Should we share the road with cars.

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by Grape Ape, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Younger than Hack Tavern Member

    I was reading the comments after the article of the girl whose parents were killed while riding a tandem bike and the driver of the truck was not criminally charged.

    Someone made the comment that bikes do not belong on the road. There is no way anyone can say it is safe for a 200 lbs biker going 15mph to ride on the same road as a 2 ton vehicle doing 45+ mph. Someone else then stated that we argue that we should be treated as vehicles and allowed to share the road.

    Many people talked back and forth about Multi Use Paths MUP. They say the MUP should be the only place to ride a bike. Then people say the MUP is unsafe for the walker or jogger with a bicycle going 15 mph or faster so bikes should be treated as cars and have to ride on the road.

    The next one really got me thinking. One person said that bikers should not be allowed on roads for safety reasons and bikers should not accept that they are treated as vehicles and relegated to riding on the highways and streets. The said that we should not be arguing to be treated as vehicles we should be arguing that we are bicycles and thereby forcing the communities to build an infrastructure for bicycle use to make it safer for us. They should be building bike lanes, bike trails to allow bicycle riders to ride to and from any area safely away from vehicles.

    What do you think, should we leave it as it is and get laws passed to give us safe passing distances? Should we fight for more education at all levels including making it a bigger part of the driver's education, and driver's license exams, that cyclists are considered vehicles and should be given the berth that you would give any other vehicle? We as cyclist do these things already but what should be done to reduce the danger? We will lose every time against a vehicle.
  2. mtndoc

    mtndoc New Member

    I think we should FIGHT!!!! Bikes belong and should be treated as such, if they took the cars off the road, our life would be a lot easier. I think education, more strict laws governing right of way for bikes as well as more bike lanes and maybe dedicated bike roads and make the cars drive in the dirt on car paths!!!!!

    Anyway, those are my thoughts, and mostly I haven't had any bad experiences with cars, but some of the things I hear on this forum scare me.


  3. whyeyebike

    whyeyebike New Member

    I think the true answer is both. When possible, bike paths and lanes should be created because as our society becomes more focused on health and going green; the more cyclists you are going to see on the road. I see this everyday in my community. However, some locations won't allow for the added infrastructure. Does this mean that cyclists should avoid these areas??? The answer is "no" if the education is there. I know here in Massachusetts, the state government is looking heavily into retesting older drivers due to an alarming increase in severe vehicle accidents by drivers over the age of 65. Maybe an increase in education, along with continued testing; will help to releive what can only be described as a lack of knowledge of the laws of the road. And here I am referring to all drivers....not just the older ones. The fact is, when I am riding my bike on a road in Mass, I am entitled to my lane. If I feel it isn't safe to ride along the right shoulder to allow the passing of vehicles; I am within my rights to ride right down the middle of the lane. But I very rarely do that, because I know the frustration that this brings to other drivers. I (We are) am a cyclist(s) and a driver so it gives me (us) a unique perspective and the ability to see both sides of the debate.

    Within the last year, I was clipped by a driver who failed to give me the space when she attempted to pass me. After looking in her rearview mirror to see if I was still moving; she sped off (tires squeeling). That individual should be charged with not only hit-n-run; but negligent operation of a motor vehicle for not knowing or interpretting the width of her vehicle as she passed a moving or non-moving object. And if I could find her, she should be civily accountable for the damge she caused to my bike.
  4. snowbird

    snowbird New Member

    Ohio has a "Rails to Trails Coalition" that has converted abandoned railroad beds to multiple use paths. I love it and have ridden all 68? miles. It connects with urban bike paths and I've ridden all of those.
    Part of the path is an Ohio state park and has a speed limit of 20 mph. Some of the serious road bikers shun the path because of this while others are obviosly ignoring the speed limit. The trail is aso shared with horses and there are two stables right on the trail. While I'm sure a colision with a horse wouldn't kill me, some of the riders fail to scoop up after their horses. On a trail with mottled shadows it's hard to spot the manure piles.
    This trail is a huge success and is largly funded with donations. We should all seek out and support these types of projects.
    But to make all roads bicycle friendly? Texas has problems making the roads vehicle friendly. Lots of distance, little cash. Can you imagine Alaska bicycle friendly? We all have to decide individually which roads or trails we'll ride. We need to show support like the picture of the tandem cyclist's funeral. Did you see all those bicycles?

    The other day I was driving out of Yellow Springs, OH when I cam upon a bicyclist on US Rt. 68. A fat guy in a grey T shirt riding an old mountain bike. Practically invisible. He was in the right side of the lane on a 2 lane highway. There was at least a 4' paved berm sufficient for him to ride on, but he chose the traffic lane. Perfectly legal in Ohio. I followed him for 2 miles at a fat guy's pace until I could get my truck and trailer safely around to pass. When I passed he looked at me and smirked. I dunno, maybe he was having a bad day. And by the way, this was parallel to the above mentioned bike trail!

    So as both a motorist and a bicyclist I'm not so sure if "more friendly bike laws" are the answer. I don't think there is one answer.

    In my hometown of Wilmington OH it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk and if you do they confscicate your bicycle and sell it at auction. In Ft. Myers FL. you're allowed on the sidewalks. There's even signage warning vehicles pulling out of driveways to watch for pedestrians and bicycles! Toll bridges are closed to pedestrians but free to bicyclists. It's the most bicycle friendly place I've ever been. But should everywhere be like that? It'd be kind of tough to do on Manhattan Island.
  5. hophead

    hophead New Member Tavern Member

    I read the comments on Urban Velo too. Among them was this:

    “How would a 3-foot rule have prevented this tragedy? How would writing the driver a ticket for violating a 3-foot rule make this any less heartbreaking?”

    I think Robin Stallings, executive director of BikeTexas, answered that question very well:

    "If we can't win, we're not going to try to prosecute. And if we're not going to prosecute, police officers aren't going to write the tickets. They don't do it just to have busywork. They indict to convict."

    The three foot law was passed unanimously in the Texas House of Representatives and 25 to 6 in the Senate. Unfortunately, the pinhead that currently resides in the Governor’s mansion vetoed the law stating that current laws already protect cyclists. I would argue that the family and friends of the 53 cyclists that were killed on the road last year in Texas would disagree with Mr. Perry.

    I don’t believe that there is one magic bullet that is going to solve this problem. It’s going to take efforts in several areas including education, infrastructure, legislative action, and enforcement of the law. That, and Texas needs to kick Rick to the curb.
  6. Skidmark

    Skidmark Cycling for life

    I am sure every location is different and requires some common sense with new construction. Every road does not need a path as cost is always a factor. That said, I feel in many cases adding a path would add very little added cost if done with new construction. I understand better now that I ride how important it is for bike lanes, and multi use pathways are. Personaly I do not like riding roadside without a designated bike path. In reality I dont even like to ride the roadside pathways much. Now that I am riding further I have to in some locations and know that those with road bikes need them. I search out the off road edge route as much as possible. Even though its the law, I would never dream if insisting on "my space" while riding with cars. I to, see others do that. Some end up in the trauma unit as well.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009
  7. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

    I don't think we have any business on the road. If it's truck versus bike we lose. Right or wrong we're still dead. Sharing the road isn't working. It seems that the only other option is to demand paths and not safe practices. Side walks present issues but they are tipically less severe than others. The reality is that we must submit to our four wheeled over lords and learn to opperate in there world. If not we will die.
  8. mikebike

    mikebike Florida Cyclist

    It is the law -- we can use the road (most roads) in all states.

    Yes we assume some risks in doing so... do not try to generalize or limit my freedom because you choose to ride the sidewalk or a MUP. I have ridden 1,000's of road miles (Long tours / daily rides etc)

    I have 5,000 -- 22,000 --- and 7000 miles on the road bikes in my garage right now and the oldest one from 2003.

    Do not try to tell me how dangerous it is... I know and so do most cyclist. You try to minimize the risks, choose routes with traffic and conditions in mind, be visible, educate drivers and pass bike-friendly legislation --- and still you might be run down and killed.

    I am willing to assume that risk.... if you are not stay on the sidewalk (that is your choice) --BUT do not use the word WE as a collective for all cyclist.

    Ride Safe Ride Alert and keep a short account with God --- you might meet Him --- of course that could happen in a car or many other ways (look at household deaths per year)

    Peace out :rolleyes:
  9. CTD50

    CTD50 DX's Biggest Member

    Our predecessors over a century ago were the ones responsible for getting roads paved to start with; our machines were the spur for the airplane and the Ford Motor Company, as well as Harley-Davidson. Every state in the 50 says we have the same right to the road on our bikes as drivers in their cars do.

    Just because so many drivers are petty, self-important little wankers, we should give all that up? I think not. They have been trying to bully us off the road for longer than I've been alive, and I'm not of a mind to let it happen.

    The FRAP laws (far right as practicable) need to evaporate; traffic laws need to be enforced, lest we sink FURTHER into the law of the jungle. Anyone 'buzzing' another road user needs to go up for aggravated assault and intimidation. I personally think caning would be appropriate for this.

    The government's subsidizing of the auto industry and oil/gas industry needs to grind to a halt. Those d*mn*d smoke-belchers need to cease being a status symbol, they're killing us all.

    The interstate highway system should be for freight and mass-transit rail, not self-important people taking their 4-wheeled coffins on journeys to tourist traps.

    A little extreme? Maybe. But I'll go a lot further before I accept being relegated to 2nd- or 3rd-class citizen because I ride the most efficient transport machine ever invented.
  10. Skidmark

    Skidmark Cycling for life

    The government does not subsidize any oil or gas industry. Its the other way around. The tax from burning fuel goes a long way towards road building. Which includes bike lanes etc.
  11. Michigander

    Michigander Member

    The area I live in, metro detroit, was designed from the beginning to be unfriendly to anything other than auto traffic. I believe it was chrysler that bought out the trolleys to put them out of business, insuring more people had cars. It's fairly dangerous to ride in a lot of the streets around here, particularly by yourself.

    My user name is named after the Michigander bike tour, a ride which makes heavy use of rail trails, and mostly exists to raise awareness and money to support improving and expanding rail trails that we have now. I believe Michigan has the second nicest rail trails in the US at this point. But it could still be better. Metro detroit bicycle commuting is still terrible, and rail trails would be a viable way to improve the situation.