They also use bicycles in large numbers in Europe too. It would be nice if that was true in this country, because otherwise things like designated bike lanes and bicycle first traffic lights wouldn't go to waste, and drivers would be more accustomed to looking for those riders. I think the fining people who drive like assholes near a bicyclist is a fine idea though.
Tell it, brother!!
I love the war on cars meme. It tends to expose narrow idiotic thinking in people right away in a conversation. You see it in times commenters and in conversations with all kinds of political backgrounds.


%6 is considered a huge success.. somehow people think trying to get to 6 = 99%

objectivism is apparently a non-partisan disease.
You know, when I was in Paris a couple of years ago, I was amazed to watch four lanes of traffic at a three-way intersection, each lane of cars interspersed with a lane of bikes, and NO white lines painted on the ground. When the light went green, everybody went on their way with absolutely zero drama.

Why do you think that was?

Oh yeah, because people in places like that know how how to drive cars and ride bikes like people with functioning brains.

That whole "share the road" thing? It goes both ways. So don't be a dumb-ass in a car OR on a bike.
The Economist: "Everybody drives too fast to support bikes. Take the death of Mr. Wang, where he was hit by a left-turning SUV at the speed of probably under 15mph, on a road with clearly marked lanes... Oh. Wait. How did I make a hit-and-run turning accident into a topic on speed? I don't know. Either way, drivers obviously suck."

note: not defending the hit-and-run driver, just showing the tortured logic of this idiot.
This is part of a larger problem. Dependency on cars, no one taking the bus or subway in larger cities, let alone walking, dependency on oil, wars in the middle east. American will be buried in their cars one day.

Where I live in Sweden, most people in larger cities don't even own a car. It's not necessary and to expensive to park.
Vancouver BC has introduced many of those ideas over the past decade or so. And in the last three years, after electing a truly bike-friendly mayor and council, busy downtown streets and a major bridge have dedicated bike lanes (separated by concrete barriers) and traffic lights.

It's worth noting that Vancouver had its share of car-clinging whiners before this council was elected. The bike lanes were constructed amid furious criticism from the public and opposition council members. However, after living with the new lanes for a couple of years, there's been no noticeable affect on traffic (none of the predicted gridlock), yet we see more and more people on bikes.

The whiners in Seattle need to take a look at Vancouver, and in particular they need to talk with the former whiners who now have lost face and don't talk about the matter anymore. It can be done. It just takes a few leaders with balls to make the first move and not back down amid the predictable chorus of criticism.
@5: The driver was speeding.

I think that's why it's about speed.

A witness said the car was trying to turn left onto Thomas from Dexter when a line of oncoming cars began approaching. The driver speedily made the turn and hit the bicyclist, the witness said.…

The driver sped through the intersection, they said, causing a terrific noise, before stopping briefly then taking off.…
I have been commuting by bike for a little over a year from 15th on Cap Hill to Downtown. The #1 danger I've encountered is parking garages at rush hour. Some idiot on their phone pulling out because their tiny little brain can't look for pedestrians, bicyclists, and automotists at the same time that they're deciding with their s.o. who is going to pick up the dogs from the day kennel.

The second most dangerous is right turners. I know 95% of Capitol Hill drivers watch for the bike lane. But even I'm guilty of this. You make a right turn and then think, "Shit. There's a bike lane and I didn't look." Generally, coming down the hill I just act like a car and don't even attempt the bike lane. It's too dangerous, and I can kind of keep up with traffic.

The third is busses. These monsters believe they ALWAYS deserve the right of way, even if they're going to bend a fender, maim a cyclist or run down a pedestrian by obtaining it. A couple of weeks ago a bus overtook me in the bike lane, then as it passed and needed to jump into my lane in order to make the stop on the next block, merged and forced me to slam on my brakes to avoid a collision.

When I caught up with him a moment later I angrily expressed my disappointment in his choice to disregard my safety.

"I saw you, but I had to get into my lane!" was his only defense.

This city is great for cycling. It's just not good for cyclists.
This is a major reason I got my ass out of FreedomLand and moved to Yurp. No car, the bike gets me everywhere that public transit won't. And you don't get hassled by the [FAR LESS prominent] cops. And produce is tons cheaper. So what if they all jibber on in German....
I'm not into bikes, but I keep a couple around for the occasional spin, and I just picked up another for a family member. It was missing reflectors, so I went to a bike shop thinking I would BUY some, and the mechanic pulled a big box out from under his workbench and GAVE me an assortment of types and sizes.

Apparently both the lycra-clad fanatics and the kids who come in WITH THEIR PARENTS are almost universally too cool for reflectors and ask that they be left off when their bikes are assembled.

As it turns out, the random bagful I got was still missing a couple of things I needed, so I went to the other nearby bike shop. Same story; got the remaining essential bits and pieces.

Standard practice in my dinky town: kids tear around on bikes after dark, in and out of alleys, wrong side of the street usually, no reflectors, no lights, dark clothing ('cuz that's cool too). Adults often ride wrong side of the street, day or night, scaring the shit out of right-turning drivers who were looking mainly left.

Cops turn a blind eye to it all.
Licata and O'Brien pushed back against an attempt at watering down McGinn-proposed pedestrian/bike funding:…

They failed, it was gutted.

Interesting how Jon Scholes is singing the Council's praises and Meinert is confronting him on his priorities in the comments. The horse trading is fun, too, since the same citizen process Scholes says should guide us was more or less brushed aside for a lower-than-requested fee that cuts $460,000 in bike funding from the recommended $80 VLF level.

Here's where I'll pivot though: the current proposed investment is a good start and we should back it for many reasons, including addressing safety concerns highlighted in the original post. There are also plenty of other safety-related investments included that will aid drivers and pedestrians, so in the interest of safety we as voters can do something.

Let's make Seattle safer! Looks like the campaign we'll need to back is this one here: -- so approve proposition 1!

We owe it to ourselves to make Seattle a safer place :)
Fuckin right! I also wish I had a buck'o'five for every time some 60-year-old, unemployed, tea-bagging mouth breather ranted about licensing bikes or paying for the privilege of using roads built "for cars." Hey, fucktards, the average cyclist also owns a fucking car and pays tab fees/gas taxes that contribute to road maintenance. I really wish i could meet one of these folks in public and have a discussion with them, but I never hang out in Puyallup. Because that place sucks. Seriously.
A diary posted after midnight, and look at the number of comments already. This one's going to be epic. (And right on, Dan.)
By and large, biking isn't safe in America. This country, large metropoliti in particular, is just too damn big and sprawling to allow it. Sorry, cyclists, but until we focus on cyclist safety by building concentrated urban centers instead of facilitating urban sprawl, it's not going to happen. Even motorcyclists get the shaft. That's how it has always been.

I'm not saying it's right, but it's the truth unless you want to die. Get a goddamn car, or start walking. You don't have to answer more than a couple token questions (if even that, depending on jurisdiction) about being alert for smaller wheeled traffic when you get your driver's license. People simply aren't prepared to see or yield to cyclists on major local 4-lane highways, with 50+mph speed limits.

There are no bike lanes in my suburb. Even better is seeing a bike on a 2-lane local road with no ability to pass (speed limit 45 or so). They're riding in the middle of the lane, because legally and safely they have to. Meanwhile there's a honking line behind it of 50 cars piloted by potentially unstable drivers, getting pissed off.
@11: Putting local-stop buses and bike lines on the same street is a recipe for the leapfrog slowdown and for dangerous incidents like the one you experienced.

They're working on solutions for this, such as the bus islands they're adding on Dexter that eliminate the need for the bus to cross the bike lane to pick up passengers.

But until they eradicate the conflicts everywhere, you need to be cognizant that the dozens of passengers on that bus shouldn't be beholden to your chosen pace. If a bus is coming up behind you, let it pass, and if it stops in front of you, do not leapfrog. It will quickly put enough distance between you two to keep the conflict from recurring.

(When you play the leapfrog game, you usually appear in the driver's mirror just as he's checking for clearance to pull back out. Then he's obligated to wait for you to pass. He gets to his next stop 20 seconds later than he otherwise would, you pass him again, and the cycle repeats. Don't do it unless you want a busload of people resenting you.)
Speaking as an inhabitant of the Netherlands, probably the most bike-friendly country in the world (what's a Dutchman without his bike?), even though all the things people say in favor of biking are true (more exercise, less polution, no costs, it's fun, etc.), and even though it works really fine here in the Netherlands (and elsewhere in Europe, to a lesser extent), I have to agree with Mrs DePointe (@18) above: it wouldn't work that well in America even in the best case scenario.

Cities are packed and compact in Europe, and especially in the Netherlands. Hell, I live in a city (Leiden) with a population the size of Eugene, Oregon (about 140,000 people) but which occupies less than 1/10 of the area. A normal biker can cycle around the whole urban perimeter in an hour; there's nowhere in town where a biker couldn't be in less than an hour. Considering how difficult it is to find parking downtown, it makes perfect sense here to either go by bike or use public transportation.

American cities are not like that. It's much rarer there than here that one lives within a reasonable, bikable distance from one's work, given how spread out American cities usuallly are. Because of this, despite its advantages, biking in America will remain for most people a healthy pastime, but not really a workable commuting solution. It's just the way cities developed in America.
"In the nearby Seattle area, where cycling is popular but traffic calming is not, three cyclists have been killed in the past few weeks....."


Seattle needs an IGB for bikers.

"just because biking in Seattle sux and is lethal
Don't Give Up!
all you little HomoLiberal European wanna-bes
can grow up and move to Denmark!!"

you can use this idea for free, Danny.......
A bicycle is not a legitimate means of transportation.

It is a toy.
@ ankylosaur, I disagree. Cities like San Francisco and Seattle are really not any more spread-out in their functions than many European metropolises. Leiden is a good size for biking everywhere, but Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen all have good public transit systems as well just because you obviously can't expect people of all ages and abilities to bike 10 or 15 k to work each day.

What better bike lanes seperated from auto traffic enable, if you really look at the data, is that people who are not hardcore cyclists, such as women, children and the elderly, are able to use bikes for short trips:… This is the main reason why more European urban dwellers cycle, and why drivers are more conditioned to look for and accept cyclists as part of traffic. With a seperate bike lane, cycling becomes a much more accessible and common form of transportation.

This doesn't, as we Americans often falsely assume, mean that Europeans don't own cars or use public transit, i.e. rely exclusively or near-exclusively on a bike.
you humanists worship Darwin
but then when natural selection
thins your asses out of the population you squeal....

SUVs are at the top of the food chain.

bikers are snacks.
Whenever I return to Seattle, I notice almost immediately that the worst violators of the traffic laws are the Metro busses. I haven't looked it up, but I guess the R.C.W. statute they cite on the yield sticker on the back of the bus allows them to break every traffic law.

More to the point of biking in Seattle, back before I had a drivers' license I would bike around the neighborhood. I would often end up wherever I was going wet. I can understand why people would prefer getting wherever they are going both dry and on their own schedule.
@20: According to the 2009 National Household Travel Survey here in the good ole US of A, 46% of all trips made by car were three miles or fewer. That's an easily bikeable distance for just about anybody. Imagine the impact on air quality, public health, and traffic patterns if 46% of all trips in the US were by bike.

Example after example shows that if you build safe cycling infrastructure, people will use it. And it's so, so much cheaper than roads built to withstand vehicle weights.
@22, 23, 25 You'll argue about anything, won't you?

Yes, it's so HOMOLIBERAL not spending $5 a gallon on gas. Excellently made point, sir, you're really taking us to task on such a very pressing social issue. You keep on keeping on using that SUV as a scooter to haul your obese ass down the block. Fight the man!
>having no idea how natural selection works
Biking in Bellevue is actually a pretty good experience. I bike to work and most of it is on a multi use trail, the rest has a dedicated bike lane. it's 5-6 miles and only a few minutes slower than driving.
I'm not a cyclist, but I always support cyclists in these sorts of threads. I understand, for instance, that they tend to run stops when they can because they need momentum. They're not like those of us in cars, who just push that thing on the floor to go from stopped to moving and don't even have to break a sweat doing it.

But I do wish you'd all wear helmets. And I wish you'd be more careful going downhill, Particularly on Pike/Pine. You go too fast, dears. Older people like myself, who really do try to keep an eye out for you, find that when you're flying down the hill, you're harder to spot when we go to make a turn.

As for the buses, I don't ride the bus and I don't bike, so I'm a neutral observer. But it seems to me that buses, like trains, are hard to stop - all that momentum, and such. - and when they do stop on a dime, they throw everyone in the bus around. I'd just advise you keep your distance from them.
For those who do complain that bikes disobey traffic laws regularly, I've noticed that the increased number of bike lanes helps with that. Only anecdotal to be sure, but on my commutes and errands, we (cyclists) tend to group together on the streets with the nicer bike lanes. More people means a greater necessity to obey rules so that everyone can ride safely (stop at red lights, signal when turning etc.). It's not perfect all the time of course, but then again plenty of drivers disobey basic traffic laws - with much more dire consequences.

I do wish Philly would go even further, or at least have the police enforce people blocking bike lanes.

@11 - couldn't agree more. I can't tell you how upsetting it was to find out from someone who works for SEPTA that often, often!, that is intentional by the bus driver. Of course SEPTA is the worst of the east coast city public transportation services. Sad to hear it happens in Seattle too.
Almost anytime I drive less than 10 or 15 mph OVER the speed limit, less than 45 on an arterial, I get tailgated. Usually by a giant SUV or pickup truck. Drivers from the suburbs think they're still on their wide parkways and can go 55-60. Most arterial streets in the city are not constructed for vehicles to go faster than 35 and have cars parked on both sides. They don't KNOW there are rules about yielding for pedestrians or bikes or buses. They aren't looking forward to see the traffic ahead is still stopped at the green light.

Last year I was rear ended while stopped for pedestrians, children and their mother, crossing on Union St. There were 3-4 blocks between me and the truck when I stopped. I would never have stopped if he was closer. The driver from Auburn wasn't looking because "you don't stop between stoplights". That's the rule suburbanites and rural drivers are following when they come to town.
The part that Dan didn't mention is that The Economist is a CONSERVATIVE magazine by the standards of Western Europe..... Seriously, it's considered to be on the right.

That ought to tell you how totally fucked up the United States has become in the past generation or so.....
@31: As always, yours is the voice of reason. Drive on, Catalina dear, and get to that fashion show on time so we know where our hemlines will be this season.
Dedicated bike lanes with barriers would be nice for drivers and riders alike.

What makes me fucking crazy is when idiot bikers ride on the road even though there is a perfectly fine bike/pedestrian path that runs parallel to said road. Like on the waterfront. That's a tight, busy street, and I'm sick of jackoffs in tour de france tights crying about me getting too close to them when their is a perfectly safe alternative 5 feet away.
"what's a Dutchman without his bike"

A pedophile on holiday in Pattaya no doubt.
I'm an advocate for both sides being far more accepting of each other, and less quick to use divisive terms like "war on cars."

That said, I've been a regular bike commuter for 25-plus years, and bike recreationally a little bit, too. The negative attitude of drivers towards cars has escalated a lot in the last 10 years—it's scary for cyclists. As a female cyclist, I suffer truly mean-spirited harassment (physically and verbally) on my bike that probably goes beyond anything most men experience. I'd love for that to stop.

And I'd like drivers to consider something: How more often are you enraged by a cyclist than another driver? Probably a lot less often. So think hard before you take your rage out on an easy target (and easily injured) cyclist. It's literally a life-or-death choice.

Secondly, if we weren't on our bikes we'd be in front of you in a car. When I'm in my car and get annoyed at a cyclist, I take a breath and take a moment to appreciate that at least this isn't an annoying driver holding me up: I'd take a clueless cyclist over a clueless driver any day.

Live and let live. If the worst part of your day is that you saw a cyclist run a red light, than your life is pretty sweet.
You're too kind, TV dinner. I should mention that I mostly just drive for work. To get to work, I take Link. We're only two blocks from the station, and when you get down to it, where is there to go in Seattle other than downtown or the airport? The North End? It's a rest home. West Seattle? Too smug. Although it will be nice when they open the Capitol Hill station.
But, wait; that’s not a war on cars, that’s preservation of public safety. Wouldn’t everyone be better off with fewer traffic deaths in general? Wouldn’t a war on cars actually look more like people forcing car owners to turn in their cars? Or maybe making the whole downtown core off-limits to cars? (Though inconvenient, not a bad idea...)

Also, along with allowing bikes to move first through an intersection, it would be safer to stop all traffic through an intersection twice a light-cycle to allow pedestrians to walk to any other corner they’d like and then let the cars through without those pesky people in the way.
Rotten666, it's possible that the cyclists you see are jerks. However, it's also possible that there's something in that bike lane you can't see, such as broken glass, rough pavement, a car about to pull out or open its door. I don't know where you are, but some municipalities put down bike lanes without really thinking through whether it's actually a good place for a bike lane to be.
@10 Yes, "speedily" and "sped" probably equate to making a turn around 20mph. Have you made a turn in an SUV at speeds of more than that? It doesn't feel safe.

Chances are, the idiot in the SUV probably didn't see the bike as he was turning, and your idiotic feel-good "traffic calming" laws are probably null and void. This is, still, what we call tortured logic.

Baconcat, I know thinking isn't your strong suit...but try, for me. Try to read into situations, and interpret emotional-baiting scare words for what they are instead of being scared by them. It's kind of a learned skill, but you can do it. Others have faith in you.

Also, I wonder if Terry still takes Dan to and from the airport every time he travels.
Dan rides the light rail. And he buses to the light rail. And if he's going away overnight, he bikes to light rail and leaves his bike on the street.

Dan doesn't like being in cars if he can avoid it. When Dan was in LA for a month he bought a bike and rode everywhere he needed to go and fell in love with LA in the process.

Dan walks where he can, and bikes when he can. And sometimes he gets in cabs.

And Terry? Terry hate cyclists. It's a rich source of conflict in Dan and Terry's relationship.
@41 on no, it's a perfectly nice, wide path that runs under the viaduct.
Isn't LA wonderful seen up close like that? And how do cyclists annoy Terry, or are you just winding us up?
I'll settle just for making people drive the existing speed limit. Its crazy how fast drivers go to sit in line at the next red light. Let's face it, it's not a small minority it's almost universal. Driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit is nothing on an interstate, but on a surface street it's often exceeding the speed limit by 33%. Rigidly drive your car the speed limit and watch the behavior of other drivers as they go insane to get around you. The anti bike nuts here like to go on about "Lycra this" and "spandex that" but I assure you they'd be just as rabid about a car that kept them from going as fast as they wanted.
@38, I'm also a female bike commuter, & I feel your pain. I think the situation has been steadily improving for us here in Cincinnati. The city has made dedicated bike lanes a priority along major bike routes. Our buses are pretty considerate; my biggest annoyance is hospital staff leaving parking garages and talking on the phone . My workplace now has 3% who commute by bike at least once per week. It's starting to feel like we're reaching critical mass.
Dan darling, only Republicans and dictators refer to themselves in the third person. You're not trying to tell us something, are you?
The north end "rest home" is experiencing a generational turnover in population in the post WWII housing.

Old people moving out or passing on, replaced by people that need more than a single room condo, and can't afford an eastlake rubiks cube townie homes.

I think it is inevitable that civilization that serves the old folks is replaced by that which serves younger folks.

Unfortunately, there are many homes with two cars, rainwater ditches where the capital hill bubble-folk think we have sidewalks and bike lanes already, and remakible poor metro bus service for people that supposedly live in the "city" of Seattle.

I can't imaging riding my bike mire than a few blocks, it is simply not safe. The two lane roads with rainwater ditches on either side do not instantly become safer by painting a little white circle/arrow with a bike on it.

Worse, there aren't meaningful jobs within walking/biking distance of the upzone cubes in the most northern part if Seattle. Uless you work in the downtown core you are driving someplace else where there are jobs that actually support the housing being built. Having a nail salon and coffee shop on the first floor of these cubes is absurd. These are not walkable communities, communities have jobs.
I understand the pov of Dan and the Capital Hill Times (aka, the Stranger) it advocates for a society that really only exists within about a half mile of of your open windows, and yet expect "Seatte" to be a particular ideal, and all it's citizens to fund your neighborhood view of the world.

You are demanding a bicycle infrastructure to be paid for by people that, for the most part, do not have sidewalks or transit (no meaningful transit alternative) right now.

So, when you, Dan, want to rant on about "Seattle" and its terrible treatment of bicycle community, realize that large swatches of this same city would love to have the "problem" of bikes/sidewalk/car/transit integration safety issues.
Biking infrastructure is not great in Seattle, but it's getting better. Major urban arterials like Stone Way, Nickerson and Dexter Ave have all seen significant improvements over the past five years. Hopefully the progress we're making won't be curtailed by the asphalt and bulldozer crowd who hates Mayor McGinn.

Teens Target Cyclists In ‘Knockout’ Game

August 29, 2011 12:38 PM

ST. LOUIS, MO. (KMOX) — There’s an alert out about recent assaults on bike riders in south St. Louis., an organization that promotes hiking and biking, is cautioning riders to be on the alert for roving bands of teenagers who swarm and attack riders.

Trailnet says the latest attack was last Thursday (8/25) afternoon near Missouri Botanical Garden where a group of 10 to 15 African-American teens charged and attacked a cyclist.

“They weren’t really interested in robbing me. It just seemed like they wanted to beat me up,” says assault victim Cheech Ramirez. “They weren’t interested in letting me get off the ground and having a fair fight.”

Ramirez says he and his friends returned to the scene minutes later to help another bicyclist who was being beaten.

Police say there have been other, similar attacks in the city, and they believe all the victims are picked at random.

Mayor Francis Slay is calling for action, possibly with citizen bike patrols set up with the help of Trailnet and local police.

Police urge bike riders to be aware of their surrounding and call 911 when they see a swarm mob preparing an assault.

Yes but most Cyclists around here are the ones who advocate the in-traffic style of riding on busy roadways.

I blame the hotshots.
A few American cities have taken European-style steps to make streets safer for cycling, most notably Portland, Oregon, which has used most of the above ideas. The result: more bikes and fewer deaths. Nearly 6% of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion in America.

Not surprising. Portland was also way ahead of Seattle in another area of transit: light rail. MAX opened in 1986 and now has 4 lines with 85 stations. Seattle? Too busy masturbating until LINK finally opened two years ago. Now we have one line with 13 stations. Woo-Hoo..go Seattle!

I wonder what percentage of commuters bike to work in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and other major European cities?

A witness said the car was trying to turn left onto Thomas from Dexter when a line of oncoming cars began approaching. The driver speedily made the turn and hit the bicyclist, the witness said.

A situation and maneuver like this can easily become tragic, not just for a bicyclist but also for a pedestrian. I'm a very safe and observant driver (only one minor accident in over three decades of driving...lightly tapped the rear end of a car at a stoplight in Springfield, Oregon when coming back to the U of O from an evening at some hot springs because I got drowsy and my two friend who had promised to stay awake to help keep me awake had dozed off...thanks guys) but, about fifteen years ago, I almost nailed a woman and her dog in the exact same situation. I was planning to turn left onto Winona from Aurora, saw cars approaching southbound on Aurora and punched it. At that moment, the woman and her dog -- who must've been standing on the corner but who I hadn't noticed -- started heading across Winona and I can still recall the horror I felt in the split-second where I thought I might hit them. Fortunately, I swiftly veered to the left and she jumped back so nothing tragic occurred. If she had been on a bike, with momentum, I may very well have hit her.

Point is: you can be a very safe and observant driver but no one is perfect and all it takes is one time to fuck up by not being observant enough or by being aggressive instead of cautious and the consequences can be deadly. That being said, any good driver who is also a decent human being would stop if something deadly did happen, not run away as the driver of the SUV did.

In my experience, when I've encountered drivers who are overly aggressive, they are usually driving SUVs. I think being in a larger vehicle tends to give people an "I-own-the-road" mentality" and they have less consideration even for other drivers in cars.
I would favor a localized gas tax to pay for the rest of Seattle catching up to the infrastructure level as these unsafe downtown multimodal safety nightmares that has Dan so worried.

There are plenty of cars that cross the city line that keep on going to Seattle jobs that would actually contribute to paying for the Seattle infrastructure they consume by buying gas in Seattle. The car tab taxes have a limited ceiling and only tax people that live in Seattle that might otherwise want sidewalks, buses, and bike lanes.

I would also support regular police enforcement of the speed limit at the edges of the city. The speed limit on N 145th running east and west is 35 or 40, you turn south and it is instantly 25 on local streets, 30 or 35 on arterials. The traffic really doesn't slow down until it comes to a complete stop, on Aurora that is from Shoreline at 145th do not hit another stop until the stoplight at 135th.
War on Cars = Stupid
War on Idiotic and Careless Drivers = Win

There are some drivers I have seen who are great, attentive, and extremely well mannered, then there are the rest of the drivers. If you want to solve a problem you have to get to the actual cause, don't just be lazy and go after a broad category expecting that to fix anything. As a pedestrian I have almost been hit by cars crossing the street at the light, when it says to cross, more often than I can count, the only reason I was not hurt at many of them is that on foot we can do quick reversals in a heartbeat while bikes cannot. The problem is not all motorists, it's the idiots who probably shouldn't even be allowed on bicycles as well. For instance the cyclists who ride on the downtown sidewalks at full speed, running over pedestrians expecting them to get out of their way while they break the law. Special note to you bikers: It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk, period, because it's dangerous to everyone.

But, humanity is stupid. So here's the thing, if you want a real "war on cars" have at it, because that will just open up the "war on bikes" next, or you can take the smart route and start a "war on stupidity" instead. I say no personal transportation vehicles of any sort in city areas, that would be my dream, if you're too lazy to walk a few blocks you don't deserve the body you were given at birth.

My comment to the article in the Economist here:…

@56 It is AGAINST THE LAW to ride on the sidewalk, period.
@57: Not in Seattle.
I cant wait until cyclists have to register their bikes. Only a matter of time.
I live in Lexington KY and have been biking to work all summer. It took awhile to get used to riding the way you are supposed to, not to be nervous riding on the road and to act more like car (obeying all the traffic rules a car does, etc).

Then the students come back for fall semester. Fucking Hell. These assholes give bike riders a bad name everywhere. And they are legion. I wish there was a comprehensive mandatory bike safety course and enforcement, it is just fucking unbelievable what these morons do. Lexington is trying to support cyclists, and progress has been made, but it is still very disconnected, with beautiful bike lanes disappearing into narrow lanes across intersections. If people took the time to learn how to fucking ride their bikes and get involved with the process we would be a decent biking town by now.
I almost ran a bike over the other day making a left turn from second onto James.

The bike lane on left side of second avenue is a death trap. If I were riding in that lane I certainly would ride defensively especially when coming up to left turns like James Street.

@57 check out SMC 11.44.120

I agree that riding on the sidewalk is generally unsafe (for both pedestrians and cyclists), but illegal it is not . . .
I live in a college town, and my god what terrible cyclists most of them are. Head phones, Iphones, riding opposite traffic, riding on sidewalks, running stop signs and lights, zooming around like fucking hummingbirds colliding with pedestrians, basically acting like assholes.

We have bike registration here, but I have never seen enforcement of either cyclists riding dangerously or motorists endangering cyclists and there are plenty examples of both. I just recently started to commute with my bike and it took a lot of getting used to, riding the way you are supposed to. My dad doesn't understand why anyone would do it, he's like "OH MY GOD you are riding INCHES AWAY FROM DEATH". This meme is stuck in my brain every time I start off now, inchesawayfromdeath, inchesawayfromdeath. It makes the ride less enjoyable, but I'm probably safer because of it.
Whoops, thought the first comment didn't post. Sorry to be such a noob
Thank you @61, re: left turns from Second onto James, & that left-side bike lane. I totally agree, it's a major tragedy waiting to happen.
I hope somebody from the City transportation department (or legal department) gleans something from this particular blog.
Thanks, Dan!

Driver Charged In Street Shooting Felt He Was 'In Jeopardy'

Markus Solomon Accused Of Killing Gordon Rees In New Castle

POSTED: 11:12 pm EDT August 30, 2011
UPDATED: 8:53 pm EDT September 2, 2011

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A motorist who's accused of shooting and killing a pedestrian who told him to slow down claims he acted because he thought he was in danger, police say.

"I don't feel like I should have did it, but my life was in jeopardy ... It could have been avoided," said 18-year-old Markus Solomon, according to the criminal complaint filed by New Castle police.

"I just can't believe what happened to him," said Christina Lyerson, stepsister of the shooting victim, Gordon Rees Jr. "It was just the worst. His eyes were still open, he looked at me, and it was just -- I couldn't even say anything to him. I just walked away."Police say the 31-year-old Rees turned toward a car and yelled at the driver shortly before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday on Williams Street. Police said the car stopped, the driver got out, and a verbal altercation began."There was an old black Cavalier that was going about 70 or 80 miles an hour and came up behind him and clipped him," said a friend who was with Rees at the time. "Gordon stood there and said, 'If you're going to shoot me, shoot me,' because he didn't really think he was going to get shot, because he did nothing wrong."

Rees' friend, who did not want to be publicly identified, said they were walking to the home of Rees' mother at the time."I just started screaming and screaming, 'Someone call 911,' and since no one was answering me or doing anything, I had to pick him up and put pressure on his heart and his back to keep the blood from coming out," he said. "I was just hoping my brother wasn't going to die. He's like a brother to me. He's always protecting me.""I heard gunshots, I come outside and I seen everybody running down the street," said Rees' aunt, Laurie Schmitt. "I seen my sister, Lori, bawling -- 'My son, he got shot, he's dead.'"Police said Rees, a father of two, was taken to Jamestown Hospital and was pronounced dead."So my nephew dies because he asks him to slow down? He lost his life? That ain't right," Schmitt said.

"I just take it day by day. I try not to think about it, but his room is right next to mine, so I kind of have to see all of his stuff," Lyerson said.On Friday, police said they arrested Solomon on unrelated charges during a traffic stop.After Solomon was taken to the Lawrence County Jail, police identified him as a suspect in the Rees shooting and said he will be charged with homicide.

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@59: It's going to be a long, long wait.
Sure, ticket and fine drivers careless of the safety of anyone else, pedestrian, bicyclist or other driver. If they show an inability to get the point, revoke their licenses.

Then require each bike riding on the roads to be licensed, with the rider carrying an operators permit which can be revoked for violating safety laws repeatedly, just like drivers. (Hint- just because you're riding a machine fundamentally unsuited to traffic, and need to keep up momentum to overcome this flaw, stoplights and signs apply to you as well.)

Then change the climate and geography of the Puget Sound so that riding to work is halfway practical... Oh, yeah.

BTW, those from Sweden or England or anywhere else lamenting democratically established US policy? You seem confused. We don't enact policy here to please you, but to serve our own interests. Just as you do. It's called the will of the people, but that only matters to you when you're stealing one persons income to pay for the 6 week vacation, or health care or child care expenses or housing or food of another too lazy or thriftless to do so himself.
I would love to see more of this kind of thing implemented, with the rules of the road being clear to *both*. I have absolutely no wish to hit a bicyclist, but I come close every time one of them ignores what rules there are, and ignores stop signs, ignores the direction of the road (!), turns left in front of me (from my right side (!)) and so on. With the described procedures in place, particularly the separation of bike and car traffic, this kind of stuff would be greatly reduced.
I live in Davis, CA, and living here shows me every day what a bike-friendly city looks like. We unfortunately have less bike commuters than we did at our peak, but it's still 15%. One thing that I really like is that we have extensive bike paths and not bike lanes on roads with high speed limits, so the cars are pretty much no danger to us. I think that this is unfortunately difficult to implement in places where the streets and sidewalks are already as wide as they can be, but I even remember in Berlin having a line in the sidewalk to designate a bike lane, which seems much, much safer to me than in-street bike lanes. I still use those bike lanes, but I'm always nervous while in them.
#68 Thank you! All of these improvements that the Economist speak of are great, but we and the police have some different priorities here than in Europe. Let's raise the money for bike improvements by requiring a license for bike riders, who after all are operating wheeled vehicles that can go in excess of 25mph and do not belong on the sidewalk. And make sure they get plates so that when they inevitably run a red light, they can get their picture taken and receive a $125 ticket like the motorists they share the road with.
Fnarf, would you please copy and paste your rant about licensing bikes in here, please? Thanks.
As a pedestrian, I've had more close calls with aggressive cyclists than aggressive drivers.

They routinely fly through red lights, weave through traffic, bike against traffic, ride up on side walks when it suits them and they never yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

And then they wonder why they get hit by cars.
Having just returned from Denmark I'm reminded why biking is easier. One, the infrastructure is designed for it. Two the price of car ownership and licensing is very high, car ownership is for the well off and even then they are compact and manuel transmissions. Three, just a week ago it was about 13.00 DKK (Danish Kroner) per liter (1 liter = 0.264172052 US gallons) of petrol and it is DKK/USD = ~5.25194 making it ~$2.48 USD for a liter of gas. Four, in many places bikes and pedestrians share the road, pedestrians stay to the far right which makes for less lethal collisions. Something my 4 y.o Danish speaking niece quickly taught her English speaking cousins by shoving them over repeatedly. Five, even traffic lights work different with a yellow light before turning green and red, and bikes have the right of way. Six, the regional, S-tog, and Metro have designated cars for bikes (and prams) that take you around the city, the suburbs, and across to Sweden (with free wifi). Recently there was a recent article about the cost of car ownership in Denmark and how that impacts bicycle ownership, I will look for it for you all. I found it illuminating.
@11, @26, @32:

It's important to remember that "the bus" is not some evil monolith out to crush you. It is a vehicle containing perhaps dozens of people trying to get where they're going in a reasonable amount of time. And tragically, it is what passes for "mass transit" in Seattle.

I guess I'm not sure what you think bus drivers "should" do. Do you think they should have to hang behind you at 15 mph for multiple miles, just in case someone on board pulls the stop-request cord? Is your unbroken momentum so important as to delay that many people's day, make them late for work, make them miss their connecting buses? Unlike auto drivers, bus passengers can't simply switch to a different route.

If a bus is approaching behind you, let it pass. Slow down for just long enough to put some distance between it and you. If you're on a low-pedestrian street, like 15th through Interbay, ride on the sidewalk for a minute (yes, it's legal) to avoid lane conflict.

But don't leapfrog. It's a jerky thing to do. You don't have the right to pace-set the entire world.

bikers bitching about busses is a total dick move.

buses have your ass beat on every front:

In the popular Green Virtue Department
a bus hauling 40-50 folks
(and burning natural gas even...)
totally is more important than some prick on a bike.
Give way.
and genuflect.

In the often ignored but critical
Physics Department a bus
totally has the tonnage on a bike.
You think an SUV bites?
again. Give way.
but carry ID in case you aren't nimble enough.....
why so grumpy, darlin?
wishing we were Europe is an innate HomoLiberal trait.
in fact, it is the easiest way to tell a HomoLiberal from a Real American.
the cheap next step is to paint bike routes on the side streets that soooo frequently parallel an arterial for 12, 20 40 or blocks or two miles, then stitch together these as "suggested routes for bikes going a ways" so bikes actually agglomerate on said routes.

then when they cross an arterial you ensure there's a light there.

often we don't have the physical room for a separate bike lane as in amsterdam; let's do that too; but that's way more money; in the meantime the greenways concept some of us have pushed for for years is good.

it's too bad some cyclists react by saying "how dare you suggest I shouldn't ride in the arterial with the pedestrians, the garages, the busses, the lights making me stop and the car doors opening into the sharrow lane!! you must be against bikes!"

I hear there's a new cycling group supporting this concept and calling it greenways.

why not bikers just start with a little non permanent chalking guerrilla action on the streets, mmmmm?

There's gotta be some road one block from 35th that goes a long way south in W Seattle. There's 14th in Ballard from the water up to 65th. Better than 15th, right? there's side streets parallel to 3d and 8th in Ballard. Instead of Roovsevelt north of 75th to northgate, some side street. sure the biker has to dogleg here and there but my god every single cyclist who regularly cycles gets injured. fact. it's too freaking dangerous. let's solve the problem, and with the rights of way we have we don't have room for the entire array of bike infra. they have in copendamsterhaven.

fuck you moron. it's my country my foreberers fought for our liberty and we're not going to be bullied around by cretins like you. You leave. You're not into free speech, so you're unamerican so you leave asshole.

now now.
don't stick around just to spite conservatives.
you know you hate America and all it stands for....
you know you admire the French and especially the Danes...
you know you think legalized pot and prostitution and 4 years of unemployment benefits are the key to human happiness.

listen to your heart.
fly fly, little birdie......
@42: Read up about traffic calming then come back when you understand what it means.
my boyfriend and I (both car-less cyclists who only take the bus when it's necessary) were talking about this article this morning and he made a good point that got me thinking. a lot of drivers use the excuse "yeah but we paid for this road with our taxes and we have to be licensed to be here so cyclists should too!" for why they hate cyclists so much. he also mentioned the fact that a lot of people really just want to feel like they're being treated fairly, so that's why they don't understand why cars need licenses and bikes don't.

one thing car drivers tend to overlook is that cars are WAY harder on the roads than bikes are. when was the last time you saw a pothole in the burke-gilman or any other dedicated bike path? that's why the streets are so fucked up all over the city--not because of cyclists "not paying their share", but because cars are REALLY destructive to the roads. on top of that, it's a fucking CHOICE to drive. no one forces you to purchase and operate a two-ton death machine. no one forces you to pay over $4 a gallon for gas. no one forces you to sit on your ass in traffic for an hour instead of taking the bus or riding a bike or walking where you need to go. it's a convenience, and an expensive one. which makes people cranky in our entitled society, because they want everything for free and no one wants to pay anything to support the choices they make. (this argument could go for a lot of things, but I digress.)

so as for the licensing thing, I honestly wouldn't give a flying fuck if they passed a law that cyclists need licenses to be on the street too. I'd go down and happily hand them the cash to prove that me and my bike are allowed to "share the road" like so many others (drivers) aren't willing to do. I think it'd be smart anyway, and they could take all the money made from licensing fees and use it to improve the infrastructure for bikes. move the bike lanes out of the way of traffic, create barriers, save some lives, and further encourage more bicycling. from two cycling commuters who haven't driven cars in over 3 and 6 years, it makes sense to us.
Vancouver's separate bike lanes in some cases were pretty cheap ; they just blocked off a lane by throwing up the temporary concrete barriers frequently used on interstate construction sites for lane repaving. They've also built metro lines that are a lot faster to outlying towns than taking a car, and can hold bikes.
I'm in a college town, and all the buses have racks on the front that can hold bikes; it's just not that difficult to get that feature when you replace old buses.
So it doesn't have to take THAT much money to encourage bike use.
Bike registration is probably a good idea, if the money could be used to build infrastructure; and it could encourage better driving by bikers.
It took 100 years of dedicated spending biased towards automobiles to build the paved roads and highways that are key to universal auto use; and the low-density suburbs that may be difficult to sustain as gas prices rise. There is no reason why there can't be steady infrastructure spending towards more people riding bikes and mass transit for shorter trips now. The more people who ride bikes, the less crowded the streets will be for cars, and the less money we'll be sending to our "good buddies" in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil that is better used for building things like plastic and asphalt than for burning.
@ 72, I think you're referring to this (not exactly a rant IMO):

The reason we don't apply a $20 fee to bicycles is because the vast majority of cyclists barely use their bikes at all, or are children going around in circles in the driveway, etc. It is insane to demand a fee from those people, and if you did, casual bicycle use in the city would disappear, and almost all bike shops in the state, with their attendant business taxes, would disappear as well. You'd lose money on the deal. The devoted commuters wouldn't miss it but they are a tiny portion of the people who own bikes in the state.

It's kind of sad that no one is able to even imagine people living in circumstances other than their own anymore.

Posted by Fnarf on July 29, 2011 at 2:03 PM
@83 Not all potholes are because of the traffic, though I won't argue the point that cars are worse on them, perhaps a better example would be the vibration effects on less soft parts, like the pipes under the streets. ;) Vibration has a much larger effect than some people want to acknowledge, and cars can vibrate buildings as they pass, that's a lot, while bikes do not. Most potholes are because of a combination of ground shifting and poor maintenance, if a crack appears in the sidewalk, that will turn into a pothole, same holds true for asphalt.
When I told people I'd acquired a bike, everyone had a cyclist horror story to share. A broken collarbone in this intersection, a shattered knee on this street, a concussion at that intersection, a broken wrist on that street. I ignored the warnings and in one week I had three car doors opened in my path, a narrowly avoided collision due to a run red light, and a bus edging me off the road. Boston may be a "walking city" but it is hell on cyclists. I bought a bus pass and gave away the bike.

No, drivers hate cyclists because they point blank refuse to follow the rules of the road endangering themselves and everyone else around them. And then they act holier than thou for doing so, which really is adding insult to injury.

Some examples-

Stop signs, yield signs and lights apply to you too, cyclists, amazing as this clearly is to you.

If 5 or more vehicles are held up by you, in a bike or in a car, you must pull over and let them pass. Which cyclists rarely or never do. As an example, a bike path borders both highway 202 and East Lake Sammamish. Do cyclists use them? Absolutely not! After all, they're saving the planet from us evil car drivers trying to get our kids to baseball or get our shopping done. They insist on using the roads at 10 to 30 miles an hour under the limit and completely refuse to get out of the way of legitimate traffic.

Erratic or aggressive driving is as much an infraction for a cyclist as a driver, though from the behavior of most cyclists you'd never know this. They seem to think it required once they don the silly costumes remniscent of medieval jesters and board their childrens toys for a jaunt on the roads.

And most to the point, we pay millions a year to build and maintain dedicated bike lanes for a fundamentally unsuitable means of transport in our hilly rainy low density region. We block key arterials to allow for a bike lane instead of 2 lanes of traffic that might actually be used to, you know, get to work or school or the grocery store. And they don't get used. I might see a bike or two in any given bike lane, but never enough to justify blocking an entire lane of traffic for it.

Want to talk about meaningful mass transit solutions to traffic congestion and the high cost of cars in the city? Fine. But any rational person knows that bikes aren't one of them.
@87: Evolving...
Seattleblahs is here! Finally, the conversation will reach the level of discourse it deserves. If we're lucky, maybe loveschild will chime in with a Biblical justification of why it's ok to hate cyclists.

It's a beautiful day, Seattleblahs. What are you doing on Slog? Who has the highly theoretical children? Or did they run away to escape you constant priggishness?
@ 90, SB has been a very active participant all week. It makes me fear for the state of his business.
I should also add that Denmark is a relatively flat country, they don't have to contend with hills. Although their weather can be more severe.

And, a more specific idea on the cost of car ownership in Denmark, an $11,000 USD automobile in US sells for roughly $30,000 USD in Denmark because of the 180 percent tax on automobiles. The tax on luxury cars, automatic transmission are considered luxury features, is much higher.

I loved being back with family and I enjoyed the ease of getting around. Although it cost me 455,00 DKK, that is $86.63 USD per person x 4 = $346.52, for a 10 klip Alle zoner pass for the trains and busses. And it is true that we have much in common: greenspaces, Intel, rain, and miles of bike paths. Portland has about 324 miles of bikeways, I don't know about Seattle. We are also very different. It would be lovely if we could have the same economic success, riders in Copenhagen are responsible for a $247 million (USD) economic impact that translates into about 300 businesses and 650 full-time jobs as reported by the city, across the US. I can't see, maybe I'm too cynical, a good majority of people in the US embracing the cost of living in Denmark even with the other benefits of universal health care, state-provided education all the way through university, state-funded childcare, and a system for taking care of (not merely giving pensions to) senior citizens. I love it there and I envy much of their culture, but I think I might be an exception not the norm.
my favorite part about reading a seattleblues comment is counting how many weasel words and unsupported "facts" he can fit into one paragraph. cute!
i dont hav e ahelmet, ride on the sidewlak 90% of the time and will run any stop light or stop sign that isnt gonna cause anyone harm. and I dont give ashit what happens regarding the bike/car/road situation. I thought I would post this as a retort to all the honks and dirty looks I get from all you dandy pussies and nanny bitchez.
@88: You complain about bikes holding up traffic, and then you bitch that bike lanes are unnecessary. You do realize that bike lanes' main effect is to get bikes out of traffic lanes, thereby stopping them from holding up traffic?
And if you think that removing bike lanes will allow us to put in more traffic lanes, I've got news for you; two bike lanes put together won't make up even ONE traffic lane. The space we cyclists take up is roughly 2/5ths of a parking lane. Reducing congestion by taking out bike lanes is like trimming the Federal budget by defunding NPR.

@94: A family friend of mine, a neurosurgeon, says that people in her line of work have a term for people like you: organ donors. Make sure you fill out your card!
I like driving and I like riding my bike. As a driver, I view cyclists as people who are helping to reduce traffic and pollution, so I want more bike lanes and other features that make it easier and safer to ride a bike. Even if I never rode a bike, I'm pro-bicycle because more cyclists = less traffic congestion.

As a cyclist, I prefer lanes that have a physical divide from cars. I would feel safer and ride my bike more if there were better bike lanes. Bike trails are nice for recreation but rarely are they decent routes for commuting.

Overall, bike-friendly features help drivers and cyclists alike, by reducing traffic, pollution, parking demand, and increasing safety. More cyclists also means less demand for gas, which means potentially lower prices for gas.
"Terry hate cyclists"

Doesn't like tight buttocks?
@82 you first, dear. You've already shown a lack of understanding of news articles. Now demonstrate the lack of understanding of traffic concepts. I'm not your Wikipedia/Google.
Its the near universal excessive speed of cars that is the issue. More dangerous than any number of bicycles running a red light.
@98: "Traffic calming" refers to a number of physical modifications that can be made to a road, which cumulatively discourage motorists from traveling at high speeds and make reckless maneuvering all but impossible.

You referred to traffic calming as intangible "feel-good laws." Which makes you an idiot.

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