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Old 04-24-2013, 11:01 AM
 
159 posts, read 554,289 times
Reputation: 180

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMac18 View Post
Yea, but you see what you want to see. Do you notice the ones that do obey laws?

The problem isn't bicyclists, it's idiots. Unfortunately, idiots bike, drive, and even walk, so you'll encounter them everywhere.

I agree with some of your suggestions, though. More education can never hurt, especially relating to urban settings. Goes for all forms of transportation.
Frankly, if motorists had the same attitude towards traffic laws as the bicyclists I encounter on a daily basis, it would be complete 3rd world like chaos on the streets.

Start ticketing bicyclists for traffic infractions, make a big deal out of it (publicize it), and I'm sure the situation will get much better.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Florida and New England
1,220 posts, read 1,407,946 times
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There will never be a "car-free" city in the US.

New York's Borough of Manhattan below 96th Street would be the closest thing, and many, many people still drive there. Look around at the garages in midtown or downtown during the daytime. Absolutely full of cars.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:11 AM
 
10,931 posts, read 5,004,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketch89 View Post
This is a blog post that popped up on Streetsblog today:

Musings . . . by Karen Lynn Allen: The Disappearing Urban Car (Why Successful Cities Will Be Largely Car-free by the End of 2015)

I find her observations and analysis of the urban trends we see today to be fascinating, and surprisingly realistic. Lets note a few things about our region for discussion:

-Street parking is being curtailed, and wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and parklets are being introduced
-Millenials drive quite a bit less than the baby-boomers dying off, and many choose car-free lifestyles
-Of all the metro areas in the U.S., the bay probably has the best weather for bicycling
-BART's Oakland airport connector will be complete next year
-BART's Warm Springs/South Fremont extension is on track to be completed by 2015
-BART's Berryessa extension is on track to be completed by 2017
-The Livermore extension is being studied, and we now have people on the BART board who support extension to Hercules
-With any luck, BART will connect to Caltrain in San Jose sometime around 2023. The agencies will likely merge at this point, and Caltrain service will increase to BART frequency.
-Silicon Valley will have a fantastic Bus Rapid Transit system start service along El Camino in 2018
-Marin county will have an alternative to private automobiles come 2016, when SMART links Santa Rosa with the Larkspur ferry.
-Even our farthest-flung suburbs will be getting regional rail service in the near future, eBART is coming to Brentwood

We know it's happening, but do you think the transition is taking place as fast as Karen claims it is? What obstacles will we face as a region during this transition? Do you agree with her assessment that the conflict between car-driving baby-boomers and millenial cyclists is or will be 'intense'?
I think the author is incredibly over-ambitious in her goals. Yes, there are distinct trends building, but many of the infrastructure developments that need to happen to help make the city become more car-free are years, or even decades, away. Simple things like parking changes or re-routing of streets to make pedestrian travel more welcoming can be implemented sooner, but things like improvement to transit (with bus rapid transit, the new subway, and high speed rail) and densification of neighborhoods that truly make a car-free lifestyle extremely easy (think Manhattan or Chicago, not outer sunset) will take many years or decades to be implemented fully.

Urban living and aiming towards more sustainable living are quite popular with people my age (late 20's...I guess we're called "Millennials" now?), and I think it'll stay popular for a while. As well, petroleum is only going to go up in price, and there will be a point where it makes less and less sense economically to support that model. Yes, there will be alternative fuels, and things like electric cars, but the days of "cheap" energy are definitely coming to an end.

Cars aren't going away, but the city can (and hopefully will) get to a point where owning a car is not needed...or better yet, is really a detriment to city life. In some parts, yes owning a car is truly annoying, but in the vast majority of areas in the city, it's still very much ideal to have one. But, with the way things are going for the future, I could see the city getting to a point that the author is talking about in 25-30 years.

At that point, the city will have definitely densified (particularly in the core), transit options will have improved (I hope), and we'll probably have had a few decades worth of city planning/development built around the idea of sustainability, pedestrian-oriented streets, and car-free living. I look forward to being around the city for that transition.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:13 AM
 
10,931 posts, read 5,004,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westender View Post
There will never be a "car-free" city in the US.

New York's Borough of Manhattan below 96th Street would be the closest thing, and many, many people still drive there. Look around at the garages in midtown or downtown during the daytime. Absolutely full of cars.
This isn't so much about removing cars from cities (as you say, this isn't going to happen) as it is about making the lives of those that live in the city car-free. The vast majority of people that live in Manhattan do not drive, and figuring out how to make it so other cities can get to that point is what this discussion is about.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:18 AM
 
10,931 posts, read 5,004,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechoson View Post
Frankly, if motorists had the same attitude towards traffic laws as the bicyclists I encounter on a daily basis, it would be complete 3rd world like chaos on the streets.
Frankly, that sounds like confirmation bias.

I bicycle daily, walk daily, and drive at least 3 times a week. I encounter just as many idiot drivers as I do bikes. If you truly analyzed all data points (cars, bikes, people walking), I'm sure you'd find a similar level of law breaking going on across the board (oh, going 5 mph above the speed limit or not fully stopping at a traffic stop are traffic violations? You don't say...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by thechoson View Post
Start ticketing bicyclists for traffic infractions, make a big deal out of it (publicize it), and I'm sure the situation will get much better.
Don't disagree. Although I think the idea of singling out bikes is little much. Just treat them all equally.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
631 posts, read 667,551 times
Reputation: 1214
Quote:
Originally Posted by thechoson View Post
I may get attacked for this, but I don't care. In my experience bicyclists generally do not observe the rules of the road. I have no idea if they even realize that they are supposed to follow traffic laws like motorists have to do. Basically they seem to act like cars when it suits them, and then act like pedestrians and expect cars to yield when it suits them.

If we are going to encourage more bicyclists, I think there needs to be more education and enforcement of traffic laws against them.
Education, yes. In Denmark, children are given bicycling lessons at school starting in the third grade. They are then required to take a proficiency test in the 9th grade. Practicality at school, crazy right?

Cyclists (and people in general) act in their own best interest, if it's safest for them to ride in the center of the lane, they will do so. If it's safest for them to cross in the crosswalk, they will do so. If it's safest for them to ride on the sidewalk, they will do so. The challenge is creating infrastructure that makes it safe and practical for cyclists to act in a predictable manner.

Why do cyclists disobey traffic laws? Many (if not most) street lights in suburban areas will not change for a cyclist, so we're forced to either pick our moment and run the red, or make our way onto the sidewalk and cross in the crosswalk before re-entering the street. Cyclists get used to running reds (because we're forced to), so many times we don't notice that we've come across an intersection with a "light will turn for bike" symbol painted.

With regard to stop signs, when you're walking up to a street with good sight lines in both directions and no traffic near, do you stop before crossing? Probably not. You look both ways, and continue into the street without stopping. Bicycles approach stop sign intersections the same way, we slow, look both ways, and if it is safe to proceed we do so. Momentum is what makes cycling efficient, so if the cyclist doesn't need to come to a complete stop, we won't. Rolling stops for bicycles was first made legal in Idaho in the 70's, they still treat stop signs as yield signs for bicycles today. The idea of Idaho stops is best explained by this video:


Idaho 'Rolling' Stops for Bicycles in Oregon - YouTube
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Irving, TX
663 posts, read 614,385 times
Reputation: 1048
I suppose the article is fine, albeit typically provincial, given that "successful cities" is basically defined as "Bay Area places like San Francisco where nobody ever dies of exposure."

Try year-round walking and/or cycling in a place that actually has weather, and you're into a very different story.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:27 AM
 
10,931 posts, read 5,004,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happycrow View Post
I suppose the article is fine, albeit typically provincial, given that "successful cities" is basically defined as "Bay Area places like San Francisco where nobody ever dies of exposure."

Try year-round walking and/or cycling in a place that actually has weather, and you're into a very different story.
People do it in places like Boston, Chicago and NY. It can be done.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:30 AM
 
Location: San José, CA
3,254 posts, read 5,762,098 times
Reputation: 3139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ketch89 View Post
Education, yes. In Denmark, children are given bicycling lessons at school starting in the third grade. They are then required to take a proficiency test in the 9th grade. Practicality at school, crazy right?

Cyclists (and people in general) act in their own best interest, if it's safest for them to ride in the center of the lane, they will do so. If it's safest for them to cross in the crosswalk, they will do so. If it's safest for them to ride on the sidewalk, they will do so. The challenge is creating infrastructure that makes it safe and practical for cyclists to act in a predictable manner.

Why do cyclists disobey traffic laws? Many (if not most) street lights in suburban areas will not change for a cyclist, so we're forced to either pick our moment and run the red, or make our way onto the sidewalk and cross in the crosswalk before re-entering the street. Cyclists get used to running reds (because we're forced to), so many times we don't notice that we've come across an intersection with a "light will turn for bike" symbol painted.

With regard to stop signs, when you're walking up to a street with good sight lines in both directions and no traffic near, do you stop before crossing? Probably not. You look both ways, and continue into the street without stopping. Bicycles approach stop sign intersections the same way, we slow, look both ways, and if it is safe to proceed we do so. Momentum is what makes cycling efficient, so if the cyclist doesn't need to come to a complete stop, we won't. Rolling stops for bicycles was first made legal in Idaho in the 70's, they still treat stop signs as yield signs for bicycles today. The idea of Idaho stops is best explained by this video:


Idaho 'Rolling' Stops for Bicycles in Oregon - YouTube
Excellent reply. Unfortunately, the poster that wants more education for bicyclists probably doesn't also champion the idea of greater education for drivers as well.

I'm shocked when biking safely and obeying traffic laws on a bicycle that I'll be yelled at by drivers to "get on the sidewalk!" which is usually accompanied by an expletive.

Sad.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:34 AM
 
10,931 posts, read 5,004,728 times
Reputation: 4884
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parti Rhinocéros View Post
Excellent reply. Unfortunately, the poster that wants more education for bicyclists probably doesn't also champion the idea of greater education for drivers as well.

I'm shocked when biking safely and obeying traffic laws on a bicycle that I'll be yelled at by drivers to "get on the sidewalk!" which is usually accompanied by an expletive.

Sad.
Where I used to live in Rochester, NY, this used to happen to me weekly, or bi-weekly. I'd be riding fine in the road, but invariably some dude in a truck would pull up next to me to let me know how he felt about my presence on the road, and tell me to get on the sidewalk.

I haven't really encountered that as much in the Bay Area (if at all)...and if you ride on the sidewalk in places like SF, you'll definitely get yelled at eventually (as you should).

Some suburban areas around here might be different, though. I remember reading a few years ago about a family on bikes that was killed by a giant SUV out of control in the outer East Bay (Concord?). Sadly, they were on the sidewalk, and still got hit...
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