Ban the bike!

Ban the bike!

Postby Rwede » Dec 1st, 2017, 11:39 am

Lawrence Solomon: Ban the bike! How cities made a huge mistake in promoting cycling

Cycling lanes consume more space than they free up, add to pollution and drain the public purse

Lawrence Solomon
December 1, 2017
10:30 AM EST

The bicycle has come a long way since the 1980s when bicycle advocacy groups (my group, Energy Probe, among them) lobbied against policies that discriminated against cyclists. In the language of the day, the bicycle epitomized “appropriate technology”: It was a right-sized machine that blessed cities with economic and environmental benefits. At no expense to taxpayers, the bicycle took cars off the road, easing traffic; it saved wear and tear on the roads, easing municipal budgets; it reduced auto emissions, easing air pollution; it reduced the need for automobile parking, increasing the efficiency of land use; and it helped keep people fit, too.

Today the bicycle is a mixed bag, usually with more negatives than positives. In many cities, bike lanes now consume more road space than they free up, they add to pollution as well as reducing it, they hurt neighbourhoods and business districts alike, and they have become a drain on the public purse. The bicycle today — or rather the infrastructure that now supports it — exemplifies “inappropriate technology,” a good idea gone wrong through unsustainable, willy-nilly top-down planning.

SNIPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

As a City of London report acknowledged last year, “The most significant impact on the City’s road network in the last 12 months has been the construction and subsequent operation of TfL’s cycle super highway … areas of traffic congestion can frequently be found on those roads.” As Lord Nigel Lawson put it in a parliamentary debate on bicycles, cycle lanes have done more damage to London than “almost anything since the Blitz.”

As a consequence of the idling traffic, pollution levels have risen, contributing to what is now deemed a toxic stew. Ironically, cyclists are especially harmed, and not just because the bike lanes they speed upon are adjacent to tailpipes. According to a study by the London School of Medicine, cyclists have 2.3 times more inhaled soot than walkers because “cyclists breathe more deeply and at a quicker rate than pedestrians while in closer proximity to exhaust fumes … Our data strongly suggest that personal exposure to black carbon should be considered when planning cycling routes.” Cyclists have begun wearing facemasks as a consequence. A recent headline in The Independent helpfully featured “5 best anti-pollution masks for cycling.” Neighbourhoods endure extra pollution, too, with frustrated autos cutting through residential districts to avoid bike-bred congestion.

Health and safety costs aside — per kilometre travelled, cyclist fatalities are eight times that of motorists — the direct economic burden associated with cycling megaprojects is staggering. Paris, which boasts of its plan to become the “cycling capital of the world,” is in the midst of a 150-million-euro cycling scheme. Melbourne has a $100-million plan. Amsterdam — a flat, compact city well suited to cycling — is spending 120 million euros on 9,000 new bicycle parking spots alone. Where cold weather reigns for much of the year, as is the case in many of Canada’s cities, the cost-benefit case for cycling infrastructure is eviscerated further.

The indirect costs of cycling also loom large because cycling lanes typically displace lanes that formerly accommodated street parking, especially outside rush-hour periods. Businesses that rely on street parking for their customers are often bitter at seeing their sales gutted. Cities not only lose revenue from street parking, they also lose revenue from public transit because — anecdotally, at least — people are switching to bikes more from public transit than from cars. And because the demand for parking hasn’t vanished, cities now find themselves levelling buildings on main streets and side streets in favour of parking lots. In effect, the varied uses to which the lanes adjacent to the sidewalk were once put — for car and bike traffic during rush hour and for parking benefitting delivery vehicles, local businesses and their patrons at other times — has devolved into a single-function piece of under-used pavement.

In a user-pay or market economy, where users pay for the services they consume, bicycle lanes would be non-starters outside college campuses and other niche settings. If roads were tolled to recover the cost of asphalt and maintenance, no cyclist could bear the burden he foists on society. The cyclist has been put on the dole, made a taker rather than a giver to society.

Some of the bike backlash — resentment at the privileged position of cyclists, who are notorious for flouting the rules of the road without contributing their fair share — manifests itself as economic penalty. Oregon, which has a high proportion of cyclists, recently became the first state to levy a sales tax on new bicycles, even though Oregon has no general sales tax. Legislators “felt that bicycles ought to contribute to the system,” explained a state senator who co-wrote the bill, expressing a sentiment widely held across the continent.

The most telling opposition to cyclists, though, may be cultural. They are often seen as an entitled, smug and affected minority. In the U.K., cyclists are mocked as “mamils” (middle-aged men in Lycra); in U.S. inner cities they’re seen as the preserve of “white men with white-collar jobs” furthering gentrification. Almost everywhere they’re seen as discourteous, and as threats to the safety of pedestrians. At least two cities in the U.K. have banned cyclists from their city centres and just this month the government of New South Wales in Australia decided to ban bikes (but not automobiles, motorcycles, trucks or trams) on a popular Sydney street that had been a bike commuter route. The government explained it wants the street to become conducive to pedestrians. Other street bans important to Sydney’s downtown are in the works.

City politicians around the world are in a race to make their cities “bike-friendly.” The more they succeed, the nastier things will get.


http://business.financialpost.com/opini ... ng-cycling
"I don't even disagree with the bulk of what's in the Leap Manifesto. I'll put forward my Leap Manifesto in the next election." - John Horgan, 2017.

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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby RVThereYet » Dec 1st, 2017, 11:47 am

*removed*
Last edited by ferri on Dec 1st, 2017, 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby spooker » Dec 1st, 2017, 12:26 pm

Yep, had fun reading this article earlier ... made me wonder if Ron Seymour was writing under another alias ...

Rwede wrote:In a user-pay or market economy, where users pay for the services they consume, bicycle lanes would be non-starters outside college campuses and other niche settings. If roads were tolled to recover the cost of asphalt and maintenance, no cyclist could bear the burden he foists on society. The cyclist has been put on the dole, made a taker rather than a giver to society.


Before applying the "user-pay" to cyclists I think we need to look at the same thing for motorized vehicles ... a bicycle causes approximately 1/600th the damage to a roadway that a car does. The underlayment for a car-carrying roadway is quite different from that of a paved bicycle pathway, about 5 times the cost if I remember correctly. There are numerous studies that show cars are the most subsidized form of travel in North America.

Rwede wrote:The most telling opposition to cyclists, though, may be cultural. They are often seen as an entitled, smug and affected minority. In the U.K., cyclists are mocked as “mamils” (middle-aged men in Lycra); in U.S. inner cities they’re seen as the preserve of “white men with white-collar jobs” furthering gentrification. Almost everywhere they’re seen as discourteous, and as threats to the safety of pedestrians. At least two cities in the U.K. have banned cyclists from their city centres and just this month the government of New South Wales in Australia decided to ban bikes (but not automobiles, motorcycles, trucks or trams) on a popular Sydney street that had been a bike commuter route. The government explained it wants the street to become conducive to pedestrians. Other street bans important to Sydney’s downtown are in the works.


When I hear someone call a cyclist entitled I ask them if they'd be willing to drive a bit slower downtown so that if a pedestrian is hit they'd have a better chance of surviving ... the typical response is "hell no" ... how many drivers think the solution to congestion is more lanes? hypocrisy starts at home ...

The cyclists are in a canoe trying to turn the Titanic while only having a couple of paddles in the water ... all the drivers up on deck are having a good laugh
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby Gone_Fishin » Dec 1st, 2017, 1:11 pm

I think the article raises some valid points, and the article is researched, unlike most comments that the pro-spandex crowd will soon chime in with. Bicycles are definitely not contributing their share to the infrastructure they're demanding. Let's license and insure these bikes and get the revenue stream necessary to help cover the cost of the services they're wanting. Then we will see if the cyclists are serious about their contribution, if any, to their chosen method of transportation. Right now, they're riding on the funds generated by other users.
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby Rider59 » Dec 1st, 2017, 1:15 pm

Gone_Fishin wrote:......... Right now, they're riding on the funds generated by other users.


Why do you seem surprised? Most staunch cyclists are also tree hugging leftists so taking others money for their gain is par for the course for them.

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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby spooker » Dec 1st, 2017, 1:32 pm

Gone_Fishin wrote:I think the article raises some valid points, and the article is researched, unlike most comments that the pro-spandex crowd will soon chime in with. Bicycles are definitely not contributing their share to the infrastructure they're demanding. Let's license and insure these bikes and get the revenue stream necessary to help cover the cost of the services they're wanting. Then we will see if the cyclists are serious about their contribution, if any, to their chosen method of transportation. Right now, they're riding on the funds generated by other users.


Rider59 wrote:Why do you seem surprised? Most staunch cyclists are also tree hugging leftists so taking others money for their gain is par for the course for them.


I'd love to see the research backing up these statements ...

License? I have one ... even have my CAN-BIKE certification ... you claim that bikes should follow the rules of the road, and those are taught in driving school ... and most cyclists have a drivers license ...

Insurance? got it ... verified with my carrier that my homeowners policy covers liability when I am on my bike

By the way ... neither license fees nor insurance premiums contribute to the infrastructure

Taking money? I think drivers need to do some more reading ... plenty of analysis articles to show that driving is taking money out of everyone's pockets the most ... (I also point to the comments in my previous points about costs)

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2008/07/highways_paved_with_gold.html
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby techrtr » Dec 1st, 2017, 2:11 pm

That guy who writes a cycling related column on Castanet must be feverishly writing a rebuttal right about now. Hey, I'm a serious cyclist and I think all of this infrastructure is a waste of money too. I also think that many cyclists are idiots and a lot of the time when they get hit by a car it's because they're doing something stupid.

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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby spooker » Dec 1st, 2017, 2:45 pm

techrtr wrote:That guy who writes a cycling related column on Castanet must be feverishly writing a rebuttal right about now. Hey, I'm a serious cyclist and I think all of this infrastructure is a waste of money too. I also think that many cyclists are idiots and a lot of the time when they get hit by a car it's because they're doing something stupid.


Didn't you hear that he quit writing? Finally got ground down by the bozos that trolled the columns ... went back to riding I hear ... from the grin on his face when I see him on his bike he must be happier for it

If you're a serious cyclist that's fine ... the infrastructure isn't for you ... but why do you classify it as a "waste"?

Sure. there are idiots on two wheels ... but do you find them behind the wheel ... who'll cause more damage be their behaviour?

And you'd be wrong about the liability in most collisions between cars and bikes ...

http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2015/05/12/vancouver-drivers-at-fault-in-93-of-collisions-with-bicycles-city-report.html
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/05/20/136462246/when-bikes-and-cars-collide-whos-more-likely-to-be-at-fault
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby techrtr » Dec 1st, 2017, 3:38 pm

spooker wrote:
techrtr wrote:That guy who writes a cycling related column on Castanet must be feverishly writing a rebuttal right about now. Hey, I'm a serious cyclist and I think all of this infrastructure is a waste of money too. I also think that many cyclists are idiots and a lot of the time when they get hit by a car it's because they're doing something stupid.


Didn't you hear that he quit writing? Finally got ground down by the bozos that trolled the columns ... went back to riding I hear ... from the grin on his face when I see him on his bike he must be happier for it

If you're a serious cyclist that's fine ... the infrastructure isn't for you ... but why do you classify it as a "waste"?

Sure. there are idiots on two wheels ... but do you find them behind the wheel ... who'll cause more damage be their behaviour?

And you'd be wrong about the liability in most collisions between cars and bikes ...

http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2015/05/12/vancouver-drivers-at-fault-in-93-of-collisions-with-bicycles-city-report.html
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/05/20/136462246/when-bikes-and-cars-collide-whos-more-likely-to-be-at-fault


The report says most accidents happen at night, in the winter, when it's raining. Well, common sense would say that it's hard to see someone under those conditions. It doesn't say how many of the cyclists were wearing black clothing or didn't have lights on their bikes. More than half of bike accidents involve cars. That means somewhat less than half of bike accidents don't involve a vehicle at all. A lot of people just fall off their bike because of their own incompetence, they run into another cyclist, pedestrian, dog - whatever. Some car/bike accidents probably involve someone running into a parked car. Also, getting doored is a common type of accident. As far as I'm concerned, any cyclist who gets hit by a car door is doing something stupid and is just as much at fault as the driver.

You have to read those studies very carefully because the numbers can be very misleading. Even if someone has the "right of way," they could be putting themselves in danger by doing something stupid, like riding a bike in the dark, when it's raining, and not using lights.

Sooooo, I would have to say from personal experience, that I see many, many people on bikes who are just asking to be hit by a car.
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby spooker » Dec 1st, 2017, 7:39 pm

techrtr wrote:The report says most accidents happen at night, in the winter, when it's raining. Well, common sense would say that it's hard to see someone under those conditions. It doesn't say how many of the cyclists were wearing black clothing or didn't have lights on their bikes. More than half of bike accidents involve cars. That means somewhat less than half of bike accidents don't involve a vehicle at all. A lot of people just fall off their bike because of their own incompetence, they run into another cyclist, pedestrian, dog - whatever. Some car/bike accidents probably involve someone running into a parked car. Also, getting doored is a common type of accident. As far as I'm concerned, any cyclist who gets hit by a car door is doing something stupid and is just as much at fault as the driver.

You have to read those studies very carefully because the numbers can be very misleading. Even if someone has the "right of way," they could be putting themselves in danger by doing something stupid, like riding a bike in the dark, when it's raining, and not using lights.

Sooooo, I would have to say from personal experience, that I see many, many people on bikes who are just asking to be hit by a car.


And even this afternoon I got another apology from a driver who just rolled into the crossing instead of checking for cross traffic ... personal experience is great but you have to remember the keyword is "personal" ... I don't generalize my personal experience because in the years riding here I've never been hit by a car, doored by a driver, injured by another road user ...

As stated in the NPR article, "the most common collision was when a driver struck a cyclist from behind" ... makes you wonder what drivers are doing behind the wheel ... you're making assumptions when you point to "tend to occur at night" and say they're not using lights ... sure there's clumsiness, have you had the fun of riding the transitions the city built along the Ethel cycle track between Cawston and Bernard? an experienced cyclist knows staying on the road is safer ...

While we can go back and forth about behaviour, what point are we trying to make?

Cyclists fear drivers for the reason that their mistake will kill them ... but can drivers fear cyclists for any reason other than upsetting their schedule? Even the original article seems to try and say that cycling inconveniences drivers but doesn't make it unsafe ...

Sure, argue that cyclists act entitled, but what effect does that have overall?
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby techrtr » Dec 1st, 2017, 9:38 pm

I'm not making assumptions. The first article that you linked to says "Collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles tend to occur at night in the winter when it’s raining, according to the study completed in 2014 by Urban Systems, in association with UBC, SFU and ICBC." The report does not specify what percentage of cyclist who got hit were using lights on their bikes or were wearing reflective clothing. That is very important.

My point is that a lot of accidents are caused by people being stupid on bikes. I hit a guy on bike from behind once. You wanna know what he was doing? Riding at night in the rain without lights and wearing dark clothes. He suddenly cut in front of me to turn left. Couldn't stop and hit him. Luckily I was able to slow down enough that it basically knocked him off his bike which was probably stolen anyway. He was more concerned that his beer wasn't damaged. I offered to call the police and ambulance for him but he wanted none of that.

The solution isn't millions upon millions of dollars in infrastructure because people will still be stupid on bikes and accidents will still happen.
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby UhHuhYeahSure » Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:11 am

Try riding in Vancouver today.

The cycling community has created such fear in drivers that they constantly give right of way to cyclist even when the rules of the road do not apply. It's likely due to fear of invoking cycle rage by an entitled cycling community that can be seen as doing no wrong as they improve their health and the world in general while cars have been vilified as environmental holy hand grenades of Antioch.

Cars stop for cyclists at intersections when the bike has a stop sign and the car does not. Cars will often not turn right on a red if a bike is at the curb. Cars slow down if a bike behind is pacing them often on a downhill, expecting the bike to go past. Cars will pace behind a bike on a narrow road far longer than necessary instead of going past. It's unnerving...don't fall.

Having ridden for years in Vancouver well before bike lanes and now having returned to doing about 2500 kms a year in the city, I find many bike lanes terrifying.

Unlike cars, there are no rules for bikes. The Vancouver lanes are used by a range of riders from Hipsters with flowingbeards and hair unconstrained by helmets on iron framed upright comfort bikes weaving along in a sloth race to Tour De Frank riders, complete with carbon fiber bikes and jerseys festooned with unpaid sponsorship names, flying through lines of commuter cyclist...just cuz they can. Stop signs are mere suggestions. Red lights often are just guides to crossing. Sidewalks can simply be extensions of the road and are, in many places, officially and confusingly marked as such.

The Cambie bridge shared sidewalk is a nightmare and the solution currently being looked at is yet another closure of a traffic lane on the bridge. Other than the on and off ramps on the bridge, the road is far safer than the sidewalk (granted, an accident with a car is obviously a bit more serious than the law suit that will result in mowing down and Mom and a kid in a stroller and a pedigree dog on a string). It's wrong to close lanes like that. The road is fine the way it is. It simply needs signage and road markings indicating a cycle trajectory across the on/off ramps.

Many of the bike routes were never necessary and were added just to raise the tally of kms of cycle routes for Vancouver bragging rights. It's more kms for Gregor to post against the Toronto cycle lane tally in the quest for the Holy Grail of Green City!

We have to stop building bike lanes that accomplish little except to pizz off drivers committed to their cars...and there is no shame in driving a car. Just as riding a bike is no reason to bestow superhero eco-status to cyclists.
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby WalterWhite » Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:27 am

^^Great commentary, and you get extra points for working in a Monty Python reference with the holy hand grenade of Antioch.
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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby MAPearce » Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:38 am

WalterWhite wrote:^^Great commentary, and you get extra points for working in a Monty Python reference with the holy hand grenade of Antioch.


"One , Two , Five "...

"Three Sire" ! ...
I payed attention in High school....But not to what they were trying to teach me..

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Re: Ban the bike!

Postby UhHuhYeahSure » Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:42 am

WalterWhite wrote:^^Great commentary, and you get extra points for working in a Monty Python reference with the holy hand grenade of Antioch.


I'm saving the...

I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!


...for a post of some environmental hypocrisy forum. But I'd probably get banned. Our sense of Yuk Yuk isn't necessarily shared by the moderators.
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