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Another PG bicycle letter – 21JUN13

This topic contains 162 replies, has 42 voices, and was last updated by  Marko82 6 mos, 3 weeks.

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Marko82

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Jun 21 2013 at 8:01am #

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/city-bike-lanes-692524/

I think what the writer (car driver) interprets as the cyclist running red lights to be more likely that the cyclist was filtering up past the stopped cars to the front of the queue. Surely someone with a 4-foot sign on their bike was not blowing through stop sign and red lights. This would explain why the driver passed the same cyclist multiple times. I wonder how many other drivers equate ‘filtering’ to ‘light running’?

BTW, I sometimes filter on Ellsworth (which is legal!), but more often I just sit in traffic if I’m not in a hurry.


andyc

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Jun 21 2013 at 8:35am #

How is Ellsworth in the daytime on weekdays? I often go down Ellsworth in the evenings or on the weekends and I find it very enjoyable.


LizziMac

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Jun 21 2013 at 9:08am #

My favorite part of this letter is that she “keep[s] in mind that [she doesn't] know who might get angry with confrontation and perhaps pull out a gun.” I don’t know about yinz, but for some reason I think concealed carry might be difficult/uncomfortable on a bike. Then again, I started wearing a hip pack with a ulock holster and that isn’t too horrible. Which gets me thinking…


LizziMac

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Jun 21 2013 at 9:10am #

Additional thought: I generally dislike arguments against cyclists (or any entity for that matter) that are n=1. Who has the time to write a letter to the editor for every law infraction they see? I know I don’t.


byogman

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Jun 21 2013 at 9:16am #

I don’t know the rider in question and won’t make assumptions. I will say for my part that I took my 4 ft. sign off my rear rack a ways back not because I don’t want 4 ft, but because I didn’t want to be a subject of an editorial since I did start Bogarting more.

What most drivers don’t think about when they complain about having to pass the same cyclist multiple times is that the number of cyclists they pass depends on number of cyclists going the same way, average relative velocity, and distance of the route. So if cyclists are riding in a way that increases their overall speed, relative velocity drops and the driver “has to” execute fewer passing maneuvers than they would otherwise.

The “has to” wording itself contains a bad assumption, that the holdup is worth stressing. On short distances of urban roads with lots of lights, assuming the bicycle rider is going a decent clip, the travel time difference between repeatedly trying to get past the bicycle and just staying behind is really nominal. And that travel time difference drops to nothing or often the bike is faster if there are good opportunities which they seize to move ahead through intersections.

In terms of running reds and filtering, I actually see them as two sides of the same coin. Yes, one is illegal and another is legal, but fundamentally they’re both behaviors that can be quite dodgy if done wrong but really aren’t if done responsibly. For instance, I only filter if there’s good clearance and have very strong reason to believe that I’ll be able to then get through the intersection before cars and have some space/time to myself on the road. Otherwise, what’s the benefit?

And while I don’t think filtering past a stopped car with less is a problem, likely leaving yourself in that position when it’s time to move again shows that you don’t care to ride in a way that makes 4 feet possible. I like 4 feet and want drivers to respect it. They may not like when I filter past, but if I don’t do it when it’s close and dodgy and am off by the time they need to move maybe they’ll understand what I’m doing and not feel an urge to buzz me in response to the imagined slight of my being in their space.


ajbooth

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Jun 21 2013 at 12:03pm #

Will. not. read. comments.
Will. not. read. comments.


LizziMac

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Jun 21 2013 at 12:05pm #

+100 to ajbooth. It’s too nice of a Friday for me to read the comments on this one, either. Present to myself.


Pierce

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Jun 21 2013 at 4:00pm #

If she doesn’t want to deal with cyclists at stop signs/red lights, why doesn’t she go to 5th Ave?

That road is plenty wide enough for both bikes and cars. (well depending on the section) I had a lady born on her horn a year or so ago when there was no opposing traffic and I wasn’t even in the middle of the lane


jonawebb

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Jun 21 2013 at 7:32pm #

People don’t understand they’re allowed to cross the double yellow, or they’re just annoyed at being slowed down.


sarah_q

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Jun 22 2013 at 9:59am #

Why is slowing down to practically 0 mph without putting a foot down considered “running a stop sign” when cars roll stop signs all the time.

If fear of someone packing keeps her from being an asshole, great, but what does it have to do with cycling?

I am not renewing my home delivery subscription to the PG. This year, these letters, they finally broke me.


joanne

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Jun 22 2013 at 10:53am #

My hypthesis: I think a lot of people think of their driving time as an opportunity to catch up on phone calls, or to zone out and think about what they need to do at work/buy at the store/etc.

When they see a cyclist and actually have to pay attention to their driving while they navigate around us, they seriously resent the interruption to their “me time.” To them, we’re like door-to-door salespeople who ring the doorbell while they’re trying to eat dinner. All of this “they break laws/don’t pay gas tax” business is just bullshit rationalization.


jonawebb

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Jun 22 2013 at 11:34am #

I’m struck by how annoyed people get when I take a lane (during my commute) on a four-lane road, and they have to slightly slow down and change lanes to pass me. Sometimes they’ll buzz me instead. Maybe it is just the distraction, having to think about what they’re doing, instead of just running on autopilot. Of course they’d have no problem doing the same for, say, a mail truck, but me, I’m just lollygagging along, out for fun, while they’re busy on the way to work.


joanne

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Jun 22 2013 at 12:18pm #

^The same thing happens to me–that’s exactly why I think the hatred is not even about us slowing them down. They’re used to passing other cars, mail trucks, etc., so it doesn’t interrupt their reverie.


StuInMcCandless

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Jun 22 2013 at 1:36pm #

No point reading the comments.
No point adding to the comments.

Kinda like hearing “Mrs Robinson” on an oldies station. You’ve heard the song 50 times before. After a while, it just becomes noise.


LizziMac

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Jun 22 2013 at 3:34pm #

At bike night at the Science Center last night, we came across this gem, which is arguably what the woman in the letter was afraid of. Perhaps the cyclist-in-question’s bicycle sported one of these handy holsters, replete with firearm!


Ahlir

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Jun 22 2013 at 5:18pm #

StuInMcCandless wrote:No point reading the comments.
No point adding to the comments.

I sort of disagree. It’s actually gratifying to see every anti-bike comment get smothered by multiple pro-bike retorts.

And I believe it also has a useful educational effect: People start to notice that anti-bike attitudes somehow don’t seem to fit into the ongoing public discourse; the majority of comments are pro-bike. Just remember to be calm and simply deal with their faulty reasoning; that’s actually kind of easy…


gg

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Jun 22 2013 at 11:30pm #

Ahlir wrote:And I believe it also has a useful educational effect: People start to notice that anti-bike attitudes somehow don’t seem to fit into the ongoing public discourse; the majority of comments are pro-bike. Just remember to be calm and simply deal with their faulty reasoning; that’s actually kind of easy…

I agree. At some point people will realize the future is going to be more about cycling. Look how fast cycling is growing. People realize that you get in shape and save a TON of money. Also, it is fun. Post away.


StuInMcCandless

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Jun 23 2013 at 3:51pm #

So I chime in with a positive message, and guess who responds, saying guess what.

James Love · Springdale High School

Bike lanes would be great and others wouldn’t mind sharing the roads if bikers obeyed laws like everyone else.
Reply · Like · 44 minutes ago

This was about a half hour after a long, stupid conversation on a post of mine about cycling in McKees Rocks.


Ahlir

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Jun 23 2013 at 5:01pm #

@Stu: I just checked; there’s already two pro-bike comments on that thread.


Marko82

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Jun 24 2013 at 10:07am #

ANOTHER pg bicycle letter 24JUN13

I figured one thread full of drivel is enough, so here’s an appendage letter:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/cyclists-should-think-more-about-dangers-they-pose-692925/


JustRay

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Jun 24 2013 at 10:23am #

andyc wrote:How is Ellsworth in the daytime on weekdays? I often go down Ellsworth in the evenings or on the weekends and I find it very enjoyable.

Generally, Ellsworth is a perfectly acceptable cycling road. Probably one of the better ones. You do, however, get to experience all kinds of wonderful realities of riding a bike:

The section by the Busway is concrete and full of those lovely lane-wide cracks.

The section below Highland Avenue is crazy narrow.

The pavement between the pedestrian bridge and College Ave. is a crazy moonscape — but no more so than the rest of the city.

Between College and Negly, you run the risk of hitting/being hit by a drunk and/or tourist and/or University parent who can’t find their kid’s apartment.

From Negly to N. Nevile, the road opens up and you’ll be dodging faster traffic. But it’s not that fast (generally) and can be relatively courteous (again, generally).


StuInMcCandless

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Jun 24 2013 at 11:23am #

Ellsworth is a candidate for a 20 mph speed limit.


cburch

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Jun 24 2013 at 12:11pm #

15


Mick

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Jun 24 2013 at 12:23pm #

Sara Crooks · Top Commenter · Thiel College

I live in Oakland and pretty much walk everywhere (and I don’t jaywalk – only going when I have the signal or in crosswalks when there is no light.) I can say that both cyclists and drivers are jerks. I almost get knocked down by cyclists riding on sidewalks at full speed and blowing through intersections as much I almost get hit by cars turning right on red or blowing through the crosswalk on Bigelow by Pitt. Yeah, I know getting hit by a car will probably cause me more damage than getting knocked down by a cyclist, but a bike going 15-20 MPH will still cause some hurt and there’s nothing I can do about it because the cyclist will likely just bike away and I won’t even have a license plate to track him down.

Just thought I’d post a commenter that might have avalid point that isn’t preaching to the choir here.


byogman

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Jun 24 2013 at 12:27pm #

Some simplifications for easy math. 30mph is a mile in 2 minutes, at 20mph it takes 3 minutes. Ellsworth is what, a little over 2 miles? So, the delay we’re talking about is 2 minutes over the length, on the order of 1 light cycle and there are good alternates available.

Relationship of Vehicle Speed to Odds of Pedestrian Death in Collision here: http://humantransport.org/sidewalks/SpeedKills.htm. Conservatively, the road becomes a little over 7 times safer for pedestrians for these couple of minutes.

Closing speed car traffic to cyclist drops, we’ll say 15mph cycling, 3 fold. Attendant risks from inattention drop by a larger factor since people look away frequently for short periods, much less frequently for longer. Also, the “have to pass” feeling edges off by a factor of 2 since we’re talking about best case 3 minutes per mile (not 2) vs. 4.

20mph limits (with enforcement) is the way to go in quite a lot of places.


byogman

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Jun 24 2013 at 12:43pm #

Enforced 20mph limits would also cut out a lot of road riding anxiety and result in a lot less sidewalk riding. I think it’s a reasonable first cut answer to Sarah Crook’s concern.


Mick

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Jun 24 2013 at 1:11pm #

Seems to me speed limits in Pittsburgh are rarely lower than 25 mph even for small side streets.

Meyron Street in Oakland, say, has a sign for 25 mph speed limit.

So I think it’s unlikely to get the spped limit for Ellsworth below 25.

Also, pretty silly, since they don’t enforce the speed limit in the city anyhow. Getting enforcement is the issue, IMO, not the particulars of the actual speed limit.


StuInMcCandless

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Jun 24 2013 at 3:53pm #

No, I’m sticking to my guns. 20. Then friggin’ enforce it. The point is, make Ellsworth a road to NOT take if you’re in a car. Hie thee over to Fifth and drive, if you must drive.

NYC has a “twenty is plenty” program on a lot of streets, and it works.

Butler St is another one. So are Sarah and Muriel from 10th to Hot Metal. But start with Ellsworth.


salty

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Jun 24 2013 at 10:20pm #

BTW, there is like a 100 foot section of Craig St. with a 20mph limit – anyone know the story on that? Seriously, the second sign you can see (below the blue Truro Pl. sign) is “END Speed Limit 20″: http://goo.gl/maps/HC5th

“20 is plenty” would be a great campaign to have here. The problem is by state law (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/067/chapter212/s212.108.html) you need to do a traffic study to reduce the speed limit. We need a law like the one they just passed in NJ to remove that requirement: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/nj_assembly_panel_clears_bill.html


Pierce

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Jun 24 2013 at 10:47pm #

I agree with Mick that until enforcement becomes even a vague threat, more laws aren’t going to do shit

The 4′ law should prove that if anything does

While riding today, I was thinking it might be cool in some situations to have roadways have different speed limits depending on the lane. So the inner lanes could be faster, the outer lanes slower, and then the bike lanes/shoulders.

The idea came to me while riding on the Rankin Bridge

Has Bill Peduto said anything about these issues? Has anybody from Bike-PGH raised the question? When he was running for the primary, his site mentioned graffiti and loitering being a focus, and I was like “Who cares about “loitering?””

His site now talks about police reform, but doesn’t actually say what kind of work he wants to police to do.


Mikhail

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Jun 25 2013 at 9:53am #

Talking about speed limits and lanes. 2nd from end of concrete surface and pass Brady St towards downtown may be 100 yards got repaved. And they did some repainting of lines… Outgoing directions has now two lanes clearly marked on new pavement. And incoming side is not marked as two lanes. So for the moment we have a three lane road. If I remember correctly some official advised to take a whole lane both directions since this is a two lane two way road.

PS I’ve heard that there is not enough width on a 2nd from 10th bridge up to Brady to make 4 12 feet wide lanes (only 4 10 feet lanes). It would be ideal if we have 6 feet bike lanes (one each directions) on this stretch.


Marko82

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Jul 20 2013 at 9:05am #

Another letter to the editor – 20 July 13

“4-foot impossibility”

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/4-foot-impossibility-696120/


edmonds59

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Jul 20 2013 at 9:19am #

Oh marko, I was having a lovely morning, watching Jens rip up the mountain….


salty

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Jul 20 2013 at 9:42am #

My response:

Perhaps Mr. Bronder should spend more time learning the actual traffic laws and less time writing letters to the editor – who also has a duty to do a little fact checking before publishing incorrect information.

75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3307 (b.1) explicitly permits crossing the centerline when overtaking a cyclist, even in a no-passing zone.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.033.007.000..HTM


Drewbacca

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Jul 20 2013 at 10:41am #

I’m so glad that my browser ends up blocking comments, so as to not get pulled into the fray… that said, go salty!!!


edmonds59

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Jul 20 2013 at 10:52am #

Nice Salty.


salty

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Jul 20 2013 at 11:09am #

BTW, the link worked in my comment on the PG but the board seems to have mangled it. Let’s try this again since I can’t edit the original post.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.033.007.000..HTM

I wonder if it’s the weird double dot before the extension (which is required).

Edit: It got mangled again, let’s try again with an explicit a href=…

Edit 2: Nope, strike 2… ok, maybe a short link will work. http://goo.gl/AeUR6


Drewbacca

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Jul 20 2013 at 11:26am #

It looks mangled, but it works… I think they call that a parsed-link? Having a “short link” is redundant, so long as the parsed link works. If you want to show the full address, I think you need to take the “www” out of it so that it doesn’t post as a hyper link.


StuInMcCandless

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Jul 20 2013 at 11:58am #

I rarely paste a bare link. I almost always build the HTML “A” tag, then paste the URL between the quotes as the very last thing.

Substituting angle brackets for square ones:
The beginning of your sentence [a href="yourURLgoeshere"]your text goes here and will become a clickable link[/A] then the rest of the sentence. Always works.


rsprake

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Jul 20 2013 at 4:25pm #

People like this reinforce the idea that we need to be tested when you renew your driver’s license.

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