Bikes and Busses - how integrated transport should be done

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Pyromancer, Sep 29, 2003.

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  1. Pyromancer

    Pyromancer Guest

    I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks with some very good friends in Madison, Wisconsin.
    Now, the USA isn't exactly famed for its public transport system, indeed Madison doesn't have a
    single passenger rail service, despite being the state capital, however what it does have is a
    comprehensive Metro bus network, operated by buses with a fold-down bike rack mounted on the front.

    The city also has some very nice properly segregated cycle paths, some on former railway routes.
    There is still rail freight traffic, but there's been a fair bit of rationalisation, notably the Soo
    line being diverted into the Wisconsin Southern Railroad's system, and sections which have been
    singled having the cycle path alongside.

    I did a fair bit of cycling on one of my friends' bikes while I was there, and while I didn't use
    the busses I did see their racks being used on several occasions. When not in use, they fold up flat
    against the front of the bus, hinging down to carry up to two bikes when needed.

    Such a simple, elegant solution to the problem, and not dependent on everyone having a folder. If
    busses in Sheffield were to be fitted with such racks, I suspect cycling here would become far more
    attractive, as you could use the bus to get up the major hills, of which there are many, while still
    having the freedom of the bike at the far end.

    Walking and cycling in a US city takes a bit of getting used to - for starters, the assumption at
    junctions is that pedestrians have right of way. I kept confusing passing drivers by stopping at the
    kerb, waiting for them to pass, whereupon they'd come to a dead halt in the middle of the road,
    waiting for me to cross. Serious culture shock!

    --
    - Pyromancer Stormshadow http://www.inkubus-sukkubus.co.uk <-- Pagan Gothic Rock!
    http://www.littlematchgirl.co.uk <-- Electronic Metal! http://www.revival.stormshadow.com <-- The
    Gothic Revival.
     
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  2. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "Pyromancer" wrote ...
    >
    > I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks with some very good friends in Madison,
    > Wisconsin. Now, the USA isn't exactly famed for its public transport system, indeed Madison
    > doesn't have a single passenger rail service, despite being the state capital, however what it
    > does have is a comprehensive Metro bus network, operated by buses with a fold-down bike rack
    > mounted on the front.

    Denver, Colorado, and Seattle Washington have similarly equipped city busses; there are probably
    other cities in the US with bike racks on city busses.
    --
    mark
     
  3. >Walking and cycling in a US city takes a bit of getting used to - for starters, the assumption at
    >junctions is that pedestrians have right of way.

    Not actually true. Pedestrians entering the road must yield to traffic in it and may only cross if
    it does create a hazard.

    Pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way and vehicles must yield to them.

    Having said that, in many areas such as Delaware where I live, motorist do not have a clue about
    peds having the right of way in crosswalks and will pass within inches of you when you try to cross.

    In other areas, such as Falls Church/Vienna, Virginia, motorists will stop if you are on the side of
    the road next to the crosswalk.

    It all depends on what area you are in and, of course, where the motorist is from.

    Chris Law Newark, DE, USA
     
  4. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Pyromancer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks with some very good friends in Madison,
    > Wisconsin. Now, the USA isn't exactly famed for its public transport system, indeed Madison
    > doesn't have a single passenger rail service, despite being the state capital, however what it
    > does have is a comprehensive Metro bus network, operated by buses with a fold-down bike rack
    > mounted on the front.

    <snip>

    Madison is, indeed, a lovely place.

    The concept of fitting hard, relatively sharp bits of metal akin to bull bars, but worse, to the
    front of buses where they can do the maximum damage to pedestrians (whether in use or folded up)
    seems a little strange in the land of squillion dollar law suits.

    However, the concept of simply being able to put your bike on a bus is clearly 'a good thing' --
    and, of course, some of our European neighbours are ahead of us.

    Putting the rack at the front has, I suppose, two advantages:

    => no passenger space is used

    => the driver can monitor mounting and de-mounting the bikes without
    leaving his cab.

    In this country buses are (in the main) short distance transport. As such of limited interest to
    cyclists (the hills of Sheffield are potentially an exception).

    Of course, in India and similar developing countries buses are medium distance transport. But almost
    all buses have roof racks and even men who will hoist your bike onto the roof for a few pence tip.

    T
     
  5. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Pyromancer <[email protected]> writes:

    > I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks with some very good friends in Madison,
    > Wisconsin. Now, the USA isn't exactly famed for its public transport system, indeed Madison
    > doesn't have a single passenger rail service, despite being the state capital, however what it
    > does have is a comprehensive Metro bus network, operated by buses with a fold-down bike rack
    > mounted on the front.

    I saw similar buses being used (including the bike racks being used) in Seattle, and thought it a
    very good idea. My memory is that the fold-down racks on the Seattle buses accommodated four bikes.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    Due to financial constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.
     
  6. Rj Webb

    Rj Webb Guest

    On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 00:30:54 GMT, "mark" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Denver, Colorado, and Seattle Washington have similarly equipped city busses; there are probably
    >other cities in the US with bike racks on city busses.
    >--

    And just over the border, Vancouver. Loaded up they look like ultra evil bull bars, but a
    great idea...

    Richard Webb
     
  7. Tim Downie

    Tim Downie Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:
    > Pyromancer <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    >> I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks with some very good friends in Madison,
    >> Wisconsin. Now, the USA isn't exactly famed for its public transport system, indeed Madison
    >> doesn't have a single passenger rail service, despite being the state capital, however what it
    >> does have is a comprehensive Metro bus network, operated by buses with a fold-down bike rack
    >> mounted on the front.
    >
    > I saw similar buses being used (including the bike racks being used) in Seattle, and thought
    > it a very good idea. My memory is that the fold-down racks on the Seattle buses accommodated
    > four bikes.

    We have some of these buses in Ayr. You don't have to leave the country to find them. I never
    actually seen them being used mind...

    Tim

    --
    Remove the obvious to reply by email.
     
  8. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Pyromancer wrote:
    > I recently had the pleasure of spending two weeks with some very good friends in Madison,
    > Wisconsin. Now, the USA isn't exactly famed for its public transport system, indeed Madison
    > doesn't have a single passenger rail service, despite being the state capital, however what it
    > does have is a comprehensive Metro bus network, operated by buses with a fold-down bike rack
    > mounted on the front.
    >

    They are made by Sportsworks - http://www.bicycleracks.com/sbIndex.asp - who claim to transport 8
    million bikes a year on 30,000 buses.

    Tony

    --
    "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." Mark Twain
     
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