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therefore, the riders you describe are not going to be in our bike lanes for decades - until the fixey riders are pensioners.
(What I'm saying is there are plenty of people riding fast on clippy-clappy pedals in European bike meccas, they just don't do it downtown where all the traffic is.)
I love your speculative fiction posts.
As I "mature" I can tell you that slower is better, I let them honk and jet around me middle fingers extended. And then I laugh at them.
Give us lots of protected bike lanes as part of a large, connected network and I will happily slow down as my 40s continue and my 50s start. And all the other latent bike riders out there will more happily join me while the bike messengers and those training for races can figure out their own solution. In other words, we know what we're fighting for: It's to have a system that welcomes everyone and makes riding easier in all sorts of ways!
Think before you write man. That seems like it may be a new concept for you, judging from the last 20 years of shit you've put out there (that's not your Savage Love column), but try it. You might like it.
Nothing tighter fitting than sweatpants cut into shorts for me.
I ride on the sidewalk...away from cars...where it's safe...safer than US style bikelanes next to left side car doors.
I go slow.
I use the lowest gears possible in all situations.
I ride upright, or even stand up on the pedals.
I like to go downhill.
And Kent is my Munich.
Mostly though, I just wanted to comment on that big beautiful arch in the background there. Hope you got to ride under it. Hot damn, I wish we had more big beautiful arches like that.
As for those motorists who complain about having been slowed down by cyclists I fully believe you've never been delayed a single second by a cyclist - because the moment you get around them you start speeding to make up the perceived loss of time; you get to your destination at the same time that you would have.
I know it's not fun driving your behemoth in the presence of vulnerable squishy cyclists and pedestrians - but don't take your fear of hurting others out on others - just exercise due care - it's not hard.
I really get tired of this general attitude because sometimes you're trying to do something like pick up a sick kid, take your spouse to the walk in clinic for what later turned into a gallstone or whatever and there's some self-centered asshole on the left who has decided that "well I don't need to be anywhere, so neither does anyone else". There are times where people have a legitimate, non-life threatening need to travel at a speed faster than "distracted tourist" and yet there they are, holding up the left without a care in the world!
This goes for cars, this goes for bikes, this goes for those asinine groups of people who walk side by side in large groups. Fuck you, each and every one of you.
I've been biking in Berlin and Copenhagen, and I have no problem with the pace, flowing with the pack, dedicated lanes, no need for a helmet. It's calm and it's safe and it gets you where you want to go. I'd be happy with that here, even if it added more time to my commute. Way less stressful than dealing with a small but nasty subset of people who drive cars who can't stand sharing the road with a person on a bicycle...territorial and aggressive and mean, driving closer to the curb to keep me from moving past on a congested road, yelling, revving their engines and roaring past with only inches to spare. All I want to do is get to work. I'm not trying to win a race or prove a point.
OK, so I'm not reading the comments here, but wanted to chime in to say: Dan, did you see how many people made it through a single green light in that biking video? In the city, I'd guess 4–6 cars can make it through a light on a good cycle. Most people drive alone.
Imagine if all those people were in cars. What type of infrastructure would the city need to support their commute? I think you're arguing a strawman; sane cycling advocacy (and not "I got mine, now fuck you" types) goes hand-in-hand with urbanism and environmental advocacy; it's not about "not sitting in traffic", it's about scaling our cities to support equality, density, and sustainability.
In short, that video made a point, but not the one you thought it made.
Firstly, it is not so much that Europeans have some wildly different risk modelling as much as that – most especially in the places you mention – if you hurt someone while driving an automobile, or a bicycle for that matter, you are actually punished for your infraction; traffic safety is no joke in those places and the true cost of “accidents”, or even accidents, is not splayed out across society as a whole as it is here with mere wrist slaps as long as you can prove sobriety. Indeed, the adherence to the respective traffic rules would make most any American’s head spin.
As for the speed, I think everyplace you mention is flat…hence the slow speed and lack of perspiration. And let us not romanticize the Danes too much as any cursory ride around Copenhagen reveals what may be a startling truth to some: they do not ride that far on average. Nothing against that, mind you, but they also have dedicated passenger trains as well as a shitload of people driving cars. Did I mention that they are incredibly courteous and law-abiding drivers?
And, the infrastructure…because of the bike-ways and the like, not only can you ride a bike as you might walk a sidewalk here, but like walking on a sidewalk, the transition time between the bike and anything else, e.g. café, work, shop, bar, etc…is greatly reduced. People do not dress all super-bikey because they do not have to despite weather conditions that are quite similar to Seattle. For example, try riding across the I-90 Bridge multi-use path on a rainy day in your work/office clothes…disgusting! Riding around Copenhagen on a rainy day is hardly an issue at all...just a bit wet.
Also in regard to transition time, have you seen the investments the Dutch are making in bicycle parking alone? Crazy…
”Bicycle Parking Facility at Rotterdam Central Station” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWESiQlm…
So yah, I will have to keep “…lycra bike fetish outfits and snippy-snappy bike shoes…” in the closet until race-day, but whatevs…to have what the Danes, most especially the Dutch, or even Berlin, has would be so many orders of magnitude better than the shit-show we have here. We have the monies, we lack the will.
Also, there were a couple articles in The Guardian and Wall Street Journal this week about mandatory helmet laws vs. ridership in Seattle compared to other cities, and the impact on bike share programs:
As both a cyclist and a driver, I really hate the bike lane passers. Yes, a cyclist can take the car lane even if there's a bike lane, if they need to, but when they do so by veering into the car lane without signaling, it's unsafe and annoying as fuck.
But while cycling there is nothing more annoying than some fuckstick passing you in a big show of competitive frenzy only to pull in front of you and slow down. Happens all the fucking time, if you are a moderately strong cyclist who knows how to use his gears (most riders don't) but who isn't obsessed with being the fastest off the line. You're not in a race.
Also, shoaling should be punished by death.
Another factor is that European cities were built when no one could travel faster than a horse, so walking was the predominant mode of transit for the majority. Cars came much, much later, and lanes accommodating motor cars were retrofitted into these cities. Most european cities I've visited have large pedestrian-only areas, and sidewalks that can accommodate large quantities of pedestrians.
Most/all major cities from Chicago westward were largely constructed around the concept of car travel, not pedestrians, with the (erroneous) philosophy that everyone would get everywhere in motor cars. So subsequently pedestrian and bicycle routes were de-emphasized. And now we're retrofitting out cities to accomodate/prefer (one would hope) these modes of transit.
That all means that currently we're decades away from any sort of comprehensive network of truly-separated bicycle lanes (not just paint or sharrows), which means Seattle bicyclists have to constantly mix and mingle in lanes with cars, trucks, and buses, which does induce a pressure to go faster.
Once we do have a better bicycleable city, more people will use bicycles, and the speeds will naturally slow down because bicyclists won't be constantly fearing for their lives -- as they do today.
Bicycle racers will have plenty of places to go long and fast, they have no reason to try to race-train downtown.
This scenario only makes sense if the driver has failed to signal and merge properly, which I believe plenty of people do, but doesn't mean you've saved a life, it means you managed not to commit negligent homicide.
The Dutch are working to get faster cyclists off of cycletracks and into the street. The Dutch Cyclists Union says fast cyclists make sidepaths hazardous and unwelcoming for their intended audience, those slower, more vulnerable users who aren't comfortable riding in the street -- children, the elderly, casual riders on upright roadsters, etc.
Germany, too, has softened its mandatory sidepath law -- faster riders are free to ride in the street except where specifically signed to require them to use the sidepath. That's why you see the sidepaths full of slower riders, they're comfortable riding there, avoiding conflicts with faster vehicles.
You can already see this in Seattle, with our limited collection of bicycle facilities -- many riders choose the street over the sidepath on 2nd Ave, for example, because the path isn't safe at the speed many riders can simply coast southbound on 2nd. Broadway's cycletrack provides last-mile access to locations right on Broadway itself, but faster riders use safer routes for long-distance trips, diverting over to 12th, for example.
Supporting bicycling by people of all ages and abilities doesn't mean corralling everyone onto some one-size-fits-all path. Separated facilities provide comfort for slower and more vulnerable users over a limited selection of routes, while streets continue to provide access throughout the city.
The reason that people don't mind the slower pace on the bike has nothing to do with the difference between Americans and Europeans and everything to do with how we perceive waiting when stuck in a car. It can be downright pleasant to have an excuse to slow down on the bike - look around, listen, exchange greetings with a fellow cyclist, catch your breath. Contrast with the feelings you get when you pull up to a big traffic jam in your car - stress, anger, helplessness.
I wish more cars used turn signals MUCH sooner. That would help a lot.
Don't flip your signal on at the last second, signal ahead of time, so people are alerted to your intention.
I think there are many reasons why we bike faster than Europeans. One reason, living in the US we are forced to rush around everywhere all the time because we work way too much. More hours per day at work, more hours per day getting to and from work, and fewer holidays/vacation (we're talking like 25 more days of work every year) . If we didn't have to work so fucking much we wouldn't feel the need to rush around and get all the other shit done. So much of our time is filled with bullshit that we just want to get from A to B to C and be done with it so we can actually enjoy what little time we get to relax.
This is critically an inaccurate comparison.
Driving is inherently stressful, whether you drive fast, or are stuck in slow gridlock, it is stressful. You are commanding a tank that could kill in a moment's lapse of attention.
Bicycling is not stressful... especially going at a normal 8-12 mph pace. Even in "trafficky" groups.
Riding a bicycle IS stressful when you have to mix in lanes with cars, risking death.
Apple =/= Orange.
I agree it will piss off the wingnuts in their spandex, but whatever -- inner-city streets aren't the place to get your cardio workout! You want to put the hammer down, go out to the country or hit the gym.
The law is clear, both the approach to a right turn, and the right turn itself, must be made from as close to the right curb as practicable.
To make a right turn on a street with a bike lane, the driver is supposed to signal well before the turn, merge safely to the right, yielding to anyone already in the bike lane, and then make the right turn, from a position where there simply *cant* be a bike hidden in their blind spot. (As long as the bike lane isn't physically separated, of course -- then drivers do have to watch out for bikes overtaking on the right. It's a tradeoff, more separation mid-block, but more hazardous at intersections, especially for faster cyclists.)
Having just spent some time in London, Paris, and Gent, I'll add that Europeans drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are much more congenial about sharing the roads and are waaaaaaaaayyy less sensitive and territorial with each other.
People in aren't nearly obsessed with right-of-way as Americans - people just sort of figure out on the fly which of them would stop or yield based on whatever made sense. If a pedestrian starts crossing, cars stop. If they just stand there with a hopeful look on their face, they generally don't. Bikes weave in an out of traffic, and no one cares. People go around each other if necessary without posting peevish and petty articles to alternative newspapers demanding change. Nobody throws a hissy fit if a car happens to nose into the crosswalk. Horn honking is more a means of practical communication, not an expression of rage.
The system is just so much more pleasant and functional when different modes of transportation aren't at war with each other.
1 - Car and cyclist both at stoplight waiting for the green headed the same direction.
2. - Immediately after making it trough the intersection, car wants to turn right at the very next block. Bicyclist is using a "sharrow" bike lane.
3. - Car is just a little ahead of the bicyclist.
4. - Unless car driver is certain that the bicyclist has seen the turn signal is aware and can accommodate the turn, the the driver has no choice but to abandon the turn.
No choice? How about choosing to act with the tiniest shred of patience and humanity and waiting for the cyclist to continue straight. There are two pedals down there to choose from, try the one on the left sometime, most of us call it the brake.
Seriously, Dan? That's unusually nasty coming from you, in the old tradition of "a well-dressed woman is surely frivolous". Looks like a kid carrier to me (http://triobike.com/projects/triobike-bo…), in which case she had plenty of good reasons to go slowly and carefully. And she may well be a working mother, with plenty of good reasons to dress fashionably (not that she would need a reason, right?).
This sounds fine.
Helmets don't work, except for those in traffic or kids doing stunts or learning.
So the future isn't all that bleak.
I can't see how a bicycle can possibly force you to abandon a right turn unless your brakes don't work.
Seattle bikers, thanks to a variety of factors, do need to get from one part of town to another on a regular basis, often up & down hills, which is why 18+ speed road bikes are popular here.
Separated on-street bike lanes getting too full would a good problem for Seattle to have... If this actually happens, we can deal with it in a variety of ways. 3rd Ave as a bike+transit-only street the whole way, with 10' bike lanes going each direction, say?