Raintree21

Charlotte trying to be more bike friendly

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Bicycles are very dangerous on sidewalks.  They are not designed for them, especially if two meet headon and the poor pedestrian would be required to jump into the road in many cases to avoid being hit by one.  This is why riding a bike on a sidewalk is illegal in most cases. 

Bikes should be on the road and subject to the same laws that govern other traffic because everyone is safer in the long run when it is handled this way.  But as I mentioned earlier, individuals consider the roads their own private property and bicycles need not apply.

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that just sounds absurd, to say that bikes on sidewalks are more dangerous than when they are mixed with suvs, motorcyles, dumptrucks, 18 wheelers, etc.

however, i will agree that in major urban areas with high pedestrian traffic, bikes on sidewalks are bad. In the Charlotte or Raleigh suburbs, the sidewalk is fine, works for me!

i would also piggy back and say that cyclists seem to consider the road their own property

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sidewalks with no people are safe for bikes and gocarts.

streets with no cars are safe for pedestrians, and kids playing hopscotch.

freeways with no cars are safe for trucks going 100mph.

:)

Bicyclists are following the law when they ride on the street or road, and not following the law when they are on the sidewalk, even when there aren't people. i think no one would argue with using the sidewalk in that scenario, but the law says that is not how it is supposed to work.

I think, for the most part, the legislature is to blame, as they made the rules that sidewalks aren't for bikes, but then shirked responsibility to pay for bike lanes or enough width to make it safe to mix with cars. But that is the way it is... if there are no left turn lanes, you must wait for a car turning left to make the turn before moving on.... if there are no bike lanes, you must wait until you can pass, before moving on. If there is no room to pass, then honk to scare the hell out of the biker, and then move on :).

and how can you tell that bicyclist thinks a road is their property when you drive by them... that is just nutty :).

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"Whats wrong with the damn sidewalk? I always ride on the sidewalk. no one outside of dt uses them anyway. "

The sidewalk is VERY dangerous, and illegal, for cyclists. One of the major issues is that cars illegally pull through the sidewalk when leaving a shopping center in order to be able to see road traffic easier. Many cyclists are injured by cars that are pulled too far. Sidewalks are also not continuous meaning that they have to merge in and out of traffic many times, increasing the risk of collision.

More bike lanes and traffic enforcement/slowing is the solution. Cyclists and motorists who break the law (running stop signs, speeding, tailgating, agressive driving etc.) need to be ticketed.

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"that just sounds absurd, to say that bikes on sidewalks are more dangerous than when they are mixed with suvs, motorcyles, dumptrucks, 18 wheelers, etc."

according the League of American Cyclists, you are 17 times more likely to be involved in an accident when riding on the sidewalk as opposed to the road.

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If bicylists have to follow the same laws as cars do, what about the MINIMUM speed limit?

Along the same line, if a driver has to be 16 to get a limited license, 18 to drive alone, how can a bicylist ride on the same road if they're under the same age limits? ;) Or I guess to make a better argument, do you expect an 8 year old to ride on the street since bikes are illegal on sidewalks?

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"If bicylists have to follow the same laws as cars do, what about the MINIMUM speed limit?"

Bicycles are not allowed on roads with minimum speed limits. Luckily I have not seen a single stretch of road in Charlotte with a minimum speed limit.

"Along the same line, if a driver has to be 16 to get a limited license, 18 to drive alone, how can a bicylist ride on the same road if they're under the same age limits? wink.gif"

Because you are being licensed to operate a motor vehicle, not to gain access to the roads.

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I am reprinting these facts from Self-Propelled City for your enjoyment.

________________________________________________________________________________

______________________

Half of all travel in America is three miles or under - within easy biking distance for many people.

The American family spends roughly 20 percent of its annual income on transportation.

While Americans take only 5 percent of their trips on foot, Europeans and Japanese take 20 to 50 percent of their trips on foot.

Nationally, 70 percent of all state and local law enforcement activities are expended on traffic management issues and 20 percent of state budgets are eaten up by cars.

Each year 43,000 Americans die in motor vehicle-related accidents and another 2 million people suffer disabling injuries. One-fifth of the 43,000 killed each year are pedestrian and bicyclists.

The gas tax covers only 60 percent of our road costs. (the rest of the money is coming out of everyone's taxes, even if you don't own a car)

Bicycles are a highly efficient alternative to cars. Bicycles require only 22 calories per passenger kilometer, compared to rail at 549 calories per passenger kilometer and cars at a staggering 1,153 calories per passenger kilometer.

Bicycles exceed ownership of autos worldwide.

The story of the bicycle movement from the 1970s to today is that many excellent plans have not been implemented. Former president Carter encouraged pro-bike legislation, much of which died in Congress. When Reagan took office in 1979, a new study done under his administration entitled "Transportation Policies through the Year 2000" does not mention the word bicycle once in its 527 pages. All federal pro-bike programs were wiped out with the argument that oil had become cheap again.

Bike theft is increasing three times as fast as other larcenies in cities.

A 1973 federal government study proposed that the Department of Transportation establish a permanent, centralized Bureau of Bicycle Transportation to organize and direct bicycle related matters and to offset the influence of the auto and oil industry. It was never created.

Americans pay $85 billion each year in benefits for free parking, instead of encouraging businesses to give rebates to workers who arrive on foot, on bike, or use mass transit.

The typical cost for a regular commuter to own and operate a bicycle in the U.S. is $20-$300/yr. The typical cost to own and operate a car: $3,303-$6,523/yr.

The fact that autos hold more than one person is practically irrelevant since urban autos average about 1.3 passengers per vehicles.

The avg. transportation velocity of city buses is 13 mph.

Every bike rider not only removes a car from the road but also frees a park-and-ride space; a bike rack costs $250, a parkind lot $20,000 per space to build.

Every year we "invest" $25 billion of federal taxes in auto-dominated transportation.

A billion dollars invested in mass transit produces 7,000 more jobs than does the same amount spent on road construction.

In built-up areas of the country, we devote more land to our cars than to our homes, wrapping the nation in 38.4 million acres of roads and parking lots, a vast blanket of concrete as big as Rwanda.

Number of bikes that fit in one car parking lot space is 14.

The bicycle as an urban vehicle offers: no pollution, less congestion, quieter streets, and a healthier populace.

in northeast San Francisco, there are 117 households per residential acre; 83 retail and service jobs per acre; and people drive an average of 2,670 miles per capita per year. In the San Francisco suburbs of San Ramon and Danville, there are 3.8 households per residential acre; 0.4 retail and service jobs per acre; and people drive an average of 10,000 miles per capita per year.

People with autos make about 1,000 round trips under five miles per year. Average velocity for short trip urban driving is under 20 mph.

Suburban sprawl results in higher infrastructure costs as budget-stressed local governments must provide services - not only roads but also sewers, water pipes, and utility lines - to larger geographic areas. Taxes are forced up as a result of such growth, putting economic pressure particularly on fixed-income residents and often forcing them to move.

Light rail is more cost-effective than freeway construction. Estimates for urban freeway constuction range as high as $1 billion per mile, while new light rail costs only $10 to $16 million per mile.

Use of rail encourages development to be more compact, generally in nodes around rail stops. This results in more efficient land use, preservation of farmland, a more cost-effective infrastructure, and conservation of energy.

A moratorium on new roads and parking lots can spark a renaissance in our now-decaying towns and cities by redirecting development and investment to existing urban centers. Employment would soar to refurbish old buildings, depave areas for gardens and parks, and creating infrastructure for bicycling, walking, and rail trolley transit.

In Africa, between 60 and 80% of urban dwellers use some form of public transport, walk, or use bicycles. A similar situation exists in Asia. Source: The World Bank

In American cities, close to half of all urban space goes to accommodate the automobile, leaving more land devoted to cars than to housing.

In a single second America's cars and trucks travel another 60,000 miles, use up 3,000 gallons of petroleum products, and add 60,000 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

A person cycling along a busy street is exposed to higher levels of pollution than the general ambient air of the city because of particulate matter kicked up by car tires and circulated by air turbulence and from car exhaust. And since cyclists are exercising and elevating both their pulse rates and respiration, they are more susceptible to these relatively high levels of roadside air pollutants than the general pedestrian.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, six of the seven chief air pollutants come from automobiles.

Motor-vehicle generated ozone costs us an estimated $9 billion per year in health costs, lost labor hours and reduced agricultural revenues.

Motor-vehicles are the biggest single source of atmospheric pollution worldwide. Automotive fuels account for 17% of global carbon dioxide releases, 2/3 as much as rainforest destruction. Motor-vehicle air-conditioners in the U.S. are the world's single largest source of CFC leakage into the atmosphere, and subsequent destruction of the ozone layer.

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If bicylists have to follow the same laws as cars do, what about the MINIMUM speed limit?

There is no minimum speed limit in NC that I'm aware of. I do believe there is one in SC but you don't see it posted as much anymore.

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These are from Cary, NC's "laws"

I. Legal Status of Bicycle Operators

All persons have an equal right to use public streets for travel. The North Carolina vehicle code assigns bicyclists all of the rights and responsibilities of drivers of vehicles operating in travel lanes on highways.

Edited by Raintree21

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I joined the cycling community last night by purchasing my first bike (well, at least one that didn't say "Huffy" on it. I purchased a Gary Fisher Marlin, odometer, water bottle (etc.), bike rack for my car, helmet and a pair of gloves. I'm excited about getting to ride and my only wish now is that I lived closer to work so I could bike instead of take my car, LOL!

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I joined the cycling community last night by purchasing my first bike (well, at least one that didn't say "Huffy" on it.  I purchased a Gary Fisher Marlin, odometer, water bottle (etc.), bike rack for my car, helmet and a pair of gloves.  I'm excited about getting to ride and my only wish now is that I lived closer to work so I could bike instead of take my car, LOL!

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Where did you buy it? At Ultimate Bicycle in Matthews?

GREAT choice in bikes BTW. :)

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Where did you buy it?  At Ultimate Bicycle in Matthews?

GREAT choice in bikes BTW.  :)

I bought it from Bike Line at University since it's the closest bike shop where I work. Glad it was a good choice of bikes! They had just gotten that bike in earlier yesterday and had taken it out for a spin and said it rode very well so I trusted their expertise.

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Riding in Charlotte is scary. Having lived in Boston for several years where my bike was my primary means of transportation, I am comfortable riding in heavy traffic (as comfortable as you can be with it). My biggest gripe with city riding in S. Charlotte is that there are no shoulders to ride on. I've ridden a couple of blocks on Park Rd but that is as far as I'll go. All other travel involves routes through neighborhoods, etc. I've never been one for riding my bike in the same lanes as vehicles, especially w/the speed limits down here. Too dangerous.

A couple of points -

1. Although riding on the sidewalk is illegal down here, there are exceptions if riding on the road is deemed too dangerous.

2. Riding on the road is absolutely the right of bicyclists, as our tax dollars also pay for road maintenance and construction. Bikes cause a lot less wear and tear on roads than do big trucks w/4 wheels in the back ;), so next time you pass a bicyclist, give him a nod of thanks for preserving the road for your suspension.

3. The thing that I think a lot of drivers don't get is how much fun bicycling is. You're totally self sufficient, don't have to worry about running out of gas, don't need to worry about any huge repair bill, insurance, etc. Its good exercise and a great stress reliever when going to and from work. Yeah, the rain sucks and I'm not advocating bikes for all travel but for short trips or errands its totally the way to go. Oh, and parking...piece of cake. I pull right up to the front of most places I'm going and lock er' up.

4. As a bicyclist, you've got to respect all traffic laws. I stop at all red lights, give hand signals (the kind where you point where you're going)...all that. Otherwise, people just don't respect you on the road and thats when you can get hurt. I cringe when I watch cyclists burn red lights because it gives us all a bad rap.

Edited by BlueBear

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This is getting off-topic, but I ride my bike a lot in Raleigh. It's my primary means of transportation here. Raleigh is nationally infamous for being unfriendly to bicyclists, thanks to Satan (cough) I mean Clear Channel Communications and our friends down at G105. In spite of that reputation, things are actually quite pleasant, and I've put about 1000 miles on my bike since I bought an odometer in January - all of them commuting, running errands, or just touring the town. Were it not for a few impatient jackasses who need to go back to driving school and attend anger management classes, people generally seem to respect my right to be on the road.

I try to stay out of the way of the flow of traffic whenever possible, but I assert my right to take up a whole lane when things get narrow and/or unsafe. The greenways and bike paths that have begun to spring up are nice, but there are a number of "trouble spots" - where they are running parallel to a major road, but have to go across a curb cut or a minor road. 95% of these people coming out from these curb cuts ignore the bike pathand automatically pull right up to the intersection, rather than stopping at the stop sign like they're supposed to. People turning right on red do the same thing. That's why I wish right-on-red was illegal, or prohibited in more places. I can't count the number of times that I've almost been hit because of that. These people need to learn, and I hope that by almost hitting me they learned a lesson. At any rate, this danger makes me actually prefer riding in traffic because cars are more likely to notice you.

Let me take this chance to remind any one of you who may have forgotten: any place that there is a stop sign, you're required by law to stop AT OR BEFORE THE STOP SIGN to check for pedestrians before you approach the intersection. Same goes for turning right on red: STOP AT THE PAINTED LINE before you approach the intersection. Even at a curb cut coming out of a driveway, it's ILLEGAL to roll onto the sidewalk to check for oncoming cars before you've stopped to check for pedestrians. Seriously, stopping once before you approach the intersection takes all of 2 seconds. It could save a life, and save you from a lot of liability and even potential jail time.

And here's the kicker: it doesn't count if you don't do it at EVERY right-on-red and at EVERY stop sign. Even if the road doesn't have a sidewalk, you never know when there might be a bicycle riding in the shoulder or a person walking on the grass next to the road. Even on that road that you drive on EVERY DAY going to work, where you've never, ever seen a bicycle or a pedestrian. Even when turning right onto an 8-lane thoroughfare that you couldn't possibly fathom a bicycle or pedestrian using. You never know when someone in the neighborhood might be trying to commute via bike for the first time, or someone (like me!) might be out pedaling around a new neighborhood.

Yes, some people might miss their "spot" in traffic, but I don't feel sorry for them at all. Anyone who finds it too inconvenient to wait 2 seconds needs to surrender their drivers license before they hurt or kill someone in their haste, and start seeing a stress therapist to get their issues resolved.

Edited by orulz

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I remember the stink caused by Bob Dumas (co-host of the G105 morning show). Sadly though, all the drama (including the protest in the studio parking lot) just jacked the station's ratings through the roof. Bob is a redneck and a loud mouth, and he knows that you can generate riveting discussion and ratings by expressing strong opinions and inflammatory statements over the air.

At any rate, most bike riders I encounter on busy streets seem to have some understanding of basic physics. A bicycle with one person weighs ~200-250 lbs(?)--that is insignificant compared to a 3500+ lb car or 5000+ lb SUV or truck, especially considering the incredible speed and acceleration ability of a motor vehicle. Even when both parties are being equally cautious, if something gets goofed up, the bike rider will lose.

I try to stay as far away from bikes as I can when driving a car. If I roll up on one occupying the same lane that I'm in and I cannot move over. I just creep along behind them--what do I care? I have a (bio)diesel powered car that churns out less than 100bhp, I can't be in a hurry :lol: Rest assured a courteous bike rider will be aware of a heavy vehicle behind them and when they have enough space to move over they will signal to pass.

If you can't move your car over to another lane, at least wait for the bike rider to signal that they are prepared to be passed. I've ridden a bike in traffic ONCE and it was awful. The noise and air turbulence induced from a passing car can be disorienting if you aren't ready for it.

I have encountered a few oblivious bikers in the Triangle, and that is unfortunate. On the whole, I think that Charlotte bike riders are much more "street smart" than those in Raleigh.

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Charlotte peddles a bike-friendly image

After 17 years of writing about Charlotte's transportation scene, I can tell you that the city's bicycling pulse is finally beating faster.

After a woeful start, the area now has 23 mountain bike trails, and Charlotte has 20 miles of bike lanes. (It could use a lot more.)

A recent city ordinance requires future shopping centers and office parks to have racks where cyclists can park their bikes. And the south Charlotte light-rail line, now under construction, will be connected to bike lanes so some commuters can leave their cars at home.

CATS buses all have bike racks. That means you can bike to a bus stop, put your bike on the rack and take it off a few miles later to pedal to your destination.

Paved greenways along major creeks Little Sugar, Mallard, Clarks and McMullen Creek offer safe and scenic rides.

Check the new Web site, www.BikeCharlotte.com, for a list of bike rides coming to a road near you. Some are fundraisers with 100 cyclists in matching T-shirts, others are just a few neighborhood friends looking to meet other riders. And you can post your own ride so other cyclists can join.

All this helps make Charlotte a little friendlier for folks on two wheels.

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The greenway project has at least managed one solution - if the major thoroughfares are too dangerous for bicycles, at least build bikes their own system. My last visit to Charlotte I really wished I did bring my bike with me, the bike trail near Hwy 51 looked so inviting.

As a Atlanta bicyclist - I don't ride my bike on the major streets - unless I'm in downtown or Midtown. What I do depend on are parallel streets that are available in a street grid system (in Atlanta's case a very loosely interpreted grid). Typically my general rule is - I will bike in more urbane areas, but will not bike in a more modern suburban environment. It is much easier to ride a bike on a 4+ lane street in downtown than most primary or secondary road in the suburbs.

I can only imagine that is the case in Charlotte - the residential areas around Uptown look like great bicycling, especially around Queens College & I would definitley consider riding through Uptown. Closer to SouthPark - forget it (unless there is a bike lane / trail).

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It sounds like the biking population is exploding there (along with the general population) and that's a great thing. The weather is great for biking and I hope to commute by bike when I can. I've been debating on whether or not to add a shower to my office plans but due to ADA rules it may become too expensive a proposition. I will be right across from the Siskey Y though so maybe???

I would encourage bicyclists to get as active as they can while there is still "room" to grow. Where I am now, it is too expensive for the county to buy back land for the right of way that bike lanes would require. Hopefully, the powers that be are setting aside appropriate right of ways not just for extra auto lanes but for future bike lanes as well while it's still affordable to do so.

Greenways are an excellent idea but are even better if they actually lead to somewhere useful and not just a "fun" ride. Are there any greenways that can serve double as a commuting corridor?

Lastly, to all those p*ssed off car people: Rules and regulations aside, if you blink for just a moment and are careless or unlucky enough to hit a bicyclist, you may be thinking about the consequences for the rest of your life. The law will not be on your side no matter how careless you may think the biker was and you will be guilty until proven innocent. :(

I know this because an employee of mine was making a left turn at a busy intersection at dusk. She hit a father and teenage son biking from the opposite direction. Neither bike had reflectors and were set up for racing but both were wearing helmets. They were riding side by side instead of single file, may or may not have yielded at the light etc. etc. None of this matters. The father had a broken pelvis and the son multiple fractured bones and needed pins and screws in one leg. He's since had several surgeries from what I understand. This was seven years ago. Not only can she still remember every second of the accident but she continues to pay $4000 a year for car insurance in assigned risk.

Moral: leave plenty of space, always look twice and respect others on the road. In an accident, your car or truck will "win" and you'll have to live with what happens regardless of whose legally at fault.

Ryan

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I know this because an employee of mine was making a left turn at a busy intersection at dusk. She hit a father and teenage son biking from the opposite direction. Neither bike had reflectors and were set up for racing but both were wearing helmets. They were riding side by side instead of single file, may or may not have yielded at the light etc. etc. None of this matters.

It sounds as though the driver of the car should not have been held responsible. Choosing to ride a bike or be a pedestrian is absolutely no excuse for being stupid. If you ride around at night ignoring traffic rules and wearing dark clothing with no reflectors, then too bad. Common sense is increasingly elusive these days.

I bet any amount of money that if it had been another car which failed to yeild, had no reflectors, and had headlights off, the driver of that bunk car would've received all the charges. Just because the person didn't have a motor strapped to them is no reason to ignore the fact they were being irresponsible.

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I'm getting ready to move to a townhouse near Matthews (Sardis Rd. North and Monroe Rd.) and work at Statesville Ave. and I-85. I was pondering riding to work every now and then to cut on gas costs. What do you think of a good SAFE bike route for biking to work?

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