Halloween is over
Tearing out my rose garden to put in a cemetery really cut into my free time. What with the zombies, skeletons, and electric chair, not to mention wiring fog machines and strobe lights, I haven’t had time to read much, let alone write. So I guess I better come up with something interesting.
I was going to write about the new Corima tubeless road bike wheel, then I realized that most people, outside a few hardcore roadies, will just yawn. So I’ve provided a link, and will move on to something more important.
I’ve been pondering this article for the last few days. For a lot of cyclists, Oregon is the yardstick by which all other cities can be measured when it comes to being bicycle-friendly. But I think they’re missing the mark with “bike boxes”. A little paint or thermoplastic isn’t going to do the job. Motorists are uneducated about cyclists rights, and this would only add to the confusion. They’re also too distracted these days. After handling auto claims for 10 years, I still have to wonder what people are doing that they can honestly say “I just didn’t see them” when they’re referring to the 4,500lb SUV they just crashed in to. If a motorist can’t be bothered to notice a Suburban next to them, a cyclist hasn’t got much of a chance.
On that note, cyclists could use a bit of education as well. Assuming that a motorist has seen them, or that they’ll give them a bit of room, has been a deadly mistake for too many cyclists. There is no way they should consider allowing a few markings on the road to be reason to let their guard down, even for a moment.
I’m curious to see if Portland comes up with a meaningful solution.
I think the plan is worth a try. Bike boxes seem to be successful in Europe and Canada, based on responses from folks who had actually used them, in this post on Bike Forums.
Of course, there was a lot of nay saying from others who are opposed to bike lanes in general but who had not had any real world experience with bike boxes. I think Portland should move ahead with a pilot program with a one year assessment with video cameras and questionnaires of those who use these intersections – both cyclists and motorists. There should be enough data gathered to decide whether to go ahead with more bike boxes or to remove the ones installed in the pilot project.
You are correct.There isn’t a white line or a bike box out there that should make a cyclist feel safe.
Much of the problem is in the psyche of people when they get behind the wheel.I’m in a minority here because I love both bikes and cars.I think that makes me a little more aware of cyclists as well as motorcyclists.Oh yea a lot of my friends have motorcycles and let me tell you they think the same thing the bicyclists do.
I get flack from both sides of the fence.
A lot of people behind the wheel I’m sorry to say just don’t get it.They think in terms of a minor low speed fender bender.
Since a lot of people aren’t involved with either a bicycle or motorcycle it doesn’t register to them that a split seconds distraction of their phone or whatnot, even at low speed is a death sentence to someone who isn’t strapped in and cocooned in two tons of steel.
There is nothing minor about death.
Forgot to add that I’ve seen public awareness TV commercials that make you more aware of trash not being in cans, speeding, speeding in a construction zone, and not wearing your seatbelt.
Now they have an AAA announcement of being more courteous when behind the wheel.
Where’s the commercial about sharing the road with cyclists???
I’ll bet that would be a short lived commercial when it needs to be a standard long term thing about sharing the road and increased awareness.
Showing the graphic results is a large attention getter but that’s just not considered polite so it would never happen.
But let me ask you this.
Just how polite is it being crushed to death by a vehicle???
I guess it’s all forgiven when you say oh I’m so sorry and it’ll never happen again.
I don’t see a lot of rudeness on the road, but I suspect that is because I ride so deliberately and visibly that I’m pretty hard to miss.
(I’m a cyclist, don’t own a car though I do borrow/rent one regularly for agricultural purposes; all my city transport is by bike.)
One thing I’ve noticed lately is that slow, signalled travel helps motorists see a cyclist. Also, my wife and I use our bells a lot, and sometimes it’s less of a warning and more of an aural “eye contact”– a way to let a motorist know that you see them, as well as a holler that they should see you. I have been using the bell subconsciously this way for a while but just noticed I was doing it yesterday.
As for bike boxes– they have their pros and cons, but the main thing is that bike boxes are the only logical way to have a bike lane meet an intersection. When I am using a bike lane I enter the main lane of traffic at an intersection and act “just like a car” until I am through the intersection. Bike boxes make this practice easier in some ways. What needs to happen is that there needs to be more than one in town (currently we have one in Portland that no one really knows what to do with). And perhaps an educational program when they install a whole patch of them.
Frankly though, with all the talk about different kinds of cycling facilities, I am often left thinking that the best “cycle track” or “bike lane” we could ask for already exists. It’s called a road, and we have an awful lot of them. I’ve been using roads to bicycle on with great success, after several decades of teaching myself how to cycle effectively in traffic.
If we lowered vehicle speeds and penalized private automobile use through congestion fees, taxes, and licensing incentives, these multi-use paths we call streets would be even more multi-useful. Then streets would be more valuable to all members of society instead of prioritizing those members of society who depend on motorized vehicles for transport.
Enjoy the ride,
“and penalized private automobile use through congestion fees, taxes, and licensing incentives, these multi-use paths we call streets would be even more multi-useful.”
You wouldn’t have a road to ride on if it weren’t for the motorized vehicles.
I hate to say it but if you want an even greater tax on “Private Vehicles” then you would have to include cyclists into that.
If you want to use the road, you should share in the burden of upkeep and improvements.
Every car is not the problem.It’s people in some cars.
Well, the frustration with the Portland Police Bureau (especially the Traffic Division) is peaking. In the comments section of this article, Portland’s own Joe Kurmanskie (author of Metal Cowboy and Momentum is Your Friend) has decided to do what he can to help bring atttention to this problem in the wake of the 2nd collision at N. Interstate and N. Greeley Aves. I would be very satisfied if he wrote something for Bicycling Magazing that embarassed the heck out of the PPB and the Mayor.