We need real bike paths for real bike transportation

09

Nov

We need real bike paths for real bike transportation

Here is the link to an interesting article I read this morning.

One part that came as no surprise: “A 2009 literature review of traffic safety studies looked at bicycle crashes and discovered that multi-use paths areĀ more dangerous to ride on than even major roads.”

Though I am not sure that launching on a vast infrastructure building campaign around bicycle superhighways is the way to go…especially as once they are built, some will want to make them toll bikeways – no doubt.

It seems to me that re-paving and re-striping roads to include space for bicycles is a more efficient way to go.

4 thoughts on - We need real bike paths for real bike transportation

  • Labann
    Nov 10, 2010 at 7:28 am

    "e-paving and re-striping roads to include space for bicycles is a more efficient way to go."

    ADA and Complete Streets are already law! That cities, states and towns in this region don't comply proves they and their planners are the scofflaws. Bad example from the top pads coffers with fines from following citizens. Stop driving altogether… not cheap or fun anymore.

    You should be able to ride from and to bikeways. The European model of 2-way bike-ped lanes alongside but separate from motorways (aka bike boulevard) is a good solution in crowded cities. Dedicated bikeways in suburbs makes more sense, since motorists tend to go faster despite de facto 25 mph limit. Rural roads see lighter traffic, so motorists can often pick up non-motorists at a safe distance; however, doesn't exonerate towns from adequate striping and decently maintained shoulders.

    About a month ago, commended work team in Lincoln who were trimming overhanging branches on Limerock Rd. to avoid hindering all road users. Home owners pay taxes to support such efforts, but they aren't always automatically performed without due diligence of both individuals and officials.

  • Labann
    Nov 12, 2010 at 8:46 am

    When Governor Elect Lincoln Chafee said, "I would continue to support biking… making our cities more bike-friendly. With new energy and health challenges on the horizon, I think biking has a great future in Rhode Island," apparently he didn't anticipate law enforcers using the fact that you need a commonly used bike rack on your motor vehicle to transport bicycles between state's widely separated bike facilities.

    State Statute 31-3-12 criminalizes carrying a bike on a rack at the front or rear of vehicle. Bad news for small businessmen who build, install or sell racks. Anything that obscures plate is cause for this citation.

    Thus charged, I just came from a morning in court. Judge maintained statute but dismissed charge and court cost. In other words, despite my photographic and written evidence (which they never bothered to look at), you, too, can lose a half day's pay for the innocuous infraction of transporting your bike.

    Statute does not define how much of license plate must be visible. In other states, violation occurs if 3 or more characters are obscured. Bumpers come standard with a place for tow ball. My narrow rack obscures less than a tow ball, obscures none when rack is removed. Was professionally mounted in bumper well by a local bike shop 10 years ago. Going to have to cut it off, since it's rusted on.

    One of my contacts at RIDOT said, "That is so ridiculous! I've never heard of any law against that… sounds like pure harassment to me." In fact, officer said right out it was retaliation for (politely) questioning him on another matter.

    Most RIPTA busses with bike racks similarly obscure plates even without bikes, but definitely with. Many state vehicles have sad hoppers, trailers and whatnot attached to rear.

    A representative of Saris Co. said, "I'm not sure the law enforcement's intentions with moving forward with this fine and mandatory court date. Perhaps … they have goals of moving forward with strict enforcements of rules of the road based on tight budgets, etc." This demystifies why some DUI and homicidal motorists never lose license: They first have to be charged locally; enforcement is uneven. In fact, while I was in court, judge did suspend a license of a Gloucester DUI motorist, accident resulting.

    Honorable Lincoln Chafee said, "I love to bike, and I’m glad to live in Rhode Island, where the natural beauty of the state can be enjoyed through its bike paths." But with this ruling, you better be prepared to ride to them, unless you install one of those backbreaking roof racks, or own a fuel guzzling minivan or SUV into which you can shove bike. I purchased my sedan with a caveat that it had a fold-down rear seat to enable putting bike in trunk. But now I can't use 2 of my 3 vehicles to carry bikes after spending hundreds.

    Perhaps this is just as well. Goes to show that driving is extremely inconvenient and probably should be avoided at all costs.

  • mattm
    Nov 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I found this quote more interesting in the context of the article:

    "Meanwhile, few are looking to the real culprit: the increasingly common practice of building transportation facilities that cannot safely or comfortably carry the planned types of traffic, promoting them heavily, and then accepting easy credit for providing bike routes without having to take the political risks of encroaching on the vast amounts of roadways reserved for cars."

    Unfortunately, people perceive themselves to be safer when they are isolated from automobile traffic, despite all of the design issues and risk resulting from being multi-use.

    As to on-road accommodation, Labann has it right, different levels of road should receive different levels of treatment based on available space and traffic load. In Rhode Islands case, this really means making sure that our urban highways that directly link neighborhoods, and are frequently the only routes available, accomodate people on bicycles.

    Unfortunately, there are no teeth to the complete streets law as passed in RI in 1997 and in City of Newport more recently. The criteria is essentially up to the planners to decide was is implementable, possible and affordable. They direct planners to include bicycles in planning and design, but do not make any statement about when it is appropriate or oversight, which is why it is imperative that we take on the role of diligent public to continually make sure the bicycle and pedestrian use is considered and implemented. (the RIGL is 31-18-21) http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/statutes/title31/31-

  • Nov 17, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Meanwhile, cycling rapidly loses bikenet to bad planning and stealing shoulders, while courts uphold rulings that favor motoring. I've long held this is a total OUTRAGE, but in the many forums in which I participate globally, few share my concerns, as exhaustively expressed in Bike&Chain. It is not stupidity. It is intentional and subtle tyranny.