unSAFE at any speed

I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop. The SAFE people, from Delray Beach, fresh off their successful win of bike lanes on A1A, now are upset that some people won’t use what they worked so hard to make happen. You can read what they, and the FBA did here.

They are talking up a new law which would make it mandatory to use a bike lane, ala California and Oregon laws.

Here it is in black and white: “And if bicyclists do not voluntarily adjust their behavior and use the designated bicycle lanes as intended, the state bicycle law should be changed to require it, and that new law should be enforced.”

which sounds very appealing to the anti-bicycle bunch. After all, the money being spent on lanes is just wasted if there isn’t a requirement to “get out of the damned way!”

Here is an article talking about how successful they have been, so far. Is a new law far in the distance?

28 replies
  1. Chris
    Chris says:

    No!! How long before a new law would be added to force bikes off any road w/o a marked bike lane. Seems like a plausible extension of the proposal.

  2. Keri
    Keri says:

    Eric, I think these bike lanes are in a different spot than the ones referenced in the law suit. But the point is correct that when a facility is built to get cyclists out of the way, cyclists are compelled to use it even if it does not benefit them.

    Chris, Oregon (“The state bicycles dream about”) also has a mandatory sidepath law. And guess, what? They’re pushing like hell for cycletracks (aka sidepaths).

    Beware! Many people who pretend to be bike advocates have other agendas that are in direct opposition to the rights and wellbeing of cyclists.

    Jim Smith clearly is no friend of bicyclists:

    He pushes for facilities to get cyclists out of the way (which puts us at a disadvantage in places with lots of intersections)

    He lies about the safety of bike lanes (his 4th paragraph is in direct opposition to the FACTS). And his ignorance is not for lack of very articulate people trying to educate him about said facts.

    He wants a discriminatory law to make it mandatory for cyclists to ride in bike lanes in order to gain more public support for his agenda… facilities that get us out of the way.

    Worse yet, he’s willing to stir up HATE over the behavior of a minority (albiet a prominent one) of bicyclists in order to achieve his agenda. This action will make things WORSE for cyclists. It may even lead to assaults on cyclists.

    What he’s doing is systematically undermining the longstanding rights of cyclists to use the public roadways. And yet some other bike advocates are still trying to cut him some slack, as if he has good intentions.

  3. Andrewp
    Andrewp says:

    I have mixed feelings about this ….

    What are the speed limits along A1A where the bike lane is present? If the speeds are high, then a bike lane makes sense (to me) as I see bigger car/bike conflicts and safety issues when speed is high.

    But at slower speed limits …. then it sounds more like a “inconvienience” issue. And if there are lots of intersections on this portion of A1A, I know many will find faults with how the bike lanes allow for merging with traffic — rightfully so.

    I agree with Chris that any new laws create a “slippery slope” where cyclists rights could easily get eroded away, piece by piece …. and that enforcing them would be a strain of police forces and cyclists (who defines “obstructions” in bike lanes? — how do you prove this ticketed, etc.)

    I find it interesting that the group(s) pinpointed as most “egregious” are the recreational group riders. And reading the comments, what hits home is how wide a gap there seems to be between what is “legal” and what is “civil” ………

  4. Keri
    Keri says:

    Pack riding is different from pace-line riding, as well. And I agree with Andrew’s comment about being civil, particularly dealing with 2-lane roads.

    A person who has never ridden in a paceline might not realize the issue for a drafting line of cyclists to ride in a bike lane or shoulder. If a solo cyclist comes upon a sudden obstruction and can’t merge, he can come to a complete stop (this is inconvenient, but not dangerous). A group of drafting cyclists cannot stop quickly without a crash and its harder to merge a group into overtaking traffic—merges are best initiated by the rear rider. OTOH, if a group is claiming the lane they have the whole lane to move around potential obstructions. These are good reasons for paceline groups to avoid bike lanes.

  5. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    While the A1A case was seen as a victory, it did not result in the Dept. being required to provide bike lanes on that A1A project itself, since facts pertaining to that project were in dispute and not resolved before the appeal. It was a general victory in that the court said FDOT must provide for bicyclists during the design or resurfacing of a road if it’s cost feasible. (And cost feasibility was the disputed fact in the case.)

    The FBA board has been discussing how to oppose SAFE’s proposed bill and will certainly fight to stop it. You can be sure all the state’s cyclists will hear about it from us when or if this thing “ripens.”

  6. Eric
    Eric says:

    “The FBA board has been discussing how to oppose SAFE’s proposed bill and will certainly fight to stop it.”

    It escapes me that well-meaning cycling advocates think that they can have their cake and eat it, too.

    If lanes are provided at government expense and sold as “safer”, then there will be pressure to use them under any and all circumstances. Whether that pressure comes from letters to the editor, road rage, or new laws, the pressure will be there and it will persist and there will be nothing that a lone cyclist can do to stop it.

    How dare a cyclist say, “No, thank you” in the face of the Federal, State and local governments, the FBA, the LAB and now SAFE, all saying “Yes, you will”?

    And when it comes to public safety, laws are enacted when voluntary compliance is not achieved.

  7. Keri
    Keri says:


    I think FBA should take it a step further and work to have the FTR law repealed. PA’s statewide advocacy organization managed to do that and OH is on the verge of it, too.

    I’d like to see cyclist advocacy ground itself firmly in Equality. Roads are for people. No people should be discriminated against based on the vehicle they drive.

  8. Abhishek
    Abhishek says:

    This sounds like another case of not building the right thing and then trying to make it work. Bike lanes are not the answer to safe and efficient bicycle commute, even on A1A.

    How about a bike path that is physically separated from the motorists? That increases safety which should be a primary concern for the planners. Rather than that, they continue to build traditional bike lanes and spend their time mandating the use of them.

  9. Eric
    Eric says:

    “How about a bike path that is physically separated from the motorists?”

    I used some of those when I was in Germany. I was not impressed. The problem (again) was the intersections. Unless the motorists stopped for me when they wanted to turn left across the separated lane (something they must do now in our current US system) they would hit me.

    And I was even harder to see since the distance and location they had to look was more difficult.

  10. Keri
    Keri says:

    There are problems with putting a path on A1A.

    Any time you have bike lanes and paths near the beach, you’re going to have sand issues.

    What side of the road do you put it on? The side with the fewest intersections (beach side) will make it difficult to get to all the destinations, which are on the other side of the road. I can foresee all kinds of conflicts arising from that. If you put the path on the commercial side, it will have intersection and pedestrian issues making bike travel slow and frustrating.

    Riding on the road is safe. Because of the induced conflicts, urban sidepaths result in a net decrease in safety over riding on the road. And they further penalize the cyclists who know the road is safer because those cyclists will then be harassed more.

  11. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    Andrew suggests that use of the bike lane is sensible when traffic speeds are high, but the opposite is true in my experience. When vehicle speeds are high, fewer drivers provide appropriate and safe clearance when passing riders of bicycles in the bike lanes. Few bike lanes in Eastern Volusia County are wide enough to provide debris avoidance and vehicle-passing clearance. I do my best to avoid A1A in this area, north of Ormond Beach, because it is a two-lane high-speed roadway, but when I have no choice, I want my positioning to provide the optimum conditions I can get.

    I haven’t read the link in the main body, but I have a pretty good idea from the comments what it says. Such laws would be a huge setback for the integrated cycling community.

  12. Andrewp
    Andrewp says:

    Fred: I do see your point, and I really cannot say “in my experience” as I have not done a lot of cycling on high-speed roadways. My thinking was coming from issues of how fast approaching traffic comes up on slower traffic and the reduced reaction time if the motorists are not paying attention.

    I am not a recreational street rider, but I want to know if we ask that cyclists be treated as any other vehicle on the road (and that we as cyclists follow traffic laws), is there any other vehicle where we allow it to ride so close to another vehicle that it is considered “drafting”? If you saw two cars with just inches between bumpers, wouldn’t you be saying to yourself “unsafe”? Is this kind of riding contributing to a unfair characterization of all cyclists?

  13. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    There are some states, or perhaps only the one, where the law states increasing passing clearance with increasing speeds, so it is recognized that more is better.

    I agree with you in spades regarding one motorist following another too closely. It is probably one of my biggest gripes when it comes to those few times when I have to drive a motor vehicle of any sort (electric preferred).

    Motorists are more often paying attention to that which is directly ahead of them, and less so to that which is on the shoulder or bike lane, so if there is faster moving traffic behind you, the safer location is in their line of sight. This is my opinion, my experience, and also that of some studies I’ve read “all over the internet”.

    I’ve recently finished a chapter of “Traffic” aka “Why we drive the way we do and what it says about us”. Some study says that a driver using a cell phone no longer moves his eyes about, as is normal, but instead focusses on a point six to ten feet ahead of the automobile. I would rather be that point, instead of being in the invisible zone elsewhere.

    Having a cell-phone user tailgate me for EIGHT MILES when I was driving my Gizmo EV at 30-35 mph pretty much confirmed that study for me!

    You also mention drafting, something I’ve done in the past, both behind other bikes and behind other vehicles. I don’t do that as much anymore, in either case. Florida has a strange wording in that a bicycle appears to be permitted to draft a motor vehicle.

    I would respectfully suggest that one consideration allowing drafting on bikes is a parallel to laws regulating ultralight aircraft. The wording was suggested to the FAA, later made into law, based on the light weight and reduced possibility of severe damage “to everyone else” in the event of a crash. Bicycles and riders are equally light and would only injure each other, so perhaps it’s not as severe as two multi-ton metal boxes crashing and losing control.

  14. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Keri wrote:
    “I think FBA should take it a step further and work to have the FTR law repealed.”

    I think ultimately many board members would like to see that, but we as yet have zero experience or track record in the legislature, and it would be a tough first attempt. Fighting the mandatory bike lane is easy because we can point out the many circumstances in which cyclists already can and should leave it and rally support for it.

    The majority of organized cyclists in Florida are recreational cyclists; they don’t get very excited about things unless they are perceived as a threat.

    Texas Bicycle Coalition got its start working to defeat an outright cycling ban on many “farm-to-market” roads regularly used by club cyclists. I guarantee an effort to eliminate the FTR law would have flopped as a first attempt there, as well as here. How many cyclists have been cited for failure to keep as far right as practicable? Certainly nowhere near enough to get people worked up.

  15. eddie
    eddie says:

    this is a great example of what can happen when we seek to build facilities as opposed to educate cyclists. facilities can be flawed by design and improperly maintained, rendering them dangerous and unpleasant.

    but I still believe that we must change the design of our public space from the happy motoring fantasy that has dominated the US for the last fifty years. It is impressive to think that 14,000 people are working together to make their town safer for people not in their car. possibly the needs of a retiree on a beach cruiser and someone racing along in a paceline might be different. although I do agree that learning to cycle effectively is the best step an individual can take to promote their safety, I delight in well designed facilities.

    sure, lead with education. make it a funding priority. amass 14,000 volunteers to teach “riding in the world as it is”. I will join you.

    But there has to be more to it than: Adopt yourself to a system that was designed and regulated with no consideration of you whatsoever.

    all road users must try and envision a transportation network for the next century. separate bike paths like in copenhagen, portland, amsterdam and anchorage might be part of that. like the interstate system being car only, it doesn’t preclude cars from the rest of the transportation network. both political and design mistakes will be made along the way to best practices. hopefully none quite so bad as running an interstate through the heart of most american cities.

    I think it’s possible to look at these bike lanes as a step in the right direction, while educating drivers and cyclists of the inherent
    limitations. explain to drivers why some cyclists might choose the road over the bike lane. push for sharrows at the next repaint.
    fight the law without devaluing the people who worked to get the bike lane, and without sending the message that it was a mistake.
    keep up this wonderful, intelligent conversation.

  16. Eric
    Eric says:

    “separate bike paths like in copenhagen, portland, amsterdam and anchorage”

    If you want an example of 1970’s thinking then this is it. That’s because in the ’70’s a general mantra developed and that was “Attitudinal changes are the most difficult changes to make.”

    So why bother to change attitudes at all? Why not make changes to the environment to avoid trying to change attitudes? That’s much easier to do.

    This didn’t just apply to transportation, but all sorts of things. In the transportation field, engineers stepped into the breach. That’s why they treat us all like we are brain dead, cyclists and motorists alike. Because they KNOW that we will do what we perceive is in our best interest unless they guide us to do otherwise.

    So there was a shift from motorist education to engineering. A shift from traffic law enforcement to more signage and physical barriers. All-Way stop signs began to litter the neighborhoods to stop speeding and when that doesn’t work, speed bumps. Much more efficient than having what used to be known as “traffic cops” whose only job was to enforce traffic laws.

    One problem with using lanes to separate traffic types is that if you buy that argument, then each type of traffic should have it’s own lane. Motorcyclists are injured and killed at a much higher rate than cyclists, so we should separate them from cars. Trucks can’t see cars in their mirrors and merge improperly, so they obviously need a lane, too. Buses should have a lane so they can pick up passengers from the sidewalk. A white line doesn’t stop the problems, so then we must build barricades to keep them apart.

    It only makes the REAL problem worse. It isn’t when everyone is going in the same direction that there is a problem, it is when they must cross each other to go in different directions. Which separated lanes will stop to let someone in a different lane to cross and go in a different direction?

    And once you have these lanes, you must insist that everyone use the proper lane. And that is why the average motorist doesn’t understand why there shouldn’t be a law requiring a cyclist to use a lane when present.

    One of the places I first saw lanes was in Denmark. If you are a pedestrian, you really have a problem in Denmark. Their streets (starting from the right) have sidewalk, bike lane, traffic lanes and the bike lane is sacrosanct. If you exit a bus that stops on the street, or exit a taxi cab, you must cross the bike lane. So you step out of the door and POW!! a bike hits you.

    I already mentioned my small experiences in Germany.

    Only now, are the Europeans beginning to rethink their lanes because the safety arguments did not pan out. But the ship of state turns slowly.

    Lanes were and are a mistake. No need to make the same mistakes the Europeans did.

  17. eddie
    eddie says:

    I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition. There are no lessons to be learned from the above mentioned cities, where modal split is amazing and the user experience is highly rated?

    Is Portland questioning their investment in infrastructure? Amsterdam? Really, I don’t know.

    I’m sure that there are problems with any system, but is Europe looking anywhere in Florida for their workable solutions. Can you compare cyclist or pedestrian safety in Orlando or Miami with those
    cities. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think those cities think their lanes were a mistake. they are not wishing to be acting like a car on O.B.T.

    Four way stops and speed bumps were a way to try and engineer in the automobile to old streetcar neighborhoods. we are always making engineering choices, and they affect user choice.

    another example of 70’s thinking is a 6 lane divided highway with a cartoon sidewalk, a huge asphalt lagoon and a landscraper boxstore. does anyone ride thru portland wishing they were stewing thru a 5 minute light cycle.

    much of the american landscape was built for that Futurama fantasy of happy motoring that never really came to be. Le Corbu was wrong and the future that he imagined never really came to be. there is really nothing wrong with that. the car was probably the best way for us to go from rural to suburban to whatever we can call the I-4 corridor. In any case, it defined the infrastructure that we inherited. and we will continue to make engineering choices for the future. they will either be designed solely for the car, or there will be an attitudinal change that expects more public space for something other than dragging around 3000 lbs of metal to complete your simple daily tasks.

  18. Eric
    Eric says:

    “There are no lessons to be learned from the above mentioned cities, where modal split is amazing and the user experience is highly rated?”

    I’ve been told that people “feel” safer because it seems logical to them that they should be safer. Actual studies show the people’s logic to be flawed and their trust in the experts to be misplaced.

    Copenhagen, for example recently completed a before-and-after study which showed more road injuries, yet comes to the conclusion to continue putting in more lanes because:
    “Taken in combination, the cycle tracks and lanes which have been constructed have had positive results as far as traffic volumes and feelings of security go. They have however, had negative effects on road safety. The radical effects on traffic volumes resulting from the construction of cycle tracks will undoubtedly result in gains in health from increased physical activity. These gains are much, much greater than the losses in health resulting from a slight decline in road safety.”

    So if a car doesn’t get you, maybe the heart attack will come a couple of years later.

    Tinkering with 1970’s ideas isn’t working well for cyclists.

    That’s because bike lanes aren’t put there to improve safety, but for the convenience of motorists. Providing something to make people feel safe, without actually making them safe is the height of political cynicism.

    The NEW thought in Europe is something called “Shared Space.”

  19. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    eddie said:
    “we will continue to make engineering choices for the future. they will either be designed solely for the car, or there will be an attitudinal change that expects more public space for something other than dragging around 3000 lbs of metal to complete your simple daily tasks.”

    What do you mean by “public space”?

    You presume that roads have been designed for the exclusive use of motor vehicles, but that is a common error. The vast majority of folks who use the public streets do so in a motor vehicle, but that is incidental to a design for multiple modes of travel. This is not an engineering problem, but a public education problem.

    I am against segregating the public roadway for special interests. Whether it is a bike lane or on-street parking. Both are abusing minority interests at the expense of the majority.

    Cyclists ought to join with motorists and demand multi-laned streets and roads. Roads with narrow right lanes are ideal for cycling. Because they are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle, it automatically becomes an 8′ to 10′ bike lane that kept clean by motorist use!

    My extensive experience of cycling on both wide outside lane streets (SoCal for 10 years and many thousands of miles) and narrow outside lanes (Greater Dallas area for two years and 10,000+ miles) has produced this opinion. I regularly -that is, every ride- travel on arterials and country roads with 55 MPH speed limits and narrow lanes. I am demonstrably safer than on wide outside lanes. For example, I have experienced very few close passes in Texas, and zero right hooks, both of which were frequent in California.

    I think that the “attitudinal change” needs to be done by bike advocacy groups that “expect more public space”. Not more space, less space! Narrow lanes, not shared lanes! Not segregated lanes but the center of narrow lanes! It is time to be treated as the law says we ought to be treated- as slow moving vehicles.

    There is no “bicycle facility” or engineering that would make me safer or improve my ability to get around on these roads, and there is no mode of travel that is excluded from the public way. Pining for bike lanes is the wrong way to go if you really want to advocate for cycling.

  20. danc
    danc says:

    Andrewp wrote “If the speeds are high, then a bike lane makes sense (to me) as I see bigger car/bike conflicts and safety issues when speed is high.”

    Andrew I don’t understand the “conflicts or safety issues tied to high[er] speed vehicles? I ride on country road with low traffic volume compared to A1A but motor vehicles pass me regularly at 50-60 miles per hours and there is no safety issue.

    I ride on the roadway, they see me and motorist pass at a safe distance. There are some blind curves, hills and dips which limit sightlines. Under those circumstances I control the travel lanes as long as need to assure safe conditions. Safety is a matter of being seen and predictable. Bike lanes do not help at intersections where most accidents or conflicts happen.

  21. eddie
    eddie says:

    I’ll admit to feeling a lot safer in bike lanes sometimes. The one they put on south orange avenue heading to downtown felt like a welcome mat for me. you still have to watch for doors, but still, I felt safer. Anchorage has a wonderful bike trail system with bear and moose and ponds and you can use it to get across town and then it’s back to vehicular cycling for the last part of your journey.
    Vancouver,b.c has a great loop around stanley park. I always felt that cycling on separated bike paths is like driving on the interstate. And one day soon I’ll take my wife and kid to the green route in Quebec.
    That’s what’s changed it all for me, the kid.
    I used to love riding in big cities, still do. I had the best urban ride in panama city,pa last year. think of it as “unshared space”. and I am familiar with the concept of “shared space”. My wife had a 13k daily ride to the school she was working at and we both logged about 5000k while we were over there and the traffic had a totally different flow to it that had nothing to do with obeying laws and traffic devices, and everything to do with being aware of your surroundings.
    so I googled your quote and I’ll read up and contemplate that the cities that have delighted cyclists for the past 20 years are a dangerous affront to cycling advocacy. It’s hard to swallow. and I’m pretty sure that Jan Gehl wasn’t designing bike lanes for motorist convenience.

    what I mean by public space is just that, space that is not private property. the civic realm. a place where the laws that govern it are hopefully decided by some semblance of democracy. not your house or my house, but the street in between, where I used to play when I was a kid. But now at the beginning of a new century, we have look around at our built world and decide whether we want most of our public space used solely for conveyance in bigger and bigger cars to stores that are farther and farther away.( I know, you probably just rolled your eyes and muttered “hippie) and yes I do presume that our current infrastructure was designed for cars. bikes were never even thought of. yes, we have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicles, but stop lights weren’t there to stop bikes from smashing into each other.

    And cars were a minority interest group when many of the designs were implemented, and they still are in many places where the car gets larger space ratio person to person, say in manhattan.

    I am a cyclist and have been for many years and in many different places. I like this blog because it focuses a lot on education of cyclists, which I think is the best way to improve your safety and enjoyment of cycling.

    I also know the built environment will change again in the next fifty years and I like to throw my 2 cents in on that. If that makes me pine for bike lanes and sound like I’m tinkering with 70’s Ideas, so be it. I’d rather have a bike lane on my street than a freeway thru my backyard.

  22. Eric
    Eric says:

    “you still have to watch for doors,”

    It is wrong to guide people into harm’s way. Full Stop.

    I tried lanes, too. They made me feel safer, but then I noticed that cars would squeeze in closer than they would if they had to shift lanes to get around me.

    I thought I was smart. I could look out for doors — I was confident that I could see if there was someone in the car by peering in the back window, someone that might try to open a door — until I almost clobbered a door while I was being squeezed in by a passing car. No where to go — not to the left, not to the right.

    And that’s when the penny dropped. Damned things next to cars are an attractive nuisance.

    The Copenhagen study is here:
    Road safety and perceived risk of cycle facilities in Copenhagen,
    S.U. Jensen, C. Rosenkilde, N Jensen, Road & Park,
    City of Copenhagen, Presentation to European Cycling Federation AGM 2006


  23. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    Hello again Eddie!

    You bring up a lot of issues, and I am having trouble following your logic. For example, you say; “and decide whether we want most of our public space used solely for conveyance in bigger and bigger cars to stores that are farther and farther away.”

    I am wondering why I should have any say at all on what my neighbor chooses to use as transportation and where he ought to be able go with it. Perhaps then he could restrict my liberty to cycle too.

    Then there is this: “I do presume that our current infrastructure was designed for cars. bikes were never even thought of. yes, we have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicles…”

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter if cyclists needs were in the mind of the road engineers or not, the very things that make a road safe for cars in almost all cases make it good for cyclists as well. Sight lines, standardized rules and traffic laws, learned expectations of drivers of how traffic behaves, smooth surfaces, proper drainage and the like are as beneficial to cyclists as motorists. If cyclists proceed following the rules as a vehicle, the public space is just as available to them as motorists.

    But bike lanes don’t offer more of the public space to cyclists, it reduces it! It says, cyclists can’t choose how best to use the public space for themselves as they need, it says get in your place! And we all remember how separated facilities worked out for the minority group, don’t we? Colored drinking fountains were just as good as the whites only ones were, right?

    Bike lane implementation will inevitably lead to a loss of liberty for cyclists. Bike lanes are contrary to the ancient principals of “public roads”.

    “all road users must try and envision a transportation network for the next century”

    Again, cycling would benefit by the advocacy of narrow right lanes. Public monies spent on infrastructure that will be used by all. That’s my vision.

  24. eddie
    eddie says:

    Thanks for that link.

    “It is wrong to guide people into harm’s way. Full Stop.”
    I couldn’t agree more. and I can recognize that many cycling specific facilities have design flaws. most riders fare best when they act as a car, most of the time. but to look at the the real success of the cities we’ve been talking about, and to compare them to Orlando, well with all they are doing wrong, they most be doing something right.
    nyc had a 36% increase in cyclist this year. that was not thru VC education alone. I get the little things, all the john forester trains of logic. it the big picture: portland full of happy cyclist growing every year, drawing industries and rave reviews=bad for cycling. orlando, cycling is heroic and has a very high cyclist and pedestrian kill rate= good for cycling.
    And you are so right. portland is clamoring for more bike education and becoming more and more critical of bike lanes.


    “Public monies spent on infrastructure that will be used by all. That’s my vision.”

    mine, too. including children and the elderly, people with epilepsy, alcoholics.

    the fact is, driving is a priviledge, not a right, because of the possible harm a car might do to others. drivers have to get their photos taken and sign their name before they are allowed behind the wheel. cyclists have not. we are still covered be the rights of free travel. getting in a car you gave up that right long ago. make sure your permit, registration, insurance, emmisions, insurance are in order.
    well, it does matter who they had in mind when they designed it. look at the interstates. and the problem with bike lanes we are talking about. and putting in a bike lane does not mean that cyclists have to use it. we are not in a country that employs shared space. there are sidewalks and interstates and train tracks.asking for our slice is just responding in the language thats being used. but maybe you are right and we should reframe the question.

  25. Eric
    Eric says:

    “portland full of happy cyclist growing every year, drawing industries and rave reviews=bad for cycling.”

    The people that should be complaining the most about “bad design” in Portland aren’t talking. They can’t because they are dead.

    The way you say these things, I think you are a tinkerer. The idea is to keep tinkering with a “bad design” until you finally get it right. Sometimes it is best to just stop tinkering, admit the mistake, and start over with a different idea.

    But many people can’t do that. They have their whole career hung on this one well-meaning idea, so they just keep insisting that “other people” just can’t design their bad idea correctly. And when they themselves “design ” their idea badly and someone dies, well, that’s just an unfortunate tragedy. Couldn’t be helped.

    And the people that ought to be complaining the most, can’t.

  26. Keri
    Keri says:

    Wow! May I just say how much I love the quality of discussions we have on CommuteOrlando.

    Eric is pretty much saying everything I would about bike lanes, bike lane culture and the dark sides of certain “bike meccas” that no one wants to admit. I’m just going to pop in a few random thoughts.

    1) Another dark side “Bike Friendly” Portland is police harassment of cyclists. Much of this is due to the discriminatory laws. See…
    Expert witness backfires: 4 DAs go after a cyclist for a alleged MBL violation—he was setting up for a left turn!
    Heard on the scanner: Listening to a police scanner, blogger gets a picture of police attitude toward cyclists.
    Cop buzzes cyclists then tickets them:Last fall, a cop ticketed cyclists for “impeding traffic” after nearly hitting them trying to squeeze by in a narrow lane next to parked cars.

    2) That the average person feels safer in a bike lane is not a mystery. Our culture has indoctrinated us into a taboo of being “in the way” of motorists. That indoctrination includes reinforcement of “fear from the rear” which already has a strong biological/evolutionary underpinning. But, while the fear/comfort aspect is understandable, pandering to it does not move us forward to the paradigm of inclusion and respect that we need. Pandering to the fear ALSO panders to the discrimination and the belief that we do not belong on the road.

    3) I do believe we need to fix parts of the built environment. I think we need to start with facilitating PEDESTRIANS. Cyclists can function in an environment built for cars, pedestrians can’t. For example, I’m visiting my Grandmother in Wilmington, DE today. I don’t have a car, so I walked 1/2 mile to Starbucks to use the internet. There was 50 feet of sidewalk on that journey. There was a wide shoulder for about 3/4 of it. When I got to the main intersection, there was sidewalk on one of 4 corners, there were no crosswalks, no pedestrian signals. I ended up crossing that intersection in 3 places because the internet connection didn’t work at Starbucks so I had to go looking for another. I had to walk through grass. I had to step off a high curb. I had to wait for turning traffic, leaving me barely enough time to get across—the light turned green as a I was 4 feet from the curb and the first car in line peeled out to try and scare me. It sucked. It would have been so much easier to ride a bike!

    All that is to say, YES we do need to make changes in the public space. A car-centric culture which totally disses other modes is unhealthy. But the focus really needs to be on pedestrian infrastructure. There are infrastructure enhancements that would help cyclists, but I would give that a far lower priority than fixing the social structure issues that inhibit our use of roads which physically serve us just fine.

    Think about it this way, you get a hell of a lot more miles for your money if you address the overall culture.

  27. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    A place to address the culture needs to include the cavalier attitude most people have of driving a motor vehicle. Taking a trip in a car has become such a common everyday thing that our awareness of the magnitude of the responsibility involved is severely diminished.

    We need to reinforce the public’s understanding that we all have moral and legal duty to pass slower vehicles with due care and in a safe manner. (Even if the other vehicle is not properly positioned in the travel lane!)

  28. eddie
    eddie says:

    yes, i think there is a dark side to those cycling meccas, and I’m still not convinced that cycling on a bike path is an unacceptable risk. we’re not talking firestone tires here.

    we are talking about an activity that I think is still safer than motorcycles by far, which seems to go against the logic of vehicular cycling and it’s safety. but, well doubt is my most precious intellectual possession.

    so, I’ll watch portland and jannette sadik khan in nyc and the mayor down in miami. see how it develops. and of course, commute orlando.

    how about this:
    more mixed use zoning
    no free on street parking
    cyclist ed to be a part of any drivers ed class
    coast to coast non motorized greenway(one can dream)

    btw. I will take the ferry from key west to fort myers, then I’ll cycle up tampa for the superbowl. can you cycle over the sunshine skyway?

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