Questions about sharing the road, bike lanes, etc.

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Michelle
Questions about sharing the road, bike lanes, etc.

With all this news about safety on the road for cyclists lately, I wonder if anyone else besides me has questions about the logistics of sharing the road?

When I got my driver's license, we didn't have "bike lanes", so I never learned how to deal with them as a driver (besides "don't drive in them").

So I thought it might be interesting to start a thread where we can discuss best practices for sharing the road with each other (cyclists, drivers, pedestrians) and ask any questions we might have.

So, I'll start.  My question is about bike lanes, as both a pedestrian and an occasional cab-rider.  (And very occasionally, a driver, although I don't have a car of my own, so I hardly ever drive in the city.)

How do cars pull over safely on a street with bike lanes (e.g. to let someone out of the car, or pick them up, etc.).  The reason I ask is because, as someone who occasionally takes cabs, I always feel strange about a cab driver pulling into the bike lane to pick me up if I hail one on the street because I know they're blocking the bike lane while I'm getting in (or getting out).  But I'm not sure how else they could do it. 

I was talking to a cyclist about it just now, and I suggested that maybe they should not pull into the bike lane, but simply stop in the car lane and wait for a gap in bikes and the pedestrian can cross the bike lane to get into the car once the way is clear.  But she just told me that she got doored that way and would just prefer that the car pull into the bike lane (as long as there isn't a cyclist close by) and she can go around it.

Anyhow, if anyone has answers, or other questions, post them here! 

I think it would be great to have public education campaigns about how to share the road properly.  I think a lot of people just don't KNOW what rules or conventions they're supposed to follow, due to the way the infrastructure is designed.

Sineed

Re cabs: I have thought they could pull into bus stops.  If a bus isn't using a bus stop, a taxi can use it to pick up/drop off.  Currently, though, it's illegal to stop a car at a bus stop, so there'd have to be a legislative change to facilitate that.  Otherwise, I'd prefer they pull into the bike lane and stop, and I'll go around (it's annoying, but so are pedestrians in the bike lane.  And the delivery trucks are worse than cabs because they're bigger and they sit in the bike lanes for longer periods).

Re pedestrians in the bike lanes: these people who STAND in the bike lane for no reason, gazing off into space.  WTF?

 

Unionist

If anyone knows of laws, guidelines, suggestions that apply to Canada, I'd love to see a link here.

A bigger issue (IMHO) than stopping the car is turning left or right crossing a bike lane. That's where - if the motorist doesn't understand or give a damn about shoulder mirrors and rearview mirrors and actually being careful, or the cyclist has just appeared out of nowhere - tragedies can easily happen.

[url=http://www.sfbike.org/?bikelane_right_turns]There's some great information here[/url], along with some of the legislation applying in California and elsewhere.

 

Sineed

Cycling safely in Toronto:

http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/safety/index.htm

 

Tommy_Paine

 

Over the years, I've driven to work (mostly) but I've walked (for excersize --it's an hour and twenty one way at the quick march) taken what passes for public transit here, and bicycled.

The only accident I ever had was while ridding a bike.  And that happened with another bike ridder on a designated bike path.  Go figure.

I own a buck knife.  I bring that up because when I asked for a good knife for the big 5-0 earlier this year, someone said, (knowing I like to have handy things)  "You mean, like a Swiss Army Knife?"  I explained that a Swiss Army Knife is probably the worst thing to have.  It doesn't do anything well.  In fact, most of the stuff they cram on them don't do what they are supposed to do at all.

Boring story over, I submit that we have Swiss Army Knife roads. 

They can't be all things to all people.

By as much accident of geography by intent, London is fortunate because it has the river valleys and other green strips that are ideal for bike paths.  Anyone who uses them for the first  time are astonished at how quickly one can go from one side of the city to the other.  Or at least used to be able to.

Now, people on the bike paths have to go real slow for seniors on the paths, skate boarders, dog walkers, roller bladers etc.  Can't win.

I note that in Stanely Park, years ago at least, the path ways were marked for pedestrian use and bike use.

Even with the river valley bike paths, London has started putting extensive marked bike paths on many streets.  For half the city or so, Oxford street and Cheapside run parallel, with Oxford being the major arterial road, and Cheapside the secondary street.  There's excellent wide bike lanes on Cheapside.  

I think bikes should be outlawed on Oxford.  Entirely.

But then, perhaps a street like Cheapside wouldn't be feasable, but there are certainly other streets where cars could be outlawed  in favour of bikes and similar conveyances.

Just like combining the C.P. and C.N. yards would open up a public transit dedicated corridor right through town, for either rail transit or bus or both.

We need to start designating priorities on streets, and where practicle, separating various forms of transportation.

------------

In Toronto, the one thing that really sticks out to this visitor, who has driven there and taken what many don't realize is the Cadillac of transit systems, is the amount of parking allowed on residential streets and arterial roads.

It's insane, and a cause of most of Toronto's traffic problems.

 

 

 

Sineed

I like your Swiss Army knife analogy and completely agree.  In the downtown we have many streets running parallel, and we could designate some of these for bikes and some of these for no bikes.  And in Toronto we have a lot of very old infrastructure - the roads can't be any wider in many of the most congested areas.

Disagree about the parking thing.  For those of us who live downtown, parking means 2 things: it slows the traffic down ie traffic calming, and it means people are stopping in our neighbourhoods to shop or whatever.  Our roads are part of neighbourhoods, and are not freeways.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

I think parked cars on the street are anything but calming, from anyone's perspective.   And yes, there's streets I would allow it, for commercialy designated streets-- problem is, business thinks every street should be for commerce.

And, one has to wonder how much commerce is missing because  congestion caused by on street parking dissuades people from venturing downtown?  One has to consider that this congestion not only slows down cars, but also busses and street cars, and slowly moving stop and go traffic is hard on the bronchial tubes for pedestrians.

 

The real reason why on street parking will never be got rid of in Toronto is because it has got to be a huge cash cow for the city. 

I don't often brag about London, but some of the few things it has got right over the years is bike paths, limited on street parking on major roads, and no overnight parking on any street.

Tommy_Paine

How do cars pull over safely on a street with bike lanes

Bike lanes here haven't changed how I drive. As a driver.  I always dealt with bikes as I would like to be dealt with by motorists when I ride.  Or rode.... haven't been on a bike in a long time now.   If one has to use the bike lane space to pull over for one reason or another, give priority to the cyclist.  Maybe in London it's easier, as the lanes aren't exactly plugged with cyclists.  So, wait for any bikes close by to pass, and make your stop quick.

I do notice that Bell Canada technicians use the bike lane to park on Cheapside street near my place, so they can service their antiquated and constantly breaking down connection boxes.  I think that shouldn't be allowed.  Not just Bell Canada in general, but parking for extended periods in a bike lane.

When it comes to sharing the road with anyone, I think the key thing is not to make the mistakes of others into some kind of personal attack against you. 

The principle benafactor in that attitude is your own blood pressure.

 

 

North Shore

My take on car/bike relationships is that both operators have to think like the other while they are on  the road.  Things like: how much space do i have to leave while passing?  How soon before turning right can I pass?  How far out into an intersection can I nose, while still leaving space?  Would it help traffic flow here if i was to ease up and wave the car out in front of me?  And so on...

al-Qa'bong

Well this is timely.  I was about to start a "cycling" thread.

 

On my way to work today a guy in a half-ton (one lane over - I wasn't even in his way at all) honked at me and made a rude gesture.  I guess he didn't think my bike and I should have been on his road.  I've been cut off three times in the last week by drivers pulling up from behind me, then doing a right turn as if I wasn't there.  I was almost doored last week, but swerved to avoid the door; fortunately there wasn't a car behind me.

 Tommy's Swiss Army knife analogy isn't bad, but when you get right down to it, most urban planning puts automobiles first; the roads are designed for cars.  Saskatoon painted bike lanes onto downtown roads over the last month, which might help, if only to make drivers aware that we cyclists are traffic too.

Quote:
I was talking to a cyclist about it just now, and I suggested that maybe they should not pull into the bike lane, but simply stop in the car lane and wait for a gap in bikes and the pedestrian can cross the bike lane to get into the car once the way is clear.  But she just told me that she got doored that way and would just prefer that the car pull into the bike lane (as long as there isn't a cyclist close by) and she can go around it.

 

That's what I'd say too. The painted lanes for bikes are mostly symbolic. For practical purposes we often have to ride outside the lanes (to make left turns, usually), so cars ought to be able to stop in them if they have to. Bikes are manoeuvrable, so can adapt easily. It would be more dangerous if cars stayed in the middle lanes.

 

 

Stargazer

I used to cycle every day to work and back (in the Toronto down town core). I cannot tell you how many times I have almost been hit. The major problems for me were 1) cabs and 2) giant SUVs and minivans. I would be riding my bike in the bike lane, obeying all stops and lights. Then try to pull up to the next light and a giant SUV or minivan would cut the entire bike lane off, making it impossible for me to get past unless I got off my bike and back on again after the idiots had moved. This was a regular occurrence. The other issues is the lack of bike lanes, especially where I live now, in Scarborough.

Here is a major problem: How do you possibly ride a bike safely on a busy street like Victoria Park Avenue, which has a constant and steady stream of cars? You can't do it! You risk your life riding a bike on these roads, so up the sidewalk I go, carefully watching for pedestrians, getting off my bike when I see them and then hopping back on. It is utterly insane that a city that is trying to go green has almost zero options for those of us who travel by bike, walk or take the transit.

Another thing we need to deal with and have fixed as soon as possible is the congestion of cars on major streets like Queen Street. There should be NO cars allowed to park on the side and a dedicated lane for the Street cars with NO CARS. Honestly, I find it incredibly selfish and annoying that people drive downtown when they can park their damn cars and either walk or take the TTC.

I have always felt while riding that there is a war on bikes and I still believe that. There is a war on bikes. People who drive cars forget that we who don't have cars pay for the roads they drive on, yet they have almost no respect or consideration for us, yell at us when we can't speed up fast enough, cut us off for kicks and otherwise attempt to completely shake us up.

 

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

It has nothing to do with bikes, or bike lanes.

Ask a motorcyclist why he or she always drive with high beams on. The closest accidents I've had in the last few years all involve a bike and drivers who just don't give a crap. Cycling in rural Ontario, I've had yahoos in large pick-up trucks yell from windows. My wife, an expert cyclists who coached Toronto cyclists on behalf of a city funded program, had her closest brush with the title, The Dear Departed, when a public transit vehicle (not TTC) never bothered to make room for her along the curb - the bus was passing her.

When people get behind the wheel of a car, they get territorial, competitive, become anti-social, and many easily snap from purely aggressive to murderous rage. And why shouldn't they? We invest literally trillions of tax dollars, every year, without a peep despite the social nature of the public spending, telling people in automobiles they are the most privileged, coddled, and special people to ever set four wheels on the face of the earth.

We design our cities around the motorist despite the great waste and great cost. Our entire economic system is structured around buying and owning an automobile, outfitting an automobile, maintaining and pimping an automobile, and housing an automobile in huge, prominent garages with human living quarters conveniently attached.

The automobile kills and maims thousands every year and, yet, we can always excuse it because we live for the automobile.

In any sane civilization such an anti-social, destructive consumer of natural and material wealth would be driven from acceptance. In our fucked up civilization it has almost made it to the centre of worship.

Stargazer

Amen FM, can't say I disagree with anything in your post.

torontoprofessor

I used to own a car, but got rid of it about two years ago. My main means of transportation, to and from work, to the grocery store, to see friends, and so on, is my bike. I ride down Bloor Street, in busy morning and afternoon traffic, every day. I'm also one of those crazies who rides right through the winter. Just today, I had occasion to scold two motorists: one who opened her door without looking and almost hit me with it -- she was duly apologetic. And another who pulled in front of me, probably without looking. I don't think that s/he noticed my finger-wagging. Funny thing is, I've never been in an accident, while on my bike, with a car. (I've been in accidents with just my bike, on a slippery road, or whatever.) For what it's worth, I'd say that 90% of motorists in Toronto are actually pretty good around bicycles.

About cabs: I think the best thing is for a cab to wait until the bike lane is clear, and then pull into it to pick up passengers. As for dropping passengers off: a good passenger should direct a cab to a side-street with no bike lanes, if possible. And a cabbie should suggest that if the passenger has not already done so. If that is not an option for some reason, then the cab should pull into the bike lane when the coast is clear.

Turning right crossing a bike lane: most bike lanes in Toronto have a solid white line separating the lane from the rightmost car lane, except where the car might have to pull into the lane to turn right. In those circumstances, it's a broken line indicating that the car may pull into the bike lane to make a right turn.

As for Canadian laws: I believe that traffic laws are governed by individual provinces.

 

HerrDoktor

Re the original question:

"How do cars pull over safely on a street with bike lanes (e.g. to let someone out of the car, or pick them up, etc.). [?]"

The short answer is that a cab should pull in to the curb after checking rigorously that there are no bicycles in the lane.  Passengers should exit onto the sidewalk only.

The longer answer is that there's no safe or easy way to do so.  That's why bike lanes suck.  Contrary to many of the people that don the mantle of "cycling activist" I'm not a fan of bike lanes at all.  Besides the confusion they cause in the situation you mention they also have the following very negative effects for bicyclists:

1. They encourage cyclists to overtake on the inside.  This is the complete inverse of the behavior pattern of all other road users which can be summed up as: faster traffic towards the center, slower traffic to the side. The practical result of most bike lanes is to train novice cyclists to perform the most dangerous manoeuver of all which leads to the dreaded "right-hook" in which a car turns across the bike lane and the driver only checks over the other usual shoulder. 

 

2. Bike lanes suggest that bicyclists have no right to use the rest of the roadway even when they can judge for themselves that being out of the bike lane is safer or more convenient.

This whole incident coupled with shrill cries from various unelected representatives (read people making a career for themselves as NGO "experts") and stoked by sensationalist media reports completely overplays the dangers of bicycling in the city. The actual Bryant incident had _nothing_ to do with bike lanes and everything to do with aggressive egotists who would probably have expressed their antisocial tendencies in some other way. I slant the description especially towards the man that killed the other man and beg pardon from the shade of the victim.

Bike lanes are no solution to anything: if they're not implemented to completely blanket the city on every street to every destination then they're a ghetto which diminishes our right to the road. If they're not implemented with explicit singalisation controls which favor cyclist momentum then they severly disadvantage us (stopping and starting on a bike wastes a huge amount of energy).

 

As things stand I'd rather see bicyclists take a course in Vehicular/Effective cycling http://www.johnforester.com/ and for the police and courts to start treating the deaths of road users a lot more seriously, whether they be toddlers mown down on the daycare lawn in Montreal or teenagers on mopeds smashed by a truck driven by a repeat drunkdriver, or someone late to work speeding and taking the risk with other people's lives or whatever.  The car is deadly: two tonnes at 60Km/h is a lot of energy and what was once a rare, restricted, unpopular rich man's toy is now a menace which kills over 42,000 people annually in N. America.

 

 

Tommy_Paine

Ask a motorcyclist why he or she always drive with high beams on. The closest accidents I've had in the last few years all involve a bike and drivers who just don't give a crap. Cycling in rural Ontario, I've had yahoos in large pick-up trucks yell from windows. My wife, an expert cyclists who coached Toronto cyclists on behalf of a city funded program, had her closest brush with the title, The Dear Departed, when a public transit vehicle (not TTC) never bothered to make room for her along the curb - the bus was passing her.

Funny, the reason I stopped using my bike to commute to work and back was because I was nearly clipped in the back of the head by the mirror of a passing school bus.  I didn't blame the driver-- they have their distractions too.  But, it made me realize that I couldn't provide for my girls six feet under, or in a wheel chair. 

So, I drive, or when I had more time, walked.

As a pre-teen and teen,  before I turned sixteen and got my licence, I rode a bike (and hitchhiked around town, or to Windsor or Toronto-- you could do that in those days) all over and never had run ins with cars.  And, you never heard  too much about the war on bikes.

So, I don't blame the automobile, for this at least. 

Things have changed.  People's sense of what they owe each other,  their sense of responsibility has changed. 

I don't know where the fault lies in that.  I suspect psychiatrists,  psychologists who's thoughts have steered us into a different way of raising children.   Children who are now adults and who believe resolutely that their own shit doesn't stink, and that they are special in a way that they certainly are not. 

We have taught the wrong people dangerous amounts of self esteem.

And, it's reflected in places where we have to interact with each other, like on roads, sidewalks, shopping malls, Tim Horton's lines, etc.

 

 

Michelle

Thanks very much for the answers and insights, folks.  (It's so great to be able to talk about this in a thread that doesn't become a fight between drivers and cyclists!)  :)  I'll keep that in mind for my specific question.

And Herr Doktor, that's a really interesting point of view re: bike lanes.  I also wondered whether perhaps bike lanes might restrict cyclists from using the entire lane, which they're fully entitled to use.

Interesting article about that very thing...

Cyclists entitled to whole lane, bicycle cop says

Sineed

When I was biking home after the Al Sheppard tribute/protest, at one point a bus was passing me on Bay St, which has those combination bike/taxi/bus lanes.

Scratch bike.  I go pretty fast, but the bus decided to pass and it got closer and closerandcloser and I had to abruptly stop and haul myself and the bike up onto the sidewalk before I got squished.

I see herr doktor's point, and have thought that downtown, where there are many close-together streets, they could close some of them to cars and make them bike-only AND BIKE-ONLY routes.  The trouble with dedicated bike routes, like the Martin-Goodman Trail, they get choked with pedestrians and those bloody frigging roller bladers.  Why oh why, Toronto lakeside strollers, when there's acres of beautiful green grass to walk on, you have to walk, entire families hand in hand, on the tiny strip of paved bike trail?

 

Tommy_Paine

 

I know, it's the same in London.

When I biked, unlike most London cyclists, I never used the sidewalk; I think it would have been nice if pedestrains returned the favour by staying off the bike paths.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Okay, folks, when was the last time you were walking, and someone passed you, and you felt you had to speed up and and get in front of them again? When was the last time you were strolling the grocery aisles, suddenly stopped for sugar, and the shopper behind you was suddenly committed to cutting you off and then stopping abruptly in front of you? When was the last time you chased another cyclist over hill and dale just to right some perceived wrong with the display of a middle finger?

There is a dementia that infects human beings whenever they get behind the wheel.

And for a bunch of lefties, why do we miss the picture? Jane Jacobs argued road engineers never test their theories or tenets of faith. Why does anyone believe further hierarchies of roads, lanes, and traffic will lead to a more egalitarian system? When has enforced segregation ever solved anything?

The whole problem lies with roads, lights, and traffic rules that favour the automobile over all else providing drivers with a very real sense of privilege and elitism.

Make everyone equal. Get rid of the curbs, the lights, the signs, the lanes, and require everyone share equally. It's been done - successfully. Here is a YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf-O5o4aqcs

Fidel

When I drive, I always give cyclists the same treatment I give pedestrians, which is to always allow them the right of way. Some drivers havent given me the same respect whether I'm walking or cycling. And I hate to say it, but I've observed quite a few aggressive women drivers and careless women drivers. But they are not all of them.

torontoprofessor

Sineed wrote:
The trouble with dedicated bike routes, like the Martin-Goodman Trail, they get choked with pedestrians and those bloody frigging roller bladers.  Why oh why, Toronto lakeside strollers, when there's acres of beautiful green grass to walk on, you have to walk, entire families hand in hand, on the tiny strip of paved bike trail?

I have cycled the Martin Goodman Trail many times. But it is not a "dedicated bike route". Pedestrians and inline skaters have just as much right to the trail as cyclists. And while I agree that a pedestrian could walk on the green grass (if she so chooses), I wouldn't expect an inline skater to do so.

In general, I believe that bigger faster more dangerous things should yield to smaller slower less dangerous things whenever they're on a shared road/path/trail (with exceptions, of course). Motorists should generally yield to cyclists. Cyclists should generally yield to inline skaters. Inline skaters should generally yield to joggers. And joggers generally should yield to pedestrians.

Pet peeve: Speed cyclists who zoom along the Martin Goodman Trail, or the trail on the Leslie Street Spit, as if this was a dedicated training trail for the next triathlon.

 

torontoprofessor

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Make everyone equal. Get rid of the curbs, the lights, the signs, the lanes, and require everyone share equally. It's been done - successfully. Here is a YouTube video: (see above)

That's really an interesting idea, with an interesting video. I would add three things: (1) a speed limit of about 30 km/hr, (2) explicit right of way rules along the lines of those suggested in post #21, and (3) some streets that are one-way for vehicles over a certain size/speed. It sort of makes me think of what unofficially happens in Kensington Market. (This does not preclude having some superhighways dedicated to motorized traffic.)

torontoprofessor

I should slightly amend my remarks about the Martin Goodman Trail. In two sections (the Sunnyside Park area and between Woodbine Beach and Balmy Beach), the trail is divided into two parts: (1) asphalt path for cyclists and in-line skaters and (2) boardwalk for pedestrians. Elsewhere along the trail, it's shared among cyclists, in-lin skaters and pedestrians. Nowhere is it a dedicated bike route. See here.

See also here: "Martin Goodman Trail is an important and well loved pedestrian and cycling connection across the waterfront."

al-Qa'bong

As a cyclist, something that really burns my socks is when I'm stopped at a red light, and some bozo (they always wear bike helmets, by the way) on a bike speeds past me and runs the light, then skips up onto the sidewalk across the street and continues on his way.

 

These dorks give the rest of us a bad name.

Michelle

Fidel wrote:

And I hate to say it, but I've observed quite a few aggressive women drivers and careless women drivers. But they are not all of them.

Then don't.  Because singling out women as poor drivers is sexist.  Because men have been saying that about us since the stone age.  Which is where stereotypes about women drivers come from.

Besides, it's off topic.  :)  Let's stick to discussing how we can better share the road.

Sineed

torontoprofessor wrote:

I should slightly amend my remarks about the Martin Goodman Trail. In two sections (the Sunnyside Park area and between Woodbine Beach and Balmy Beach), the trail is divided into two parts: (1) asphalt path for cyclists and in-line skaters and (2) boardwalk for pedestrians. Elsewhere along the trail, it's shared among cyclists, in-lin skaters and pedestrians. Nowhere is it a dedicated bike route. See here.

See also here: "Martin Goodman Trail is an important and well loved pedestrian and cycling connection across the waterfront."

I was referring to the part where it splits in two, and the pedestrians are supposed to stay on their part.  Couple of years ago, my husband was going along close to Sunnyside when a toddler wandered onto the trail.  My husband deliberately ditched in order to avoid hitting the child, and broke his arm.

I know the Martin Goodman isn't officially a dedicated cycling trail.  But when they first opened it there wasn't any such thing as roller bladers.  

Some people are complaining about the e-bikes, which are basically electric scooters.  Anybody really bothered by these?  I haven't had a problem, personally; I think they're kind of neat.

Generally speaking, I sometimes think of leaving the city, and one of my main motivating reasons is the cycling scene here.  I don't get on my bike as much as I'd like to because it's so dangerous.

HerrDoktor

Frustrated Mess wrote:
My wife, an expert cyclists who coached Toronto cyclists on behalf of a city funded program,

The CANBIKE program? http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/canbike/

Frustrated Mess wrote:
had her closest brush with the title, The Dear Departed, when a public transit vehicle (not TTC) never bothered to make room for her along the curb - the bus was passing her.

I run the danger of commenting without the full facts, but on the limited information you provide that sounds as though your wife was hugging the curb too much. There's was an interesting study which showed that the passing distance of vehicles going around bicyclists was symmetrical to the distance the bicyclist was from the curb.  In general if the lane is not wide enough to be used so that a cyclist can be a couple of feet out from the curb (so that they can swerve _inwards_ to avoid road debris) and be passed with at least 3 feet by an overtaking vehicle then the cyclist is better off taking a position in the lane which makes it clear that overtaking traffic will need to transition to the outer lane.  Many cyclists "invite" motorists to squeeze past them.  The enraging thing is that many bike lanes actually enforce this dangerous positioning.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
When people get behind the wheel of a car, they get territorial, competitive, become anti-social, and many easily snap from purely aggressive to murderous rage.

 

Most people are pretty OK.  It's a minority that's a problem and the danger faced by cyclists is statistically not visibly different from that faced by motorists.  Also there are angry road-raging cyclists.  The car isn't anything special except for the fact that it is inherently dangerous due to the massive amounts of kinetic energy they have.  While disliking the auto-centric culture we live in I think many critics of it make the mistake of overplaying the dangers faced by cyclists from them on the road: thus inadvertently misleading yet more people to believe that they are safer in their car and mad to get on a bike.

 

HerrDoktor

Michelle wrote:

Interesting article about that very thing...

Cyclists entitled to whole lane, bicycle cop says

 

Great article and the cop sounds so sane.  If the legal jurisdiction one lives in allows that behavior then it's crazy not to take it. Unfortunately the practical effects of bike lanes and bike paths is to erode motorist and cyclist knowledge and acceptance of how to ride like that. A good example is California where the state code clearly states that right yet cyclists leaving dangerous bikelanes regularly face incomprehension and incredulity from most road users when they do it. It got to the point where a popular downtube sticker was the quote from the vehicle code and the statue number just to show to cops.

 

The most dangerous situations I've been in have been when I've lacked the attention or confidence to be assertive enough in the right way.

al-Qa'bong

While I was on my way to work this morning an approaching driver did a u-turn right in front of me, cutting me off.  As I swerved to my right to avoid the car and go around it, she cut me off again as she tried to angle park right in front of me, forcing me to stop.  THEN she (or her passenger, who was giving me dirty looks - I guess she'd have preferred that I rolled into her?) noticed me and stopped.  I had to back up and go around the blockheads on the other side, as they decided to remain where they were for a while.

al-Qa'bong

We had a fairly big snowfall about a week ago, which has made cycling something of a challenge.

 

I was riding home a couple of days ago on an unploughed road, following the rut on the far right as the rest of the street was too rough and slippery for my bike.  Some guy in a half-ton followed for about three blocks before finally passing me.  There was nobody else on the the road, which was wide enough to make Haussmann envious, yet this goober thought in necessary to holler "Share the road, eh?" as he went past.  I was using a six-inch wide ribbon of a 40-50 ft wide road, and this yahoo tells me to share the road?

 

This morning, while pedalling through the downtown area in a designated bike lane (mind you, the stencil indicating that this was a bike lane was buried under three inches of snow and ice) a minivan honked at me.  I suppose I should have flown my bike. 

My usual sidewalk route up Idlwyld, which is one of the main roads on the West Side, is impassable, since the City doesn't believe in pedestrians and thus won't clean sidewalks.  I therefore said, "nertz to this," and rode on the road.  I must have been early enough (7:30 or so) that I didn't block traffic much, since nobody honked and everyone seemed to have no trouble getting around me.  Fifteen minutes later and the story might have been different.

 

Bacchus

Tommy

the reason why on street parking won't die in toronto is most downtown residences have no parking so on street parking is all they have.

 

Whether or not having a car makes sense if you live downtown is another questionCool

Le T Le T's picture

Quote:
Whether or not having a car makes sense if you live downtown is another question

I think that you're getting at something here. Often people who are pro-gun control make the claim that registering your gun is just like registering you car. I would argue that hunters and shooters are much better at handling their registered lethal tools and that much more care and concern goes into safely using guns. Despite the fact that compared with cars, guns are very rare. It was one time legal to hunt fowl on the lakeshore of Toronto, doing so today would be pretty stupid, dangerous and illegal. Can we imagine for a second if after the 14th person was shot dead by a hunter on the lakeshore that the cops said that both hunters and shooting victims had equal responsibility for saftey. People who live by the lakeshore should wear bright colours if they go outside during hunting season. What if Sunnybrooke hospital started running an add campaign targeting shooting victims of lakeshore hunters saying "you may be right, dead right"? Cars in Toronto don't make sense.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Here's a FB group I joined to discuss exactly what we're talking about, although it's from a US perspective:

Cyclists are Drivers!

http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=244724264939

Description:
Cyclists are Drivers in ALL 50 US States, and in many other countries.

By law, we have the same rights and duties as other drivers. This includes access to the same public streets used by motorists to access destinations.

We seek to preserve and strengthen these rights and oppose those who would diminish these rights, or otherwise treat cyclists as less than full and equal drivers.

Bacchus

License bikers and allow them to lose the right to cycle with the loss of demerit points for traffic offenses and there will be no argument that drivers could give about why they should not have the same rights

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Bacchus wrote:

License bikers and allow them to lose the right to cycle with the loss of demerit points for traffic offenses and there will be no argument that drivers could give about why they should not have the same rights

If you saw the CBC news last night, you would have heard policemen say they cannot enforce the law against motorists who continue to drive while their licenses are under suspension, because there are so many of them. How in the world could you suspend cyclists from cycling? Take their license away, they'd just hop on their bike when no one's looking, as suspended motorists are doing.

al-Qa'bong

Bacchus wrote:

License bikers and allow them to lose the right to cycle with the loss of demerit points for traffic offenses and there will be no argument that drivers could give about why they should not have the same rights

 

What argument do motorists now have that we cyclists have no rights?

 

I don't think cyclists and motorists should be treated the same anyway.  While we should all follow the rules of the road, sometimes it makes no sense for someone on a bike to act as if she's driving a 2 000 lb vehicle that can go 100 km/hr.  For instance, I stay on roads as much as possible, but there are some stretches where doing so is downright suicidal, so I go onto the sidewalk.  Once on a sidewalk, I take it like I pay my rent, slow and easy, out of respect for the pedestrians.  Mind you, there aren't ever many pedestrians on these particular routes anyway, so this isn't much of a problem.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yeah, I remember being in Toronto during my U of T days (1977 - 1980), cycling was almost suicidal in some places, especially Yonge and Bloor streets, and not just the downtown sections. I never rode my expensive bike downtown, just too risky. I enjoyed riding on the Lakeshore, though (can't remember the name of the road, sadly) and on the Island.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Unionist wrote:

If anyone knows of laws, guidelines, suggestions that apply to Canada, I'd love to see a link here.

Provincial jurisdiction... and the laws vary A LOT.

As for suggestions and guidlines, without meaning to be flippant (but it will sound that way anyway) drive defensively... when on a bike, assume every motorist is intentionally trying to kill you and cannot read the signs (or understand the iconography) that show that the stretch of road you are on contains a bike lane. If you are a motorist, assume everyone on a bicycle is intent on committing suicide and your vehicle is their preferred instrument for ending their lives. If you are a pedestrian, have a will made out, both the motorists and the cyclists are out to get you.

 

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

If you saw the CBC news last night, you would have heard policemen say they cannot enforce the law against motorists who continue to drive while their licenses are under suspension, because there are so many of them.

Simple question - why are their cars simply not confiscated while under suspension?  If the owner has full rights to sell the property during suspension, what is the problem?

I say that this is an excuse. Don't blame the beat cop for this.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I don't blame the beat cops for anything. I think the Ministry of Transport should take the license plates off every vehicle registered to a driver under suspension, to be returned only when the suspension is lifted. More paperwork, yes, but safer for the rest of us.

al-Qa'bong

Well, it's -23 degrees out so I decided to stick it to The Man and sign up for this:

 

http://www.icecycle.ca/

Quote:

Ice Cycle:the coldest bicycle parade on the planet.

Yes it's cold. Yes it's crazy. And yes it's going to be a lot of fun. Hop on your bike and help prove that Saskatonians are the toughest of the tough when it comes to chilly weather.

On February 7th, 2010 - Ice Cycle will follow up iheartbikelanes and celebrate active transportation and promote the incredible resilience of people in Saskatoon.

Sunday - Feb 7th

 

All hype aside, if it will promote snow-clearing and raise awareness among those cretinous motorists who think bikes are meant only for Sunday-afternoon rides through the park, it's worth it.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Go AQ Go!

Refuge Refuge's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

 

I don't think cyclists and motorists should be treated the same anyway.  While we should all follow the rules of the road, sometimes it makes no sense for someone on a bike to act as if she's driving a 2 000 lb vehicle that can go 100 km/hr.  For instance, I stay on roads as much as possible, but there are some stretches where doing so is downright suicidal, so I go onto the sidewalk.  Once on a sidewalk, I take it like I pay my rent, slow and easy, out of respect for the pedestrians.  Mind you, there aren't ever many pedestrians on these particular routes anyway, so this isn't much of a problem.

Out of respect of bicyclists I always watch for and allow them to go first when making a right turn and only pass when it is safe.  Out of respect for pedestrians if I have to go on sidewalks when cycling for safety or other reasons I always dismount and walk my bike on the sidewalk.  Pedestrians (including myself) don't expect fast moving vehicles from behind or when turning corners or even are paying attention to them in front of them and can easily get hurt if a mistake is made by either person (and I have witnessed collisions that have happened even with slow moving bicycles).  I think you should rethink your position on cycling on the sidewalk because if you are going as slow as you should be you might as well walk the bike anyway.  A lot of cars think that breaking small rules doesn't matter so much to bicyclists and a lot of cyclists also believe that breaking small rules doesn't matter so much either but those affected by the small break in rules usually beg to differ.

al-Qa'bong

That wasn't a bad ride.  It is nice and sunny, and I wore enough layers to cancel out the temperature.  'Twas a good thing there is no wind.

The hardest part of the commute was having to return home after half a block to grab a shovel with which to dig out a car that had ploughed into a snowbank.  The driver tried to make a left turn, got caught in the six-inch deep ruts, spun out of control upon leaving the ruts, and ended up on the wrong side of the road.

al-Qa'bong

Diogenes wrote:

Go AQ Go!

 

The turnout was pretty good.  The website indicates that 178 people signed on, but I thought there may have been more.  Our parade was about three blocks long, I reckon.

 

[ed.]  Of course, somebody recorded the ride on Youtube.  I had to watch this thing about three times, but I finally saw myself at about the :49 second mark.

 

 

Anyway, it's -31 right now,and I have to psyche myself up for the commute.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

While the government encourages us to walk, ride bikes and use public transport, it knows that car advertising is persuading us to do the exact opposite. Instead of sharing one car, households buy two or three so that everyone can express their own personality through their vehicle. If you believe the advertising, your car will make you more attractive, more popular and more successful. How many car ads show the reality of being stuck in traffic or the frustration of searching for a parking space?

 

Want to promote cycling? Cut back car adverts now

This is probably a reasonable idea, although I doubt if it will ever happen, given the clout of the automotive industry.  The suggestion, however, isn't helped by statements such as this:

 

Quote:

But, as London shows, the UK can still join the virtuous circle. Local traffic management schemes can be redesigned to allow cyclists through them and urban gyratories can be removed.

 

I don't know why the morality of motorists has to be questioned here.  If one begins a campaign with claims of superior virtue, you're setting yourself up to fail, as you can add "defensiveness" to the rest of the arsenal of hostility towards cyclists.

Farmpunk

I gave up riding my bicycle on these country roads. 

They're single lane. - or two lane, if you prefer - and more like highways, with the usual speed being 100km\hour.  Trucks, transport trucks, cars... sharing the road ended up being a white knuckle experience.  My share of the road was a foot of the crumbling edge before sloping to gravel and ditches - if I was lucky.  I loved biking to town, because once I got into the slower "city" traffic, I felt safer, even with the greater volume of vehicles.  I've stopped road cycling because I did not feel safe on the roads. 

I have a lot of respect for people who cycle against the odds.  But I can't see how cycling safety will be improved without a big change in driver mentality... or a big change in infrastructure.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Planet Bike - bike advocacy (this is an American company, I don't know if there's a Canadian equivalent...)

 

excerpt:

 

We believe in the transformative power of the bicycle. That's why we give 25% of our profits to improve conditions for bicycling.

 

excerpt:

 

Planet Bike supports progressive and effective bicycling programs that are reinventing our communities.

 

excerpt:

 

These folks are making change in our communities by working at the local, state, and federal level.

 

Their Manifesto:

Planet Bike is this idea where people ride bicycles. They ride them to work. They ride them to school. They ride them to the grocery store, to concerts, sporting events, coffee shops, and to grandma's house, too. The products we design are rooted in this dream and stem from the fact that we live this idea. We ride through day, night, heat, cold, rain and snow. We don't come up with these products in a boardroom under the sterile glow of fluorescent lights. We design while we ride and we ride with what we design.

The reasons that we love riding and want others to share the love are as numerous as our pedal strokes. Riding in place of driving reduces air and noise pollution. It boosts endorphins and clears the head. Riding strengthens the cardiovascular system, gives you good strong legs, and burns extra calories to boot. Besides all that, it's a whole heck of a lot of fun.

Just as we are conscious of the way cycling affects people and the environment, we are also aware of the impact that our products have on them. We feel that it is our responsibility to be accountable for our products from production to disposal. This entails everything from ensuring a fair wage for factory workers, designing products to be both durable and fixable, minimizing packaging and using recyclable materials whenever, wherever we can.

Gandhi said, "Be the change that you want to see in the world." The change we want should be obvious by now, but to be that change we feel that we need to do more than just create products that make it easier for people to bike. That's why we donate 25% of our profits to grassroots organizations that facilitate the use of bicycles. We want to take part in a transportation revolution and hopefully inspire other companies and individuals to join us.

So lets all ride our bikes and take better care of the planet we live on a little better. That's really what we're all about. 

al-Qa'bong

Farmpunk wrote:

I gave up riding my bicycle on these country roads. 

I have a lot of respect for people who cycle against the odds.  But I can't see how cycling safety will be improved without a big change in driver mentality... or a big change in infrastructure.

 

What I didn't like about riding on gravel roads was the possibility that an oncoming vehicle's tires could throw a stone at me.

 

I agree with you about driver mentality and infrastructure.  They must change for cycling to be "safe."  Then again, I kinda expect to be rubbed out one day by a motorist or die of a heart attack at centre ice, so I'm a bit fatalistic about safety.  Frankly, I find the concept strange.  Nothing is safe.

Farmpunk

Gravel roads are actually better to ride on.  Usually fewer vehicles, and typically slower.  Flying rocks are no fun.

Our country roads are mostly paved.  That increases the speeds.

Safety is a bit of an odd idea for people who do un-safe activities... like leaving the house.  It's like the concept of preventable death that some physicians will debate.  There really is no such thing as preventable death. 

Anyhow, I've switched to a motorbike for my road riding.  Fast, good fuel economy, fun but definitely not safe.

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