In the US, Automobiles and bikes don't mix very well.

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Walter, Oct 17, 2003.

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  1. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > >I try and avoid going near traffic whenever possible. I've driven automobiles for over 25 years
    > >in some of the worst traffic, in some of the worst cities in the world. I can honestly say, that
    > >with the

    > For someone who claims to have driven all over the world, it appears you have failed to notice how
    > *well* bikes and cars get along in countries with a broader cycling culture than the U.S.
    >
    > Cycling is more visible in the U.S. now that any time I can remember (IMHO). If the present trend
    > can be maintained, car/cyclist relations will only improve.
    >

    Here is what one of those enlightened socialist countries thinks of bikes and traffic.

    http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9810/28/china.bicycle.ban/index.html

    Beijing authorities ban cyclists on busy street BEIJING (CNN) -- Thousands of bicyclists have
    suffered a defeat at the hand of the capital's burgeoning number of car drivers. Not long ago,
    bicycles were kings of the road, but now they are banned from a busy street during the day.

    Just over a week ago, municipal authorities outlawed cycling on Xisidong-dajie street from 7
    a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Authorities said the 300-meter-long road, which runs through a bustling shopping district, would be
    reserved for cars and pedestrians. Cyclists are allowed through if they push their bikes.

    The ban became necessary because the thousands of bicycles frequently created traffic jams, said
    public security and transport officials.

    Motorists welcomed the ban. "I really loathe those bikes. I hate it when they block my way," a
    motorist told CNN.

    But for the vast majority of Beijing citizens who cannot afford a car, the decision was annoying.

    "It's really inconvenient for me," a cyclist complained, saying the trip home after work now
    takes longer.

    Shop owners along the street also were unhappy. The drop in cyclists passing through means
    less business.

    Policemen now stand at the mouth of the street, shooing confused bikers away, or making them walk.
    The success of the ban remains to be seen, but for now, in some parts of Beijing, it signals that
    four wheels are more powerful than two.
     


  2. Kevan Smith

    Kevan Smith Guest

    On 19 Oct 2003 09:56:05 -0700, [email protected] (Walter) from
    http://groups.google.com wrote:

    >>
    >> >> I'm riding on the road because that's the route that actually leads to my destination. My
    >> >> bicycle is not a toy.
    >> >
    >> >Mine is, and mom taught me not to play with my toys in traffic.
    >>
    >> So go play on your trail when you aren't hiding under the bed.
    >>
    >> I'll continue riding where I please.
    >
    >I would say have fun, and good luck, but since your bike is not a toy, I can only say good luck and
    >be happy in your work.

    Riding a bike is fun no matter what you use it for.

    --
    real e-mail addy: kevansmith23 at yahoo dot com It's NO USE ... I've gone to "CLUB MED"!!
     
  3. Kevan Smith

    Kevan Smith Guest

    On 19 Oct 2003 10:26:26 -0700, [email protected] (Walter) from
    http://groups.google.com wrote:

    >> >I try and avoid going near traffic whenever possible. I've driven automobiles for over 25 years
    >> >in some of the worst traffic, in some of the worst cities in the world. I can honestly say, that
    >> >with the
    >
    >> For someone who claims to have driven all over the world, it appears you have failed to notice
    >> how *well* bikes and cars get along in countries with a broader cycling culture than the U.S.
    >>
    >> Cycling is more visible in the U.S. now that any time I can remember (IMHO). If the present trend
    >> can be maintained, car/cyclist relations will only improve.
    >>
    >
    >Here is what one of those enlightened socialist countries thinks of bikes and traffic.
    >
    >http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9810/28/china.bicycle.ban/index.html
    >
    >Beijing authorities ban cyclists on busy street BEIJING (CNN)

    I refuse to accept your definition of China as an enlightened socialist country.

    Try Denmark.

    --
    real e-mail addy: kevansmith23 at yahoo dot com I'm shaving!! I'M SHAVING!!
     
  4. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Walter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > >I try and avoid going near traffic whenever possible. I've driven automobiles for over 25 years
    > > >in some of the worst traffic, in some of the worst cities in the world. I can honestly say,
    > > >that with the
    >
    > > For someone who claims to have driven all over the world, it appears you have failed to notice
    > > how *well* bikes and cars get along in countries
    with
    > > a broader cycling culture than the U.S.
    > >
    > > Cycling is more visible in the U.S. now that any time I can remember
    (IMHO).
    > > If the present trend can be maintained, car/cyclist relations will only improve.
    > >
    >
    > Here is what one of those enlightened socialist countries thinks of bikes and traffic.
    >
    > http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9810/28/china.bicycle.ban/index.html
    >
    > Beijing authorities ban cyclists on busy street

    China is maybe not a great example of bike/car synergy. Or even enlightened bike use. People cycled
    because there was no real alternative. Not by choice. Cars were far too expensive. And population
    densities made for very dense cycle traffic jams.

    In comes better wages, cheaper cars, and a desire to emulate the west.

    Mix in poor driving skills (no long history of actual driving), a huge mass of of bikes, and guess
    what you have....more chaos. Banning cars in this instance would be seen as moving backwards. So, to
    make some attempt at controlling the dense traffic, they ban bikes on a few streets.

    I've been in many countries around the world. Saudi, Turkey, Panama, all over western europe....And
    the countries outside of western europe and north america have absolutely disgusting driving skills.
    The only saving grace is there is not so many of them on the road.

    Imagine 2 school buses, with straight pipes, outlandish paint jobs, tinted windshields and
    *curtains* on the windshield....dragracing down the street to be the first to a stop. That is an
    average evening reality in Panama City. Or...redlights as cautionary (not legally, but in practice)
    symbols. Beep, and pass through. Daily life in Adana Turkey.

    The ONLY reason there are not more crashes is that the vehicle density is less.

    As times and economies change....that density will increase. Having and using a car means you have
    'arrived'.

    Go to western europe. You'll see a different mindset. People bike because it is cheaper and they
    *want* to, not necessarily because they *have* to. Not to say that the model in, say, Holland, would
    work here. There are a lot of differences. Distances, space, costs, mindset, etc.

    Pete And I really don't think you meant to portray China as "enlightened"..:)
     
  5. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Walter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I have a very limited experience riding a bike as an adult in traffic. I also maybe misinformed.

    What would you say to a brand new, but very articulate, motorist, coming into a driving enthusiast
    forum and telling them that driving is "dangerous". In fact, too dangerous to actually do if you
    have a small car.

    Pete
     
  6. Walter

    Walter Guest

    "Robert Chambers" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Just a few days past a year ago I was hit by a teenage driver who was talking on a cell phone and
    > made a left turn into me as I was traveling through an intersection on my bike. A van passing me
    > in my line just at the intersection blocked her view and she didn't care to see that the
    > right-of-way was clear after the van passed. I sustained a broken hip, pelvis, ankle, compression
    > fracture of the spine and a major laceration on my left leg. I was hospitalized for 8 days and in
    > rehab for months. For about three days I was determined I'd never ride on the road again. After
    > that, all I could think about was getting back out there. I average around 250 miles per week on
    > the bike and not being out there made me feel like a caged animal. And the doctor had some
    > interesting words. She said I'd never have survived that wreck were it not for the incredible
    > condition I was in thanks to all that cycling.
    >
    > So there you go. I'm electing to continue cycling as opposed to sitting on the sofa and letting my
    > arteries clog. I know there are other forms of exercise, but with my injuries, I can't run and
    > that rules many things out. By coincidence I was in the process of moving to a farm in a rural
    > area when I was hit. I've completed that move and I can now do a 50 mile ride and see maybe 10
    > cars, total ... and none with cell phones!
    >

    Cool. I'm glad you are better. I don't think most people here get the point of my post(s). I'm not
    saying they shouldn't ride on the street, or that bikes shouldn't be allowed on the street, just
    that it is not very safe for the cyclist because of the motorists and that their own safetly is
    somewhat out of the cyclist's control.

    but I just started riding a bike so that makes me a moron. I just hatched, and don't know shit about
    the road, except for my 25 years of driving on it. Remember, only those who ride bikes have any real
    vision, everyone else is just blind. :)
     
  7. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > > Also, I don't think they let bicycles on the Autobahn, and the Germans are smart enough not to
    > > want to go there on bikes anyway.
    >
    > Similarly, bikes are not allowed on 99.9% of the interstate highways here.
    >
    > And, as in Germany, legal on every other type of road.
    >

    Really? is that because of the min speed limit? Can you ride on the shoulder?
     
  8. >Really? is that because of the min speed limit? Can you ride on the shoulder?

    I've never ridden in Europe. But in the USA, rural interstates are bicycle permitted in some places.
    Some other interstates are technically legal for bicycle operation. Such as in my town. But the rule
    is generally that autobahns are off limits for US cyclists in the USA.

    Almost everything else is fair game depending on local regulation, which varies a lot. For example
    if I'm on a Virginia road which has a sidepath within certain jurisdictional boundaries, I'm
    technically in violation for not riding on the sidepath.

    I'm in violation in DC if I operate on the sidewalk in the CBD, even to get to a parking place. It
    is complex if one reads the rules.

    Most people don't bother with this crap and do their own thing.

    The problem with that is that people get killed that way.

    I'm not kidding when I say I've seen many tens of cyclists die over the years in my own area. That
    might be two or three a year but it adds up.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  9. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > I don't know about European bike paths, my travels in France didn't run across any, but you are
    > right, the drivers in France gave bikes much more respect than they do in the US. It could be
    > because if you hit a cyclist in France you lose your license, and spend a bit of time in jail. If
    > they are caught passing closer than a meter they get ticketed. It's considered just as bad
    > injuring a cyclist with your vehicle as it is injuring someone else in a car. There are less
    > things society considers "accidents", and drivers need to be more responsible, or they aren't
    > allowed to be drivers. If those types of laws were to be passed in the US, the drivers would
    > magically get better.

    That was part of my point of the original post, is that in Europe driving a car is basically a
    luxury. Its almost like getting a private pilot's license here. In Germany it takes about 3 months
    and about $3000 to get a driver's license.

    I assume that since the EU has standardized most of the rules that France would be about the same.

    The point was that the US gives licenses to anybody because there are really no good alternatives to
    driving a car. Yes, in NYC or Chicago, you don't need to drive, and in fair weather cities you can
    bike all year, if you are physically able, and don't need to haul groceries for a family of four.

    I'm talking about the other 99% of the US. I would not have a problem riding a bike on most roads in
    Europe. I was referring to the US.
     
  10. On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 16:14:23 -0400, "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >I'm not kidding when I say I've seen many tens of cyclists die over the years in my own area.

    Yikes! Being within eyeshot of you is dangerous!
     
  11. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Walter" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > but I just started riding a bike so that makes me a moron. I just hatched, and don't know shit
    > about the road, except for my 25 years of driving on it. Remember, only those who ride bikes have
    > any real vision, everyone else is just blind. :)

    The view and perceptions from behind the wheel of a car are *significantly* different than that
    from a bike.

    Pete
     
  12. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Walter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > > Also, I don't think they let bicycles on the Autobahn, and the Germans are smart enough not to
    > > > want to go there on bikes anyway.
    > >
    > > Similarly, bikes are not allowed on 99.9% of the interstate highways
    here.
    > >
    > > And, as in Germany, legal on every other type of road.
    > >
    >
    > Really? is that because of the min speed limit? Can you ride on the
    shoulder?

    I'm not sure which part of my post your question refers to, so a little clarification on both

    US Interstates (and other limited access highways) - bikes (peds, horses, etc) almost always
    prohibited. Keyword almost. There are a few places where you can ride, legally, on the
    interstate shoulder. The German Autobahn system is essentially similar to the US interstate
    system. (or vice versa)

    Legal everywhere else - Unless specifically prohibited, bikes (and peds, etc) are legal to use. I
    repeat. Everywhere not specifically prohibited.

    I've ridden on the Sanish equivalent. to the Interstate. Several thousand miles worth. Mainly
    between Guadalahara and Madrid. Quite safe, if ultimately very boring. The shoulder provides a very
    wide space to ride in. It *looks* a lot worse from a car than it does on a bike. Even a truck
    passing at 75mph does not blow you around too much if you are over far enough.
    Note: Some interstates segments may have very narrow shoulder/brakedown lanes.

    Pete
     
  13. >>I'm not kidding when I say I've seen many tens of cyclists die over the years in my own area.

    >Yikes! Being within eyeshot of you is dangerous!

    Perhaps I phrased that badly. I meant to say that two or three cyclists die each year in DC met from
    trauma and that I have lived here for many years.

    That works out to a very low death rate, was my point.

    I wish I had a death ray gaze, but I don't.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  14. Kevan Smith

    Kevan Smith Guest

    On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 17:34:45 -0400, "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> from Realtime Limited wrote:

    >I wish I had a death ray gaze, but I don't ....

    Nothing a little exposure to some nuclear radiation can't fix.

    --
    real e-mail addy: kevansmith23 at yahoo dot com Now I'm having INSIPID THOUGHTS about the beautiful,
    round wives of HOLLYWOOD MOVIE MOGULS encased in PLEXIGLASS CARS and being approached by SMALL BOYS
    selling FRUIT ...
     
  15. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > Little story, my husband and I like to go road biking for exercise. We have plenty of experience
    > and feel fairly comfortable tooling down roads with lots of traffic and reasonable shoulder bike
    > lanes. (Okay, sometime a little traffic and no shoulders whatsoever...) However, we don't feel
    > comfortable having our kids do that. So, when the school moved a mile away for a year I dutifully
    > figured out routes to the new school that took us on quiet residential streets. As part of the
    > bike to school committee I published those streets for the kids and their parents. And then we
    > rode our kids out through these quiet streets. But afterward we would take the direct busy four
    > lane with shoulder bike lanes road home. One day we were chatting with a friend who also road his
    > daughter to school the back way. As we were saddling up for the ride home he took the turn with
    > us, and sped the mile home with the cars. When we got back to our quiet neighborhood he said he
    > was hooked! He loved riding with traffic, it gave him an adrenaline rush. And after dropping kids,
    > that was his preferred route home.
    >
    > Bike paths are great for those who recognize there are joggers and walkers with strollers and
    > other folks that go reasonable, but not fast speeds. As long as you are satisfied going speeds you
    > can quickly stop for the errant darting toddler or the dog that wraps it's owner up in the leash,
    > you are welcome on those paths. Once you find the need for speed, please move to the roads, where
    > at 20mph you won't kill a slower moving recreationist.

    go for it...
     
  16. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > And I really don't think you meant to portray China as "enlightened"..:)

    The sarcasm was lost somewhere along the way.

    I think tooling around a suburban neighborhood on your bike is fine. Or anyway place where there is
    a low amount of fairly slow moving traffic.

    I just don't think its very safe to ride in heavy traffic or on the highway. That doesn't mean I
    think you shouldn't be able to do it, or that its wrong. Its just unsafe for the cyclist, but I'm
    getting tired of beating this dead equine.
     
  17. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > What would you say to a brand new, but very articulate, motorist, coming into a driving enthusiast
    > forum and telling them that driving is "dangerous". In fact, too dangerous to actually do if you
    > have a small car.
    >

    That would depend on how many years this "new" motorist had spent on the same roads successfully
    operating another type of vehicle and experiencing from his vantage point all of the carnage over
    the years of big cars squashing small cars, and the sum of his experience. Yes I would save his
    opinion is worth about 2 cents, just like everybody else's.

    I think the fundamental disagreement we have is that some on this thread don't believe that
    riding a bicycle in traffic is any more dangerous than driving a car, or perhaps even less
    dangerous. Not that they should or shouldn't be on the road, or there should be new laws, or
    bikes should be banded.

    I think if there are to be any new laws, it should be for stricter controls on who is giving a motor
    vehicle permit. Not on bicyclists and bikes.

    You don't have to be fat to know that overeating is bad for you, but there shouldn't be a law to
    keep you thin. Do you think only Fat people should have an opinion on this topic, or should I say
    that only fat people who have been there, are creditable, but thin people who have known scores of
    people that they have grown up with vapor-lock from being too porky have their heads up their butt?

    I ride the same roads you do on your bike, I experience the same number of jack-offs you do, if not
    more because I'm pretty sure I've driven more miles ( over a half a million miles in my life time)
    than you have on your bike.

    I notice the difference in the way rush hour commuters treat me when I drive my wife's Dodge Neon,
    versus the way they do when I drive my Dodge Ram. It's a self-preservation issue for them. They
    aren't nearly as concerned about cutting a Neon off, or doing something stupid, either consciously
    or sub-consciously. Perhaps they can't see me in the Neon, considering its smaller and lower to the
    ground, either way it reinforces my point.

    I know the truth is a scary thing to face, especially when it is counter to what you want to be
    true. It bothers me also that no matter how safe I am, and no matter how many precautions I take, my
    life is essentially in the hands of total strangers with really no vested interest in whether I'm
    alive or dead. The only difference between my Truck and your bike is the odds of them paying a much
    higher cost in their own personal safety when they hit my truck, rather than your bike. I too would
    have the odds on my side of surviving it in tact.
     
  18. Walter

    Walter Guest

    > The view and perceptions from behind the wheel of a car are *significantly* different than that
    > from a bike.
    >

    Ok, I give up.

    good luck...
     
  19. Kevan Smith

    Kevan Smith Guest

    On 19 Oct 2003 17:58:39 -0700, [email protected] (Walter) from
    http://groups.google.com wrote:

    >I think the fundamental disagreement we have is that some on this thread don't believe that riding
    >a bicycle in traffic is any more dangerous than driving a car, or perhaps even less dangerous.

    And that is precisely the case. Cycling is less dangerous than driving.

    --
    real e-mail addy: kevansmith23 at yahoo dot com Now I'm being INVOLUNTARILY shuffled closer to the
    CLAM DIP with the BROKEN PLASTIC FORKS in it!!
     
  20. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Sun, 19 Oct 2003 18:50:33 GMT, <[email protected]>, "Pete"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >In comes better wages, cheaper cars, and a desire to emulate the west.

    And now there's $75,000 Chinese _made_ BMW on the market in China.
    --
    zk
     
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