Suggestions for New Safety Commuting Ideas

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by buckybux, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    We all complain about how the cars treat bikes. I know, because I have been hit twice (both times the auto did not see me) riding. Our City, Spokane, WA is holding some hearings on how to improving biking.

    I feel somewhat ambigious about bike lanes. While they sound great in theory, I find the practice to be different. The autos push debris into the lanes, cars (illegalily) park in them, and they are especially dangerous at stoplights, because of the autos turning right. Here in Washington cyclists are allowed in the lane of traffic (not required to use the bike lane) and entitiled to a full lane, but the cars often feel that the bike, inspite of the the debris and parked cars, should be in the bike lane.

    I saw the note in another thread about the PDX bike boxes, and thought that was very interesting. Locally, they are suggesting Bike Boulevards (parallel streets to artials which give the bikes right of way) which give me concern because I think they will identify alternative routes for the cars.

    While bike paths sound great too, I just don't see where we have the public money to fund them (we already have a few well used paths here).

    Personally, I think it is best to just make the right lane wider.

    I want to know what your thoughts on what Spokane can do to improve the quality of bike transportation.
     
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  2. ndbiker

    ndbiker New Member

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    I agree concerning making lanes wider (not too wide or cars will think they have another lane). I don't like the idea of "bike lanes" as cars will think we are relegated to them and it makes getting in the proper turn lane more problematic. The streets I like riding on the most other than residential side streets are roads with two lanes and a turn lane. The turn lane makes it easy for cars to get around me but doesn't give cars another lane to drive in (like four lanes would). Cars see bikes as a nuisance only if they impede their flow (other than the few jerks who are just bigots), if there were room for cars to easily get around cyclists there would be fewer confrontations. I also think as commuters it is our responsibilities to make ourselves as visible as possible and to obey the traffic laws ourselves. Too often I see cyclists not stopping at stop signs or failing to signal. We do this at our own peril.
     
  3. bigpedaler

    bigpedaler New Member

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    Complete agreement here; no dedicated bike lanes! I won't say no to separate facilities totally, because MUPs are useful -- for the kids, for example. We have one near my home, and it allowed me to take my 5-y-o nephew to the park on his bike (NO WAY on his bike in the street!!!).

    Wider outside lanes, ok. Shoulders, too. Too many streets go from pavement to ragged grass/gravel in a fingersnap. And, I've noticed, four-lanes are better for bike traffic than two-lanes are.
     
  4. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    Thanks for the comments. I shared them with a forum held by the City. I was definately in minority position about bike lanes, but then it is easy to measure the success because all see the bike lane.

    We are currently in "Bike to work week" and I have seen more commuters then ever. Our weather hasn't been the best either, rain on both Monday and Tuesday, but the interest does seem to have increased.
     
  5. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    What would make cycling an awful lot safer would be instant long time driving bans for any car / cycle collisions with no fault determination.

    A car driver who says they didn't see you are actually saying they didn't look, or thought they'd make it in front in time, or from every accident I've actually seen, just plain lying. They really should not be on the roads.
     
  6. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    I agree with your statement that if they don't see you, then they should not be driving. However, here in the US, we are still a car society, and bikes come a far second. So often drivers are given the benefit of the doubt.
     
  7. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    Luckily I've not had a car on bike accident since I was a kid. I've developed a sixth sense for loonies and just pull up and wait for them to disappear into the far distance and/or take an alternate route.

    Yet I commute with a cheapo little video camera strapped to my helmet. Basically 'cause I've got totally sick of the fantasy stories car drivers create when they've knocked someone off. When I've witnessed an 'accident' and I go up to the cop and tell them I've a video of what happened it has a remarkable effect on the drivers recollection of the incident. Often causes me to burst out laughing as the drivers story changes, dramatically. Sometimes the camera isn't even working, it being a cheapo, but it's enough to point to it.

    Like I say, I'm in the saddle for somewhere between 2 and 3 hours every day, and every single accident I've seen I would not term an accident at all, they are more truly described as deliberate attempts at GBH.

    Maybe there are genuine car on bicycle accidents occuring, but in all my years of cycling I've never seen one, so giving the benefit of the doubt, I'd just instant ban the car driver and then they can argue for reinstatement.
     
  8. GeekCyclist

    GeekCyclist New Member

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    Whenever I have a chance to discuss this with decision makers (I attend town and county council meetings several times a year) I like to point them at CompleteStreets.org. I don't mind bike lanes, and I use a MUP for part of my commute most days, but I would prefer regular streets with wider right lanes for all the reasons stated above. CompleteStreets provide planners with policy, planning and engineering support. (I have no affiliation with the group, just like the ideas).
     
  9. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    It would be interesting to have a camera facing backwards(if you don't already) as I find the people who're most likely to knock someone off often come from behind.



     
  10. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    There are some good videos on YouTube. With a camera on the helmet it tends to point where you're looking...
     
  11. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

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    Whatever special lanes they create for bicycles are just going to be taken by cars any and every chance they get.
    Why?
    'Cause they can - lots more weight.

    In my experience, the safest way to bike in traffic is to polish your bike handling skills (including track stands, ultra-emergency stops, etc.) and ride in a somewhat 'passive-aggressive' manner.
    Think safety above all, but be ready for anything.
     
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