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Old 02-28-2012, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 16,276,115 times
Reputation: 6792

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Whenever this topic is brought up here, the anti-cyclist/pro-motorist crowd suddenly is only able to see polar opposites: the only option other than driving everywhere is a totally carless dystopia (or utopia, depending on your point of view).

Nobody expects somebody living out in the country 30 miles from anything to commute to work by bike. Nobody thinks everybody should bike when it is -20F and snowing or 100F and humid, nor does anyone in their right mind expect a 75-year-old man with a heart condition and bad back to bike to the grocery store and senior center or that bikes can solve all our consumer freight problems.

Yes, bikes and cars can co-exist. The use of one does not negate the use of the other. A car is a perfectly acceptable tool. A bike is also. They simply serve different purposes.

Some things that I - along with many people of the pro-cyclist persuasion - do not think should be normal are:

1. High school students driving 1/2 mile to school in their Grand Am, and then racing down residential streets back home.
2. Little choice of places where you can bike to pick up a loaf of bread, a pop, or a pack of cigarettes.
3. Driving to the gym less than a mile away in a Ford Explorer on a beautiful 70-degree day.
4. A pharmacy not providing parking for bikes, nor allowing cyclists to go through the drive-through.
5. The noxious planning scheme adopted years ago by most American cities that separates residences in subdivisions and retail and business to highway corridors.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:39 AM
 
Location: The Ranch
23,420 posts, read 26,636,580 times
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1. High school students driving 1/2 mile to school in their Grand Am, and then racing down residential streets back home.
Students can no longer walk home due to unattentive cell phone users in cars. Only HS students with proof of need may have a car. Otherwise they must take the bus in my county.
2. Little choice of places where you can bike to pick up a loaf of bread, a pop, or a pack of cigarettes.
More dangerous now to share the road with cars than 30 years ago.
3. Driving to the gym less than a mile away in a Ford Explorer on a beautiful 70-degree day.
Ford Explorer or Prius mpg makes no real difference. Hills are a problem for sedantary workers. Bring back the bicycle hybrids of the 80's. See above for cell phone drivers to share road with.
4. A pharmacy not providing parking for bikes, nor allowing cyclists to go through the drive-through.
If a motorcycle can use the drive-through, then so can a bicycle.
5. The noxious planning scheme adopted years ago by most American cities that separates residences in subdivisions and retail and business to highway corridors.
Actually the older subdivisions have minimarts in them. The newer ones (within the past 12 years) don't. The older ones were meant to be mini communities.

Thirty years ago, or more, we were taught the rules of the road. Now, except for wearing alot more safety gear, they follow nearly none of them. They have no reflectors, no lights, don't wear relective vests, don't ride on the right, don't ride in the direction of the flow of traffic, ride parallel to each other, don't use hand signals, don't give pedestrians right of way, use blue tooth cell phones/mp3 players while riding,etc.

I used to ride my bicycle on the roads following the rules of the road. Got side swiped into a ditch once and got t-bones by driver who missed the stop sign. Tried driving to the park to use the bicycle too many cell phone users to share park roads with. Tried using paths but walkers/joggers don't follow any rules either.

Last place I could 100% ride a bike safely was in the 70's in a park called Marine Park in Brooklyn NY. The path was large enough for bicycles/walkers/joggers to share it. I still have my bicycle but there is no safe way to use it anymore. It sits right next to my canoe which has also become unusable thanks to water scooters.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:27 AM
 
26,855 posts, read 34,371,281 times
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The issue with bikers sharing the road with cars... in a city environment where traffic is stop and go or slow (15 to 20 MPH) it is no issue. It is when a cyclist thinks they can ride down the middle of the road where the speed limit is 50 MPH or more and they impede traffic. Cars are not able to pass and traffic backs up and the cyclist backs up traffic. If there is a shoulder for the cyclist to ride on I have no problem with that.

Cyclist need to understand they are not as visible and other motorist will not have patience for the cyclist.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Jersey
870 posts, read 1,329,261 times
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MOST areas of our country are not accessible by bicycle. Yes in the city it is viable but most of our country isnt city. We live to far from work to bike. What about children? My 4 year old doesnt fit in a bike seat and keep up on his bike. Where would I put purchases? I think that bikes are great for getting around cities recreationally or to work if work is close but it hardly solves the worlds problems.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 16,276,115 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD4020 View Post
The issue with bikers sharing the road with cars... in a city environment where traffic is stop and go or slow (15 to 20 MPH) it is no issue. It is when a cyclist thinks they can ride down the middle of the road where the speed limit is 50 MPH or more and they impede traffic. Cars are not able to pass and traffic backs up and the cyclist backs up traffic. If there is a shoulder for the cyclist to ride on I have no problem with that.

Cyclist need to understand they are not as visible and other motorist will not have patience for the cyclist.
It's interesting that you make that observation, as it shows how different the roads are in different areas of the country.

I've commuted by bike in the warmer months, and rode my bike pretty much every summer and fall evening from 2005 to 2010. I live in a rural area about 8 miles from the city.

Here, almost any road with a decent amount of traffic on it has a wide shoulder that perfectly accommodates cyclists. One leg of my commute involved about 2.5 miles of a U.S. highway, on which the speed limit was 60 mph and there were numerous semi-trucks every morning. However, I did not feel unsafe, as I biked on a shoulder wide enough for 2 bicycles, separated from the road by a rumble strip.

Those that don't are usually dirt roads, or have a traffic flow that I would estimate at an average of 1 car per minute or less over the course of the day.

One of the exceptions is the "mall area", but I don't feel too unsafe riding there, either.

The only situation that I felt unsafe riding in was going back up the hill (there's 700 ft of elevation difference between the original part of Duluth and my home) on a winding road without a shoulder. Still, if I ride at the edge of the road and look back occasionally, I don't feel to endangered, though I would certainly wear a helmet on that stretch.

Other parts of the country must surely have inferior rural/suburban road systems with no shoulders or space for cyclists.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Oak Point, TX
7,593 posts, read 12,500,938 times
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We definitely need better health for our citizens and less congestion on our roads, but some of us are employed in the auto industry - if there's less cars on the road, I sell less to repair them.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:59 PM
 
Location: East Side Milwaukee
711 posts, read 1,526,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by little elmer View Post
We definitely need better health for our citizens and less congestion on our roads, but some of us are employed in the auto industry - if there's less cars on the road, I sell less to repair them.
This sounds like insurance companies against national healthcare. 'If people can get affordable healthcare from the gov't, that puts my gouging company out of business'
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