Bike to Work ?

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Bike to Work Week is May 28 - June 3rd.

Free registration, prizes, discounts, free food, help with your bike/commute, etc.. see link for info

Yay!! best time of the year. get on yer bike and start peddling / saving money / cutting emissions today.

and then continue to do it throughout the year, after you discover how fun it is :)

M

Bah, do you guys know how much petroleum it takes to build a bike?

I walk to work. In palm-frond sneakers. While planting trees.

and, if, for whatever reason, you have to drive, please give us bikers some room. Don't try to
squeeze past us at roundabouts, or cut us off to beat us to the next stop sign. I had a lady do
both to me two days ago... on a bike route, while towing a five year old on a trail-a-bike. Better
yet, since she "hadn't touched her" (the five year old) she felt she had done no wrong.

Use your head people. Do you want to be responsible for someone's death or injury because you
can't curb your aggressive driving behaviour? Esp. when said behaviour doesn't even save you
time? Spirit... it's not just for the Ultimate field.

I wonder if some sort of device like a metal rake sticking out to your left while riding in cases
where cars like you barely miss you might work. I suppose it would be too dangerous as some
drivers would simply not look.

I found that it's often quite difficult to walk across a crosswalk, cars will just blow past you. I've
also found that when I stick my keys out in front of me and look the driver in the eye, the cars
always stop. I've never had to key a car, just the threat has been enough, and let me tell you it
works *very* well.

couple suggestions: world's largets bike horn; and lots of patience.

Yes, drivers are often obnoxious, but so TOO are many bicyclists, giving the rest of us a bad name. Get your arse out of your bike seat and use the bike routes, rather than fingering cars that honk at you on Main St or Broadway; follow the rules of the road; and, for gods sake, wear a helmet.

temple dont get me started on the embodied energy versus operating energy consumption of our daily transportation choices argument. actually i just started it - so, i suppose, give 'er.

Cyclists have as much right to use Main or Broadway as any other vehicle. While I use bike
routes mostly, I don't plan on giving up my right to use public space until ALL the cars are
banned from bike routes, i.e. gimme some quid pro quo.

The rules of the road (some) actually endanger cyclists... and are best ignored by anyone
wanting to survive. Almost all said rules are designed to prevent idiots in cars from killing other
people and there is no need for similar rules to apply to bikes (or pedestrians, or skateboards,
scooters, etc).

Cyclists are NOT second class citizens.

"Cyclists are NOT second class citizens."

Except for the ones that ride by with their helme on but not strapped, squeaking and scratching
their chains along with no lube, with half-flat tires, and their knees going up to thier tits (unisex)
and down to just past 90 degrees on each pedal.

Ok, I suppose they have equal rights to the road, but they also make you shake your head.

BTW Stump, what rules are better off broken by cyclists? I can't think of any off the top of my
head (though I'm not opposed to the idea that there are some).

"what rules are better off broken by cyclists?"

Waiting at a red light when it's clear in both directions is the example that jumps to mind.
Better to get out ahead of the traffic and get up to speed without cars whizzing by just inches
from your elbow.

"Except for the ones that ride by with their helme on but not strapped, squeaking and
scratching their chains along with no lube, with half-flat tires, and their knees going up to
thier tits (unisex) and down to just past 90 degrees on each pedal."

Some people are poor and can't afford a great bike. Not a crime. Some people don't have the
benefit of years of cycling experience and aren't familiar with the niceties of bike fit and
maintenance. These situations present little danger to others. The Petro-Princess I saw blow
a stale yellow in her Escalade while chatting on her cel phone last week is a vehicular menace
however. She could very easily take a life and leave someone's family, friends, and relatives
with a hole in their lives that will never be filled.

I really encourage people to listen closely to the radio and television and note just how many
injuries and fatalities are caused by cars. Once you start to pay attention to the stats it
becomes clear how brainwashed we've become to regard these devices (automobiles) as
necessary and desirable.

"Cyclists are NOT second class citizens"

Of course they are not - however cyclists are FAR more likely to DIE if THEY break the rules.

I think a bit of common sense comes into play here - avoid the busy (car) routes for your own safety...forget your 'rights to use public space'...and consider your ability to get from A to B without getting hit by a very heavy, metal, fast moving vehicle, with a cell-phone-distracted driver at the helm.


"Waiting at a red light when it's clear in both directions is the example that jumps to mind. Better to get out ahead of the traffic and get up to speed without cars whizzing by just inches from your elbow."

I disagree, Stump. I'm of the mind that cyclists that blow red lights are not only endangering themselves (and everyone else in the intersection, as an oncoming car may swerve to avoid them and injure others in the process), but give the rest of us a terrible name. How can we possibly be expected to be treated at least semi-equally (ie: have the same rights to Broadway/Main as other vehicles) if we blatantly disobey fundamental traffic laws like red lights?

And there's rarely a situation where you can "get in front of traffic." Going down a hill, maybe, but they're going to catch up with you and pass you again.

I have two choices to bike to work... use the official bike route that goes under the Skytrain tracks or go straight up Kingsway.

After trying the first option a few times, I stuck with the second. Why? The bike route is a real obstacle course: while the offroad path is nice, I'm forced to dismount and climb some stairs at one point, I have to ride through a bus waiting area of a skytrain station, and to get there, cross a major street without the aid of a traffic light. (this is using the 'recommended' routes on the official bike map) The terrain also rolls up and down, and the offroad path isn't lit at night, making riding home in the winter an adventure.

Comparatively, Kingsway is straight, always lit, and either goes just up or down, depending on the direction of travel. I've had a few close calls, but I find it helps if I'm visible (wear bright/reflective clothing and use lights at night), and ride defensively.

In most other parts of the city, the official bike routes are a good alternative to the main routes, and I use them when I can. But people shouldn't be so afraid as to "avoid the busy (car) routes for your own safety..." The more often motorists see cyclists on these main streets, the more they will get used to us, and hopefully look out for us more. Also, most of the bike routes crossing Cambie are closed now, giving us no choice but to go onto the main routes at those points.

And besides, just the other day I was riding home from ultimate down Ontario, a well-known bike route, and was cut off by a driver who pulled over to the right suddenly without signalling. Sometimes drivers feel like they can get lazy on these side streets, as there's less traffic, and they have a false sense of safety.

The avg speed of a car in urban traffic is 16 km/h. Instead of asking cyclists to suck fumes
and
risk getting doored by being stuck between traffic and parked cars, we should be asking why
the
cars even bother to pass in the first place? Chance are, we'll be meeting again at the next
stop
sign/stop light as you've noted.

I've raced cars of ultimate players from Cambie and 16th to UBC and had my cleats on while
they were still parking. And I'm not a particularly fast biker. Cars simply aren't faster than
any
other form of transportation (for city driving)... and drivers should stop thinking that's the
case,
hogging the road and endangering others.

How can a ride through an empty intersection with no cars coming endanger anyone?

I used to work at the Rogers tower in Metrotown Ian and came to the exact same conclusion
you have about the Skytrain bike path. Useless for commuters.

Fair enough, if no cars are coming in either direction (which I carelessly overlooked in my first response), then there's little/no danger there. However, if everyone starts running red lights like that, you're going to increase the chances of collisions due to two people disobeying the same law and somehow thinking they have more right to disobey the law than the other.

Further, there are also the cars and cyclists behind/beside you that plan on turning right on the red, a completely legal manouver (in our province, anyway). If you all of a sudden decide to run the red, you're essentially cutting them off.

Also, your average speed isn't a very useful indicator in this situation. The average is going to take into account all of the times that the car is essentially stopped, as well as the times that it is going the speed limit (and above, depending on time of day, street, traffic, etc). Just because the average is 16 doesn't mean the cars can't, and don't, go 50. I'd also be inclined to disagree that cars aren't any faster, but again it depends on a number of variables, and often does end up being a slower option when taking into consideration the time it takes to park.

With all of this said, I'm completely in agreement with those of you who would like to see cars off the bike paths completely. I ride along 10th avenue to and from work/ulti every day, and the number of times I've been cut off or almost smoked because some jackhole wanted to get out of the Broadway traffic is appalling.

"If you all of a sudden decide to run the red, you're essentially cutting them off."

It's not an all of a sudden decision. It's usually quite obvious when a cyclist is about to go thru
an intersection.

Avg. speed means just that. Whether or not cars can go 200 km/h or 20, they are no faster than
bikes in city traffic. The ability to accelerate quickly should not determine who has more right to
the road.

Cars are toxic to people and our planet. Sad but true.

gotta go. Biking to Saltspring today.

Bah, Salt Spring is boring. Of course, that's what happens when you live there for 14 years.

Oh, and have fun with the hills! You think Vancouver's unsafe for bikes, you're going to have a whale of a time over there. As I recall, there's one bike lane, and it lasts for maybe 100 m. It's pretty unfortunate, really, as SSI has a fantastic mentality for cyclists *cough*hippies*cough*.

Ah yes, spring is here again...

I think I'm with Stump on this one.

However frustrating erratic cyclists are for car drivers, car drivers should realize they are a lot safer in their car than cyclists are. Cars are so unbelievably safe that people feel comfortable listening to music, talking on the phone, and even watching DVD's. A cyclist can ill afford to entertain such distractions.

For car drivers, the rolling living room has a downside: about one ton of weight. Cars can't stop as quickly as a cyclist, they can't really accelerate as quickly as a cyclist (at least not for short distances), they can't reactively move laterally as quickly either.

It is no wonder car drivers get upset when a cyclist blows a stop-sign or a light right in front of them. They immediately realize they have lost control of the situation; if the cyclist made a mistake, there is nothing they can do about it. Most times that cyclist has factored in the speed of the car, their speed, and a healthy margin of safety. A smart cyclist does this at every single intersection, parking lot and driveway they pass.
The annoyance for the driver is the loss of control.

Tough potatoes I say. If you want a better of control over your surroundings lose the weight and/or pay better attention. Cars are not a right, they are simply one of many forms of transportation. IMO, because of the large amount of moving energy, cars should have more stringent regulations than modes of transport that involve less moving energy.

...and why we still allow drivers to use cell phones is beyond me.

"SSI has a fantastic mentality for cyclists *cough*hippies*cough*. "

Not all cyclists are hippies by any stretch... and I doubt hippies could afford some of the houses I saw on SSI this weekend.

The hill out of Fulford Harbour is a doozy however, that's for sure.

emd By emd

"Waiting at a red light when it's clear in both directions is the example that jumps to mind. Better to get out ahead of the traffic and get up to speed without cars whizzing by just inches from your elbow."

I have to disagree with you here Stump. If someone suggested the same thing with a car, there would be outrage across the board. You should abide by the same rules the cars do.

You don't want to get clipped by a vehicle? As you have a right to the full lane, why can't you stop in the middle so that they can't squeeze by you? I suspect that you are pulling over to the side to "be nice" to the cars and not "hold them up", but if you have a right to the whole lane, please use it.

"The hill out of Fulford Harbour is a doozy however, that's for sure."

Yeah. Half the time my car barely made it up that one. There are a couple of real murderous hills on that island, and combined with little/no paved shoulder to ride on, you're often relegated to a gravel shoulder or face the wrath of many an islander.

Stump, I'm also curious where you got the average speed of 16 km/h from. Riding to and from UBC every day, I certainly don't arrive before any cars, despite my average speed (according to my bike computer) being about 23 km/h.

" If someone suggested the same thing with a car, there would be outrage across the board"

What I'm suggesting is exactly what goes on with cars at Vancouver's unmarked intersections
in residential neighbourhoods (the so-called courtesy stops). Little or no outrage.

"You should abide by the same rules the cars do."

Why? A bike isn't a car. It is already subject to different rules than a car, just as there's
different rules for buses, transport, and commercial vehicles, and pedestrians. One size fits all
usually fits all poorly. There's no logical reason for all vehicles to obey all the same rules
other than ease of legislation for lawmakers. Obviously some basic tenets of highway use
must be observed, but impeding the flow of bikes because car drivers lack the superior
visibility, manouverability, and flexibility of bicycles makes no sense.

Taking the lane will earn you more enmity from drivers than scooting thru an empty
intersection, believe me. As to scooting to the right... I rarely do it, and would encourage
other bikers to do as I do. Namely, position yourself in the far left hand corner of the right
lane so that cars can turn right on red beside you... and anticipate the green and get ahead of
the cars and back over to the right as you cross the intersection.

Bikes don't currently have 'the right' to the whole lane. The Motor Vehicle Act says cyclists
are to ride as far to the right as is practicable.

"You don't want to get clipped by a vehicle?"

Howzabout the drivers stop risking others' lives to save a few seconds instead? The onus is on
you as a driver to act in a manner that doesn't endanger others. Be a responsible auto user
and the risk of death or injury to cyclists and pedestrians drops dramatically. When was the
last time a 30 second difference in your arrival time as a car user was a life-altering
occurence? If a driver f*cks up in their haste to pass a cyclist, it certainly can mean injury or
death for the biker.

"What I'm suggesting is exactly what goes on with cars at Vancouver's unmarked intersections in residential neighbourhoods (the so-called courtesy stops). Little or no outrage."

Little or no outrage may stem from the lack of traffic at these intersections. I personally think the lack of signage is a gross mistake; all it takes is two people who either don't know it's a courtesy stop or who think the other person will stop and you have potential injury or death.

But the fact of the matter is, Stump, whether or not you think you're doing it safely, you're still disobeying the law. If you go through a red light, you should be ticketed, plain and simple. I don't care if you're being propelled by a 2000lb car or a 20lb bike. A red light is a red light, not a stop sign.

Further to that, you mention the 30 second difference. You keep saying that getting "out in front" of traffic is safer, but I still don't see how. You're still going between two lanes of cars: those that are parked and those that are moving (either forward or backward to your relative position, depending on your speed). The only difference between waiting on that red light and not is how quickly you're getting through the intersection. Just because you can see and dodge better than a car doesn't mean you have the right to disobey the law because it serves your purpose.

"Stump, I'm also curious where you got the average speed of 16 km/h from. Riding to and
from UBC every day, I certainly don't arrive before any cars, despite my average speed
(according to my bike computer) being about 23 km/h."

Remember we're talking average speed. Driving down Georgia is considerably slower than
driving down 16th or Hwy 1. And riding 16th is faster than riding 10th (ave). Where you are
riding will certainly affect your experience. The myth of cars as faster (esp. in urban areas) is
better debunked by Ivan Illich in his book "Energy and Equity" than I can hope to do. I'd
advise reading him over me! Using Illich's methodology, which includes the time a car sits
stationary and unused drops the average speed to around 5mph over the life of your car.
You're better off walking everywhere and saving the $$$ when you factor that in! Add in ease
and flexibility in parking close to your destination, the cardio workout at the gym you won't
need to do, and the addt'l time you need to work to pay for the vehicle and the inefficiencies
inherent in private automobile use become quite staggering. Not only that, private car use
essentially drops the carrying capacity of roads to 25% of capacity or less (as compared to
four people in one car, or dozens on a bus).

Some travel time data from StatsCan is linked below.

"I personally think the lack of signage is a gross mistake"

Actually, recent experiments in Europe have demonstrated that the lack of traffic signage
encourages caution by drivers and can reduce accidents. Strange but true.

"But the fact of the matter is, Stump, whether or not you think you're doing it safely, you're
still disobeying the law."

No argument here. I'll break the law and pay the fine if and when I'm caught, just as if I was
caught smoking reefer or drinking alcohol in a public place.

"You keep saying that getting "out in front" of traffic is safer, but I still don't see how."

Because you spend less time riding with cars beside you. And less time sucking deadly carbon
monoxide.

"Just because you can see and dodge better than a car doesn't mean you have the right to
disobey the law because it serves your purpose"

Why not? My actions don't endanger anyone and the law is ill-thought-out. Think of it as civil
disobedience and questioning authority. I consider it my duty to disobey such a law as a way
to force dialogue and engender change. This is a free country and we have the right to act as
we please and accept the consequences if we're not harming others IMO. I think such an
attitude satisfies the categorical imperative... which is the general rule I try to use to guide
my actions.

You realize that a car swerving to avoid an errant and self-righteous cyclist might harm someone else other than that cyclist right?

But what really struck me about your previous post was this little gem:

"Using Illich's methodology, which includes the time a car sits stationary and unused drops the average speed to around 5mph over the life of your car. You're better off walking everywhere and saving the $$$ when you factor that in!"

Seriously? So when you take the time that your car isn't being used, then factor that into the average for how quickly it travels, it's faster to walk? Does this imply that if I walk 5mph 24 hours a day I'll get to all the places I need to go?

"You realize that a car swerving to avoid an errant and self-righteous cyclist might harm someone else other than that cyclist right? "

Yes I realize that. Hence the numerous caveats I've included about breaking road rules only when it is safe to do so. Is the scenario you described statistically significant or simply a variant on the "but, but, you might kill an old lady if you ride on the sidewalk argument that has very little basis in anything other than grasping at straws to try to validate a point of view?

"Does this imply that if I walk 5mph 24 hours a day I'll get to all the places I need to go? "

I don't know. Does it?

Use Illich's method on a bike and you will see the internal error to that argument - or even to walking - ie. if you calculate the average speed of a person walking or biking over a 24 hour period but also include all of the time spent stationery, you will find that turtles and slugs are faster than either and we are better off rejecting evolution and instead drag our knuckles back to the forest.....its a non-argument.

As to the lady killers that bikers are(n't)....The rules of the road are for all to obey for the primary reason that you don't know what other people are going to do unless we can presume that people will follow the rules. Your categorical imperitive could be applied as well to any driver...if they 'know' it is safe to run a red, blow a stop sign, drive erratically, then they may as well because it is there right to disobey. The problem is that those street racers and other bad drivers all think what they are doing is safe and in control - until they cause damage of some sort. A cyclist is not immune from this attitude and the related results. Following the rules of the road assists everyone in arriving safer. Disobeying the rules as a form of social protest is bunk, an argument for people who want to do what they do without any real rationale. If you were really protesting then you should be doing so in the formal channels as well (or instead of). But as you have made no mention of that I can only assume you aren't that actively protesting the rules of the road.

I think Illich was attempting to find ways to get people to think about cars a little differently rather than suggesting we need walk everywhere. The big drop in avg. speed when 'not in motion' is factored in doesn't apply quite the same way with walking or biking.

I don't think you can compare a cyclist running a red with a driver doing the same. If the clown who accelerated thru a red light in a Dodge Ram 3/4 ton truck yesterday at 4:45-ish at Ontario and 41st had hit one of the cyclists or kids at said intersection there would almost certainly have been a fatality caused by that driver (If he'd hit my kid there'd a been two fatalities if you know what I mean). Can't say the same if a cyclist performs the same manouevre although the cyclist may put themselves at a slight risk.

"Disobeying the rules as a form of social protest is bunk, an argument for people who want to do what they do without any real rationale."

I disagree. Lots of progress has been made by people who chose to defy bad laws. While I wouldn't put a little rebellion by cyclists in the same league as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, or the founding fathers of the USA, the same principle applies. Within reasonable limits, by any means necessary....

"a car swerving to avoid an errant and self-righteous cyclist might harm someone else other than that cyclist right?"

OK, sure: it's possible - it's just so much more likely the car driver will be errant. The cyclist simply has so much more to lose, they cannot afford not to pay much closer attention.

As for the "rules are rules" arguments. Occasionally, cyclists do get fined for infractions, and I doubt it affects their decision making much. I find that when cycling, I have to be so much more accountable for my well-being, that I become very aware and confident. The awareness of the risk of getting seriously injured kind of makes the risk of getting a fine moot for me. So, maybe the answer is to dramatically increase the fines for bicycle infractions... ;)

m2c By m2c

Well, I Scooter to work. Uses less gas, has less impact on traffic and gets me where I want to go at more than 5 kmh (unless you factor in the night my ride sits in the garage - very stupid argument BTW)

Lots of times I scooter up a bike route, and from time to time I "break the law" by going where only bikes can (Ontario - Crossing between 10th and 12th, Going strait at 25th and Ontario). I also often come down the parking lane (like bikes) and get out in front of traffic (with the exception being that mostly cars don't then catch me 1 block later)

But as my "safety" is closer to that of a bike than a car (exposed rider who will die when hit by that Dodge Truck, maybe I'm a bit more visable than a bike, but also might be going a bit faster so that road will hurt more when I hit it) it's ok to break this law (according to Stumpy) because I'm not causing any danger to anyone, so now I feel good about doing this. Thanks Stump, please confirm my assumption and I will see you at 41st and Ontario (I'll be going strait)!

Also, I need to go to the Merritt on June 5th, so I guess I better start walking now as my car can only go 5 kmh!

Use a car when it makes sense, use a bike/scooter/bus/pair of legs when it makes sense, always use common sense.

B

"very stupid argument BTW"

It's not an argument, it's a conclusion derived from hard data. Feel free to denigrate math
and physics if you will, but it seems straightforward to me. The
slower an object travels, the lower its avg. speed. Since zero IS considered a number... an
object can travel at 0 km/h and the time it spends at that speed CAN be incorporated into the
calculation of its avg. speed.

The Illich data claims 5 miles per hour btw, not kilometres per hour.

"so now I feel good about doing this."

Spreading love and happiness. It's what I do.

"Use a car when it makes sense, use a bike/scooter/bus/pair of legs when it makes sense,
always use common sense."

I agree completely.

"So, maybe the answer is to dramatically increase the fines for bicycle infractions... ;)"

Cops have to experience being tasered before they get to use one. Maybe drivers should have to
experience a nice low-speed tap from a bumper before they are allowed behind the wheel? :-)

Synchronicity strikes.

A short but interesting read from Berkeley (quel suprise) about cyclists, drivers, and stop signs
hit my inbox just moments ago.

linked below.

Great read, thanks Stump.

Being a "rules guy", I tend to feel guilty for not stopping at all (or any) stop signs while I ride in every day... although that guilt lasts no longer than the time it takes me to start upshifting again (i.e., length of time approaches zero).

I particularly like the statement at the end of the second-to-last paragraph, "Allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, as some states do, could solve the problems in a different way."

Brilliant.

Personally, I see no sense whatsoever in stopping if I *know* from looking as I approach the intersection that there's no traffic whatsoever in the cross-direction. If there's no other traffic, then the risk of other traffic doing bad stuff because I've "blown" a stop-sign is 'zero', n'est-ce pas?

Well Stump, I just wonder how close to the "if it doesn't hurt anybody, it's OK" justification the 'truck driver at 41st and Ontario' used as well. I guess if you're going to be at all frustrated with him, then you need to recognize the hypocrisy in your position.

Also, if you want to compare your well thought out math vs my well thought out math. You (or Illich or someone) propose that the average speed of a vehicle is 5mph, well by the same math walk speed is only about .04 mph (if you walk a mile a day), so it seems that driving is about 100x faster than walking!

You're absolutely right, it's not an invalid argument, it's just stupid.

Here's where I wish this forum was a little bit more featured, PM would be nice!

And hey Brian, what kind of scoot do you have? I drive a 2005 Jazz (4 banger) but I'm considering something with a bit more pep. Maybe a Vino 125 or 150 or whatever it is.

"Well Stump, I just wonder how close to the "if it doesn't hurt anybody, it's OK" justification the 'truck driver at 41st and Ontario' used as well. I guess if you're going to be at all frustrated with him, then you need to recognize the hypocrisy in your position."

It's the potential to kill someone that is at issue and there is much more potential for a car to kill someone by blasting thru a red light over a cyclist slowing down at a stop sign or red light and then riding thru an empty intersection. I don't (and wouldn't recommend) blindly riding thru intersections w/out assessing the situation. The driver could not have known whether or not someone was about to proceed on the green because they didn't see him.

"You're absolutely right, it's not an invalid argument, it's just stupid."

Have you read "Energy and Equity" or are you just going by my description of it? Perhaps you should consider the former before dismissing it. Illich is considered ground-breaking and visionary by many, even some that disagree with him.

The full text of the work is available on-line and linked below.

This excerpt may shed a better light on the arguments he presents than my attempts to explain it, but I urge you to consider his theories in full before dismissing them.

"The model American male devotes more than 1,600 hours a year to his car. He sits in it while it goes and while it stands idling. He parks it and searches for it. He earns the money to put down on it and to meet the monthly installments. He works to pay for gasoline, tolls, insurance, taxes, and tickets. He spends four of his sixteen waking hours on the road or gathering his resources for it. And this figure does not take into account the time consumed by other activities dictated by transport: time spent in hospitals, traffic courts, and garages; time spent watching automobile commercials or attending consumer education meetings to improve the quality of the next buy. The model American puts in 1,600 hours to get 7,500 miles: less than five miles per hour. In countries deprived of a transportation industry, people manage to do the same, walking wherever they want to go, and they allocate only 3 to 8 per cent of their society's time budget to traffic instead of 28 per cent. What distinguishes the traffic in rich countries from the traffic in poor countries is not more mileage per hour of life-time for the majority, but more hours of compulsory consumption of high doses of energy, packaged and unequally distributed by the transportation industry."

More Illich. He loved bikes. No surprise I dig Ivan... the former R.C. priest and inveterate black tar opium-taker.

"Bicycles are not only thermodynamically efficient, they are also cheap. With his much lower salary, the Chinese acquires his durable bicycle in a fraction of the working hours an American devotes to the purchase of his obsolescent car. The cost of public utilities needed to facilitate bicycle traffic versus the price of an infrastructure tailored to high speeds is proportionately even less than the price differential of the vehicles used in the two systems. In the bicycle system, engineered roads are necessary only at certain points of dense traffic, and people who live far from the surfaced path are not thereby automatically isolated as they would be if they depended on cars or trains. The bicycle has extended man's radius without shunting him onto roads he cannot walk. Where he cannot ride his bike, he can usually push it.

The bicycle also uses little space. Eighteen bikes can be parked in the place of one car, thirty of them can move along in the space devoured by a single automobile. It takes three lanes of a given size to move 40,000 people across a bridge in one hour by using automated trains, four to move them on buses, twelve to move them in their cars, and only two lanes for them to pedal across on bicycles. Of all these vehicles, only the bicycle really allows people to go from door to door without walking. The cyclist can reach new destinations of his choice without his tool creating new locations from which he is barred.

Bicycles let people move with greater speed without taking up significant amounts of scarce space, energy, or time. They can spend fewer hours on each mile and still travel more miles in a year. They can get the benefit of technological breakthroughs without putting undue claims on the schedules, energy, or space of others. They become masters of their own movements without blocking those of their fellows. Their new tool creates only those demands which it can also satisfy. Every increase in motorized speed creates new demands on space and time. The use of the bicycle is self-limiting. It allows people to create a new relationship between their life-space and their life-time, between their territory and the pulse of their being, without destroying their inherited balance. The advantages of modern self-powered traffic are obvious, and ignored. That better traffic runs faster is asserted, but never proved. Before they ask people to pay for it, those who propose acceleration should try to display the evidence for their claim."

Ok now your argument (5mph) makes more sense. It's nice when the actual argument is presented - not passed on second hand to become entirely incorrect.

That said you could still apply the same methodology to bikes. Although the differential would be far less for bikes than for cars I am sure.

As to rule of law vs doing whatever you want. I see it as the law - you see it as a maleable set of instructions as did the driver of the truck blowing the light. It is hypocritical to treat both actions differently regardless of the potential outcome. Mainly because you can't fully define the potential outcome of each scenario - just as many people could die in each instance - it's much less likely with the bike but still possible. So you are still taking other peoples lives in your hands when you disobey the rules of the road just to save a few seconds of travel time (isn't that the same issue you have with careless drivers - that they are only doing so to save time....). I know that this high rhetoric, but there is a truth in that which you just seem incapable of acknowledging.

"just as many people could die in each instance"

Nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense. A 1000 kilogram vehicle going 60 or 70 km/h is far
more dangerous than a couple hundred pounds of bike and rider going 10 - 20 km/h. The
outcome for an innocent bystander struck by either form of transport is going to be vastly
different.

"As to rule of law vs doing whatever you want. I see it as the law - you see it as a maleable set
of instructions as did the driver of the truck blowing the light."

No, I see it as a conscious choice to break a law that arbitrarily places two very dissimilar forms
of transportation under the same blanket code of behaviour. It simply makes no sense and
creates an impediment to efficient bike usage that is unnecessary.

Also, there's a difference between a car running a red light at speed and a biker choosing to slow
and/or stop before crossing an empty intersection in a safe manner. Apples and oranges. I
wouldn't recommend cyclists blithely cruise thru stop signs or signals anymore than I would
suggest drivers do it.

--> Also, there's a difference between a car running a red light at speed and a biker choosing to slow and/or stop before crossing an empty intersection in a safe manner. Apples and oranges. I wouldn't recommend cyclists blithely cruise thru stop signs or signals anymore than I would suggest drivers do it. <--

Absolutely bang-on, Stump. And that's the point (and of course, the point you've been attempting to make all along)...

Cyclists certainly don't blow stop signs or signals at the bottom of a hill at 50+ kph... we're talking about them going through them at 5-10 max... after slowing down and taking a careful survey of the cross-street.

That's hugely different than a vehicle blowing through at 30 to 50 + .

thx Morty. Want to help me fight the whale jailers in the other thread? :-)

peace y'all-- gotta go sleep.

... heh... that thread's moving way too fast for my old bones to keep up with :)

m2c By m2c

I think the basic problem here is that Stumps argument, no matter how he puts it out there, ends up being "I want to break a law I don't like and doesn't make sense from my point of view". That is the point of view of a biker.

But if we all went around breaking laws that we didn't think were important, and we didn't think would not hurt anyone too much or too often (remember that there is a chance that all these bikers MIGHT hurt someone at some point while breaking this law) then we quickly have chaos, which is bad for everyone.

I love the idea of all stop signs being yield signs for bikes (there is an argument for the same to happen with cars, but lets not start that), but everyone needs to know that, which is not currently the case. Acting in this way may be clear to the biker, but maybe it isn't to the driver or ped. Rules need to be clear and agreed upon by everyone for them to work.

So get out there and change the law, design new Stop/Yield Signs and make society better. But don't go around breaking laws because you don't think they make sense and the damage you might do is minor and/or rare. If some biker runs down my kid at 41st and Ontario there will be One Less Biker, if you know what I mean...

Brian

Stump - I am not saying a biker hitting someone would cause as much damage as a car - I am saying a bike blowing a stop sign (at whatever speed) could cause as much damage - the distinction - that a biker may not see everything and not see a car coming that has right of way - and lo they see the cyclist at the last second, swerves and plows into the coffee shop on the corner killing untold millions of coffee beans and maybe a few humans. Like I said not probable, but possible.

And Brian said it best - don't like a law change it don't just ignore it. The rules are there for all to know and play by so we all can act appropriately and safely. Just like say helmets....

" that a biker may not see everything and not see a car coming that has right of way - and lo
they see the cyclist at the last second, swerves and plows into the coffee shop on the corner
killing untold millions of coffee beans and maybe a few humans. Like I said not probable, but
possible"

Oh please. And if Hercules had a Piper Cub? Let's stick to some semblance of reality. Would
that drivers actually DID swerve instead of hitting cyclists. It'd be a refreshing change IMO. I
invite you to find a single incident such as you describe.

Further, bad laws that haven't kept up with the times and/or victimless infractions are
routinely ignored by both citizens and the authorities. Would you recommend police ticket
every person who drives 10 km/h over the speed limit or charge every pot smoker at a rock
concert?

Brian is welcome to act as he sees fit. I'll do the same. If no harm comes from my actions I
don't believe I need act further. If I choose to become an advocate for legal change,
awesome, but behaving sensibly needn't and shouldn't come with compulsory political action.

"But if we all went around breaking laws that we didn't think were important, and we didn't
think would not hurt anyone too much or too often (remember that there is a chance that all
these bikers MIGHT hurt someone at some point while breaking this law) then we quickly
have chaos, which is bad for everyone"

See my comments above re: speeding. Happens all the time and yet we've managed to stave
off chaos to date.

"we didn't think would not hurt anyone too much or too often"

I'm not saying that. I'm talking about riding through an empty intersection in defiance of a
red light. An act 99.9999999% unlikely to hurt anyone. I like those odds. There's more danger
on an icy staircase. Maybe we should outlaw multi-floor buildings?

By your argument, the act of scootering straight when it's prohibited for all but bikes is just
as an egregious an offence. Pot meet kettle n'est -ce pas?

"Further, bad laws that haven't kept up with the times and/or victimless infractions are routinely ignored by both citizens and the authorities. Would you recommend police ticket every person who drives 10 km/h over the speed limit or charge every pot smoker at a rock concert? "

Yes to both - the law is the law - follow it - if you don't like it - fight it - that could include not to follow it but when you get fined/arrested go to court and fight the law - get the law overturned and if you fail in that then realize that it is the law, it has some reason behind it and following it is part of living in a communal society that requires the laws to stave of anarchy.

Look at New York - they started enforcing all of the petty crime and property crime laws and lo and behold crime of all types is down. It shows the people that you are serious about law and order when the minor crimes are dealt with. It may seem petty but the effect was enormous.

Ah yes, the so-called broken window effect. It was considered proof positive that police
crackdowns work but has since lost some of its lustre as further analysis showed it may not
be as effective as previously thought. Once again, Wikipedia is a good starting point to
understanding the debate... and the book "Freakanomics" also tackles some of the questions
regarding its purported benefits.

The law is designed to prevent cars from hitting each other, not cyclists. You might consider
how few stop signs you see along bike paths (not routes) as proof that bikers can work
without them.

Further, if you think cyclists behaving pragmatically can bring down chaos and anarchy... one
is left to ponder why the regular flouting of traffic laws by car drivers hasn't resulted in the
utter collapse of civilization.

"Because it's the law" is a terrible reason to obey authority. Laws need to be logical and
enforceable to be worthwhile. A rule preventing cyclists from riding thru empty intersections
fails on both counts.

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