[*BCM*] Cycle Lanes of the World Unite!
eew at postmaster.co.uk
Tue Nov 1 06:50:20 EST 2005
(e-mails that I reffer to are at the bottom of the mail)
A few days ago Turtle suggested having a lane for everyting from Scate-Boards to Segways. This is actually (sort of) availiable in Paris, where two-lane roads are 1 for cars, 1 for taxis/buses and misc. The continental (Amsterdam) model that Richard talks about works very well in the Netherlands and Germany, but would it (or the Paris model) work here?
Both of these "Old Europe" cycle models function because there is a very good, well used, public transport system, and there are many cyclists. The Mayor of Paris was able to pass sweeping anti-car legislation because Parisians generally do not drive, and don't own cars (car traffic in Paris is almost entirely commuters going to work from outside of the capital) - this could not work in Boston/America. In Germany cars stop for Bicycles, and they look out for cyclists on the pavement-cycle-path - this would not work in the US (or UK) for the same reason that it's unsafe to cycle on the pavement, namely that car drivers do not look for fast moving people on the pavement.
Comparing Germany to the UK/US, I was at first worried about the lack of cylce-paths. However, it seems to me that if there is no cycl-path, you are suggesting that the bike has the run of the road. Now I am generally worried when I do come across a cycle-path, since it generally means that cars will drive closer to me, and I am "restricted" to the part of the road with a wide gutter, man-holes, and refuse.
However, to get more cyclists (which is the aim of the game since more cyclists=more notice of cyclists=safer cycling) it is important that society has the image that there are cycle facilities. Now what would help would probably be easily availiable secure cycle racks (locker style maybe), but what Johnny-no-cycle (or Johnny-cycled-in-Europe) will be looking for is cycle paths. So, although I don't like using cycle paths, is it not good that the roads are seen to cater for cyclists (even if they aren't helping). Can cycle paths not be seen as a sign of a collective social acceptance of cycles on our roads?
Oh, and Pete, I wonder what your thoughts are about dedicated lanes for
those other kinds of travellers? Why should only bicyclists get the
special treatment? Why can't horse drawn carriages, skateboarders,
rollerskaters, school buses, pedicabs (too wide for a bike lane),
electric scooters, Segways, etc. get their own special lanes, too? I'm
serious here. Yes, I'm taking this to an extreme, but it's because I
really want to understand your logic for promoting special lanes for
one type of vehicle vs. other types of vehicles. It just doesn't make
sense to me, since I'm coming from the belief in diversity and
equality, not segregation and inequality.
Who loves biking!
Alternate points of view are fine, but I'm really sick
of all this anti bike lane bull. I guess you all must
love Boston, because we haven't got a single useful
bike lane or other biker protection in the whole town.
Most of the discussion doens't resemble my experience of actual bike lanes
in Amsterdam. These lanes are not part of the road but part of wide
sidewalk, separate from the pedestrian part. A truly dedicated lane. At
intersections the barriers turn into lines but there are also traffic
lights for the bike lanes to regulate intersection. Since all the bikes
are in this lane, it can get crowded and feel a bit unsafe from bike
traffic, but I found watching out for bikes easier than worrying about a
car hitting me.
Halloween Humour: What was the first place Dracula visited when he went to New York?
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