk, I’m your man. If what you mean by “boneheaded bikeway designs” is something like the 9th Ave. bikeway in NYC or the 4th St. bikeway in Austin (and that’s what I’m talking about — not the DZBL in the photo, which is truly boneheaded), I don’t think they’re boneheaded at all, and I think the benefits far outweigh the costs. So, sign me up. I’m happy to tell people that by rejecting what they didn’t want, they actually got what they wanted.

            But forty years from now, with Orlando completely unlivable and a good deal of Florida under water, will you be ready to tell your kids why you fought every serious effort to change the system?

          • Brian: I’ve been “working to change the system” for 17 years as the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Orlando metropolitan planning organization. I used to believe that bikeways would significantly increase cycling for transportation. The evidence has shown me otherwise.

            In 1990 our metro area had absolutely nothing in the way of bikeways and a bike commute rate of about 0.7%

            By 2000 we had about 40 miles of trails and about 150 miles of bike lanes. The bike commute rate dropped to about 0.5%.

            Now in 2010 we have 133 miles of trails, 15 grade-separated crossings, and over 400 miles of bike lanes and paved shoulders. The result? Our bike commute rate is back up to about 0.8%.

            There are places with less extensive bikeway networks than ours and higher bicycle mode share. For example, New Orleans had virtually nothing in the way of bikeways in 2000, but had a bike share of 1.19% compared to our 0.5%.
            http://www.bikesatwork.com/carfree/carfree-census-database.html

            When gas prices get prohibitive, people will ride. We’ll be ready to teach them — which can be done much faster than building complex facilities.

          • Information on the 9th Ave bikeway:


            This video
            is unedited, they begin riding at 4:36. The city has done well to engineer out the conflicts at intersections. However, the bicycle-specific signal is short, so the cyclists must stop often or illegally merge into the left turn lane. You’ll see a lot of cyclists froggering against red lights (and they wonder why the backlash).

            There are no driveways to contend with, only signalized intersections and only one-way streets. It is a one-way facility, further reducing the conflicts. Yet there are still conflicts.

            It is also mandatory use. Thus denying cyclists easy access to destination on the right side of the street. Whereas a one-way street allows a cyclist to use the left or right lane, a mandatory facility takes away that access.

          • I rode that stretch of bikeway on 9th. You couldn’t go more than two blocks without getting a red light unless you’re pretty darn fast (much faster than the people this facility purports to serve).

            That is what we can expect when the “dreams” of the advocates meet the Reality of American traffic engineering and politics.

          • Keri and Mighk, you’re both right about the 9th Ave bikeway — I’ve ridden it too, and it can be very annoying. To me or you. But, fascinatingly, ordinary people who aren’t very committed to biking prefer it strongly to what was there before it. It’s not a magical solution, and as I’ve said, it’s probably in point of fact more dangerous than what came before. But it gets people going. No one disputes that ridership is up in NYC since the avenue bikeways have gone in (‘course, most of them are coming from the subway, not cars — but that’s a different story).

            As for Orlando: are you sure that the lack of mode-share change has nothing to do with the giant sprawl in the same period? When I was a kid in the ’80s, I-4 from Daytona to Orlando was nothing but orange groves and cattle, nearly all the way through Seminole County. I’m sure you remember what it was like. It’s a very different city now, from what it was in 1990 (you yourself say that density is the big problem, and I agree). It’s hard to correlate that basically flat mode share to the development of bikeways, when so many other variables have changed, too — just as it would be hard to say that what Orlando has now is anything like a successful system of bikeways. Not to slight your efforts in any way — you’ve made a real improvement in the world, for sure, and probably as much as anyone could really accomplish in those years, and I thank you — but we all agree that painted lanes don’t help much.

            As for training: I agree with you. I’m an LCI. You can look me up. I teach the same stuff you do (or close to it). I want people to be able to use the system we’ve got. But I don’t think it’s a system that serves most people very well, and I don’t think it’s a system worth preserving. I’m on my city’s bike-ped commission and I deal with lots of local politics in a conservative area. I know what push-back is like. But I also know that change is possible, and even inevitable — the roads of today are very little like the roads of one hundred years ago, and there’s no reason why the roads one hundred years in the future should look anything like those of today. It’s up to us to build that coalition for change, and I don’t think enforced VC on large-capacity roads will do that. It just divides and alienates people.

            It’s pretty sad that we’re arguing — I think we really do agree on most points. So, back to the guy with the coffee: let’s agree that the lane is bad, the bike is good, and the vision for a better future is…still up for grabs?

            Respectfully,
            Brian

          • Obvious solution: convert the subways to rail trails.

          • Hmmm. Has anyone adapted the short story “Harrison Bergeron” to cycle facilities?

        • Any way to avoid hiding these comments? I guess as long as they’re not deleted – but still – civil discourse is not bad.

          • Yes, I can increase the default tolerances so it takes more dislikes to hide them. Or I can get rid of the rating system entirely.

    • I am a little disappointed that the new “rating system” causes the posts to be hidden when a majority gives it the “thumbs down.” I understand the application in cases of profanity but I am uncomfortable with concept of a simple dissenting opinion being hidden. Am I alone on this? if so just “thumbs down” me.

      I agree with Brian. There has to be a middle path for the most part. (no pun intended) The guy in this picture doesn’t want to ride in the road like a car, and the bike path is a pretty poor excuse for an alternative. Give him a dedicated space and let him enjoy his coffee. I’ll ding my bell and give him a friendly wave from the road.

      • Alex,

        Where are you going to build it?

        How are you going to design it to mitigate conflicts at intersections and driveways?

        How are you going to allocate road space so the merchants don’t lose on-street parking (a political non-starter)?

        How are you going to make it easy for users to access destinations on the other side of the street?

        How are you going to get the dominant culture to give it enough priority that it doesn’t encourage users to increase their risk by running red-lights?

        What is your strategy for preventing mandatory use laws that will force you to ding your bell in order to get past him in a constricted space because you are no-longer allowed to use the road?

        The tag line on this site is “Encouragement, Education & Advocacy for Bicycling in the Real World.” It is not “Magical Daydreaming About a Bicycle Fantasyland.

        FWIW, I’m not wild about the comment rating system and have contemplated deactivating it. It was an attempt to hide troll posts to keep threads from constantly being hijacked by the same repetitive, off-topic, specious comments which result in the same time-wasting, circular arguments.

        • Keri, I hear ya. No need to get circular here…but A) I do think that lots of people need to think through those arguments, even if many of us have done it before, and B) due to said circular arguments, I think you know that there are pretty good (not great, mind you, but pretty good) solutions to most of the engineering problems you raise. Floating parallel parking, timed light cycles, etc. If there’s political will, it can be done.

          But how do you get political will for serious change? You need numbers, and that means butts on bikes. Period. By any means necessary. “Magical Bicycle Fantasyland” is a place where politically significant numbers of people who are scared to bike on busy roads suddenly decide that they’re not scared anymore. Not gonna happen. The real world truth is that infrastructure — even when it’s less objectively safe, and even when it’s slower — gets people on bikes. Again, we need to stop thinking about ourselves and think about the majority, in the real world.

          • No Brian, I don’t want vagaries. Specifically. Where and how are you going to build a cycletrack on this road and deal with the driveways, intersections, signal timing, access to destinations on the other side of the street, on-street parking, etc.

            Oh and by the way, the current sidewalk is way too narrow and not ADA compliant. And the roadway between the buildings is ten feet narrower between the one-way pair intersections in the photo, which is why there is no bike lane on that block.

          • Actually the roadway width between Smith and Princeton is the same as elsewhere, but there’s no bike lane because each direction needs a left turn lane. This could actually be changed pretty easily by adding an eastbound “contraflow” car lane to Smith east of Edgewater and banning left turns southbound at Princeton. It appears that all you’d lose is seven parking spots and a bit of sidewalk space at the southeast corner of Edgewater and Smith (to retain the westbound left turn lane).

            But that’s straying rather far off topic. If the bike lane is removed, the sidewalk could be widened, and bikes could be allowed at walking speed, with signs specifically pointing out that one is allowed to cycle in in the road (and required to if one wants to ride faster than a walk).

          • Brian,
            A few years ago, a whole new “city” was created from scratch on the land of a closed Navy base. Of the 150 buildings, only about 10 or so remained. The rest were demolished.

            All new streets. All new buildings, everything new and designed to the latest “new urbanism/complete streets” designs.

            So what did we get? What is “state of the art” in the field of design?

            DZB all over. Here is the real kicker . . . bicycle ridership is no higher than on unimproved streets in areas that have nothing. People still get in their cars to drive to the faux “downtown” business district.

            No. Infrastructure does NOT “get people on bikes.” They built it and the cyclists did NOT come.

          • “But how do you get political will for serious change? You need numbers, and that means butts on bikes. Period. By any means necessary. ”

            See Mighk’s recent essay on this site about why “butts on bikes” doesn’t work in our culture, and ends up being counter-productive.

            Of course, your own argument is circular, since we don’t have the political will to get butts on bikes “by any means necessary”. We only have the political will for some cosmetic/symbolic infrastructure.

          • Sorry, but I don’t do “CAN’T”?.

            LAB’s programs are all about “CAN”T” – their idea of “promoting” bicycling is by making bicyclists, both competent and otherwise, into “victims”. This is hugely unappealing to me. And where I live, LAB’s “Bike Friendly” program only leads to increased demand for really dangerous facilities because we just don’t have the room or the funding to build good ones, and people now believe they have to wait for America to be re-paved and re-striped BEFORE they get on a bike. This is “promoting” bicycling? Hmmmm.

            I am genuinely interested in knowing where it is that any significant amount bicyclist education has been attempted, but it failed. Where did this happen?

            I compared the funding for bicycling education at any time in USA history with current funding for expirimental “miceaclist traps” (aka “bike facilities”), and I have discovered that education cirriculum development and advertising for bike ed and course delivery has never been funded at anywhere near the level that facilities design and construction and advertising for bike facilities has received. “Safety-in-numbers” studies (over and over and over, enough already!) have not compared an effective bike ed program against equal dollars spent on facilities. The “study” results we keep getting show that bike facilities are popular among the ignorant(duh), and they improve safety among a group of largely un-educated bicyclists; but studies don’t compare facilities-induced safety against safety stats of groups of educated cyclists. We’re comparing apples with a (physics) vacuum, and saying apples are more nutritional. It is about time that this comparison was made, and the results were published (unlike the previously-buried safety studies supporting vehicular cycling).

            If the superstition about bicycling on roads survives an honest and scientifically-based comparison of providing bike facilities versus providing bike safety education – if the superstition is THAT STRONG – then go ahead and herd me into the miceaclist traps with the other miceaclists.

            But first let the superstitious folks know the truth and let them decide. The arrogance of the lies-for-profit cartel (bike facilities designers, bike manufacturers, and the fear-mongering advocacy industry) is something that turns my stomach. Who do they think they are to prey on people’s ignorance and deliberately foster people’s fear?

            Going full-tilt building bike facilities, we should be able to catch up to the Europeans at just about the same time that a) they out-grow their bike facilities, and b) they run out of affordable petroleum fuel and cyclists have most roads to themselves.

            How arrogant to think that OTHER PEOPLE are too stupid to learn, or can’t handle the truth. Who appointed these arrogant folks as out “bike advocates”?

            2+2=4

        • I certainly don’t claim to be a city planner but I HAVE to beleive that the questions you raise do indeed have answers. “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Its too cyinical for me to beleive that we can’t have nice things. Does that mean I am not welcome on a “real world” solutions website? (Maybe it does… I dunno.) Either way there seems to be a perpetual right turn to this discussion so I’ll shut up.

          • I see this too often. People with no direct experience with a particular street or place pull out every shiny object they’ve read about on the Interwebs and say, “See! Presto! Problem solved!” Or “there must be a way” or “we just need the political will.”

            Frankly I’m tired of such childishness.

            Sorry, but we ride in this real world today. And we’re helping those same people you pretend to serve by teaching them how to ride safely and comfortably in this real world.

            And I sure hope by “right turn” you don’t mean politically. Many of us who write for and read CO are quite liberal in our politics. To me, being liberal means using science and reason when dealing with matters of health and safety.

          • Fist of all Mighk, I was trying to use clever (but perhaps a bit to subtle) word play to admit that this conversation is going in a circle. I in no way meant to insinuate that you like rush limbaugh. Second, is there something in the tone my posts that makes me sound like a complete jerk? Honestly? You guys’ responses seem a bit hostile. I hate the whole writing instead of talking thing because I wonder if how it sounds in my head is different than how it is being read. Maybe thats all thats going on here and I shouldn’t take offense, BUT; You don’t really know me so its kind of insulting (and hyperbolic) to be called an inexperienced childish dreamer for suggesting that we can all get along and maybe there is more than one way to skin a cat.

          • I’m not a planner either, but I have taken the time to research what I advocate for.

            At the very least, you could take the time to understand the facilities you want, the requirements to mitigate conflicts, context of where it’s possible to even try it, what actually gets built here and the social and political factors determining the quality and use requirements. It’s not acceptable to just believe you can have something without understanding how it works and how it is attained.

          • Again with the insulting insinuation that I am ignorant? Seriously? Is it me? Am I doing anything to antagonize you into making unfair and unfounded assumptions about my knowledge and experience level? Do you really expect me to list my credentials every time I post? (I could, but that’s exhausting.) I suggest disabling the comments entirely if genuine conversation, varied opinions, and contrasting arguments are going to be met with this kind cantankerousness. You guys must be having a bad week or something, because you are not usually like this.

          • Sorry Alex, if you’ve ever posted your knowledge and experience with urban bikeway design and conflict-mitigation, I missed it. So please post it again.

          • To what end, Keri? Why don’t we just all whip out our naughty parts and measure?

          • “Why don’t we just all whip out our naughty parts and measure?”

            O’ dear.

          • Alex, nice things are what I expect under the Christmas tree.

            The notion of designing a bikeway to cater to a coffee-drinking cyclist is downright preposterous.

            The purpose of this blog is to encourage thoughtful discussion grounded in reality, not conjecture. You admit you’re not a city planner but cry foul when readers challenge your reality.

            Frankly, I find it unfair for you to come on this forum and take shots at Keri, Mighk and others who are working hard to empower bicycle drivers to accept nothing less than the safest course of action for themselves within the realities of the road, transportation planning and state legislatures.

            Readers who benefit most from this forum are those who make the effort to understand how the system works — from road engineering conditions to political considerations and beyond.

            If this doesn’t interest you, there are thousands of other blogs on the Internet that celebrate shiny objects.

          • lisa, since you addressed me, I’ll give this one final post and be on my merry way. They were taking shots at me. Not the other way around. Read the posts again. Its comically one sided. I really think they were actually taking out aggression for Kevin on me. I didn’t even disagree with anyone, Lisa. My point, however clouded in misconception, was that some people just like riding a bike. Its a shame that we don’t really have anything nice to offer someone who just likes riding a bike. Thats it. Thats my thesis statement. Mentioning his coffee was just my way of keeping it light hearted but that backfired and caused my point to be obscured by folks looking for a fight. My bad. I don’t know, I guess you guys need a villain. Don’t worry, I am going away now. I hear there are other websites that offer day dreaming fantasies and shiny objects. so smell ya later forever. Peace.

          • This is a valid point about politics and “Bike Advocacy”!

            One disappointment I have concerning current USA “bike advocacy” is that it has been associated with one extreme end of the political spectrum. There is a definite “us- versus-them” mentality, and an obvious arrogance that self-described bike advocates “get it” and everyone else is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. Denim-wearing folks who use the Dunkin Doughnuts drive-through are being asked to create bike lanes for messenger bag-toting Euro-wannabes in 100% recycled black hemp who ride Chinese-made Euro-style bikes with American brand names. (And of course we have the flocks of look-at-me Lance wannabes in their South American parrot-colored spandex too.)

            So we have all “sides” eying each other with disdain, certain that the other side is “stealing” from them. Nice situation! Really attractive! Makes me want to pedal right over there and join in!

            Dreamer that I am, I envision bicycling as something that people can willingly choose without dressing like Starbuckians. I imagine that drinkers of inferior brands of coffee – even Dunkin Doughnuts – might enjoy riding (between huntin’ trips). Perhaps having conducted business in places as diverse as Bahstin and Nebraska, I have come to view all of us as diverse members of the same “team”. Every bicycle saddle I have talked to has indicated that it doesn’t care whether it is sat upon by denim or black spandex or black 100% recycled hemp.

            Where do we begin to change this unfortunate advocacy situation? Maybe with equal rules, equal rights, and equal responsibilities for cyclists? Hard to feel superior when we are obvious equals. Maybe it could be our Kumbaya epiphany.

            When the drug dealer has the freedom to drive his shiny black Lincoln Exterminator SUV in the “car lane” while the impoverished city kid has to wobble his way down some “take-one-for-the-team” door zone bike lane, the kid desires the obvious upgrade. Not everyone appreciates the nuanced value of smugness. Some people just want to get from point to point efficiently and safely, and with some dignity.

            As to people who “just like to ride a bike” but can’t be bothered to learn how to ride according to the rules of the road or trail they are on, I think that many folks don’t understand how the rest of us should be obligated to fund that particular desire. Even mountain bikers have to follow some rules of courtesy, safety and responsibility when riding on shared trails. Must we build “incompetent vehicle driver lanes” for motorists who “just want to drive their cars” without worrying about others?

            Maybe I’m missing the hundreds of thousands of blue collar folks who have left their vehicles at home to ride bikes to work because now they have bike lanes to ride in. I keep looking for the plaid and denim-wearing riders, but all I see are salmon, the wobbelers and the Starbuckians using those “separate-but-equal” bike lanes. I hear tell that some of those lanes are nearly as good as what motorist folks have!

            I believe we can do better.

      • Alex says “The guy in this picture doesn’t want to ride in the road like a car…” – Nobody wants him to ride like a car, and he’s already in the roadway. “…and the bike path is a pretty poor excuse for an alternative” – I don’t know the area so I don’t know if there are any bike paths around, but what about not endangering guys like this one, who apparently prefers to use the roadway because it serves his destination?

        • I meant the current bike lane he is in is a poor excuse for an alternative to vehicular cycling. I’m all for not endangering the guy. I just think we could probably provide him better alternative to both door zones and taking the lane so he can enjoy his coffee.

          • Not on that road, I’m afraid. The lanes are chockablock as is — and it’s even worse if there’s a Lynx bus passing through. Unless you’re thinking of a bicyclist’s WEDway Peoplemover, he’d either be endangering himself or others on the sidewalk, or he’d be away from that area completely. The safest way to deal with that infrastructure is to take the lane. Changing the infrastructure may be nice (or not), but for a bicyclist who wants/needs to use the thing, the lane needs taking.

          • Spoken like a Savvy Cyclist! :-D

          • May I also point out that the street is lined with businesses with entrances/exits right on the sidewalk in front of their stores?

            That means that the hapless customer that opens a door and takes two steps would likely be clocked by a cyclist riding on the sidewalk since nobody would have time to react. That’s why riding on the sidewalk is illegal in the City of Orlando, not just downtown, but through the entire city.

            As Paula said, the only way to deal with this is to either remove all the on street parking or for the cyclist to take the lane. UPIKIT.

          • What other activities should the government be facilitating for adults driving vehicles through busy business districts? Texting? Watching YouTube videos? Dog-walking?

  5. Just a quick comment on “low speed dooring”. Too often, when a cyclist sees a door opening in front of them, their initial reaction is to jerk to their right… into the path of an overtaking vehicle. I read about those type of cyclist fatalities every year.

  6. Sorry senile dyslexia has kicked in. The above should say, “jerk to their left”. Or perhaps I was channeling my UK doppelganger.

    • If the cyclist simply jerks to the right instead, that hot coffee will ensure the motorist doesn’t open that door again without looking first. Unfortunately, your intended comment is the overwhelming reaction.

      • LOL!

    • PM – you should channel your UK doppelganger in private. :)

  7. Well at least the gentleman is on his bike, on the road and seems to be enjoying himself on a beautiful day.

    BTW, is the bike lane on Edgewater a designated bike lane? Would he have to ride in it?

  8. I’ve been following the comments here, and while its probably unwise to jump in, lets go.

    My workplace faces a 4 lane arterial with both sidewalks and a marked bike lane. I have noticed that the vast majority of bicyclists use the sidewalk in preference to the bike lane. What does this mean to the “if we build it they will come” crowd? How will more people get on a bike if they choose infrastrucre already in place over the new stuff. Without the bike lane, wouldn’t they be riding on the sidewalk anyways?

    Are you safer, as safe, or less safe on a sidewalk as compared to a bike lane? All that seperates these is a small grassy patch.

    • In midblock, away from intersections, with no pedestrians, if it’s straight and flat with good visibility, the sidewalk would be fine. As with any other traffic situation, the problems arise when lines of travel cross. So the sidewalk cyclist encounters problems at every driveway crossing, and at every intersection with another sidewalk, and especially at roadway intersections. Consider another principle: the longer you delay the opportunity for the cyclist and the motorist to see and interact with each other, the less time they have to adjust their course and speed.

      For example, consider a motorist turning right – her attention is directed toward traffic approaching from the left, and she has no reason to look to the right. She might have seen a cyclist in a bike lane or even at the curb, but she has no reason to scan for any conflicts so far right as the sidewalk – also probably behind in her blind spot. If the light is green and the cyclist rides out into the crosswalk, he appears “out of nowhere” moving into a conflict – at higher speed than a pedestrian (the design user of the facility) and with less ability than a pedestrian to stop or maneuver.

      You can search for stories about the cases of Kay Mattson in Hillsboro OR, Ryan Lipscomb in Madison WI, and many, many other cyclists injured and killed in ride-out collisions in exactly this scenario.

      At least in a bike lane, the cyclist is on the roadway and available to be seen, albeit in a compromised lateral position at intersections for any movement other than turning right.

  9. Brian wrote:
    “As for Orlando: are you sure that the lack of mode-share change has nothing to do with the giant sprawl in the same period?”

    Yes, of course it does. Thanks for helping me make my point. Perhaps in some circumstances a well-designed cycle track* COULD facilitate an increase in cycling. But that’s a long way from saying it WILL in MOST cases. Amsterdam’s population density is more than four times that of the City of Orlando’s (and about 8 times that of our metro area), and we have a pathetic transit system to boot (a great deal of cycling there and in other European cities is to and from rail transit stations).

    Orlando is still SUBSIDIZING auto parking, while Amsterdam and places like it are reducing parking supply and increasing fees. People don’t bike here because we have made it exceptionally easy to drive cars. We can’t give people the choice of “the car or the bike,” then start taking away the cheap parking and other incentives to driving. They won’t stand for it. But if we offer high quality rail transit AND an effective bus system AND a good bicycling system, then motorists don’t feel as though they are being forced strictly into cycling and are less defensive about it.

    To give you some idea of how Central Florida voters think: Some years ago a neighborhood only 3 miles from downtown Orlando — a place one could only describe as first-ring suburban — fought the installation of SIDEWALKS to help KIDS walk to SCHOOL. They said sidewalks would “ruin their rural lifestyle.”

    I have a pretty good feel not only for what works from a logistical and conflict management standpoint, but what works politically around here, too. Cycle tracks don’t fit with either of those realities.

  10. There are some things you can’t make safe. If I were operating a chainsaw with one hand, with a beer mug in the other, would you want taxpayers to fund a multi-million dollar facility to make me feel safe? Riding a bike in traffic while holding a (presumably hot) cup of coffee isn’t that much different from the chainsaw and beer.
    Not all riders deserve to be accommodated with their bad habits unchallenged. Some need a dope slap — and a bottle/carrier for their coffee.
    Even at walking speed, a bicyclist can suffer a fatal or completely disabling injury, or inflict one on others (Klomberg v. Pacific Cycle; Smythe v Ann Arbor; and many others). So when we straddle the bike, let’s put the coffee away so we can ride safely. Take a sip at every stop light.
    Do you advocates of coffee-drinking-cycling not know what happens when someone tries to apply the brakes sharply with one hand off the bars? It’s called a swerve.

    • John wrote: “Do you advocates of coffee-drinking-cycling not know what happens when someone tries to apply the brakes sharply with one hand off the bars? It’s called a swerve.” Which way will he swerve? To the left. The result will be just as bad as http://www.bikexprt.com/massfacil/cambridge/program/laird.htm – another way to crash out of a DZBL.

  11. Here’s a lovely cycletrack on which to enjoy a cup of coffee.

    Want to test your bike handling skills, ride this cycletrack with a cup of coffee in one hand. Of course, there’s plenty of time to drink it at the red lights.

    I don’t have good enough balance and motor skills to ride with a coffee cup in one hand, but even if I did, I probably wouldn’t try it on this one, either. BTW, the engineers did the best they could with what they had to work with on this particular cycletrack. But the political impetus to build it ended short of giving it separate signal phases or signal-timing priority. In the world of political will, symbolism is always far more important than functionality.

    • Would you prefer this guy get in a car to drink his coffee? At least he’s on a bike. Bicyclists are human too. Like drivers, some are bad at it. He may deserve a word of caution, but certainly not a dope slap.

      Get over yourselves.

      • Are those the only choices? Bike with cup in hand or drive car with cup in hand?

        For a few bucks he could get a cup-holder for his bike. Or a refillable coffee mug that would fit in a water bottle cage. Gee, it might even be EASIER to ride that way.

        (Oh, I guess that’s being unreasonable of me, isn’t it…)

        • Mighk:

          Isn’t it interesting that few motorists will accept the idea that jerks driving cars are representative of all motorists, whereas bike advocates encourage this “lowest common denominator” definition of bicyclists and use it to lobby for enforced segregation for all bicyclists.

          True story: One professional “bike advocate” who works for a well-known agency was invited to join our 2-rider road ride, and showed up wearing ear buds and cranking the tunes. This individual got a bit offended when I explained that we needed to use all our senses to ride safely, arguing that the music was a necessary aid to relaxation and that riding the bike was for relaxation. OK, but not when you are in a paceline on a winding, hilly rural road, and when this is your first-ever lesson in group riding.

          How dare we spoil their coffee time or their relaxation/meditation by suggesting that riding a bike in traffic isn’t the best time to sip coffee or to meditate.

          Then there is the true story of the texting student that almost head-on’d me as he swerved around the family group and into my side of the path during my first (and final) experiment riding a “safe” rails-to-trails path for fitness. Glad we could provide a “facility” for him to safely text while riding. I’m sure that is why his butt was on his saddle. Oh, yes, he had earbuds too. I nearly became his fourth multi-tasking item – the bike-versus-bike head-on.

          • Richard – I’m not sure what you mean by “my side of the path”. There are no traffic laws on MUPs. That’s one of the features their proponents extol: no need to worry about a pesky vehicle code, nothing to learn, no barriers to entry, nothing to discourage people 8-80 from using them, no restrictions on the simple unfettered freedom and enjoyment of just riding your bike. The problem must have been your own elitist expectations, thinking that order should be present where its absence is celebrated.

            On the other hand, my preferences lean more to Tommy Dorsey than John Cage.

      • Ryan wrote “At least he’s on a bike” I don’t know which is dopier the urbane, enlightened, sophisticate cafe bicyclist or believing one can engineer away responsibility and make everyone safer.

        “Coffee guy” needs to make up his mind, ride a bike or drink coffee, doing both a the some time is dopey. Maybe a cup holder? I don’t have problem if coffee guy drive’s a car, most cars have cup holders but that would make him, suburban, reactionary, dullard?

  12. The internet is awash in group-think forums. I think the nature of the faceless media inevitably leads to this type of thing. Anyone who disagrees is a buffoon. The small controlling group controls the conversation. And the occasional visitor is an outsider who just doesn’t “get it,” whatever IT is. Understand that you aren’t unique or special. Since message boards, there have been groups like you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be self aware. And if you learn the shortcomings of the media (and how you come across to those who might have been your biggest supporters), perhaps you’ll change.

    Understand that you don’t represent an accurate cross section of the community. Some people love trails. Some people hate them. Some people love riding on the road, others are white-knuckle terrified.

    I guess I’m a dopey, urbane, enlightened, sophisticate cafe bicyclist for believing that people should ride bikes instead of drive. I would prefer everyone everywhere to always make good decisions. However, I understand that is not the case in the real world. And with that in mind, I would prefer the person ignoring the road while blowing on a frothy cafe ole’ to be on a bike instead of behind the wheel. I prefer idiots to be leg powered instead of super-charged and high octane.

    But I digress. The group-think mentality around here makes me bad while you are all very good and most certainly always correct and in no way dopey cafe bicyclists.

    Remember that you’re trying to be ambassadors of cycling in Orlando. Consider your current strategy and evaluate whether it is effective in obtaining and retaining an audience. Otherwise you face further irrelevance.

    • Who here hates trails? Bloody stereotyper.

  13. Ryan,

    You have known Alex a lot longer than me. But I have known him for a year. Hopefully, he’s coming over this weekend to record and so our girls can play. But our friendship isn’t what prompts this post. Knowing Alex does.

    Alex has been riding his xtracycle for at least a year, that I know of, possibly two if I remember correctly, dropping his daughter off at school, then off to the library to work. He rides farther than me to do this. This, as you know, is because he and his wife have gone car lite and only have one car now. As you know, his wife now is riding to work since she no longer works over 20 miles away. But even this isn’t the reason I am posting.

    I am posting because it is important to understand the grave error in three ideas: One–at least he’s on a bike. I agree and I don’t. This is an error because people really should be safe. Saying he’s on a bike is like saying at least he’s eating vegetables if a man is eating french fries. But I think both you and Alex already know this–I mean, you clearly do research because you’re here. I know you ride because I see you.

    But to continue with the food analogy, the government has and should step in when an epidemic harms so many people. This is not thinking for people or changing the rules because they are stupid. Example one: nutrition labels. Example two: seat belts (and other car safety measures). And as I’ve said before, motor vehicle accidents (if the data was arranged this way) would be the number ten cause of death in the US. People need to stop driving cars because it’s unsafe.

    Now, while I do not pretend knowledge I know I do not have, I do have a little bit of experience. I have enough to know that the system is built for cars and bikes are aloud to use it. I don’t ride of 50, 436, University. With cars killing that many people, putting yourself in that situation without safety precautions is dangerous no matter how safely you operate your vehicle. It seems to me that teaching people to work within this system is like teaching people how to eat healthy at McDonald’s.

    What is the goal of this forum? It seems that it is not about commuting, but about bicycling philosophy. Is that wrong? No! It’s great. Discourse is thousands of years old and very healthy. Philosophically, it seems Alex is against a flawed infrastructure, and many are a philosophy of how to use our flawed infrastructure.

    However, I submit that Alex, a librarian and middle-aged father, an artist, a dedicated bike user taking the initiative to learn about cycling (not become indoctrined, but at least read about it (like here, instead of just getting on a bike) is exactly what I want to happen. I want forward thinking, normal professional people to pick up bikes and stop driving. It is what I want to encourage! I do have an agenda. It is more people on bikes, fewer in cars. It is also diverting funds in an idealistic way, to build trails and a network of bicycle highways that offers the same specialized system cars have to bicycles. To me, it no more of a fantasy than the idea that we will somehow change the minds of everyone on the road, and I subscribe to that one too sometimes.

    • Jesse,

      As you know, we are in favor of the same type of suburban trail infrastructure, and we agree about the flawed system. But you’re mixing contexts here. The urban core, with its dense street grid, low speed limits and expectations of slow travel works well for integrated cycling and very, very poorly for a segregated system. That’s the physics.

      If there is any money to be spent, I’d sure as hell rather it be spent to help people avoid the traffic sewers in Sprawlando than to create a few miles of conflict-ridden urban cycletrack — which won’t be any easier to ride with coffee in hand than a general traffic lane.

      We focus more here on helping people use the system as it is because we are connected to the political reality of what it takes to change it. We don’t want to give people the impression they have to wait that long. We also have first-hand experience with the really awful stuff that gets passed off as bike infrastructure — policy-makers will do that endlessly as long as the population of bicyclists is uninformed and accustomed to cowering along on the edge of the road. What’s worse, every mile of that crap reinforces the belief of bicyclists and other road users that we belong on the sidewalk or in the gutter. So it takes us backwards.

      I created this website because I want to see a healthy, empowered community that is willing to say “no thanks” to substandard garbage. A person who knows how to operate in the current system will insist dedicated infrastructure offer an improvement over full lane use. I think you agree with me that most of the edge-of-the-road stuff around here does not.

      I love the dedicated bikeways that serve my destinations. I live at the end of Cady Way and use it all the time. But dedicated bikeways take years to plan, fund, design… and still they are only seen as recreational, thus lack connectivity to make them as useful for transportation. Wish you could have been a part of the discussion Wednesday about trying to make a sensible route connection to a canal path in South Orlando (“can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t”).

      Wanna find out how things work in the boring world of public policy? Come to a BPAC meeting.

      Reality check! We’ve been jerked around for 2 decades trying to get rail here (something with way more political support than a transportation-oriented trail network for bicycles), only to have it jerked away moments before implementation because the people of this state voted for Lex Luthor over a fiscal conservative who happened to be a Democrat. I don’t have much hope for that culture to build “nice things”

      As for changing the minds of everyone on the road. I don’t need to. The people who give me a hard time are so insignificant, they don’t even rate a full one percent of the motorists I encounter. For every unfriendly one, there are ten who go out of their way to be friendly and help me out. And the rest just go about their business, passing me safety. Every day I’m out there putting a face on cycling in a way that is assertive, predictable and civil. Focus on positive, put forth positive, get back positive. Of course, that’s not going to prevent the occasional intrusion of a jerk, but it does keep them from getting under my skin. As one who spent a decade or more riding around with a chip on my shoulder, I can testify that it was almost like I moved to a different city when I when I changed my own attitude. (BTW, that’s not directed at you, I know you to be a very positive person. It is something I have noticed about the cyclists who complain the most bitterly, and recognize because I used to do the same. The experience of being a constant victim was very real to me, just as now my reality is that most people are neutral or courteous.)

      I know the ratio is different in the burbs and people are more cranky, due to the very fact that they are spending more time in their cars and driving sucks. But this discussion was about a downtown street. A street which desperately needs better pedestrian space and lowered traffic speeds, not segregated bike infrastructure.

      I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask people to ground their ideas and desires in reality and context.

    • Jesse,
      I agree with you, except that I think your analogy of the vegetables works better with something like broccoli with cheese on it. As someone who is fairly new to riding my bicycle as a form of commute instead of simply a form of enjoyment, I would add that for me, that first step of eating french fries or broccoli with cheese was an important first step. I was terrified of riding on ANY road–hell, crossing a street with a speed limit of 25 made my knees shake. So, I rode on bike trails and sidewalks until I was more comfortable on my bike. Now, I hop on the street a lot more often, and I try to do it with confidence. Something that has helped a lot is other cyclists being encouraging. When I meet with condescension, it makes it that much harder for me to listen to the advice. The condescension and aggression that I see on threads like this is as ugly and off-putting as the car drivers who yell at me to get off the road. For me, eating the french fries was an important first step in moving on to real, healthy vegetables. I think it might surprise people how often that is the case.

      • Misty,

        Thank you for leaving a comment! It’s nice to hear new voices.

        It wouldn’t surprise anyone here that bicycling on the road is frightening for novices. We all started there.

        When we were most fearful we were also most vulnerable because we had no way to differentiate between real risk and imagined danger. What concerns many of us is bike advocates are catering to that that fear by providing facilities the novice will think are safe (to get people to ride bikes), but actually increase risk of the most common kind of crashes (those which they are least aware of). IMO, that is a much more insidious form of condescension than some snarking back and forth on a blog.

        We feel there is a better alternative — to help people overcome fear and leap over years of trial and error and potentially save their lives. And we do this in a supportive and positive environment. Learn more here.

        Much of the largest looming fear is actually a culturally indoctrinated taboo (as Mighk termed it: a Control Myth) designed to keep us in the gutter and out of the way of culture of speed. Here are two essays offering a bit more on that.

        http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2009/05/19/new-frames-for-new-ages/

        http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2011/03/07/bicycling-apocalypse/

      • Hi, Mistie. If you read Mighk Wison’s recent post “Bicycling Apocalypse:Manifesto of Liberation Over Segregation” you saw him refer to “a woman in her sixties who was afraid to bike on a two-lane, low speed collector street with bike lanes.” That would be me (although I would like to point out that its my EARLY sixties, thank you very much!) If it weren’t for Mighk and Keri, my bicycle would still be sitting in the garage gathering dust. I’d be driving the 3 miles each way to work every day in my full size van, which frequently takes 30 minutes, not counting the time spent trying to get in and out of the parking garage. I’d be lamenting that I just don’t have time to get any exercise. And I’d be fuming about all those jerks behind the wheel that make the streets too dangerous to bike.

        Mighk and Keri showed me how to enjoy riding my bike safely and confidently, and it has indeed been liberating. I don’t think you will find much “condescension and aggression” on this site. It has been an excellent resouce for me to come learn, and to read some spirited and interesting discussions. There are times, though, when I believe it is frustrating to have the same arguments rehashed. No one is going to build me a cycletrack from my front door to every place that I want to go by bike. And I was surprised to find that those bicycle lanes that were painted for me felt less safe than riding in the regular traffic lane. Mistie, I am neither brave nor athletic and I don’t have a death wish. What I am is a good example of “Holy Cow! If SHE can do it ANYONE can.” Stick around. You will find a lot of support and encouragement here, and a wealth of experience. And you will find that you don’t need those cycletracks that we can’t afford anyway.

  14. You’re right about almost everything, friend. :) I was wrong to say everyone on the road; what I meant was “everyone,” period, totally.

    I think everyone’s mind should be changed. The system we have is built for autos. I think of it as a civil rights issue, so I can only logically think it’s wrong that a system created for one class of users that “allows” use to another class.

    I think where my other friend is coming from is the same place I came from: the outside. We both want to stop driving cars and ride bikes instead. Alex and I represent the very cusp of those leaving car culture by virtue of our lack of knowledge about policy and infrastructure. We are a hard look into the face of normal people who want a change of transportation mode, and therefore offer an opportunity for expert advocates to examine how to increase mode share and, ultimately, increase the numbers (and therefore power) of bicyclists.

    This community offers those experts, but I think Alex offers that perspective.

  15. Increasing cycling mode share isn’t my crusade. It’s a fine goal, but it has plenty of its own advocates. My goal is to defend myself from the side-effects of those advocates’ methods.

    So for example, I don’t mind if the mode-share advocates paint a bike lane stripe because they think that’s what will get non-cyclists on bikes, unless that stripe is in a jurisdiction with a mandatory bike lane law, which forces me to ride too far right for my own safety. I don’t mind if the mode-share advocates build a cycletrack through a dense urban area, unless that cycletrack is in a jurisdiction with a mandatory side path law, which forces me to use the cycletrack regardless of my own need for efficient transportation.

    There are those who argue that it’s unethical for engineers to subject the newest and least knowledgeable and most vulnerable cyclists (those whom mode-share advocates intend to attract) to cycling infrastructure that’s so hazardous that knowledgeable cyclists avoid it. (That’s what this photo is about.) There are those who argue that it’s immoral for politicians to spend public money on projects that restrict citizens’ freedom of travel. There are those who argue that it’s counter-productive for mode-share advocates to build infrastructure that makes it impossible for cyclists to accomplish real utility trips over typical USA distances.

    I’m not trying to be an ambassador for cycling in Orlando or anywhere. I just want those self-appointed ambassadors to let me and other lawful, competent cyclists drive our bicycles safely and efficiently.

    • Thanks Bob, written like a practical cyclist.

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