Guest post: Taking the lane — a CyclingSavvy instructor explains her objection to bike lanes

I’ve often said that I can learn more from those who disagree with me than those who don’t. 

Case in point, today’s guest post from St. Louis CyclingSavvy instructor Karen Karabell. I disagree — strongly — with the idea that it’s riskier to ride in a bike lane than in the flow of traffic, which contradicts both my own experience and most, if not all, of the studies I’ve seen.

So I invited Karen to explain her approach to bicycling, and she graciously agreed, as follows.

………

Oh, the wonders of the Internet, abolishing time and space in nanoseconds!

On this site, Ted Rogers wrote: “A St. Louis cycling instructor claims that bike lanes are dangerous with no evidence to back it up.”

With lightning speed these words made their way to me (that instructor). I was indignant. I never said that bike lanes are dangerous. I said that riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic. I complained to Ted that he misquoted me.

Exhibiting the generous mark of a mensch, he invited me to write a guest post to clarify.  He wrote: “I personally believe riding in a bike lane is safer and more enjoyable than riding in the traffic lane, and have expressed that opinion many times. It would be good to have someone explain the other side of the debate, and you are clearly very articulate and able to do it without being argumentative—which seems like a rare quality these days.”

Thank you, Ted! Here goes…

1-bus_bike_lane_graphic-500

I cannot count the number of times this image from a Los Angeles Metro Bus has crossed my Facebook feed. “Did you see this?” one friend after another asks.

The vision promoted on the back of this bus is wonderful. “Every lane is a bike lane” is a powerful statement promoting cyclist equality on our public roadways. I am all for that!

My friends know that I am no fan of bike lanes. But before explaining why, I want to make an observation about our fellow road users:

Every second on this planet,

millions of motorists are driving along

and NOT hitting what is right in front of them.

Motorists do not hit what’s in front of them because that is where they are looking. I know. This sounds like a “duh” statement. But consider the illustrations below. The green area represents a motorist’s primary “Cone of Focus”:

Courtesy of Keri Caffrey

Courtesy of Keri Caffrey

As speeds go higher, a motorist’s “Cone of Focus” diminishes:

Courtesy of Keri Caffrey

Courtesy of Keri Caffrey

As I’m sure is true for all of your readers, I was heartbroken when I learned of the death last December of Milton Olin Jr., the entertainment industry executive who was struck and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on routine patrol. Milton Olin was riding in a bike lane on Mulholland Highway.

We need to recognize a simple fact about bike lanes. They tend to make the people in them irrelevant to other traffic. When you are not in the way, you are irrelevant. At low speed differentials, irrelevancy might be OK. But at high speed differentials, the slightest motorist error can be devastating.

The speed limit on Mulholland Highway is 50 mph.

The last place a cyclist should be irrelevant is on a high-speed arterial road.

Regarding cyclist positioning on roadways, CyclingSavvy founders Keri Caffrey and Mighk Wilson made a remarkable discovery.

On roads with good sight lines—typical of most arterial roads—cyclists who control their travel lanes are seen by motorists from 1,280 feet away. Cyclists who ride on the right edge of the road—where most bike lanes are—are not seen by motorists until they are very nearly on top of them—about 140 feet away.

This is profound. We discuss this when we teach CyclingSavvy. The classroom session is incredibly engaging. Our participants soak up the information that we present. They understand exactly what we are talking about regarding traffic patterns and simple-to-learn techniques that make riding a bicycle in traffic very safe.

Most of them, however, don’t believe us—until we take them out on the road and show them.

After a classroom session last summer, a St. Louis newspaper columnist wrote: “The motorists in the training session are the rational, responsible ones. But what about the others—the ones who are speeding, talking on their cell phones and eating French fries, all at the same time?”

I loved that! In every session since, I have brought up his observation. I tell our students: “I would rather give those motorists the opportunity to see me from a quarter-mile away, rather than 140 feet!”

Being “in the way” works. Even the multi-tasking French fry eaters change lanes to pass.

4-How-wide-he-thinks-his-car-is

Last fall one of my favorite arterial roads was put on a “road diet” and striped with bike lanes. Manchester Road in the City of St. Louis used to have two regular travel lanes in each direction. It was easy to ride on. As I controlled the right lane, motorists used the left lane to pass.

Unless motorists are making a right turn, they don’t like to be behind cyclists. Yet I rarely experienced incivility on Manchester, because motorists could see me from many blocks away, and changed lanes well before they got anywhere close to me.

Now, when riding in the new bike lane, many motorists are so close that I could reach out my left arm and touch their cars as they pass. The bike lane places cyclists much closer to motorists than do regular travel lanes.

It is my understanding that in southern California, there are bike lanes that are eight feet wide. I have been told that these wide bike lanes are well marked, so that motorists merge into them well before reaching intersections to make right turns. That sounds lovely! I can envision bike lanes such as these being useful, especially on arterial roads with few intersections or driveways.

But this is not what we have in St. Louis.

The “new” Manchester Road in St. Louis (October 2013)

The “new” Manchester Road in St. Louis (October 2013)

Does this bike lane look encouraging? People who are afraid to ride in traffic don’t want to ride here, either.

Riding in a bike lane requires more cycling skill than riding in travel lanes. That’s why CyclingSavvy can teach novices to ride in regular traffic lanes, even on arterial roads. It’s easier and safer.

No discussion about bike lanes would be complete without reference to “right hooks” and “left crosses”—new phrases in our lexicon, thanks to bike lanes.

The last time I rode in the bike lane on Manchester Road, I was in the way of three right-turning motorists:

  • The first apparently did not see me. She would have right-hooked me, had I not slowed down to let her turn in front of me.
  • The second motorist saw me and stopped in the now-single travel lane, holding up a line of motorists behind him as he waited for me to get through the intersection. I stopped, too, because I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He smiled kindly. We shook our heads at each other as he waved me on. I proceeded with caution.
  • I can’t remember the circumstances in which the bike lane put me in the way of the THIRD right-turning motorist. By this time I was disgusted, and emotionally spent. It is exhausting to be on the lookout at every single intersection and driveway when using a bike lane on an urban arterial roadway.

Travel was never this difficult on the “old” Manchester Road.

As cyclists, being in a bike lane increases our workload. We ideally need eyes in the back of our heads to constantly monitor what is happening behind us. I use an excellent helmet-mounted rear view mirror. I would not dare ride in a bike lane without one.

When I am controlling a regular travel lane, I find that I never need to exercise white-knuckle vigilance. Mindfulness, yes. Unfortunately there are a relatively small number of psychopaths and other unsavory types piloting land missiles on our roadways. It may seem counterintuitive, but lane control actually gives cyclists more space and time to deal with these rare encounters.

In a bike lane I have learned to ride at no more than half my normal speed to compensate for potential motorist error. My normal speed isn’t that fast—about 12 to 18 mph, depending on conditions.

This self-enforced slowdown for safety is irritating. I have somewhere to go, too! What makes people think the time of a motorist is more valuable than that of a cyclist?

We cannot ignore the danger of getting “doored,” another terrible feature of many urban bike lanes. Keri Caffrey has done a brilliant job illustrating the reality of space in a typical bike lane:

6-AASHTO-says-but-don't-2

Traffic engineers would not dream of manufacturing conflict between two lanes of motor vehicle traffic by placing a right-turn lane to the left of a through lane. Why is this acceptable when one of the lanes is for bicyclists?

An engineer friend who is painfully aware of the quandary presented by bike lane design argues that municipalities have a responsibility to warn users of their unintended risks, much as the pharmaceutical industry already does regarding the potential side effects of their products.

7-Conflict-zone!

On the bright side, my husband has taught me a great technique. We use bike lanes as “Control & Release” lanes.

“Control & Release” is a CyclingSavvy technique. We teach cyclists how to use lane control as their default position in managing their space on the road. But we also teach them how to determine when it is safe to move right and “release” faster-moving traffic.

How does this work with bike lanes? Because of traffic signalization, motorists tend to travel in platoons. Even the busiest roads have expanses of empty roadway, while motorists sit and wait at traffic lights.

When we are on roads with bike lanes, being aware of the “platoon effect” allows us to use the regular travel lane and ride happily along at our normal speeds. We typically cover a city block or two without having any motor traffic behind us. When a platoon approaches, we move over to the bike lane and go slow, very slow if it’s a door-zone bike lane. It takes only a few seconds for the platoon to pass.

Once they pass, we move back into the travel lane and rock on.

Harold Karabell using the regular travel lane in Buffalo, NY, but moving over to the door-zone bike lane as necessary to release motor traffic behind him (July 2013)

Harold Karabell using the regular travel lane in Buffalo, NY, but moving over to the door-zone bike lane as necessary to release motor traffic behind him (July 2013)

Because bicycling is very safe, accidents are rare, even in bike lanes. But the next time you hear about a motorist hitting a cyclist, pay attention to the details. Where was the cyclist on the roadway? Was the cyclist on the right edge of the road? If he or she wasn’t breaking the law—for example, by riding against traffic, disobeying signals or riding at night without lights—very likely the cyclist was riding near the right edge, where bike lanes are.

We who care about bicycling want more people to choose bicycling, especially for transportation. Half of all U.S. motor trips are less than three miles in distance. This is very easy to traverse by bicycle—usually just as fast and sometimes faster than using a car. Can you imagine the transportation revolution if Americans left their motor vehicles at home and used their bicycles instead for short trips? I for one would feel like I was living in paradise!

But how do we get there? Professor Andy Cline argues that we are making a grave mistake in our attempts to channelize and “segregate” cyclists from motorists. Indeed, as we are reframing U.S. roadways to accommodate bicycling, he warns that we must avoid “surrendering our streets.” This is what we are doing when we ask for cycletracks or special paint markings on the edge of the road.

If we keep asking, we are eventually forced into the bars of our own prison. California is one of eight states that require cyclists to use bike lanes when the lanes are provided.

If we would connect the dots and learn just one thing from the hundreds of bike lane deaths over the last 20 years, it would be this: Attempting to segregate by vehicle type does not work. It just makes transportation more difficult for both cyclists and motorists.

Make no mistake: Bicycles are vehicles. Most states define them as such. Some states define the bicycle as a “device.” But in all 50 states, cyclists are considered drivers.

What excites me is the vision put forth by I Am Traffic. We believe that people will choose bicycling when they feel expected and respected as a normal part of traffic.

9-Deb-&-child

We recognize that we are outliers. We are not waiting for a future in which we hope to receive the respect of the culture. We respect ourselves now. We exercise that self-respect by participating in regular traffic, like any other driver.

Our experience has convinced us that cycling as a regular part of traffic works beautifully.

In a Utopian world this is well and good, a friend likes to say. But what if everybody starts using bicycles in traffic? How will motorists react then?

Our desire for on-road equality has been compared by some to the struggles fought by African Americans, gay people or other maligned minorities seeking acceptance and equality. On only one point does this “civil rights” comparison resonate for me: The prejudicial assertion that cyclists cause delay to other drivers.

Cyclists causing delay is a myth that must die. This pernicious stereotype oppresses us.  It simply is not true. As cyclists traveling solo, with one other person or even in a small group, we are incapable of causing significant delay to other road users.

The truth about on-road delay is just the opposite. Last December Harold and I were in Dallas. As our friends Eliot Landrum and Waco Moore escorted us to dinner, we were caught in one of that city’s routine traffic jams:

Evening rush hour on Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas (December 2013)

Evening rush hour on Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas (December 2013)

Lest anyone think that we cyclists were causing delay, I put the kickstand down on my bicycle and walked behind Waco, Harold and Eliot to take a forward-facing photo:

Forward view of rush hour on Oak Lawn Avenue

Forward view of rush hour on Oak Lawn Avenue

City lights and welcome company made this evening lovely. Otherwise, this was just another routine ride for cyclists who practice driver behavior.

Motorists delay motorists. The sheer number of motorists is what causes the most delay on our roads. Many things cause momentary delay, such as traffic signals, railroad crossings, and vehicles that make routine stops, like delivery trucks–and city buses.

1-bus_bike_lane_graphic-500

In a snarky moment I remember responding to one Facebook friend: “Thank God every travel lane is not a bike lane!”

Yet this marketing campaign from the City of Angels made my heart soar.

It will be a great day when every cyclist can—without fear or risk of harassment—use any traffic lane that best serves his or her destination.

I envision our existing roadways filled with people using the vehicles that best serve that day’s transportation needs. More often than not, these vehicles will be bicycles—because who needs a two-ton land missile to go to work, or buy a loaf of bread? I envision the people of Amsterdam and Copenhagen flocking to the United States to ask how we did it. How did we get cyclists and motorists to integrate so peacefully and easily on our roads?

We have discovered that when cyclists act as drivers, and when all drivers follow the rules of the road, traffic flows beautifully. This is simple. This is safe. This offers a sustainable and inviting future.

But don’t take my word for it. Come ride with me!

……….

13 Karen_Karabell_IMG_1858Karen Karabell is a mother, business owner and CyclingSavvy instructor in St. Louis who uses her bicycle year-round for transportation. She is passionate about helping others transform themselves, as she did, from fear of motor vehicle traffic to mastery and enjoyment. 

390 comments

  1. Richard says:

    this goes to show the peril of abstraction as the acknowledgment of difference is token when it comes to her versus our reality. she points out that we are violating letter not just spirit she is oblivious to in boycotting her being righted away to gutterland.
    drivers however here could be showing there kids us infracting as duty and say they want to either fight the man for better good for all in being busted if not by cops ticketing then by those given immunityty to assassinate them by tapping. to talk the talk of protest without walking it against personal interest is to confuse mere speech with. actuallynonviolent sacrifice.
    she is running a for profit business that is clearly under at least uninsured. I thank her for sharing some of her data but encourage her to instead empower those willing to die a good death instead of with mere cash to line her pockets with seek sociopathic safety dressed in gooder garb. the. the conflict iits real.

    • Todd says:

      Richard, try commenting when you actually have a clue and can express it coherently.

    • Chris Cleeland says:

      Richard,

      You might consider re-writing and re-posting your comment, because any point you were trying to make is lost in the fact that I simply cannot parse what you wrote. Simply put, the writing is incoherent and word choice is suspect. Perhaps you are a victim of phone autocorrect?

      Regardless, your points–whatever they are–are likely lost on anyone right now. Hope you find the time to re-write and re-post.

      • Richard says:

        yes auto and/or manual hasty editing had me obstruct one I slept golden with and despite reading all the comment later and as they came in missed the love directed to me. my concision requires a close comprehending read of the guests lodging. she feels proud like those reddish white crackers who died while registering strangers but is missing the hard part about that… in denying or pointing out the lowered risk…. not greater. despite in her stated posture and endorsed vision. garb is fashion and like talk can be worn not to noble death but rather at the expense of those who did die. she slows cars down but is not doing real risky good despite that… she is telling customers to feel there power and have spite over under windshield glower. nonviolence only that is true provides it,s full power not merely. ring however safely or not hated. DOGOODER GARB Is just blarny when its only from being outside all the car-kneeding tools.

        • What is your native language? Are you using Google Translate?

          • Richard says:

            I just began to reply when the restricted lane boycotter complained…. no this is me super concise but direct…. the issue almost everyone at least else ignores is so what if It’s more dangerous to the decider? what matters more to healthy nonsociopaths is doing the right thing. for me that is to consider the one percent presently riding certainly secondary. promoting scale in life and death matters. fuck merr personal safety. how will wearing a helmet look? how many will drive because they see us brokered and slaughter how many more? helmeted etc…. that is the right question. protest banning from mixed use in timely fashion. don’t overassert privilege. we are not all survivalists in the worst sense of that even if many of the most vocal and uppity token few not doing the slaughtering directly clearly are.

  2. Keri says:

    Ted,

    Thank you for offering this guest post to your readers. This is an important topic, and Karen has done a good job of pointing out some of the problems with bike lanes —in particular certain conflict-prone bike lane designs.

    While we do teach our students to be aware of the pitfalls of poorly-designed infrastructure, so that they can keep themselves out of conflict (“don’t let paint think for you!”), it is only one minor aspect of what we teach. As such, your title “…an in-depth look at CyclingSavvy” is inaccurate and misleading. The post is an in-depth look at bike lane issues, it doesn’t scratch the surface of CyclingSavvy.

    CyclingSavvy is about all the aspects of belief and behavior that help a bicyclist be successful in the Real World. We empower people to understand their role on the road, the mechanisms of crash causes and countermeasures, the traffic environment, road design and how they can influence positive and cooperative behavior in their fellow road users. We give them a skill-set that they can use to go anywhere. Most-importantly, we are removing barriers that keep people from some destinations. Things like a complex intersection or interchange, or stretch of busy road that interrupts a quiet, preferred route.

    CyclingSavvy is about working on balance skills with a student who, at 9AM is afraid to take one hand off her handlebar, and then watching her on the road 3 hours later, turn completely around, look at a motorist, signal and successfully negotiate a cooperative lane change. It’s about her smile of delight in her accomplishment, which glows for the rest of the day and inspires her to try and success and more and more challenging features.

    CyclingSavvy is about the student who enters the class fearful to ride anywhere but a sidewalk, even on quiet streets, and giving him the confidence to ride easily and comfortable through an interchange. That student may always prefer quiet streets and paths (I do myself, and I co-wrote this curriculum!), but having the understanding of how to deal with any kind of situation our traffic system has to offer means no destination is out of reach.

    Empowerment, mindfulness, self-reliance, strategy, cooperation… and smiles, huge smiles. That is what CyclingSavvy is about.

    I wish so much that I didn’t have to talk about bike lanes ever. I wish I didn’t have to warn my students that following that little bike symbol can lead them into trouble. I wish I didn’t have to see the look of betrayal on an innocent face when they ask me “Why? Why would anyone put a bike lane up against parked cars?” Why would anyone build a facility that encourages a crash type so common it makes up 20-25% of urban bike crashes? Why?

    Because we need better advocates.

    Karen is a better advocate. And I can tell you she does a whole lot more with her time that fight bad bike lane designs. She empowers hundreds of people in her city to go where they want to go by bike.

    Keri Caffrey
    Co-Founder, CyclingSavvy

  3. billdsd says:

    I was in a collision last November when a driver pulled out in front of me from a driveway while I was in a bike lane. I’ve had many close calls similar to that. I’ve also had quite a few close calls with right hooks while riding in bike lanes — most of them at driveways. Please don’t tell me bike lanes are safer. Those things don’t happen to me when I’m controlling the lane.

    It’s been my observation that the people who insist that taking the lane is less safe are usually not people who’ve actually taken a class or read a book on the subject and never people who’ve done a lot of miles practicing the techniques diligently. It’s frustrating to have them insist that it is unsafe when they are probably not doing it correctly.

    • billdsd says:

      I forgot to mention: the studies that say bike lanes are safer are not based upon a comparison with vehicular cyclists. They are based upon comparison with untrained edge riders riding without bike lanes. It’s not surprising that such riders get some benefit from bike lanes due to a reduction in close passes. However, it isn’t a fair representation of what happens with vehicular cycling.

  4. nikromatt says:

    Ted, CyclingSavvy is just John Foresters Vehicular Cycling methods from the 70’s repackaged and no different than those that push Creationism vs the theory of Darwin.

    I speak from experience as I went to Orland to become an instructor and I’m calling complete bullshit on the CyclingSavvy system. Ask anyone of these “vehicular cyclist” who “drive” their bike instead of ride it; If vehicular cycling has been practiced and preached since the 70’s, where are all the cyclists? Why had the cycling numbers not shown any increase until local & state governments started installing infrastructure in the 90’s? Why do I as an advocate have to sit through meeting after meeting of my local and state governments and fight with local cycling savvy reps who not repeatedly try and stop infrastructure being put into place, but frequently ask for what little is already in place to be removed.

    CyclingSavvy does nothing to increase new ridership, perceived safety or even actual safety. Put any mother and her 9 or 10 year old through a CyclingSavvy course and ask that mother how likely she or her children will be “driving” bikes while controlling a lane of 45mph road or any road with speeds above 25mph.

    • Keri says:

      Anyone can make up stuff and comment anonymously.

    • Chris Cleeland says:

      I am not a cycling savvy instructor, nor have a taken a class. I do take the lane at times, though I also ride in a bike lane when I deem that it’s safe for me.

      I have also faught against infrastructure at times, because the planned infrastructure was less safe and no more convenient for anyone (cyclists or drivers) than no infrastructure.

      My observation is that there is a lot of “check the box” infrastructure being built, solely to satisy some requirement or obtain some special “bike friendly” designation, rather than thoughtfully applying tools ranging from dedicated bike infrastructure to simple enforcement of existing laws.

      The most successful application of lanes I’ve observed is on roads with long uninterrupted stretches–suburbia and exurbia. In truly urban settings, my observation is that bike lanes create more opportunity for conflict than they resolve, and delude road users (cyclists and motorists alike) that separation automatically equals safety.

    • Mighk Wilson says:

      Please identify yourself nikromatt.
      As the other co-developer of CyclingSavvy I can tell you and all the other readers that it is most certainly not a repackaging of Forester’s work. And rather than rehash what I’ve already written on the matter, I’ll simply direct you to something that already explains it.
      http://iamtraffic.org/education/cyclingsavvy-works/
      As for your argument about children, we would be the last to suggest that moms and kids should be out on 45 mph arterials, and to think that a bike lane on such a highway is suitable for families would be incredibly naive.

    • billdsd says:

      It didn’t take long to figure out that nikromatt is (deleted). Keri says that he’s never been to Orlando for the Cycling Savvy class, much less the instructor’s class.

      Matt, why are you telling lies?

      • Mighk Wilson says:

        We have no record of him taking it in Jacksonville, either.

      • bikinginla says:

        I’ve removed the name you posted. If the commenter wanted to identify himself, he could have. He has as much right as anyone else on here to post using a screen name and keep his identity private.

        And it’s also possible that you may be wrong about who you think it is.

        Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but let’s remember to keep comments courteous and respectful.

        • billdsd says:

          OK. However, it’s unlikely that I’m wrong. A simple search for that screen name yields numerous results attached to the now deleted name from my post.

          I think that falsely representing himself as being trained as a Cycling Savvy instructor is extremely disrespectful.

        • Keri says:

          While I agree with people’s right to anonymity, I don’t think it appropriate to allow someone to anonymously make blatantly false and slanderous statements while representing himself as having the authority to make such statements.

          The person in question’s statements are verifiably false. They are verifiably misrepresented, as well. That he has never taken a CyclingSavvy class is as obvious from the content of his comment as it is verifiable from his identity.

          • bikinginla says:

            If I believe someone has made false comments on my blog, I respond to the comment with what I believe is the truth, just as you have done.

            I will remove a comment for personal threats or attacks, or showing needless disrespect fallen riders. Other than that, I prefer to let the conversation unfold, regardless of whether I may or may not agree with the content.

        • Constance says:

          Thank you…thread was getting highjacked. Interesting article.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      I’ve often heard the first objection presented by the anonymous “nikromatt”: that vehicular cycling obviously doesn’t work, because it hasn’t triggered a bike boom.

      I think vehicular cycling never intended to get a huge percentage of Americans on bikes. Instead, it is intended to make cycling much better for those who choose to ride.

      That’s certainly what it’s done for me. I don’t need to wait for a bike lane or sidepath to be built. I ride wherever I choose in comfort and safety, on almost any ordinary road. I’ve ridden in major cities, little towns, on country roads, all the way across the U.S., and in many other countries. I ride for pleasure and utility, using easy-to-learn skills. I would have missed decades of joy if I’d instead waited for weird bike facilities to be built!

      Now about that bike boom: Will weird facilities trigger one, cause car use to drop, and save the planet? Very, very doubtful. Portland OR brags about it’s 6% bike modal share, but it seems to be based _only_ on surveys of city residents, ignoring suburbanites entering the city. As a pretty frequent visitor, I know traffic still gridlocks with cars, not bikes. Pretending out-of-city cars don’t count is delusional. And nothing is going to get many people riding bikes from their present homes to their 20-mile-distant workplaces, not in our lifetime. That’s fantasy.

      But I’m not against _good_ bike infrastructure. I’m responsible, at least in part, for a couple of nice shortcut bike paths in my area, ones that allow shorter scenic bypasses of frequently jammed highways. But very little of the bike infra I’ve seen is really good. Much of it is obviously more dangerous – like the door-zone bike lanes in a LAB “Silver Level BFC” I recently visited.

      In short, I’ll argue strongly against those who claim riding on ordinary roads is terribly dangerous. That’s not only demonstrably false, it’s anti-cycling.

      And I’ll continue to argue against those who think “EVERY bike facility is a good bike facility.” Unfortunately, that’s the thinking of most modern “bike advocates,” even the most influential ones.

      • Saying “vehicular cycling” advocacy does not work because it didn’t trigger a bike boom is like saying helmet laws did not work because they did not trigger a motorcycle boom.

      • khal spencer says:

        I’m glad knowledgeable folks like Frank Krygowski are posting here. Have not read all the posts, so don’t know if John Allen has posted. Both of these riders have decades of experience and both are far more nuanced in their thinking than many who are newer to the debate.

        The bottom line is that whether it is CyclingSaavy, Vehicular Cycling, or Traffic Skills, these programs attempt to teach riders how traffic works and how to think one’s way through any given situation. The classes either assume or teach riders to have a basic competence on their bike. With basic riding competence and a strong dose of situational awareness, the rider will know how to behave in a given situation.

        As I said last night, not all roads or separated facilities are created equally. Not all assumptions are founded on good science and that includes some of the published research being bandied about as well as some of the assertions of what is safe offered by both sides. Crashes between bikes and cars are rare. Overtaking crashes even rarer. What folks miss is one has to do not just an analysis of what seems right, but an analysis of failure modes and their frequency to find out what goes wrong in the rare instances when someone is being scraped up off the road. I rarely see that in even good cycling publications.

        The bottom line is that safe riding is primarily between the earlobes. Secondarily, good facilities shared with other competent users. One has complete control over the grey matter, which is why all three teaching pedagogies start there.

    • Serge Issakov says:

      “I speak from experience as I went to Orland to become an instructor and I’m calling complete bullshit on the CyclingSavvy system. ”

      I think it’s revealing that someone who does not know what CyclingSavvy is, is willing to lie like this in order to denigrate it.

      Testimonials about the effectiveness of using the full lane by default:

      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.426487284126397.1073741831.281417585300035&type=3

  5. Jim Lyle says:

    Where bike lanes exist on roadways, CVC 21208 requires cyclists to use them. It is illegal to take the lane when an adjacent bike lane is present on the road.

    • billdsd says:

      Unless of course, they are passing (21208(a)(1)) or preparing to make a left turn (21208(a)(2)) or avoiding hazardous conditions (21208(a)(3)) or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized (21208(a)(4)).

      Why do so many people edit out the exceptions?

      • billdsd says:

        I forgot one more. They have to be travelling at less than the normal speed of traffic at that time in order to be required to use the bike lane. If there is no faster traffic then they can use the travel lane.

      • billdsd says:

        I should also mention that I know of some bike lanes where I can go over a quarter mile without ever being more than about 300 feet from the next place where a right turn is authorized. That means that CVC 21208(a)(4) says I don’t have to use that bike lane at all.

    • Goodgulf says:

      Jim Lyle – That is actually almost never true if you actually read all the exceptions.

    • Chris Morfas says:

      Owing to the exceptions explicitly listed, neither CVC 21202 nor CVC 20208, interpreted with even a modicum of concern for the rights and welfare of people who bicycle, requires bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable nor to use bike lanes in most urbanized settings.

    • Serge Issakov says:

      I presume Jim Lyle is an avid cyclist, as I’m sure most readers of Ted’s blog are. As such, he exemplifies the typical cyclist who still believes cyclists are safer at the road edge, especially if the edge is demarcated as a bike lane, and are required to ride there by law.

      It’s unfortunate that our society has got it all backwards when it comes cycling safety and rights, and this is reflected in our laws with convoluted and bigoted statutes governing cyclist roadway positioning.

      How do we reach cyclists like Jim Lyle?

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=352156331559493&set=a.428476450594147.1073741836.281417585300035&type=3&theater

      • bikinginla says:

        Don’t make assumptions. I know Jim to be a very experienced and knowledgable cyclist. All he did was correctly point out the California law requiring cyclists to use a bike lane when one is present; as others have pointed out, there are exceptions.

        • Serge Issakov says:

          No, he said, “It is illegal to take the lane when an adjacent bike lane is present on the road.”

          Yes, there are exceptions, but the exceptions apply much more often than most people realize. They apply so often that it’s quite misleading to say, without qualification, what Jim said.

          You say not to make assumptions, but I was clear about what assumptions I was making, and they turned out be right.

        • billdsd says:

          He edited out the exceptions. That is either dishonest or ignorant. Either way, it’s severely misrepresenting the law.

  6. Ted, thank you for being willing to share and explore a viewpoint that is different than your own!

    Karen, thank you for taking the time to write this guest post.

  7. Martin Pion says:

    Thanks so much for this comprehensive post on this contentious issue, Karen.
    I fear that anything written on the subject will not persuade those who strongly support bike lanes that age-appropriate bike education should be a key component in promoting bicycle transportation.
    This is a practical skill that is best learned in an organized course, currently CyclingSavvy being the preeminent one for adults, in my view.
    Something I learned recently though – thanks to Dr. Bob Shanteau – is that even in Holland, the archetypal proponent of a facilities approach, there is considerable emphasis on education, starting at an early age, and with a comprehensive road test for children at age 12. That is quite remarkable.

  8. Gary Cziko says:

    As a CyclingSavvy Instructor who recently moved to L.A. from the Midwest, I am pleased to see Karen’s article here and appreciate Fred Rogers’ willingness to make it available to his readers.

    What I have learned from several months of almost daily cycling in L.A. is that there are many different kinds of bike lanes here. There are wide right-buffered bike lanes with no parking on Westchester Parkway and Pershing Drive near LAX that I feel comfortable using. And on some streets with parking, Santa Monica has installed bike lanes with a welcome door-zone buffer on the right side. A positive design feature of almost all bike lanes I’ve seen in L.A. is that the bike lane ends before intersections which encourages motorists to merge to the right side of the roadway before making a right turn, thereby reducing the chance of a right hooking a cyclist.

    Unfortunately, however, most of the bike lanes I have encountered here are narrow, door-zone bike lanes. When these are placed on streets with four or more lanes, there is no way to both stay out of the door zone (which extends five feet from the side of parked cars) and still get adequate passing distance from overtaking motorists. I am learning to avoid these streets or restrict my use of the bike lane as a place to release a platoon of motor vehicles as Karen describes in her post.

    For video examples of what I’m referring to, compare the tight squeeze I encountered using the bike lane on Washington Avenue in Venice (http://vimeo.com/78569534) with the ample space from passing motor vehicles I obtained cycling on Lincoln Avenue with no bike lanes (http://vimeo.com/85012780).

    For L.A. area cyclists who want to experience first-hand what CyclingSavvy is all about, I am hoping to begin offering courses this year in Southern California. I have recently begun a Facebook page for interested cyclists that can be found at http://www.facebook.com/groups/448907475239306/.

    • bikinginla says:

      Fred Rogers was the guy who wore cardigan sweaters and wanted to be your neighbor. I’m Ted, sweater-less in the LA heat, and don’t care who lives next door.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        LOL. I was thinking… “Fred???” Thanks for making the correction, and in such a characteristically humorous fashion, Ted.

        If you’re ever in San Diego, let me know. Would love to go for a ride and a beer…

        • bikinginla says:

          Sounds like fun. I haven’t ridden in San Diego in over 20 years. And they didn’t have brewpubs when I lived down there.

        • Raymond Paquette says:

          I lived and cycled in San Diego for twenty years, and found it an excellent place to ride. Not because the city had done much to promote cycling, but because of the grid pattern of the streets. I was most always able to find less-used routes parallel to busy ones, and only had to get into traffic to cross the canyons. True, drivers we’re not especially agreeable to being behind a cyclist, but I could mostly avoid that conflict. I was downtown and east of there. It’s different north of the 8.

      • Gary Cziko says:

        Sorry for the name mixup.

        Even though you’re Ted and not Fred, I hope you can still welcome me to the neighborhood :)

      • Darn, I was hoping for a puppet show some time…

        • Todd Nelson says:

          You missed it. A cast of thousands dancing on the strings of bike manufacturers wanting to get more people riding bikes whatever the cost.

          • You can pin it on the bike industry all you want, but separated bike lanes are the #1 thing people say they want before they’ll ride on anything other than bike paths and suburban residential streets.

            They don’t say: “I want to take a class so I can ride comfortably in the middle of a multi-lane on 35 mph or greater road.”

            • Karen Karabell says:

              “separated bike lanes are the #1 thing people say they want”

              Stated preference surveys are the top tool being used by advocates who want more people to choose bicycling.

              Stated preference surveys are problematic on a number of levels. Because bicycling is the “green” and “cool” thing to do and will-save-our-planet, nobody is against it. (They also love their mom and apple pie, too.) People will of course say they want separate facilities, because not having had any on-road experience, they think that these facilities would be “safer” and “separate.” Neither is true.

              Stated preference surveys make me think of Steve Jobs. He rebuffed those who said that Apple needed to conduct market research to see what customers wanted. He shot them down. People “don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them,” he said.

              Likewise, safe traffic cycling is totally counterintuitive, which is why we teach it :)

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              Most people don’t know such options or classes even exist.

            • Todd Nelson says:

              Neither do they say “give me bike lanes so that when some inattentive motorist kills me while I’m riding in it by right-hooking me or inattentively drifting into the bike lane, my family can hope to benefit from the motorist’s insurance or my own life insurance”, do they? So what’s your point? Maybe that surveys don’t ask the right questions. Maybe they’re biased.

            • bikinginla says:

              No, actually Todd. Based on the hundreds of meetings I’ve been in, they say “Give me bike lanes so I don’t get killed and my kids can ride their bikes safely.”

              The incredibly high degree of danger posed by bike lanes in the comments on here is a myth, and completely unsupported by any research. Bike lane supporters have repeatedly been accused of trying to make a safe activity sound dangerous, but it’s the bike lane haters on here that have been doing a pretty damn good job of that.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikinginla wrote “The incredibly high degree of danger posed by bike lanes in the comments on here is a myth, and completely unsupported by any research. Bike lane supporters have repeatedly been accused of trying to make a safe activity sound dangerous, but it’s the bike lane haters on here that have been doing a pretty damn good job of that.”

              I take it you haven’t bothered to read http://www.ohiobike.org/misc/CyclingIsSafeTLK.pdf

              But regarding bike lane dangers: What _do_ you tell novices about, e.g., getting doored in bike lanes? Do you simply pretend it never happens? Or do you perhaps tell them their risk of injury is worth it because the world will benefit even if they don’t?

              http://www.bikexprt.com/massfacil/cambridge/doorzone/laird1.htm

            • bikinginla says:

              Clearly Frank, you are unused to unbridled sarcasm. My comment was not in reference to any suggestion that bicycling is dangerous. It was in response to so many who have commented on here that riding in a bike lane somehow makes it so.

              Go on my Facts & Stats page, and you’ll see that the risk of dying on a bike is one in over 6 million, and the risk of injury is one in 77,000. I’d call that pretty damn safe, in or out of a bike lane.

              As for bike lane dangers, just what kind of idiot do you think I am — or anyone else who doesn’t subscribe to your highly biased anti-bike lane philosophy? I — and every other bike advocate I know — teach beginning and experienced cyclists to ride outside of the door zone, and watch for signs of occupancy that indicate a car may pull out or a door open.

              To suggest that anyone would intentionally send another rider out to be at risk says far more about you than it does anyone you may be attempting to criticize.

            • Todd Nelson says:

              Are meeting attendees necessarily a representative cross section of the informed population who would benefit from either education or appropriate facilities? Or, could it be that there is a lot of the Dunning-Kruger effect going on, where folks that have been sold on the “benefits” of bike lanes and aren’t educated about their options simply aren’t skilled or knowledgeable enough to know that they don’t know?

            • bikinginla says:

              Meeting attendees are a cross section of whoever walks through the door at public meetings to address the recently approved LA or LA County bike plans, or any public meetings dealing with bicycling.

              As such, they represent a broad spectrum of the public, both for and against bike lanes and bicycling in general. They have not been sold on anything, but rather, speak their own beliefs.

              If the general public is asking for bike lanes, it is because that is what they believe will allow them to safely ride their bikes.

              Then again, so do I.

            • Todd Nelson says:

              And yet, the reality is that it is easier for someone to believe that they should demand that someone else fix a problem (exposure to the hazards of the carelessness of others) instead of taking responsibility for themselves and getting an education on how to avoid the problem. That has got to be the one of the main reasons for the facilities vs. traffic cycling education debate, a debate that will go on forever, like the comments on this blog post.

              This is an apples/oranges debate in another way in that facilities are, to a large degree, about increasing ridership and mode share. CS/traffic cycling education is about giving cyclists who have enough experience to recognize the hazards of the road (with facilities or not) the tools to avoid the hazards. These tools give cyclists confidence to ride more with less stress, increasing mode share, not necessarily ridership.

              These goals should compliment each other. Instead, they are in competition.

            • bikinginla says:

              Nailed it.

              This entire debate on here has been between people who should be working together to improve our streets, rather than fighting with one another.

              The question isn’t whether we need good biking infrastructure or safe cycling education, but why can’t we have both?

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikininla wrote: “The question isn’t whether we need good biking infrastructure or safe cycling education, but why can’t we have both?”

              Why indeed?

              Unfortunately, what I see happening is very strong promotion of “innovative” infrastructure (i.e. likely to surprise road users), plus the idea that _any_ bike infrastrucure is good bike infrastructure. (Note the defense of door zone bike lanes!) This shows up in the infrastructure I see on the ground.

              By contrast, the amount of publicity, promotion and spending on education is next to nothing – certainly, thousands of times less than what’s spent on infra. And understand, I’m including education of motorists. Why is education given such short shrift?

    • PatrickGSR94 says:

      Excellent videos Gary. I commute twice a week, 31 miles round trip, on almost all 2-lane rural roads, most of which sees steady traffic. One area of my commute is a 5-lane road, and I also ride at other times on multi-lane roads. There are zero bike lanes where I live and work, so travel lanes are the only choice.

      While I have not taken a CyclingSavvy class, I practice many of the principles they teach. I know it works. When I ride far right on a multi-lane road, I get buzz passed, almost every time. When I control the right lane, people change lanes much farther back and pass me in the left lane with no issue.

      If I happen to be riding in an area with bike lanes, I will usually use them unless I can tell they are a total hazard to me. But really, bike lanes will never be the end-all total safe haven until 1) ALL signaled intersections have dedicated bike lane signals, 2) right turning on red is outlawed, and 3) there is more/better education for motorists about how to operate their vehicles safely around cyclists. And even then cyclists would still have to be on the look-out at other conflict points like driveways and minor side streets.

      The ONLY way to prevent conflict is to ride with the traffic, and be the traffic.

  9. Keri says:

    Ted, thank you for changing the title.

    • bikinginla says:

      You’re welcome. I was not intending to mislead; just came up with a headline that made sense to me. Once you and Karen let me know I missed the mark, I made the correction.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Is it possible to fix the URL? Ideally making this one redirect to the new/corrected one?

        • bikinginla says:

          I know a number of cycling sites have already linked to this piece; if I change the URL, everyone who has already linked to it will have those links broken. Better to leave it alone and let the new headline speak for itself once they get here.

          But if you really have a problem with the old link, you can always use a link-shortening city like bitly.com to hide it.

  10. Audeamus says:

    I’m a local government planner who has been involved in bicycle infrastructure and trails planning for at least 15 years. I have Forester’s book on my shelf (and I have read it), and I have been attacked personally online by Forester, which of course endears me greatly to his arguments:)I apologize for being anonymous, but I’m tired of the bicycle wars, and I really don’t want to be attacked online for expressing my professional and personal opinions, nor identified as expressing official policy. These are my opinions only, but based on experience, observation, and careful analysis.

    I’ve taken the Cycling Savvy course. I am also an experienced commuter cyclist. The course was very useful. I have no problem take a lane when I need to, but I also support and advocate appropriate bicycle infrastructure, including sharrows, lanes, trails, and other facilities. What I find tedious and troubling is the bad logic often used by many vehicular cyclists when they attack bicycle facilities. It’s often similar to a religious argument, and no data, no argument, no design is good enough. They have firmly made up their minds, and they craft their logic and arguments to fit their mindset.

    It’s very true that there are badly designed bike lanes, and that enforcement is often lacking. It’s true that there are bike lanes on high speed roads that are seldom used, and that there are conflicts at intersections. However, the local government I work for, at the behest of cyclists, wrote long ago into our policies and design manuals the mandate to install bicycle facilities where feasible, and the standards for them, which are based on AASHTO standards.

    Now, it appears that among a relatively small and vocal group of vehicular cyclists, the end game is to remove these mandated standards and to not build these facilities anymore. The logic is that because a bike lane is not wide enough to accommodate an open car door, it is therefore dangerous, and by default, they are all dangerous. Yes, Ms. Karabell states that “[She] said that riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic,” but essentially she is saying that bike lanes are dangerous. Other adherents of this philosophy, which yes, has not created armies of new cyclists, extend that to trails and virtually all other bicycle facilities.

    Meanwhile, those countries that have heavy urban and other bicycle use are building lots of facilities, including protected lanes, painted crossings, signals, etc. They are not telling their citizens to suck it up and take the lane. They are building bicycle infrastructure, and their ridership is huge compared to the U.S. And you don’t have to wear special clothes, shoes, or helmets.

    We have roads here where bike lanes and sharrows have been constructed, and for the most part, they are being used by cyclists. Not every road or street needs a facility, but there are busy roadways where the absence of facilities has resulted in few to no riders using these roads. Even with my experience and training, who wants to take a lane on a six lane road if I have an alternative or a facility? I ride a motorcycle; I can assure you that motorcyclists are trained to watch out for cars hitting them from behind at lights. If a fully armored rider with a wraparound helmet sitting on a 400-lb motorcycle can get clobbered from behind, what ensures that a bicyclist won’t get hit from behind? The assertion that you’re safer because you’re automatically seen is not always correct.

    The bicycling community is split, and that is confusing to policymakers and staff. We have an urban minor arterial that was reduced from four lanes to two, and because there was not sufficient ROW, we installed sharrows and signage that encouraged bicyclists to take the lane. Few do, and the local transportation cyclists I’ve talked to complain about the lack of lanes constantly. What’s it going to be?

    I could go on, but the point perhaps is that we need to settle this argument and come to some agreements soon, or the planners and traffic engineers who are trying to accommodate bicyclists will throw up their arms, and there will be no bicycle facilities anywhere. And, based on the correlation between well-planned and -designed facilities and the increase in everyday bicycling, that will do no one any good. It may make the vehicular bicycling zealots happy, but it will be a big move backwards, in my opinion. Vehicular cycling disguised as Cycling Savvy will not grow the numbers of cyclists like providing facilities (and enforcement and education) will.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks for that well-reasoned and courteous comment. While I respect where the CyclingSavvy crowd is coming from, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        But he makes the following claims that I think are bizarre and totally unfounded:

        “What I find tedious and troubling is the bad logic often used by many vehicular cyclists when they attack bicycle facilities. It’s often similar to a religious argument, and no data, no argument, no design is good enough. They have firmly made up their minds, and they craft their logic and arguments to fit their mindset.”

        Where is this bad logic? Where are these arguments? In this guest piece from Karen? What specifically?

        “Now, it appears that among a relatively small and vocal group of vehicular cyclists, the end game is to remove these mandated standards and to not build these facilities anymore. The logic is that because a bike lane is not wide enough to accommodate an open car door, it is therefore dangerous, and by default, they are all dangerous. ”

        What??? Where??? Who???

        Making stuff up does not help us move forward, nor does referring to such made up claims as “well-reasoned”, and agreeing with it “whole-heartedly”.

        “Yes, Ms. Karabell states that “[She] said that riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic,” but essentially she is saying that bike lanes are dangerous. ”

        No, she did not say bike lanes are dangerous. Yes, more dangerous than riding in traffic lanes, and in her explanation door zones were just a small part of it.

        “Other adherents of this philosophy, which yes, has not created armies of new cyclists, extend that to trails and virtually all other bicycle facilities.”

        What??? Where??? Who???

        Pure strawman. Even if there are a few such people somewhere (I don’t know any), what does that have to do with Karen’s piece?

        “Meanwhile, those countries…”

        Other countries are very different. You can’t transplant the infra from a country like Holland with a totally different culture, different liability laws and expectations, different traffic rules, shorter average trip distances, flatter terrain, higher population densities, where motoring is much less convenient and much more expensive, where bicycling mode share was pushing 50% before any they installed any bike infra, and expect it to increase bike mode share here to their levels. That makes no sense at all.

        • calwatch says:

          “What I find tedious and troubling is the bad logic often used by many vehicular cyclists when they attack bicycle facilities. It’s often similar to a religious argument, and no data, no argument, no design is good enough. They have firmly made up their minds, and they craft their logic and arguments to fit their mindset.”
          Where is this bad logic? Where are these arguments? In this guest piece from Karen? What specifically?

          Here:
          “But how do we get there? Professor Andy Cline argues that we are making a grave mistake in our attempts to channelize and “segregate” cyclists from motorists. Indeed, as we are reframing U.S. roadways to accommodate bicycling, he warns that we must avoid “surrendering our streets.” This is what we are doing when we ask for cycletracks or special paint markings on the edge of the road.”

          I strongly disagree that cycletracks and bike lanes are “surrendering our streets”. That is total hyperbole and, as an engineer and local agency staffer who works with many of our fine local active transportation professionals, I agree with Audemaus completely. I want infrastructure that can be acceptable to people and comfortable for individuals without several hours of training, infrastructure that feels safe to people who bike at speeds closer to 7 mph than 15 (like myself in my little folding bike that I take everywhere), and infrastructure that, as other people note, are geared towards people 8 to 80.

          While there are many bike lanes in urban areas with heavy flows of traffic average speeds of less than 35 mph and heavy, cyclical parking activity which are likely to increase dooring activity, there are quite more areas where a standard bike lane in an area where there is not much parking of cars going on. I know that when I have to take the lane, such as on the “fake lanes” so commonplace in Los Angeles (peak hour travel lanes which become parking lanes outside of the peak period), I certainly feel pressured to hustle at much more than my normal speed, and vehicles will loudly accelerate trying to pass me. In those instances I would rather ride on the (not well used) sidewalk than being in front of traffic. In the folding bike the effect is similar to that of people quickly breezing by an elderly person ambling through a store. It is not pleasant.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            calwatch writes: “I strongly disagree that cycletracks and bike lanes are “surrendering our streets”. That is total hyperbole…

            Sorry, but it is not. In my experience, the presence of a bike lane or even a nearby bike path generates cries from motorists: “GET IN THE BIKE LANE!!” or “GET ON THE BIKE PATH!!” And how long will our right to the road remain after the government spends millions on a “nice safe” 5 mph bike facility?

            “I want infrastructure that can be acceptable to people and comfortable for individuals without several hours of training, infrastructure that feels safe to people who bike at speeds closer to 7 mph than 15 (like myself in my little folding bike that I take everywhere), and infrastructure that, as other people note, are geared towards people 8 to 80.”

            Why would you object to a few hours of training for bicyclists? Why _not_ provide it in schools, and as adult education? I’ve mentioned the many differences between (say) the Netherlands and the U.S. Bike education is another. Who’s to say that their better safety data isn’t caused primarily by teaching cyclists how to properly ride?

            And I know the “8 to 80″ slogan is commonly used to promote barrier-separated bike lanes, as if they allow anyone to ride without thought. But within the past year, issue 23 of Bicycle Times magazine had a big article on “Staying Safe in Protected Lanes.” The author (an employee of LAB, no less) began by describing her own bad crash in a “protected” bike lane. She finished by giving many warnings about what’s necessary to avoid injury. Here they are:

            Watch for pedestrians popping in from anywhere; slow way down where lots of people walk; slow way down at intersections because “I’m outside he position cars might expect me” (and she gives lots of detail on that); wear bright colors, because you’re outside the driver’s normal vision; cover your brakes at every intersection; check _all_ directions (even over your shoulders) at every intersection and be prepared for emergency stops; always obey all traffic signals, even if you have to wait longer for your special bike green, even if no cars are visible; consider a pedestrian-style “box turn” instead of the quicker vehicle left turn; and finally, if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly on your bike, don’t use the cycle track; use a different route.

            Re-read that. Would an 8-year-old understand the increased danger, especially without a few hours instruction? Should an 80-year-old be excellent at panic stops? The point is, much “protected” bike infra makes intersections FAR more complicated; and intersections are where most car-bike crashes happen.

            Be very careful what you ask for!

            • bikinginla says:

              And yet, when New York installed their first protected bike lane, injuries to all road users decreased by 59%. Meanwhile, a recent British Columbia study showed a 90% decrease in the risk of injury to cyclists on protected bike lanes.

              Doesn’t sound like they pose a greater risk to me. And any additional risk posed by intersections can be virtually eliminated by better design and signalization.

            • Ted, please name the studies you are citing in your response to Frank.

              I suspect that the Canadian one is familiar to many whose names I am seeing in this comment thread, and I’ve seen numerous rebuttals of that study showing that it doesn’t support anything like the conclusions it claims.

              The “data” from NYC also has some troublesome underlying issues in its structure–some that even a first-year statistics student can see.

              In any event, be wary of studies purporting to find a causal arrow with bike infrastructure. The old axiom I heard in that first-year stats class regarding a high correlation between boating mishaps and ice cream sales in certain months of the year leading to a policy wonk deciding to ban ice cream sales is still instructive.

            • bikinginla says:

              You can find links to every study I’ve cited on the Facts & Stats page above.

              And my experience is that some will find fault with any study that doesn’t reinforce their pre-established beliefs, regardless of the conclusions.

    • PatrickGSR94 says:

      Audeamus, you compare this country to other parts of the world with large ridership (I know you’re thinking of Copenhagen and the Netherlands), but really it’s pretty difficult to make such comparisons. Most areas of the USA are quite large and spread out, compared to very dense areas in Europe. Also the culture is so much different, with the importance of cycling extended to children of a very young age. Just doesn’t happen here.

      As I said in a previous post, until the bike facilities have their own separate signals, right turning on red is outlawed (as it is in most of Europe), and drivers are more trained to watch for cyclists, separate bike facilities will never be the safest option ALL the time.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      The “other countries” argument for bike sidetracks and the like is pretty simplistic, in my opinion. This seems to be the claim: “Denmark, the Netherlands, parts of Germany and parts of Scandinavia have lots of bike infrastructure and huge cycling mode share; so if the U.S. gets lots of bike infrastructure, it too will have huge cycling mode share.”

      Those European countries have MANY other factors that help produce bike mode share. They typically have very compact and ancient cities, milder climates than most of the U.S., flatter terrain, very short commuting distances, far fewer suburban residences, outstanding public transport, huge taxes on auto purchases, great expense and long training for drivers’ licenses, much stricter motorist liability laws, far lower speed limits on many streets, rare and expensive public parking, and more.

      They also have long histories of cycling for transportation. I’ve seen videos of Copenhagen from the 1930s, showing large numbers of city cyclists, with nary a bike lane in sight. In fact, it seems to be the presence of lots of cyclists that justified the building of bike facilities. People seem to be confusing cause and effect.

      Transplanting _all_ those pro-bike factors to America might bring huge bike mode shares. But that transplant is impossible. In fact, those factors are not even present in many European countries.

      Transplanting only the bike facilities will probably have very little effect. Look up Stevenage and Milton Keynes in Britain, two towns built from scratch with excellent bike facilities – which are still almost completely unused.

    • Hello Audeamus,

      +1

      Well said …… :)

      Bicycle infrastructure will continue to grow and improve, naysayer and nihilists will continue to be disregarded, because bicycle infrastructure works to improve safety and encourages more humans to cycle.

      http://www.ted.com/talksjanette_sadik_khan_new_york_s_streets_not_so_mean_any_more.html

      Bicycle infrastructure success is documented in the US and foreign countries with success defined by improved safety (less cyclists killed, less cyclists injured) and public enthusiasm for the improved system.

      I understand that Vehicular Cyclists and Savvy Cyclists fear being forced to use the new cycling infrastructure ….. however ……….

      As you mention rear end crashes …… the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) has conducted several studies …. and notes:

      Rear-end crashes are not only one of the frequently
      occurring types of crashes, but also are responsible for a large number of injuries and fatalities and substantial property damage every year. In fact, based on the General Estimates System (GES) of the National
      Automotive Sampling System (NASS) and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)data, compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
      approximately 29.7% of all crashes in the year 2000 were rear-end crashes. These crashes were responsible for 30% of all injuries and 29.7% of the property damage.
      were involved in rear-end crashes alone.

      Summary: In 1999, the most recent year for which data are available, more than 6 million crashes occurred on U.S. highways, killing over 41,000 people and injuring nearly 3.4 million others. Rear-end collisions accounted for almost one-third of these crashes1 (1.848 million) and 11.8 percent of multivehicle fatal crashes (1,923).

      That is over 5,000 rear end crashes each DAY in the US.

      This kind of data along with data on driver inability to perceive objects in front of their motor car …. “NHTSA 100 Car Naturalistic Study” should be sobering information for those that think they are ‘controlling the lane’ with drivers that have disabilities, are on drugs (prescribed), alcohol, and are distracted or ‘zoned out’, in addition to natural human perception failures.

      ‘Controlling the lane’ is rolling the dice and depending on strange strangers.

      In the final scene, (of ‘Streetcar Named Desire’) Blanche is led off to a mental hospital by a matron and a kind-hearted doctor. After a brief struggle, Blanche smilingly acquiesces as she loses all contact with reality, addressing the doctor with the most famous line in the play: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

      Cheers,

      Neal

      +1 mph Faster

      • billdsd says:

        Rear end collisions occur due to specific circumstances.

        Traffic moving at a slow consistent pace in the middle of the lane is NOT one of those circumstances.

        Rear end collisions usually involve someone following too close coupled with someone braking abruptly.

        They also happen when someone changes lanes or pulls out into the road in front of faster traffic without allowing for adequate reaction time.

        If slow traffic caused rear end collisions then buses and garbage trucks and cement trucks and loaded 18 wheelers would be getting rear ended all the time. In reality, not so much.

      • bikinginla says:

        Thank you for debunking the myth that rear-end collisions are rare. I find them over-represnted in Southern California fatality counts, due to the high speed at which many occur. But we have long been told that collisions like this were rare; 30% +/- is anything but.

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          Neal is conflating car-bike crashes with car-car crashes, and probably doing so deliberately.

          Rear-end crashes between motor vehicles are very common. They occur most often in dense traffic moving at speeds too high for conditions, and occur because of tailgating. The mechanism is this: Driver #1 sees something and brakes slightly. Driver #2, following too closely and unable to see ahead, has to break much harder. Driver #3 is doing the same, and has to brake impossibly hard. Fenders get bent.

          It doesn’t apply to cyclists, as any examination of car-bike crash data will show. (Read _Effective Cycling_ for some data analysis.) Probably the main reason is that a motorist can always see clearly past a bicyclist, and a bicycle can’t stop as quickly as a car.

          If you remove the rear-end crashes caused by a car running into a nighttime, no-lights, no-reflectors bicyclist, you’re left with almost nothing but the sideswipe crashes caused by motorists trying to squeeze by a cyclist who’s riding at the edge. Solution? Don’t ride at the edge – be visible!

          • Frank, your conclusions just don’t resemble studies and data about car/bike collisions. This statement of yours shows how you jump to conclusions and over generalize. “It doesn’t apply to cyclists, as any examination of car-bike crash data will show.”

            A brief search by way of Google produced this technical report that evaluates on-street bicycling facilities.

            On page 15, under 3.2.14, Movement of vehicle, it states that motor vehicles moving straight contributed to 85% of all fatal/incapacitating collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles. The first sentence under the comment section states that this likely shows the contribution of speed to the severity of the collisions.

            The lateral position of bicyclist from the curb changed by about half a foot when bicycle lanes where used compared to streets without cycling facilities.

            Few people who ride in the street on a busy street with fast moving traffic will riding in front of traffic. Bike lanes are put where most people now ride. It increases their comfort and tends to position them further away from parked cars.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              I’ll read the paper you cited within a few days. But I’ve seen quite a lot of data on causes of car-bike crashes. I’m not aware of any study that evaluates the causes of car-bike crashes for riders who are _not_ at the edge, as most U.S. riders are. It wouldn’t surprise me if sideswipe crashes were fairly common among people who encourage motorists to squeeze by.

              Based on my experience (which matches what Karen described), a more prominent lane position yields much greater passing clearance and much earlier changing of lanes by motorists.

              I can give an anecdote to illustrate this. My best friend and his wife were tandeming in the Finger Lakes area of NY. They were on a narrow 2-lane 55 mph highway with heavy traffic, riding at the edge, and getting seriously scared by motorists passing at their elbows.

              Eventually, my friend said to his wife “Frank says we should take the lane in a situation like this. Should we try it?” His wife gulped and agreed, and when he got the chance, my friend moved to lane center.

              In his words: “It completely changed the ride.” Yes, motorists had to wait behind until it was clear to pass; but they did so, with no incivility. A harrowing ride became a pleasant ride.

              My own conversion experience happened many years before that. It involved a very narrow, potholed, 55 mph highway, lots of tractor trailer rigs, and heavy rain, but was otherwise similar.

              You’re free to ride as you like, of course. I do have friends who refuse to ever delay a motorist. They frequently complain of problems that I only rarely experience. I suppose they feel it’s important to be as deferential as humanly possible to anyone driving a car!

            • Most people who would be willing to ride on a busy street will not ride where motorists are squeezing by them or if they’re other choice is to ride in front of the vehicles.

              From my own personal experiences your conclusions do not ring true. I have been hit twice by motor vehicles from behind while riding in the middle of the motor vehicle lane.

              One of those incidents was when I was waiting at a red light on a major road. As I started pedaling when the light turned green the driver that was stopped behind me ran over my rear wheel. She clearly knew I was there but made a misjudgment and hit me. I have ridden dozens of times through that intersection starting from the side of the road from a red light. This gives me the defensive advantage of being much more aware of motor vehicle position and less likelihood that a motor vehicle will hit me at high speed that close to a curb. Positioning yourself directly in front of the motor vehicle leaves the option completely up to the driver of whether they will hit you.

              The second collision from behind involved a driver merging into the next lane on a street from a freeway off-ramp (no stop sign or traffic signal to slow them down). The driver was only looking to her left and was not expecting to hit something in the lane traveling at a much slower speed.

              Frankly, I could very likely be dead if either of those collisions occurred with a vehicle traveling at 40 mph, or more.

              I’ve ridden quite extensively by taking the lane, in bike lanes and even sometimes on side walks.

              I also was a participant in the Los Angeles Department of Transportations before and after testing of sharrows installations. There were six streets evaluated and I rode them more than any other person. It was not comfortable to ride at the required 12 mph in front of vehicles on major streets. Not knowing where the vehicles were, whether they were going to see me, or how they would react was unsettling.

              One of these streets I have ridden dozens of times before and after the testing and at no time was I honked at or screamed at like I encountered during the testing.

              Putting the bicycle rider in front of the moving vehicles is a irritant to drivers and you’re well being is completely dependent on the driver not making a mistake. A fender bender can be devastating if you are on a bike. There is very little chance for evasive action if they are directly behind you. If a vehicle is in front or moving towards you from the side there is usually options to avoid a collision.

      • Todd Nelson says:

        “…‘controlling the lane’ with drivers that have disabilities, are on drugs (prescribed), alcohol, and are distracted or ‘zoned out’, in addition to natural human perception failures.”

        Your not safe on the same street, especially intersections, let alone the same lane with impaired drivers. This is a bogus detraction for controlling the lane. Controlling the lane greatly reduces many “natural human perception failures”.

        The perception failure to which you are referring (the studies are on car-car rear-end collisions) has more to do with perceiving whether or not the car ahead of you is changing speed or stopping. The erroneous assumption is that because it is a car or other motorized vehicle, it will be moving at the same speed. If it is a cyclist, that same assumption is not made. A cyclist is recognized as slower traffic and adjustment in speed is made appropriately.

        • bikinginla says:

          You have a lot more faith in drivers than I have.

          • billdsd says:

            Actually, I think that you are the one who has more faith in drivers.

            Controlling the lane is what you do when you don’t trust drivers to use good judgement. You make the decision for them. It’s like a dance and you are the one who is leading.

            Riding far right or in bike lanes requires trusting them to pass at a safe distance and not right hook you or open a door in front of you.

            • Exactly. Edge and bike lane riding requires more faith in motorists than does full lane use.

              And with a mirror a full lane user can practically eliminate all reliance on faith in others. But even a mirror can’t do that for an edge or bike lane rider.

              Why? Because when using the full lane with a mirror it’s trivial to distinguish the extremely rare inattentive driver who has not noticed, because, unlike everyone else, he’s neither slowing nor changing lanes. But when riding on the edge there is no distinction in behavior of overtaking behavior (everyone goes by exactly as they would if you weren’t even there), except that an inattentive distracted driver might suddenly drift into you with little or no notice.

    • Hello Audeamus and All,

      Here is an entertaining look at bicycle infrastructure from The New York Bike Snob:

      http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/02/nice-infrastructure-but-bike-lanes-are.html

      Perhaps flogging a dead horse …….. generally (not always) data eventually trumps beliefs and anecdotes ……… although as Michael Shermer (of Shermer’s Neck Syndrome RAAM fame) posits in ‘The Believing Brain’ beliefs are not easily or quickly changed in humans.

      Data from cities that have installed bicycle infrastructure (using cyclist counts before and after) have experienced increased bicycle transportation share and improved safety.

      On the subject of motor cars crashing into objects in front of them (including garbage trucks) the summary of this NHTSA Study is interesting:

      SUMMARY (NHTSA 100 Car Naturalistic Study)

      The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study is the first instrumented vehicle study undertaken with the primary purpose of collecting large-scale naturalistic driving data. Two hundred forty-one participants between the ages of 18 and 73 drove for a total of over 2.1 MVMT and 42,300 hours over an 18-month data collection period. Drivers were given no special instructions, no experimenter was present, and the data collection instrumentation was unobtrusive. In addition, the majority of the drivers drove their own vehicle (78 out of 100 vehicles). As described throughout this document, there is every indication that the drivers rapidly disregarded the presence of the instrumentation. Thus, the resulting database contains many extreme cases of driving behavior and performance including extreme drowsiness, impairment, judgment error, risk taking, willingness to engage in secondary tasks, aggressive driving, and traffic violations, among others, that have been heretofore greatly attenuated by other empirical techniques.

      It is believed that the database that has resulted from this study can be useful for a variety of purposes for a number of years. In addition, the initial event database described above can be continually enhanced, since all of the video and electronic data for the entire study have been archived. The current project specified 10 objectives or goals that would be addressed through the initial analysis of the event database. This report addresses these 10 goals. Some of most important findings addressed as part of the analysis of these 10 goals are presented below:

      This study allowed, perhaps for the first time, the capture of crash and collision events that included minor, non-property-damage contact. These low-severity collisions provide very valuable information and occur much more frequently than more severe crashes. As a result, crash/collision-involvement was much higher than expected in that 82 total crashes/collisions were reported in this study, while only 15 of these crashes were reported to the police. For urban/suburban settings, this suggests that total crash/collision involvement may be over five times higher than police-reported crashes.>/b>

      Almost 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved the driver looking away from the forward roadway just prior to the onset of the conflict. Prior estimates related to “distraction” as a contributing factor have been in the range of 25percent.

      Inattention, which was operationally defined as including: (1) secondary task distraction,(2) driving-related inattention to the forward roadway (e.g., blind spot checks), (3) moderate to extreme drowsiness, and (4) other non-driving-related eyeglances, was a contributing factor for 93 percent of the conflict with lead vehicle crashes and minor collisions. In 86 percent of the lead vehicle crashes/collisions, the headway at the onset of the event was greater than 2.0 seconds.

      For scenarios involving conflict with a lead vehicle, the most frequent cases of lower severity conflicts (i.e., incidents and near-crashes) occurred in lead-vehicle moving scenarios, while 100 percent of the crashes (14 total) occurred when the lead vehicle was stopped. This indicates that drivers have sufficient awareness and ability to perform evasive maneuvers when closing rates are lower and/or expectancies about the flow of traffic are not violated.

      The rate of inattention-related crash and near-crash events decreases dramatically with age, with the rate being as much as four times higher for the 18- to 20-year-old age group relative to some of the older driver groups (i.e., 35 and up).

      The use of hand-held wireless devices (primarily cell phones but including a small amount of PDA use) was associated with the highest frequency of secondary-task distraction-related events. This was true for both events of lower severity (i.e., incidents) and for events of higher severity (i.e., near-crashes). Wireless devices were also among the categories associated with the highest frequencies of crashes and minor collisions, 350 along with looking at/reaching for an object in vehicle and passenger-related secondary tasks.

      Drowsiness also appears to affect crashes and collisions at much higher rates than is reported using existing crash databases. Drowsiness was a contributing factor in 12 percent of all crashes and 10 percent of near-crashes, while most current database estimates place drowsiness-related crashes at approximately 2 percent to 4 percent of total crashes.

      The lead-vehicle crash and near-crash data clearly show that development of purely quantitative near-crash criteria (i.e., not requiring at least some degree of verification by a human analyst) is not currently feasible. A primary reason for this was that vehicle kinematics associated with near-crashes were virtually identical to common driving situations that were not indicative of crash risk. Thus, qualitative and quantitative criteria are dependent upon one another to some degree. Fortunately, advances in digital video compression and storage technology, and the advancement of data reduction software,have made video verification feasible for large numbers of events.

      —————

      Cyclists that depend on the kindness (and competence) of strangers driving motorcars behind them are rolling the dice.

      Cheers,

      Neal

      +1 mph Faster

      • Ralph says:

        The biggest issue is driver inattentiveness followed by bullying. Having a bike lane puts a space on the road that most people feel is the place for cyclists to ride. No the paint stripe doesn’t protect you from a driver not watching what they are doing. The same could be said for putting traffic lanes and center stripes on roads. They don’t protect you from drunks and texters. They are useful guides for road placement of users.

        I ride at or near the center of lanes when there are no bike lanes or they are blocked. Facilities do need to be improved usage will not increase with no facilities. Usage will improve with the newer developments that are infilling cities, and suburbs which have to become more dense. We can’t pave more ground in most places usage has to shift.

    • khal spencer says:

      Audeamus, thanks for the great post. I’m what one would consider a vehicular cyclist, also a motorcyclist with a MSF card in my wallet, and work on my county’s transportation board with our professional traffic engineering staff. I’ve even helped design some *gasp* bicycling facilities. Not anonymous here, but these are my personal opinions, if that matters.

      What I try to do is to educate our staffers on the nuances of good vs. bad facilitiy design. We put in bike lanes, but not in door zones–that took work to agree to. We have a better system because we don’t take an “end game” approach but increasingly, ask “what will work best here”. Sadly, that has happened after some pretty bad goof ups, including a third of a mile of coffin corner bike lane that in retrospect, everyone, not just the VC crowd, agrees has design problems that could have been avoided had the “bike lanes at all costs” mentality not prevailed ten years ago. One of the things I’m most proud of is that our P.E. and his other engineers respect my judgement and consider me a member of the team rather than just another half-educated advocate. After ten years….

      If we could get the traffic professionals and cycling community to take a less polarized approach, maybe we can progress a little faster.

      • Karen Karabell says:

        Khal wrote: “If we could get the traffic professionals and cycling community to take a less polarized approach, maybe we can progress a little faster.”

        The problem, Khal, is that among both traffic engineers and cyclists there are precious few traffic cycling experts.

        I was at an event last November to “take bicycling to the next level” in St. Louis. Both of the “experts” brought in to speak admitted that they were still experimenting with bike infrastructure designs on their populations.

        I was horrified. We don’t need to experiment anymore. We now know what works–and what doesn’t.

        • Hello Karen and All,

          Thanks for your thoughtful posts.

          NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports:
          A total of 677 pedalcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2011. The 14-and-younger age group accounted for 9% of those fatalities, and males accounted for 69% of the fatalities among pedalcyclists age 14 and younger.

          CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) reports:
          While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do. In 2010 in the U.S., almost 800 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries. Data from 2005 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $5 billion.

          There are those that accept these cyclist losses and say that is just the way it is and always has been.

          I think we should implement facilities to reduce those death and injury numbers. In cities where bicycle infrastructure has been implemented the safety of cyclists has improved.

          New York Times reports:
          In New York City, 75 percent of all fatal bike accidents involve a head injury. In addition to wearing a helmet, another helpful precaution is using a marked bike lane: Streets that have them have 40 percent fewer crashes ending in death or serious injury. ( http://transalt.org/issues/bike/bikefaq )

          Vehicular Cycling (Effective Cycling) has been around since the 1970’s and appears to have had little impact on bicycle safety.

          CyclingSavvy established about 2009 depends on education rather than infrastructure to improve safety. It is probably too early to determine if CyclingSavvy is having any actual impact on bicycle safety.

          I disagree with your opposition to bicycle infrastructure because of the documented success of bicycle infrastructure for improving the safety of a wide range of cyclists and for the bicycle infrastructure increasing the number of cyclists ….. especially female cyclists …… whose acceptance of improved bicycle infrastructure helps drive the cyclists transportation mode share increases.

          I agree that since bicycle infrastructure is often being newly implemented into existing transportation facilities it is compromised in some locations and can be less than perfect …. and will need continual evaluation and improvement.

          I think we should experiment …. in the sense that the best bicycle infrastructure we have can most likely be improved …. as with many of our human constructs.

          To be a Luddite and only continue the same old cycling patterns ………. and not try to improve conditions by experimenting is folly.

          To prevent crashes the practice of separation of disparate moving objects is demonstrated in aviation which utilizes positive separation for most commercial operations.

          Motorcars moving in opposite directions are separated by concrete barriers on many freeways.

          Trucks are partially separated from motorcar traffic (in California) by remaining in the rightmost two lanes.

          Swimmers in pool races are separated by lane lines.

          It is basic ….. separation is what prevents collisions.

          And ….. more humans will be safer and more likely to take up cycling when separated from heavier and faster moving motor cars.

          In some locations and some states you may be required to use the bicycle infrastructure so you will be safer.

          As mentioned before ….. when you ‘take the lane’ you are ‘depending on the kindness of strangers’.

          And those strangers operating the motor car are not always competent, sober, healthy, or fully awake.

          Cheers,

          Neal

          +1 mph Faster

  11. Great post and one I agree with wholeheartedly. Every cyclist seems to boil down her riding style based on “this happened to me” or “this is what works for me,” so it’s almost impossible to get people out of “what works for them.”

    I tried lane control a few years ago on a nasty stretch of road, Del Amo heading east between Prospect and Hawthorne based on the stuff I’d been reading by Dan Gutierrez in the CABO forum. It scared the crap out of me, being smack in the middle of the lane.

    However, I noticed that cars now went around me by changing lanes rather than grazing my ears with same-lane buzzes. Will I one day get creamed from behind? I don’t know, but so far there have been zero close calls from the rear. All of the hairy ones have been when I’ve hewed to the gutter or ridden in the bike lane.

    We made some amazing progress last year getting people to control the lane on PCH, but old habits die hard, and gutters are so enticing! Ted, as usual, hats off for moving the ball forward. Karen, great article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen Karabell says:

      Thank you, Seth. I thank each of you who has offered thoughtful comments and observations, though I know it would be goofy to write “thanks” to every one of you. But thanks nonetheless!

  12. Jim says:

    Very good read

  13. Kevin Hudson says:

    Thank you for your post – you raise some good points that every cyclist should consider and be aware of (and Ted – thanks for letting her share). But I don’t see why this has to be an “either or” proposition. There are both benefits and dangers to both bike lanes and travel lanes. Which one a cyclist chooses to travel in should be dependent on a number of factors:
    • Cyclist’s abilities
    • Group ride vs. solo
    • Road surface conditions
    • Posted speed
    • Amount of traffic
    • Nature of the road (grade, width, number of lanes, curvy, hilly, parallel parking, etc.

    Regarding driver vision, CyclingSavvy makes it sound like every road is perfectly straight with no hills or curves so that drivers can see the road for a quarter mile in front of them. And even on a straight road with no undulations, their scenario promotes a false sense of security regarding driver vision. For instance, what if a driver is tailgating another car, both are traveling much faster than a cyclist that they’re approaching in the travel lane, the 2nd drivers view of the cyclist is blocked by the car he’s tailgating, and the car in front doesn’t swerve to go around the cyclist until the last second? Even if the 2nd driver happens to not be distracted at that moment, I’d much rather be in the bike lane. And because I was in the bike lane, it’s much more likely that the 2nd driver (and any others behind them) would see me earlier than if I was in the travel lane where their view was blocked by another vehicle. It sounds like CS is assuming that every driver has tunnel vision. And where did they pull the 140’ measurement from? Again, this depends on numerous obvious factors that they neglected to mention (so I won’t bother either).

    I totally agree with you about right hooks, and I do think it’s up to cyclists to be vigilant about avoiding them and making their presence known, but I’ve had this (nearly) happen to me when riding in travel lanes as often as bike lanes. You make it sound as if it will never happen to someone if they simply ride in the travel lane.

    I’m having trouble understanding the need to cut your speed in half when travelling in a bike lane. I travel the same speed in a bike lane as in the travel lane. If it’s self imposed because of some personal insecurity or lack of ability, it doesn’t seem fair to blame the bike lane. And if riding in the travel lane is so great, why are you moving over into the bike lane during “control and release”? What is keeping you from staying in the travel lane?

    I’ve been riding all my life, city, suburban, country, day, night – and have never been hit. Ok I’ve been lucky, and had a lot of close calls. If there’s a bike lane I will usually ride in it, depending on the factors listed above, but I also ride in the travel lane quite often when conditions dictate. I’m in favor of well designed bike lanes and believe most are safe, but it’s also up to cyclists to educate themselves as to properly use both.

    Thanks again for your post – I appreciate your opinion. But I feel that a lot of your justifications (for travel lanes) regarding driver vision seem to be made with a certain amount of tunnel vision on your part.

    • PatrickGSR94 says:

      Please watch this video: http://vimeo.com/17300276

      Note specifically 1:10 and 3:40. And in that 2nd part he’s not even hugging the right edge but rather riding in the right tire track. Riding that way invites people to stay in the lane behind you longer, barely move over and “split” lanes as they pass, and/or move over to pass at the last second. That makes you invisible to cars farther behind as the video demonstrates. By controlling the lane so that cars change lanes fully and earlier (since you *ARE* more visible) you end up being seen from much farther back by other cars, which in turn allows them to also react to your presence earlier.

      High-viz and flashing lights also help, as does a rear view mirror. I use all of these and it increases my on-road confidence greatly.

    • Serge Issakov says:

      We can’t avoid all types of crashes and can come up with all kinds of potential horrific scenarios.

      What if a driver is tailgating another car, both are traveling much faster than a cyclist that they’re approaching in the bike lane, the 2nd drivers view of the cyclist is blocked by the car he’s tailgating, the car in front begins to change lanes just before reaching the cyclist, and the 2nd driver impatiently moves left into the bike lane to pass the first car on the right?

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Correction: … just before reaching the cyclist, and the 2nd driver impatiently moves left right into the bike lane to pass the first car on the right?

  14. Audeamus says:

    I think my point about bicycling advocates working against each other has been confirmed here.

    Again, no one has all the answers. As good of a course as Cycling Savvy is, it will not get the numbers up like other countries have. Saying “they’re different” as a way of discounting their efforts and successes is not a good answer. I’ve driven in Germany, and bicycled. They love their cars as much as we do. But most Americans simply don’t want to ride a bicycle around cars, and certainly in the same lane. Vehicular cyclists will, but not most normal, everday people. Places like Copenhagen teach their children how to ride safely, they constantly refine and expand their bicycling infrastructure, and they make car ownership expensive.

    No, of course bicycling infrastructure is not the answer alone. But neither is taking a $75 course, and pissing off motorists. We have to have a mix of solutions, and we have to get coordinated and consistent, and stop sniping at each other. Nothing else will work to change the culture, and it can be changed, just like it has been changed elsewhere. Division will merely slow down progress to a crawl at best, just like the cagers would prefer.

    • Serge Issakov says:

      First, we have to at least understand what the other is saying.

      CyclingSavvy is not a country trying to get the numbers up. You can’t compare CyclingSavvy to the Netherlands.

      Saying “they’re different” is not a way of discounting their efforts and successes – it’s a way of discounting the applicability of those efforts in this country, for a number of very specific reasons (and you’ve named some of them, including training from childhood and making motoring very expensive).

      I think we all favor the “mix” approach. But the point of this piece is much narrower. It is simply that today, in the USA, cycling in traffic lanes is safer than cycling in bike lanes.

      • Audeamus says:

        With all due respect, I’m not sure I agree with the statement that it is always safer to take the lane than to stay in a bicycle lane. I understand the logic, but it is questionable because this statement relies on anecdotal evidence instead of accident reports and statistics. Sorry if that seems excessively skeptical, but my job as a planner involves making policy and design recommendations that involve liability, engineering, and other health, safety, and welfare aspects. AASHTO certainly has its shortcomings–it’s conservative, slow to change, and is often used as a minimum standards text–but these are not cartoons drawn up by sixth graders. They are carefully worked out designs that have been peer reviewed and subject to legal review as well. If you think they’re flawed, then contact AASHTO. But don’t confuse personal experiences and a philosophy as empirical evidence.

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          AASHTO may be conservative, but as an engineer, I don’t view that as ashortcoming. I view that as evidence of due care.

          Those who wish to ignore AASHTO have often, IMO, overestimated their own ability to visualize traffic interactions. Their hubris has led to confusion and danger. Remember, every road configuration must fit the normal expectations of every competent road user. Yes, even those from out of town!

          Unfortunately, many cyclists don’t understand the dangers and shortcomings of “innovative” bike facilities. Some learn via bad experiences once they try them; but in too many cases, the bad experiences just generate cries for even weirder facilities.

          That’s been the case in Portland, after it was found that green “bike boxes” significantly increased the right-hook conflicts they were intended to prevent. And I believe that’s behind the suddenly fashionable “protected” bike lanes. The magic standard bike lanes didn’t work (for all the reasons vehicular cyclists have pointed out); so facilities fans now say “We need something even weirder!”

          What’s needed is, instead, basic education. Why is that never tried?

          • calwatch says:

            I think we are trying education, which of course people like Ms. Karabell disagree with (“every lane is a bike lane”). I don’t think Audeamus was criticizing AASHTO, just stating the facts – this is an organization of state transportation professionals, and they are going to be bureaucratic and require consensus before any decision is made.

            And while vehicular cycling may work in certain circumstances, and is certainly preferably to the abomination of bike lanes that Ms. Karabell shows in St. Louis, it is not the best option all the time. I tend to be more vehicular on minor streets, where there are a lot of parked cars. But on major streets I don’t necessarily want to take a lane on a 40 mph+ arterial. I’d rather ride on the sidewalk than do that, and that’s despite that on a sidewalk, I have the greater issue of conflict with vehicles coming out of driveways. Then again, I’m not doing 15 mph on a road bike, I’m doing half the speed in a single speed, $150 folding bike.

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              I was riding the right lane of a 40 mph road today on the way home, doing 15-20 mph thanks to a big tailwind. I could see cars in my mirror changing lanes as much as 1/4 mile behind me. The sidewalk would have been an awful choice for me in that location.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              In my 50+ years of riding experience, I’ve found very, very few places where vehicular cycling – that is, riding on the road as a legitimate, legal vehicle operator – does not work. It’s certainly not accurate to imply it’s only for “certain circumstances.”

              And BTW, I’ve got several studies of sidewalk cycling on file. NONE of them show the sidewalk to be safer than riding normal roads.

              Sidewalk hazards include collisions with pedestrians, collisions with obstructions (poles, mailboxes, street furniture), sharp pavement dropoffs, cars entering & exiting drives without warning, surprising motorists by entering intersections at speed in crosswalks, etc.

              Sidewalks can be OK in “certain circumstances,” especially if you’re riding only at pedestrian speed. But as with cycletracks, you usually need to be much more aware than on the regular road.

              So be very careful. In particular, look over your shoulder at _every_ driveway and intersection.

        • Serge Issakov says:

          “With all due respect, I’m not sure I agree with the statement that it is always safer to take the lane than to stay in a bicycle lane. “

          First, nobody said always. As others have noted, wearing a seatbelt is not always safer – that doesn’t mean it’s safer to not wear a seatbelt.

          Second, “riding in the traffic lane is safer than in a bicycle lane” is not merely a statement. It’s the thesis of the article on which you’re commenting. Everything you’ve posted here seems to be reaction to the comments here rather than the content of the article itself. Have you read it? Carefully?

  15. Andreu says:

    To me, what sums this up, is that this sounds like a coping skill to deal with transport planning that has been centered on building roads for cars for the past 50 or so years. It doesn’t lose its value in that it’s definitely safer in many spots on the roads to take the lane and we shouldn’t be prevented from doing so.

    However, I do sense that the paradigm is shifting away from the transport planning of the 50s and 60s (with modifications from the 80s and 90s — like bike lanes) in to planning infrastructure for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit. From a longer-term perspective, I think strategies like CyclingSavvy will move along with the old paradigm.

    • Todd Nelson says:

      The need to cycle in traffic will not move along with the old paradigm, if you are suggesting that it is dated like the planning of the 50s and 60s or even the 80s and 90s. If anything, it will become more necessary as resources (fuel for motorized transportation, financing and land space for infrastructure) becomes more and more limited. We have finite resources and the requirement for transportation is not likely to decrease. Our economy and employment failures are more likely to force more people to use bicycles for transportation and bicycling facilities may be overwhelmed where they exist at times. We will need to share the road, not to be confused with sharing the lane.

      CyclingSavvy will be there to teach those willing to embrace the reality that equal road user status, not segregation to limited and/or unsafe facilities, will make for safer cycling. CyclingSavvy will not move along. If anything it will improve and adapt with teaching techniques and in its reach to broader educational venues and coordination with law enforcement agencies. And to think that it is not even five years old.

  16. marc caruso says:

    Audeamus you might be right it might not always be safer to take the lane. Just like it is not always safer to wear a seatbelt or have an airbag. About 90 percent of the time the seatbelt and airbag will save your life the other 10 percent of the time the airbag or seatbelt might be what kills you after the crash. Since we don’t know before we enter our car if we will have a crash, or if our seatbelt or airbag will save our life or kill or maim us. We play the odds and buckle up. The same is true for taking the lane. About 98 percent of the time it will keep it us safe other times it might fail. We don’t know before we fill our tires and run our hands over them to check for any glass or debris in our tires. If lane control will keep us safe or be the cause of a crash. But just like with seatbelts we play the odds and hope we don’t fall into that 2 percent category.

    cycling savvy does not teach vehicular cycling from what I have read from the instructors. For one thing Forresters Vehicular cycling does not promote lane control it promotes taking the lane when the cyclist can keep up. If you watch some videos from many of the instructors they are not even travelling at half the speed of motorists. But because of their lane position motorists see them early and change lanes.

    Also someone I forget who made a comment about bike lanes and doorzones. If a bike lane is in door zone Then yes it is dangerous. Watch This video on UBT from professor Gutierrez http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrJOurj61xk. And not all bike lanes our bad if designed correctly they will work. Dan is CSI and he also teaches engineers how to properly place bike lanes. If someone is teaching people how to make proper bike lanes. I think it is safe to logically conclude they are not against bike lanes. Just poorly designed ones that need to be taken down and restriped properly.

  17. Drivers can’t be expected to see things on the edge of the road? Do you realize that this means we shouldn’t expect them to see people walking either? A driver that doesn’t see a bike in a bike lane before turning right won’t see a person in the crosswalk or on the sidewalk crossing a driveway. Don’t edge-bound pedestrians have the same risk as bicyclists?

    How can we ever say that this driver behavior is inevitable and therefore tacitly encouraged?

    The truth is that in places where there are people walking and bicycling drivers need to slow down to speeds where they have time to watch the edges of the street. Want to go faster? Get on the freeway or other limited-access highways.

    I know this is heresy in the car- and speed-addicted USA, but it’s the only way to make our cities and towns civilized for people who dare try to get around without a motor vehicle.

    And for the record, I use CyclingSavvy techniques like taking the lane and “control and release” regularly. They’re solid ways to navigate roads that are not designed to handle bike traffic in addition to car traffic. But I don’t enjoy it and will go out of my way to avoid roads where the car traffic is heavy and the typical speeds are over 30 mph.

    • The difference between edge-bound pedestrians and cyclists is the speed they’re traveling (same issue with cyclists on the sidewalk). The slower speed of travel means pedestrians have more time to react, though, when I am a pedestrian, I certainly prefer sidewalks.

      I do agree, that in general, motorists should slow down and pay attention. I also know, though, that as both a cyclist and a pretty darn aware and careful motorist, I have almost hit (and in one recent instance, almost doored) cyclists practicing edge behavior.

      The animations in CyclingSavvy are spot on — motorists, even careful ones, can’t look everywhere at once, and we [motorists] just don’t expect road users traveling at the edge of the road, not to mention that being a position where you’re less likely to be seen due to blocking/screening by trees, parked cars, etc.

      • bikinginla says:

        Actually, if any motorist doesn’t expect road users on the edge of the road — or in the middle or darting out from the side — they shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

        Any good driver would be constantly scanning the road ahead of them for any possible dangers, from pedestrians crossing the road to cyclists, dogs and little kids running out without warning, and other vehicles pulling out in front of them.

        The problem is that too many drivers don’t do that. If they did, our roads would be safe and this entire discussion would be moot.

      • “we [motorists] just don’t expect road users traveling at the edge of the road, not to mention that being a position where you’re less likely to be seen due to blocking/screening by trees, parked cars, etc.”

        That’s the problem in a nutshell. Drivers MUST expect road users–namely pedestrians–on the edge of the road where they are often blocked by trees and parked cars.

        It’s irresponsible to expect people walking to stop for your car so it can plow through a crosswalk or driveway. In many cases, the people walking can’t even see you coming, they’re midway across the street or driveway. They don’t have eyes in the backs of their heads.

    • billdsd says:

      Indeed, they tend not to see pedestrians.

      I’ve witnessed a pedestrian getting hit by a car. I’ve had many cars plow through intersections when I had right of way as a pedestrian. I see motorists disregarding crosswalks with pedestrians trying to cross all the time.

      Pedestrians are usually OK while they’re up on the curb but as soon as they try to cross a driveway or intersection it can get iffy. Over 4000 pedestrians are killed by motorists every year.

      When I’m walking, I don’t trust motorists and I make sure that they are yielding to me before I move in front of them. It’s easier to do when you’re already at walking speed.

      • I walked across a 4-lane road the other night with the WALK signal. I was past the center mini-island when a driver came from behind and turned left directly in front of me. I stopped and narrowly missed getting hit.

        I guess I could have walked across, alternating looking over my shoulder with looking ahead and that’s probably what I’ll do next time–if there is a next time. It certainly made me not want to cross there again.

        The root problem I’m trying to solve as an advocate is surrendering to cars and allowing our streets to be hostile to people biking and walking.

        The current suburban standards are all about moving cars, not people. In most cities you can’t travel more than 1/4 mile without crossing an arterial road with speed limits that are dangerously high. I’m talking 35 mph, which is what the street I was crossing was designated as. In truth, median traffic is probably 40-45. That’s what’s broken. We’re talking about more than bikes here.

  18. Ed Lincoln says:

    Sometimes the message isn’t the problem, but the messenger. Vehicular cycling might have more respect if Forester himself weren’t such an asshole, setting the tone for more of the same.

    Thankfully this is changing! Thanks for the article.

    • Karen Karabell says:

      Ted, I wish you offered “Like” buttons on comments :-)

    • Martin Pion says:

      If I may reply to Ed Lincoln, who wrote:

      Sometimes the message isn’t the problem, but the messenger. Vehicular cycling might have more respect if Forester himself weren’t such an asshole, setting the tone for more of the same.

      Thankfully this is changing! Thanks for the article.

      I personally have to thank John Forester for starting me on the path of becoming a confident on-road cyclist after years of lacking the knowledge of what made cycling safe. As a scientist I was certainly skeptical at first but his detailed and sound analysis of the causes of car-bike collisions and how to mitigate or avoid them in his 1984 edition of Effective Cycling is the basis for best practices today and helped me enormously.

      The fact that John Forester is right most of the time is the problem, because it has led to his being very vocal in his criticism of those he concludes are wrong. If he had exhibited more tact that would have been helpful. I think the rest of us advocating for what we view as equitable on-road treatment of cyclists and the teaching of best practices owe Forester a debt of gratitude today.

  19. grrlyrida says:

    I took a confident city cycling class with the guy who runs Santa Monica Bike Center. His class was similar to CyclingSavvy and Vehicular Cycling. But one thing he did stress is that one type of riding isn’t the end all be all.

    I have to take the lane on four blocks of Fountain, even with those silly sharrows it’s harrowing. I’ve had drivers lean on their horn and some tryng to teach me a lesson and pass too close while I’m in the middle of the lane. Once a guy coming from the opposite direction headed straight for me because I guess he throught I should be to the right. I don’t like those crummy bike lanes on Sunset but taking the lane may not always be the right answer. I would rather have better bike infrastructure than have to take the lane with cars going more than 45 mph.

    I have to disagree with some of what the author says and look toward safe models of bike infrastructure in Europe. I see less deaths than here and more women cycling. I want safe bike infrastructure not mixing it up on boulevards with cars. Ciclavia is proof, when people don’t have to mix it up with cars, they will come out and ride.

    • marc caruso says:

      What you are describing is a tempera tantrum with the honking and screaming. It really won’t hurt you. Well maybe your ears. Just communicate be friendly and wave with all 5 fingers when you release traffic. And don’t forget to smile.

      The other situation is nothing short of Assault and battery and possibly attempted murder. Do what you need to to get away then call the police. There is no excuse for that sort of behavior.

      The former can be shrugged off the latter such as someone intentionally driving right at you needs to be dealt with swiftly and strictly by law enforcement.

      • marc caruso says:

        “by law enforcement” not “be law enforcement”. Where is the edit command.?

        • bikinginla says:

          I fixed it for you.

          However, I can assure you the angry driver who was honking and screaming behind me a few years back hurt more than my ears when she deliberately plowed into me when I stopped at a stop sign.

          And as usually happens in cases like that, the police didn’t take it seriously and wrote if off as a mere “accident.” Just as they did another case I’ll be writing about in my next post.

  20. barefootmeg says:

    Great article! Very comprehensive. Thanks so much.

    Many of the bike accidents in our area happen when bicyclists are following all the rules but because they’re on the side of the road instead of in the center, turning cars don’t see them. And one recent accident was due to confusion on the part of the bicyclist regarding how she was supposed to turn left from the far right bike lane. It makes so much more sense to all involved when a bike travels in the same way a car travels. Then everyone knows what to expect.

    • Karen Karabell says:

      ^^^ Like :-) ^^^

      • Karen Karabell says:

        Thinking about what you wrote, Meg, I would add that communication is huge. When I communicate my intentions to my fellow road users (AKA motorists), they go out of their way to help me. The response I get is both amazing and deeply gratifying.

  21. “Every second on this planet,

    millions of motorists are driving along

    and NOT hitting what is right in front of them.”

    Motorists colliding with hard objects in great numbers, such as cars, is the reason why airbags, seatbelts, safety glass, crush zones and safety cells were mandated for cars. Unfortunately, human beings have not evolved with a exoskeleton to protect them from collisions with solid objects traveling at 40+ mph.

    Mulholland is road with tight turns and sharp inclines that is used as a racetrack by many drivers and motorcyclists.

    At about 50 seconds into this video of a high speed motorcycle chase on Mulholland you will see two bicyclists riding on the shoulder of the road. Riding a bicycle up a steep incline at 6-8 miles an hour in the middle of the lane of this street is not something I would recommend for improvement of safety.

    The idea that bicycling amongst vehicles that are traveling at a much greater velocity are unlikely to maim or kill you at anytime seems to be based on reasoning that people do not make mistakes. Also, that drivers will not get irritated and notice when something traveling much slower gets in their way.

    Another argument for riding in front of motor vehicles seems to be that they are much likely to see you than if you ride next to parked motor vehicles. That is to say the large parked motor vehicles in the lane next over is unnoticeable, but the much smaller human body traveling in front of them is much more likely to be seen.

    If bike lanes make bicycles irrelevant to drivers because they are not in front of them, then moving vehicles to their left and parked cars to their right must also be irrelevant.

    “When I am controlling a regular travel lane, I find that I never need to exercise white-knuckle vigilance.” Here’s another video examplethat demonstrates how motorists can become very irritated at a bicyclist slowing them down by taking the lane.

    Here’s a bicycling injury study which found that the safer routes to ride on mostly correlated to the preferred routes.

    That bicycling injury study had a rate of 31% less injuries in bike lanes than on comparable streets nearby with no bikeway.

    The FHWA research shows a 30% decrease in injuries riding in bike lanes compared to riding in mixed traffic.

    The Netherlands already went through the stage of increasingly mixing bicycles with motor vehicles up until the early 1970’s. It had disastrous results post WWII with sharply rising injuries and fatalities for cyclists and plummeting ridership as car ownership greatly increased. The Dutch got fed up with this and demanded a new transportation system.

    Here’s a video that briefly goes over that history.

    From 1952 to 1975 cycling in the UK fell by 80% and 62% in the Netherlands. From that point on the Dutch worked on building cycle tracks and paths for cyclists and the UK did not. As a result, by 2006 the cycling level in the UK was less than a seventh of what it was in 1952, while cycling in the Netherlands was slightly more than half of what it was in 1952.

    The Netherlands has the highest bicycling cycling rate in Europe and the longest average commuting distance overall for all travel modes.

    • In 1972, the Netherlands had a traffic collision rate that was 20% higher than the U.S. Now it is 60% lower compared to the U.S.

      As a result of this you are five times more likely to be killed per 100 million km traveled by bicycle in the U.S. compared to the Netherlands.

      You are also six times more likely to be killed per 10 million km traveled as a pedestrian in the U.S. compared to the Netherlands.

      The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany built extensive networks of cycle tracks and bike paths since the 1970’s. As a result, the rate of cycling rose in all three countries from 1978 to 2005. The UK did not pursue a policy of separating bicyclists from motor vehicles and its cycling rate fell almost continuously since 1978, declining by a third.

      • The Vancouver study you cite is about the only study in existance that has the result that bike lanes are safer. There are numerous other studies that say the opposite . all of which are completely ignored by the bike lane advocats.

        The Netherlands are often named as the wonderland of cycling. Fact is, though, that the Netherlands (with all their bike lanes) have a quite high number of injured or killed cyclists. And that is opposed to the general trend that more cyclists = higher safety for cyclists.

        See Wegman, Fred; Dijkstra, Atze: “Safety Effects of Bicycle Facilities:
        The Dutch Experience.” Institute for Road Safety Research SWOV,
        Leidschendam 1988. Seite 5

        “The research has proven that:

        – stretches of road (incl minor junctions) with cycle paths are safer
        for cyclists than those without, or those with lanes: it is safer to
        have no facilities than to have lanes.

        – junctions are safer for cyclists if the connecting stretch of road
        has no facility or bicycle lanes

        [...]

        From the afore mentioned research comes the indication that the
        seriousness of the accidents of cyclists was higher if there were
        lanes or paths for cyclists.”

        • There are five principle of sustainable road safety according to SWOV. One of which is homogeneity.

          On page 2, of this SWOV fact sheet entitled:Background of the five Sustainable Safety principles it states:

          Where road users/vehicles with large mass differences use the same traffic space, the speeds should be so low that the most vulnerable road users and transport modes come out of a crash without any severe injuries. In an ideal situation this is achieved by evoking low speeds through the road infrastructure, not by appealing to the road users’ individual choices.

          At locations where traffic uses high speeds, different types of road user and road users driving in different directions should be physically separated from each other as much as possible and road users should be protected by their vehicle. That way, conflicts leading to severe injury are
          prevented.

          Another SWOV fact sheet entitled: Bicycle facilities on distributor roads states that “a sustainably safe road environment requires bicycle facilities that separate motorized traffic from relatively vulnerable road users like cyclists. Research indicates that on distributor roads the road sections with adjoining or separate bicycle tracks are safer than the road sections without any bicycle facilities.

          It also states that bike lanes and paths are necessary for separation when motor vehicle lanes exceed 30 km/h (19 mph).

          Bike lanes are advised for distributer roads (arterial), but a separate cycle track is preferable, “because the large degree of separation offers the best possible protection against the large speed differences between motorized traffic and
          cyclists.”

          The Dutch have far more km of cycle tracks and paths than bike lanes.

          There is a high number of injuries and fatalities for bicycling in the Netherlands due to the 26% modal share of bicycling. However, the rate of fatalities for bicycling is a fifth of what it is in the U.S. per 100 million km traveled.

          • Sort of exactly my point. There is no major city where the average speed of any vehicle (cars/lorries/cyclists) exceeds 30km/h.

            Any cycle track or bike lane has one built-in drawback (most have more than one): They don’t scale. What is wide enough for 5% isn’t for 20+%. And that is where we are aiming, right?

            My home town, Munich, has that percentage now (we have 17% average for the hole city, in the inner districts it would be 20-30%. We have all kind of problems because of conflicts between the cyclists and the pedestrians, which are way too close together. The speed difference and the movement profile between a pedestrian and a cyclist is far more different than between a cyclist and a car.

            Oh, and all fatal accidents with cylists last year happened on roads with cycle tracks. Lorry takes a turn, doesn’t see cyclist, end of story.

            In my decades of city cycling, i met very few murderers. I met unattentive drivers, i met situations where they just couldn’t see me, but no one came close to hitting me when he had seen me. I want to cycle where drivers can see me.

            • SWOV is stating that separation by bike lanes and paths are necessary if the motor vehicle exceeds 30km/h (19mph). Distributor roads (arterials) are usually in excess of that.

              In other words, do not put bicyclists in mixed traffic if the motor vehicle speeds exceed 19mph. It does not state that all roads in a city should not exceed 30km/h. Distributor roads (arterials)should have at least bicycle lanes for separation because the motor vehicle speeds are in excess of 19 mph. But, it also indicates that cycle tracks are preferable.

            • I believe you that is what SWOV says, but that is *one* road codex and not the holy bible.

              Many studies show that cycling gets safer the more cyclists there are. Netherlands has by far the highest rate of cyclists in Central Europe, but is only in midfield when it comes to safety. They *should* be up higher. So, what is wrong there? Maybe there is a “break-even” point for the “safest” percentage of cyclists. Maybe the “dutch way” is not the necessarily best one. It *may* be, but there are hints that other systems might work as well, or better.

              An unbiased evaluation is what is called for, not blindly following *one* system because it *worked somewhere else” – that would be like only drinking red wine because the french are said to have the lowest heart disease rate.

              A lot of factors have to be taken into account: Cycling culture, heritage, motorist driving style, geography, climate., etc.
              All thess factors may influences how many people will chose a bicycle for their moving around, and at what risk they do that.

            • The rank of European countries starting from the least amount of bicycling fatalities per 100 million km:

              The Netherlands
              Sweden
              Denmark
              Norway
              Germany
              Switzerland
              Finland
              Great Britain
              Austria
              Italy

              I would hardly call the Netherlands “midfield” when it comes to safety.

              What’s common amongst the lowest fatality rate countries is extensive bike lanes and paths.

              Those countries with much higher fatality rate have much fewer bike lanes and paths.

              If bike lanes and cycle tracks are much more dangerous than riding in front of motor vehicles on a major street, then the lowest fatality rates should be those countries with the least amount of these types of facilities. Quite the opposite is true.

              In fact, the Netherlands has such a high level of comfort and safety for cycling its not uncommon to see mothers with their babies or young preschools riding beside them.

              If its so safe to bicycle in front of fast moving motor vehicles, then why is it that you don’t see the elderly or preschoolers with their parents riding there? The reason is its too damn dangerous!

              A fundamental flaw of vehicular cycling is that the vast majority of the population will never want to bicycle in front of motor vehicles.

              Where do the vast majority of people prefer to ride on roads with lots of motor vehicle traffic? Close to the curb or parked cars.

              Bike lanes are put where people overwhelmingly prefer to ride on busy streets. One difference is that people will ride a little further away from the curb or parked cars if they are in a bike lane compared to if there is no facility.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Dennis wrote: “If bike lanes and cycle tracks are much more dangerous than riding in front of motor vehicles on a major street, then the lowest fatality rates should be those countries with the least amount of these types of facilities. Quite the opposite is true.”

              Dennis, let’s not forget that these northern European countries have _far_ more differences with the U.S. than just the bike facilities. Some (not all) have been listed already.

              Let’s take just one: Strict liability laws for motorists. A few years ago, visiting friends in Zurich, we were told that strict liability laws had just been introduced, and that they completely transformed the experience of walking (and, I assume, biking) in that city. Motorists were _much_ more careful and polite.

              What if those laws were instituted in the U.S.? How much would our safety improve? I think the change would be significant. And next, we could lower our speed limits (especially in residential and central city zones) to European speeds. We could then prohibit right turns on red, which is common overseas.

              And if we want to continue in the realm of fantasy, we could make our cities super-dense, do away with most of our suburbs, provide world-class public transit, get rid of our hills and nasty winters…

              It’s not much more “fantasy” than cycletracks everywhere!

            • The top five large U.S. cities for the highest bicycle commuting mode share for 2012 (according to the Census Bureau’s ACS data) are Portland, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Seattle and San Francisco. Portland gets lots of rain, Minneapolis is extremely cold in the winter and San Francisco is very hilly. Each of these cities also have a higher amount of dedicated bicycling facilities than average for large cities in the U.S.

              In the U.S., cities with more dedicated bicycle infrastructure tend to have more bicycle use.

              New York City has built 30 miles of cycle tracks since 2007.

              Chicago is going even further with a goal of completing 100 miles of either buffered bike lanes or barrier protected lane installations by July 1st of 2015. This goal was started in the middle of 2011. That’s not fantasy, its reality.

              As Portland expanded its bikeway network, starting in 1990, bicycle use steadily rose and the bicycle-motor vehicle crash rate plummeted. According to your fantasy, Frank, that shouldn’t happen.

              The need to separated cyclists from fast, heavy traffic is considered a fundamental principle of road safety in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

              In contrast, the U.S. has mainly had a policy of integrating bikes with traffic. This has limited bicycle use to mainly the fraction of the population who are “traffic-tolerant.”

              The necessity to separate cyclists from fast and heavy motor traffic seems obvious due to their vulnerability and their large speed and mass differential from motor traffic. Bicycles do not have the crumple zones, safety cell, air bags, safety glass or seat belts that cars do. If its so safe to ride in the middle of heavy vehicles that are moving fast, then why was this safety equipment mandated for cars?

              Separating people from danger is a fundamental principle of industrial safety. This is especially important for children where size, limited cognitive ability and impulsiveness makes it especially dangerous to integrate with traffic.

            • using the “fatalities per 100 mio km travelled” modal split doesn’t quite cut it when comparing countries with vastly different expansion.
              The Netherlands measure 300km in east-west and 180km in north-south direction, so the average traveeled distance per trip will not really be comparable to those in larger countries. It always amuses me when these numbers you gave are used by people from places like the US.

              Let’s look at more signifying numbers:

              In 2008, european cities fatalities and accidents were compared by the EU (ETSC)

              In category “traffic deaths” per inhabitant, Copenhagen and Amsterdam were not shining:

              Amsterdam – 3.4 deaths per 100.000 inhabitants
              Copenhagen – 3.4 deaths per 100.000 inhabitants

              other cities:

              Madrid – 2.7
              Vienna – 2.1
              Helsinki – 2.1
              Oslo – 1.8
              Paris – 1.7
              Berlin – 1.6

              Berlin has a lot of cyclists.

              Absolute Numbers of traffic fatalities: Copenhagen: 20, Amsterdam 25 – that compares to Munic (27), but Munich is three times as big as Copenhagen.

      • Frank Krygowski says:

        Dennis wrote: “… you are five times more likely to be killed per 100 million km traveled by bicycle in the U.S. compared to the Netherlands.”

        But that statement demonstrates one of John Pucher’s most serious logic problems.

        In most of Pucher’s writing, his logic is “Safety is higher elsewhere; therefore bicycling here is far too dangerous, and we MUST build something to keep bikes separate from cars.”

        But Pucher’s own data (in his _Cycling for Everyone_, 2007) shows 5.8 fatalities in the U.S. for every 100 million kilometers ridden. That converts to 10.7 million miles ridden between fatalities. That is NOT dangerous! How long will it take you to ride 10 million miles?

        And in his _Making Cycling and Walking Safer: Lessons from Europe_ he (perhaps inadvertently) shows that riding a bike in the U.S. is safer, per mile, than even walking! U.S. Bicyclists: 109 fatalities per billion km traveled, and 26 fatalities per 100 million trips; vs. U.S. Pedstrians: 362 fatalities per billion km traveled, and 29 fatalities per 100 million trips.

        Again, how safe must bicycling be, before people drop the “Danger! Danger!” hype? And why on earth do people think crying “Danger!” will promote bicycling?

        Finally, as I’ve already mentioned, the claim that “They have bike lanes, so they have lots of biking and they’re safer” ignores dozens of other, much more important differences between the cultures. Green paint will never transform LA into Copenhagen. That would require, instead, a complete overhaul of American culture.

        • bikinginla says:

          Actually, give more recent figures (2009), your risk of being killed on a bike works out to roughly 1 in 6.3 million. Somehow, though, I think the families of the 89 cyclists killed in Southern Caifornia last year would disagree with your assessment that bicycling is safe.

          Yes, it is a relatively safe form of transportation. On an hour to hour basis, you are twice as likely to die inside a car than on a bike. But until everyone who leaves for a bike ride — or a drive, or sets out on foot — returns again safely, we have a lot more work to do,

          Yes, it will require a dramatic cultural change. But there is something seriously wrong with any culture that accepts 30,000 +/- deaths on their streets every year.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            Unfortunately, many supposed “bike advocates” love to trumpet some number that makes cycling sound dangerous. “89 cyclists killed in Southern California last year.”

            But how many pedestrians were killed in SoCal? How many motorcyclists? How many motorists? Was cycling’s count not lower than all those?

            I don’t know SoCal’s numbers, but I do know national ones. Year after year, there are about only 700 bike fatalities, with half of them due to blatant mistakes by cyclists (like riding facing traffic, riding drunk with no lights at night, etc). But year after year, there are about 4000 pedestrian deaths, and way over 30,000 motorist deaths.

            I can’t see why people promoting cycling don’t spend more time citing those numbers, and saying “See? Walking is dangerous. Driving is dangerous. Get on your bike!”

            Furthermore, cycling has health advantages that totally eclipse its tiny risks. Motoring has the opposite – the further risk of a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to the 700,000 cardiac deaths per year. Why not mention that, instead?

            I know that you said “Yes, it is a relatively safe form of transportation.” Perhaps you didn’t intend this, but among your other statements, that one seems a bit grudging. (And I’d say the “lot more work to do” should start with education.)

            Here’s some more data on the relative safety of cycling:
            http://ohiobike.org/misc/CyclingIsSafeTLK.pdf

            So we shouldn’t pretend cycling is terribly dangerous. That does us no good at all.

            • bikinginla says:

              “Supposed ‘bike advocates’?” Seriously?

              You are more than entitled to your opinion. But do not belittle the efforts of me or anyone else who has committed their lives to working for bike safety.

              I have myself made the exact same arguments you make above to argue for the relative safety of bicycling. I have also written 89 times about bike riders who lost their lives in the 7-county SoCal region last year, and already 13 times this year.

              Is cycling dangerous? No. Is it as safe as it should be? No.

              “Supposed ‘bike advocate’ my ass.

            • SIne Metu says:

              Ted Rogers, along with other people like Mark Elliott, Don “Roadblock” Ward etc. are extremely respected bike advocates here in SoCal and you would be wise to show some respect, especially when shilling for a product on his site.

              Ted’s mission statement is to make cycling in Southern California safe and inclusive to EVERYONE, including the little old lady on the 5 mph beach cruiser.

              You guys really expect someone not on a road bike and physically incapable of holding 15-20mph sustained to take the lane on the mean streets of LA?

              Band Aid logic and not forward-thinking at all. Yes, Vehicular riding addresses the needs of a few folks in the here-and-now but ultimately does nothing for the future of multi-modal in America.

              We want increased ridership. That’s the goal. Anything less is self-serving defeatism.

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              I’m all for bike lanes and people using bike lanes. Just so long as there’s no ridiculous law that mandates that I MUST use a bike lane at ALL TIMES if one is present. Give us a choice of using the bike lane or the travel lane so that the user can decide what’s best for him or her given the conditions, skill level, etc.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Gentlemen: I’m simply saying that portraying bicycling as being extremely dangerous does NOT help the cause! That statement should not cause offense!

              And the “Danger! Danger!” stuff is not accurate. Every study I’ve found on the topic has determined that the health benefits of cycling greatly exceed its risks. Certainly, benefit vs. risk should be a prime factor in judging whether to call something “dangerous.”

              Of course, it’s possible to further reduce the risk of cycling. With just a bit of improvement, we could make the U.S. cycling fatality count lower than the U.S. falling-out-of-bed fatality count. We’re close now, and Canada is there already.

              If that were to be our goal, how should we achieve fewer bike deaths than bed deaths? We could spend a few billion on, say, cycletracks. Maybe that might work – although the first “protected bike lane” I heard of (in Columbus, Ohio, next to the OSU campus) was removed in just months because of the greatly increased number of crashes and injuries.

              Alternately, we could spend a few hundred thousand (nationwide) on education and minimal enforcement. Get rid of the no-lights-at-night riders, and the goal is achieved. Convince motorists we have full rights to the road and the goal is exceeded. Get cyclists to ride competently as legitimate road users (yes, out of the gutter, off the sidewalk, taking the lane where necessary) and bike deaths would be fewer than falling-off-ladder deaths.

              But if bike deaths are as low as they are, why point to death as a real risk? Remember: “How safe is bicycling? Cyclists suffered in an estimated 52,000 injuries in 2009; making your odds of returning home safely from any given ride nearly 77,000 to one; the chances of surviving any given ride were over 6.3 million to one in your favor.”

              Sound familiar? That deserves MUCH more emphasis than “89 deaths in SoCal”.

            • bikinginla says:

              And yet Frank, you somehow manage to offend.

              If you had read my blog, rather than making false assumptions and passive-aggressive criticisms, you’d know that I’ve long called for cyclists to ride safely, with traffic, lighted at night and obeying all traffic signals. I’ve also called for a return for bicycle education in grade and secondary schools, as well as repeatedly suggesting adult cycling education.

              I’ve campaigned for better education for motorists on the rights of bike riders and how to drive safely around bikes, and stiffer penalties — including permanent loss of license — for drivers who leave the scene of a collision or have otherwise demonstrated an inability to drive safety.

              I have repeatedly worked with police officials for fairer enforcement of bike laws, helped improve relations with law enforcement and advocated for stricter enforcement against drivers who threaten or deliberately assault cyclists. In addition, I was a key supporter of LA’s first-in-the-world cyclist anti-harassment ordinance that allows bike riders to sue motorists directly for threatening or harassing actions.

              I’ve frequently worked behind the scenes to help cyclists unfairly ticketed or stopped by police, and to get dangerous bikeways, intersections and roadways fixed. I’ve helped organize bike rides and other events, and directed bicyclists to the services they need and the people who can help them.

              And I’ve guided family members of fallen cyclists to get the legal help they need, and held their hands — figuratively and literally — as they’ve dealt with their grief and a legal system that too often lets them down.

              All of which I’ve done on a full-time volunteer basis, with no compensation whatsoever until I started accepting advertising on this site after the first of the year.

              What I have not done, at any point in my entire life, is portray bicycling as extremely dangerous, despite your unfair and unfounded criticism.

              Yes, I call attention to bicycling fatalities, along with every other aspect of bicycling, good and bad. Fallen cyclists deserve to be remembered, and one death is one too many; 89 in just seven Southern California counties is an abomination.

              No offense, but if you don’t like it, I don’t really give a rat’s ass. I will continue to fight for the rights and safety of bicyclists as I see fit, with every fiber of my being.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikingla wrote: “And yet Frank, you somehow manage to offend. If you had read my blog…”

              Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. And sorry for not reading your blog, but I was actually looking instead for what Karen had written. I don’t doubt that you’ve done lots of good over the years. I’ve tried to do a lot of good myself.

              But the fact is, I have encountered people who call themselves bike advocates, but whose main message is that riding on ordinary roads is too dangerous. (How about “I can’t ride on my quiet residential street, because it has no bike lanes”?) I _do_ think such statements are both false and anti-cycling. Given your own “cycling is safe” statement in your Stats page, I’d be surprised if you didn’t agree with me.

              Are there roads that can be improved? Certainly. I’ve worked successfully (through the local MPO) to get some improved, or to get other bike and/or ped facilities constructed.

              But I believe that almost all roads are quite safe for cycling. (Look at your own data!) And that almost all cyclists can easily learn to be extremely safe and extremely comfortable on roads they now fear. I’ve done it; it’s not hard.

              And unfortunately, I’ve encountered far too much bad bike infrastructure. Details on request, even though some might be nearly unbelievable. It makes me very skeptical that expensive infra is better than basic education. BTW, that’s education for cyclists and for motorists.

              Again, why is education so seldom tried? Why isn’t that “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” message out there everywhere?

    • Here is that video which I mentioned previously that goes through a brief history of bicycling in the Netherlands post WWII.

      Bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, bike paths and parking is space obtained for bicycles. Get more of it and you’ll have a higher volume of bicycling. Portland went from a bicycle commuting modal share of 1.1% in 1990 to 6% in 2008 mainly by doing that.

      • Frank Krygowski says:

        Portland’s purported 6% is based on surveys of only Portland residents. The vast number of suburbanites driving in and through Portland are purposely ignored. Anyone visiting Portland will immediately notice the gridlocked traffic entering and leaving the city on US 26, I-84 and other major highways. They’ll immediately notice the frequent gridlock downtown. There is no way that 6% of the vehicles on the road at any time are bicycles. Google Earth or Streetview will easily confirm this.

        And regarding UK vs. Netherlands: Much more than bike paths are needed to generate huge bike modal share. Stevenage and Milton Keynes prove that, with their extensive, carefully designed – yet empty – bike route networks. And Tokyo has quite a high bike modal share, yet almost no bike facilities.

        There’s much more to promoting bikes than segregation.

        • The Census Bureau’s American Community Surveys has reported a 6% bicycling modal share in Portland for 4 out of the last 5 years. That amount of years would be considered a reliable prediction of commuting mode share and yes the Census Bureau deliberately does report data for a Metropolitan area when it only pertains to a city. You can also look up the data by county, state and zip code and they report it that way purposely too.

          If the 7.9% of the workforce that works from home is excluded from the data, the commuting mode share for bicycling would be a bigger piece of the pie.

          Tokyo has a 16.5% bicycling mode share. There are less than 5 miles of on-street bikeways. Most of the bicycling is done either on quiet side streets with few motor vehicles that travel very slowly, or on sidewalks along major streets.

          • I meant to state that the Census Bureau does NOT report data for a Metropolitan area when it only pertains to a city.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              My point is that Portland’s supposed 6% mode share does not reflect reality on the ground. (And, BTW, that mode share now seems stuck at that level, despite ever-increasing bike facility mileage.)

              Those who think Portland looks anything like Copenhagen are wrong; check Google Street View. Those who think we can solve our environmental ills by getting a few more bikes on the road are also wrong, sad to say.

            • The margin of error for the American Community Survey 5-year average bicycle commuting mode share results(6.1%)for Portland is 0.3%. In other words, the five-year average is not less than 5.8%, nor more than 6.4%.

              Copenhagen has a bicycle commuting mode share of 37%, over 6 times larger than Portland.

              A five-year average of annual bicycling fatalities per 10,000 daily bike commuters has results of 0.3% for Copenhagen and 1.9% for Portland. Your six times more likely to be killed per mile riding a bicycle in Portland than in Copenhagen.

              Portland has 52km and Copenhagen only has 4km of bike lanes per 100,000 population. So, it can’t be the bike lanes that are causing much less cycling fatalities per 100,000 population in Copenhagen.

              However, instead of bike lanes, Copenhagen gives even more separation from motor vehicles for bicycles with 76km of off-street paths and cycle tracks per 100,000 population, while Portland has 21km per 100,000 population. That’s 3.6 times more paths or cycle tracks per 100,000 population in Copenhagen than in Portland.

              There are also a much smaller percentage of bicyclists wearing safety equipment such as helmets or bright reflective jackets in Copenhagen than in Portland. If the motorists are more likely to hit a cyclist on a cycle track than on the street, then not wearing safety equipment should make it even more likely that you would be killed riding a bicycle. However, it doesn’t, according to the data.

        • PatrickGSR94 says:

          Street View is not a very good indicator of mode share, I don’t think, as most of those images were not taken at peak rush hour times.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      Dennis Hindman wrote: “The idea that bicycling amongst vehicles that are traveling at a much greater velocity are unlikely to maim or kill you at anytime seems to be based on reasoning that people do not make mistakes.”

      No, that idea is based on the fact that bicyclists only very rarely get killed or maimed when riding among such vehicles. John Pucher of Rutgers, despite his constant claims that cycling is dangerous, has posted data showing that Americans ride over _ten million miles_ between bike fatalities. He’s shown that cycling is over three times safer than pedestrian travel, based on miles per fatality. Really, how safe must something be before people stop the cries of “Danger! Danger!”?

      Every study on the issue has found that the benefits of cycling greatly outweigh its minimal dangers, whether in terms of years of life gained vs. lost for the cyclists themselves, or for society as a whole. Medical costs saved by improved health have been found to outweigh costs of injuries by 18 to one. Again, how safe must something be to stop the “Danger! Danger!” cries?

      And regarding supposed safety benefits of bike infrastructure: Keep in mind that infrastructure is often installed on preferred routes, because those routes already have cycling clientele. Comparing dissimilar routes, and attributing all benefits to bike infrastructure, brings the hazard of confounding variables. Indeed, Teschke’s study of cycletracks made that very mistake; the purportedly similar streets studied were actually greatly different in far more important ways than the presence of cycletracks.

      The best comparison of no infrastructure vs. infrastructure would be a before/after comparison, with proper adjustment for any increases in cycling volume. That is precisely what Jensen et. al. did in their study of Copenhagen cycle tracks; and guess what? They found far more crashes per cyclist after the addition of cycletracks. Just as vehicular cyclists had predicted.

  22. […] deal with the built infrastructure, a more fleshed out version of the protocols to avoid wrecks. Guest post: Taking the lane — a CyclingSavvy instructor explains her objection to bike lanes The problem is there are very few “good” bike lanes in the US, most are somewhere […]

  23. John Pucher does not claim the bicycling is dangerous. He has published data that indicates you are five times more likely to be killed per 100 million km traveled bicycling in the U.S. than in the Netherlands and 3.4 times more fatalities in the U.S. compared to Denmark or Germany. All three of these European nations have extensive networks of cycle tracks.

    You are only 1.6 times more likely to get killed per 100 million km traveled on a bicycle compared to the UK (which does not have many km of cycle tracks).

    According to his research, you are 1.7 times more likely to be killed per mile traveled on foot than by bicycle. This same report also states that the injury rate per mile is 2.4 times more for bicycling than walking.

    The main reason for the rise in collisions for cyclists, pedestrians and moped riders after the installation of cycle tracks in the Jensen study was the prohibition of parking on the streets where cycle tracks were installed. Which meant more cars were turning onto side streets to park, hence increasing the opportunities for collisions. The turning traffic increased by 25-50%. Where cars could still park on the main road, collisions and injuries did not rise as much.

    A method to greatly reduce the potential conflicts is to keep the motor vehicles from turning when the pedestrians or bicyclists are going straight through a major intersection. This is the standard procedure at many major Dutch intersections.

    How can the vehicular cyclists arguments opposed to cycle tracks have any weight against the massive European experiment where millions of cyclists have ridden daily on cycle tracks for decades, with crash rates far lower than the U.S.? While at the same time having far more appeal to vulnerable users such as parents with babies and the elderly. And if riding on cycle tracks is inconvenient compared to using the road, why do so many of the Dutch and Danes use them?

  24. calwatch says:

    The Karabells’ technique of moving out of the door zone when automobile platoons pass by is quite ingenious. It should be taught in cycling classes. Unfortunately, conflating that and saying that they’d rather have the extra travel lane than having a bike lane is unnecessary (considering that many bike lanes are created when four lane arterials are converted into a center turn lane configuration, with the added space turned into a bicycle lane).

  25. Ralph says:

    I ride where I feel it will be the safest. That means when there is no bike lane I take the lane. I don’t slow down in bike lanes and I ride with a mirror. The problems I have are generally drivers who don’t know or care to know the rules of the road. They got their license many years ago and have learned nothing since. There needs to be mandatory written testing every license renewal. With enough bike/ped questions to fail the test taker.
    I have 2 roads where I take the lane exclusively. One is called on Strava the Alma Death trap. No, really. 2 substandard lanes both ways with no other provisions, posted 35, reality 40 plus. I get my fair share of abuse at least once per week for my 0.8 mile run. Drivers wait in many cases to pass until they are bottle up by drivers in the other lane.
    The second route is to lunch a 1 mile route, 2 lanes in each direction with a veer off to the right about half way to where there is a bike lane. Parking is allowed on the right no bike facility just share the road signs. I get abuse from drivers here also when I take the lane as required. Last week I was buzzed by a construction tractor trailer who also blasted his air horn. He also had plenty of time to move over but grudgingly gave up a few feet at the last moment.
    My co-worker who is an experienced rider hates this section of road for this very reason. The drivers are out trying to intimidate anyone in their way. She doesn’t want to become a hood ornament to prove a point just because some whack job miscalculates their speed or vehicle corner location.
    We have to remember this is not an either or. Until we can get adequate knowledge and facilities out there we won’t see more riders.

    • Alma Death Trap as in Palo Alto? If so, which stretch is it? Ditto for the lunch route. Could it be San Antonio?

      I live in Mountain View so I’m curious to know where you’re hitting the rude drivers so I can avoid it.

      • Ralph says:

        Alma Death Trap is the section east bound from San Antonio to Charleston. Named that way on my Strava results…)
        The lunch route is in Menlo Park. Santa Cruz from Sandhill to Avy. The right bend off stays Santa Cruz but I stay on Alameda de las Pulgas. I ride east to west (nominally). My co-worker goes both ways morning and PM commute.

  26. bikinginla says:

    Twenty-four hours and 103 comments later, everyone has been surprisingly well behaved on here. My thanks to everyone who commented for keeping this a conversation rather than a street fight.

  27. not enough time to read through the 150+ comments so I’m just going to say my piece and depart to write my own blog. Cycling Savvy teaches how to deal with the built environment using the laws at our disposal so that we don’t get killed by crappy infrastructure. For a glimpse of non-crappy infrastructure I suggest looking at http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/ and perusing their voluminous archives showing what the Dutch call “bad” infrastructure, which is orders of magnitude better than any found here in the States. Most of US bike infrastructure would get the designers thrown in jail in the Netherlands.

  28. […] Saavy Cycling Instructor Makes the Case Against Bike Lanes (Biking in L.A.) […]

  29. Yang Chong says:

    I just wanted to add my input and experience from yesterday.

    As I got out on the road to go home. I was on a 3 lane road, the right most being a right turn lane. I moved into the middle of the right lane to make sure that drivers could see me and they would go around to pass me. Of course, that didn’t happen. I looked over my shoulder and saw an SUV baring down on me and playing chicken with me no less. Of course, I had to swerve towards the curb to avoid get side swiped. I was not happy to say the least. Thinking about what happened and what this article is advocating made me want to post my experience. There is no one size fits all in cycling in a city not built for cyclists. I wish I could just go out everyday and pedal without any thought. But it’s just not possible in this city nor any other city in America.

    I’ve been riding for over 10 years in LA and I have no problems taking the lane but sometimes you also have to take into consideration where you are. Los Angeles is a big place and each city has its own distinct type of drivers. In my case, Cerritos is a terrible place to be an assertive cyclists. This wasn’t the first time I was pushed to the gutter when I tried to ‘assert’ my rights to the road. If I wasn’t so paranoid, I could have been clipped more than 3 times riding in Cerritos alone. Context is very important in determining riding style, one size does not fit all in LA.

    Cerritos is an awful city.

  30. mike says:

    the ‘catch and release’ of the proud ‘cycle savvy’ crowd is little more than operating as far right as practicable in the presence of overtaking traffic.

    this piece is written with a far reaching and unconvincing tone…. the author would never think to ride in a bikelane without a helmet mirror! LMAO at that, the author rides with a helmet mirror to deal with the motorized vehicle traffic on roads without bikelanes….. and she can’t ride but half her normal speed in a bikelane. what a fear based, loaded narrative from one of the few, the proud, the exhaust addled, ‘savvy’ cyclists.

    yes, communities can build better transportation infrastructure to better accommodate bike traffic along rights of way in this country, some of involves shared lane use, and some places it merits preferred lanes for bicyclists. suburban SOCAL arterial roads being one great example of roads that largely merit the benefits of preferred class lanes for bike traffic …how many years will the ‘savvy cyclists’ continue to obtusely choose ignore the merits of context specific design?

    • Harold Karabell says:

      Mike:

      I’d greatly appreciate it if you would apologize for your ad hominem critique of the author, especially since she’s my other half. :-)

      And you also should apologize for confusing fishing with bicycling. :-) :-)

      Rather than “catch and release,” you should write write “control and release.” I have no interest in “catching” motorists or even “catching up” with them, but I AM very interested in “controlling” their behavior.

      I’ve also found that a helmet-mounted mirror is indispensable for urban cycling. Motorists use a variety of rear-facing mirrors; why shouldn’t we who “drive our bikes” make use of at least one?

      As for my own speed in bike lanes, it’s slower than slow. I know, as well as know of, far too many people who have been doored and right-hooked while riding in bike lanes.

      Why? Because they allowed the paint “to do their thinking for them.”

      • bikinginla says:

        Harold, I think you hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. Regardless of how and where they chose to ride, every bike rider needs to be conscious of the road around them, and ride with safety in mind.

        On a personal note, I may never agree with Karen’s take on bike lanes. But in dealing with her over these past several weeks, I’ve found her to be friendly and charming, with a rare ability to disagree without being disagreeable.

        You’ve got a good woman there.

      • barefootmeg says:

        This whole idea of letting the paint think for you really concerns me. Too often the bike lane, and sometimes even the sharrows, are painted in such a location that “obeying” them puts the bicyclist in a dangerous situation. I’ve asked if the city is liable for drawing the paint in such a way as to put people in danger and I was told that not only are they not liable, but there are president setting cases that enforce this. I find this to be very scary.

        Perhaps we should do a “Don’t let the paint think for you” campaign here in Fort Collins.

        • bikinginla says:

          Hey, say hi to my hometown for me! Fort Collins was a great place to learn to ride — even if it didn’t have a single bike lane when I grew up there.

          • barefootmeg says:

            Fort Collins is now a Platinum rated biking community. http://www.fcgov.com/bicycling/ We still have a loooong ways to go, though, in terms of making it a truly bike friendly city. Educating both bicyclists and motorists is probably top priority. We’ve had several accidents recently that are highlighting the need for better facilities and better education. It’s been putting us right in the center of the debate between bike lanes vs. sharrows. We have both, but sharrows are clearly not understood by most people (whether on bikes or in cars).

  31. the ‘catch and release’ of the proud ‘cycle savvy’ crowd is little more than operating as far right as practicable in the presence of overtaking traffic.

    Mike? Mike Beck?

    No, catch & release is much more than that, since it means using the full lane when overtaking traffic is not present, which is often the case.

  32. Ed Sailland says:

    Not being a adept in the arcana of CyclingSavvy — a much more bankable epithet than “Vehicular Cycling,” to be sure — I’m gobsmacked by the numbers that Forester’s latest disciples throw around so glibly. What support, if any, is there for the Ms Karabell’s assertion that “[o]n roads with good sight lines … cyclists who control [sic] their travel lanes are seen by motorists from 1,280 feet away,” whereas the suicidal chumps “who ride on the right edge of the road … are not seen by motorists until they are very nearly on top of them — about 140 feet away”?

    Perhaps some Initiate would be good enough to direct my attention to the relevant citations in the peer-reviewed literature. And while he (or she) is at it, I’d also like to know what evidence there is that a motorist’s “cone of focus” diminishes with increasing speed, as Ms Karabell so confidently asserts.

    • Karen Karabell says:

      http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2010/11/29/helping-motorists-with-lane-positioning/

      Ed, at the link above is a link to the research regarding Mighk & Keri’s work showing the differences in motorists’ perceptions of cyclists when they are using lane control vs. the right tire track position.

      Regarding the diminishment of human perception at higher speeds, I don’t have a specific study to point to. But my experience as both a motorist and a cyclist persuades me that what we teach on this matter is common sense.

      At high speeds, motorists naturally filter out what is in their peripheral vision to pay attention to what is right in front of them. Have you never had the experience of zooming down a highway, and perhaps wanting to check out something interesting that you caught out of the corner of your eye–but you can’t, because you must pay attention to what is in front of you.

      This is one of the safety benefits of bicycling: We cyclists travel at speeds that allow us to take in more of the variables in our environment, and give us plenty of time to react.

    • PatrickGSR94 says:

      “And while he (or she) is at it, I’d also like to know what evidence there is that a motorist’s “cone of focus” diminishes with increasing speed, as Ms Karabell so confidently asserts.”

      This is something that is well known and agreed upon in the traffic engineering and driver education community. Google it yourself, there are plenty of sources that confirm this fact. But more so than that, common sense confirms it. The faster you go, the more focused you are on the area directly in front of you. Be it a car or a bike, that’s just how we humans are wired.

  33. mike says:

    my apologies to rankle the ranks with a misstatement of ‘control and release’ as the fishing analogy.

    control and release – the cycling savvy’s trademarked(?) method of controlling the lane,then moving safely right only when the bicyclist determines it safe to do so- when practicable – to allow faster traffic to pass, can be practiced in california, along roads with or without bikelanes, and captures the spirit of traffic operation of a bicycle under CVC 21202 or the other 48+ odd states that regulate bikes safely right when safe.

    ‘control and release’ embodies the spirit of CVC21202 and the rest of the majority of states’ traffic instructions to bicyclists.

    It’s not novel. The cycling savvy team did not invent the technique, only the semantics.

    In addition, as one of the cycling savvy instructors who lives in socal attests to above in the comments, bike lanes and control and release are not mutually exclusive. Certainly there are bikelanes savvy cyclists can operate in safely in southern california.

    Bikelanes do not contradict the core principles of either vehicular cycling or the principles of cycling savvy. both types of riders can, and sometimes do – and should- use bikelanes when safe and appropriate to do so. Bikelanes may not agree with the political ideology of the cycling savvy dogma, but bike lanes and cycle savvy techniques are not mutually exclusive.

    I’d suggest to all riders to learn to use road space smartly, legally. Whatever you call it- control and release, operate FRAP. Whatever, however you wish to coin it.

    It’s very unfortunate when purported experienced cyclists dismiss dedicated space for bike traffic outright because their riding ideology prevents it.

    if it is the reasoned approach, like Serge and others suggest in the comments above, STOP GROUSING about the bike infrastructure.

    I find it humorous when self-described ‘savvy’ traffic cyclists cannot comprehend how cities better plan for bike traffic, and render themselves unable to grasp the basics of operating a bicycle in the accommodated streetscape, choosing instead the artifice of handicap via ideological luddism.

    Honestly, the degree of problems i hear from the demographic of vehicular cyclists about how to ride is astonishing. This is the (broadly defined) segment of bicyclists that complains the loudest about their riding (in)abilities.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      Mike wrote: “Honestly, the degree of problems i hear from the demographic of vehicular cyclists about how to ride is astonishing. This is the (broadly defined) segment of bicyclists that complains the loudest about their riding (in)abilities.”

      Of course, I’m sure you didn’t intend to offend anyone by talking about their riding inabilities. Right? ;-)

      But to speak for myself: I’ve ridden enthusiastically as an adult since the very early 1970s. I commuted very frequently by bike, toured extensively in the U.S. and a fair amount in Europe, rode very actively with my club, raced and time trialed a little, and continue as a retiree to ride for utility and pleasure. I’ve ridden in hundreds of cities, including many major ones, including in the densest rush hour traffic.

      In that 40+ years of riding, I’ve had only two moving on-road falls (one at 3 mph on winter salt & gravel, and one when a front fork fractured). I think I’m pretty competent. So I don’t worry about myself.

      I do worry, though, about the kids using the bike lane to the right of an intersection I know, where almost all cars turn right. Will the kids riding away from the BMX park 1/4 mile away know they’re in a coffin corner? I worry about the sidewalk riders, especially after seeing a near-miss car-bike crash from a car turning fast into a driveway; and I wonder how a “protected” bike lane would be any different. I worry about those who don’t read Bicycle Times about all the extra caution needed in such lanes.

      I know of a city nearby where “bike advocates” are demanding bike lanes even in door zones, because they think it’s always best to stay out of the way of motorists, no matter what other hazards exist. I worry that the officials will cave in to their demands, and about those who don’t realize the hazards of a door-zone bike lane. And after the crashes happen, I worry about what even weirder demands will arise.

      Few people seem willing to learn about the actual causes of crashes, and the possible ways of preventing them on existing roads – the ways that have worked for so many of us. Many more, it seems, are willing to demand whatever infrastructure seems most fashionable. Once it was ordinary bike lanes; those would solve everything. When they didn’t, it became buffered bike lanes; then it became cycletracks.

      Will we someday hear “advocates” say “Bicycling will remain too dangerous until we get elevated bicycle superhighways everywhere we want to go”? I hope not.

  34. Great discussion, Ted and Karen! Glad to see the comments are respectful and interesting.

    One issue that I haven’t seen discussed much yet already (unless I missed it among all those comments!!) is how bike lanes impact the civility of the road. This is something very difficult to quantify, but is obvious once you know to look for it.

    In Dallas, we have very few bike lanes or special bike infrastructure (at the moment). I can ride safely and pleasantly almost anywhere in Dallas using CyclingSavvy techniques and have almost no uncivil interactions with motorists. Yet, when I practice the same techniques in a city with a high number of bike lanes and special bike facilities (say, New York, Toronto, or Seattle) and am lambasted for any behavior that does not resemble edge riding (even on roads without lanes). From my experience in riding in these types of cities, motorists are conditioned to expect cyclists to be “out of the way”, even when bike lanes are not installed, and uncivil behavior is quick to show itself.

    Talking with other CyclingSavvy instructors around the country, it seems that there’s a common theme… when more bike lanes are installed in a city, the freedom to use any lane and road without harassment from motorist is quickly taken away.

    Thanks, Karen for sharing your perspective and doing it so eloquently. Can’t wait to ride again with you in St Louis!

  35. khal spencer says:

    Not all bike lanes are created equal. In areas without cross traffic, they can act simply like a slower moving vehicle lane (we have one in a 40 mph zone that does this quite well) and can be ridden easily. In urban environments with turning and crossing traffic, they can be treacherous, white knuckle experiences. Unfortunately, many of our planners take a one-size-fits-all mentality and that leads to needless crashes due to bad design.

    As a ten year member of my county’s transportation advisory board and sometimes as its chair, I’ve tried to make sure we avoid the worst mistakes and have castigated the county for making a few really bad ones. In one case, a cyclist was badly injured in a right hook crash. At a meeting with the police management team, I convinced them that not only was the cyclist wronged in the investigation, but the design of the bike lane in question made it literally impossible for the motorist to obey relevant traffic laws.

    We need to do better, folks.

  36. Todd Nelson says:

    This is in reply to Audeamus’ comment implicating CyclingSavvy as disguised Vehicular Cycling. I was initially going to reply on his comment. However, as a day or so has past and more comments are made about CyclingSavvy being assumed a repackaged form of John Forester’s “vehicular cycling” of Effective Cycling, I am posting it separately. A broader discussion of the differences might be better served in another article. I hope someone will offer one. Others are more versed in explaining the differences. They apparently are not inclined for the moment or they would rather not take the time here.

    As a CyclingSavvy instructor (located in a suburb of Chicago) since April of 2012, I feel the need to point out that “vehicular cycling” does not fit the CyclingSavvy approach to cycling. A more accurate handle is “mindful cycling”. I was not taught Effective Cycling, which I understand is referenced quite a bit in the League of American Bicyclists’ Traffic Skills 101, a course I have not taken. Many have taken both, have been or are instructors in both or have at least had exposure to both. Basically, I understand that Effective Cycling emphasizes the cyclist as the driver of a vehicle. CyclingSavvy goes in another direction, emphasizing the cyclist as an expected and normal part of traffic. The differences are both subtle and profound.

    We practice defensive bicycle driving which means we position ourselves on the roadway and operate in such a manner that is predictable and expected of any roadway user, pedestrian or vehicle operator. Due to the relatively small size of a cyclist on a bicycle, driving defensively in certain situations requires lane positioning that other road users don’t expect of cyclists, but it puts us were we are best seen early enough for proper compensation by other traffic, gives us better vantage to avoid hazards and promotes situational awareness. This behavior, along with courteous and helpful verbal and non-verbal communication with other road users, is mindful cycling. Taking the lane merely as the driver of a vehicle, i.e. vehicular cycling, is mindless, impersonal cycling. Vehicular cycling will never be disguised as CyclingSavvy or vice versa. CyclingSavvy is without disguise. It is authentic, up front and genuine.

    I appreciate Audeamus’ frustration as a facilities planner with the split camps of cyclists. However, I hope he can recognize CyclingSavvy leaders as allies in better functioning multi-modal traffic planning where properly designed bicycle facilities have their place, but education on how to use them must prevail. Facilities can’t separate cycling traffic from motorized traffic everywhere. So, mindful cycling in traffic is needed and it needs to be taught and understood by all road users. CyclingSavvy does a great job of teaching it to both cyclists and traffic planners, as he should know. I hope he will take further advantage of it.

    All of this comes with the belief that cyclists are equal road users and should be regarded as an expected and normal part of traffic. If you don’t believe that, then all I can suggest is that you take a CyclingSavvy class, Part 1, The Truth and Techniques of Traffic Cycling, to have a healthy discussion on why you might consider it.

  37. khal spencer says:

    Mindfulness is a critical part of any vehicle operation. I took an advanced motorcycle safety foundation course recently. Active thinking is, above anything else, an integral part of situational awareness. Without that, one is at the mercy of the situation.

    • Todd Nelson says:

      Good point, Khal. Part (most?) of the bike lane debate is over whether or not mindfulness is adequately encouraged in the use of them or if it is simply a “Build it and they will come” free for all.

  38. mike says:

    There’s an inordinate amount of fearmongering embedded in the semantics of cycle savvy about what has been statistically, repeatedly shown to be safer conditions for bicyclists.

    To this reader, cycle savvy ‘instruction’ seems inordinately hyper-focused on instilling an irrational, unfounded fear of bike lanes versus a reasonable, objective approach to design and use of context sensitive road design.

    Sorry, but if the framing the operating a bike as a normal part of traffic requires drumming up fear about the principles of bikelanes ad nauseum, there’s a disconnect in cycle savvy from both best practice roadway design and the ability to operate a bicycle safely in any riding environment.

    The tautology of ‘cycle savvy’ instruction falls apart in the commentary to this blog post. Migkh, one of the co-founders of Cycle Savvy, suggests bikelanes alongside 45mph traffic lanes are unsuitable for family riders. Surely, the co-founder of cycle savvy isn’t suggesting taking the lane is the correct infrastructure design accomodation on 45mph roads for family riders? So, if cycle savvy techniques are rendered defunct on 45mph roads for family cyclists, this suggests cycle savvy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    At what speed does sharing the lane become untenable for elderly, mobility impaired, or family cyclist? is it 45 mph? 40 mph? 35? 20? do cyclists have to stay off roads above their speed rating, no families on 45mph roads with or without bikelanes?

    At the same time, several ‘cycle savvy’ cyclists posting comments suggest certain types and implementations of bikelanes are acceptable. The author of the post even fawns over what she’s heard of well-provided California bikelanes.

    So, which one is it? No families ride high speed roads? Some bikelanes are good?

    There’s considerable endorsement of riding in bikelanes when safe and the ineffectiveness of cycle savvy at some metric of speed and rider type.

    It isn’t all just ‘take the lane’ to ‘control and release’ traffic by ‘operating as far right as practicable’ in the presence of overtaking traffic, as this is rendered unsuitable at some speed for some rider populations.

    Woven throughout the groupspeak smear of bikelanes in the comments are repeated concessions to the efficacy of bikelanes and other preferred class infrastructure when appropriate to better accommodate bike traffic- even from a co-founder of cycle savvy.

    I’d suggest bicyclists, city planning agencies and city officials would be well advised to not give undue weight to a group of supposedly savvy cyclists that can’t describe and hardly seem to comprehend how to operate bikes safely in the presence of bike facilities.

    I am sorry if riders here are offended with my criticism, but my impression of the cycle savvy message and its’ framing of riding in the presence of bike facilities is one that resonates with fear, not confidence and rider savvy.

    • I find it quite ironic that you’ve deduced that fearmongering is what is behind CyclingSavvy (note that it is *not* “cycle savvy”).

      Every single class I’ve ever taught, my students ride away with more confidence, understanding, and appreciation for how the roads work, where people make mistakes, and how to ride anywhere they want to go. They are aware of potential risks, yes, but they aren’t afraid of them. Instead of being **ignorant** of various risky situations as they were before, they can predict and avoid them to make the ride easier and more relaxing. Instead of dozens of close calls where the motorist was to blame, they simply avoid those situations and plan ahead better.

      CyclingSavvy students and instructors are the complete opposite of scared and afraid. I am surprised that has come across to you, but perhaps removal of ignorance can be seen that way. We inform, yes, and but then we provide tools that students use to create their own stress-free riding.

    • By the way, I am not sure of Mighk or other’s response to your question about high speed roads. I am fine on them, but like you said, they aren’t appropriate for families. If it is a road with few intersections, I would personally much rather a properly designed separate path with full signal integration. A bike lane is not acceptable.

  39. mike says:

    ..and another cycle savvy instructor who endorses separated path networks on moderately high speed roads for less-abled cyclists.

    Although the fearmongering overlay of CS may be lost on its adherents, the semantics of fear are deeply embedded in the public image of cycle savvy. In almost every message about cyclesavvy and bicycling i’ve ever read. the framing involves the evils of the big, bad bikelanes.

    in this way CS regurgitates the anti-facilities message associated with avid vehicular cycling proponents, and is very similar to the tired, anti-facilities crewes seeking to stunt bike facility development, rather than considerate planing of the built environment.

    The CS overlay is one that teaches fear of bike facilities rather than enlightened riding the facilitated environment.

    and that’s too bad, because. the political overlay of CS contradicts bicycle planning and best practices in all 50 states, and it seems have similar proponents from other groups and affiliations of cyclist that proclaim all bike facilities are bad.

    somewhere, is there a message of ‘bikelanes are good’ embedded within CS? I’ve never been able to find it. But it’s here in several of the posters who are cycle savvy instructors. these endorsements here, admissions that yes, sometimes bike lanes are acceptable and safe to ride in is a disconnect between with CS teaches and the physical streetscape.

    CS has every appearance of bike education with an agenda that doesn’t embrace facts and relies on a culture of fearmongering in its ‘education’ about bike facilities.

    if someone can link to a published endorsement of the reasoned, balanced approach to bike facilities echoed here by cycle savvy instructors and co-founder, i’d like to see it. That higher speed roads merit separate paths for less abled cyclists and that on some roads bikelanes are okay and advantageous.

    please, illustrate these admissions here out of the CS materials.

    • I think that you are confusing CyclingSavvy, an education curriculum, with some sort of lobbying organization. As am educational program, we simply teach how to use the roads most efficiently and safely as they are now.

    • Since you asked, here’s my personal take on advocacy, education, and facilities: Of Realities and Dreams.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      I find it amazing that Mike is attributing fearmongering to Cycling Savvy! The message I’ve gotten is precisely the opposite: that one need NOT be fearful when riding, need NOT beg for special facilities in the name of “safety.” This post
      http://cyclingsavvy.org/2011/05/i-am-no-road-warrior/
      is, I think, evidence of that.

      I don’t consider myself an authority on Cycling Savvy. I have taken a CS class, where I learned valuable lessons despite my decades of cycling and teaching cycling. But I am not (yet) a CS instructor, so what follows is my own viewpoint, not official CS material.

      Here’s the question: If you were teaching a novice to cycle in traffic, what would you teach about bike lanes, cycletracks, and separated bike/ped paths? What would you say to your novices?

      IMO, the main thing you’d need to say is “Watch for these facility hazards!” Why? Because the currently dominating advocacy culture is saying only one thing: “These are wonderfully safe! Anyone 8 to 80 can ride here without worry!”

      That message is simply false. As demonstrated in this discussion, there are real hazards imposed by putting cyclists in non-standard positions on the road. And if novices aren’t warned, they’ll be lulled into a false sense of security. Door zone bike lanes are a very easy example, but here are two others:

      Can you imagine having a straight-ahead lane for motor vehicles sitting to the RIGHT of a right-turn-only lane? The conflict is obvious, and would never be allowed – unless that straight-ahead lane is for bikes. Then it becomes standard practice, and designers hope green paint will cure its inherent conflicts!

      How about this one: A freeway entrance ramp, where motorists turn right onto the ramp, begin to accelerate… then suddenly find the ramp has “surprise” crossing traffic. Traffic crossing a freeway ramp would never be allowed; it would be very dangerous to surprise a motorist partway through his turn. But countless sidepaths or cycletracks surprise motorists partway through their turns on surface streets.

      There are other examples, of course. But the main thing one must teach novices is that they must think for themselves, and be aware of painted-in hazards. Given the state of bike-related traffic engineering and bike advocacy, they certainly can’t assume the bike infrastructure is trustworthy! That is, I believe, what CS teaches, and it’s entirely appropriate.

      On two related points, the “bikelanes are good” statement and the “best practices” statements above: I’m sure, Mike, that you are confident that your views are correct. But I find that what many advocates call “best practices” are far from best. And I find almost no bike lanes that are better than an equivalent width of pavement without the magic stripe.

      Think about that. Given a ten foot “car lane” and a five foot “bike lane,” I’d almost always prefer a fifteen foot lane for everybody. Why? Because IME a five foot bike lane almost always carries four feet of debris, gravel and glass. And motorists expect I’ll never cross that stripe, so they pass me far closer. Then there are the conflicts at road intersections, driveways, etc.

      I think “best practice” is same rules of the road for all legal vehicles. And I think “best practice” is to educate ALL road users, including existing motorists. If we spent 1/10 of our advocacy effort on teaching motorists and law enforcement that we DO have legal rights to the road, America’s road culture would at least begin to move closer to the cooperative culture seen in much of Europe.

      • bikinginla says:

        Maybe things are significantly different where you ride. However, here in the LA area, most bike lanes are positioned on the left of right turn lanes, rather than the right. On those intersections without right turn lanes, there is a gap or dashed line in the bike lane to indicate that motorists should move into the bike lane to make their right, after checking for cyclists, as required by California law.

        Is it perfect? Of course not. But no traffic situation ever is.

        As for that co-operative European culture you describe, much of that is a result of Strict Liability laws that make drivers automatically at fault in any collision with a bicyclist or pedestrian. Unless and until we hold drivers accountable for the potential lethality of their vehicles, we will never see such co-operation here.

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          It’s interesting that you say “MOST bikelanes are positioned on the left of RTOLs.” That seems to indicate that novices are still being guided into right hooks.

          Yes, I’ve ridden places where the bike lanes shift leftward, via green paint, dashed lines, etc. Problem is, that seems to say “THIS is where you must merge, irrespective of the traffic situation.” I think it’s far preferable to learn to merge where it’s safest and easiest. That’s seldom where the green paint lies.

          Cyclists must learn to think on their own. One simply cannot assume that the facilities designer knew what is best! There are too many bad examples on the ground. This means the “8 to 80, everywhere” fantasy isn’t going to work. Those “imperfect” traffic situations will remain beyond what an 8-year-old can handle. Unless, that is, the youngster is taught how to handle them!

          I certainly agree on the strict liability issue, though. IME, it makes far more difference than it’s given credit for.

          • bikinginla says:

            Seriously, Frank? How exactly does positioning bike lanes on the left of right turn lanes guide cyclists into right hooks? If they follow the lane, they are positioned safely to the left of turning traffic — exactly where I would position myself whether or not there’s a bike lane.

            And again, in situations without a right turn lane, or on legacy bike lanes that channel cyclists to the right at intersections, California law requires drivers to safely merge into the bike lane to make their turn, which — if followed — eliminates the risk of right hooks unless the cyclist attempts to undertake the turning car.

            As you point out, the key is for everyone on the road to think. The presence of any infrastructure or lane markings does not absolve the user of responsibility for their own safety.

            No, bike lanes do not eliminate any risk whatsoever for those who use them. But as studies have repeatedly shown, they do make it significantly safer for everyone on the roadway.

            Those 8 and 80 year olds still need to know how to ride safely and use bike lanes properly, as do the drivers around them. But that is no argument against bike lanes, or for positioning inexperienced riders in the path of heavy LA traffic.

            Based on your reasoning, the only solution for the 8 to 80 problem is to take away their bikes and keep young, old and inexperienced riders off the road altogether.

            • billdsd says:

              Bike lanes to the left of right turn only lanes don’t really set up a “right hook” per se. What does sometimes happen though is that drivers will pass on the left, crossing the bike lane with very little clearance to bicyclists. When I’m approaching one of these I’ve found it safer to move out into the lane before I reach the cross-over area and then move back after I get past the cross-over area. It pretty much eliminates the crossing problem.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              I wrote “It’s interesting that you say “MOST bikelanes are positioned on the left of RTOLs.” That seems to indicate that novices are still being guided into right hooks.”

              bikinginla responded “Seriously, Frank? How exactly does positioning bike lanes on the left of right turn lanes guide cyclists into right hooks?”

              Look at _your_ word “most,” which I put in caps for emphasis. If “most” bike lanes are to the left of RTOLs, then it sounds like some are not. Those that are to the right of RTOLs – like several I know around here – will guide cyclists into right hooks.

              “Based on your reasoning, the only solution for the 8 to 80 problem is to take away their bikes and keep young, old and inexperienced riders off the road altogether.”

              Nope. Based on my reasoning, the solution is to teach everyone how to ride properly. That’s what CS is about, after all!

              It’s difficult for me to see why certain bike advocates are so dismissive of education.

            • bikinginla says:

              Oh, please. I did, in fact, notice your all-caps MOST. Oddly, suggesting that SOME — to use your device —  bike lanes are not designed to current standards does not imply that all, most or even many novice cyclists are being guided into right hooks.

              As noted in the very next paragraph, California law is written to avoid that. Yes, it’s true that not every driver obeys the law, as shocking as that may be. But before I let my 8 year old or 80 year old ride alone on the streets, I’m going to ride with them and explain how to avoid dangerous situations, just as I have learned to do over the years.

              As for education, as I noted in another comment, I have long advocated for educating every elementary and secondary school student in how to ride a bike safely, and recommended adult cycling courses on numerous occasions. I have also fought to improve education for motorists on the rights of bike riders, and how to drive safely around cyclists.

              And in all my work in bicycling, I’ve yet to meet one that doesn’t consider education a top priority.

              So what, exactly, straw dog are you attempting to knock down?

            • billdsd says:

              Really Ted? You haven’t met any who don’t consider education a top priority?

              Have you not met Samantha Ollinger of BikeSD?

            • bikinginla says:

              Yes, I have, Bill. I consider her one of the finest bike advocates in California. And to the best of my knowledge, she does not oppose educating cyclists or drivers, though she certainly does not consider it a substitute for adequate infrastructure.

              Nor do I.

            • billdsd says:

              I guess you don’t know her like I do.

              She definitely does oppose education, especially for bicyclists. She has consistently espoused the notion that people should be able to ride with no education whatsoever.

              She has argued with educated cyclists (including me) enough that she’s been forced to learn some things but as far as I know, she still has not taken the class from SDCBC nor read any of the books. It’s pretty clear to me that she is against bicyclists being educated.

            • billdsd says:

              “I have a hard time deciding who is worse – vehicular cycling advocates or bike thieves.” — Samantha Ollinger

              http://sdbikecommuter.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=518&page=6#Item_12

            • bikinginla says:

              She is entitled to her opinion about vehicular cycling advocates, Bill, just as you are entitled to your opinion about her.

              I will say only that I don’t share your opinion of her in any way. She is one of the most dedicated advocates I know, and someone I truly admire.

  40. mike says:

    How wide does the road have to be for a savvy cyclist to be able to ride to the right of a faster stream of intermittent traffic? 15 foot lanes allow a ‘savvy’ cyclist to be able to ride generally to the right on a road with faster traffic, or do the predication of ‘savvy’ cycling require riding in the the front of every car and truck that wishes to overtake, no matter the width of road or speed of traffic?

    at what point does road sharing behavior become acceptable, ‘savvy’ cycling behavior?

    Surely, this ‘control and release’ technique isn’t an absolute traffic behavior irrespective of lane width and roadway? Envision a 60mph highway, with a clean 8 foot shoulder designated bikeway,in a rainstorm at dusk?

    If CS requires ‘control and release’ under those conditions, it isn’t very savvy to be perfectly honest.

    So, the reasoned approach….

    • PatrickGSR94 says:

      No one ever said a cyclist should ride directly in the line of traffic at all times. There are roads I know of with a 16-foot right travel lane, and a 12-foot left travel lane. I will ride to the right there, unless there’s an intersection and I’m going straight. Then I move into the line of traffic so that a car turning right can move over to the right and not potentially right-hook me.

      Lane control and control-and-release are useful in situations where a car and a bike cannot occupy the same lane side-by-side with at least 3 feet of separation. Control and release is really only needed on 2-lane roads. I had to do it just the other day on my commute. Hold my hand out left with palm backwards to signal a car to stay back behind me while other cars were oncoming. When the oncoming traffic cleared I moved to the right and motioned for the cars behind me to pass.

      This is where a mirror REALLY helps.

    • The great thing about CyclingSavvy, Mike, is that it provides folks with the tools to make informed decisions while riding their own neighborhoods and cities. We don’t have a rule book and we don’t cover every scenario possible.

      Happy riding! Feel free to come take the workshop in Dallas sometime with me. I’ll buy you a beer afterwards. :-)

  41. I’m a commuter in NYC (I try to do it 4-seasons but this winter has been a little rougher than most, especially with the ice on the hilly, windy sections of the greenway I use for 80 percent of my route).

    I’ve taken the League’s Traffic Skills course, which is quite rooted in the principles of vehicular cycling even if they are (thankfully) easing out of that. I missed one item on the long written test to qualify to take the League Cycling Instructor course (still on the to-do list, but SOON).

    I see value in having some vehicular cycling skills but only because we don’t currently have decent protected infrastructure and full complete streets. The reason I will never get behind the VC worldview is because it ignores the most compelling behavioral realities that govern most people’s feeling about cycling. Summarized, people really want to cycle, but they are afraid.

    ***It doesn’t matter that cycling is relatively safe.***
    You can list stats about how safe it is, with or without a helmet (6x safer than being in a car, according to the CDC, btw, 36x safer with the helmet), till all the cows in the Central Valley come home. ***Reciting stats will not make people feel safe.*** Protected lanes will and do. They don’t reduce safety — they often increase it, and not just for cyclists.

    People will cycle when they feel safe and comfortable and don’t have to constantly contend with aggressive or impatient motorists in their faces, on their back wheels, or in the lane next to them. Sure, learning how to take the lane is helpful, but to get people to the point where they’ve even willing to contemplate that you must get them to the point where they think, maybe I can imagine feeling safe doing this. Nothing about VC considers this, and no VC advocate I’ve ever read has addressed this gaping hole in the VC worldview.

    I’m an N of 1, but the only reason I took that traffic skills course to begin with is because I moved to a neighborhood where I knew I could do a 10-mile bike commute with 8-miles of it on a greenway, far removed from auto traffic. So, I thought, maybe I’ll pick up a few trick to make cycling in those short stretches of traffic easier on me — since most of my route is pretty relaxing greenway, I was willing to contend with this small percent of traffic in order to become a bike commuter.

    Despite those skills and despite being a pretty skilled and confident cyclist at this point, it is never, ever my first choice to cycle on a street, whether or not there is a bike lane. It’s unpleasant. And I hear that again and again from my fellow NYC commuters, and from newer cyclists who have taken up cycling thanks to our new protected infrastructure and bikeshare. (I’m able to talk to these folks on a regular basis and at length because my NYC Biketrain program runs rides in conjunction with Citi Bike, specifically aimed at newer riders).

    Also: VC does not address our lack of complete streets. Protected bikeways almost always end up being default traffic calming devices and improving pedestrian and driver and car passenger safety. The gains to all street users and citizen rather than a narrow subset of cyclists should be put first. You are taking into account likely driver behavior without taking into account known human behavior and attitudes.

    Ted, thanks for all you do. I don’t read your blog as often as I’d like but when I do it’s always with appreciation for your advocacy efforts in Southern California (my hometurf, down south in SD).

  42. mike says:

    Patrick, the commenter just above, if either a CS graduate or instructor, claims that when using CS technique cyclists DON’T always have to be in front of traffic as is described in the blog post about sight lines and being noticed upteen times further when lane centered versus to the side.

    So, which one is it? sometimes safely right, or always in the sight line before ‘control and release’ as described by thew guest blogger?

    which one? Are there some conditions and road designs a CS rider WILL operate safely within the bike facility… the aforementioned 60 mph highway with clean 8 foot shoulder bikeway, in a rainstorm at dusk?

    There is not need to try to dodge that riding scenario. Any CS rider that suggests or believes lane control is the preferred default lane position under the basic riding scenario described above is inchoate in their ability to choose safe road positions as well as promoting unsafe riding techniques.

    The paradoxes laid out in the thread comments are staggering….. don’t have to control the lane, can ride safely right, can use bikelanes as part of control and release techniques, families shouldn’t operate on higher speed roads, bikelanes or not….. the tautology of ‘savvy’ cycling is divisive and broken.

    Keep on ‘control and releasing’ the cars, but don’t forget, truly savvy cyclists know when it’s safe and appropriate to operate in bike facilities as part of their everyday riding. As many other posters have suggested above, riding a bike in traffic on roads is not an exercise in moral absolutism, despite the far-reaching, emotional and unsupportable claims about the big bad bikelanes, a message seemingly inseparable from most of the promotional efforts undertaken by CS proponents.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      “Which one is it?”

      Mike, is it terribly difficult to understand that competent cyclists use awareness and judgement?

      You seem to be pretending that Cycling Savvy teaches mechanical adherence to some invariable rules. That’s obviously not the point of the program. Anyone reading up on it should see that.

      In fact, ISTM that what you imagine – an “ALWAYS do it this way” mentality – is far closer to what special bike facilities communicate. “Don’t merge away from the RTOL until the bike lane goes green and dashed; don’t merge into a left turn position until you’re in the bike box; don’t use a street that doesn’t have a cycletrack because ordinary streets are dangerous; don’t worry about parked cars’ doors popping open” and so on.

      With just a little education, cyclists can think for themselves, using awareness of the situations around them. It works for countless numbers of us.

      Incidentally, much of the knowledge can be gathered from other sources as well. Have you read _Cyclecraft_ by John Franklin? Have you actually read _Effective Cycling_ by John Forester? You’ll find very little, if any, “always do it this way.” Instead, you’ll find empowerment to make your own decisions, using good information.

  43. mike says:

    Frank, are you telling me that riding in bikelanes or a shoulder bikeway is sometimes appropriate behavior for a ‘savvy’ cyclist? Not all bikelane use leads to unsafe rider positioning?

    The reasoned approach. Think – 60 mph highway, clean 8 foot shoulder bikeway, in a rainstorm, at dusk – where is the suggested ‘savvy’ cyclist default position?

    if you can’t answer, maybe Karen Karabell can address this riding scenario without waffling or dodging the riding scenario.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      “Frank, are you telling me that riding in bikelanes or a shoulder bikeway is sometimes appropriate behavior for a ‘savvy’ cyclist? Not all bikelane use leads to unsafe rider positioning?”

      Yes. I’m astonished that’s not obvious.

      • mike says:

        certainly not obvious from the blog poster, the cycling savvy instructors ‘objection to bike lane’ diatribe.

        if CS can endorse rider positioning in bikelanes and on bikeways when safe and appropriate, and higher speed roads are not suitable for family riders, the cycling savvy ‘educational’ framing doesn’t take into considerations what Frank characterizes as obvious- savvy cyclists can choose bikeway and default bikeway positioning when appropriate – it’s not all ‘control and release.’

        Remarkably the discussion of the method of cycling savvy is markedly different from its’ promoted ideological screed.

        Funny how the author had to get a general topic title about riding CS style had to get changed to the instructor’s “objection to bikelanes”

        A great chuckle to see such an ardent defense of a riding method using riding advice different from the method being defended. Thanks for the laughs, Frank.

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          Mike, I think you’re very intent on ascribing an extreme position to Savvy Cycling; so much so that you’re not following the discussion. You certainly don’t understand what CS (or VC) teaches.

          Consider doing some re-reading. If you can find “NEVER RIDE IN BIKE LANES” or “ALWAYS RIDE AT LANE CENTER” – either here or in CS educational material – you’re connected to something I’m not.

          • mike says:

            i haven’t attached that absolutism to cycling savvy or effective cycling.

            the anti-bikelane, anti-facilities message is very apparent in both CS and EC. The author of this guest blog even had the title changed to reflect her objection of bikelanes, for example!

            Both riding ideologies promote similar anti-bike infrastructure tautologies bundled with their trappings of bike instruction.

            • bikinginla says:

              To be fair, Karen did not ask me to change the headline. I did that on my own after it was suggested that it did not accurately reflect the piece, and on further reflection, I agreed.

              Neither Karen nor anyone else has made any demands of any kind, and she has been exceptionally friendly and courteous throughout this process. In fact, while nothing here has changed my mind about this debate, I feel like I have a new friend in St. Louis.

  44. mike says:

    I have read Franklin, and forester. Have you?
    Forester’s Effective Cycling is loaded with cyclist inferiorities and his repreated in multiple editions advice to avoid taking the travel lane unless travelling the speed of traffic, to ride to the right of traffic, to ride on lane lines instead of controlling the lane, and other dubious, second class riding advice.

    Forester’s riding advice is appaling. Despite these differences with Cycling Savvy, both CS and EF fully embrace an illogical, irrational fear of bike facilities that hinders their efficacy, their relevance, and their soundness as rider education.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      “I have read Franklin, and forester. Have you?”

      Of course I have. And of course, I disagree with your evaluation of the techniques described therein. I urge more open-minded readers to read them.

      Actually, I generally advise people to begin with John Allen’s _Street Smarts_, which is distributed free by several U.S. states and is also available free online. It gives the bare basics in a very concise format. Then read or at least skim through Franklin’s _Cyclecraft_ for much more detail. Forester’s _Effective Cycling_ has certain chapters on the real causes of crashes, on traffic cycling techniques and on facilities, and those sections are good to read next. But much of the book deals with matters not pertinent to this discussion.

  45. Kent strumpell says:

    Thanks for the well-written post. I especially like your description of “control and release” of travel lanes.

    This is a complex subject; bike lanes are clearly not a panacea but they can still be a useful piece of cycling infrastructure. And just as it is poor practice to apply bike lanes with no regard to individual situations, it can also be risky to take the lane without regard to prevailing conditions.

    As an experienced cyclist who rides daily for transportation, of course I find myself taking the lane frequently. But I don’t always assert my right to do so. Traffic conditions influence my practice in doing this. This is due to my realizations that fast and/or heavy traffic can be intimidating (and rightfully so considering the vulnerability of a cyclist) and that holding up a platoon of cars can create high levels of motorist frustration, can precipitate ill will and risky behavior. I have witnessed this too many times to ignore this reality (yes, I have taken Effective Cycling courses and understanding the principles).

    How these factors affect my response varies with each situation. On many roads with bike lanes, I have found they allow intense traffic to get by me with minimal conflict. Yes, I have to watch out for the hazards you point out (opening doors, turning cars, etc), but I have found that in many cases they can assist in a more congenial sharing of the limited road space than taking the lane.

    When no bike lanes are present I often take the lane. Sometimes I make a risk assessment and choose not to. How I deal with such situations varies. I may slow down or pull over to let a cluster of cars pass, change my route if possible or, in extremely rare cases, ride on a lightly used sidewalk for a stretch. I also increase my safety by anticipating motorist behavior, signaling my moves, lane positioning for visibility, always riding outside of the door zone, paying close attention to the road surface, use of lights, reflective devices, choice of clothing, etc, etc.

    Ultimately, I use all of the tools at my disposal to survive as a cyclist, including using a bike lane cautiously or asserting my right to take the full lane.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      I certainly agree that it’s a complex subject!

      One point to consider, though. I’ve frequently been in discussions with people who tout the benefits of a certain bike lane – typically “I don’t have to hold up traffic,” or “It gives me more space on the road.”

      However, those benefits are not really due to the bike lane. Instead, they are due to pavement width. In fact, I find that a 15 foot wide lane with no bike lane stripe actually gives me more riding room. Why? Because the cars that occasionally travel in the rightmost five feet (when no cyclists are present) do a decent job of sweeping away gravel, broken glass, etc. OTOH, I find the rightmost four feet of a typical bike lane is often unrideable.

      I still recall, on a coast-to-coast tour, entering Portland’s eastern suburbs. Suddenly there were bike lanes everywhere. But my daughter, my wife and I actually laughed at how often we had to yell “Glass!” or “Gravel” or even “Tailpipe!” We soon sought out a major street without bike lanes specifically to avoid the junk.

      I’m told that Portland has since implemented a hotline or post-card request system for bike lane sweeping, but I don’t know if it applies to the eastern suburbs. I do know it will never apply to my town, which has a budget to sweep streets only twice per year. For that reason, I much prefer wide, sharable lanes but without bike lane stripes.

      So briefly, when one sees a benefit due to a bike lane, it’s good practice to ask whether the benefit would be as great with the same pavement width, but without the magic stripe. I think in almost all cases, the benefits would be the same, if not greater.

      • Your arguments for routinely taking the lane are only going to attract a very amount of adherents. The vast majority of people who ride on a busy arterial street do not travel in front of motor vehicles. For them, bike lanes make it more comfortable to move further away from the curb or parked cars. This has been tested and measured.

        Sending people to a reeducation camp to try and force them to override their natural instincts for self-preservation will not work. Riding a bicycle is a optional activity for most people. They would rather stop bicycling than ride in front of fast moving motor vehicles.

        • Your arguments for routinely taking the lane are only going to attract a very amount of adherents.

          Again, that’s as relevant as saying that arguments for wearing helmets are not going to attract more people to motorcycling.

          The arguments about routinely taking the lane are not about attracting more people to bicycling.

          The arguments about routinely taking the lane are about enticing people to think about bicycling in traffic differently. To consider that assumptions they’ve taken for granted their entire lives might be wrong. And they’re about getting through to people. Here are some examples.

          https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.426487284126397.1073741831.281417585300035&type=3

          Like with everyone else there are innovators, early adopters, the early majority, the later majority and the laggards.

          With bicycle driving in America, we’re still at the innovators stage (less than 2.5% of bicyclists). Most current practitioners of defaulting to using the full lane are still of the learn-on-your-own variety, but we’re starting to get a few early adopters who are learning from the innovators. But that phase is only beginning.

          What’s astounding to me is the resistance from within the cycling community among those who understand the choices to what some of us are trying to do.

          I mean, it’s one thing to be oblivious to the safety and comfort advantages of lane control. It’s quite another to know about them, and yet discount the practice rather than extol it to others. That surely slows down the adoption process.

          • Vehicular cycling has be around for decades. Its not something new that will catch on through promotion or education. The Netherlands and Denmark have very extensive bicycling education age and vehicular cycling is practiced only on streets with few cars that move very slowly.

            The Netherlands had a 80% mode share for bicycling before WWII. After the war, people were rapidly buy cars. There was very little separation of bicycles and cars. The result was a steep increase in motor vehicle/bicycle collisions and a plummeting mode share for bicycling.

            The UK went through a very similar transformation during this time with similar results.

            Unlike the UK, during the early 1980’s the Netherlands separated the bicycles from the much greater mass and speed of motor vehicles throughout the country.

            The result is that the UK now has a seventh the bicycling rate that they did in 1952 and the Netherlands is now more than half the bicycling rate that it was in 1952.

            If it is so much more dangerous to separate the bicycles from motor vehicles, then why do so many more people choose to bicycle in the Netherlands than in the UK? Both of these countries did extensive traffic calming and have reduced motor vehicle collisions.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              So, do you have an explanation for the Stevenage and Milton Keynes results in GB? Those were towns built from the start with extensive off-street bike trails accessing all parts of town; yet their bike mode share is still extremely low. They’re obvious counterexamples to the “build it and they will come” claims.

              To me, they prove that places like Copenhagen have FAR more important factors than just bike facilities. Their culture, history, density, legal environment, terrain, climate, and public transit are all ignored by facilities proponents. And probably most important of all is their policy of dissuading motoring, by astonishingly high taxes, car-free zones, rare and expensive parking, etc. etc.

              Mencken said “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” I think the no-education, 8 to 80, bike-facilities-everywhere dreams fit that description perfectly.

            • Please, have you seen the Milton-Keene “bike paths”? They meander every which way, and are very indirect adding as much as an extra third of the distance to ride on the path as opposed to riding in the roads. In addition they accumulate trash that is cleaned up maybe once a biennum, are mostly unlighted except where the lights from motor vehicle facilities falls on them (making them unsafe from a crime perspective at night) and are basically totally unsuited for the purpose. If you don’t want to actually get anywhere, they’re fine.

            • Frank, there are several factors involved which would give a high rate of bicycling in a large city. Unfortunately, great numbers of people riding in the street in front of fast moving motor vehicles is not one of them. I don’t know of one large city in the developed world where people have a choice whether to ride a bicycle and they do so for utilitarian purposes in large numbers.

              John Pucher and Ralph Buehler put together a research report for the role of bike paths and lanes for Cycling to work in 90 large U.S. cities. Their conclusion “is that cities with a greater supply of bike paths and lanes have higher bike commute levels—even after controlling for other factors that may affect cycling levels.” Which is consistent with other studies that confirm the important role of separate facilities.

              Their study focused on 90 of the largest U.S. cities, you mention only 2 in Great Britain which seems to conclusively disprove the effect of extensive bikeways to you.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Dennis wrote: “John Pucher and Ralph Buehler put together a research report for the role of bike paths and lanes for Cycling to work in 90 large U.S. cities. Their conclusion “is that cities with a greater supply of bike paths and lanes have higher bike commute levels…
              Their study focused on 90 of the largest U.S. cities, you mention only 2 in Great Britain which seems to conclusively disprove the effect of extensive bikeways to you.”

              I’m familiar with lots of Pucher’s work (including his new claims that bike lanes are too dangerous, and that cycletracks are really needed, as in Seattle.)

              Did Pucher show that bike facilities produce (relatively, for the U.S.) large numbers of bike commuters? Or did he show that where there are relatively large numbers of bike commuters, the politicians get motivated to “do something” to please cyclists and motorists? (For motorists, it might be “getting bicycles out of the way”). IOW, a correlation does not necessarily show the direction of cause and effect.

              The two British cities I cited, Stevenage and Milton Keynes, definitely show a _failure_ of cause and effect. The towns were designed from scratch to make cycling as pleasant and convenient as possible. The bikeway networks were (and still are) world class, things Americans will never see in their cities. Yet the bike transportation never arrived. The bikeways (mostly completely separate paths) are almost unused.

              But to be clear: I don’t doubt that very extensive bike facilities can cause a slight bump in bike mode share, (almost) no matter how bad those facilities are. However, the bump will be slight.

              Check the actual mode shares in those cities Pucher listed. In no case would a reduction in MV volume be noticeable to any observer. No realistic amount of infrastructure will change any typical American city into Copenhagen, despite Pucher’s dreams.

            • “I’m familiar with lots of Pucher’s work (including his new claims that bike lanes are too dangerous, and that cycletracks are really needed, as in Seattle.)

              Where does he claim that Frank? Show some proof. You just seem to prejudge anything that might disagree with your beliefs.

              “Did Pucher show that bike facilities produce (relatively, for the U.S.) large numbers of bike commuters?

              I provided a link to the information and you obviously didn’t bother to read any of it and yet you claim that your familiar with “lots of his work.” Its more likely that you dismiss any research that John Pucher does on bicycling because it tends to run counter to your preset beliefs.

              You will dismiss this out of hand, but here goes…

              His research indicates that “both bike lanes and bike paths per 100,000 population are significant predictors for bike commuting. A 10% greater supply of bike lanes is associated with a 3.1% greater number of bike commuters per 10,000 population. Similarly, a 10% greater supply of bike paths is associated with a 2.5% higher level of bike
              commuting.”

              Its very similar to another research report that found on-average that one miles of bike lane in a one square miles area produces a one-percent bicycle commuting mode share.

              “Or did he show that where there are relatively large numbers of bike commuters, the politicians get motivated to “do something” to please cyclists and motorists? (For motorists, it might be “getting bicycles out of the way”).

              Your speculating what’s in the research without even reading any of it.

              Portland had a 1.2% bicycle commuting mode share in 1990, that it not a lot of bicyclists. That went to 6% in 2008. A 430% increase in 18 years.

              More than 15,000 people now ride across the downtown bridges everyday, making up 14% of vehicular traffic.

              “But to be clear: I don’t doubt that very extensive bike facilities can cause a slight bump in bike mode share, (almost) no matter how bad those facilities are. However, the bump will be slight.”

              You have to be living in a cave somewhere to continue dismissing what is happening. There have been large percentage increases in bicycle commuting modal shares in several large U.S. due to bikeway installations. Here are a few cities and the percent of bicycle commuting mode share increases from 1990 to 2008:

              Chicago 459%
              Portland 430%
              New York 220%
              San Francisco 292%
              Washington D.C. 445%
              Philadelphia 300%

              The pace of increases in mode share overall for the many of the largest U.S. cities is accelerating.

              “Check the actual mode shares in those cities Pucher listed. In no case would a reduction in MV volume be noticeable to any observer.”

              That just about sums it up for someone who uses personal observation from Google maps to come to some flippant conclusion about how many bicycle riders are in a city.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              I pointed out that towns in Britain were designed from scratch with expensive bike paths to access the entire town; yet ridership is near zero. In reply, Opus said “Please, have you seen the Milton-Keene “bike paths”?”

              I’ve not seen them personally. I’ve read quite a lot about them. Yes, facilities proponents _now_ claim that they don’t work only because of… well, lots of excuses.

              The point is, at the time those new towns were designed, millions of pounds were spent to give bike facilities advocates exactly what they wanted: completely separated bikeways, including even grade separation at major roads. The cost of all this was very high. The usage is near zero. They built what was desired, but it didn’t attract the Netherlands mode share that was predicted.

              We’re seeing something similar with bike lanes. Plenty of cities have put them in. The huge bike mode share didn’t arrive. And now we’re hearing “No, no, bike lanes are not good enough! We need cycletracks! THEN we’ll get lots of bike mode share!”

              I’ve even encountered the first “Cycletracks are not good enough, we need more” propaganda. Why? Because just as many knowledgeable cyclists have predicted, cycletracks increase conflicts at intersections. So some are now calling for total redesign of all intersections, so bicyclists pass through only when all motorists have red lights. I suppose this will be used as the next excuse, the reason why cycletracks have caused only a couple percent bike mode share.

              What will be asked for after the completely redesigned intersections (with far more waiting time for all road users) still fail to get even 10% bike mode share? Maybe it will be completely elevated bike freeways? Maybe it will be teleportation for all motor vehicles? Whatever it is, I’m sure it will soon be proclaimed insufficient!

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              I said “I’m familiar with lots of Pucher’s work (including his new claims that bike lanes are too dangerous, and that cycletracks are really needed, as in Seattle.)”

              Dennis asked “Where does he claim that, Frank?”

              Here you go: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021268792_bicyclingpucherxml.html

              I don’t know if that bike lane looks fearsome to you. You’ve advocated even door zone bike lanes, when you said “The reason why most bike lanes are painted in the door zones is that its the only space available … I’m for putting them just about anywhere possible …” Apparently Pucher disagrees with you.

              DH: “There have been large percentage increases in bicycle commuting modal shares in several large U.S. due to bikeway installations. …
              Chicago 459%
              Portland 430%
              New York 220%
              San Francisco 292%
              Washington D.C. 445%
              Philadelphia 300%”

              I don’t doubt that bikeways entice some people to cycle. However, the percentage increases you brag about have limited significance. Only one of the cities cited currently has a bike mode share over 3.5%. Last I heard, New York’s was at 0.8%. Is that really worth bragging about?

              It should be obvious that if a big city starts with (say) only 10 bike commuters, even a random increase of 20 more will yield a big _percentage_ gain. The 200% increase makes for impressive sounding propaganda, but it means nothing regarding public health, environmental benefit, reduced MV congestion, etc.

              If you look into it, the ACS (source for those numbers) urges caution when using the percentage increases. Rightly so, based on elementary statistics theory.

              And again, those figures (like the frequently bragged 6% for Portland) apply only to people whose homes are within city limits. Commuters from outside city limits don’t count. Consequently, the figures do not accurately represent the situation on the ground, as any trip to Portland will quickly show.

              Personally, I think facility construction alone will never generate even 15% bike mode share in any U.S. city over, say, 100,000 population. If society changes radically, to the point that few people can drive cars (due to expense, taxes, or whatever), then your dreams may be realized. I say that because restrictions on car use are really the most important factor for northern Europe’s high bike mode share.

              Of course, if very few people can drive cars, we won’t need separate bike facilities, will we?

            • “Only one of the cities cited currently has a bike mode share over 3.5%.”

              2012 ACS bicycle commuting mode share results:

              Portland 6%
              Washington D.C. 4.1%
              San Francisco 3.8%
              Minneapolis 4.5%
              Seattle 4.1%
              New York City 1%

              In 1990, only one of the 70 largest U.S. cities had a bicycle commuting mode share of 2%, or more–Tucson 2.8%. Now there are thirteen. The bicycling increases can be attributable to more dedicated infrastructure. Higher mode share cities tend to have much more bikeways per square mile than cities with the lowest mode shares.

              According to the ACS data, New York City has added 20,000 more people using a bicycle as their main way of commuting to work since 2005. Commuting by driving has increased by 5,000. I would expect the increase for bicycling to continue to gain mode share with the addition of bicycle sharing.

              “We’re seeing something similar with bike lanes. Plenty of cities have put them in. The huge bike mode share didn’t arrive. And now we’re hearing “No, no, bike lanes are not good enough! We need cycletracks! THEN we’ll get lots of bike mode share!”

              People are voting with their pedals and overwhelming show a preference for bicycling where they are separated from the much greater mass and speed of motor traffic. Bike lanes provide only striping for separation. This has been shown to be less appealing than having a barrier for protection in much the same way as vulnerable pedestrians are given curbs to separate them from motor vehicles on busy roads. Its also more comfortable as a pedestrian to not have bicyclists speeding by on a sidewalk that they are walking on.

              The number of people bicycling along a street before and after the installation of bike lanes or cycle tracks has been counted numerous times by cities throughout the U.S. Results vary according to the part of the city that they are located, population density, number of vehicle lanes, speed of vehicles, connectivity, if its a complete network, etc. In Los Angeles, all of the intersections that had at least one street which received bike lanes between the bike counts in 2009 and 2011, had a doubling of bicycling above the average for all the other intersections in the 2011 count.

              People have a tolerance level for traffic stress when bicycling. If only part of their route falls within their tolerance level, then the whole route is too stressful and they will be unlikely to choose to ride there.

              “I’ve even encountered the first “Cycletracks are not good enough, we need more” propaganda. Why? Because just as many knowledgeable cyclists have predicted, cycletracks increase conflicts at intersections.”

              The idea that separation from traffic must be more dangerous ignores the massive evidence of the European experience, and the engineering solutions developed to improve intersection safety for cyclists. It also ignores the patent dangers of riding a slow, small vehicle that lacks a protective cage in mixed traffic.

              The argument that there are fewer bicycle/motor vehicle collisions in the through lanes compared to riding to the side of traffic ignores the fact that very few cyclists ride directly in the middle of a high speed motor vehicle lane. This reasoning is analogous to saying that its safer to jump out of a airplane than sit inside with a seatbelt on because much fewer people have died jumping out of an airplane compared to those siting inside.

              How do you overcome the evidence of the massive European experiment, in which, for decades, millions of cyclists have ridden daily on cycle tracks, with crash rates far lower than in the United States and a far greater appeal to vulnerable populations such as children and seniors.

              I’m for putting in bike lanes just about anywhere so that dedicated space is created for bicycles, while at the same time increasing the volume of bicycles overall in a city.

              That space can be increased and improved upon in design as the bike lanes encourage more people to ride and more money is available. This could be done with wider bike lanes, colorization, cycle tracks, etc.

              You have to start somewhere. Perfection is the enemy of the good. Only putting in bike lanes that are at least 7-feet wide in a large city would likely create only a few isolated installations. This has been the problem with bike paths in this country which have been mainly placed alongside railroad right-of-ways and streams. It’s difficult to create a utilitarian useful network when limiting the infrastructure to isolated out-of-the-way locations like that.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              I said ““Only one of the cities cited currently has a bike mode share over 3.5%.”

              Dennis responded: “2012 ACS bicycle commuting mode share results:

              Portland 6%
              Washington D.C. 4.1%
              San Francisco 3.8%
              Minneapolis 4.5%
              Seattle 4.1%
              New York City 1%”

              OK, you found more recent data than I did. So there are now five American cities whose residents report more than 3.5% bike commuting. Not counting, of course, all those people who live outside city limits but drive in, which again means those numbers do not represent the real situation on the ground.

              Now, do you really suppose facilities are the most important factor? Most of the cities you listed are unusual in their density. Those in the PNW have very mild climates compared to most of the U.S. Minneapolis is the one outlier, but it benefits from very flat terrain and about a dozen colleges and universities. (Large student population is actually the best predictor of bike share.) And when accounting for increases, have you examined the impact of simple fashion? (See below.)

              Dennis: “According to the ACS data, New York City has added 20,000 more people using a bicycle as their main way of commuting to work since 2005.”

              Wonderful! So, let’s see, that’s 20,000 out of 8.1 million… That’s 0.2% of the population enticed into cycling by all the bike facility funding. How much more will it take to make NYC into Copenhagen? At what point will the reduction in MV traffic be visibly apparent?

              I suggest the answer is “never,” unless there are massive societal changes, including massive new disincentives for driving. I’m all in favor of bike transportation, but no number of bike lanes or “tracks” is going to get the average hurried, harried, overweight 45-year-old New Yorker onto a bike.

              Regarding fashion: let’s try to understand that bicycling is currently trendy. It was much more trendy in the 1890s and much more trendy in the 1970s. Those booms were due to fashion or trendiness, not to massive facility spending. Sometimes fashion produces such things – look at bell bottoms, leisure suits, Ugg boots and tattoos.

              1890s bicycling popularity lasted only about as long as ladies bloomers. 1970s bicycling popularity lasted about as long as bell bottoms. In 2030, will people still be spending exorbitantly on tattoos, and will truly large percentages have been converted to car-free living? I’d like to hope for the latter, but I’m afraid the U.S. will look much like it does today, but perhaps with some Stevenage-style unused bikeways.

          • What you fail to realize is that mixing bicyclists in with the much greater mass and speed of motor vehicles has failed on a massive scale in other countries.

            There are very few people who bicycle in front of fast moving motor vehicles in this country. Because of that, there is scant data of people getting hit while cycling in that manner. That seems to be proof positive to you and several others responding there that it works. This is like saying its safe to ride a bicycle on the moon because there has been no cycling collisions there.

            • Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane says:

              There are very few people who bicycle in front of fast moving motor vehicles in this country. Because of that, there is scant data of people getting hit while cycling in that manner. That seems to be proof positive to you and several others responding there that it works. This is like saying its safe to ride a bicycle on the moon because there has been no cycling collisions there.

              No, this is like saying its safe to ride a bicycle on the moon in a certain non-intuitive manner because of decades of experience riding safely on the moon in that manner, verified by a small but significant minority, while the majority riding in another manner demand changes to the moonscape and gravitational field because of the lack of safety they mostly imagine and sometimes experience.

            • Karen Karabell says:

              “What you fail to realize is that mixing bicyclists in with the much greater mass and speed of motor vehicles has failed on a massive scale in other countries.”

              Has this ever been tried in any country? That is, are cyclists respected and expected as a normal part of traffic in any nation on Earth? Maybe cities in China? Does anyone know?

            • “Has this ever been tried in any country? That is, are cyclists respected and expected as a normal part of traffic in any nation on Earth?”

              Yes, the Netherlands.

              The bicycling mode share in the Netherlands before WWII was 80%. By 1952 it was still over 50%.

              A brief history of this can be seen in this video entitled: How the Dutch got their cycle paths

              Another video with some more explanations of this made by Streetsfilms:

              From the Netherlands to America

              A third video made by the Dutch Cycling Embassy also goes into the history of cycling in the Netherlands and how it evolved post WWII:

              Cycling for Everyone

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Karen asked “Has this ever been tried in any country? That is, are cyclists respected and expected as a normal part of traffic in any nation on Earth? Maybe cities in China? Does anyone know?”

              This may not directly answer your question, but my wife and I have ridden in several European countries – Italy, Austria, Poland, France, etc. – and almost always have been treated with respect and politeness.

              I recall almost no exceptions. One BMW driver in Prague was impatient to get to a closed RR crossing (!). One Paris driver who wanted me out of his way when he was driving illegally in a bike/bus lane. In such cases, I continued as before they honked, and had no problem. (BTW, I got to pass that BMW driver.)

              But also I recall motorists (including tractor-trailer drivers in Italy) waiting patiently behind us until it was safe to pass on a narrow highway.

              I do feel sorry for those who demand facilities everywhere before they can ride. They miss so much!

            • “I do feel sorry for those who demand facilities everywhere before they can ride. They miss so much!”

              I have been advocating for safer and more comfortable bicycling routes for the masses that can take them from A to B.

              Trying to teach people to overcome their intolerance for traffic stress is not going to get the mass population to cycle on a daily basis. Getting the infrastructure built that will make bicycling more irresistible is the proven way to get the widest range of demographics to bicycle and to do so for many of their daily trips.

              ” my wife and I have ridden in several European countries – Italy, Austria, Poland, France, etc.”

              You mentioned the countries that have some of the lowest bicycling rates in Europe. The more successful ones for getting the masses to bicycle all have widespread physical separation of bicycles from motor vehicles when the speeds are greater than 20 mph.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Dennis wrote: “I have been advocating for safer and more comfortable bicycling routes for the masses that can take them from A to B.

              “Trying to teach people to overcome their intolerance for traffic stress is not going to get the mass population to cycle on a daily basis.”

              Dennis, NO foreseeable amount of bike infrastructure is going to get “the mass population” of Americans on their bikes daily. That’s a totally unrealistic goal.

              Portland, OR is rated … what, platinum level? diamond level? Unobtanium level? … for its bike infrastructure, and it’s adding more every year. Yet only 6% of its unusually youthful _residents_ use their bikes for commuting, not counting the vast number coming in from outside. When I visit there, I see that roughly 99% of the vehicles in use at any time are motor vehicles.

              And that bike mode share, measured as optimistically as it is, appears to have become stuck at 6%, not growing significantly.

              Do you _really_ expect to get larger percentages in other places? In places with harsher winters, hillier terrain, more aged and conservative populations, longer travel distances, less public transit, etc?

              _Really_?

              I do believe in promoting cycling. But I also believe in being realistic. And I believe in “First, do no harm.”

  46. mike says:

    ….but not statistically by any measure of the preponderance of the evidence.

    • billdsd says:

      Evidence that is based upon riders who edge ride when there is no bike lane and usually end up having even less room than they do in bike lanes. This is something very different than what happens with bicyclists who control the lane.

      Every time I’ve had a close call or crash in the last 6 years it was in a bike lane.

  47. Gary Cziko says:

    Here are two new (for me) bike lanes I encountered cycling in Westside L.A. yesterday:

    Grand View Avenue:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gcziko/12668933684/

    17th Street (Santa Monica):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gcziko/12668989244/

    One of these I appreciated having available. The other I will avoid. I hope it’s clear to all which is which.

    Unfortunately, in my six months of cycling experience mostly in Westside L.A., I have found that narrow door-zone bike lanes predominate.

    • Too you, a 4 to 5 foot wide bike lane that is next to parked cars seems to do nothing but put you in the door zone. For those willing to ride in a bike lane it will likely do two things. Attract more bicycle riders by giving a clearly defined space away from moving motor vehicles. It will also tend to move most riders further away from the parked cars.

      • PatrickGSR94 says:

        That 2nd bike lane shown by Gary is atrocious. You would have to damn near ride on the left line of the bike lane to be out of danger from being doored, which of course puts you CLOSER to the car traffic. But since you’re in the bike lane, motorists don’t think they need to move over, and so the number of close passes will GREATLY increase.

        The BEST design I know of, which we have some in Memphis, has car parking on the side, then a door zone buffer, then a bike lane, and then a travel lane. That puts cyclists out of the regular lane but still close enough to be fairly visible, and also completely out of the door zone.

        Here’s a good one right near LA in Santa Monica: http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/BicknellBufferedBikeLanes2.jpg

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          And regarding that Memphis bike lane in the photo: As always, it’s worth considering whether the perceived benefits are really due to the bike lane striping.

          Take away the left bike lane stripe, and the cyclist has just as much room to ride. Motorists have just as much room to pass. Cyclists will feel more free to move left when necessary.

          Again, I think most of the supposed benefit of bike lanes come from pavement width, not from special lane designation.

          • bikinginla says:

            In my experience, most motorists tend to drive in the center of the lane. So take away the bike lane stripe, and drivers will simply encroach further on the right, giving riders less space.

            And removing the stripe would do absolutely nothing to decrease the incredible degree of danger posed by riding to the right that I keep reading about in the comments on here, now would it? Or is riding to the right not as dangerous as some here seem to think?

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              Actually the streets I’ve ridden on with a wider (15-16 foot) right lane, most drivers stay about the distance from the lane lines to their left as they do when centered in the left travel lane. That’s my experience anyway.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              My experience matches Patrick’s. My usual bike commuting route (before I retired) featured one road with 16 foot lanes and no bike lanes. Motorists typically kept within about three or four feet of the center lines. And despite the width, many motorists moved a bit into the oncoming lane to pass me, when that lane was clear.

              The nice part was that some motorists occasionally got close enough to the curb to sweep away the gravel. On another (somewhat narrower) section of my route, the city eventually added “undesignated bike lanes” (i.e. stripes about four feet from the curb). Unfortunately, that space soon filled with gravel. My riding space was significantly narrowed.

            • bikinginla says:

              Sound like your argument is not against bike lanes, but against poorly designed maintained ones. Maybe instead of complaining here, you should be working with your local DOT and government leaders to demand safer bike infrastructure and better maintenance, just as I and many others have done here in LA for the last several years.

      • Frank Krygowski says:

        A bike lane that moves cyclists a _little_ further away from parked cars is no help at all. The most severe danger is having one’s right handlebar hooked rightward, which throws the rider violently into the lane to his or her left. To prevent that, one must be FAR from the parked car, as shown by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPA-ZcYGT94

        YouTube has videos of cyclists of cyclists thrown down this way. Search for them.

        Most cyclists have no idea about this hazard. It’s one of the reasons that they lobby for even door zone bike lanes. It’s one of the reasons they need to be educated on the hazards of bike lanes, and one of the reasons the “no education, 8 to 80″ idea is faulty.

        • bikinginla says:

          Actually, my experience is that most cyclists are well aware of the door zone these days, thanks to multiple efforts to educate the public, including this humble website. It is very rare these days that I see a bike rider hugging a row of parked cars.

          As for the “dangers” of riding in bike lanes, unless and until someone can refute the results in New York that showed a doubling of bike lanes resulted in a doubling in ridership — yet no increase in injuries — and the Vancouver study showing a 90% decrease in injuries with a protected bike lane, and a 50% decrease with just a line of paint, I just don’t see it.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            ” It is very rare these days that I see a bike rider hugging a row of parked cars.”

            That’s an astonishing claim. First, bike lanes are _still_ being painted entirely in door zones. I find it amazing that one would claim that novice riders know to ride completely outside those lanes.

            Perhaps you’re intending the phrase “hugging a row” to mean riding within a foot or two. But as I’ve shown with a linked YouTube video, the door zone extends far further than most – perhaps you? – realize.

            Now, I’m away from my office and my large collection of bike-related research papers. But it’s become clear that your “Vancouver, 90%” claim is probably referring to Teschke, Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study, Am J Public Health. 2012;102:2336–2343.

            Anyone wanting detail on that blatant propaganda piece should start here:
            http://azbikelaw.org/blog/cycle-tracks-are-nine-times-safer-than-roads/

            There are other sites I’ve seen that explain the distortions in similar studies. I’m sure that bikinginla won’t be swayed, but perhaps some others will understand.

            • bikinginla says:

              Hey Frank, I’ve been riding for 32 years as an adult, mostly in a vehicular style due to the absence of proper infrastructure for most of that time.

              I know where the goddam door zone is, having successfully avoided it in all that time.

              And you’re right, of course. Any peer-reviewed study that you happen to disagree with is clearly nothing but propaganda.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikinginla wrote: “Any peer-reviewed study that you happen to disagree with is clearly nothing but propaganda.”

              I am a regular on several discussion groups that actually look into the details of such studies. The discussion is often very specific, delving into mathematics, confounding factors, experiment design, and much more. (And not just on bike facilities, BTW.)

              It was there that I first learned of and downloaded some of the papers discussed in the link I gave. We examined “street view” images of purportedly similar streets; we examined wildly untested methods of estimating effects of varying traffic volume, and other specifics of these pro-cycletrack studies.

              If you want to keep things on your level so far – “I like it so it’s gotta be correct” – I suppose we can leave it there. But others may want to read the site to which I linked and decide for themselves.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      I think a great many cyclists will not understand the hazards of the narrower bike lane shown. In fact, the newer paint and pretty bike icons might make them feel very safe indeed.

      They will never imagine how far that yellow Mustang’s door might pop open. They will not realize that if the door catches just their right brake lever, they’ll be tossed in front of the traffic at their _left_. They will not understand it can be impossible to stop in time unless you’re riding at walking speed.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPA-ZcYGT94 shows the problem. The door zone is far wider than most people think, and the consequences can be dire.

      See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CudJvSbS2aY

  48. Gary Cziko says:

    The risk of getting doored is just one of the risks of narrow bike lanes installed close to parked cars. Some of the other risks include (1) being in the blind spot of right-turning motorists, (2) being screened from the view of left-turning motorists and (3) being less visible from motorists entering the road from driveways.

    Even if door-zone bike lanes encourage some cyclists to ride farther from parked cars, this may not decrease the risk of injury unless they are completely free of the door zone. Indeed, a cyclist encountering a suddenly opening door may fare better striking the door squarely than almost clearing the door only to have the right handlebar catch the door, flinging him or her left into the traffic lane into the path of motor vehicle. A cyclist was killed not long ago in Chicago when he swerved into the path of a truck trying to avoid an opening door in a door-zone bike lane.

    I think there are better ways to increase the numbers of cyclists than to install facilities which look safe to beginning cyclists while actually increasing risk and which make safe cycling more difficult for those cyclists who understand the risks.

    • billdsd says:

      You forgot about drivers pulling out from a parallel parking space. That was my first collision with a car back in the 1980’s. I glanced off the front left fender.

    • Martin Pion says:

      Succinctly put, Gary. And the addition of buffer lanes (typically 2 ft wide) added to regular bike lanes, may mitigate but does not remove the risks you describe.

      In addition there’s the issue of making left turns or otherwise needing to merge into an adjoining traffic lane, especially relevant on multi-lane roads.

      • bikinginla says:

        Oddly, I have never had any difficulty merging into another lane or making a vehicular left when riding in a bike lane. Just check for oncoming traffic, signal and merge left, just as you would riding in any other lane.

        • Martin’s point was not about making left turns from bike lanes in general, but about making left turns from so-called “buffered bike lanes” in particular.

          The issue is that the legality of riding in the buffer itself is unknown. It’s certainly ambiguous sufficiently such that if you’re riding in the buffer and you get hit, you could be considered to be at at least partially at fault for not being in the bike lane.

          But if you stay in the bike lane until the buffer ends, often that’s too late. In busy/fast traffic especially, an early merge to the left is often the best and safest way to prepare for the left. The buffer complicates this.

          • bikinginla says:

            California law is very clear that cyclists can leave the bike lane under any number of circumstance, including making a left turn. There is nothing whatsoever in the law that says cyclists, or motorists, for that matter, may not cross the buffer when the situation calls for it.

            The buffer is there to provide space and increase safety. It is not a jail designed to imprison cyclists.

            • billdsd says:

              Really?

              https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21651.htm

              If the buffer is 2 feet wide or more then the law says you cannot cross it. Since it does not specify motor, it applies to the operators of all vehicles. Since CVC 21200(a) says that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as the drivers of vehicles with respect to division 11 and CVC 21651 is in division 11 and given that these buffers are usually around 2 feet or more wide, yes, it’s a problem.

            • bikinginla says:

              A bike lane is not a divided highway. CVC 21651 has no application on normal surface streets. It applies only on highways where the two directions of traffic are divided in some way; it does not apply if the lanes being separated move in the same direction.

              If there is any restriction whatsoever on anyone moving in, out or through a bike lane buffer, the LAPD is unaware of it, as I have had that exact discussion with senior members of the department regarding the buffered green bike lane on Spring Street in Downtown LA.

            • billdsd says:

              Read it again. It says nothing about direction.

              It is a jail and no thought was given to bicyclists one way or the other.

            • billdsd says:

              It should also be pointed out that a buffered bike lane is not a standard bike lane. A standard bike lane is divided only by a 4″-6″ stripe. That buffer changes the rules. When you have a buffer, it’s not really a proper bike lane. It moves into the realm of class I separated bike path.

            • bikinginla says:

              I read it. I read it again.

              It says “divided highway” and specifies a highway divided into two or roadways. A buffered bike lane separates only one side of the street — not highway — into separate lanes, not roadways.

              This does not apply by even the wildest stretch of the imagination.

            • bikinginla says:

              Seriously, Bill? Tell you what. You run that one past notoriously bike-unfriendly Caltrans, and when they finally stop laughing, come back and try that one again.

            • billdsd says:

              Try it with CHP. They will make any excuse to deny bicyclists the right to the road.

              I had a CHP officer tell me that I had to ride next to the curb IN A RIGHT TURN ONLY LANE, even though I was going straight through the intersection and there was a “RIGHT LANE MUST TURN RIGHT SIGN” there. Yes, the CHP officer was ordering me to violate CVC 21461.

              Keep pretending that they won’t use any excuse to deny us the right to use the road safely.

            • bikinginla says:

              No one gets less training in bike law, and understands it less, than a typical CHP officer. That’s why God made bike lawyers.

        • billdsd says:

          I regularly take a route home that involves making a left on a downhill in a 35mph zone. I find that when I get in the left lane before the last light before the downhill, I have no problems (except the occasional honk/scream). If I wait until after that light, which is about a 1/4 mile before my actual left turn, I have problems almost every time. People will not let me over under any circumstances. The first light is red most of the time which means that traffic is usually stopped which makes it easy to get over before the light. After the light turns green, nothing will convince people to let me over. Yes, I signal. It doesn’t matter.

          • Kent strumpell says:

            I have a couple regular routes with the same problem of fast traffic preventing me from merging left. I either have to pull over and wait for a gap or go to the other side of the intersection and two-step the turn. Has nothing to do with the presence of a bike lane or not, though.

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              That’s how it was when I rode westbound on Hwy 98 coming into Miramar Beach, FL, trying to turn left onto Scenic 98. They actually have a very small, inadequate bike lane there, then 3 lanes of straight traffic, and a left turn lane over 1,000 feet long. To say the traffic volume is high is a gross understatement.

            • billdsd says:

              The thing is, moving over early solves the problem quite effectively.

            • Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane says:

              Bike lanes reinforce the thinking that bicyclists belong at the road edge and that current traffic conditions are irrelevant to where bicyclists should position themselves.

            • bikinginla says:

              Oddly, I find that bike lanes allow me to bypass current road conditions in most instances.

          • Ralph says:

            I’m sorry but a honk or a scream is a problem. This is assault. It can cause a crash by a cyclist who is not expecting this happening. When
            ever I hear a honk or scream I have to look to see what the hazard is thus taking my attention away from my riding which could result in serious injury.

    • mike says:

      but gary- statistically, adding a bikelane, even the standard AASHTO variety, makes that road corridor and the bicyclists riding there safer. they don’t make it LESS safe, they make the riding there more safe.

      could those standard AASHTO bikelanes be improved on? ABsolutely.

      Are you also affiliated with CS? Because you are another of the riders countering the anti-bikelane screed with the admission yes, there are bikelanes that are safe to ride in.

      Funny how the repeated message from the proponents of savvy cycling are happy to admit some bikelanes are fine, some bike facilities are fine, you don’t always have to be in the line of traffic- all contradict the core messages of CS- that riders have to politicize their riding, get in the traffic lane, and change the way motorists think about bicyclists.

      the disconnects are profound between the CS dogma and the reasoned approach advanced here in the thread comments by many of the CS adherents.

      • PatrickGSR94 says:

        I don’t get that at all as the CyclingSavvy message. They’re about opening people’s eyes as to the options they have when riding on a road with no bike facilities. Options that CAN and DO increase their safety over hugging the curb, or riding on the sidewalk.

        Nobody is saying “YOU MUST RIDE IN TRAFFIC!!!” No. Many times there are parallel routes on smaller, quieter streets, and I think most people would prefer that over a heavily traveled street. But what CS aims to do is say “Hey, on those occasions where you may have to ride on the heavily traveled street, here’s what you can do and how you can ride to stay as visible (and as safe) as possible.” It’s about empowering people and giving them viable options where they thought none existed before. They’re not about forcing anyone to do anything.

        Any CS instructors in here can correct me if I’m wrong. This is just what I gather from the CS website and testimonials. I haven’t had the privilege yet of taking a CS course, but very much hope to someday.

        • Todd Nelson says:

          Patrick, you nailed it. I wish I had said it so concisely.

        • mike says:

          funny, i see the cycling savvy message as being primarily about false claims of the dangers of bikelanes. What did the author of this guest blog chose to illustrate with chance to write about cycling savvy st biking in LA ? – her OPPOSITION TO BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE.

          The message that bike facilities are evil resonates soundly and loudly from CS. Hence, it’s muddling in with the tired, fraudulent EC message that bikeways are evil. I swear, even if not based on the education in EC, it near duplicates its’ idelogical screed.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            Seems to me, Mike, you’d prefer to allow no negative statements about bike infrastructure!

            Like it or not, many facilities do cause problems and dangers for cyclists. Those who ride without awareness of the hazards do get injured or killed.

            That’s not to say all bikeways are evil, of course. But would you really forbid warning cyclists about the dangers?

            • bikinginla says:

              Oddly, Frank, the only one who has even suggested banning negative statements abut bike infrastructure has been you. Are your arguments really that weak that you have to create straw dogs or demonize others in order to win the day?

              My personal riding philosophy is to use good bike infrastructure when it’s available, and will ride vehicularly when it’s not. And to ride safely, with an awareness of the road and all those on it, at all times.

              That is exactly what I advocate for, whether through my blog, in public meetings or on a personal basis.

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              “My personal riding philosophy is to use good bike infrastructure when it’s available, and will ride vehicularly when it’s not. And to ride safely, with an awareness of the road and all those on it, at all times.”

              That is exactly the way I feel. If there is GOOD infrastructure then I’ll use it. But CS teaches me (indirectly since I haven’t taken an actual class) to recognize what/where infrastructure is not good, and gives me the tools to traverse my route despite the lack of infrastructure, or that which is poorly designed.

              I really think that’s all anybody wants.

            • bikinginla says:

              In that case, we are in agreement.

              It’s up to us to demand safe places to ride, and that includes well-designed bikeways that will improve safety and encourage greater ridership.

      • Todd Nelson says:

        To piggyback on to what Patrick said, there is little rational basis for saying that CS is black and white on bikelanes. The issue is that without education on what the hazards are of some, how to recognize them, how are you going to keep the uneducated cyclists from getting themselves maimed or killed on the poorly designed ones?

      • Frank Krygowski says:

        Mike, you are very, very confused about the core message of Cycling Savvy.

        AFAICT nobody here nor anyone affiliated with Cycling Savvy’s websites says that _no_ bike facilities _anywhere_ are safe. Of course, you’re free to produce quotations to prove me wrong. Likewise, it’s wrong to imply that CS requires _always_ being in the line of traffic. The original article above disproves that quite obviously!

        CS does explain that many, perhaps most, bikelanes have hazards and disadvantages. Novice riders need to know those facts, and so do cities that contemplate installing them. It’s irresponsible to try to keep those hazards secret.

        • mike says:

          yet more reasoned advice contradicting the core message of CV…. Frank I’ll have to agree with you, your assessment is spot on that there are times and locations bike facilities and not having to be in the line of traffic are the best choice of rider positioning.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            Mike, you seem to have no idea what the core message of CS really is.

            Perhaps you should sign up for a course.

  49. Frank, without the narrow bike lane, most people who would be willing to bicycle on that street would likely be riding closer to the parked cars to keep away from the discomfort of being next to a moving car. People will vote with their pedals if they feel more comfortable riding in a bike lane. Usually, it tends to attract more bike riders than not having a bike lane.

    • Even if it’s true that the effect of door zone bike lanes is to cause most bicyclists to ride a foot or so further left, they’re still in the door zone. That’s like setting the clock back one month on a 6 month pregnancy. She’s still just as pregnant. Door zones are the same way – you’re either in the door, or your outside of it. In fact, being on the edge of the door zone where the edge of a suddenly opened door can just grab the bicyclists handle bars can be the most dangerous place to be in the entire door zone, as that’s the most likely scenario in which the cyclist is suddenly thrown out into traffic.

      Causing bicyclists to ride a little further from parked cars, but still within the door zone, is no benefit of bike lanes.

      • Riding further away from parked cars, even in a door zone, gives you more time before a opening door is in your space and it also requires less movement to avoid getting hit by the door. This reduces the likelihood of hitting a open door. It’s a safety improvement for those that choose to ride to the side of moving vehicles.

        You need to realize that the vast majority of bicyclists are going to be riding to the side on motor vehicles on busy roads. Trying to convince most of them to ride in front of motor vehicles will never work. If the bike lanes are taken away, then most will likely stop riding altogether on those busy streets.

        • Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane says:

          Riding further away from parked cars, even in a door zone, gives you more time before a opening door is in your space and it also requires less movement to avoid getting hit by the door.

          15 mph is 22 feet per second. That’s traveling an entire car length and a half, every second.

          The idea that it’s possible for a bicyclist to react to, and evade, a suddenly opened door is absurd. Being a foot or so further left is not going to make any difference. A doored cyclist is hit long before reaction time is over.

          Luckily, I am not the type of person that actually has to touch a hot stove to learn that you shouldn’t touch a hot stove. I’m the same with door zone riding. But many people have to actually touch the hot stove to really get it. I guess they’re the same with door zone riding. They have to actually get doored before they realize the danger and that they can’t evade it if they’re riding in the door zone. Why is that?

          • bikinginla says:

            And yet, I’ve done it on more than one occasion on the rare chance when I’ve been caught in the door zone while undertaking traffic or surprised by an extra-wide door.

            An experienced rider with defensive riding skills is always prepared for the unexpected; it only takes slight shift of body weight to safely swerve around sudden obstacles, even at significantly higher speeds.

            As has often been said, those who say it can’t be done are often surprised by those doing it.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              So, when promoting door-zone bike lanes, do you somehow warn the public to be ready for weight shifts and sudden swerves out of the bike lane into traffic? It seems that would be mimimal honesty.

              I’ve never come close to being doored. My procedure and my instructions are much simpler: Don’t ride in the door zone. (I’ve also instructed on how wide the door zone really is.)

              Just last year, I was in a position where I _could_ have been doored. I was riding past a car parked in front of a post office when its door suddenly popped wide open. Of course, I was far out of range to its left. Seems to me that it’s the smart place to be.

              And why not? Because it’s more important to be deferential to motorists? No thanks. I have a right to safe use of the road. If necessary, motorists can slow down for a few seconds.

          • The results from thisMotivating Cycling opinion survey indicates that people would prefer to not ride on a street with parked cars with or without bike lanes. A main difference between most people and you is they also understand that drivers can and do make errors which can main or kill a vulnerable bicyclist who is traveling in the middle of a high speed motor vehicle lane.

            I have been hit from behind twice while riding my bicycle in the middle of a motor vehicle lane. Most of my tens of thousands of miles of riding is between parked cars and moving vehicles. I have only had one occasion where a parked car door hit my bike, and it was on the back end of my pannier. This was due to me moving unusually close to the parked cars when a high speed car was approaching.

            You can have much more control of avoiding a collision with a vehicle approaching from the front or sides than from something approaching from the rear. Putting your bicycle directly in front of fast moving vehicles increases the risk of severe injuries or a fatality. I also take the lane when necessary, but I try to avoid doing this in most situations because I am more at the mercy of what the driver does.

      • The average distance that bicyclists will move away from parked cars, or curbs, after the installation of bike lanes or sharrows is a few inches. This probably is due to the much greater discomfort of being close to moving vehicles than parked cars or the curb.

      • You seem to be absolutely convinced that perhaps the greatest danger riding in the streets is a car door opening up in front of you. Not the hundreds of times more frequent event of motor vehicles moving at 40+ around you, any of which could make another human error and hit you. There simply would be nothing you can do to stop them from doing that. The fact that new cars are required to have ABS, traction control, safety belts, safety glass, safety cells and crush zones does not indicate that there is a low probability of drivers making an error, bad judgment or exceed the speed by which they can stop in time before hitting you.

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          I don’t believe the greatest danger is opening car doors. (Although I should make clear that passing parked cars is a pretty small percentage of my mileage.)

          But I do know that the greatest risk of crashes comes from motorists up ahead of me. Left crosses, right hooks, driveouts are probably the main ones. The common fear of being run down from behind is actually a very small risk.

          I’ve seen the data, and I’ve confirmed it over the decades with motorists in my mirror. When I am passing parked cars, yes, I do think the dooring risk is the greater risk.

  50. Hello Karen and All,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and well illustrated post.

    [I posted some of this previously out of sequence.]

    Karen wrote: “Every second on this planet,
    millions of motorists are driving along
    and NOT hitting what is right in front of them.”

    And EVERY DAY in the United States 5,000 motorists are driving along and hitting what is right in front of them – hard enough to kill someone or warrant a police report. In addition it is estimated that many times that number are hitting what is right in front of them EVERY DAY and not getting a police report. (insurance records)

    Why you ask do they hit something right in front of their motor car? Simple ….. something is there. If something was not there they could not hit it. What if that something was not in front of them but rather in its own lane out of the motor car trajectory? Or physically separated from the motor car trajectory? You answered correctly …… it would be difficult for the motor car to hit what is not there right in front of it.

    NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports:
    A total of 677 pedalcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2011. The 14-and-younger age group accounted for 9% of those fatalities, and males accounted for 69% of the fatalities among pedalcyclists age 14 and younger.

    CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) reports:
    While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do. In 2010 in the U.S., almost 800 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries. Data from 2005 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $5 billion.

    There are those that accept these cyclist losses and say that is just the way it is and always has been.

    I disagree as I think we should implement facilities to reduce those death and injury numbers. In cities where bicycle infrastructure has been implemented the safety of cyclists has improved.

    New York Times reports:
    In New York City, 75 percent of all fatal bike accidents involve a head injury. In addition to wearing a helmet, another helpful precaution is using a marked bike lane: Streets that have them have 40 percent fewer crashes ending in death or serious injury. ( http://transalt.org/issues/bike/bikefaq )

    Vehicular Cycling (Effective Cycling) has been around since the 1970’s and appears to have had little impact on bicycle safety.

    CyclingSavvy established about 2009 also depends on education rather than infrastructure to improve safety. It is probably too early to determine if CyclingSavvy is having any actual impact on bicycle safety.

    I disagree with your opposition to bicycle infrastructure because of the documented success of bicycle infrastructure for improving the safety of a wide range of cyclists and for the bicycle infrastructure increasing the number of cyclists ….. especially female cyclists …… whose acceptance of improved bicycle infrastructure helps drive the cyclists transportation mode share increases.

    I agree that since bicycle infrastructure is often being newly implemented into existing transportation facilities it is compromised in some locations and can be less than perfect …. and will need continual evaluation and improvement.

    I think we should experiment …. in the sense that the best bicycle infrastructure we have can most likely be improved …. as with many of our human constructs.

    To be a Luddite and only continue with the same old cycling patterns ………. and not try to improve cycling conditions by experimenting is folly.

    To prevent crashes the practice of separation of moving objects is demonstrated in aviation which utilizes positive aircraft separation for most commercial operations.

    Motorcars moving in opposite directions are separated by concrete barriers on many freeways.

    Trucks are partially separated from motorcar traffic (in California) by remaining in the rightmost two lanes.

    Swimmers in pool races are separated by lane lines.

    It is basic ….. separation is what prevents collisions.

    And ….. more humans will be safer and more likely to take up cycling when separated from heavier and faster moving motor cars.

    In some locations and some states cyclists may be required to use the newer and effective bicycle infrastructure so they will be safer.

    As mentioned before ….. when you ‘take the lane’ you are ‘depending on the kindness of strangers’.

    And EACH DAY at least 5,000 of those strangers operating the motor car are not always competent, sober, healthy, focused, or fully awake and hit what is right in front of them.

    Cheers,

    Neal

    +1 mph Faster

    • Gary Cziko says:

      Neal, check out this first 50 seconds of this video which compares cycling in and out of the bike lane on Venice Boulevard. The same Culver City bus operator passes me twice. Which pass gives me the most separation and why?
      http://vimeo.com/87313213

      • mike says:

        great video! The video, in conjunction with your commentary and explanation here showcases an healthy fear of overtaking traffic. Is this a common affliction with other ‘savvy cyclists’? regardless, at what width does the bikelane become wide enough for you to not have to avoid it? And what about in the absence of parked cars or turning conflicts, as a lot of busier California suburban roads?

        When does the absolutism about the evils of the big, bad bikelanes begin to moderate into couched endorsement of their use?

        there’s got to be a point even the most stalwart savvy cyclist will default position in a bike facility, or the term ‘savvy’ is a mischaracterization.

        • billdsd says:

          I don’t actually have a lot of fear of overtaking traffic.

          I do have a fear of close passes and right hooks. Both of those happen to me regularly in bike lanes and not so much when controlling the lane.

          I was a lot more afraid before I learned how to avoid the dangerous situations.

          I don’t know of a lot of bike lanes where I feel safe. Encinitas put in a bike lane about a year ago in Leucadia on north bound 101 that’s 8 feet wide and has about a half mile of no right turn conflicts. I like that bike lane.

          • Mike says:

            so, you agree there’s no requirement a rider has to be positioned in front of a line of traffic and can ride safely to the right in a bike facility.

            I’d have to agree with you there. the judgement, of course, the ‘savvy’ is very individualized, but glad to hear you can also see riding scenarios in your riding sphere when it’s not necessary to get in the middle of the lane to be noticed and safe.

            keep up the reasoned and safe riding, glad to hear you’re discerning.

      • Hello Gary and All,

        Nice video!

        Are you riding your yellow Lightning Velo or a bicycle?

        I always worry a bit when I pass a cyclist with a dog on a short leash as I picture the poor dog getting under the wheels.

        The bike lane appears to be very clean …. looks like the white line does not prevent the bow wave from cars and buses from keeping it swept clean.

        I see your point – the buses pass you with more abeam clearance when you are in the travel lane than the bike lane ….. IF they see you.

        As I recall a city bus killed cyclist Udo Heinz on August 4, 2013 (and seriously injured others) on the portion of the road on Camp Pendleton where it goes up that slight rise and there is no bike lane and no shoulder so you have to ride in the travel lane ….. and the bus system videotaped the crashes. Sad.

        http://pvcycling.wordpress.com/2013/11
        /17/remembrance/

        John Edwards was seriously injured in that same collision.

        “He’s gone through several surgeries,” Edwards’ Attorney Richard Duquette said. “He’s at times confined to bed, he’s on a daily basis suffering terribly.”

        “This was a clear sunny day on a straight road with clear visibility,” Duquette said.

        The photos are time stamped. They indicate four seconds before impact the cyclists are off to the right and single file with no oncoming traffic. At 12:49:41 the bus approaches the riders with still no other traffic. Then at 12:49:42 the bus collides with the riders.

        What was the driver doing at the time?

        The North County Transit District (NCTD) denied our request for a copy of the video tape or we would show you. Could it be a case of distracted driving? Duquette has seen the tape.

        “The bus driver clearly had an object in his hand up to the right side of his face and or in front of him at the time just before impact,” Duquette said.

        Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/camp-pendleton-bus-crash-cyclists-233119721.html#ixzz2u0EbDkRT

        Now some apologists when backed into a corner in their arguments will quote the number of people falling out of bed and getting killed as counter point to the number of cyclists getting killed …. as if the number of cyclists and injured each year is cast in stone and cannot be improved.

        Now that is not to say that as a cyclist ‘most’ of the time you can rely on the kindness of strangers driving motor vehicles who are ‘probably’ focused, sober, healthy, not distracted, and awake to give you wide berth if you are directly in front of them.

        And if riding in the travel lane when there is a decent bike lane is what winds your watch ….. that is what you should do.

        But rather than rely on anecdotes n=1 stories the following careful study of driver distraction is interesting:

        http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/Crash%20Avoidance/Driver%20Distraction/100CarMain.pdf

        Excerpt:

        The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study database
        contains many extreme cases of driving behavior and
        performance, including severe fatigue, impairment,
        judgment error, risk taking, willingness to engage in
        secondary tasks, aggressive driving, and traffic
        violations.

        The data set includes approximately
        2,000,000 vehicle miles, almost 43,000 hours of data,
        241 primary and secondary drivers, 12 to 13 months
        of data collection for each vehicle, and data from a
        highly capable instrumentation system including five
        channels of video and vehicle kinematics. From the
        data, an “event” database was created, similar in
        classification structure to an epidemiological crash
        database, but with video and electronic driver and
        vehicle performance data.

        The events are crashes, near crashes and other “incidents.” Data was
        classified by pre-event maneuver, precipitating
        factor, event type, contributing factors, and the
        avoidance maneuver exhibited. Parameters such as
        vehicle speed, vehicle headway, time-to-collision,
        and driver reaction time are also recorded.

        Of particular interest in the analyses of rear-end
        conflict contributing factors was the prevalence of
        distraction.

        Keep the blue side up ….. unless you are a helicopter pilot ….. then keep the dirty side down.

        Cheers,

        Neal

        +1 mph Faster

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          “Now some apologists when backed into a corner in their arguments will quote the number of people falling out of bed and getting killed as counter point to the number of cyclists getting killed …”

          Neal, the point is both falling-out-of-bed deaths and bicyclist deaths are EXTREMELY rare in the U.S. Bicycling ER visits are less common than basketball ER visits. Bicycling is safer, in fatalities per mile traveled, than even walking. American cyclists ride over 10 million miles between fatalities. And a large percentage of the few bicycling deaths that do occur are due to the cyclists’ behavior. IIRC, more than a quarter are drunk, for example. And every study on the subject has found cycling’s benefits greatly outweigh its risks.

          How safe does it have to be before you’ll stop claiming it’s dangerous?

          • bikinginla says:

            You can’t have it both ways. You keep telling us that most bicyclists ride in the door zone, and that the door zone and door zone bike lanes are dangerous. Then you tell us that bicycling is safe.

            So which is it? Is bicycling safe, and you are over-blowing the risk of riding to the right? Or is it dangerous, and we need to take the lane to save our very lives?

            Is it any wonder that the non-CS commenters are confused?

            As for that outdated estimate of 10 million miles per bicycling fatality, a current figure based on the most recent statistics is slightly over 6 million. Still very safe — even though so many of us ride in what you seem to feel is such a risky manner.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Did I say “most cyclists ride in the door zone”? I don’t remember saying that. In fact, I can’t find where I said that, and I doubt you can.

              What I have said is that there are very, very few cycling fatalities in America, compared to those from other hazards. (Swimming, for example, kills more in total and far more per hour exposure.) And I’ve also said that of the small number of fatalities that do happen, a large percentage (at least half, by many studies) are caused by the cyclist riding improperly.

              Now honestly (being away from my files at the moment) I don’t know if riding in a door zone is considered cyclist fault or motorist fault. It’s probably considered motorist fault, but a cyclist is foolish to put himself at that risk.

              BTW, dooring is not an uncommon problem. This site reports that in Chicago, one in five car-bike crashes is a dooring.
              http://www.wnyc.org/story/285015-data-from-only-state-that-tracks-dooring-show-its-big-problem/

              Cycling would be measureably safer if cyclists learned to stay out of the door zone. I hope you don’t have a problem with that.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              BTW, what’s your source for the 6 million mile figure? (Note, I’m trying to give sources for my data.)

              Not that six million miles per fatality is terrible, of course. For a 3,000 mile per year cyclist, that’s still 2000 years of riding!

            • bikinginla says:

              No offense, but I’m getting very bored with this endless back and forth that will clearly never end and never get us anywhere.

              And my mistake. The 6 million figure refers to trips, not miles, based on the 4 billion annual trips cited in the 2010 National Bicycling and Walking Study and the most recent FARS bicycling fatality stats — even though FARS undercounts bicycling deaths in California compared to SWITRS data.

              As for dooring, I can only speak for California, where the law clearly requires drivers to open their door only when it is safe to do so, making it the driver’s fault in almost every circumstance.

              And no, I don’t have any objection at all to encouraging cyclists to avoid the door zone, despite your implication.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikinginla wrote: “…my mistake. The 6 million figure refers to trips, not miles…”

              Ah. Thank you. I do try to keep track of such safety data. I thought I’d never heard a figure that bad for miles-per-fatality.

              “And no, I don’t have any objection at all to encouraging cyclists to avoid the door zone, despite your implication.”

              Good! Now the next step, after teaching that they should avoid the door zone, is to explain to them why so many bike lanes are painted in the door zone!

              It may be difficult. I suppose you could say “Well, LAB still gives positive ‘BFC’ points for bike lanes in door zones, despite the crashes and danger.” But then, that begins to destroy the credibility of yet another group of bike advocates.

              It’s so much easier to concentrate on full rights to the road!

            • bikinginla says:

              Sorry Frank. I’d rather spend my time fighting for safe, well-designed bike infrastructure than apologizing for ones you feel are inadequate.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikingla wrote: “Sorry Frank. I’d rather spend my time fighting for safe, well-designed bike infrastructure than apologizing for ones you feel are inadequate.”

              Well, _someone_ is apparently fighting for ones that are inadequate, even dangerous. How do we get that stopped?

              Someone must be fighting even for the truly ludicrous ones, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. See this for examples:
              http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/

            • ” Now the next step, after teaching that they should avoid the door zone, is to explain to them why so many bike lanes are painted in the door zone!”

              The reason why most bike lanes are painted in the door zones is that its the only space available partially due to the small mode share for bicycling. Evidently you believe that there shouldn’t be any bike lanes they don’t put the bicyclist well beyond the reach of any car door. That would severely limit the availability of bike lanes. I’m for putting them just about anywhere possible even if they are only 4-5 feet wide. Simply because it obtains separated space for bicycling. More of that is better, not worse. As the bicycling rate increases more space can be obtained.

          • The comparisons for injuries you are giving is the actions of all people involved in those activities. Out of all street bicycle riders very few of them get in front of fast moving vehicles where the force of impact involves much higher risk of serious injury. This activity is analogous to walking down the middle of a freeway lane rather than walking off to the side. The same reasoning applies here that the author of this article makes that drivers will tend to be able to see in the middle of the lane rather than on the side of the road. A big they are much less likely to hit moving vehicles to their left or parked cars on their right compared to objects in front of them. The force of impact from turning or driveways will also likely be much less than a through lane due to the considerably lower speeds.

            • Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane says:

              I’ve been regularly riding in front of faster traffic for over 10 years now. The fact that I have not been hit is not significant. The fact that I observe behavior in my mirror and know from that that I’ve not ever had even a close call from behind is significant. Do they get mad and honk? Yes, sometimes (not very often, by the way). But do they come close to hitting me? No.

              Now, contrast that to edge riding where having multiple close calls ”per week” is the norm.

              It’s true that bicycling is safe no matter where we ride. But safety is a lame excuse for edge riding, which creates more close calls.

            • bikinginla says:

              By that same standard, I’ve been riding in bike lanes and to the right when I feel it’s safest, and taking the lane when appropriate. And I have had no collisions in 32 years of bicycling — other than a road raging driver who intentionally rear-ended me because I was in the lane in front of her to avoid the door zone. She could have easily gone around me in the other lane, but chose to go through me, instead.

              By that consideration, taking the lane is 100% more dangerous than riding to the right.

              Is that a valid proof that riding to the right is safer? Of course not. Neither is your 10-year personal experience.

            • I don’t have multiple close calls per week riding between the parked cars and moving vehicles. Why would the vast majority of street bicycle riders continue to ride in that manner if that were the case?

              Another reason for riding to the side of moving vehicles is comfort. This tends to be less stressful for most people.

              Riding on a sidewalk next to a busy street without bike lanes seems to be even more comfortable than riding in the street.

              People are voting with their pedals on this and its very noticeable what the majority are deciding. Riding in front of fast moving motor vehicles is a tiny fraction of bicycle riders. Attempting to get people to stop riding on the sidewalk requires installing bicycle infrastructure that fits within their tolerance for traffic stress. Trying to educate them to ride in front of fast moving motor vehicles is simply not going to create many adherents to that method of riding a bicycle.

            • calwatch says:

              Unless I can do 10-15 mph I will not ride in the street and will prefer to ride in the sidewalk at 6 mph (slightly faster than jogging).

              In my area, Ramona Boulevard in El Monte, a busy street signed at 40 mph but with speeds often 10 mph above that, you see many people use the sidewalk to ride, much more than you see people in the street. These are people in what the bicycling enthusiast community would derisively call “bike shaped objects” (yet they are likely what these people can afford, or what is prudent given the high rate of bicycle theft in these communities), many of whom are immigrants going to work, and are traveling at speeds roughly twice that of walking. Is it a good idea for someone in a heavy bike, riding in their jeans or slacks (instead of cycling jerseys or retroreflective vests), to go 8 mph in front of traffic at an average speed of 45 mph? I don’t think so, and the sidewalk looks like a better alternative.

          • Hello Frank and All,

            Do you know any cyclists that have been hit by motorists?

            Most cyclists that have been riding for a while usually know someone who has been in a bike/motorist crash.

            One reason is that crash statistics are usually quoted by one year measures and we often know other cyclists for over 10 years or longer periods which increases the magnitude of the loses by one order for our friends.

            Our cyclists deaths are only the tip of the iceberg with many more injured and some crippled for the remainder of their life.

            To accept the status quo cyclist deaths and injuries by comparing them to diabetes or the flu or falling out of bed to justify clinging to outmoded cycling practices that show no improvement in cyclist safety is not rational.

            NHTSA states: In 2011, 677 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 48,000 were injured in
            motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities (Table 1), and made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.

            Center For Disease Control and Prevention states:

            While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do. In 2010 in the U.S., almost 800 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.

            Multiply these statistics by 10 to get some perspective for cyclists that you know.

            The CDC is plainly saying that when you get on your bike you are at more risk than when you get into your motor car. (and you probably do not have an air bag …. but I am hoping you are wearing a helmet on your bike)

            Frank wrote: “How safe does it have to be before you will stop claiming it is dangerous?”

            Some people are content with the status quo of cyclist deaths and injuries ….. I am not.

            Ideally I would like to strive for Zero Defects in cycling infrastructure.

            Perhaps when there are more female cyclists than male cyclists we will be approaching much better steady state cycling safety ….. but it will take more than just making excuses and accepting current bicycle/motorist crash rates to get there.

            What do you think?

            Cheers,

            Neal

            +1 mph Faster

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Do I know any cyclists who have been hit by motorists? At the moment, I can recall four, with two being minor contact and two being serious injuries. I’ve known nobody who’s died by riding a bike.

              OTOH, I have had eight friends who have died by riding in motor vehicles. (Well, to be perfectly honest, one was _on_ a MV, his motorcycle.) Again, these were friends, not mere acquaintances.

              And my experience seems to match national data. Again: well over 30,000 motorist fatalities per year. Only about 700 bicyclist fatalities. Of those, only about 350 fatalites occurred to cyclists who were riding with proper competence.

              And of course, some of those were riding in bike lanes. Competence is much more protective than paint.

            • bikinginla says:

              Proper competence? What the hell does that mean? And who decides whether a dead bike rider was “competent?” I know of no source whatsoever that is capable of making that determination.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikinginla wrote: “Proper competence? What the hell does that mean? And who decides whether a dead bike rider was “competent?” I know of no source whatsoever that is capable of making that determination.”

              There have been many studies attempting to evaluate fault in car-bike crashes. Almost all found the fault was split close to 50/50 between cyclists and motorists.

              In fatalities, the cyclists’ faults are frequently blatant: riding facing traffic, no lights at night, etc. Local examples over ten years included riding at speed through a bike trail stop sign to get hit by crossing traffic; riding a dark semi-rural road with no visible lights or reflectors; riding off a sidewalk into the side of a turning truck, etc.

              Not long ago, a study found that one fifth of New York bike fatality victims had been drinking. Granted, the study didn’t list BACs, so many may have been under the limit, but it’s a good bet that many were legally drunk.

              Those behaviors are not competent. Would you disagree?

            • bikinginla says:

              Again, I know of no source that determines the competency of bike riders killed on a national basis.

              You seem to be applying a random 50% figure, which is no more or less valid than the results of any other studies, which have varied from assigning cyclists fault in 80% of fatal collisions (according to the CHP), to concluding that drivers were at fault in 90% in one Canadian study.

              I know of no one qualified to determine the competency of a fallen rider; at most, individual police agencies may determine fault — and are often wrong as few police agencies train their officers in the unique forensics of bike collision investigation, let alone a good understanding of bike law.

              As for drinking, as the LAPD has often explained in drunk driving cases, being under the influence is never the cause of a collision. The actual cause — running red lights, speeding, etc — may be a result of drinking, but it’s also possible that a drunk may be driving perfectly at the time of the collision and the other driver at fault.

              That was the case in a recent collision where a cyclist died as a result of a collision between a drunk driver and another who ran a red light; the drunk was charged with DUI, but the red light-runner was held responsible for the collision and the subsequent death of the cyclist as the cars spun out of control, killing him as he waited at a red light.

              It’s entirely possible that some or all of those cyclists will alcohol in their system were riding “competently” at the time of their deaths. And even the most competent riders can make mistakes, or have their actions misjudged in retrospect.

              Again, I know of no one qualified to judge the competency of a fallen rider after the fact, and no source that tracks fault on a national basis.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              bikinginla wrote: “I know of no one qualified to determine the competency of a fallen rider…”

              Sounds like you define “competence” (or “competency,” if you must) very loosely.

              To me, a cyclist is not competent if he’s known for training at racing speed on a bike path and not stopping for road crossings, and dies when he rides out in front of a car.

              To me, a wrong-way rider hit head-on is not competent.

              To me, a night rider without lights or reflectors is not competent. (Neither was the guy driving the newish BMW without lights a few nights ago near me.)

              A sidewalk rider who runs into the side of a turning truck is not competent. Neither is a rider who blasts through a downhill side street’s stop sign into a high traffic four-lane.

              The riders I’ve described were all killed. Would you really say you can’t tell they were incompetent?

            • Todd Nelson says:

              Frank, FWIW, I think you made your point about proper competence. I believe that the competence of a cyclist can be determined by the facts as you suggest. It goes without saying that “proper competence” is something that “facilities” advocates want to downplay as a factor in bicycling safety.

            • Frank Krygowski says:

              Todd wrote: “It goes without saying that “proper competence” is something that “facilities” advocates want to downplay as a factor in bicycling safety.”

              That’s absolutely true. In the past few years, it’s become fashionable to say that anyone “8 to 80″ should be able to bike anywhere. Implicit in that phrase is: without any understanding of traffic principles. (e.g. the 8-year-olds).

              Oddly, Carolyn Szczepanski of LAB published a very detailed article (Bicycle Times issue 23) describing all the _extra_ things a cyclist must do to remain safe in cycletracks – including advice to just choose another route if one doesn’t want to ride slowly!

              Her article pointed out that those facilities require _more_ training. I suspect she caught hell from her cycletrack promoting bosses at LAB!

            • bikinginla says:

              Look, Frank, et al. I realize you think anyone who supports bicycling infrastructure is the lowest form of human scum on the planet, but give it a fucking rest already.

              There is absolutely nothing that says infrastructure and education can’t go hand-in-hand, even for eight year olds.

              Every single cycling advocate I know supports bicycling education, whether in schools or as separate classes. In fact, many of the strongest supporters of bicycling infrastructure I personally know are also LCIs.

              So please, get off the hate train. We are all — all of us — working towards what we think will be the safest solutions for cyclists. We simply may not agree what what those solutions are.

              To paint one side or the other as uncaring is disingenuous at best.

      • Martin Pion says:

        Gary, Thanks for posting your video http://vimeo.com/87313213 as you biked down Venice Blvd., initially in the bike lane and later controlling the curb/outside lane.

        Would you know the dimensions for the lanes in the video? I’m guessing them to be:

        Parking lane = 10 ft. since I didn’t notice any vehicles overlapping the outside lane stripe
        Bike lane = 5 ft. assuming it to meet AASHTO standard
        Outside & inside vehicle lanes = 12 ft. which is standard
        Center-turn-only lane = 13 ft. (but could be different)

        I’m just curious because I’d like to compare it with the Manchester-MoDOT Route 100 in St. Louis City, restriped with 5 ft bike lanes with 2 ft. buffer lanes each side, alongside a 7 ft. parking lane.

        Manchester-Rte 100 doesn’t seem to offer any more protection from potential dooring than does Venice Blvd., but the dimensions would confirm that.

        Thanks.

  51. PatrickGSR94 says:

    lol that music is more frightening than the bike lane itself. :P

  52. mike says:

    if it looked more like the one you posted earlier in the thread as being a perfectly acceptable bikelane, though, you’d be riding there, let’s not forget.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/BicknellBufferedBikeLanes2.jpg

    there’s miles, hundreds of miles of bikelanes acceptable to savvy cyclists, which i think is something the managers of SC would be well advised to heed….. the practitioners of cycling savvy disagree that cyclists always have to ride in the traffic lane to be noticed or to stay safe.

    does the author of this guest blog post know this? i still wonder what she thinks about the riding scenario of 60 mph highway, clean 8 foot bikeway, in a rainstorm, at dusk?

    where would the cycling savvy instructor ride in that situation? Where would the founders of cycling savvy, the other instructors or adherent posit a rider would be safer in that situation – in the lane, ‘control and releasing’ the traffic, or riding default safely right on the bikeway?

    • billdsd says:

      Where you see a bike lane that is acceptable to savvy cyclists, I see a bike lane with a significant right hook risk.

      The door zone is only one of the problems that commonly occurs with bike lanes.

  53. On page 6, under 2.4 Bicycle Facilities, of this report entitled:Evaluation of On-Street Bicycle Facilities a research report indicates that there is more traffic law adherence by cyclists and less adjacent lane encroachment of motor vehicles when bicycle lanes are installed compared to wide curb lanes. Another report found less distance between cyclist and motorists with bicycle lanes compared to wide outside lanes on signed bike routes; motorists and cyclists didn’t try to move farther from each other. The conclusions is that this is significant evidence of an increased comfort level with designated bicycle lanes for both motorists and bicyclists. Yet another study found that a bicycle lane raised the comfort rating level for cycling one full point with all other factors remaining the same. The addition of bike lanes made cycling comfort greater than any other factor studied.

    On page 15, under 3.2.14 Movement of Vehicle, of the same link above, it states that 76% of motor vehicle/bicycle collisions occur with motor vehicles moving straight. It also indicates that motor vehicles moving straight had
    85.92 percent of all fatal/incapacitating accidents with cyclists while those turning left and right were only responsible for 8.11% and 5.01%, respectively.

    Then it states in the comments section that those statistics likely show “the potential contribution of speed to severity of accidents. A motor vehicle traveling in a straight line would most likely be traveling at a relatively higher rate of speed than a vehicle making a left turn, and both of these vehicles would likely be traveling faster than a right-turning vehicle because of the small turning radius
    associated with this action.”

  54. On page 6, under 2.4 Bicycle Facilities, of this report entitled:Evaluation of On-Street Bicycle Facilities a research report indicates that there is more traffic law adherence by cyclists and less adjacent lane encroachment of motor vehicles when bicycle lanes are installed compared to wide curb lanes. Another report found less distance between cyclist and motorists with bicycle lanes compared to wide outside lanes on signed bike routes; motorists and cyclists didn’t try to move farther from each other. The conclusions is that this is significant evidence of an increased comfort level with designated bicycle lanes for both motorists and bicyclists. Yet another study found that a bicycle lane raised the comfort rating level for cycling one full point with all other factors remaining the same. The addition of bike lanes made cycling comfort greater than any other factor studied.

    On page 15, under 3.2.14 Movement of Vehicle, of the same link above, it states that 76% of motor vehicle/bicycle collisions occur with motor vehicles moving straight. It also indicates that motor vehicles moving straight had
    85.92 percent of all fatal/incapacitating accidents with cyclists while those turning left and right were only responsible for 8.11% and 5.01%, respectively.

    Then it states in the comments section that those statistics likely show “the potential contribution of speed to severity of accidents. A motor vehicle traveling in a straight line would most likely be traveling at a relatively higher rate of speed than a vehicle making a left turn, and both of these vehicles would likely be traveling faster than a right-turning vehicle because of the small turning radius
    associated with this action.”

  55. Mike Beck says:

    i’m not the one suggesting this lane is acceptable, it’s one of the proponents of cycling savvy. His reasoning suggest a certain savvy about where to ride- the savvy rider doesn’t always have to take a position directly in front of traffic when there’s space to the right to safely ride in.

    it’s not me making those assertions, its one of the savvy cyclists. But, i do agree with him.

    __________

    A general question remains, however, despite the carping and hedging of concessions…..

    At what point does road width, traffic speeds, visibility, or a combination of the above merit a ‘savvy’ cyclist DOESN’T feel indoctrinated to have to ‘control and release’ the traffic?

    One of the staggeringly large tautological failures of cycling savvy is its’ disconnect between one of its’ foundational principles and the actual, proclaimed riding techniques of a lot of defenders of CS are depicting the more situational approach to rider positioning.

    despite the reasoned approach to riding advanced by many of the riders above, one of the recurrent, disingenuous themes in cycling savvy is an urgent necessity to be in the direct line of traffic in order to be noticed and stay safe on the roadways.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      You need to specify which of Cycling Savvy’s foundation principles you’re referring to.

      Some here seem to consitently pretend that CS demands that cyclists always ride at lane center, or always slow traffic to some degree. When I took the course, that was NOT one of the principles I remember being taught. If you think it _is_ fundamental, I’d like to see where you’re getting that information.

      It’s true that CS and other cycling education courses (including those in Canada and Britain) place some emphasis on the value of controlling a lane when necessary. That’s very reasonable, given that such a tremendous percentage of riders – at _least_ in America – act as though they may never delay a motorist for any reason. When teaching ANY subject, if the vast majority of students are mistaken on a concept, the teacher spends extra time correcting their mistake.

      Now to your question: When do I (at least) _not_ feel a need to control the lane? Whenever I judge I can safely share it with passing motorists. My default road position is lane centered, for reasons related to pavement quality, visibility to those ahead and behnd me, maneuvering room, etc. In particular, there’s no practical reason for me to be elsewhere unless I affect traffic behind me.

      When cars approach from behind, most pass wholly or partly in the adjacent lane. If the lane is wide enough to safely share, I’ll generally move a bit right if needed. But I’ll never put myself at risk because a motorist wants to pass.

      BTW, I’m very well known in my area for my cycling, including utility cycling. I’ve been featured several times in the area newspaper, including guiding the editor-in-chief on his first ever bike commute to work. And I get almost no negative feedback for my riding style. It simply works.

  56. mike says:

    ” some emphasis on the value of controlling a lane when necessary.

    but to only control lanes when necessary, which certainly concedes my point, not yours. Nor does that jibe with the relentless suggestions riding off to the side in a bikelane renders bicyclists in nearly invisible to passing motorists, suggestions the only way to get respect is to change the way motorists think about traffic, that bikes belong in the traffic lane.

    if, however, your repeated suggestions cycling savvy only suggests having to control lanes of traffic when necessary, and can demarcate 17 feet of bikelane and travel lane into generally shareable lane space instead of the irrelevance zone suggested by the author, i’d agree that’s truly savvy cycling.

    If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a primacy to that message in the cycling savvy dogmatism promoted both at their website, by the author above, by Keri And Mighk, how riding right renders cyclists supposedly invisible to passing traffic, and to have to be in the travel lane before ‘control and releasing’ traffic behind by moving to a safe riding position to the right – this is one of the predications of cycling savvy ideology.

    the reasoned riding methods as described above, however, vary substantially from the absolutist dogma about control and releasing traffic to maintain riders’ visibility to passing traffic.

  57. mike says:

    Frank – “BTW, I’m very well known in my area for my cycling, including utility cycling. I’ve been featured several times in the area newspaper”

    yeah, yeah, and Here’s me on the front page of the local paper…riding with the open street collective founder and guerilla streetscaper Mike Lydon… that’s me on the left… am i far enough in the lane?

    http://www.miningjournal.net/photos/news/md/593003_1.jpg

    i was also one of the primary agitating advocates that defeated mandatory bikelane and shoulder legislation in washington state after the main state bike coalition advanced them in both houses in the legislature -put the brakes on that fiasco. Ho-hum. There’s a lot of bike advocates doing good, all sorts of good for cycling, all over the country. Unfortunately, the cycling savvy message is at odds with most of it.

    • Frank Krygowski says:

      You look good in that photo. I think it fits Cycling Savvy just fine.

      My point about the newspaper article, etc. was that I don’t get complaints about my riding style. Despite photos of lane-centered riding, there were no letters to the editor, no online comments, and no shouts or horn honks saying the riding style was rude or illegal. Those who fear the wrath of motorists are often worrying excessively.

      BTW, I did have to teach that novice rider – the editor-in-chief – not to ride on the _left_ side of the road! Granted, that was at the very beginning of the ride and on an empty little street; but it’s amazing what novice don’t know. Education really is needed!

      • mike says:

        ……Flattery doesn’t obviate the facts your riding styles and the riding styles described by most of the posters here about how they ride ‘savvy’ suggest a much more nuanced, un-politicized riding style, one that DOESN’T require the dogmatic cycling savvy’s primary rider positioning mantra that being noticed requires being directly in front of every vehicle in order to be passed safely.

        like i have said here, the disconnect is staggering. The dogma does not match the methods described by the riders who ride CS. taking the lane when reasonably necessary for your safety is different from suggestions riders must always take a position in front of traffic, even in wide lanes, in order to placate fears of overtaking traffic.

        *Bikes belong stuck in traffic* should be a savvy motto for southern california.

        • Frank Krygowski says:

          Mike, all I can say is _one_ of us is very, very confused about the basic principles of Cycling Savvy.

          I suppose it _could_ be me. However, I have read quite a lot on the program, I did take a CS course, and based on my performance (and some other factors) I was asked to become a CS instructor.

          Perhaps you’ve done all those things too, and so perhaps you know even more than I do about the program. Perhaps it _is_ me who is completely mistaken about Cycling Savvy.

          However, I doubt it.

          • Karen Karabell says:

            Frank, you have been spot-on in everything you have written that I have read. Thank you!

            I admit, though, to being unable to keep up with the various comment threads. I have never seen anything like this in response to any post. Ted, have you?

            • Hello Karen and All,

              First …. thanks for posting your article …. although I support bicycle infrastructure …. :)

              This topic …. Vehicular Cycling or Savvy Cycling vs. bicycle infrastructure generally gets a large response until all the advocates (after countless messages) wear down and determine it is their way or the highway [pun] and get back to riding and real life.

              Some forums are dedicated to the subject and go on and on endlessly but moderate or ban anyone that disagrees with their view.

              What is sadly missing here is John Forester’s (The Rainmaker) opinionated comments that seem to get everyone in the act.

              John recently had an opinion piece in the NY Times that possibly drove more comments that any opinion piece before or after.

              I suggested that the NY Times should pay him a retainer for his efforts even though I seldom agree with him.

              Ride safe ………….

              Cheers,

              Neal

              +1 mph Faster

            • bikinginla says:

              At 342 comments and counting, this is by far the most comments I’ve gotten on any post is my six years of doing this. Clearly, you struck a nerve on both sides of the debate.

            • mike says:

              Karen- you’re a cycling instructor. picture the following scenario, then describe your choice of road position. Think 60mph highway, clean 8 foot bikeway, in a rainstorm, at dusk. Where do you suggest to your students to default – in the bikeway, or in the lane to combat those fears of ‘the cone of invisibility?’

              Having ridden those conditions on many occasions, I hope you have too, in order to be able to give an experienced answer. (If not, i can help you with this one.)

              Im sure you’re a very safe rider and have the best intentions to keep other riders safe. The fear of overtaking traffic is normal, so overcompensating for it may be also.

            • PatrickGSR94 says:

              Mike why do you keep coming back to that same scenario? I’m pretty sure any competent cyclist would suggest and use the bike path or more likely the shoulder as it probably is. The road in question likely had very few crossing conflicts if it has a 60 MPH speed limit. It’s when you have lots of conflicts, which almost always means a lower speed limit, that using the full lane becomes more important.

            • mike says:

              …Still waiting for the hedged endorsement of bike facilities as the default rider position from the ‘cycling savvy’ lane control instructor from Saint Louis.

              60 mph highway, 8 foot bikeway, in a rainstorm, at dusk- what is your default road position?

              come on, you can let on how savvy you are about this road positioning stuff- you consider yourself a bicycle instructor.

              Perhaps the indoctrination rituals for the instructor level of the culture of facilities fearmongering prevent you from ever stating the obvious.

            • Todd Nelson says:

              @mike. Karen needn’t grace your hypothetical, poorly detailed, scenario with a response. It wouldn’t serve a purpose except to perpetuate a pointless subthread ad nauseam. Give it up.

          • mike says:

            no, you may only be confused about what constitutes savvy cycling.

            But i think not, as you’ve attempted to make clear to place some emphasis on that cyclists need to control lanes of traffic only when necessary. We can all presume you meant reasonably necessary – thanks for bringing that emphasis to the discussion.

            its been good chatting with you.

  58. […] Angeles/Radwege: In diesem amüsanten und informativem Artikel liest “Cycling Savvy Instructor” Karen Karabell den Amis die Leviten über Radwege, […]

  59. Martin Pion says:

    […] Angeles/Radwege: In diesem amüsanten und informativem Artikel liest “Cycling Savvy Instructor” Karen Karabell den Amis die Leviten über Radwege, […]

    The translation of the above from German to English is:

    [...] Angeles / biking trails: In this amusing and informative article “Cycling Savvy Instructor” Karen Karabell reads the riot act about the Yanks bike trails, [...]

    • Thank you for commenting on the pingback, it is actually from my cycling blog.

    • mike says:

      rather, and i used this as MY link….

      in this fear-laden, misleading article, Cycling Savvy instructor Karen Karabell projects her personal bias into the bikelane “debate”

      • I have been called a “sectist” – now i wonder what kind of sectist are you. I’m willing to discuss, obviously you aren’t.

        • mike says:

          i’m pretty savvy and nuanced in my riding position.

          Where some of the acolytes see enlightenment and a liberating bicycling ideology, i see- i mean consistently read- in the cycling savvy materials a dialogue of contrived fear that unduly imprisons Karen Karabell and other CS proponents that will put them at a heightened risk in some situations- like the 60mph/8footbikeway/dusk/rainstorm predicament she’s chosen to not weigh in on.

          if you want to ride with an exaggerated fear of passing traffic, like always expecting full lane changes to pass even if there’s no safety reason for the motorist to have to do so, keep on riding in those “spheres of fear” if you need to, but please don’t spread the fear under the trappings of ‘bicycle education’. You’re doing the rest of the riding public a disservice spreading your culture of fear masquerading it as liberation theology for bicyclists. it’s not. it’s a prison of false fear.

          we’re all at risk out there, so to my fellow brethren of the wheel – lets all ride aware, safely and with savvy – which sometimes means choosing the bikelane or bikeway as your default position – something we’ve all been hinting at during this discussion.

          • it is kind of strange that the same people who think any approximation of a cyclist to motor traffic is dangerous in itself, go to such lengths to accuse others of “spreading fear”. And what exactly do you mean by “sphere of fear”? Is riding on a road shared with other traffic a sphere of fear for you? It isn’t for me, at least not usually.

            I don’t ride on the road to feel the fear because i like it, if that is what you are implying. Truth is, i’m not afraid to do it. Angst is a bad counselor in any condition.

            • mike says:

              not sure who you’re describing. I recommend reasonable lane control when reasonably necessary, just like most if not all of the commenters to this thread.

              the sphere of fear is the exaggerated fear of overtaking traffic that leads riders into beliefs bikelanes need to be 9 feet wide with traffic buffers in order to be safe to ride in, or that bicyclists have to be passed fully in the other lane or its unsafe. lane control may sound like a coping mechanism, but when combined with an exaggerated sense of danger from same direction traffic, coupled with continued ignorance of the preponderance of the evidence about the countermeasures associated with bikeways, and the resultant is a culture of fear, a prison of dogmatic thinking. this ‘cyling savvy’ instruction is anything but savvy, it’s loaded with unsupportable tautologies.

              keep on staying alert, visible, predictable and assertive, everyone. we’re all at risk riding the roads. Don’t let others’ supposedly ‘savvy’ exaggerated fear of traffic taint your reasoned approach to bike facilities.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            Mike wrote: ” i see- i mean consistently read- in the cycling savvy materials a dialogue of contrived fear that unduly imprisons Karen Karabell and other CS proponents that will put them at a heightened risk in some situations- like the 60mph/8footbikeway/dusk/rainstorm predicament she’s chosen to not weigh in on.”

            I’m pretty sure that Karen has wisely decided not to waste time here. Perhaps I should emulate her.

            But Mike, with your 60-mph-dusk-rainstorm-plus-nice-bike-facility, you’re thumping your chest over a straw man you’ve built. Can you show any place in any CS material where it says to ALWAYS ride at lane center, no matter what? Can you show any CS material that says ALL bike facilities are ALWAYS bad?

            Of course you can’t! CS, like EC, like Cyclecraft, all advocate using informed judgement. Even the “control and release” procedure (original to CS, AFAIK) specifically describes moving rightward when it’s safe to do so.

            Yes, all these (and most other) cycling education programs emphasize that it is often beneficial to ride at lane center, and they tell why. The reason for the emphasis? SO many cyclists think they must _never_ move away from the gutter, no matter what! Many are willing to risk serious injury to avoid delaying motorists even slightly, even though they have full legal rights to safe use of the road. Any decent education program must correct such a common mistake, just like any decent physics class would have to correct the notion that a 20 pound rock falls faster than a 10 pound rock.

            Similarly, any decent education program must correct the notion that ANY bike facility is a good bike facility. Dennis (your ally in this discussion) has specifically advocated door-zone bike lanes. Others (e.g. Jensen in Copenhagen) have advocated certain bike facilities even after proof that they greatly increase crash rates. Programs like CS, EC and Cyclecraft explain the risks of certain facilities, and advise cyclists to avoid risks. It’s irresponsible to argue against such advice.

            I’d strongly suggest that if you wish to argue against Cycling Savvy principles, restrict your complaints to statements directly quoted from CS material. Don’t argue against viewpoints you only imagine. Leave the straw and the bull excrement in the barn.

            • mike says:

              if you wanted to say you disagree with cycling savvy’s fear mongering message about cones of invisibility, you could have said so using a lot less words, Frank.

              leave the horse and pony show in the stable.

          • bikinginla says:

            Mike, Karen asked me to post the following comment, since she’s been unable to post it herself despite both of our attempts to rectify the problem.

            See below for her comment.

            ………

            Mike, I have tried to respond at least six times. Ted will confirm. Last night he even tried to post my response, and could not do so. Maybe the computer gods are trying to keep me from eating bait ;-)

            Trying again:

            In west St. Louis County, there is exactly the scenario that you describe: A shoulder at least eight feet wide that has been rechristened as a bike lane on a highway-like arterial road. Speeds are typically 60 mph or greater. Riding in this bike lane is OK, except where it disappears, which is at every intersection.

            When the bike lane disappears, I wait for the platoon to pass and take my place in the rightmost of the three traffic lanes. The next platoon of motorists chooses the other two lanes. I do not experience incivility or close calls.

            To answer your question, CyclingSavvy principles work very well on high-speed arterial roads. When motorists see a bicyclist up ahead, they slow down or change lanes, because they know that the cyclist is moving a heck of a lot slower than they are.

            I preferred being in the road than on the shoulder, though I did use the shoulder, since it is now marked as a bicycle facility.

            On highways, shoulders are recovery zones. Does it strike anyone else as odd that transportation agencies would paint vulnerable user symbols–those would be bike lane markings–in recovery zones?

            Where speed differentials are great on long expanses of uninterrupted roadway, I prefer Jersey barriers or some other form of solid separation, as the people of Charleston, SC, have done with their Ravenel Bridge. Here’s a photo I took when I was there last month: http://commutestlouis.com/bikeway-on-the-ravenel-bridge-in-charleston-sc/

            I am genuinely puzzled by your attempts to depict me as fearful or what I’ve written as fear-mongering. On this let’s just agree to disagree!

            • mike says:

              wow, concessions preferring separated class infrastructure, a high speed cycletrack.

              interesting to hear preference for physical barrier separation from high speed traffic as preferable to controlling the lane behaviors from a cycling savvy instructor.

              i’d agree, separated bikeways on high speed roads are safer for bicyclists. There’s a whole range of countermeasure bikeway treatments available

              again, the tautology of cycling savvy throws intself into the gutter.

            • mike says:

              I have to followup to Karen’s comments – if she’s riding in St. Louis, Missouri, there is no requirement in Missouri to ride on shoulders. riders can legally control that lane of traffic in W. St. Louis County.

              of course, this bikeway is perfectly acceptable to ride in despite fears of cones of invisibility rendering the rider invisible to passing traffic.

              keep up the nuanced riding techniques, but you should make your message about bike facilities fit, well, the realistic versus dogmatic views of cycling infrastructure.

              of course, some bikeways are perfectly acceptable to ride in, as Karen Karabell describes her riding experience. No need to fall prey to a culture of fears’ exaggerated sense of dangers of invisibility. Resist the hype.

            • bikinginla says:

              Mike, I have no intention of being a conduit through which you can maintain an ongoing, if one sided, argument with Karen.

              I reposted her comment for her as a favor on a one-time basis.

              If she is able to respond to your comments on her own, fine. But if not, I can only apologize.

      • Todd Nelson says:

        Spin City.

    • Also, i’ve ridden my bike in a city with a lot of cycling infrastructure. For the last 40 years. I’ve learned to not like them. What’s your experience?

      • I’ve bicycled taking the lane, riding in bike lanes, on sidewalks and in bike paths in the city of Los Angeles for over 15 years. By far the most comfortable and lowest amount of potential conflicts with motorists at intersections has been riding on the Orange Line mixed use path. This would also hold true as a pedestrian. There is much more control over motorists behavior because the path is close to a bus rapid transit line that has extensive safety features at intersections which reduce the amount of conflicts. This includes red light cameras at most of the intersections and no right turn signals.

        • I should have also added that there are no driveways along the approximately 12-mile length of the Orange Line mixed use path. The most potential conflicts along the path are usually with pedestrians with or without dogs and other cyclists.

          • Frank Krygowski says:

            There are some places where one can put in long, well-separated multi-use trails, with few intersection and driveway conflicts. But those places are few and far between, and most of them have almost no real transportation benefit. (How can you reach shops, schools, etc. without street access?)

            I was on a couple bike/ped transportation committees in my area. At one point, we spent much time looking for routes for transportation-oriented MUPs. We searched diligently. We found none, zip, zero. The fact is, the really valuable corridors are already occupied by roads, residential and commercial property.

            We looked longingly at one creek that flowed into the local river, since a trail along its banks, then along the river, would have had minimal road crossings. But the creekside terrain was formidable, the right-of-way acquisition would have been impossible, and the resulting route would have tripled the distance to reach the city center.

            This is not to say that some MUPs aren’t pleasant. Almost all, however, are used 99% for recreation, and only 1% as alternatives to car travel. MUPs are actually linear parks, and should be paid for by park funds, not transportation funds.

            • mike says:

              too bad you didn’t get the chance to get some bikelanes on the roads with limited intersections while you were at it.

        • So you are basically saying “i’ve found a hefty 12 miles long piece of infrastructure which is actually pretty good”. I agree, those exist, but they tend to be as numerous as hens teeth.
          Close your eyes and imagine what your typical non-cycling, thinking of cars as “proper traffic” and of bicycles as “toys” and short on funds administrator would make of the concept of “lets build cycling infrastructure”. I can give you a couple of examples, even in the holy county of the dutch.

          Being an idealist is all well and stuff, but there’s sometimes this nasty reality popping up.

    • Todd Nelson says:

      Or perhaps “in this amusing and informative article “Cycling Savvy Instructor” Karen Karabell reads the Yanks the riot act about cycle paths (or bike routes).”

      That is, “reads the riot act to the Yanks about cycle paths.” “Radwege” seems to be a very general term, subject to varied translation.

      • that would possibly a better translation. “Radweg” is technically anything built to ride a bike on (and assigned for bikes only, though usually no one bothers) which is structurally separated from where the cars are. It could be a stretch of tarmac of its own, or something marked out behind parked cars, bushes or other obstacles, or a white line on the sidewalk.
        In Germany, these are mandatory to use if they are there and carry the official signage. Although we work hard to get rid of that “mandatory” thing.

        • “In Germany, [bikeways] are mandatory to use if they are there and carry the official signage. Although we work hard to get rid of that “mandatory” thing.”

          The only way to justify the expense of bikeways is the safety argument. But once the safety argument is used to build bikeways, their mandatory use is also justified by the same safety argument.

          Therefore having a few bikeways here or there is relatively innocuous. But once they become fairly prevalent, you can kiss cyclists’ right to travel in the roadway goodbye.

  60. mike says:

    Todd, above, have you also been telling the forum contrary to Karen’s unsupported missive at Biking in LA, bike facilities actually can be the acceptable default road position for Karen Karabell, the cycling instructor?

    I’d rather she make that admission herself, telling me a scenario of when a bicyclist would be safer in the bikeway. You telling me of course this is the case supports my position, Not the position of Mrs. Karabell.

    Hopefully you are savvy enough to see the tautology of having to combat ‘the cone of invisibility’ falls apart under even the most rudimentary of riding scenarios.

    ‘Cyling savvy’ is anything but savvy, if it cannot endorse bikeway positioning as a default rider position when safe and appropriate to do so.
    making excuses for all the reasons to not ride in bikelanes isn’t the same as a truly reasoned, ‘savvy’ approach to road positioning.

    but thanks for trying to invalidate the cycling savvy’s unsupportable position about rider position – OF COURSE THERE ARE TIMES RIDERS WILL BE SAFER RIDING RIGHT, OUT OF THE STREAM OF TRAFFIC, IN A BIKEWAY, despite the ‘cone of irrelevance’ cycling savvy is hyper-focused on as a lane positioning influence. of course, the bikeway to the side of traffic is sometimes a safer, more savvy place to position yourself as a rider. it’s not all ‘spheres of fear’ to combat a contrived ‘cone of invisibility.

    thanks, again, for conceding that cycling savvys’ dogmatism isn’t all that savvy.

    • OF COURSE THERE ARE TIMES RIDERS WILL BE SAFER RIDING RIGHT, OUT OF THE STREAM OF TRAFFIC, IN A BIKEWAY,

      Safer to the right in a bikeway? Maybe in exceptionally poor visibility situations, like when traveling at night without proper reflectors or lights, or when traveling directly into a blinding sun.

      As far as I know, that’s about it. I don’t know what CS teaches about that, but I suspect you don’t know either. So I, for one, am not getting your point.

      I will add that many who have taken CS note that CS stresses options depending on the situation. Applying that philosophy in a poor visibility situation with a bikeway option seems to suggest the choosing the bikeway option would be perfectly “savvy”.

      • mike says:

        your fear of bike facilities is impressive, and unbounded by reality.

        if you’re implying the only time a bikeway is safer than a travel lane is the extreme and that’s exactly what CS is teaching, it been misrepresenting itself as a program that teaches ‘savvy’ cycling.

        let’s all stay safe out there, and not let an internet myths about the dangers of cycling through the leses of cones of invisibility lull anyone into unsafe traffic riding. be savvy, for gosh sakes, and don’t let this contrived fear from the rear exacerbate your riding experience and that of other road users.

        staying savvy means recognizing how to share the road. the nuance of which is lost in the dogmatism inseparable with cycling savvy.

        • “if you’re implying the only time a bikeway is safer than a travel lane is the extreme…”

          Implying? I thought I was quite clear. I’ll try again.

          In normal situations without extremely poor visibility conditions, riding in a bikeway may be no less safe than using the full lane in the road[*], but how could it be more safe?

          [*] Assuming any normal surface street on which cycling is allowed, not a freeway or motorway designed for unencumbered motor travel.

          • mike says:

            Bwaughahahaha. the lengths the avid
            savvy’ cyclists will go to in attempts to deny safe road sharing as safe.

            an exaggerated fear from the rear, gentlemen.

            The sphere of vulnerability of the purported
            ‘savvy cyclists’ is bloated. the cone of invisibility! such trepidations, such traffic hijinks to try to attain safe passing behaviors ‘cycling savvy’ proponents are willing to spread their irrational aversions and culture of fear of passing traffic to the rest of america, while denying the proven benefits of bike infrastructure.

            Savvy? Not by any stretch of the word.

            • billdsd says:

              I’m always sharing the road — even when I am controlling the lane.

              This notion that bicyclists are only sharing when they are riding on the edge is ridiculous.

              While there are some circumstances where edge riding is reasonably safe, those circumstances are in the minority in my experience. The majority of the time that I am riding I am dealing with narrow lanes, right hook risks, pull out risks and dooring risks. These risks are also usually present while riding in bike lanes. That’s just the reality of riding on roads in cities.

              Yes, there are some bike lanes where I can ride for significant distance without those risks. They are very few and far between.

              When controlling the lane, I don’t feel fear. When edge riding I often do. I’ve had many close calls and a couple of collisions that probably not have happened had I not been edge riding. My experience matches what CS, EC and Cyclecraft teach.

              Your obsession with “the cone of invisibility” is comical. Your attempt to portray it as fear mongering is silly. You’re trying to portray CS as extremist which it is not and inflexible which it is not.

            • mike says:

              bill, the cycling savvy group are the ones promoting their specious views about ‘cones of invisibility’ rendering you irrelevant to traffic, making cycling out to be less safe than it is. This is a classic exhibition of a culture of fear overriding scientific evidence. kind of like a doomsday cult, but on wheels.

              again, it’s not me spreading fear about these purported ‘cones of invisibility’, that’s your team. the fearmongers.

            • billdsd says:

              Roads like that are very unusual in my experience.

              You keep clinging to silly edge cases and producing straw man arguments. These are just distractions from the reality of riding on most roads.

            • mike says:

              riding safely right is NOT ‘edge riding’ i think this may be part of your framing problem.

    • Todd Nelson says:

      mike, you are the spin master. How did you get all that from my point that your scenario is poorly detailed, if not unrealistic? You are the one who is making it complicated, creating your vocabulary of fear and irrelevance, twisting and adding words to the comments of others, compelling them to respond to resolve your created confusion.

      Good day and good life to you.

      Be Smart, Be Skilled, Be Safe!

      • mike says:

        if riding at dusk in a rainstorm on a high speed traffic corridor seems unrealistic to you, your suggestions on how and when to control lanes of traffic is also unrealistic.

        Regardless of your fear of a cone of invisibility rendering riders unsafe, keep riding smart. I’m sure you recognize when and how to share the road safely, and that riding in the lane of traffic is not always necessary in order to be passed safely by motorists. Remember, the reasoned approach to riding is far more, well, reasonable.

      • mike says:

        i didn’t create a culture of fear and irrelevance, that’s cycling savvy doing it. you didn’t read the instructors guest post?

  61. mike says:

    Can savvy cyclists consider sharing a 22 foot wide outside lane by riding safely right as a default position, or do they have to be riding 18 feet out from the curb, lane centered in the virtual inside lane?

    at what point does the a lane become wide enough to safely share without having to move further to the left every time a break in traffic appears?

    i just rode home on this kind of road, and at no time did i have to ride 18 feet from the curb to maintain my visibility to overtaking or oncoming, or crossing traffic. as i recognize angular deflection drops off radically with any distance, I choose to ride in a of cone of realism, visibility and pragmatism, something savvy cyclists appear, but the bulk of the comments, unaware to recognize exists on the roads.

  62. bikinginla says:

    What started out as a friendly and informative conversation has devolved into the equivalent of schoolyard bickering, as too many commenters are arguing past one another in an apparent attempt to score points for their team.

    As a result, I am cutting off comments to this post immediately. Besides, 388 comments to a single story is enough, don’t you think?

  63. […] instructor explains objection to bike lanes and why to take the […]

  64. […] bike lanes, we need drivers and cyclists to learn how to interact better with one another. Thanks to Karen Karabell for the […]

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