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Thread: The Lounge of Terrestrial Wheelmen

  1. #4791
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    We've basically got one bike path in this part of town. It's okay, but there are tons of busy street crossings with lights that are calibrated to favor the crossing motor vehicle traffic instead, and you constantly have to be watching out for people trying to turn across your path. Also, despite lines painted on the path, people just walk wherever on it so you're constantly dodging other people on there.

    The ones in Vancouver often tended to be grade separated from both vehicle traffic but also pedestrian traffic, and were well signed. When they went away, I couldn't believe I saw official traffic signs telling cyclists to take the lane, and another street where there was a short stretch without a path had signage saying it was illegal to pass cyclists there. There was a great path that ran along the waterfront, and then *another* great path that was the "seaside bypass" right by it if you wanted a more express, not quite as pretty route. Also out here, any time things get slightly complicated, our traffic engineers just throw the bike lane/path out. There's one intersection on my way in that, rather than make it a single crossing to continue on the path, you have to make two crossings across wide streets and, depending on your timing, that can actually mean waiting through at least one and a half full light cycles, and that's if the light even changes for you (you have to hit the pedestrian walk signal that often doesn't work), all to make sure that it doesn't slow down the cars at all.

    There was an overall feeling to Vancouver's bike network that it was designed to actually get people on bikes around easily and with minimal stress and get them where they need to go, and a willingness to tell drivers that they need to be patient and inconvenience them at times. You don't get that here.

  2. #4792
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    In Waterloo (Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario) where I am, they've decided they need physical barriers on at least some streets. Currently these are all basically in the experimental stage, although I think there's a lot of political interest behind the experiment.

    First ones I saw were three foot steel poles with some reflective material on them, maybe ten feet apart. To discourage either type of vehicle from trespassing into the other's lane, wedges made from a rubberish material, about two feet long, also with reflective stripes, were placed non-continously between those poles. The particular street had previously had no bicycle lanes at all, but with two full lanes each way, I claim I would have felt comfortable riding there, being careful to watch for people making a right-hand turn across me into the plaza (but actually they'd probably first move into the right hand lane and block me).

    So now the road has been reduced to one car lane each way, with a central left-turn lane. In a car, you are forced by the barriers to turn into the plaza at the last minute, making it more likely you will cut off a cyclist. (Of course, all along, a sidewalk check was necessary as you went into the entrance). (Actually, on primarily Saturday afternoons, I've never seen bicycles using those new lanes, and very rarely saw any one the road previous to the changes).

    On other streets in Waterloo where I live and work, near the universities in particular, they've decided the base barrier needs to be concrete blocks like those used in parking lots, placed continuously. As I walked to work today along part of the current experiment, I saw something very bad. They had not added the vertical poles yet, nor even spiked the blocks into the ground. At one point two successive blocks had either been hit by motor vehicles, or moved by vandals, such that they actually blocked off the bicycle lane, certainly at a reasonable cycling speed.

    They have similar issues with forcing motorists to leave their turn into the plaza till the last minute, although they probably force that turn to be slower too. The laws never officially permitted merging into the bicycle lane before turning unless it was a stretch with broken lines. But, as a cyclist, I would prefer motorists to do that rather than leave their intention to the last minute.

    I would say the use of those bicycle lanes has decreased during the time of the changes, but it is mid-fall and lots of people are deciding that it's too cold to bicycle to school anymore for the year. There are alleged plans to keep the lanes clear year-round, but I find that actually difficult to imagine. The main road ploughs have no option but to dump onto the bike lane. So is some little clearer machine going to come down the bike lane at the same time? (Perhaps making an even worse than normal mess of the sidewalk...)

    Edit: Oh yes. It seems obvious to me the separation will also increase the tendency of car drivers to pull over the bike lane as they try to exit from a driveway.
    Last edited by SportWagon; October 21st, 2019 at 12:55 PM.

  3. #4793
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    Generally the idea of the last minute cutover is that a) people tend to slow down more for a sharper turn and b) you're already rotated more before crossing the bike path, which increases the chances that you'll see a cyclist coming out of your peripheral vision. There were a lot of people worried about that becoming a hazard when they did a parking protected lane here in Los Angeles, but it's cut down significantly on right-hook crashes from what I gather.

  4. #4794
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    I sort of think here there's bad execution of an okay principle. I saw more barriers askew this morning as I drove to work. I pulled my car into Mel's Diner, across the bike lane; the car lane I was in is too narrow to be sideways before you start crossing; the check needs to be very consciously made. I saw no cyclists this morning, but did need to wait for several pedestrians on the sidewalk. When there are cyclists, hopefully what *I* will do is slow to their pace before reaching the driveway.

    Cars pulling out across the lane, either during a traffic gap and blocking cyclists, or carelessly pulling in front of moving cyclists, seems a real possibility. I left via an exit on a street perpendicular to the one I had entered from. It has normal bicycle lanes. I don't think it's actually on the "Master Plan" although it's a long time bicycle route from years ago. Many pedestrians walking through the parking lot, some wanting to cross the street, basically kept me alert.

    I think adding a painted side buffer to a bicycle lane makes a very significant difference. The bicycle lanes on the actual downtown street (King Street) are absurd; hard to distinguish from sidewalks, but it's become more of a pedestrian mall. I never rode on King Street more than perhaps a block, anyway. And I have no interest in meandering on my bicycle at a near walking pace now.

    I just hope they leave the parallel wide two-lane relief semi-artery alone. I remember once noticing a breaking cable while on the other side of town, coming in to town, riding to that secondary road, and coming back to the bicycle store on the main street. It's just the more reasonable route to take, even though arguably going all the way along King Street was more direct. And it's the start and end of nearly all, if not all, of my bicycle rides.

    Much ado is made about a 6-year old's near brush with a truck on the downtown King Street bike lanes. In fact, from pictures of the incident all that happened was the truck pulled onto the bicycle lane, well ahead of the young cyclist, and parked. Now the truck wasn't supposed to park there, but portraying the incident as a near-brush is disingenuous. As a cyclist, you stop and decide what to do. (Probably go around it on the sidewalk, either walking or riding slowly).

    Bicycle lanes with a painted buffer seem to work well, and, from a cyclist's point-of-view allow for easy departure in case of any number of temporary or more-long term emergencies. One road I regularly ride to get out-of-town was for a long time marked as only a single lane each way, although it was fully wide enough for parking also. They added bicycle lanes, with the buffer marking as an after-thought. It was mostly fine before the bicycle lanes. And you weren't departing from a bicycle lane if a car was parked on the side of the road (they still do park on the bicycle lanes occasionally, and I think they are allowed to). But all-in-all I still find that street alright. It's mostly light traffic. I did observe a weird thing early one morning. It was near rush hour as I was coming back, and traffic was stop-and-go at the traffic light. They kept out of the bicycle lane, and I was able to make good progress. Naturally, I backed off a little out of caution. Even then, though, I realized you are vulnerable to a collision as you cross an intersection. I think that's more-or-less what happened to DrMekon. Though I'm not sure a bicycle lane was involved in DrMekon's case; anytime you end up able to pass stopped cars, you need to be careful. And before the bicycle lane, as traffic slowed drivers might have started creating two motor lanes, which would have been a different sort of problem for me to negotiate.

    One problem on that street now is homeowners raking their leaves over the bike lanes.
    Last edited by SportWagon; October 22nd, 2019 at 10:10 AM.

  5. #4795
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    Is Faulty Mario the "Sergio" we see on Strava?

  6. #4796

  7. #4797
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    A tourist from South Korea, who was riding across the US, was killed today just near my house by a delivery van. Police: "The driver has not been charged at this time."

    A local cycling buddy, who is very active in the cycling community, let him sleep and shower at his house last night.

  8. #4798
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    Ugh. We've had this big rash of hit-and-runs out here as well, there was just one yesterday down in Santa Ana.

  9. #4799
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    That reminds me, had a discussion on Reddit where I was telling people that, as a general rule, the LAPD/CHP won't actually go after a hit-and-run driver if you can't actually identify the person who was in the car. I based this off my own experiences, both being rear-ended on the 405 by a 911, going to the CHP, and being told that the owner of the car said it wasn't him driving and he doesn't know who was, and then multiple times where I'd have egregious things done by drivers that I caught on a GoPro but you only have a license plate. Nobody believed I was right, but we just had a situation where a driver came flying down the wrong side of the street and hit a cyclist head on, then took off. The entire thing was recorded by someone's doorbell camera.

    The car was dropped off at a Glendale body shop for severe front end damage. Owner of the body shop recognized the car from the footage shown on the news and called LAPD. They're now asking if there are any witnesses because "the owner of the vehicle isn't cooperating."

    That law needs to change, and change now. If you are the registered owner of a vehicle and either didn't report the vehicle stolen or can show that it was stolen (I get that you might not realize a car was stolen in the middle of the night and can't report it stolen until the morning when you wake up and it's not there), then either you name who was driving your car or you are responsible. Given that the police *never* enforce window tinting laws out here means that all the douchebags in Beverly Hills with nearly blacked out windows are essentially able to do whatever they want unless an officer witnesses it and pulls them over immediately.

    It's goddamn infuriating.

  10. #4800
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    Because those fucking cyclists, AMIRITE?

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