Absurd Hair Splitting Continues Part I

Here we go again.

LTRs, this is a total waste of time so you may safely skip.

First of all, I really would like Cycling Savvy to succeed. I really do hope that each United States city is a VC utopia with at least 30% of its citizens riding where they are “respected and expected”. I hope that everyone always obeys the laws. I hope that we solve global warming, that we stop being so selfish and greedy, and that they will make a season 9 of Entourage.

But let’s deal with reality.

Before going further, I have to say that I love and respect Ted Rogers and can only think good of him. He’s a bigger person than me which is why he allowed this post:


“On this site, Ted Rogers wrote: “A St. Louis cycling instructor claims that bike lanes are dangerous with no evidence to back it up.”

With lightning speed these words made their way to me (that instructor). I was indignant. I never said that bike lanes are dangerous. I said that riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic. I complained to Ted that he misquoted me.”

Note, the misdirection? The argument is over a crack in the sidewalk. Does it really matter if bike lanes are actually dangerous or _riding_ in bike lanes is dangerous as for normal people the two statements are equivalent. To say otherwise is an insult to Ted. Ted didn’t mean that if I stand next to a bike lane, the asphalt will rear up and eat me.

Note that we are far away from the original point which is that Karen didn’t have to prove her point!

We don’t see an evidence that _riding_ (emphasis mine) in a bike lane is dangerous.

Next statement:

“As I’m sure is true for all of your readers, I was heartbroken when I learned of the death last December of Milton Olin Jr., the entertainment industry executive who was struck and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on routine patrol. Milton Olin was riding in a bike lane on Mulholland Highway.”

Note the appeal to emotion?

The clock is ticking and we still have not seen the evidence that Ted had asked for.

“We need to recognize a simple fact about bike lanes. They tend to make the people in them irrelevant to other traffic. When you are not in the way, you are irrelevant. At low speed differentials, irrelevancy might be OK. But at high speed differentials, the slightest motorist error can be devastating.”

I can be, but how often?

Again, we have to know whether you’d be more likely to be killed by a car while in the travel lane than in the bicycle lane. This does not answer this question.

Also, notice the strange usage of the “irrelevant”? Emotional manipulation. Not stopping the flow of traffic makes you safer not irrelevant. We are talking about safety, but instead of answering a simple question with a peer reviewed study or ten they begin to repurpose the English language. Not a very efficient use of space and time…

“The last place a cyclist should be irrelevant is on a high-speed arterial road.”

Now that we have established a specious and emotionally driven use of the word, we begin to use it to bludgeon our opponents.

“On roads with good sight lines—typical of most arterial roads—cyclists who control their travel lanes are seen by motorists from 1,280 feet away. Cyclists who ride on the right edge of the road—where most bike lanes are—are not seen by motorists until they are very nearly on top of them—about 140 feet away.”

This is bullshit. Every motorist is different. They have different reaction times and abilities. There are many motorists on wide, high speed road that I do not see and they are in cars. If I can’t see a large car, how am I going to see a small cyclist?

So, behind the wheel of a car, this is totally false for me. I will not have the time to stop if someone gets in my way while traveling at 50 MPH.

I’m guessing they are going to tell me that they are now better experts on my vision than i am. Haha.

“Most of them, however, don’t believe us—until we take them out on the road and show them.”

How can you show me my own visual abilities? Climb inside my head and look out of my eyes?

When traveling at high speeds in a car, I can’t see small things, like bicycles, in front of me.

“I would rather give those motorists the opportunity to see me from a quarter-mile away, rather than 140 feet!”

Apples and oranges.

If you are in the travel lane, you are going to need every motorist to see you. Thus, you are going to be biased towards studies that show that motorists can see far ahead and dismiss people like me who tell you flat out that while eating and driving, I can barely pay attention to what’s in front of me.

I someone is in the bike lane, I just need to keep my car going straight and I don’t notice him! Whether I see the cyclist or not to protect him is IRRELEVANT. Haha. I used the word a different way.

“Being “in the way” works. Even the multi-tasking French fry eaters change lanes to pass.”

Except when they don’t. Ted had all ready said above that his experience is different. Instead of LISTENING to what the man says, we argue.

Also, note the clock is ticking away. Original question is long forgotten:

Is “riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic?”

Distraction disinformation campaign is a success.

But we keep plowing forward:

“Last fall one of my favorite arterial roads was put on a “road diet” and striped with bike lanes.”


[Picture truck blocking bike lane.]

“Does this bike lane look encouraging? People who are afraid to ride in traffic don’t want to ride here, either.”

Notice that this is a total distraction. First, they complain that bike lanes, I mean _riding_ in bike lanes, are dangerous. Then they complain that the bike lanes that they don’t ride in are always blocked. Who cares?

It’s like saying that I had chicken and when I go out to eat they are always out of chicken.

Next we start up the whole noise about the few times they rode in bike lanes and were almost killed.

By this time, anyone who was mildly curious about riding a bicycle, in a bike lane, from home to work has changed channels. Those who actually ride in bike lanes are shaking with anger due to lack of empathy from the VC POV as well as disbelief that someone can be so callous and stupid at the same time. Finally, the masses of VC DBs are shaking their head and doing that “um hum” noise like they’re in church.

OK, here’s some more:

“We cannot ignore the danger of getting “doored,” another terrible feature of many urban bike lanes. Keri Caffrey has done a brilliant job illustrating the reality of space in a typical bike lane.”

This is funny b/c of this quote from the other “co-founder”:

“Dooring is a relatively rare event in metro Orlando, as there are relatively few commercial arterials and collectors with parallel, on-street parking. Most of our area developed during the 70s, 80s and 90s when on-street parking was not considered to be a normal (let alone desirable) street function. I can only think of three doorings (that I’ve been made aware of) in my 27 years here. One in which I witnessed the aftermath (cyclist on the pavement, with fortunately minor injuries). Another reported to me by the victim (who did not report it to the police) that took place in a door-zone bike lane (also minor injuries). The third involved a passenger-side door opening into that same door-zone bike lane (which was reported to the police).”


So coming from Orlando this is a bit strange. One might suggest that they are over stating the risk of dooring to scare people to riding in the middle of the lane.

Using fear to get people to act and think like you want them to, hmmm, where did I see this before? 🙂

More nonsense:

“Traffic engineers would not dream of manufacturing conflict between two lanes of motor vehicle traffic by placing a right-turn lane to the left of a through lane. Why is this acceptable when one of the lanes is for bicyclists?”

There are many collisions between automobiles per year. I am not sure if a traffic engineer would admit to “manufacturing conflict” but, sigh, this emotional language is par for course for VCism.

“An engineer friend who is painfully aware of the quandary presented by bike lane design argues that municipalities have a responsibility to warn users of their unintended risks, much as the pharmaceutical industry already does regarding the potential side effects of their products.”

Yet more nonsense since the biggest killer for those under 34 years old are motor vehicles and we don’t (yet) see warning labels on them.

Also, a flawed analogy which implies that riding in a bicycle lane is actually as acceptable as taking medication from a drug company which is the opposite of the above thesis.

Also, after all this verbosity, I don’t see a link to a third party study which was the whole point of this article.

“When we are on roads with bike lanes, being aware of the “platoon effect” allows us to use the regular travel lane and ride happily along at our normal speeds. We typically cover a city block or two without having any motor traffic behind us. When a platoon approaches, we move over to the bike lane and go slow, very slow if it’s a door-zone bike lane. It takes only a few seconds for the platoon to pass.”

But I thought that they ignored bike lanes? Now they actually have a use for them. And also, if they are an expected part of traffic why are they ever leaving the safety of the high speed travel lane for the perils of a bicycle lane? This contradicts the whole thesis above.

“Because bicycling is very safe, accidents are rare, even in bike lanes.”

Hey, I agree! Probably because we have no agreed upon definition for “safe” but still, I do agree.

“But the next time you hear about a motorist hitting a cyclist, pay attention to the details. Where was the cyclist on the roadway? Was the cyclist on the right edge of the road?”

Probably because almost nobody “takes the lane” on a high speed road around here. Thus, it’s unlikely they were foolish enough to sit in the travel lane. This does not mean that the travel lane is safer but rather that statistically, if there’s something that almost nobody does then there would be unlikely for people do die doing so. My rabbit foot works the same way. Because nobody else replaced their helmet with a rodent’s foot, statistically it appears that rabbit feet are safer than helmets. Total nonsense.

“We who care about bicycling want more people to choose bicycling, especially for transportation.”

Awesome. Then we should build dedicated infrastructure.

“But how do we get there? Professor Andy Cline argues that we are making a grave mistake in our attempts to channelize and “segregate” cyclists from motorists. Indeed, as we are reframing U.S. roadways to accommodate bicycling, he warns that we must avoid “surrendering our streets.” This is what we are doing when we ask for cycletracks or special paint markings on the edge of the road.”

This cow left the barn long ago. We have seen examples of many people using sweet infrastructure, but I have not seen their goal working anywhere.

[Photo of douchy family deliberately blocking traffic just–well just because.]

The above photo will only irritate and anger those who motor but are sympathetic to cycling. But hey, they have the “right to the road” so let’s assert it.

I liked their “allowing people to pass” stuff above. From the photo it seems impossible for motorists to pass safely. But then again, what do I know. I am unlicensed in their cycling stuff and I have poor eyesight.

OK, I’m stopping here. There are about 40 more pages. I’ll deal with this another time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: