Okay, Fine, It's War

Cyclists are dying, collisions are rising, and people who claim that there is a "War on Cars" are out of control—it's time for a reality check and an action plan.

Comments

1
Thank you, especially for calling out the fomenters of the vicious rhetoric that's getting us killed.
2
Classic. I can't say my impression of O'Brien's ass is anything like yours - he's a nice fellow and a lovely council member, but a middle-aged pudge is a middle-aged pudge.
3
I enjoy misconstruing II for the image of ferries reaching every neighborhood.
4
There's a lovely section in Lewis Mumford's The City in History where he describes the advent of superfast (in that era) wheeled conveyances in European cities during the Enlightenment. Carriages with one or two horses might go faster than the people walking in the streets, but once you could hook up four or six horses you could go a lot faster. And that's when the street changed. Suddenly the aristocracy could literally mow down the non-wheeled masses in their way, and they did so with alarming frequency. Dickens describes this phenomenon movingly - if a bit hamfistedly - in A Tale of Two Cities.

I mention Mumford's book especially for gloomy gus, because if he hasn't read it I think he'd enjoy it immensely. You can read large chunks of it on Google Books, gus, if you want a preview. It's truly marvelous.
5
Nary a mention of the benefits of car ownership. How odd.
6
BIKE HIPSTERS DESERVE TO GET HIT.
7
When this town can get more than 40 bikes attending a Critical Mass, you can start talking about Wars and Manifestos. That shit could/should absolutely shut the city down -- as it does in many other cities -- and it will show that you mean business. It works, it shows unity, it shows you won't be pushed around and it's EASY. Get your asses out there.

(and for what it's worth, I don't own a bike and only drive to the grocery store.)
8
When Critical Mass stops being a bunch of douchebags who intentionally break traffic laws maybe they'll get more people to join them.
9
@7: I don't think Critical Mass helps. They only perpetuate the idea that cyclists see themselves as somehow immune to traffic laws. Tactics like plugging intersections so they can ignore red lights, and occasionally engaging in violence against people who honk at them, don't aid the cause.

It would be much better, I think, to style a protest along the lines of the ones that motorists staged during the 55-mph speed limit years -- get a bunch of cyclists together and studiously follow every single traffic law, even when doing so slows down both them and general traffic flow.
10
@masmadness, 2,378 bicyclists were hit last year by people driving to or from the grocery store. (though, almost all were those driving from the grocery store. The thought of popping in a couple Hot Pockets in the oven caused drivers to ignore everything but the gas peddle).

Those Critical Mass bike events only piss people off. And definitely not in a "gosh these bikers are really trying to get a point across" kind of way. It's more of a " if these fucking assholes don't get out of my fucking way I'm going to go Road Warrior on these pussies" sort of way.
11
Being a pedestrian all the time, I do want to know how many of the pedestrians hit were walking against the light. It's a gripe I have had about pedestrians, and to preempt some of you, no, I have never jaywalked, honestly. I'm the one you see standing at the corner when a cop is directing traffic waiting for the officer to acknowledge and wave the pedestrians through specifically. I'm the one that will stop when the light is flashing unless there's more than 5 seconds available (when that's shown, if not I just stop). I'm also the one that ... well ... drags my hand along cars pulled into the crosswalk in the hopes that I scratch it on accident .... because there's no way to avoid that and stay in the crosswalk. I'm the one that will take the few extra steps to get to a crosswalk even though I am going straight across the street, in areas there are crosswalks. So yeah, I do have room to gripe. Jaywalking is literally putting your lives in the motorist's hands and most motorists are horrible drivers. So yeah, how many were jaywalking, though I feel sorry about the toddler I have seen parents with infants jet across the middle of a busy street and that sickens me.
12
Thanks for the suggestion, TVDinner! I'm the sort of lazy bum who read Jane Jacobs' delightful scoffing at some Mumford ideas but was too incurious to pick up the man's work my own damn self. I'll give it a go.
13
Awesome call to action. Loved your city expenditures on transit graph.
14
It's not as simple as your drivers vs. non-drivers dichotomy. You people assume that everyone who uses transit or rides a bike doesn't own a car, and that people who own cars never get around town by any other means.

That's probably true among the employees of the Stranger. It's not true of the city at large. But go ahead, keep casting every car owner as some evil predator who hates bikes and buses. Throwing more dumb rhetoric at a problem always makes it better.

I own a car and am happy to pay for the privelege. I also own an Orca card, a nice bike, and three pairs of good walking shoes. Getting around town doesn't have to be an either/or thing.
15
Critical Mass neither helps nor hurts the local cycling climate. The effect of Critical Mass on infrastructure and laws is erratic and almost readily dismissed. Compare relative "mass" of each city's CM and you'll notice that some cities with robust networks have Critical Mass in just the same tempo and visibility as cities that have little in the way of bike networks.

What CM *does* do is connect cycling activists from time to time, even if alliances are only as long as the legislative session that spawned them.

So that's that. And now, manifesto time:

To the article, I want to just point out that y'all forgot Senator Kline. Say what you will about him (you already do), but he did successfully pass the Vulnerable Users Bill in the Senate, which was surprisingly easy in a surprisingly rough climate.

Ultimately this entire article and all our arguments are pointing to one pressing need -- safe routes and streets for all. If we're going to demand that person pays more or this person needs a license or these people should get less service or that sidewalk is more important, we need to be prepared in the same breath to say that a comprehensive move to enhancing safety and circulation for everyone needs to be passed.

We absolutely need to tap our limited funding for something that works on infrastructure so that when service changes force person A into a car from time to time, the few times they drive are smoother and don't conflict with buses, pedestrians and cyclists at the current rate we're seeing. We need to invest in a way that makes person B more excited about those days they can leave the car at home, bike to a bus stop, latch onto a speedy downtown-bound bus and cross streets safely. And person C should be able to get their kids to school without having to drive 6 blocks.

In reality, everyone outside of the Baltersphere is just trying to get home. This trumped up climate of putting cyclists and drivers and pedestrians in a cage and telling them to fight is dragging Seattle down. No other battle has upset our local politics more than this push to cause strife among neighbors and friends based on how they get from Point A to Point B. This fight is just another way to keep people from seeing our real needs: a comprehensive transportation system for all of Seattle. It's the reason we're left with a revenue stream we had to finesse with legislation in order to make it a more progressive option -- the pressure to keep Seattle from spending on a more robust and functional transportation network is simply against making it easy.

I'm willing to call a truce right here and right now if we can actually do something constructive, even if it means we're only doing it to flip off Joni Balter. This means recognizing the need to pay for infrastructure improvements this year, pushing to shift that revenue stream into a more broad and far more progressive one and finally dropping this trumped up and faked diversion that stalls needed investment and delights Balter and Blethen. We need to drop this fight.

The fight has blinded us so much we're actually running each other down in the streets.

So let's work to make streets for ALL Seattle residents. No more of this "$50,000 paint bucket" or "why does X neighborhood get nice traffic circles" or other meaningless ranting. Let's proceed with what we have, guide it, finesse it, build now, fix, correct and make everything work better for everyone, from revenue collection to expenditure, from center lane to sidewalk, from Lake City to Delridge.

For ALL of Seattle.

*drops the mic*
16
I'm a long time bike rider in this town, and I'm pretty sick of this sanctimonious nonsense. It's not a lifestyle, or a statement. This town has steep hills, narrow streets and it rains. A lot. Biking will NEVER be a decent commute alternative here - even if the participation doubles, over 90% of workers will still have to use our 'public transportation system', or drive their cars.
Again, I'm a biker myself, but give me a break! I'll happily pay a reg fee to the city each year to build new bike paths - why shouldn't we bikers pay for it? Immature tirades about class warfare will might work for the Stranger readership, but we're not the only ones that live here. Get real and stop bleating.
17
Good to see progressives get so fired up about their uncommon yet somehow especially important mode of transportation. This will totally reach mainstream ears and attain mainstream appeal; everyone would love, in the longrun, to move a cyclist-based transportation infrastructure.

This totally isn't a drop in the bucket contrasted with the magnificent troubles this country is suffering. This totally isn't a problem predominantly relegated to wealthier white liberals.
18
If there's a war on cars, do we get to choose our own weapons? There's a spot next to the hook I hang my bike helmet on that would be ideal for a paintball pistol and holster.

And just because I never followed through on that vow to bring a pea shooter to the theatre in order to deal with talkers/texters/nonphonesilencers, don't assume I'm necessarily joking.
19
The "War on Cars" is a "War on Bikes."
20
Fuck it. Lets just rip out all of the roads.
21
Okay, maybe that would appear a little menacing. Suppose I combine the two ideas and bike with a paintball blowgun at the ready?
22
@9/10...if bikers don't want to have them (C. Mass) they don't have to, what I'm saying is that going strictly on the ideology of the whole thing isn't going to work. Critical Mass is non-violent civil disobedience, and that's a better way to get this done. Not by talking about rights and wrongs ad nausea. Everything in this article is absolutely correct and perfectly logical, bicyclists have every law and moral angle on their side. But it won't get them anywhere.

Bicyclists get put in danger, harassed, run off of roads and picked on specifically because they are usually by themselves, and they can't do shit to a car other than dent a fender. Critical Mass takes that away. The "road warrior" fear is legit, unfortunately...but come on. More seniors have rammed farmers markets than drivers have gone crazy at Critical Mass.

http://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/Conflicts_i…

It's unfortunate that the rhetoric on the part of drivers has gotten so keyed up, but I still don't see someone committing mass cycle-cide because of a 10 minute wait at the light. In SF they block intersections for up to 45 minutes, once a month, with no more than annoyed looks. People, who do not ride bikes PLAN THEIR (4th) FRIDAY NIGHTS AROUND CRITICAL MASS, and understand exactly why they have to deal with it. Because people with bikes got tired of seeing their friends get killed.

Do what you want...all I'm saying is the ideas aren't going to save you on this one, and if you want to go that route, I don't want to hear about "war". It's the same old shit in a long-form essay...not exactly revolution sparking.

23
@15 *slow clap*

Keep being awesome, BC.
24
@17:
This totally isn't a problem predominantly relegated to wealthier white liberals
If they were still around, I suspect that Wyndel Hunt, George Demendoza and Mike Wang – at least – would take issue with that.
25
@16 My experience living in Munich runs counter to your forecast that hostile weather will prevent mass adoption of cycling for commuting.
Their gas prices went up, they blanketed their city with bike lanes, and so many people switched to bikes, even in hostile winters, that gridlock practically disappeared. (At least until FC Bayern wins an important match.)

Perhaps we should give infrastructure a shot.

@18 I've contemplated spurs. If respect for human life isn't motivation enough to give 3 feet, maybe fear for your precious paint job would be.

(I used to drive not only for transportation, but also for sport. But years of a car-free life led to an appreciation for the damage automobile dependance does to our culture. Recently, hostile driver behavior and the death of a friend easily dismissed with the "I didn't see him" defense has me ready to take up arms in this war.)
26
Oh god...here we go again. I will prepare myself for feeling insulted by someone on this thread by virtue of my driving a car. At which point someone will defend my car driving ways with some extreme language, which will then prompt more extreme language. . .

Oh, and that's how this "War" started.

How about this for Manifesto:

If you are on the road, pay goddamn attention.
27
@14: It's not as simple as your drivers vs. non-drivers dichotomy... But go ahead, keep casting every car owner as some evil predator who hates bikes and buses. Throwing more dumb rhetoric at a problem always makes it better.

QFT.
28
I could care less about another war on anything. I bike commute and I drive. I think everybody except the .83 crowd does both. I see SUVs with Share the Road license plates all the time. I live on 51st in Wallingford, a street that gets a lot of surface car traffic when 50th backs up (all the time). As a bike greenway with residential car traffic it would be a lot safer for the people who live there. I think I'll join Spokespeople and see if we can't make that happen. That seems reasonable. As for your war or the car-people's war or any other war, I'll pass.
29
The age of Us Versus Them ... welcome to the modern era.
30
Dear Stranger,

Stop lumping pedestrians with bikers. We walkers are threatened more by bike-riding miscreants not paying attention than we are by drivers, who are at least predictable. The morons you are egging on by this article are only getting dumber as time goes on. Get off your soapbox.

Thanks,
The Pedestrians of Seattle
31
And, Hernandez FTW.
32
In this 'war on cars', only bicyclists are dying.
33
@22: Critical Mass is non-violent civil disobedience...

Uhm, no.
http://slog.thestranger.com/2008/07/last…
34
Oh good. Another war on something. Those always work.
35
@30

Sorry, but the statistics do not support your statement. Hundreds of pedestrians have been killed on our streets in the last ten years. How many were killed by cars and how many were killed by bicycles?
36
Cyclists are to pedestrians what motorists are to cyclists.

My dog and I are regularly terrorized by inconsiderate cyclists as we walk along the Mountain to Sound path. One of these days there's going to be a terrible accident where one or both of us will wind up in the hospital or worse.

More often than not, cyclists ride their bikes like motorists drive their cars. It's all about them. They think they own the path or the road.

The problem is not what vehicle (bicycle or car) one is operating, but the selfishness and rudeness of the operator.
37
@35 While I agree that cars hurt more, being killed isn't the only injury. A collision with a cyclist may not kill you but there is a high chance of serious harm, by narrowing it to only deaths you are showing bias. Anyone who thinks that lifetime pain from an injury is just not important is really heartless to. But, the number of collisions is probably about even when you include them all if you base it on percentage of drivers and percentage of cyclists. Again, it's not one or the other's problem, it's everyone that needs to start being safer.
38
Cyclists are to pedestrians what motorists are to cyclists.

My dog and I are regularly terrorized by inconsiderate cyclists as we walk along the Mountain to Sound path. One of these days there's going to be a terrible accident where one or both of us will wind up in the hospital or worse.

More often than not, cyclists ride their bikes like motorists drive their cars. It's all about them. They think they own the path or the road.

The problem is not what vehicle (bicycle or car) one is operating, but the selfishness and rudeness of the operator.
39
I drive, I bike, I walk. I'm at war with myself!
40
Wang's death pisses me off the most out of all of these, primarily because the fucking cowardly piece of shit driver ran away. But it also pisses me off because sensible, safe people don't take dangerous turns like that, and it personally scares me that, as a driver, I have to share the roads with such craven morons. How much longer before that brown SUV kills someone else?
41
RRoland @16: Uh, you already do pay for bike infrastructure. In fact auto drivers in Seattle are subsidized by bicyclists. Seattle roads, bike lanes and bike paths are paid for primarily through sales taxes and property taxes, which everyone pays, and which cyclists pay a disproportionate amount of. A bike registration fee would be inefficient to enforce and expensive to implement, and is a bad idea.
42
I notice that attorney quoted in the article wrote a book on bicycle accident law in Washington state. http://www.washingtonaccidentbooks.com/w…
43
@41 - I'm curious. How do bicyclists pay "a disproportionate amount" of sales and property taxes vs. motorists?
44
"In a cavalcade of logical fallicies," The Stranger once again fails to thoroughly investigate and report facts on all sides of an issue and instead emphasizes only the opinions that support its tired and supposedly progressive platform. Good thing you're not taken seriously as journalists.
45
Also, @ 41, not everyone pays property tax.
46
@45 everyone pays property tax except clergy. You don't have to pay it directly out of pocket; renters most certainly pay it as a part of their rent.
47
Do folks in wheelchairs count as pedestrians or bikes? I saw a woman in a wheel chair get knocked over by a car turning right (but looking left) at a red light.

I am for more bike lanes that way I know where I should be and where they should be.
48
Most rents are not high enough to factor in property taxes. Some rents may be high enough to account for it, but far from all. So no, not everyone pays property tax except clergy.
49
@5 People know the benefits of car ownership.
50
@48 OK, you win the internets. Hurray!
51
Oh gee, are people here just copying/pasting comments from past threads?

"When this town can get more than 40 bikes attending a Critical Mass, you can start talking about Wars and Manifestos"

You realize that CM has been going on for nearly 20 years here? Many rides have consisted of hundreds and hundreds of riders. If you really think that the 100+ rides have all had less than 40 riders I'd love to see your proof.
52
@43: Cyclists pay property and sales taxes at the same rate as motorists, but the amount of infrastructure built for cyclists and the impact cyclists make upon that infrastructure (i.e. potholes) is much, much smaller than that made by a motorist. Therefore, cyclists pay a disproportionate amount for the roads they use when compared to motorists.
53
DOUG @41 will make up any shit he wants to and pull it out of his ass at any time to score gotcha points on blogs. Most people are on to his game.
54
@46 even non-profit foundations?
55
@48- So how do you think landlords pay their property taxes? They're not operating at a loss.
56
@48: Technically, the rent has to be high enough to factor in property taxes, because otherwise the landlord would be losing money. It's a cost of doing business for him/her. When you pay rent you're paying your share of your landlord's property taxes, their mortgage, and their maintenance costs.
57
@52: You're assuming (a) that these cyclists do not also own cars, and (b) that they don't take public transit or patronize businesses that get their goods shipped in by truck.

The fact is everyone benefits from the road network. Without roads there wouldn't be a city to complain about.
58
I love my car and don't bike much. But I am totally with the bikers on this. Car drivers should pay their own way. And know how to drive.
59
@25: Munich is also flat (it's farther from the mountains than most people think). I've been living in Berlin for about 3 years now and while the weather here is totally shitty, it is also completely flat. If you threw a few Queen Anne/downtown sort of hills in Berlin, I bet you would lose the vast majority of your cyclists. And even my most dedicated cycling friends resort to the taking the commuter train when the weather turns.
But I do have some problems lumping pedestrians with cyclists. First off--look at those numbers! Who are the people who are really being slaughtered by motorists? Secondly, I had many, many problems dealing with cyclists while being a pedestrian in Seattle (I lived there for about 3 years), both when I was running for fitness and when I was walking to/from work or running errands. Cyclists also need to own up to bad behavior.
Sometimes I do find myself driving around Portland and Seattle when I go back to visit friends/family. I always try to be careful and double-check for a cyclist before making a right turn, pulling out of a driveway, opening a door, etc. I would LOVE it if there were streets dedicated to cyclists. Portland doesn't dedicate entire streets, but there are streets I know are heavily utilized by cyclists and I avoid them at all costs. Usually it makes absolutely no difference anyway, as these streets tend to be little side streets running parallel to the major arteries. It seems to me that having dedicated bike routes that are clearly marked so cyclists can use them and motorists can avoid them is definitely the simplest solution.
60
@52 - Well, at least I can see your logic. Even if I don't agree with it.

The same argument can be said that motorists subsidize buses and light rail, and pay for your bike lanes due to gas taxes, license fees, etc.

But really, it's a silly argument. I WANT to pay for those things. As a motorist, I want more public transit, bicyclists, etc. Less congestion. Less pollution. Less wear and tear on the roads. And it benefits my community. Who gives a shit who pays more of a share? EVERYONE BENEFITS.

61
"European capitals like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Portland"

Which European country is Portland the capital of??
62
@59: I think maybe the whole idea of mixing motor and bicycle traffic is incompatible with the idea of having bicycle commuting catch on with the masses. And not just because people are afraid to ride in traffic. Safely riding in traffic requires keeping the speed difference between you and the cars to a minimum, which means riding fast. Even in favorable weather it's almost impossible to do this without being a sweaty mess when you arrive at your destination. If you're basting in your own juices under rain gear it's even more miserable.
63
@61: Portlandia. Duh.
64
Orv @57: "The fact is everyone benefits from the road network. Without roads there wouldn't be a city to complain about."

I totally agree. My main point was to the guy @16 who seemed to think that cyclists didn't pay for roads.
65
@60: Point taken. It's the notion that cyclists are transportation freeloaders that I'm trying to refute.
66
'Bout time. Should of started this back in the 70's when the USA went from a net exporter to net importer of oil. ¡Sî se puede! Teach your kids that walking is cooler than driving - walk with them to run the errands and to play outside on the weekends. Yes, walking takes longer (especially with little kids), but it must be done. Good luck!
67
I hate you all, equally.
68
Do folks in wheelchairs count as pedestrians or bikes? I saw a woman in a wheel chair get knocked over by a car turning right (but looking left) at a red light.


Pedestrian. Simply being in a vehicle isn't enough to qualify as being one. People in wheelchairs act as pedestrians (sticking to sidewalks and crosswalks) and should therefore be treated as such.
69
@66: Well said, Mrs. Jarvie! I walk or ride the bus where I live on the days that I don't drive, and am grateful that the local streets are still pedestrian friendly. It appears that in Seattle, they are not.

Hmmmm....how to visit Seattle anymore without driving, taking public transportation, or walking (I don't own a bike)......that's a toughie.
This escalating Battle of The Right of Way is just plain sad.
70
@69: The U District is still the most pedestrian friendly place I've ever been. I found out real quickly that trying to wait at the curb for a gap in traffic just confuses drivers, who stop and then wonder why you haven't started crossing yet.
71
@68: Depends. Are they using a motorized wheelchair/scooter? How fast can it go? Are you talking about Seattle or other places?

http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2009/04/cycl…

72
An old Chicago saying "go play in traffic", like many things that happen everyday that politypiggys and punks alike act like it never happens we can say we are just like Portland and just what part of "You are going to be road kill" did You not understand?

73
The irony of this article appearing in the paper today.....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/world/…
74
Drivers have the responsibility of being extra careful because they are running through highly populated areas in a giant hunk of metal at high speeds. All infrastructure currently bows to the car, so they ought to have a little courtesy in return.

Bikes have the responsibility of being extra careful because they are sometimes stealthy and hard to see and hear coming. They ought to help drivers and peds out by being consistent and law-abiding. Use a bell, reflectors, lights.

Pedestrians have the responsibility of paying attention and defensive walking when you encounter a street, and realize that sometimes a bike needs to be on a sidewalk due to unsafe streets. Don't assume anyone can see you, walk as if you are invisible, because in some conditions, you might be.

EVERYONE needs to be more understanding and realize that all kinds of people drive, walk and bike and we all deserve a break once in awhile.

EVERYONE needs to put away the smartphones while moving, regardless of mode of transport. I would bet that almost every accident these days involves someone not paying attention to the road and their surroundings because they are texting.

Be safe all...
75
The article compares the number of fatalities for cyclists, but doesn't include the other data that's necessary to evaluate. How many bicycle-miles were there in the compared years?

For a true comparison, how many fatalities are there per mile, or even per cyclist on the road? Is there any net change in the number of accidents (including non-fatality)? How about car traffic? More? Less? Fatalities or accidents per mile driven in the city?

Statistically, the numbers you're talking about (four times as many) are worthless.
76
Thanks, Stranger!

Fresh from your support of the Boy Mayor (approval rating 23%), and your opposition to the tunnel (approved by 60%), you declare a War on Cars.

This ought to go well. See you in November. You know, that new $60 car tab fee? What will you say when the voters of Seattle fart in your direction?
77
Most cyclistas are poor white kids with a bad attitude, and are jealous of people who can afford real wheels.
78
Would better driver education help? Would better enforcement help (both for disobedient riders and cars)?

First, I find that most drivers are, in fact, adequately considerate towards riders. But, even if only 1% aren't, that still creates quite a danger.

I'd like to see serious penalties if a driver comes within 3' (or 5' on faster roads) of a cyclist. And, I'd like to see some of these laws, like that one, incorporated into the driver's test.
79
Oh hell yeah.

Seattle is the most enlightened place I've lived as far as shared roadways, but there's still a long way to go. It blows me away every time a car buzzes me just to race up to a red light. Do drivers not realize the total lack of equivalency in outcomes? You hit us, we die. We hit you, you get a dent. Is human life really so cheap that you're willing to risk it for the chance to get home thirty seconds faster? Are you going to be able to live with yourself for the rest of your life knowing that you killed someone?

We are doing this city, including its drivers, a FAVOR by biking. We make the snarling traffic better. We make the air cleaner. We make this a more progressive, attractive place to live. We lower the demand for gas. And the thanks we get are fucking existential threats from distracted fatties in their cars on a daily basis?

Nope. Time to get into the 21st century. Respect human life. And that goes for bikers, too--don't do dumb shit and definitely leave the sidewalks for the pedestrians.
80
It's only seven sentences in length, but here's an editorial from the Seattle TImes in 1942 that discusses the increase in deaths of bicyclists:

http://classifiedhumanity.com/post/10226…

81
@76- You're really jealous, aren't you?
82
There is a simple solution to all of this: tax gas to at least five bucks a gallon.

Then sit back and watch this city's attitude change to alternative transportation.

Government is for the future, and cars are clearly the past.
83
Hay deutche bag hipsters ... just because your fixed wheeled bikes are trendy does not mean you're really against cars. After all, years from now (when you inherit the trust fund) you'll need roads to drive on (hopefully electric cars).

In the mean time, it is worth asking the retards who run the Cascade Bicycle Club why they did not advocate grade separation in Seattle's Bicycle Master Plan? Mixing cars and bikes on arterials was fucking stupid.
84
@70: Thanks. That's good to know.

@74: Well said! That all makes sense to me.
85
I live in a big house and drive a big car, I burn gas for fun, make 500K a year and laugh at the sorry plight of you downtown baristas living on top of each other like ants and pretending it is some kind of super-utopia.
I know you hate me, and I don't care.....now chop chop, make me my coffee you little peon.
86
Glad to see that moronic "War on Cars" rhetoric get the treatment it deserves. While everything in this manifesto is great, here's a few more ideas for improving traffic generally (I do not own a car, although I drive occasionally for business).

-- Eliminate most on-street parking. This fouls traffic (I live on Capitol Hill, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, pedestrians are in great danger -- those drivers are looking for parking spots, not pedestrians) and takes up precious pavement space. Also, when I ride a bike, I always wonder why drivers act like they can't see anything. Then, when I drive, I find my view constantly blocked by parked cars. That small change in elevation, from the bike seat to the driver's seat, means a lot when the view is cluttered with parked cars.

-- Synchronize the goddamned traffic lights already. As far as I can tell, the ONLY properly timed streets downtown are Second Avenue, Fourth Avenue, and Stewart Street. Pike Street downtown is an especially bad route, as every light seems to turn red as the driver or cyclist approaches. If the town of Astoria, OR, can time their main drag at 20 mph (and put up actual signs informing the drivers of this!) then so can we.

-- In keeping with the last point, eliminate on-demand lights. I drove up through the near-deserted Industrial District this evening, and my trip was five minutes longer due to random (from my perspective) changes in the lights on Fourth Avenue South. Traffic on the arterial waits 30 seconds for five seconds of traffic from the side street.

-- Ban Critical Mass, by enforcing the traffic laws. I've ridden around this town for twenty years, and my visceral reaction to Critical Mass is to wade in there swinging a truck tire iron. NOBODY owns the road! (I once watched smog build over Broadway as Critical Mass ground their way along, damming an ever-expanding clot of cars behind them. Ugly in many ways, none of them flattering to us cyclists.)
87
I'll support bikes and bike lanes when they're paying a licensing fee (nowhere near as large as car tabs, but, you have to have a plate on your bike) so that those who ignore traffic laws can be tracked down. And when cops ENFORCE traffic laws with cyclists! There are too many cyclists that self-righteously ignore ALL traffic laws, then wonder why they get hit and killed. They seem to think they're above the law, because they can get away with it! I find it odd they expect only motorists to pay for the roads (despite the paltry amount paid by EVERYONE--NOT just cyclists-- through other means, such as property tax), yet insist they be given a chunk of it. It's like buying a pizza, and the cyclist wants the driver to pay for 3/4 of it, but they want half of it.
Then there's the self-righteous, "I'm GREEN, I'm not using fuel!" but you are...you're holding up traffic, causing all those cars behind you to burn MORE fuel. Bottom line is cyclists need to watch out for THEMSELVES, for they are squishy, and break easier than a 2-ton monstrosity of metal. Yes, egregious accidents happen at the fault of motorists, accidents between cars do daily, it's just more widely reported when it's car vs. bike because the cyclist is more likely to be horribly hurt in even the smallest accident. When they obey the rules of the road, not hold up traffic, and watch for themselves, get ticketed for offenses--THEN I will support them. It is not a viable option for me, living out of the area and needing to drive very far to doctors in Seattle, etc.
88
Even when I ride a bike I get run over by other militant bicyclists.
89
@80: Very cool. Thanks for the link!
90
@87: You can't "track down" cyclists or motorists for minor traffic offenses. These are citation offenses, which means the officer has to actually witness the behavior to write a ticket.
91
@cattycat
Then there's the self-righteous, "I'm GREEN, I'm not using fuel!" but you are...you're holding up traffic, causing all those cars behind you to burn MORE fuel.
No, we're not burning fuel, all those selfish(and there are only a few things more selfish then single occupancy vehicles in a metropolitan area) are burning fuel, to maintain there lazy, subsidized, unsustainable life style. Cars have there place, they are a very useful tool. The problem is how impractical and inefficient they are for getting around a city, not to mention dangerous.
92
In Houston last year.. two firetrucks collided where one ran a red light and killed a cyclist waiting at the intersection. A bicycle painted white attached to a pole with fake flowers is a memorial in her memory..She was employee of a nonprofit org Houston Center Of Photography.
93
Cars and the private automobile will eventually go the way of the dodo. Can't you hear it blowin' in the wind? I certainly can. The signs are there. You can huff and puff, car drivers, but the winds of change are blowing in our direction, the bicyclists, walkers and transit takers. Enjoy!
94
The problem is much deeper than Cars Vs. Bicycles. The problem is that many of us Americans are spoiled and immature brats. Similar to a sibling rivalry where one child throws a tantrum because their sibling got a better flavor of ice cream or cooler action figure.

The car folks panties are all wadded up because bikers get their own lane(gasp)Car folks are all butthurt because they see some bikers that don't obey the rules of the road.

Yet as they are driving their lethal 2 ton V12 Hemi they are chatting away on a cell or texting their Fantasy Football picks or even chugging an alcoholic beverage.

Bike folks got their spandex all chaffing up in their groin because car folks don't bow down to them. And in fact many car folks actually point and laugh at them in their brightly colored Spandex faux super hero outfits.

But the bottom line is that each side is as stubborn as a child and in such is right and the other side is a fucking idiot blah blah blah.

The problem is that many of us Americans are spoiled and immature brats and have very little respect for anything other than them or theirs.

95
Jesus...hyperbole much? Here's an idea...since our gas taxes/tabs pay for the roads we use and the crap mass transit that everyone agrees needs to be improved (but no one wants to pay for), how about all bike commuters register an license their bikes to pay for bike lanes and better transit? We don't pay our share? Bullroar!

I want to see cyclists ticketed for not following traffic laws. I want to see an end to this "I'm traffic, now I'm a pedestrian, now traffic again" crap. I don't want a cyclist to just whip out in front of me because the other cyclist in front of him in the bike lane is going too slow for him. I can't do that on a single-lane road if the car in front is too slow. I want to see cyclists wait at lights and stop at stop signs like the rest of traffic. Use traffic ticket monies to help fund more bike lanes and improve transit.

I don't have good joints, so I can't bike. I won't use the buses because they are horribly inconvenient for me. If transit improves, I'd use it and gladly leave my car at home more. It's just not an option now.

Why can't cyclists be held to the same standards of legality as drivers? Why can't they help pay for these things they demand? Instead of fomenting an "us vs. them" attitude, try coming up with helpful solutions. Everyone should pay their fair share.
96
Jesus...hyperbole much? Here's an idea...since our gas taxes/tabs pay for the roads we use and the crap mass transit that everyone agrees needs to be improved (but no one wants to pay for), how about all bike commuters register an license their bikes to pay for bike lanes and better transit? We don't pay our share? Bullroar!

I want to see cyclists ticketed for not following traffic laws. I want to see an end to this "I'm traffic, now I'm a pedestrian, now traffic again" crap. I don't want a cyclist to just whip out in front of me because the other cyclist in front of him in the bike lane is going too slow for him. I can't do that on a single-lane road if the car in front is too slow. I want to see cyclists wait at lights and stop at stop signs like the rest of traffic. Use traffic ticket monies to help fund more bike lanes and improve transit.

I don't have good joints, so I can't bike. I won't use the buses because they are horribly inconvenient for me. If transit improves, I'd use it and gladly leave my car at home more. It's just not an option now.

Why can't cyclists be held to the same standards of legality as drivers? Why can't they help pay for these things they demand? Instead of fomenting an "us vs. them" attitude, try coming up with helpful solutions. Everyone should pay their fair share.
97
Oh boy, I don't even know where to start with this...
98
gormoth @95: Your gas taxes and car tabs do NOT pay for Seattle's roads. Seattle's roads are funded primarily through sales taxes and property taxes, which every cyclist pays.
99
The hysterical language by the hysterical morlocks (who often tend to be auto supremicists) is, well, hysterical. I file the people who use the phrase "War on cars" in roughly the same place a with people who shout "CLASS WARFARE" at any attempt to address our nation's growing poverty gap.

In other words, keep throwing the word "war" around. I don't think it means what you think it means. Or rather, you don't want to fucking know what a "war" really is.
100
In other words, keep throwing the word "war" around. I don't think it means what you think it means. Or rather, you don't want to fucking know what a "war" really is.

Remember, the article that these comments are attached to declared war on cars. It's not real smart for the cyclistas to do such a thing. Two tons of steel beats 25 pounds of alumnium each and every time. You idiots want a war? Really?