Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Share the road.
April 6, 2012 7:26 AM   Subscribe

The driver of the LANTA bus, identified as Richard Gubish, Jr., saw the crash in his rear view mirror and also saw the driver attempting to get away.  Mr. Gubish took immediate and decisive action... [YT]

Another witness to the crash, Judson Smull, stopped to render aid to the injured Pavlick, who implored Smull to go after the offending driver to get the license plate. Smull also took immediate action, and following the lead of Mr. Gubish, positioned his car directly behind the offending vehicle, further blocking any attempt to escape.

The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways. The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash.
posted by zennie (156 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
This has made my day, Thank you!
posted by Blasdelb at 7:33 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


So if you hit someone, you stop your car, you get out, and you help. Good on the bus driver and others for stopping that car.

But was the biker operating legally? Shortly before the accident, you can see other drives slamming on the brakes to avoid what is essentially a slow-moving, hard to see vehicle driving on the bridge. Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?
posted by Frayed Knot at 7:36 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bikers are not pedestrians.
posted by The Deej at 7:38 AM on April 6, 2012 [73 favorites]


No, he shouldn't.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:38 AM on April 6, 2012 [34 favorites]


I'm glad to see that it didn't look like the cyclist was badly hurt. I hope that was truly the case. My heart was kind of in my mouth at the beginning of that video, thinking "Omigod, I'm about to watch someone get hit by a car."

It gladdens my cold, shriveled heart to see that car get so neatly boxed in by Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull. I've know someone down here in New Orleans who was hit on her bike by a taxi (Why is it that taxis are often the worst drivers on the street? They're professionals and they do it all day long, you'd think they'd be better at it.) which didn't even slow down, just kept going. There was nobody on hand to block it in, and of course she didn't get the license plate given that she was too busy getting knocked head over heels onto the street. She'll have scars for the rest of her life to remind her of that night. Makes me fucking furious to this day.

Crashes happen. They're usually accidents. But to hit someone, especially a pedestrian or a cyclist, and then keep driving instead of stopping to try and help and to face the consequences of one's actions... that's pretty fucking low.
posted by Scientist at 7:39 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


If someone finds a mounted cyclist 'hard to see', I would reckon that person shouldn't be driving.
posted by ftm at 7:39 AM on April 6, 2012 [37 favorites]


Based on the signs flashed up at the end of the video, the cyclist had every right to use the full lane. And even if not, it's still a hit and run. Good result!
posted by dickasso at 7:39 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


And as far as whether the cyclist should have been doing something else, well, I didn't exactly see anything else to do on that bridge. There's no bike lane, no shoulder, nowhere for the bike to go. There's a pedestrian walkway to the side, but it's illegal to ride a bike there in most places. And of course the cyclist was going slow, he was biking uphill. He was in the middle of the lane because he wanted it to be obvious to cars behind him that there was no safe way to pass him in that lane (if he'd stayed to the side, cars might very well have squeezed him up against the barrier which I can say from experience is fucking terrifying and extremely dangerous) and therefore force them to go around him.

I'm sure if there had been a better route for him to take, one which would avoid that bridge, he would've taken it. That bridge is a deathtrap for cyclists and anyone who regularly crosses it on a bike surely curses its existence.
posted by Scientist at 7:42 AM on April 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


But was the biker operating legally?

Yes.

The idiot who hit him failed to have proper following distance behind the bus; he couldn't see the obstruction the bus moved to avoid. Also, he was going to pass the bus on the right.

When I drove semi, I learned that the trucks have two sides. The Passing side (drivers/left) and the Suicide (passenger/right).

Don't pass on the right.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 AM on April 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?

That would be illegal.
posted by kmz at 7:44 AM on April 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


The video was uploaded by the police department, and the end of the video shows a full frame of a road sign that reads "Bicycles may use full lane." It's pretty clear that the cyclist was not in the wrong.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:44 AM on April 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


If someone finds a mounted cyclist 'hard to see'

I think they meant because a person approaching him at that time was coming uphill on a curve. Not that it excuses hitting him.
posted by yerfatma at 7:44 AM on April 6, 2012


If you read the original police report, you'll see that the cyclist is a certified instructor:

Frank Pavlick, CAR-FREE.ORG's Advanced Mechanic Instructor and League of American Bicyclists certified Cycling Instructor, avoided serious injury.

And the signs are part of a particular campaign.
posted by idb at 7:45 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty darn novel and unusual for a bicycle-related crime to be pursued and prosecuted. Good on Pennsylvania for actually standing up for this guy's rights.

(And, seriously, can I buy that bus driver a beer? That was a sharp observation, coupled with some fast and clever thinking)
posted by schmod at 7:48 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?

No. Then you've got a bike clipping people because even slow moving, compared to cars it's a fairly silent metal thing moving faster than a walking pace to stay balanced. Why people persist to see foot traffic areas as a catch all of anything not on four wheels continues to disgust me with the disregard for anything but driver comfort.

Pedestrians are even more twitchy and moving in all sorts of directions. Cars generally go in the same direction with lanes and signs and passing signals, just like bikes. Personally I prefer dedicated bike lanes, but you can't just jam cyclists in with us feet folk, unless you like the idea of cyclists slamming into walls because they bailed rather than mow over a toddler.
posted by Phalene at 7:49 AM on April 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?

Frayed Knot, I answer your questions in good faith. No, the cyclists should not be in the pedestrian lane; a cyclist is legally considered to have the same rights on the roads, according to the Uniform Vehicle Code of the United States which states that people have equal right to use the roadway whether they are driving a bicycle or a motorized vehicle; most states follow this code. The exception to this rule are limited access divided express highways, however these can be used by bicycles in many states where no alternative routes are available.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:49 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?
posted by


Frayed Knot.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:49 AM on April 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


[quit the popcorn comments. You want to talk about bike/car stuff, don't pre-fuck the thread. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:49 AM on April 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


That would be illegal.

Not just illegal, but unsafe both for cyclist and pedestrians. Sidewalks are manifestly unsafe places to ride, particularly because of the danger of getting hit by turning cars at intersections.

... And yeah, that bus driver is my new favorite person in the whole world ever.
posted by multics at 7:50 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have been fucked up by a hit and run driver, but what felt so much worse than the injuries, the recoveries, the damage, and the callousness of the driver was the reaction of a street crowded with people. Its an intensely terrible lonely dehumanizing feeling lying in the road covered in your own blood and gore and piss wondering if your already dead because someone couldn't be bothered to see you as a human being, but it is so much worse to be conscious enough to watch sidewalks full of people just keep walking.

Watching this kid use his own ride and this bus driver abandon his route to just instinctively do the right thing is inspiring.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:50 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


My new band is called Gubish & Smull.
posted by echo target at 7:51 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


The juvenile offender

This is definitely a situation where my parents would have seen video of me hitting a bicyclist and been disappointed and taken away car privileges, but now will see a video of me attempting to flee the scene and will be absolutely furious. I like to believe I would have stayed at the scene and owned up to what I'd done. I guess I should be grateful for parents who raised me to be honest about mistakes I made, and always told me they would come get me when I called and told them I was in trouble rather get myself in a worse situation.
posted by jermsplan at 7:51 AM on April 6, 2012


So fucking good.

Also, sad that we have so few moments like these, and so many moments where no one gives a shit about a biker getting hit (like this one where a bus intentionally hits a biker).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:52 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not just illegal, but unsafe both for cyclist and pedestrians. Sidewalks are manifestly unsafe places to ride, particularly because of the danger of getting hit by turning cars at intersections.


The collision of a bike and a person on foot isn't really comparable to a bike and a car. And the volume of cars to walkers isn't comparable either.
posted by spaltavian at 7:53 AM on April 6, 2012


But was the biker operating legally?

Seriously? If you're asking that question your drivers license needs to be revoked.

I frequently ride over bridges and take over the entire lane because of the number of times I've had cars pass me blindly as we're approaching a span on a double yellow line. And keep in mind that I'm going the 25-30 mph speed limit or damn near it when riding in a group. I've been buzzed and nearly hit so many times that I barely notice it now. I watched a rider in front of me nearly get clipped by a side-view mirror just yesterday because some redneck thought he'd teach us a lesson.

Your 3 second inconvenience and perceived entitlement of the entire road does not mean you can endanger another human being's safety or life. Period.
posted by photoslob at 7:53 AM on April 6, 2012 [25 favorites]


Its an intensely terrible lonely dehumanizing feeling lying in the road covered in your own blood and gore and piss wondering if your already dead because someone couldn't be bothered to see you as a human being, but it is so much worse to be conscious enough to watch sidewalks full of people just keep walking.

I'm so, so sorry for your experience. I promise you that I would not keep walking.

I had a bike accident in college (wasn't hit by a car, it was my own stupid fault) and several strangers came to my aid. One woman folded up her jacket for me to rest my head on and someone else held my hand while my friend ran to get his car. My only regret was not asking them their names (though I wasn't really in the frame of mind for pleasantries) but I will never, ever forget their faces.
posted by cooker girl at 7:54 AM on April 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


...the end of the video shows a full frame of a road sign that reads "Bicycles may use full lane."

Is that what the bicycle-with-two-chevrons symbol means?! I'd been noticing them popping up on some of the streets around here and I assumed they were meant to draw drivers' attention to the fact that cyclists might be using those lanes, but I didn't realize that they meant that I was supposed to hang out in the middle of the outer lane on a 35mph four-lane road with a wide shoulder. I literally had no idea, there hasn't been any awareness campaign about it and the symbol isn't exactly obvious in its intent. I'd wager most drivers haven't even noticed that it's there, to be honest.

Good luck getting drivers to respect that bit of road signage. I feel like I'd get run off the road if I tried to take up an entire lane of Elysian Fields Avenue on my bike while commuting to class, and most of the cars who would honk and swerve at me would feel like they were totally in the right.
posted by Scientist at 7:55 AM on April 6, 2012


The collision of a bike and a person on foot isn't really comparable to a bike and a car. And the volume of cars to walkers isn't comparable either.

Huh? I'm not really sure how that's relevant to my comment, which was about the danger of a bicyclist on a sidewalk being hit by a car at an intersection. However, it's also the case that, regardless of degree, bikes represent a threat to pedestrians on sidewalks and simply should not be there. That the danger is different than the danger presented by cars does not change that fact.
posted by multics at 7:58 AM on April 6, 2012


I didn't realize that they meant that I was supposed to hang out in the middle of the outer lane on a 35mph four-lane road with a wide shoulder.

There's a difference between the words may and shall.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:59 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Is that what the bicycle-with-two-chevrons symbol means?!"

That is a sharrow
posted by Blasdelb at 8:00 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


More like this.
posted by unSane at 8:00 AM on April 6, 2012


The collision of a bike and a person on foot isn't really comparable to a bike and a car.

Wrong
posted by photoslob at 8:04 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Blasdelb: That is a sharrow

Thank you very much for that bit of vocabulary. I'm pretty keen on bicycle and share-the-road issues but never knew the terminology/history for that bit of signage. Sadly, that says something about what the average driver thinks about it too.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:06 AM on April 6, 2012


I'm just saying that it's not exactly a self-explanatory symbol and absent some kind of public awareness campaign or rigorous enforcement by police (ha!) I can't see it being respected by more than a vanishingly small percentage of drivers. I mean, I certainly would (especially now that I know what it means, but also because in general I try not to be an asshole to cyclists [or to anyone] when I'm in my car) but I feel like most people who drive cars aren't going to just automatically figure out that that symbol means that bikes are allowed to be in the middle of the lane.

What they need is a yellow sign accompanying the road markings bearing that symbol plus the words "Cyclists May Use Entire Lane" or something.

Anyway, enough of the derail. Don't you think "Gubish and Smull" has a nice ring to it? As in "The Gubish and Smull Memorial Bike Lane"?
posted by Scientist at 8:07 AM on April 6, 2012


Ugh. I'm by no means an avid cyclist, but when the weather is nice I like to ride my bike to work. I observe all the rules of the road, just like any other motorized vehicle. Just as the law requires in my state. The fact that 90% of drivers completely fail to understand this is both frightening and utterly fucking depressing. I can't tell you how many times I've heard things like "got off the road, you're not a car" yelled at me with the righteous fury that only a total asshole could muster. I'm just glad I've never been hit; many of my biking colleagues have been hit and most of them by drivers who fled the scene.

What's even worse is being harassed by police officers who should know better (try explaining the law to a law enforcer...it's not fun).

So yeah, this little video brightened my day, thanks for sharing it.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:10 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


So that's what the biker under the house thing means. We have them on some roads around here and I had no idea they were official. I thought maybe they were marking out the route for a road race or something.

That said, I'm always extra careful when cyclists are present on the road, with or without the presence of sharrows.
posted by COD at 8:13 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


What they need is a yellow sign accompanying the road markings bearing that symbol plus the words "Cyclists May Use Entire Lane" or something.

I can't speak for the particulars of anyone else's experience, but many of the sharrow'd streets I ride on have signage saying "[bike profile] may use full lane." I would prefer they were 10 feet tall and flashing neon, but it's better than nothing.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:15 AM on April 6, 2012


The idiot who hit him failed to have proper following distance behind the bus; he couldn't see the obstruction the bus moved to avoid. Also, he was going to pass the bus on the right.

In fact, if you watch the video closely, the bus, the silver car and the black car are in a line. The bus moves over, and the black car passes the silver car on the left. It then swerves to pass the bus on the right and hits the cyclist.

The kid was zigzagging in traffic and overdriving his sight range.

Then he thinks about it for a bit, and takes off.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:15 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?

No. Then you've got a bike clipping people because even slow moving, compared to cars it's a fairly silent metal thing moving faster than a walking pace to stay balanced.
-- Phalene

A road is dangerous any time there's a large difference in speeds, whether it is someone going 50mph when everyone else is going 70mph, or a pedestrian in a bike lane, or visa-versa, or a bike in the middle of a street where cars are going much faster than the bike. With the difference in speed, then any mistake and there's a collision at that speed difference.

If the cars were going too fast/bike going too slow to be safe on this street, then he could have walked the bike in the pedestrian lane.

That's not really relevant to this accident, however. As the video clearly shows, there was no confusion--it was a bike clearly in front of the driver without cars changing lanes nearby. The car driver had lots of time to notice the bike. If it was a tree he would have slammed into the tree. The fact that he tried to quickly speed off tells you something about his character.
posted by eye of newt at 8:17 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?

No. Then you've got a bike clipping people


So I guess the whole Rails to Trails thing is broken then.
posted by stbalbach at 8:19 AM on April 6, 2012


Look at these pictures of bikes and pedestrians sharing the same path.. I wonder if they know what kind of danger they are in?
posted by stbalbach at 8:22 AM on April 6, 2012


There is a bike/parking lane on my way to work, and I would honestly just rather they take up a regular lane, because they do so much swerving in and out of the bike lane. More than anything, drivers and cyclists and pedestrians need to be predictable.
posted by desjardins at 8:22 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stbalbach, you're being deliberately obtuse. Exercise trails ain't sidewalks.
posted by notsnot at 8:23 AM on April 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Look at this pedestrian path, plenty of room for a bike to breeze through there.

Seriously, stbalbach. There's a difference between a designated trail and a sidewalk.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that he tried to quickly speed off tells you something about his character.

Yeah, I wish the law accounted for the fact that you can so rarely cure asshole.* Maybe a new element of a crime, mens rea aeterna.

* To be honest the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking about this was the last line from this letter.** My lizard brain admittedly wants to go all Hammurabi on this motherfucker, which is ultimately why I'm glad that my lizard brain isn't running the show.

** It was taken down from Letters of Note. What a shame.

posted by invitapriore at 8:30 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since nobody else has, I'm giving a shout-out to the driver of the grey car who helped box in the black car. Good on you!
posted by ardgedee at 8:32 AM on April 6, 2012


stbalbach>So I guess the whole Rails to Trails thing is broken then.

A bit of a derail, but: Yes. there are many of us who aren't fans of bicyclists on Multi-Use Paths, or at least believe that such use is to be done in moderation.

There are very very few bike paths. Bike paths are routes in which pedestrians are forbidden, and pedestrians are ticketed and cited if they use. These really don't exist. Underneath BART in Berkeley there are two separate paths, one labeled "pedestrian", one "bike", but there are always pedestrians on the bike path. In fact back when I commuted along that route I've seen the sole pedestrian in several blocks walking on the "bike" side. After a few such incidents I tended to revert to surface streets.

MUPs are great if you're taking your kids out to pedal along the river or whatever, but they absolutely suck for getting from point A to point B, because a cyclists cannot safely hold a decent speed on them. A bicycle at 20MPH, or a paceline of bicyclists at 25-30MPH, has absolutely no place mixing with pedestrian traffic.

Further, most of these MUPs have kids wandering all over them, people with dogs and long leashes, and really aren't even safe for runners.

So I think MUPs are great, they provide recreational spaces, but MUPs are not bike paths. Calling them bike paths makes drivers think "the cyclist should stay off the street". And we need to be really really careful to not call them "bike paths", and to correct people when they refer to them as "bike paths".
posted by straw at 8:32 AM on April 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


Don't you think "Gubish and Smull" has a nice ring to it? As in "The Gubish and Smull Memorial Bike Lane"?
posted by Scientist at 8:07 AM on April 6


Yes, I most certainly do.

This kind of behavior makes me weep for humanity. I'd like to know what happens to the driver, and whether he/she learns anything after committing this idiotic and truly despicable act.

Don't even get me started about the link from Admiral Haddock. I may have just had a mini stroke.
posted by blurker at 8:33 AM on April 6, 2012


If the cars were going too fast/bike going too slow to be safe on this street, then he could have walked the bike in the pedestrian lane.

But he's a cyclist and was obeying the road rules. Just because it's convenient for cars doesn't make it right. You are being unreasonable to demand that cyclists do not bike because some drivers have trouble obeying laws.

Yeah, as much as I don't want to sound fighty, again you're conflating trail with sidewalk and being needlessly obtuse. Recreational trails, as straw describes, are full of all manner of things from horses to tricycles and are not a good way to travel on a regular commute, and cars certainly don't get the monopoly on getting from point A to point B efficiently. Share the lane, you have no legal choice otherwise and quit trying to make me get hit by cyclists because it offends you to slow down. Drivers are the heaviest most dangerous thing on the road so that's why the onus is on them to perform well.
posted by Phalene at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I want to hug that bus driver. (Data point: I am not a cyclist anymore - my knees can't take it. I am a pedestrian and a driver.)

I work on Sand Hill Rd in Menlo Park. Sand Hill is very popular with cyclists - both the commuting kind and the training-for-races kind. There are bike lanes on the east- and westbound sides of Sand Hill. And both sets of bikes lanes intersect with the on- and off-ramps for 280. As you exit 280S for eastbound Sand Hill, there's a Yield sign at the top of the ramp, and you are supposed to yield to car traffic and also to cyclists. In the six years I've been doing this commute, I think I've seen drivers yield to cyclists maybe three times. I've been in the position to yield a couple of times, and when I have, asshole drivers behind me honk and gesticulate rudely.

Sorry, dude, but your meeting at the VC firm is not that important. And if you've planned so badly that you're going to be late if I don't run over the cyclists, that's not my problem.

Every year, at least one memorial to a dead or injured cyclist springs up on the side of the road. I hate it.
posted by rtha at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Quick thinking by the bus and the following car! I dig it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:41 AM on April 6, 2012


This kind of behavior makes me weep for humanity

It strikes me as pretty normal adolescent male thinking, which doesn't excuse it, but I'm sure it was an intense fight or flight response. He made the ethically wrong decision, but it happens all the time and I'd cut him a little slack -- he's not the most evil person in the world -- as a young driver. Luckily, no one was badly hurt. Hopefully, he is careful around bikes for the rest of his life. And yes he should lose his license and suffer some sort of significant penalty to make the lesson stick.

But wow, hurray for Gubish and Stull. That makes me hopeful for humanity.
posted by spitbull at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2012


No. Then you've got a bike clipping people because even slow moving, compared to cars it's a fairly silent metal thing moving faster than a walking pace to stay balanced. Why people persist to see foot traffic areas as a catch all of anything not on four wheels continues to disgust me with the disregard for anything but driver comfort.

I know! It's like if cyclists were on any sort of shared use infrastructure they'd have to slow down to carefully overtake unpredictable, slower moving traffic and also give them the right of way! The nerve of those drivers wanting to inconveniencing cyclists like that!

Back in Perth we have a network of dual-use paths that are specifically for cyclists and pedestrians. They are smooth poured concrete paths about five feet wide and have well delineated lanes. The same rules apply for the paths as the road. Keep left, give way to pedestrians, slow down when passing much slower moving traffic. Cyclists use them because they can safely cut through areas and/or use a more efficient route rather than being forced to go around on the road. We also have bike lanes down many major thoroughfares and shared-paths that run along the entire route of the freeway. It's like a bike freeway to the city! It's not perfect by any stretch but the bike network in and around the city is up to 750km and counting.

That's not to say we don't allow cyclists on the road. We also have special inductive sensors for bikes to trip at almost all sensor controlled intersections and we're upgrading intersections to have special head start lane for cyclists turning across traffic at major intersections along with a push button to trigger a turn on sensor controlled intersections.

But nevertheless Phalene should immediately alert Main Roads of Western Australia that what they're doing is something incredibly dangerous and the massive campaign to get people to Cycle Instead™ is nothing short of a government sponsored death panel.
posted by Talez at 8:46 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Being hit by a bicycle going full speed is no joke, and of course on pedestrian paths you don't only have adults, but kids and pets walking and darting and meandering unpredictably. The cyclist also usually takes a flying header and gets hurt too.

Bicycles are vehicles and they need vehicle lanes.
posted by emjaybee at 8:46 AM on April 6, 2012


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?

That would be illegal.


In PA bicycles are allowed to ride on a sidewalk (I assume that counts as a sidewalk). § 3508. Pedalcycles on sidewalks and pedalcycle paths. (pdf link)

(a) Right-of-way to pedestrians.--A person riding a pedalcycle upon a sidewalk or pedalcycle path used by pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
posted by bowmaniac at 8:48 AM on April 6, 2012


In Japan, cyclists go on sidewalks with pedestrians. Nobody acts like an asshole, pedestrians don't get annoyed or get injured, if cyclists want to go faster they'll move to the road for a while.

Seriously, does a person on a bike look and act more like a pedestrian or more like a car? We (US, UK, etc) have got this one wrong.
posted by dickasso at 8:49 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bicycles are vehicles and they need vehicle lanes.

Up until the point where they need to stop. Then all of a sudden they become pedestrians with all the privileges and applicable rights of way thereof.
posted by Talez at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, does a person on a bike look and act more like a pedestrian or more like a car? We (US, UK, etc) have got this one wrong.

As a pedestrian, there is absolutely no way I can ever go 20 or 30 mph. Not happening. Also, please see the link above to the photo of a city sidewalk. It's New York but it could easily be San Francisco. Demanding that cyclists only be allowed to use sidewalks is absurd.
posted by rtha at 8:54 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously, does a person on a bike look and act more like a pedestrian or more like a car? We (US, UK, etc) have got this one wrong.

Well, one of those has wheels, can achieve rates of speed in excess of 20MPH, carries a substantial amount of kinetic energy, and is subject to the laws applicable to vehicular traffic.

So, car then.

Bikes are vehicles. They belong with the rest of the vehicles.
posted by multics at 8:55 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Drivers need to get over themselves. It's unlikely you'll be behind a bike for miles and miles, and it's not like you're completely stopped in traffic. At the most it will add a minute or two to your journey.
posted by desjardins at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


The bridge in question appears to have a sign indicating STAY IN LANE for drivers headed that direction. (I'm guessing that might account for the additional lane-change violation he got)

The Sharrow is visible in the overhead view, though in the Street View there is a car blocking it.

Still, though, it seems like a really unsafe/non-optimal set-up on that bridge. There certainly seems to be room for a bike lane in the shoulder area, but I'm guessing that the off-ramp at the end of the bridge would conflict with that for bicyclists wanting to go straight.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:58 AM on April 6, 2012


Up until the point where they need to stop. Then all of a sudden they become pedestrians with all the privileges and applicable rights of way thereof.

Did you mean "Up until the point where the rider dismounts and exits the vehicular lane"? Because otherwise this is pretty obviously incorrect. It's like saying a car at a red light should be treated as parked and has all the rights and privileges thereof.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:59 AM on April 6, 2012


Ok.illegal to be in pedestrian lane but much much safer given what the viewer can see on the video
posted by Postroad at 9:00 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Demanding that cyclists only be allowed to use sidewalks is absurd

not only that, think about how much more absurd it would be to have a bicyclist hopping from road to sidewalk to road to sidewalk at his own discretion.

bicycles belong on the road and they deserve equal access and consideration, and most importantly in my mind, empathy.

it's just galling how many motorists completely lack empathy for cyclists. I had hoped that climbing gas prices would get more people out riding around their communities and then understanding what it is like to commute.

that may happen yet but, in my experience so far, it's just making drivers a lot angrier.

anyway, good on this bus driver for doing the right thing.
posted by One Thousand and One at 9:01 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see that it didn't look like the cyclist was badly hurt.

My initial reaction, as well.

I hope that was truly the case.

Fortunately: "Pavlick suffered mostly scrapes, bruises and soreness from being thrown off his bike, which was destroyed in the crash."*

Props to Pavlick: "'I think it’s a burden for him to carry. I think he’s very lucky that he doesn’t have to go through a long life knowing he killed somebody' said Pavlick."*
posted by ericb at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2012


Really the whole idea of allowing private cars into urban cores is the root of a vast amount of social damage. Two wheelers limited to 20k, bikes, and peds plus licensed four wheel public transit, public service, emergency and regulated delivery traffic.

Fix that and the health, safety and wellness of our cities will skyrocket.

I continue to dream because someone must.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2012 [24 favorites]


Well, one of those has wheels, can achieve rates of speed in excess of 20MPH, carries a substantial amount of kinetic energy, and is subject to the laws applicable to vehicular traffic.

So, car then.


Oh my hyperbolus! It hurts so much! Since these vehicles have such a substantial amount of kinetic energy I assume you fully support licensing the riders of these potential death machines then?

Did you mean "Up until the point where the rider dismounts and exits the vehicular lane"? Because otherwise this is pretty obviously incorrect. It's like saying a car at a red light should be treated as parked and has all the rights and privileges thereof.

I could be a quadruple amputee and still be able to count on my fingers and toes the number of times a cyclist has either stopped or dismounted at a four way stop in San Francisco. They just swerve into the pedestrian crossing and barrel on through.

If you want to be a vehicle be a vehicle.
posted by Talez at 9:04 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


This comes on the heels of a bike fatality on that very bridge. In December, an elderly woman crashed into a cyclist and he died.
posted by byjingo! at 9:14 AM on April 6, 2012


Oh my hyperbolus! It hurts so much! Since these vehicles have such a substantial amount of kinetic energy I assume you fully support licensing the riders of these potential death machines then?

I wouldn't object overmuch to rider licensing if the financial barriers to entry were low-to-nonexistent. I think it'd be a good opportunity to educate riders about things like their right to take the lane and their obligation to follow the traffic laws. So yeah.

I could be a quadruple amputee and still be able to count on my fingers and toes the number of times a cyclist has either stopped or dismounted at a four way stop in San Francisco. They just swerve into the pedestrian crossing and barrel on through.

And I could be Shiva and lack the digits to enumerate the number of cars I see on my daily commute exceeding the speed limit, rolling through stop signs, failing to yield to pedestrians or other vehicles, entering an intersection as the light turns red, improperly using their horn, and any of the innumerable other offenses drivers apparently consider their sole privilege.

If you want to be a vehicle be a vehicle.

ok! you've got yourself a deal, chum.
posted by multics at 9:14 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you want to be a vehicle be a vehicle.

Please explain how a cyclist is the same as a pedestrian.

Also, I don't understand what you mean by this: Up until the point where they need to stop. Then all of a sudden they become pedestrians with all the privileges and applicable rights of way thereof.

What do you mean?
posted by rtha at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2012


Seriously, does a person on a bike look and act more like a pedestrian or more like a car? We (US, UK, etc) have got this one wrong.

No no no no no. Even a very slow cyclist like me goes much faster than someone walking. If I have to bike on the sidewalk as a regular thing, I have to slow down to walking speeds and the point of bicycling disappears. I do actually have part of my route where I bike across a college campus around a lot of pedestrians and it's not really very fun - it's slow, the students tend to be chatting and checking their phones and thus move around really unpredictably...and really, why should they have to keep looking out for bikes?

I don't know how this works in Japan, but I have observed that Japanese culture is substantially different from US culture and would assume that something that works there would not necessarily work here absent a lot of incentives and a lot of policing.

Vis-a-vis pedestrians - yesterday, as I crossed a bridge on campus, two girls who were walking in the bike lane literally ran toward me with loud cries and although I did not hit them, both they and I got a good scare. They had decided to cross out of the bike lane and for some reason that I truly do not understand decided to run right in front of me when it was very obvious that I would not be expecting it and would not have time to stop. I know they saw me; one of them looked me right in the eyes.

Another friend of mine had her arm broken when she was hit by a cyclist at a very dodgy and poorly-planned intersection on campus. The cyclist had been biking carelessly and much too fast for the street, but the incredibly poor and unsafe design was just as much a factor. If a bicyclist hits you, you can be badly hurt.

It seems that minimizing the amount of time the bikes spend on sidewalks is a good idea.

I bike commute quite happily on a mixed-use trail, though, and I see other commuters all the time. Mixed-use trails seem to be a really big problem mostly for very serious cyclists who have gear and want to go really fast - which would be the only think to do, I suppose, if you had a really long commute. Mine is five miles; I can potter. I am not sure what to do about this.
posted by Frowner at 9:22 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talez>: I could be a quadruple amputee and still be able to count on my fingers and toes the number of times a cyclist has either stopped or dismounted at a four way stop in San Francisco

I have been on a bicycle and hit by a car because I stopped at a stop sign. I stopped, car rolled through, clipped my back wheel and knocked me over.

I still take the risk of stopping at stop signs but, really: an automobile driver complaining about cyclists not stopping at stop signs is like a gangbanger starting an urban firefight and then complaining that a bystander didn't have their kid in a car seat.

When your (and, let's be fair, our, I drive too) chosen form of transportation isn't directly killing forty thousand people a year in the United States, then let's talk about the one that's maybe killing a few tens.
posted by straw at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


No doubt the bicyclist was riding legally and kudos to those who helped detain the runaway.

But that bridge looks fucking dangerous. If I were biking across it I'd 1. Haul ass, 2. check behind me often, and 3. STAY TO THE RIGHT. Sure, you're allowed to use the whole lane, but it makes getting around you a LOT easier if you're not in the center or left side of the lane.

Of course, that would be as much of an issue if there were a bike lane!
posted by cman at 9:27 AM on April 6, 2012


Definitely looked kinda weird.. like.. "Wait why is this ding-dong riding in the middle lane of a small bridge.. but eh, still glad the bus driver boxed in the dude. He really should've kept to the extreme right of the lane, OR just fuckin' walked his bike across in the pedestrian lane.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:28 AM on April 6, 2012


Maybe the driver should have maintained a safe following distance and not broken the no-passing law?

No, that's stupid. Fuck that cyclist, man!
posted by rtha at 9:30 AM on April 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Look at these pictures of bikes and pedestrians sharing the same path.. I wonder if they know what kind of danger they are in?

Shit rolls downhill. As a pedestrian, I've been run into by bikers, and been shouted at to "get the hell out of the way!" when I had no idea they were approaching from behind.

All of America needs more bike & pedestrian-freindly traffic-ways. All of America needs fewer self-entitled assholes out in public, no matter their mode of transport.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:32 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't object overmuch to rider licensing if the financial barriers to entry were low-to-nonexistent. I think it'd be a good opportunity to educate riders about things like their right to take the lane and their obligation to follow the traffic laws. So yeah.

Personally I think more care needs to be taken during driver's ed more than anything. The California driver's ed handbook has the rights of a cyclist but not basic habits learner drivers should be learning to help cyclists exercise those rights. In the scheme of passing the test learning how much allowance to give a cyclist is one of the last things on the list.

Please explain how a cyclist is the same as a pedestrian.

They're not. Much the same as cyclists aren't the same as a car. A cyclist rides on much narrow profile tyres than a car. They need to swerve at times to avoid obstacles that a car wouldn't give a second thought to (grates for stormwater drains, potholes) along with swerving to avoid their own unique hazards in bike lanes (parked cars) and going along lines of parked cars (fling open that door! the cyclist can stop on a dime, right?). That's why we're taught when learning to drive to allow at least half a car width to a bicycle when overtaking them to give them room to react, right? Well at least it was in my state.

Also, I don't understand what you mean by this: Up until the point where they need to stop. Then all of a sudden they become pedestrians with all the privileges and applicable rights of way thereof.

What do you mean?


Pedestrians often have special rights of ways in intersections. Namely to cross in front of stopped traffic at stop signs. So when a cyclist arrives at a stop sign they might as well be yelling "I'M A PEDESTRIAN! I'M A PEDESTRIAN!" when swapping over to the zebra crossing at 20mph.

I find it kind of amusing that some cyclists in this thread to demand that cars take special care to share the road with slower, more unpredictable traffic (which they have every right to) but then turn their nose up when they might be asked to do the same with other slower, more unpredictable traffic on specific dual use infrastructure.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander?

That's not to say that sidewalks will always be applicable. Of course a New York City sidewalk is going to be unsuitable for riding. That's why we fight for local governments to install cycle lanes in cities and demand prompt enforcement of double parking in those lanes. Some cities have really shitty sidewalks and when the sidewalk is no comparison to asphalt of course a bike should be on the road.

But are you really telling me that you wouldn't ride on a dual use path like this next to an arterial road simply because you don't have the ultimate right of way? Despite the arterial road not having the proper shoulder or room to fit a cyclist alongside a car in the lane? Despite the dual use path being well marked and having extremely good visibility?
posted by Talez at 9:38 AM on April 6, 2012


Not much to say but boo to the hit-and-run driver for making the wrong snap decision and hurray to the other drivers for making the right snap decisions. Community policing at its best!
posted by LordSludge at 9:38 AM on April 6, 2012


Talez: "the number of times a cyclist has either stopped or dismounted at a four way stop in San Francisco"

Dismounting a bike is like taking the keys out of the ignition and opening the door. A reasonably skilled cyclist does not even need to put a foot down to stop (it's called a track stand), but there is a huge difference between putting a foot down and a dismount, and you should never expect a dismount at a stop sign.
posted by idiopath at 9:41 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dismounting a bike is like taking the keys out of the ignition and opening the door. A reasonably skilled cyclist does not even need to put a foot down to stop (it's called a track stand), but there is a huge difference between putting a foot down and a dismount, and you should never expect a dismount at a stop sign.

I wouldn't expect them to. I would expect a dismount in the case that a cyclist chooses to use the pedestrian crossing.
posted by Talez at 9:42 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


What absolutely kills the usability of dual use paths is the dogs and toddlers on leashes. I'd rather take my chances on the road than risk crashing on someone's puppy or, Darwin forbid, child.
posted by idiopath at 9:44 AM on April 6, 2012


and you should never expect a dismount at a stop sign.

In theory, the only time a cyclist should dismount at a stop sign is if they're going to use the crosswalk (with the lights, of course). If a northbound cyclist comes to stop sign, and their route would continue north, then why would they need to dismount? They continue to maintain the status of "vehicle."

Also, the number of times I've seen drivers come to a full stop at stop signs is small. Even at the four-way stops by the elementary school near my house, the vast majority of drivers do the rolling stop thing.
posted by rtha at 9:45 AM on April 6, 2012


I bike commute quite happily on a mixed-use trail, though, and I see other commuters all the time. Mixed-use trails seem to be a really big problem mostly for very serious cyclists who have gear and want to go really fast - which would be the only think to do, I suppose, if you had a really long commute. Mine is five miles; I can potter. I am not sure what to do about this.

I have a similar commute -- five miles on mixed-use trail.* In the morning, it's just the bike commuters and a few dog-walkers and joggers. It can be pretty hairy in the afternoon or on the weekend when it's nice out, though. OTOH, little kids on bikes with training wheels always seem to like it when I ring my bell at them. :) For congestion, it's a pretty friendly sort of congestion. (I did have to shout at a group of junior high track team kids, but yeah, junior high kids.)

It does help, I think, that the most heavily trafficked area has marked "lanes," including a sort of sidewalk lane. Makes it a lot easier as a cyclist to use good passing behavior and share the space safely.

I've had a couple of (self-induced) accidents, and I'm forever grateful to the nice woman who pulled over when I fell in the pouring rain and dark just to make sure I was ok, because she saw me topple over.

* Curiously, it's actually a shorter route than if I drove, just because of how the roads go through an area with a couple of small lakes.
posted by epersonae at 9:46 AM on April 6, 2012


What absolutely kills the usability of dual use paths is the dogs and toddlers on leashes

Don't forget all the folks with headphones
posted by photoslob at 9:48 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I fully believe in "sharing the road," but cyclists who breeze past stop signs when there are cars at the intersection are assholes. If you want to be treated like a vehicle, act like a vehicle.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:50 AM on April 6, 2012


88 posts into a thread about a car who hits someone riding legally on a bike and then tries to run away and you guys are still blaming the bicyclist? What is wrong with people?

Maybe someone should start a thread about this cyclist who killed a pedestrian so people who hate bicyclists can have their thread, too.
posted by Nelson at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


But are you really telling me that you wouldn't ride on a dual use path like this next to an arterial road simply because you don't have the ultimate right of way?

Dual-use paths like that are a rarity in most of the US (and are emphatically not the same thing as sidewalks, which are simply never appropriate for bicycles). Where they exist and when they go where cyclists need to go, they can provide a reasonable alternative to roads for commingled bicycle-pedestrian traffic. However, even in those rare places with facilities like the one you showed, they are not a complete solution. Just as cars will switch from side streets to major arterials to facilitate faster travel, bicycles do and should have the right to make use of other vehicular facilities when it would be unsafe or inappropriate to use the path. For example, the speed limit on such trails is typically between 10 and 15MPH and sometimes lower. A bicyclist needing to exceed that rate should instead be on the road with faster-moving traffic, rather than simply flouting the law and putting the other users of the path at risk.

Back on topic: I do agree that bridge is terrible for bicycles; the jersey barriers between the sidewalk and the road make it basically impossible for a cyclist to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle and essentially force the cyclist into the middle of the lane simply because riding to the right raises the risk of being crushed between a car and the barrier.
posted by multics at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's an example of a dual-use path alongside the Mitchell Freeway back home. It has an intersection coming off the bridge with yield markings. The path (along with other principal shared paths) allows for uninterrupted cycling without crossings to other vehicular traffic for many miles. In fact you can see the underpass the path takes at this exit of the freeway to allow traffic to continue unimpeded.

Are you still going to turn your nose up at it because a dog walker is going to be on the track occasionally? That you might have to slow down just a little to overtake a semi-hazardous situation? Or is it still an insurmountable safety issue here, idiopath? You'll take surface streets all the way to the city with all that vehicular traffic and crossings that stop you just to avoid the occasional kid?
posted by Talez at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2012


Hello, I will be your contrarian today.

By this act, the bus driver has incorporated all of his passengers, without their permission, awareness and possibly against their will, into what is essentially a citizen's arrest. Moreover, this is a very dangerous way to do it -- by blocking the flow of traffic, he could have caused a completely different accident.

He's a bus driver. He's not you and not me, able to make our own decisions generally without regard to a group of people under our care. He has a completely different set of responsibilities.

Good job, Mr. Bus Driver. Now don't ever do anything like that again.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


El Sabor Asiatico: "I fully believe in "sharing the road," but cyclists who breeze past stop signs when there are cars at the intersection are assholes. If you want to be treated like a vehicle, act like a vehicle."

They way I see it, the guys on a fixies who don't believe in stop signs are the bike world's version of the dude in a pickup truck who doesn't believe in yellow lights or turn signals. As to why there are so many of each? Dunno. At this point if I see a pickup truck or a fixie I slow down or speed up or do whatever I need to do to not be near them, because they are so often unpredictable.
posted by idiopath at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frowner: "No no no no no. Even a very slow cyclist like me goes much faster than someone walking. If I have to bike on the sidewalk as a regular thing, I have to slow down to walking speeds and the point of bicycling disappears. "

If I were to express my dissatisfaction as a driver with cyclists in this manner, the line to denounce me in the Blue would rival any "line around the block" Apple release can muster.
posted by pwnguin at 10:03 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ride a bike to work on average 3 out of 5 days. I have ridden across 1 bridge similar to this, clearly delineated by "Share the Road" signage. That said, I will never ride across a bridge similar to that again unless being chased by rabid wolves or similar. Law or no law, within my rights or not, I'm not going to risk life and limb simply because I happen to be in the right. If I absolutely had to use this bridge on a daily basis due to no other crossings, I would gladly ride illegally on the footpath, or less likely, walk my bike across. Anything else, for me, is simply asking for a situation like this to eventually occur. Knowing I was riding my bike legally and that the driver is wrong will bring little comfort to me in a hospital bed, or worse, bring solace to my widow.

I think it really sucks that he got hit, and I was relieved to see that he appeared OK. If I were ever in this unfortunate position I would definitely appreciate the help from another driver to stop and hold someone accountable that hit me, but I can't help but think that most of the folks commenting that "he was riding legally, and had every right to be there" would not risk their own lives by adding a similar crossing to their own daily commute.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:04 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hello, I will be your contrarian today.

I came in here for an argument!
posted by Aizkolari at 10:05 AM on April 6, 2012


Talez: "You'll take surface streets all the way to the city with all that vehicular traffic and crossings that stop you just to avoid the occasional kid?"

I prefer to be able to make that choice. And yes, I prefer, generally, the company of other vehicles which are operated by mostly competent adults over that of unpredictable children and pets, because the latter are much more likely to get both of us hurt, and would weigh much heavier on my conscience. This is part of the reason I am on a bicycle rather than a car - I don't want to sit behind that kind of potential killing power. It's a personal decision.

What bugs me about bike lanes and mixed use paths is the attitude of entitlement motorists have that if such a path exists I am in the wrong for being in the street. Bicycles are not just allowed a full lane where there are sharrows, they are allowed a lane wherever their own judgement deems it necessary. And if this sounds overly dangerous, that probably means you need to change the way you drive. I don't mean that I randomly ride in a regular lane in the road when a bike lane exists, but that I often need to (momentarily, and after safely and prudently changing lanes) due to hazards like broken beer bottles or pedestrians entering and leaving cars, etc.
posted by idiopath at 10:07 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


That video caused incredible panic in me, and I'm so glad the cyclist is alright. I think it stems from going past the scene of a car-on-bike accident just minutes after it happened. I will never in my entire life forget that scene and how much blood was on the ground.

Bicyclists just aren't treated well by current road rules and road implementations and god only knows how many are killed annually around the world because of it. I drive and I bike (don't many of us!). I would gladly give up lanes, convenience, and time from my auto trips if it would just mean more safety and better accommodation for bicyclists.

Finally, good on ya, Richard Gubish!!! Bus drivers and bicyclists: that's exactly the sort of cooperation this world needs more of!
posted by barnacles at 10:08 AM on April 6, 2012


Shouldn't the biker be in the pedestrian lane?
posted by Frayed Knot at 3:36 PM on April 6


See, this is why people hate cyclists. Don't help that hatred.

Good on that bus driver. I also learned something about the cycling rules, here. At first I was thinking, "Why is that asshole cyclist hogging the middle of that lane?", so I'm glad they showed the "Cyclists May Use Whole Lane" sign to explain that.
posted by Decani at 10:13 AM on April 6, 2012


barnacles: " Bus drivers and bicyclists: that's exactly the sort of cooperation this world needs more of!"

Gubish: I'll form the arms and body
Cyclist: And I'll form the head!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:14 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


By this act, the bus driver has incorporated all of his passengers, without their permission, awareness and possibly against their will, into what is essentially a citizen's arrest. Moreover, this is a very dangerous way to do it -- by blocking the flow of traffic, he could have caused a completely different accident.

Your pedantic legalism is the envy of rationalizers the world wide, but I think the bus driver weighed his options and acted appropriately -- I doubt it took long for the police to get there, the issue of passenger consent in a case like this is academic (to put it kindly), and that's given that your assumptions about his employee code of conduct hold. Also, your counterfactual is all the less compelling for being implausible.
posted by invitapriore at 10:22 AM on April 6, 2012


Whatever happened to the Pave the Earth movement? That would seem to be the ideal solution to the eternal driver vs cyclist struggle.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:23 AM on April 6, 2012


I fully believe in "sharing the road," but cyclists who breeze past stop signs when there are cars at the intersection are assholes. If you want to be treated like a vehicle, act like a vehicle.

If stopping at a stop sign is a requirement for being a vehicle, there's a hell of a lot of four-wheeled non-vehicles around.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:23 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


If stopping at a stop sign is a requirement for being a vehicle, there's a hell of a lot of four-wheeled non-vehicles around.

Drivers who don't stop at stop signs are also assholes.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:27 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The difference is, when the subject of cars comes up, the subject of conversation does not inevitably switch every single fucking time to "I hate drivers that roll through stop signs".
posted by idiopath at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


They way I see it, the guys on a fixies who don't believe in stop signs are the bike world's version of the dude in a pickup truck who doesn't believe in yellow lights or turn signals. -- thanks, that encapsulates it quite nicely. (I have a theory, which I may or may not have articulated somewhere here, that the (perceived?) dangerousness of cycling in traffic attracts the sort of thrill-seeking assholes who do crap that makes drivers think that all cyclists are assholes and treat them that way, which makes it more dangerous to bike, etc., etc. So...EVERYBODY BE NICER.)
posted by epersonae at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2012


I know! It's like if cyclists were on any sort of shared use infrastructure they'd have to slow down to carefully overtake unpredictable, slower moving traffic and also give them the right of way! The nerve of those drivers wanting to inconveniencing cyclists like that!

People on the sidewalk rarely behave like vehicles in travel lanes. People on the sidewalk happily: walk on either side, speed up and slow down, stop to text, stop to chat, have dogs, have kids, have bags, have strollers, have wheeled carts, tie their shoes, take a photo, and are just generally entirely unpredictable. This is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike circulation in travel lanes.

Sure, you can stop your bike and ride keeping a safe distance behind everyone, but you might as well walk at that point. It makes far more sense to have bikes on the road if there are no dedicated, mostly obstacle-free bike lanes. At least on the road, most people are traveling the same direction at a fairly constant speed, and generally staying in a lane. Cars usually do not have to wait more than an minute or two at most to pass a cyclist.

And for everyone saying the cyclist on the bridge should be way over to right: that is often an unsafe place to be. You can't be seen in the side mirrors of drivers in the left lane who may want to move to the right lane, dirvers think they can squeeze by you without properly changing lanes to pass, and in this case you have far fewer options for getting out of the way, due to the barrier on the right. Under most circumstances, the center of the lane on the bridge is the most visible and safest place for the cyclist. The reason it wasn't this time was due to a lane change being made when there was no way for the driver to see what he was moving into. Being over to the right probably wouldn't have helped.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:37 AM on April 6, 2012


Longer version of that thought, from a post on my blog late last summer.
posted by epersonae at 10:40 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


epersonae:

Also, the asshole who cuts you off is much more memorable than the many courteous faceless strangers who obey the rules of the road. If you consider bicyclists to be sort of a "minority" on the road, this is a problem minorities have in any arena - when someone's only memorable experience is the frustrating one, it is easy to make us all look bad.
posted by idiopath at 10:42 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


By this act, the bus driver has incorporated all of his passengers, without their permission, awareness and possibly against their will, into what is essentially a citizen's arrest. Moreover, this is a very dangerous way to do it -- by blocking the flow of traffic, he could have caused a completely different accident.

You pay the fare, you take the ride.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:45 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The difference is, when the subject of cars comes up, the subject of conversation does not inevitably switch every single fucking time to "I hate drivers that roll through stop signs".

True, but it probably would come up more often if:

(1) Drivers drove straight through stop signs even half as often as cyclists do;

and

(2) You had drivers justifying the right to disregard stop signs.

By the way, I have no problem with, and think it should be legal for, cyclists to roll though stop signs when there aren't other vehicles or pedestrians at the intersection. The comparative difficulty of stopping/starting is a way that bicycles aren't vehicles that warrants leeway that automobile drivers shouldn't have. But cyclists who do so when it creates a hazard for others...are assholes.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2012


What bugs me about bike lanes and mixed use paths is the attitude of entitlement motorists have that if such a path exists I am in the wrong for being in the street.

It's because bikes, like many things on the roadway, are a hazard. They are something that forces traffic to changes its course or speed. When we see adequate infrastructure we want you off the road. Why? Because passing is the most dangerous legal manoeuvre you can make in a car.

People on the sidewalk rarely behave like vehicles in travel lanes. People on the sidewalk happily: walk on either side, speed up and slow down, stop to text, stop to chat, have dogs, have kids, have bags, have strollers, have wheeled carts, tie their shoes, take a photo, and are just generally entirely unpredictable. This is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike circulation in travel lanes.

Shared use infrastructure is not your typically shitty, rickety set of barely level concrete slabs that make up most "sidewalks" in the US. It's a purpose built road with markings, adequate signage and lightning, appropriate levels of visibility and adequate amounts of room. Centreline strips on shared use paths do more than anything to keep pedestrians psychologically confined to one side of the road.

Sure, you can stop your bike and ride keeping a safe distance behind everyone, but you might as well walk at that point. It makes far more sense to have bikes on the road if there are no dedicated, mostly obstacle-free bike lanes.

Drop from 25mph to 10mph, ring your bell, "excuse me", overtake, back in line, resume 25mph speed.
posted by Talez at 10:54 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The comparative difficulty of stopping/starting is a way that bicycles aren't vehicles...

The fact that cyclists can't accelerate as easily as drivers (stopping is not really an issue, it's the getting going again that's a pain when you have to do it at the beginning of every single block for ten blocks) doesn't bicycles not vehicles. It just makes them a different type of vehicle.

Not all vehicles are motorized. A vehicle is simply a machine that transports people or objects.
posted by Scientist at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, the asshole who cuts you off is much more memorable than the many courteous faceless strangers who obey the rules of the road. If you consider bicyclists to be sort of a "minority" on the road, this is a problem minorities have in any arena - when someone's only memorable experience is the frustrating one, it is easy to make us all look bad.

Yeah, using the "minority" analogy, automobile drivers are in the position of privilege, and all too often behave pretty much the way any privileged group behaves when the minority group impinges on their privilege. Drivers are doing cyclists a favor by letting cyclists use "their" road, so any transgression damns the whole.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:59 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's because bikes, like many things on the roadway, are a hazard.

Everything on the road that you have to interact with, other than the car you are driving, is a hazard. You aren't entitled to have the entire road to yourself.

When we see adequate infrastructure we want you off the road.

When that infrastructure exists, we can talk about this.
posted by Scientist at 11:00 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously? If you're asking that question your drivers license needs to be revoked.

Calm down. It was a legitimate question posed early in the thread. No need get bent out shape.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:02 AM on April 6, 2012


Everything on the road that you have to interact with, other than the car you are driving, is a hazard. You aren't entitled to have the entire road to yourself.

A potential hazard. The guy next to me doesn't force me to change my course or speed. The cyclist I'm coming up on does.

When that infrastructure exists, we can talk about this.

I've been posting examples throughout the thread. But people are saying "even if that infrastructure still exists fuck you I'm still going to ride on the road".
posted by Talez at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2012


When we see adequate infrastructure we want you off the road.

The feeling of many people with regard to cars is the same.
posted by scelerat at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shared use infrastructure is not your typically shitty, rickety set of barely level concrete slabs that make up most "sidewalks" in the US. It's a purpose built road with markings, adequate signage and lightning, appropriate levels of visibility and adequate amounts of room. Centreline strips on shared use paths do more than anything to keep pedestrians psychologically confined to one side of the road.

There's one of these down around Crissy Field, in San Francisco. On Old Mason St, alongside the lagoon, the sidewalk is wide and lanes are painted. There's also a bike lane marked on the street.

Do a street-view google map of that area, especially right across from the Sports Basement complex. What I see is cyclists on the sidewalk, but not confining themselves to one lane. They're all over the place. This is a walk I've taken plenty of times (there's good birding down there), and shared with cyclists and runners and people with dogs and kids and all. I've also been nearly run over a lot.

Now, you can see that many of these cyclists are tourists on rented bikes (well, you can see this if you know what to look for), and everyone knows that tourons are very dangerous. But they're more dangerous to me, on my feet, than I am to them. So if they're going to use the multiuse path instead of the marked bike lane in the street, they need to stay in their goddamn lanes.
posted by rtha at 11:06 AM on April 6, 2012


The fact that cyclists can't accelerate as easily as drivers (stopping is not really an issue, it's the getting going again that's a pain when you have to do it at the beginning of every single block for ten blocks) doesn't bicycles not vehicles. It just makes them a different type of vehicle.

Not all vehicles are motorized. A vehicle is simply a machine that transports people or objects.


Sorry, I used that word incorrectly here due to its use in a different context above. I should say "car" instead of "vehicle." Point being, bicycles and cars are subject to the same rules of the road, but bicycles, being different from cars in a way that makes stopping-then-starting more difficult than for cars, should have some, but not total, exemption from the usual laws regarding stop signs. That's all.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 11:07 AM on April 6, 2012


> Good job, Mr. Bus Driver. Now don't ever do anything like that again

Jesus, if I hadn't read the description first I would've thought the cyclist had been killed. If I'm ever on a bus and the driver sees what might very well be manslaughter, the driver has my permission to delay my trip.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:10 AM on April 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Now, you can see that many of these cyclists are tourists on rented bikes (well, you can see this if you know what to look for), and everyone knows that tourons are very dangerous. But they're more dangerous to me, on my feet, than I am to them. So if they're going to use the multiuse path instead of the marked bike lane in the street, they need to stay in their goddamn lanes.

That's a really weird path with the painted shoulder too. I see the cyclists in the lanes but I see pedestrians walking westbound on the shoulder and pedestrians walking eastbound in the "right" lane. If you take a trip down West Coast Drive you'll see beachwalkers in the left lane (we drive on the left) and occasionally a "Keep Left" spray on the path as well.
posted by Talez at 11:18 AM on April 6, 2012


Doing anything at a speed of less than 15 MPH in a zone where 1+ Ton objects regularly hurtle about at 35-50 MPH is dangerous. This is why street sweepers and garbage trucks have flashing lights in addition to being 3 times the size of an average car.

Riding a bike directly on a thoroughfare with more than light traffic is perilous. There is no amount of signs posted or measurement of legally being able to be in that space that will make it less dangerous. I ride in the street when it is sensible to do so, and ride on the sidewalk when it is sensible to do that. Wherever I will have the least impact on the flow of vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and where I am the safest. I am usually totally fine tooling along at 3 MPH on a sidewalk along side pedestrians rather than get struck by a car. When it comes to bicycles, the legal vs. illegal, vehicle vs. non-vehicle arguments have always bothered me. It doesn't matter if I have a legal right to be in the street or whether the public should consider my bike a vehicle or not. Someone traveling at 1/3 the posted speed limit on a road with moderate to heavy traffic, whether they are in a vehicle, car, truck, spaceship, or hovercraft is placing themselves at the risk of being struck by a poor, inattentive, drunk, self-righteous, etc. driver. That does not mean I deserve to be hit, or I am asking to be hit, just that as an experienced rider, I should acknowledge the risk I am placing myself in and recognize that I am at a severe disadvantage according to the laws of physics with potentially fatal consequences. I don't care which side of a lawsuit I will likely come out on if it's going to be given to my estate.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


and ride on the sidewalk when it is sensible to do that

Walk. Your. Bike.

Or leave it at home if you can't ride it with confidence on the street.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:25 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


City roadways in the US are shittily constructed for biking safely. They're made for cars to flow freely at rates of 35-40mph and bikes are just sitting ducks when they navigate them. We need a huge infrastructure investment to revamp our urban byways to accommodate bicycle traffic intermixed with automobiles and trucks. You can see in the video how often cars and trucks have to maneuver quickly to avoid hitting the cyclist. It shouldn't be like this.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being a vehicle or a pedestrian more-or-less at will, as appropriate, seems to me to be one of the major benefits of having a bike. I don't care if they breeze through stop signs or cross at crosswalks. If I was to be utterly self-centred about it, I would approve, because them doing that gets them out of my way. If I'm driving a car, I can't do what they do; this does not give me a right to interfere with them doing it, whether out of jealousy or some overactive sense of neatness. I feel the same way about motorcyclists lane-splitting in traffic jams - it seems to me to be the point of having a motorcycle.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Walk. Your. Bike.

I agree in many instances this should be the norm, but location does play a significant part in this. There is a way I can take from home to work where you may possibly come across 2 pedestrians (on a nice day) in the entire 6 miles on the sidewalk. The road alongside is usually very heavily traveled, and there a weird spot where there is no bike lane leading up to and over an overpass. So, I ride the sidewalk taking this way. In the extremely rare occasion I encounter a pedestrian, I give them wide berth if cruising, or slow until I can re-merge with the bike lane. It works for me.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:44 AM on April 6, 2012


Frowner: "I don't know how this works in Japan, but I have observed that Japanese culture is substantially different from US culture and would assume that something that works there would not necessarily work here absent a lot of incentives and a lot of policing."

Shared Space as a concept may be counterintuitive but it does actually turn out to be safer and more efficient. It's not that Japanese people are perfect rule-following robots and Americans are selfish dickheads, there's a pretty universal psychological effect.
posted by dickasso at 12:06 PM on April 6, 2012


I wish every high school kid who makes a near fatal mistake could pay the maximum price for it short of ruining their own lives by committing manslaughter. What a relief that the kid caught was caught for doing a horrible thing but that that horrible thing did not include killing someone and fleeing.

And on that note, I'm once again terrified of running on the asphalt!
posted by scunning at 12:21 PM on April 6, 2012


Two wheelers limited to 20k

I'm not sure what this means.
Limiting the number of motorcycles to 20,000?
A weight limit of 20 kilograms?
Speed limited to 20 kilometers per hour?
posted by madajb at 12:21 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talez: "I've been posting examples throughout the thread. But people are saying "even if that infrastructure still exists fuck you I'm still going to ride on the road"."

Feel free to get the traffic laws changed. Go ahead an outlaw bicycles on the road. Until then, I will continue to ride where I can most safely and efficiently ride to get to my destination, and that is not the shared use pedestrian path. Sometimes it isn't even the bike lane. It isn't your decision to make. Speed differences are dangerous, but the most dangerous speed difference is probably the one between you and a telephone pole. You don't have an entitlement to move at the exact speed marked on the speed limit sign. I do have an entitlement to use my vehicle in the road. Of course I am not going to be stupid about it and block you for more than 15 seconds at a time, but until you outlaw cycling, whether I need to be in the road is my decision, not yours.
posted by idiopath at 12:34 PM on April 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


I prefer sharrows to bike lanes, because at least where I live in CA there are always cars parked in the bike lanes anyway and I'm swerving in and out of the roadway so often I might as well be there full time.

Also, worst thing on the multi-use trails around here are clusters of talkers who take up the whole width of the trail and feel compelled to finish the last two sentences of conversation before barely moving far enough over to let you squeeze through on the broken up edge of the trail.

As for blowing stop signs and even red lights; I generally see ~50% of cyclists here do it without even slowing down. Whereas I only see about 1 in 200 cars doing that as opposed to slowing down to a near crawl to check out if it's safe and then zipping through. There is a problem here (I'm not talking universally, but I've seen it in two other US cities) with the way bike culture eggregiously violates certain laws of the road. I say this as someone who has biked a lot, imperfectly.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:35 PM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


As the video clearly shows, there was no confusion--it was a bike clearly in front of the driver without cars changing lanes nearby. The car driver had lots of time to notice the bike.

This is what I don't understand - it looked like the black car had a clear road ahead of him in both lanes, plenty of sight distance - not blocked by the bus - and had slowed up behind the bike, then deliberately (?) bumped the bicyclist.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:13 PM on April 6, 2012


Related (and fresh from the presses) article on NPR.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:19 PM on April 6, 2012


And on that note, I'm once again terrified of running on the asphalt!

Run on the asphalt! The concrete is hell on your knees and ankles. But run on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. That way you can see when you're in danger of being killed by a vehicle, and get out of the way. It freaks me out when I see runners on the side of the road, even when there's a nice, wide shoulder, running with their backs to traffic. I can't imagine what would lead someone to put their life in the hands of random drivers like that.

Cars and bicycles again. Always a great, productive discussion. Hamburger. I've driven trucks, and the pesky cars were a nuisance. I've driven cars and the pesky bikes and lumbering trucks were a nuisance. I've ridden bikes and the unpredictable pedestrians and dangerous cars and trucks were a nuisance. I've walked and run, and the dangerous machines of all types were a nuisance. It kind of makes me wish we just had the free-for-all system on the roads in the US, like they have in other places in the world. You know the one where pedestrians and heavy vehicles exist in the same space, while bikes and scooters are weaving through any crack they can fit into, where if you want to cross or join the flow of traffic, regarless of your mode of transportation, you have to know how to navigate decisively and coexist with everyone else, because the right of way goes only to he who seizes it.

I wonder which would be more difficult to do in America: upgrade the infrastructure to accommodate all types of travelers, or upgrade the default mindset to tone down everyone's sense of entitlement and allow for peaceful coexistence in a space that isn't necessarily ideal for it?
posted by Balonious Assault at 1:29 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


the default mindset

Actually, that's not fair. Most people are decent and respectful, they're just a lot less attentive and aware of what's going on around them than they probably should be. Otherwise we'd all die on the road every day, regardless of how we were traveling. Poor choice of words.
posted by Balonious Assault at 1:39 PM on April 6, 2012



Drop from 25mph to 10mph, ring your bell, "excuse me", overtake, back in line, resume 25mph speed.


Oh really? Maybe some percentage of the time. Here's the other version I've seen:

Drop from 25mph to 2mph
ring your bell
ring it again
yell ON YOUR LEFT
one of the five twits strolling along in front of you across the width of the path looks around and realises there's a bike there
observant twit pulls her friend three inches to the left, now giving you a complete seven inches of space
slow down to 1mph and crawl carefully past them
twit friend is like 'WATCH OUT JACKASS YOU ALMOST HIT ME'
resist temptation to turn around and ride straight through them at 25mph
carry on, increasing speed to 30mph to work off rage
See adult with two toddlers running circles around her ahead on the path.
posted by jacalata at 2:06 PM on April 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Stay home. It's the safest option.
posted by spitbull at 5:16 PM on April 6, 2012


Waiting for slow pr0n download, shakes fist at telecommuters slowing down teh pipes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:42 PM on April 6, 2012


I think the reason why the bus driver noticed the accident behind him is because he voluntarily kept an eye on the cyclist, because he just knew something bad was going to happen.

Listen, I'm a cyclist. I understand vehicular cycling. I sometimes claim the lane. But I would never cycle on that bridge. I understand bicycles have the right. I also have the right to wear $100,000 in jewelry at 3AM in a tough neighborhood. Doesn't mean I should do it.

I mean, just look at the speed differential. Cars probably go 50MPH on that bridge and there you are, huffing and puffing to climb it at 10MPH, tops. Thanks for your political statement, dude. Nothing has changed - the next cyclist who goes through the bridge tomorrow will still be scared shitless.

I really wish I could bike absolutely everywhere and cars would see me and respect me, and bike lanes were not needed. But that is not the reality. Sometimes you gotta get off the bike and push for a couple of blocks. It sucks, but being hit by a teenage douchebag zig zagging in traffic sucks way more.
posted by falameufilho at 6:19 PM on April 6, 2012


For those of you saying that they wouldn't take the road, that they'd walk in the path, etc, a few things to consider:

The bridge is 1500 feet long. Assuming a walking speed of 3 mph and a biking speed of 12 mph, that's 4.3 minutes extra to walk. Small price for safety? It's a bit different when you're doing it twice day. Would you drive 4 minutes out of your way to avoid a bad intersection? Would you expect someone else to?

In order to get to the side path from the main approach, a cyclist would have had to come up the road, stop at the point where two lanes of traffic merge onto the bridge, and get across the second lane. The lanes are generously curved for high speed, and there are no warning signs. It is probably illegal, and certainly unsafe.

Alternately, the cyclist can take a 1400 foot detour to avoid that last crossing, with two extra left turns (always fun on a bike!). It's unclear if this is any safer-- none of the roads are particularly friendly to cyclists. He can shorten this detour to 700 feet by going the wrong way on a one-way one-lane road (the road isn't wide enough for two auto lanes, but a bicycle should be just fine. Still illegal, though).

Getting off the pedestrian path, the cyclist has the benefit of a crosswalk. Drivers are still, of course, coming around the bend at high speed, going from an uninterrupted bridge to an uninterrupted highway with no stoplight or sign. But the painted crosswalk is a nice thought. It leads to an island, where you can then cross the main road with the benefit of a traffic light, and rejoin the road.

So that's northbound. Southbound, unfortunately, is worse. Since the only pedestrian path is on the northbound side, you have to find a way to cross over the road, then cross back after the bridge, which will certainly involve a detour of a few blocks.

Those extra distances and intersections come with their own dangers.

Or, do like this guy did-- take the vehicular lane. It's straight and flat. Plenty wide enough for passing-- the traffic in the video hardly needed two lanes. The designers have spared no effort or expense to ensure that it's as convenient as possible. And all you have to worry about is that no one runs you down from behind.

It's undeniably hostile territory, no matter what you do.

Finally, I note that there's a trail which passes under the bridge. It would probably be nice to walk or bike on--a lot better than taking your chances on the road. Unfortunately, to get from the point above the trail to the point on the trail is 0.6 miles by the shortest route--and yes, that includes a few dangerous road crossings. The next bridge over seems to have a stairway going down to the trail-- but no pedestrians are allowed on that bridge. So it goes.
posted by alexei at 8:21 PM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Being a vehicle or a pedestrian more-or-less at will, as appropriate, seems to me to be one of the major benefits of having a bike. I don't care if they breeze through stop signs or cross at crosswalks.

i care - why? - because riders who do this sort of thing are unpredictable, which makes it more likely that i'll hit them with my car

i've never come close to hitting anyone on a bicycle who was following the rules of the road, as i give them the respect and space the law requires me to do

i've come close to hitting a couple of people who ran stop signs, rode across crosswalks against the light or weaved from the sidewalk to the road randomly

i'd much rather slow down for a bike using the lane in front of me than have to slam on my brakes for someone who's operating a bicycle in an unsafe and stupid manner

and a great many people fall into the unsafe and unpredictable catagory rather than the lawfully operating a vehicle one
posted by pyramid termite at 8:35 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Taking up the full right lane on a four lane street is exactly the right thing to do (not withstanding this incident). I would much rather ignore the anger of drivers who have to *gasp* make a lane change, than get clipped by the driver that thinks they can squeeze by.

In my jurisdiction, slow moving vehicles like bicycles must "drive in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right edge of the road..." On a four (or greater) lane roadway where you aren't going to be stopping traffic flow, the middle of the right lane is "practicable" imho.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:16 PM on April 6, 2012


I'm a little confused. On the video, there is clearly a pedestrian lane directly next to the car lanes. But there's yet another pedestrian or bike lane to the far left. It seems to be empty, and pedestrians are going both ways in the one lane. Is that a bike lane? Seems awful narrow for one, but still.

I'm glad the reckless and dangerous driver was caught, and I hope his/her license is taken away for a time--that seems an appropriate punishment. But if I were commuting on my bike and had to cross this bridge, I would probably take the walk it on the pedestrian bridge. It would take more time, yes, but would be infinitely safer. And if there were no pedestrians, I would simply be able to ride over it anyway. I support anyone else's right to bike over in the regular traffic lanes, but for me I wouldn't feel safe.

I agree that we should make way for bikers on roads, but on this particular stretch, I think biking is a bad idea. Just as it would be a bad idea to bike on a multi-lane highway, or through a tunnel.

And for the record I bike to work everyday.
posted by zardoz at 9:33 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


the anger of drivers who have to *gasp* make a lane change,

As indicated in my previous link (Google street view of the bridge in question) lane changes are not allowed on this bridge. And the new law invoked here seems to indicate that passing a vehicle (which has veered slightlty to the left in order to give room for the bicyclist) on the left is new forbidden. (much like passing a stopped car at a crosswalk, I'm guessing)

The rights of bicyclists are one thing, but it's clear that this particular stretch of road is a pretty unsafe setup.

And yeah, that bus driver is awesome might be Batman.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:50 PM on April 6, 2012


Scientist: "but I feel like most people who drive cars aren't going to just automatically figure out that that symbol means that bikes are allowed to be in the middle of the lane."

Don't take this personally, I'm picking on you because this is just the expression of this particular sentiment that finally put me over the edge.

It does not matter in the least where a bicyclist is cycling. Like any other obstruction in the road, it is incumbent upon you, the driver, to avoid striking it. The middle of the lane is by far the safest place to ride, aside from the entitled jackasses who scream at you or throw things at you for daring to ride in the road where you belong.

Towards the edge, you get squeezed or doored. On the sidewalk, people turn in front of you and you're likely to hit a pedestrian.

Talez: "Centreline strips on shared use paths do more than anything to keep pedestrians psychologically confined to one side of the road."

I wish. Even where we have separate signed paths for pedestrians and cyclists, pedestrians are crawling all over them. The vast majority of our trails have centerline markings, but I constantly see people walking whereever the fuck they please. Luckily, I bike like I drive, so I have room to slam on my brakes and stop when someone does something stupid.

Also, I hate bike lanes. They are worse than riding fully in the road and just as bad as riding on the sidewalk because, once again, drivers pay no attention when they're turning. If you haven't ridden many hundreds or thousands of miles on a bike, you really have no idea.

And yes, cars constantly make you (or maybe it's just me) slow down. I guess you just don't notice it when the Yugo is puttering along at bicycle speeds.

Let me ask this, if you really think that the best place for bikes is on the sidewalk or other infrastructure shared with pedestrians (or shared with a significant number of pedestrians, anyway): Would it be reasonable for autos to be allowed on pedestrian paths of sufficient width so long as they're only going 3 miles an hour? After all, how much harm can they do if they're going slowly?
posted by wierdo at 11:03 PM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


It does not matter in the least where a bicyclist is cycling. Like any other obstruction in the road, it is incumbent upon you, the driver, to avoid striking it.
...snip...
Even where we have separate signed paths for pedestrians and cyclists, pedestrians are crawling all over them. The vast majority of our trails have centerline markings, but I constantly see people walking whereever the fuck they please.

I'm pretty sure that most drivers do indeed feel that, yes, it is incumbent on them to avoid hitting bicyclists, wherever they are. And you suggest that you feel the same responsibility to avoid hitting pedestrians even when they walk where they're not supposed to.

But you're exhibiting the EXACT same "right to complain about people who use other forms of transportation" that you're condemning drivers for.

Don't we at least have the same right to complain about the "few rotten apples that ruin the whole system" that you enjoy as a cyclist?
posted by ShutterBun at 11:19 PM on April 6, 2012


"Don't we at least have the same right to complain about the "few rotten apples that ruin the whole system" that you enjoy as a cyclist?"

It's less a complaint, and more an explanation for why a cyclist prefers not to be on mixed use paths. The pedestrians are not rotten apples so much as typical pedestrians traveling on a pedestrian path. And that is why bicycles don't belong there.

Unlike a pedestrian "mixed use" path, roads have a very specific set of enforced rules. These rules help everyone get to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. And these rules have accounted for a mixture of vehicles sharing the roads since before cars even existed.
posted by idiopath at 8:35 AM on April 7, 2012


also, there is a huge difference between
"this is why I don't belong on that kind of infrastructure"
and
"this is why you don't belong on that kind of infrastructure"
posted by idiopath at 8:41 AM on April 7, 2012


I smell shenanigans. The guy's a bicycling activist and he gets into an accident on the day that the law took effect? Very neat. (Not "neat-o" as in he deserved to get hit. "Neat" as in, probably preventable if the bicyclist had taken appropriate precaution.)

Before you say that's just insane.

"Bicyclists shouldn't have to take precaution if the law is on their side," right? Except, look at that bike. LOOK AT IT. The law does not protect bicyclers. It's nice that those who harm bicyclers have more legal problems to look forward to, but that's no excuse for some spandex-clad hunch-monkey (to use a phrase coined by an old email correspondent) to play chicken with automobile drivers. You'll lose on the pavement more than you'll ever win in court. Take it to the bank.
posted by Infinity_8 at 2:27 PM on April 7, 2012


Well someone didn't bother to watch the video
posted by Blasdelb at 2:55 PM on April 7, 2012


I smell shenanigans.

Yes, I'm sure the Bethlehem PA police and bus system have teamed up with a bicycling activist to stage this accident and post this video.

if the bicyclist had taken appropriate precaution

By not following the posted law?

Before you say that's just insane.

OK, I watched that before now saying that's just insane.
posted by nicwolff at 3:33 PM on April 7, 2012


ShutterBun: "But you're exhibiting the EXACT same "right to complain about people who use other forms of transportation" that you're condemning drivers for."

I am not saying that pedestrians should be forced out of their chosen environment because they make me uncomfortable, however. It is incumbent upon cyclists to behave as predictably as possible and follow all the rules of the road. It is equally incumbent on drivers to be aware of their surroundings and not strike slower moving vehicles.
posted by wierdo at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Infinity_8: "probably preventable if the bicyclist had taken appropriate precaution."

But he wasn't swerving out of his lane, or any other dangerous accident seeking behavior. If all it takes to insure you get hit by a car is use the lane in a lawful way, this says more about the people driving than it does the cyclist.
posted by idiopath at 8:51 PM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


When the only tool you have is a car, every problem looks like a pedestrian or cyclist.
posted by unSane at 8:56 PM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a driver whe wants to interact safely with bicycles, unpredictability is my largest problem. Recent scenario: I pulled up to a 4-way stop , form which I had the right- of-way to proceed, since I clearly had arrived at the intersection before any other vehicles. About a full second later, two bicycles, side by side, approached the 4-way stop on the cross street from my left, before I had begun to accelerate out of my stop. One of those bicycles came to a stop, ceding me my right of way, and the other barrelled through the intersection at 25 mph. Had I not taken an extra half a second to make sure he was going to observe the posted stop sign, I would have killed him.

A few weeks later, as I was approaching a green light, and slowing a bit to turn right, I spotted a cyclist blazing through the red light from my left, and had to come to a complete stop at the green light in order to avoid killing him, as well. I nearly go rear-ended by the guy behind me who wasn't expecting me to stop, & in my irritation, I honked at the cyclist, as he passed in front of my. He flipped me off & screamed "ASSHOLE!" then when I caught up to him at the next red light (not sure why he stopped for that one) I rolled down my window, and said "hey, you ran a red light back there." he called me a fucking idiot and informed me he was "late for work." I sighed & disengaged.

I'm a really peaceable guy who's pro-alternative transportation, & I drive a dinky car that gets great mileage. I'm not your typical f-350-driving dude-bro, but I'm still beset by poorly-behaving cyclists on a somewhat regular basis.

Clearly, the cyclist in this video was totally following the law, and clearly the punk in the car flat out tried to run him over, and clearly the bus driver did the right thing. But you can't extrapolate from that the notion that all the assholes are in cars and all the angles are on bikes. Know your right of way rules and follow them, please.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:41 AM on April 8, 2012


I attribute the massive typo-fest there to my iPad & my de-caffinated morning state. I drive better than I type, that's for damn sure.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:24 AM on April 8, 2012


If the commentary on any thread about non-offroad bicycling was any indicator, it would seem that all the assholes are bicyclists actually.
posted by idiopath at 8:47 AM on April 8, 2012


I'm not calling you an asshole. I just don't want to run you over. Bikes are vehicles, subject to traffic laws, right? At least in Texas. I'm a pretty mellow driver, actually, and though I haven't biked in a while, I was a regular bike rider as a high school kid, so I know what you're up against out there. I give bikes room, and I always look twice. I look to my right when I'm making a righthand turn, in case there's a bike riding on the wrong side of the street. I go out of my way, actually to help make the road as safe as possible for bikes, at least from my car.

I get exasperated with the Angry Bikers though, as I feel it's not personally deserved, but I get an awful lot of it, just by virtue of being in proximity. Some of your compadres are giving drivers a bad impression of bikers in general, so maybe you guys, as a community, so much as there is one, could think that over too, while us car drivers also think over how to more safely interact out there on the road. Let's cooperate on this thing instead of blaming.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2012


« Older Mosh Pits...  |  The SAFETY PIN REVIEW... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments