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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2010 5:07 PM. The previous post in this blog was Why I'm breaking up with you. The next post in this blog is Happy anniversary, baby -- got you on my... mi-i-i-i-ind. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

This will make cyclists safer?

Paint bike symbols on the pavement on every street?

Comments (21)

Sharrow. Early entry for next year's word of the year.

F**k the bicyclists. I just drove down NE Sandy east of 122nd. There are no sidewalks, no bus shelters, just a gravel or muddy path for the folks that live out there and need to walk to just get to a bus stop. Yet Multnomah County spends 2.7 million to put another bike path on the Morrison Bridge. It’s not enough to have bike paths on the Hawthorne, Steel, and Broadway bridges. I know most of the money came from a federal grant, why didn’t they get the grant for sidewalks in East County instead. Those arrogant assh*les don’t have the brain power to think about that.

"Sharrow. Early entry for next year's word of the year."

My first thoughts exactly, then I googled it and found it's been around since 2004(!)

http://www.doubletongued.org/index.php/dictionary/sharrow/

Then there's this:

http://crosscut.com/2009/09/03/transportation/19210/

What's truly disappointing about this is the aggressive overtones of the entire article.

For example:
Sharrows on every lane would make
it clear that bikes can (and should)
be in the lane.

"Should"? Why? Or let's break it down more simply--why should a bicyclist, traveling 10-15mph, be angry when a line of cars is behind them, honking, waiting to go the posted limit?

The problem here isn't one of equality--city streets were never intended to serve bicyclists, for the most part. Bicyclists who angrily demand the "right" to ride down Hawthorne or Alberta at 10-15mph below the posted limit are entirely missing the point.

I wonder--what would happen if cars began traveling 5 mph in front of all bicyclists, with no alternate lane available? And did it all over town, demanding their "right" to travel at well below the posted limit? And occasionally drove their cars on the sidewalk, demanding their right to do so and scaring the crap out of pedestrians not expecting a wheeled vehicle to come crashing through them?

Et cetera. What a weird, perverse way to demand "rights" that don't even exist.

Maybe it's just me and my skewed perspective...

I have to wonder if there'll be something in the special paint for the biking symbol that will ensure that bicyclists will only ride in the direction of the bike lane.

Will the special paint inhibit them from riding the wrong direction on a one-way street???

Who am I kidding? That would be like inventing stop signs that would have magical powers that would force bikers to obey the law!

Yeah, sure...from my lips to God's ears!

More make work.

It helps them justify not doing what we expect them to do. Just like speding time guessing what things will be like in 50 years.

You want make work?

Try teaching the cyclists the laws regarding use of the road. I think they must run about 85% scofflaw.

I went for a walk the other day and I had to come to a stop at a street intersection where there is a 'bicycle box' for the bicyclist to pass to the front of stopped motorists. There were no motorists at the boxes, but the cross street is still exceedingly treacherous and before the intersection was transformed, it was the second worst in the city for accidents.

Still...the bicyclist across from me decided that he did not need to heed the
traffic light. And, it's not like he was attempting to avoid putting his foot to the pavement to stop, because he'd already had both feet down. He just blew through the stop light...he's a dead man riding, a moron on pedals.

There are still way too many morons on pedals out there to enable them with more 'rights'. They can't even use the the ones they presently have with responsibility. They need to have a licensing and registration program to assure that the riders know the law and how to safely ride.

Hummmm, I seem to remember downtown had lots of "sharrows." Heck, in my new midwestern town, there are a lot more than I had expected. However, I suspect that here I may be one of the few folks who actually understand what the symbols mean....

But none of these things change the basic underlying tension between bicylists who think that the rules of the road are just for motorists and the motorists who think bikes have no business being on the roadways.

Both are wrong.

We got 'sharrows' out on the roads where I live...
They were formerly known as raccoons and skunks.

One thing that is really cool about living in an area where it snows with some regularity is that after two or three winter seasons, a steady dosage of sand and salt, and regular plow scraping, the sharrows become indecipherable or disappear. Then the bikers are back to understanding they need to use their wits and common sense instead of exposing themselves to lethal danger by acting like a car.

Interesting, according to that article they want the bicyclist to ride right down the middle of the lane. I read the oregon statute a while back and recall it said that bicyclist must ride as far right as is safely possible. I guess they are making the argument that right down the middle is as far right as is safe.

A whole lot of anti biking angst here. Last time I checked cyclists paid their taxes as well, but cause a lot less wear on the transportation infrastructure. The fact is that every bike lane identification helps keep distracted drivers drinking their coffee, talking on the phone and in a perpetual hurry, from badly injuring or killing someone on a bicycle. A fender bender for a car can be a fatal injury for a cyclist. Share the road folks, an get used to it cause we ain't going away.
As for the sharrows, I'd rather see them adopt the Coppenhagen model, with a small rounded curb like structure separating car and bicycle lanes. It keeps the bikes in their own designated lane, and alerts drivers when they drift into those lanes. There are bonehead drivers and cyclists, but the car always wins the collision. We all just need to calm down, stay alert for the bozos and curb the rage.

Does anybody think that putting hundreds of gallons of paint on the ground, on every block of every street, is going to make a bicyclist any safer?

The map in the article looks like noise. There's gonna be so many of them that nobody is going to pay any attention at all.

Could this town go any farther to kiss the butts of this 6% of the population?

How about spending the money on streets and parking for the other 94% of us?

Sharrows? They look too much like chalk outlines for my taste.

C'mon, Everyone knows that everything Portland does, especially with bike friendly policies and programs, are just superficial projects so our city mouthpieces can say look how great a city we are.

Like nearly everything else, this is just about appearances when the real day to day maintenance gets neglected.

Remember the snow storm a year ago, it took six months for the city to clear gravel out of walkways, and cycling paths. There currently is debris everywhere from recent winds, on sidewalks and on roads. There's garbage everywhere you look because this city is focused on glass and steel rather than keeping the basics of the city in shape (where are the garbage cans?).

This isn't so much about bicycles, but the typical pie-in-the-sky dreamer this city loves to embrace while the foundations underneath crumble.

Let's rename them sparrows, cause that's how big you feel on a bike when a car hits you.

I read the oregon statute a while back and recall it said that bicyclists must ride as far right as is safely possible.

There are places, such as downtown, where it's appropriate for a cyclist to take an entire lane. So long as the cyclist is traveling roughly the speed of traffic, that's the safest place to be -- for both the cyclist and the motorist. It's illegal to pass a cyclist traveling outside of a bike lane unless you give them sufficient space (which is defined as enough room that if they fell over sideways you wouldn't run them over). That means you can't legally pass a bike downtown unless you switch lanes. Drivers are also liable if they open their car doors into the travel lane and take out a cyclist (or another car, for that matter), so it's in drivers' best interests to move bikes into the center of the lane.

As someone who both rides and drives downtown several times each week, there are two things I hate: drivers who zoom past cyclists within inches only to stop and wait at the next light, and cyclists who weave in, out, and between traffic. Cyclists riding in the middle of the lane would solve both problems.

"This will make cyclists safer?"

No

Great: the bicyclist equivalent of tagging. This comes from a unrepentant bicyclist who does an average of 30 miles a day. Of course, I live in a city where, until gas prices shot up, even the cops were having fun sideswiping cyclists who got too full of themselves. This has nothing at all to do with safety. This is so a particularly entitled group of brats can put their hands on hips and say "Why, yes, I DO own the road!"

Oh, and to the folks taking umbrage at the anti-bicycle attitude? Again, it's earned. Maybe if some of the fixed-gear gimps would take the time to, I don't know, show their fellow travelers that they don't feel that they're evolution's pinnacle, then maybe the drivers and pedestrians would give them a bit more slack.

"Earned"? Maybe by a few, so lets just have an open season on targeting bikers. Maybe issue tags, that allow one per season.


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