Sustainable Safety: Cycling Homogeneity

We all know that I can talk about Sustainable Safety (pdf) all day.

So I will.

One of the principles is “homogeneity of masses and/of speed and direction.”

In plain English this means that we should keep all the big and fast vehicles together as well as all the slow and small ones.

The end result is safety, efficiency, and comfort.

I know that this sounds like common sense, but there are many people who miss out on this one.

Both of these come from my hero, at BikingLA.

The first one was a prank where some high school seniors rode their bicycles to school.

We are going back and forth about whether they should have been punished or not. The most messed up thing is that we are missing the bigger issue on the problems that it caused.

Here we have sixty cyclists who “took the lane”. It ended up pissing some people off including the principle. I have some sympathy for her because she wants to run a school and sixty cyclists really gummed things up.

This is one reason why I suggest to NOT take the lane. Ride in the door zone or side walk to let traffic through. I have no illusions that we can change people’s minds about cycling, but at the same time, do we have to hurt people for no reason? No.

Plus, they said it was a prank which set the frame for them getting punished.

I think that cycling should be a normal part of a school kids experience and not a “prank”. But if it is, we have to look into whether we should accommodate them. I suggest a cycle track.

Now they are talking about her losing her job. Really not worth some VC nonsense style pranks.

Second we have the problem of cyclists “buzzing” others who use a multi-use path. Again, the problem is not addressed at all which is that a multi-use path is not suitable for training at high speeds. We need to go slower on these things.

I have been saying this for years, a multi-use path is great, but it’s NOT cycling infrastructure. We need our own separate locations with NO dog walkers. This means building a separate path for dog walkers.

Building two paths instead of one will save a lot of money because it will accommodate far more people who will save thousands on car payments (see my post on cycling getting us into the middle class).

Anyway, the point is that a multi-use path costs should not count as money spent on cycling. This is why I say that they spend NO money on cycling in San Diego. It’s ALL shared space.

I can ride just fine on a multi-use path. I slow down for the dogs and the moms with their strollers. I’ll walk my bike to make people not feel threatened. But again this is not an ideal situation, and I’m all about things getting better forever.

The take home message is that if we want to really spend our tax dollars efficiently, we need to make some bicycle only infrastructure which is modified for higher speed cyclists, preferably one way. That way we can accommodate these road users.

So here’s a puzzler: “:As a friend of mine said, if enough people take the lane, what’s different about taking the lane and making it a permanent cycle track?*” (Answer at bottom).

I’m glad the seniors rode to school ONE TIME IN THEIR WHOLE LIVES. It would have been better for their health and the local economy, however, if they had build a cycle track so they could ride daily.

* Answer to puzzler: Nothing.


5 Responses to “Sustainable Safety: Cycling Homogeneity”

  1. Richard Masoner (@cyclelicious) Says:

    Here’s the road those kids rode on — it’s a rural two lane. Bikes are traffic, especially when they outnumber the cars.

    • Fred Says:

      According to the Cross study, all of which VC dom is based upon, rural roads are especially deadly.

      Many “take the laners” remove rural roads deaths from their data.

      We all agree, no shoulder is a deadlier road. That’s a fact.

      I am starting to side more and more with the principal; this is manufactured outrage.

  2. Fred Says:

    Here’s a quote from John Allen:

    “Yes, getting rear-ended on rural roads is a major cause of fatalities. It is not the major cause of fatalities in urban areas.”

    Note how broad these sentences are. They give no time period, they don’t define urban and rural and they act as if all rural areas are similar to all other rural areas.

    This is almost total nonsense because it’s too vague to be true in all cases.

    However, he still does understand that there is a big risk on rural roads in general.

    From his original study:

    “…no doubt that the likelihod of sustaining fatal injuries is greater for accidents that occur in rural areas.”

    Also, read the type 13 accident from the Cross study, and please no more VC nonsense.

    Let’s not equate things, but give facts.

    “Bike are traffic” is a meaningless phrase because it sets two things equal to another, but tells us nothing about the real world.

    1. People were inconvenienced thus cementing in people’s minds that bikes create trouble for roadway users. In this case, they created unnecessary delays.

    2. Rural roads* are deadly for riding.

    3. Shoulder riding is much safer.

    * See Cross for definitions.

  3. bikinginla Says:

    Thanks for the kind comment. You leave me at a loss for words; which my wife can assure you does not happen often.

    Keep up the great work.

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