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wolverine

Bikes and Pedestrian Don't Mix

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We all know that bikes and pedestrian don't mix. That's why many cities require cyclists to stay on streets and abide by traffic lows. I always thought that cars were a bigger problem, but it seems that motorists (at least where I live) are used to seeing a lot of bikes on the street and are pretty good about sharing the road.

I currently live in Ann Arbor, MI. We are known for our crowded traffic clogged streets and heavy pedestrian activity, as well as our extensive bike lanes and paths. It's great to have a lot of pedestrians, but I don't think many of them seem to care about when and where they cross streets. While I may wait for signals or traffic to clear, many will abruptly walk out into traffic, dodge between cars or even stand in the middle of the street. If it's difficult for cars, I sometimes think it's worse for cyclists.

Here's why. On the streets, I have deal with both cars and pedestrians. Picture this. It's beginning to rain and I start to pick up my speed in a designated bike lane on a busy 30 mph road. Out of nowhere some pedestrians run into traffic. They make it to the curb in time, unfortunately one of them loses their shoe. They see me about to come, but he dodges back into the bike lane to recover it and yes... I hit him at 20 mph. I don't fall off because I have more inertia, but I do stop. He yells "Damn slow down!" I reply "Watch where the hell you are going idiot!" That was about it. Why should I watch how fast I'm going. I'm on a busy street trying to maintain speed with traffic in a designated bike lane. I'm permitted to speeds up to 30 mph! Furthermore, I can't veer out of the way, I might veer into traffic and it's my life. I do know that our state law doesn't hold motorists or cyclists responsible if someone runs recklessly out into traffic, but still, it puts me in danger since I don't have a steel shell and seat belts to protect me.

From what I've heard, pedestrians don't receive much pity for running in front of bikes, but people do it all the time! Unless, I can clearly see who is behind me, I'm going to travel in a straight line but try to stop. But I'm also not going to risk getting hit by a car, and I guess if I hit someone they deserve it for being so stupid.

Thoughts?

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Be thankful for the problems you have, man. In the east, roads are narrow, windy and old, and cars drive way too fast. Crossable bridges are few and far between. One closing made my 33 mile ride into 50+. In cities, aggressive riding pays. Many drivers think bicycles are supposed to ride on the sidewalk. No word of a lie.

I feel for you almost buying it 'cuz somebody's a zombie. Most people can't conceive of a bicycle going 20+mph, so it's shocking how fast you get up on them. (In general, I'm dubious about any given individual's awareness of his/her surroundings. "Watson, you see, but you do not observe.")

In my area, we have a fairly robust system of bike paths about 1 car lane wide. Peds are supposed to walk left, bikes ride right. It happens. Not. I've had some hairy moments coming up on Buddy and Sis just off training wheels or zombie-boy standing in the middle of the path looking at a bird. The main path I ride has nice, dangerous slopes and/or several miles directly beside a canal/river with a single wooden rail set just at bike-flipping height. Lots of fun.

But I bet you'll appreciate this thought: to me, the ultimate example of how multi-mode traffic should work is NYC. Like Asimov's rules of robotics, the logical structure is near perfect.

1 - Keep moving

2 - Don't interfere with any other movement

3 - Published rules apply where 1 and 2 conflict

The key is awareness. New Yorkers pride themselves on knowing what the he11 is going on. If you don't, you die, so there's an incentive built in.

I walk really fast, and when I'm walking in NYC it's like an improvised ballet where everybody's moving and meshing without collision. This same dynamic applies to bikes and cars, for the most part. When you think about the ridiculous number of points where movements overlap and mesh successfully, it must equal terrabytes of data per day. Consulty-types I work with love the term Complex Adaptive System, and I think it fits.

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Biking is becoming more and more popularas it is a cheap way to travel around town,sightseeing,trips to the mkt and physical conditioning,HOWEVER cars do rule the road due to the shear size and weight of them.

Pedestrians are a problem at times I agree but they at times have the right of way.

So the answer is to incorporate into city planning accessable dedicated bike paths and lanes into new and existing roads and walkways.

As more and more citizens look for ways to travel cheaply and get out and excercize city planners must address this problem.

ALSO CAR AND BIKE safty must be taught together in driver training classes with the importance of coxisistance

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... I guess if I hit someone they deserve it for being so stupid.

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There are so many problems with riding on sidewalks.

The NYC example is interesting, but the bike component of this ballet is riddled with so many flaws! NYC Traffic Law requires cyclists to behave as vehicles. This means you ride on the street, stay in your lane, stop at stop signs and red lights, go the proper direction on one-way streets, etc. But every single day I see dozens of cyclists going the wrong way, running red lights and weaving through streams of pedestrians crossing at crosswalks, up onto sidewalks and then out between parked cars into the traffic lanes, etc. It startles many peds and auto drivers to see a bike fly into an intersection through a red light from the wrong direction! When I am nearly hit or witness this stuff, I'm usually sure to shout out "Hey the red light applies to you too buddy!" or "Keep it on the street!" The most dangerous job in NYC is bicycle courier, and it's no wonder.

I agree with the education idea. So few drivers, peds, and even cyclists know what the law states.

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Like oil and water? Are you saying that everybody holds this to be true? hmm...

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.... Why should I watch how fast I'm going. I'm on a busy street trying to maintain speed with traffic in a designated bike lane. I'm permitted to speeds up to 30 mph! Furthermore, I can't veer out of the way, I might veer into traffic and it's my life. I do know that our state law doesn't hold motorists or cyclists responsible if someone runs recklessly out into traffic, but still, it puts me in danger since I don't have a steel shell and seat belts to protect me........

Thoughts?

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Reasonableness quotient: if the criterion is that all vehicles operate at a speed that is safe for any and all stupidity that humans can generate via two wheels, four wheels or two feet, that speed is zero.

Also - discussion is bikes vs. peds, not bikes vs. sidewalks.

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