August 29, 2011

Do you know how to drive on a "bicycle boulevard"? Do you even know what a "sharrow" is?

Well, don't drive in Madison, Wisconsin until you learn. We were biking around town for about an hour last evening, and the problem out there is obvious. Some car driver gets outraged that a bicyclist is acting like he owns the whole lane and he won't move over when you blare your horn or yell at him. Car driver, learn the rules! Or there are going to be a lot of angry encounters and — I'm afraid — fights.

We bicyclists love the "bicycle boulevards," which entitle us to use the whole lane and require the motorist to stay in line and proceed at whatever speed the bicycle is establishing. But it's not so enjoyable when the motorist can't believe we have rights like this. But we do!

Drivers need to learn the rules, and the police need to do some enforcement, especially against the drivers who use their cars to intimidate the cyclists into yielding the space that has been provided to us for our safety. And bicyclists: Get out there and use those boulevards — claim the power of the sharrow! — so it become obvious that this is the way things work around here.

143 comments:

rhhardin said...

It's a misguided experiment, that will produce a strong bicyclists are assholes stereotype.

There's enough room for bikes and cars both without lane markings at all, if the bikes stay out of the way where it's obvious that they can.

I do 8,000 miles a year that way and it works fine.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)


Althouse, I’d start packing some “Heat”, a “Gat” if you will…something in the .4X caliber range…I once read a Sci-Fi story about the conflicts between pedestrians and drivers, involving a granny and a .44 magnum.

fatass said...

bikers get off the freaking road! roads are for cars and trucks. playgrounds are for bikes!

Pete the Streak said...

Get your stupid bike off the road.

X said...

it reminds of my drivers ed teacher: "you'll be right. dead right."

MadisonMan said...

When I'm biking on Kendall, if there's a car behind me, I yield. It's called being polite. I don't care if I have the right-of-way on that Bicycle Boulevard.

If I'm on the Bicycle Boulevard on the east side, however, I don't yield because people on the East side expect bikers to be inconsiderate SOBs and I don't want to disappoint.

DCS said...

During the years that I used my bike to commute through Mpls/St Paul I always rode with the idea that I was in imminent danger of being run over by a car. Same was true when I rode a motorcycle and witnessed first hand how blind car drivers can be. Can you convince me that seeming to offer safe haven on "Sharrow" streets will make it more, not less dangerous for bikers? There is something dangerous about complacency.

Ann Althouse said...

MadisonMan, you're part of the problem! Kendall is for bikers. Car drivers who venture there will find themselves slowed down. It will not be a shortcut anymore.

This is Madison, MadisonMan.

Curious George said...

In my experience 90% of bikers in Madison believe that stop signs, red lights, and turn indications are strictly optional.

Colin said...

There is the unspoken assumption on the vast majority of roads that bikes should be verboten, or failing that, on the extreme shoulder. Unless Madison is willing to invest quite a bit in a campaign to inform drivers of this oddity, I can't see how this won't cause far more trouble then its worth. The law may say one thing, but frankly, the law has limits. Legally, you may be able to take up that lane. But should you?

Coketown said...

Please be careful. Having the right to obstruct traffic doesn't provide a magical force field to protect your back tire from a car's front bumper. Back home, the bikes-in-the-street movement has taken off over the last five years, and that's been followed by a marked increase in the number of memorials to mowed-down cyclists. Knowing you had the right of way is small comfort when you're, you know, dead.

Scott M said...

What are the average speeds on these bike boulevards and are bikers expected to observe the very same street signs that the cars are?

The only way traffic works with cars is that you have a reasonable level of confidence that everyone else driving is going to observe the traffic rules. If bikers are going to ignore the traffic laws....

Sofa King said...

Do bicyclists know how to stop at a stop sign? Do you even know what a traffic light is?

David said...

Curious George said...
"In my experience 90% of bikers in Madison believe that stop signs, red lights, and turn indications are strictly optional."

Precisely.

For most bikers, the rules that benefit them are sacred, the ones that slow them down are irrelevant.

All the bikers love to talk about Holland, how wonderful it is for bikes. That's because the bikers there obey all the rules that apply to them, not some of them.

lemondog said...

Why not a separate lane for bicyclists such as in Philadelphia?

I do notice that many bicyclists don't observe normal traffic rules, the most common of not stopping for red lights.

MadisonMan said...

And can someone explain all that green gunk that the city threw down on the SW Bike path at the Regent/Monroe intersection? It's nice and crunchy to walk (or bike) through *now*, but I have to wonder what will happen to it once a snow plow starts in on it in November. It looks like something that will have to be replaced annually, and if they do that, however can they afford installing very bright lights along the SW Bike path all the way down to the Beltline as is planned? (Boy, am I glad my back yard doesn't back up to that bike path).

I agree that Kendall is no longer a shortcut -- People should be using Chamberlain for that purpose now (laugh). My problem with Kendall as a bike route -- in winter, the few times I've had to drive it (I'm usually south of Regent) -- is that it slopes sideways and I always feel like my bike is going to slide out from underneath me. It's even worse in a car on snow. I much prefer biking on old University.

Maguro said...

Sharrow is a Japanese term for a body of water without much depth.

Coketown said...

What pisses me off is what Curious George pointed out: Cyclists adhere to a weird hybrid set of rules in which whatever keeps them moving is the law. They'll spend ten minutes in the road, then uh-oh, red light; now they're on the sidewalk! They'll look both ways before running a red light, then they're right back in the street.

And then, of course, the whole cycling community is rocked and perplexed when one of their lovelies gets mowed down while running a stop sign.

roesch-voltaire said...

This summer two of my friends were hit by cars while riding a bicycle: one by a driver who made a right turn without looking, and the other hit from behind, although he, the bicyclist claims he was in the far right side of the road. Sunday on our way to the Capitol trail we rode down the boulevard that connects to the trail, and at the one intersection we had to cross, a driver speed through the stop sign while talking on his cell phone and just missed us. People are dumb and careless and more so when they drive cars--

DocInKY said...

"Drivers need to learn the rules, and the police need to do some enforcement, especially against the drivers who use their cars to intimidate the cyclists into yielding the space that has been provided to us for our safety."

Out of curiosity - do you also believe that the cyclists also need to learn and observe the rules of the road...

In my neck of the woods, I routinely see redlight running by the bicycle rider - why do they not get ticketed?

What is good for the goose should should be good for the gander.

DocInKY

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... In my experience 90% of bikers in Madison believe that stop signs, red lights, and turn indications are strictly optional..."

If there is no oncoming traffic I don't stop at them either since pedaling from a dead stop sucks. If there are cars, then I stop.

Then again I usually avoid roads that see much car traffic.

Expat(ish) said...

I may not ride 8K miles/year, but it's well north of 2K *and* I've lived in Boulder.

Bikers are nuts to ride expecting cars to do anything anywhere but dangerously ignore them.

I think that is why we (I include myself) run redlights and stopsigns and roll up to the front of the line at a forced stop.

We're no less safe doing that than following the rules.

-XC

PS - Having said that, I ride as far right as I can, no matter what.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I don't care about the rules. I really don't. No matter what, I will give the cyclists a full lane and plenty of buffer.

I heard a story on "This American Life" one time. A young guy ran over and killed a teenage girl cyclist. He was in the right. Everyone knew it. Almost everyone forgave him. Even her parents, while unable to look at him, couldn't really blame him.

Everyone forgave him. And for the rest of his life, he has seen that accident in his head, seen her die over and over again.

I don't care about being right, I care about not having that image in my head.

nina said...

...yes, many bikers disobey traffic rules and many pedestrians cross on red. That some live dangerously is besides the point. That's their risk. As a frequent biker, I merely want to get from point A to point B safely. I will use paths when I can. I will stop for lights. I will do what no driver does -- obey speed limits. Just please allow me to get from one end of town to the next without being honked at, cursed at or slammed into from the side, rear or front. Or, call it what it is: a car society that really has some anger management issues when it comes to tolerating other forms of movement.

Calypso Facto said...

And can someone explain all that green gunk that the city threw down on the SW Bike path at the Regent/Monroe intersection?

I hear tell it's supposed to be a gimmicky faux football-field turf, as a welcome to Camp Randall this fall.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And were not bikers, were cyclists. Bikers are fat, bearded guys who wear leather and have bugs in their teeth. Cyclists are lean, wear spandex and have remarkably muscular legs and buttocks.

Please make a note of it.

Levi Starks said...

Reminds me of the time I was on a road bike going down a fairly steep grade at around. 35mph (the speed limit was 30mph) someone behind me was honking, and at the bottom of the hill we all had to stop at a light, and I could see it had been a car with 2 elderly couples. I motioned for them to roll down the window, and said "see, we both made it to the light at the same time" One of the passengers replied with amazement with "BUT YOU WERE ON THE ROAD!" Yes I replied, yes I was.

Aridog said...

Just curious: Do bicyclists in Madison pay a registration fee for their bikes to use the roads, as cars do with license plates? How does Madison collect road use revenues from bicyclists, as they do with fuel taxes on cars and trucks?

Sound silly? Well, as a young boy in Detroit I had to license my bicycle with a tag similar to that issued for motor cycles. I had to follow the rules of road use, too, including stop signs and yielding the right of way when called for ... such as not stopping in the middle of a lane to jabber on a cell phone or fetch a sip from the drink bottle.

Where did all that go?

BJM said...

embrace the sharrow

Yeah that worked out so well in San Francisco where the term was coined and red light runners are rampant.

Personally, I think you're nuts if you cycle in a sharrow lane in traffic. There are too many distracted drivers or those with minimal competency.

Try 'splaining your rights to a ton of metal.

Just because you can do a thing doesn't mean you should.

Coketown said...

If there is no oncoming traffic I don't stop at them either since pedaling from a dead stop sucks. If there are cars, then I stop.

Stop means stop, idiot. It's not optional just because it's inconvenient to get going from a dead stop. Especially now, with electric vehicles with low-resistance tires populating the roads. You'll only need to screw up once to turn "there was no oncoming traffic" into "I didn't hear or see them coming!"

Sofa King said...

I don't care about the rules. I really don't. No matter what, I will give the cyclists a full lane and plenty of buffer.

They want more than that, though. They want to be able to feel sanctimonious about inconveniencing you.

Cyclists should admit that they are an inconvenience to motorists. We all know it's true, and copping to it might at least buy you some respect. Being arrogant pricks about it just makes everybody else hate you more.

Aridog said...

"a car society"

Hah. Think bicyclists have it tough, try riding a horse on a rural suburban road shoulder. Our last horses were kept 75 miles away just to have a safe place to ride. When the golf course got put in out in the boondocks we knew we were done for....

As for bicyclists obeying laws and learning road rules ... the majority I see do not even try. Wobbling in and out of lane space, not signalling when turning, not using required reflectors or running lights, and on and on ... nope, most go buy about $800 of clothes and helmet plus an uber bike and ride off like the road is entirely theirs. You want motorists to share, learn to do so yourself ... for all of you who do not.

Sixty Grit said...

I stopped riding my bicycle 10 years ago - hostile motorists were part of the problem.

As for traffic laws and signs, my goal was to survive - which meant going through intersections when safe to do so, regardless of what the lights or signs indicated, dodging cars, even taking to the ditch if the motorist was oblivious or homicidal. It's a jungle out there - and basic physics indicate that in a collision between a motor vehicle and a cyclist, the cyclist loses.

I don't miss that aspect of riding at all. Now, as a driver, I will give a wide berth to a cyclist or group of riders - bad stuff can happen quickly and I don't want to live with that on my conscience.

WV: belizers - Monkees fans in Central America.

madAsHell said...

There's a rails-to-bicycle-trail in my neighborhood. The bike trail intersects with the street in several places. There are stop signs for the bicycle traffic posted at the intersections.

They never stop. I'll probably hit one of those bastards someday.

gregq said...

The only "right" you have is the right to be a jerk. Trying to slow down people to your speed is evil.

Don't be a jerk, get out of the way.

Sofa King said...

As for traffic laws and signs, my goal was to survive - which meant going through intersections when safe to do so, regardless of what the lights or signs indicated

Whatever helps you sleep at night...

edutcher said...

The Blonde is another great one for insisting that her rights are all she needs on the road.

"...But I have the right of way", she yells as we nearly get broadsided by somebody on his phone or with his hand up his girl's skirt or something.

My philosophy is assume you're the target and drive (in this case, ride) as defensively as you can. Always assume the other guy is capable of being at least as stupid as you can be and be prepared to evade when necessary.

PS Would these rules (the biking ones) be posted along the roadside at reasonable intervals?

Ann Althouse said...

"Why not a separate lane for bicyclists such as in Philadelphia?"

That's done where the road is wide enough. The sharrows are used where they are not.

Michael said...

In Tokyo, on the Ginza, at 5am on a Sunday morning I observed a Japanese couple wait for the light before crossing the street. No cars on the Ginza, none. But in a country where there were 5 handgun murders in a year it is interesting to note the correlation with the lack of violence and adherence to rules that in this country would be scoffed at. No cars? HA, that means I do not have to obey the sign that tells me to wait for the light to turn green. I will decide when the law applies.

gregq said...

"Kendall is for bikers"

Really? Was Kendall paid for with gas tax money? If so, it's for cars, and everyone else is a guest who owes the owners, car drivers, the right of way. They paid for it, and they're paying for its upkeep.

Ann Althouse said...

"And can someone explain all that green gunk that the city threw down on the SW Bike path at the Regent/Monroe intersection?"

That's so if you fall down and skin your knee, it will heal permanently green, symbolizing endless genuflection to environmentalism.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Sofa King, I hear you, but I still don't care. I don't care what they think, I don't care if they're jerks, I just don't want to see that dead body in my dreams for the rest of my life.

I once had a kid chase a ball in front of my car. I missed him by a good margin, and yet I had the shakes for weeks after.

I think I could live with killing a burglar or mugger in self defense. Killing a jerk on a bike would be a much bigger challenge. So no matter how wrong they are, I'm giving them room.

Michael said...

gregg: You certainly don't mean what you have written. The law apparently allows cyclists to use the entire road and requires automobiles to go at the speed of the cyclist in front of them. It is not difficult. If you think the fastest always has the right of way I would suggest you refrain from sailboating or rowing.

Sixty Grit said...

You are right, Sofa King - I can sleep at night and it's not the big sleep.

Riding can produce nightmares, however, usually caused by drivers who are not aware of what else is on the road.

As I say, I gave up riding, there were just too many risks.

Ann Althouse said...

"Really? Was Kendall paid for with gas tax money? If so, it's for cars, and everyone else is a guest who owes the owners, car drivers, the right of way. They paid for it, and they're paying for its upkeep."

I paid over $13,000 in property taxes last year. I don't want to hear about it.

gregq said...

"Just please allow me to get from one end of town to the next without being honked at, cursed at or slammed into from the side, rear or front."

Keep out of the way of the cars that paid for the roads, and that shouldn't be a problem.

Expect people to slow down to your pathetic speed: well, that's a problem.

Maybe your time is not valuable to you, so you're willing to take longer to get there by bike. Maybe things are so screwed up that it's faster for you to get there by bike.

That's fine.

Forcing anyone else to do it your way is not fine. You want to be slow? Great! be slow on your own time, and don't waste anyone else's.

Pragmatist said...

In Portland OR, we have a loud, entitled, belligerant and very irritating "cycling" community. And since it is Portland it is associated with a certian kind of "Portlandia" yuppie liberalism that is equally annoying. They obey few rules of the road and were outraged the other day when they got tickets for not stopping for peds. Just like cars are supposed to. Oh the joy.

CachorroQuente said...

In my experience 90% of bikers in Madison believe that stop signs, red lights, and turn indications are strictly optional.

Why should they be any different from automobile drivers?

MadisonMan said...

If so, it's for cars, and everyone else is a guest who owes the owners, car drivers,

I own a car. So I paid for Kendall. Behave on my property.

Clyde said...

My pet peeve is the idiot cyclists who ride bikes at night with no lights and assume that they are visible.

As for the rest, I'm extremely cautious when I see a cyclist on the road ahead of me and give them wide berth, but then again, here in Florida they keep the right side of the lane, where they belong.

The way you describe it in Madison sounds like something out of Bangkok or some place like that, with cars, bikes, pedicabs and God knows what all moving chaotically through the streets.

jrberg3 said...

"MadisonMan, you're part of the problem!"

Now I'm not from, nor have I been to Madison, but Ann the attitude that bikes should have equal footing on some roads as cars is the problem. The concept of a bicycle boulevard is a problem. There is a reason why we have and/or create bike paths and trails where cars cannot pass.

This attitude would enrage me more than the driver who obeys the speed limit in the left lane of a 4-lane highway and won't move to the right for faster vehicles.

Sofa King said...

The law apparently allows cyclists to use the entire road and requires automobiles to go at the speed of the cyclist in front of them. It is not difficult. If you think the fastest always has the right of way I would suggest you refrain from sailboating or rowing.

The law allows you to be a jerk. It doesn't require everybody else to like it.

MadisonMan said...

If you really want to rise my ire, bike on the sidewalk I am walking on.

Cyclists belong in the street. Bikes are vehicles.

gregq said...

Michael,

I most certainly do mean what I'm saying. The Madison law is an ass. Wasting other people's time is evil, no matter how many elected thugs you can get to bless your action.

As a matter of fact, I do sail. Differences between sailing and driving:

1: Generally, you're out on the water to be out on the water, not trying to get from point A to point B so you can get something done.

2: There are few "lanes" on the water. A sailboat has the right of way over a power boat, because the power boat can just go around the sailboat. The reverse is often not true (engines let you go where you want, sails impose more constraints).

3: Although I have "right of way" over a large powered boat (freighter, cruise ship, etc.) I'm not an idiot, and I'm not going to argue it with them. Momentum beats right of way, every time.


Look, there's a rule more important than any law. The rule is "don't be a jerk."

People who try to force others to slow down to their speed are jerks.

John Holland said...

Toronto recently went wild for bike lanes. Problem is, neither the cyclists nor the car drivers have been told what, exactly, to make of the various lane types and markings. It's not obvious, for example, that if a bicycle lane fades from a solid to dashed line, that means cars can use the lane for right turns. So what happens is, a vehicle is in the lane waiting to turn right, and a cyclist jams himself between the vehicle and the curb and goes straight through instead of getting behind the car and waiting, on the principle of "hey asshole, this is a bike lane!"

As a result we have several makeshift "dead cyclist" shrines denoting a large truck making a legal right turn over the body of an impatient cyclist.

Also, our local taxi cab drivers have decided that the empty bike lanes are a great shortcut; so have the motorcyclists.

This is on top of the usual crazy, suicidal cyclist behaviour already mentioned by others on this thread.

I see no attempt by anyone to enforce any traffic laws by either cars or bicycles. So a kind of Darwinian education proceeds apace, and I suppose two-wheeled Nirvana will arrive once a sufficient number of mangled cyclists have been pulled from wheel wells.

BTW, apart from their own skin, cyclists don't have sufficient skin in the game: no licensing, no insurance, yet they're being given 50% of the road up here.

damikesc said...

Cyclists seem oblivious that I have MORE of a right to cross the street at a crosswalk when I have the red light than they have to just ignore the red light and nearly run me over.

Kit said...

Legally, you may be able to take up that lane. But should you?

I only do, if it's for my own safety - a very narrow road or a left turn. If, in a normal situation, I sense the driver is not paying attention, I will yield - he's bigger than I am. Also, I am not shy about yelling at drivers when moving (for me) is not an option.

As for Kendall, I use it, coming east and for a section, it is for no-cars, though going west it's it a sharrow. When I go west,there, I do ride to the side.

And for intersections, I always slow down make sure I CAN stop, if I have to (other cars at the intersection). I'm also a big believer in hand signals. What I find, is that my both driving and biking has made me better both. I think the key is to be predictable (you know what you're doing, make sure that they do).

MadisonMan said...

jrberg3, I think (*think*) althouse was joking.

Still, a car shouldn't be on Kendall for more than a block, before bailing for the more arterial Old University. (Assuming the construction there is done). If I lived on Kendall, I'd be all for it being a bike boulevard, because it would mean slower car traffic, and a disincentive to drive there, that is, less traffic in general. Making it a bike boulevard sure beats the road bumps that go on some streets, like Gregory or the one next to Nakoma Golf Course.

gregq said...

"I paid over $13,000 in property taxes last year. I don't want to hear about it."

Do your property taxes pay for the roads (I'm asking, I don't know)?

The cars driving on Kendall are burning gas. The gas they're burning is taxed specifically to pay for those roads. They're paying for those roads while they're on them. Are you?

no?

Then they have more right to be there than you do.

BJM said...

Rollerbladers have the right to use sharrows in SF and many other cities with sharrow lanes, do they in Madison?

Sofa King said...

The main problem - without trying to be unduly offensive to the hostess - is the sort of cyclist who would do something like this is almost uniformly a SWPL upper-middle-class professional or kids who don't know any better. For the bobo, it is actually an exercise of social privilege, using their leisure specifically to inconvenience other people who don't have the time to waste. That's why, for example, you'd rarely see a bike courier pulling the same crap. They're just as flippant about the law in general, but they don't usually go out of their way to annoy other people and make themselves the center of attention.

Ann Althouse said...

"MYTH: Roads in Wisconsin “pay for themselves” through user fees — gas tax, tolls, and licensing. The Wisconsin road lobby likes to pretend that users pay the cost of roads in Wisconsin: “Wisconsin has a history of funding its transportation system by charging the users of that system,” the road lobby’s Finding Forward coalition declares. What the lobby and others espousing this view don’t emphasize is that this statement only applies to the 10 percent of the road network made up of state-owned highways. The full picture is much different. FACT: Roads in Wisconsin are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Between 2004 and 2008, roads in the state cost an average of $4.24 billion annually. Of this, $1.74 billion came from revenue sources unrelated to road use — primarily property and sales taxes — while another $600 million was borrowed.
So, even counting federal aid as user-based – which is generally but not always true – between 41 and 55 percent of road money, depending on how borrowing is repaid, comes from non-users.
The fact is, roads constitute one of the biggest tax burdens around."

http://www.1kfriends.org/transportation/transportation-policy/who-pays-for-roads-in-wisconsin/

And note: We are talking about very narrow streets that exist mainly to reach houses on neighborhood blocks. They are not the main roads.

Triangle Man said...

MadisonMan, you're part of the problem! Kendall is for bikers. Car drivers who venture there will find themselves slowed down. It will not be a shortcut anymore.

Should slower riders yield a little space to faster riders? Is it only cars you seek to thwart with your rolling roadblock?

Aridog said...

Ann Althouse said...

I paid over $13,000 in property taxes last year. I don't want to hear about it.

You have a good point there vis a vis user fees & non-user taxes.

Was that a "trap" to catch the unwary? :-)

Aridog said...

I should have been faster, eh?

CachorroQuente said...

I'm not a big fan of this shared lane stuff or of bike paths and bike lanes either. The problem is that all these accommodations re-enforce the notion that some morons have that bicycles shouldn't be used on almost every street. I do admit, though, that when the streets are wide enough, bike lanes are a nice feature -- that is when they're not full of parked cars.

In almost all cases where there is no special accommodation for bicycles, a bicyclist should allow auto traffic to occupy the same lane only when the lane is wide enough for both the car and the bicycle. Otherwise the cyclist gets into the position of being passed very narrowly by a car traveling at twice, or more, the speed of the bicycle. This is dangerous and the car driver typically doesn't care as the driver assumes, wrongly, that it is the cyclist's obligation to stay out of the way of the car.

It is a very rare car driver, fortunately, who will deliberately mow down a cyclist who is taking the lane. It is also a very rare car driver, unfortunately, who will not create a dangerous situation for a cyclist who does not take the lane.

If in doubt, take the lane, particularly when being run off the road is more dangerous than normal.

Ann Althouse said...

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

In Wisconsin, ... the facts make clear that taxpayers - primarily homeowners and businesses that pay property taxes - are required to shell out $1.5 billion each year to pay for the streets and highways we drive on.

According to Wisconsin Department of Transportation data for 2008, about 40% of driving ("vehicle miles of travel" or VMT) in Wisconsin takes place on local roads such as town, village and city roads, as well as county trunk highways. The remaining 60% of driving occurs on state roads, such as state trunk highways (STHs) and the interstate system.

Not surprisingly, both local roads and state roads cost a lot to build, maintain, plow, sweep, light and police. The best data on road costs that I could find, for 2007, comes from the independent, nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, local roads accounted for $1.9 billion in cost, about 53% of the entire road system's cost, whereas state road costs were $1.7 billion, or roughly 47% of the road system. The entire road system cost was $3.6 billion.

To reach these conclusions, I assumed that 80% of the state's debt service, State Patrol and general administration expenditures were attributable to state roads, as opposed to other Wisconsin DOT programs. If the percent is lower or higher than 80%, however, it doesn't alter the big picture very much.

So who pays for Wisconsin's $3.6 billion road system?

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis confirms that the property tax (or, in the case of communities that receive shared revenue from the state, a mixture of property tax, income tax, and sales tax revenue) pays for over 40% of the entire road system.

In other words, property taxes - with income taxes and sales taxes mixed in - account for nearly $1.5 billion of the total $3.6 billion cost of Wisconsin's roads.

So-called user fees - which are mostly another tax, the gas tax, combined with various license fees - pick up less than 60% of the cost of our road system as a whole.

In short: It is pure myth that the drivers of cars and trucks pay for the full cost - or anything close to the full cost - of the roads they use.

Triangle Man said...

I recall something like an additional $4 billion dollars in Gov. Walkers budget repair bill for road building. Maybe I recall wrong.

MadisonMan said...

Rollerbladers have the right to use sharrows in SF and many other cities with sharrow lanes, do they in Madison?

Rollerblades are toys and do not belong in the road. That's my understanding.

They were banned for a long time in the Arboretum, not sure if they still are. I see them all the time on the SW Bike Path. Which is not a bike path, but a shared multi-use path.

CachorroQuente said...

Do your property taxes pay for the roads (I'm asking, I don't know)?

Of course they do. Fuel taxes and vehicle registration don't bring in anywhere near enough money to cover local streets.

Besides that, look up fungible.

MadisonMan said...

The cars driving on Kendall are burning gas. The gas they're burning is taxed specifically to pay for those roads. They're paying for those roads while they're on them. Are you?

Why the implicit assumption that cyclists do not also own gas-burning cars?

jrberg3 said...

"jrberg3, I think (*think*) althouse was joking."

Perhaps. My larger point is that a road wide enough for cars should never under any circumstance have preconditions where cars must yield to bikes going in the same direction. Again, I don't know the full logistics of the area and it doesn't seem, at least according to your post, that these bike boulevards are that long, but anywhere you have cars going abnormally slow is to me a recipe for disaster.

Whatever happened to the whole sharing the road campaign?

ignatzk said...

We bicyclists love the "bicycle boulevards," which entitle us to use the whole lane and require the motorist to stay in line and proceed at whatever speed the bicycle is establishing. But it's not so enjoyable when the motorist can't believe we have rights like this.

Feh...

All too often bicyclists follow a double standard, or no standard. They piss and moan about cars without themselves following road rules.

Would a bicycle stay in its lane and follow a car at whatever speed a car established if that was a *very* slow speed? Not likely, the bicyclists will hop onto the sidewalk or pass on the right.

In downtown Madison, cars invariably respect pedestrian crosswalks but bicyclists do not.

This is Madison, MadisonMan.

That would be fine it you will just stay inside the dome.

During the summer it seems like there is some bike convoy riding roads and slowing traffic in the surrounding country side - all got-up in their "I'm a bicyclist" spandex and helmets.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Why not a separate lane for bicyclists such as in Philadelphia?"

That's done where the road is wide enough. The sharrows are used where they are not.


A lot of streets in Philadelphia go back 200 years or more and are quite narrow. lemondog may have a point.

rhhardin said...

There are no sensible traffic laws for bicycles. Everybody has to improvise considering the context, chiefly that there are cars on the roads and don't get in the way without it being obvious that you have to. Other than that, anything goes.

As to stop signs and red lights, they are not safety devices. They are traffic flow optimizing devices. If anything, they reduce safety.

Traffic can go faster if it doesn't have to negotiate with cross traffic, which a green light or a stop sign on the other guy allows it to do. It's clear that the other guy stops and you continue through without checking.

If the cross traffic sees nobody coming, there's no safety reason not to run the light or stop sign; but the law likes a bright line, at least for motor vehicles.

Traffic signals are a safety hazard because the other guy's red might not be working, or the other guy's stop sign may be missing today, and that sets up a collision where none would have happened with otherwise slower but signal-free right of way negotiation.

So anyway don't raise safety as a reason for bikes to breeze through when the way is clear.

Bikes have great traffic awareness, owing to low speed and hearing capability. A good cyclist won't be in your way from signal ignoring.

The problem is not that bikes ignore the signals but that they're often such self-righteous sons of bitches in traffic.

I get waves from regular traffic, because I'm way off on the side out of the way where possible, and the traffic usually hasn't encountered other bicyclists before me.

For this reason I discourage bicycling to work. I want to be the only one so that the motorists are friendly when they get to me.

You never know what assholes are out there.

On running signals: it's possible to look like a wheeled pedestrian, sort of wandering in a way that doesn't look like flouting the law, to avoid law enforcement inclination to hassle when you run a stop sign. It's like knowing how to act to get along with a family of wild wolves. Body langauge is everything.

rhhardin said...

Road taxes: bikes don't tear up the roads. Taxes cover wear not construction.

CachorroQuente said...

My larger point is that a road wide enough for cars should never under any circumstance have preconditions where cars must yield to bikes going in the same direction.

I can't argue with you about what should and should not be; all I can do is tell you what is. Roads that meet your desire are almost nonexistent. In general, bicycles, and other slow moving vehicles, have the same right to use a lane as do automobiles and should only yield the lane when it is safe to do so. That, as I understand it, is the rule on just about all roads where bicycles are allowed. There are high speed, limited access highways where bicyclists are not permitted and there are a lot of roads where bicyclists are probably not wise to travel, but almost all city streets are for the use of both bicyclists and cars.

Sofa King said...

All too often bicyclists follow a double standard, or no standard. They piss and moan about cars without themselves following road rules.

Would a bicycle stay in its lane and follow a car at whatever speed a car established if that was a *very* slow speed? Not likely, the bicyclists will hop onto the sidewalk or pass on the right.


Yup. Cyclists bitch and moan if a car passes them closer than 3 feet away, but when some cyclist crashes into your door because he's flying in between lanes past parked cars with a clearance of about 3 inches, suddenly you're the asshole.

roesch-voltaire said...

Folks the two bicyclist I mentioned who were hit by car drivers and my wife and myself, when we were almost hit by a motorist, were following the rules. I also can talk about the close calls i had while riding my motorcycle between Waukesha and Madison-- what car folks forget is that the streets/roads are for everyone to use.

Carol_Herman said...

Um. Even if you're wearing a helmet, you do NOT own the advantage.

Sometimes, it pays to learn how to pick your fights.

And, how to drive on the sidewalk, instead. Hoping the cop doesn't give you a ticket.

I wouldn't even be surprised that kids get hit on their bicycles ... just as someone from inside the house ... decides to get in the car ... and pull out into the street.

Sadness awaits.

Just another example where being a lawyer doesn't separate ya out especially well from potential misfortunes.

Michael said...

CachorroQuente has it right. And, I must say, what is your big hurry up there in Wisconsin that you cannot forebear for a block or two until you can safely pass the bicyclist? The best I can tell is that most of you somehow work for the government and should be in no hurry at all. The rest of you are on your way to or from a sing-a-long.

And as for the "cyclists" who use the "sharrow" how about edging over to the side? How about behaving like a real "cyclist" and honoring others on the road. I have the sense that up there in Wisconsin the sanctimonious "cyclists" are fat asses out to save the earth for a few minutes and are happy to impede traffic.

jrberg3 said...

"In general, bicycles, and other slow moving vehicles, have the same right to use a lane as do automobiles and should only yield the lane when it is safe to do so."

I agree and that is how I handle bikes while driving on the same road. It's also how I expect other drivers to interact with me while I'm riding on the roads. And I ride to work often in the summer. Granted its northern Indiana and not Madison.

I don't understand the logic of having cars filing in behind bikes on certain roads.

AJ Lynch said...

What Hardin said Professor. What would you do if horse and buggies were driven on the highways?

X said...

as a motorcyclist, I don't trust any of you, assume I am invisible to you, and take nothing for granted.

my girlfriend hates when I backseat drive, but I had to warn her about a bicyclist she didn't see Friday night when he was running a stop sign. she got pissed and then thanked me for saving his undeserving life because she admitted she never saw him and he was going to learn that a man on 2 wheels really can fly.

good luck with being a dick on the roads. I hope it works for you.


wv:sbpl

AJ Lynch said...

I don't use my bike on streets cause I won't win in a crash vs. a car.

Charlie Martin said...

I'll get excited about this when bicyclists start obeying stop signs and red lights.

CachorroQuente said...

What would you do if horse and buggies were driven on the highways?

If?

Where buggies are commonly used for transportation, they are driven on the highways. From time to time, they go to heaven sooner than they would like.

So, when a car driver mows down an Amish buggy driver who is trying to stay as far right as possible, who is the "asshole?"

GaMongrel said...

A case or two in point regarding the craziness in coexisting with cyclists :

http://www.11alive.com/news/article/196631/40/New-law-Drivers-must-yield-3-feet-to-bicyclists

Cyclists routinely pass vehicles in slow or stopped traffic, not staying in their lane as if they were a motored vehicle. And when the light turns green or traffic picks up and the cyclist is still 'passing' cars (on either side of the lane), VOilA! the motor vehicles are automatically violating GA's new 3 foot bicycle buffer law...

And as others have pointed out the constant red light/stop sign running is rampant. I almost got T-boned by a cyclist who was travelling at a high rate of speed on 'my' green light.

You wanna see road rage? Line of cars patiently pass a slow moving cyclist. Everyone comes to a stop except the cyclist, at a red light. Slow moving cyclist proceeds to squeeze past all the vehicles at the stop light that patiently passed the cyclist moments ago. Light turns green, and the process once again repeats itself with the line of cars stuck behind the cyclist with oncoming traffic in the opposing lane.

Same rules, Same road. I wish.

Both cyclists and motorists need to be more considerate. Cyclists you think would exhibit a bit more sense of self-preservation. Too many cyclists seem to have a deathwish, or a "Come on and run me over so I can sue" attitude.

GaMongrel

jrberg3 said...

"So, when a car driver mows down an Amish buggy driver who is trying to stay as far right as possible, who is the "asshole?"

I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make here considering last I checked there are no Amish horse and buggy streets where you have to yield to their speed.

Trooper York said...

I saw a little old lady get run by a douche on a bike who ran a light and was going the wrong way down the street. She died.

Bikes are part of the global warming bullshit that the commies are trying to sell us to be more "Green."

Bikes are for the park not the city streets.

GET OFF OF MY LAWN!!!!!!

Palladian said...

Pretty soon Althouse is going to stop bathing and start riding in those "Critical Mass" things.

Pogo said...

Hell is other people on wheels.

CachorroQuente said...

I'll get excited about this when bicyclists start obeying stop signs and red lights.

Worry about getting auto drivers to obey stop signs and red lights first.

Observe any stop sign in the city of Houston and calculate the percentage of auto drivers who stop at it. Very low.

Observe any red light in the city of Houston and note that every time it turns red, two or three cars run it from both directions.

There are some people who obey traffic controls when they drive, but they are damned scarce. Even those of us who work hard at it probably violate more traffic laws than we can possibly imagine.

The odds of an auto driver who complains about cyclists violating traffic laws actually obeying traffic laws himself are vanishingly small. Lottery winning odds small.

gutless said...

No explicit rules would be the safest. Cyclists remember that you are vulnerable. Motorists be polite. It probably wouldn't work though since Madison cyclists are uniformly assholes.

Curious George said...

"rhhardin said...
Road taxes: bikes don't tear up the roads. Taxes cover wear not construction." Not true. In the north freeze-saw is a huge problem, so it is not just wear. You also have plowing costs in the winter.

"roesch-voltaire said...
Folks the two bicyclist I mentioned who were hit by car drivers and my wife and myself, when we were almost hit by a motorist, were following the rules. what car folks forget is that the streets/roads are for everyone to use."

It is not an issue of forgetting, the fact is that cars are the major form of transportation. Bikes and motorcycles are not. We simply don't see them even if we are looking. The mind gets conditioned to see cars. Drivers do not see trucks as well as cars for the same reason. People who ride bikes, motorcycles, or those fucking scooters are going to be in accidents. And they aren't going to be pretty.

Gene said...

bikers get off the freaking road! roads are for cars and trucks. playgrounds are for bikes!

Bikes were using the roads before cars were ever invented. If we really wanted to improve the quality of life in cities, we'd ban cars in favor of bikes and public transit.

We'd also fast-track criminal trials for people who use their cars to intimidate bicyclists or otherwise run them off the road.

In Malibu a few years ago a doctor was so furious at two bicyclists who were riding side by side down a winding mountain road that he pulled in front and jammed on his brakes, causing one bicyclist to break his nose and front teeth on the rear window and the other to suffer a separated shoulder.

At his sentencing this past January the doctor claimed he was only tryint to photograph the pair but the judge, noting that the doctor had a history of trying to run bicyclists off the road, gave him 5 years in prison.

Boy, that's going to make him late for his hospital rounds.

Kit said...

Rollerblades are toys and do not belong in the road. That's my understanding.

There's been a guy, this summer, who does rollerblade windsprints at dawn on a couple blocks of Segoe by my place. He seems aware of what he's doing. There's very little traffic at that time

traditionalguy said...

Don't you just love those Police Officers on bicycles and wearing shorts.

XWL said...

A recent incident in my town.

(with video!)

Moose said...

*groan*

More bicycling silliness...

Kensington said...

"Pretty soon Althouse is going to stop bathing and start riding in those "Critical Mass" things."

All right, I LOLed.

CachorroQuente said...

Don't you just love those Police Officers on bicycles and wearing shorts.

I've seen a couple Metro bike cops riding around. Shouldn't be allowed to wear spandex if you're over 300#. Talk about doughnut poisoning.

Yes, Metro has it's own police force. Need bicycle cops to chase down fare jumpers, I guess. They have the reputation of being the most poorly trained, under-educated, and dumbest cops in Texas.

CachorroQuente said...

I need to correct my previous post. Metro cops are not the worst. The worst licensed police officers in Texas are those employed by the school districts. That's right, the school districts have their own cops.

Manty Five said...

If you must dedicate a road to bikes, do it right:

* Repave the road with a differently-colored asphalt, something that makes it screamingly obvious that this is not a normal road, so that no one brings along their normal expectations. Visual cues work better than proclamations from the DOA.

* Solve the "going through red lights" problem by not HAVING any on the bike lane, or as few as possible. Consider having drop-down gates like the ones used for train crossings to physically prevent bikers from ignoring the cross traffic.

If you want to have a bike-only lane, then do it right instead of by mere fiat.

Michael said...

A much better idea is for cyclists to get over by the curve where they belong and to change the laws accordingly. It makes no sense for a 10 mph cyclist to hold up a line of 30 mph motorists. You are welcome to ride your bike, but it doesn't make you Mother Theresa.

Aridog said...

Curious George said...

You also have plowing costs in the winter.

Plowing in winter? Not in Detroit. Have fun on that bike y'all. :-)

Robert said...

A few yers ago I went musky fishing on the Eagle River up there in the fall. When we arrived there was a major throwdown in progress between the Native American tribes and those of non NA background. Seems the NAs were legally entitled to fish out of season in that area, so they were catching/netting fish and just throwing them out on the ground to rot as a way to flip the bird to the nonNAs. Power can be misused in many ways.

Gene said...

Maybe it's the fact that traffic is always so bad here in Los Angeles (and half the people are out of work and the other half are uninsured) but a lot of people just flat out hate bike riders.

And it's not because I'm using "their" lane either. I keep to the right, mostly use residential streets to go anywhere and gladly swing up on the sidewalk to avoid cars on narrow streets.

Still over the years people have cursed at me, leaned on their horns or thrown things, including once, a wet tampon.

Life in the big city is just too stressful, I think, for a lot of people. They just can't cope when someone slows them down by as little as 20 seconds. For them the chance to bully a bike rider is an occasion they don't readily let slip away.

I wish the city would put GPS receivers in cars and charge people by the mile. People would get mileage bills, the same as they now get monthly gas and water bills.

Then anyone wanted to intimidate bicyclists would at least have to pay for the privilege of doing it.

Also now because the driving tax revenue would be pouring in, the government could eliminate all those unAmerican taxes on beer, wine and the distilled grains.

Harsh Pencil said...

The anti-bike animus on some of these comments is just nuts. For good or ill, 99.99% of roads are owned by a government (local, state or federal) and THEY, as the owners, through (we hope) a democratic process make the rules. Not you.

What is wrong with a system that channels bikes to certain roads? You claim cars have the rights to EVERY road? Why?

Why doesn't it make sense to say that some roads, such as freeways, bikes are prohibited, on other roads bikes are allowed but must stick to the shoulders so that cars can pass, and on still other roads, "bike roads", cars are allowed but must go the speed of the bikes if bikes are present and in the middle of the road? This makes sense to me. If you don't want to deal with bikes in the middle of the road, don't go on those roads specifically designated as bike roads.

Are the anti-bikers claiming as some kind of property right every inch of every road? That local governments have no right to set some roads aside as special?

Sigivald said...

What rhhardin said.

Put them back in bike lanes.

"It's the rules" doesn't matter, because rules without buy-in are tyranny*; and there's no buy-in here except from bicyclists.

(* And rules that the 2 ton piece of steel doesn't obey still get you killed.)

The City can say "Kendall is for bicyclists" if it wants. And when it gets ignored, as it obviously is, that fiction will end.

Sorry, very little sympathy for the precious bicyclers who, sadly, almost never seem to obey the even more important rules of the road like "stopping" and "signalling".

chickenlittle said...

I commuted by bicycle between Middleton and Madison back in the days before it became cool (1979-83). I rode a 15 mi round trip, 5 times a week (and some weekends too when I worked on State St). In all those years I never met the front or rear end of a car. I side with rhhardin and his 1:25 PM post. Smart biker commuting involves sharing.

Empowerment of the weaker component of traffic will weaken overall traffic flow. But efficient traffic flow is far from the minds of some. Also, I detect a certain anti-car, holier than-thou sentiment from the usual suspects. I say this because I used to feel the same way until I got over it myself.

Carol said...

"There are no sensible traffic laws for bicycles."

Doesn't Wisconsin have bike statutes? My state does, and they pretty much embody what wisdom I've found here - stay to the right and out of the way as road width allows, and obey all traffic controls.

I think the laws were just copied from other states.

ricpic said...

So the whole world is going to have to move at like 15-20 miles an hour?

John said...

Seems to me that when bikers start paying road use taxes like motorists do, they have an equal right to the road.

Motorists pay $4-5 in road taxes every time they gas up. They pay for license plates as well.

What do bikers pay to use the roads?

As far as I can tell, nothing.

Share the roads or pay for them.

John Henry

John said...

Oh, poor Ann and her property taxes.

Screw your property taxes. They are not road use taxes.

So fuck you and the bicycle you rode in on. You paid, as far as I can tell, not a cent for the roads.

You are a guest on the roads. Act like it.

Paul said...

Frankly, this whole topic strikes me as purely academic, because Madison only has a few blocks of Bicycle Blvd in total; there are far more off-road and on-road bike lanes.

Moreover, leafy side streets in University Heights ain't where the conflicts between bicycists and motorists occur. These usually arise on busy urban arteries, and on narrow country roads with little or no shoulder.

MadisonMan said...

What do bikers pay to use the roads?

As far as I can tell, nothing.

Again, the false assumption that cyclists don't own cars and use gas.

Alan said...

As a runner I interact with a lot of bikers. Some are friends who run and cycle. Others are enthusiasts who are nice people and are fun to talk to. But a large percentage of bikers are simply classless morons who deserve nothing but derision. Not just because they publicly parade about in outfits that would embarrass Liberace but because they think they not only own the road but hold dominion over every corner of the Earth. I have dozens of examples but here's one:

I'm on a Sunday run with two lady friends on a pedestrian path. It's a wide path with a dividing line that easily accommodates us on one side, leaving the other free for oncoming pedestrians. A male cyclist, who should have been on the adjoining road rather than the pedestrian path, almost runs my five foot ninety five pound friend over and then has the temerity to stop and begin cussing her out. What he's cussing her about I have no idea since he's the jackass doing everything wrong. Of course he cycles away like a chemically castrated rooster in yellow and pink spandex when I make a move towards him. The bike might have given him strong legs but his spine was still jelly.

To be fair this bad behavior is only exhibited by twenty five percent of cyclists and is almost exclusively a male trait. It probably has something to do with the erectile dysfunction those seats cause. But as my Uncle Marvin always said, "A limp dick is no excuse for poor manners."

Giving boorish cretins like these bikers special treatment is like handing the world's largest economy over to an inexperienced parvenu with delusions of grandeur. It will start bad and get worse until everything collapses. If you can't keep up with traffic get the hell out of the way. My best regards go to the police for not enforcing this odious law.

tim said...

Text I got from my wife about an hour ago-

"There is a man and his bike under a car in front of the forum" (shopping center)

I am afraid the "right of way" is secondary to the law of gross tonnage.

lemondog said...

"Pretty soon Althouse is going to stop bathing and start riding in those "Critical Mass" things."

Althouse at 1:28?

Gene said...

Seems to me that when bikers start paying road use taxes like motorists do, they have an equal right to the road.

John, the $4 or $5 that you say we pay in taxes per tank of gas doesn't doesn't begin to cover all the costs imposed on taxpayers by automobile use. It's not just the cost of air pollution or noise pollution or damage to shrubbery and agriculture (substantial in a city like Los Angeles), you also have to add in the cost of all the aircraft carriers, helicopters, tanks and troops we need to keep mideast oil flowing.

I don't remember the exact numbers right now. But I saw a calculation a few months ago that suggested that if one added in the cost of the military the price of gas a gallon of gas would roughly double.

I agree that bike riders don't pay their share of building and maintaining roads. On the other hand the unrecovered costs they impose on society are astonishingly trivial compared to the costs that automobiles impose on us.

Gene said...

MadisonMan said...
What do bikers pay to use the roads?

As far as I can tell, nothing.


That's still far better than automobile drivers who only cover half the enormous costs they impose on society.

Gahrie said...

Just try that bullshit out here in Southern california...but make sure your insurance is paid up first.....

MadisonMan said...

and then has the temerity to stop and begin cussing her out. What he's cussing her about I have no idea since he's the jackass doing everything wrong.

It's easier to cuss someone out than to apologize for your wrong behavior.

chickenlittle said...

I agree that bike riders don't pay their share of building and maintaining roads. On the other hand the unrecovered costs they impose on society are astonishingly trivial compared to the costs that automobiles impose on us.

I would like to point out an astonishing irony: China, a nation known to favor urban travel by bicycle, plans to build and launch their first carrier in 2015: link. Our own Ford Class of carriers may be delayed because China holds the financial cards.

@Gene: I appreciate your argument but I find it specious. If we didn't enforce access to oil, someone else would. Overindulgence in petroleum products is a side effect of a powerful military, but not a cause.

holdfast said...

Don't you realize that forcing cars to slow down to bicycle speed is terrible for their fuel efficiency and therefore massively increases their carbon footprint, not to mention forcing evil Albertans to displace cute bunny rabbits to extract oil from dirt?

Why do you hate Gaia, you Bull Connor-racist you!?!?

http://www.breitbart.tv/more-gore-global-warming-skeptics-this-generations-racists/

Victor Erimita said...

Another Portland, Oregon resident here. I both drive and bike. Yesterday I was going across one of our bridges, a narrow two-lane bridge that arches quite a bit. In my lane is a cyclist, right out in the lane, struggling uphill at a snail's pace. There is a sidewalk on the bridge (next to the other lane) where there are multiple bikers riding out of traffic---as I always do on that bridge. But the one in my lane was doggedly asserting her right to back up traffic for several minutes, at a busy hour, dozens of cars backed up. I say phooey. Another great example of, I have rights, but I have no responsibility to not be an asshole. I didn't honk, I sat there and let her waddle her way up the bridge, probably relishing her effect on all those evil cars. Such is life in progressive paradise.

el polacko said...

kids (and adults pretending to be kids) should keep their rolling- pedestrian toys such as bicycles, skateboards, scooters, wagons, 'big wheels', and rollerskates on the sidewalk or in the parks. there's a reason why these wheeled toys are not allowed on freeways; they, and the city streets, are designed for use by heavier, faster, and more deadly dangerous motorized vehicles.

John said...

Gene,

You left out global warming


John Henry

E.M. Davis said...

I paid over $13,000 in property taxes last year.

You're getting robbed.

John Clifford said...

Most US cities suck for cycling and the reason is, progressive cyclists don't want to coexist with cars, they want to eliminate cars... and reactionary drivers don't want to coexist with anyone.

I'm in favor of having separate bike lanes, like they do in European cities like Amsterdam or Copenhagen. I'm not in favor of mixing cars and bikes... accidents happen due to disparate speeds.
Ann, I've ridden bikes as an adult for more than two decades, commuted, etc. My advice to you is to coexist rather than insisting on your rights because good manners goes a long way... and good manners are all too rare in the US today.

Beaver7216 said...

This is one bicyclist who doesn't like bicycle boulevards or sharrows. Bikes have a right to almost any road. As someone who rides to "get" somewhere, and not just ride around for exercise, I go where roads go, which is not the same as where city planners apparently want bikes to go. Bike lanes end suddenly or don't go to many addresses. And motorists don't learn to respect bike rights on non-designated bike roads.

Shawn L. said...

A great site for safety tips on safe cycling is:

http://bicyclesafe.com/

Another site about riding to be seen is "The Theory of Big" http://www.tibsnjoan.co.uk/Big.html

Myself I ride a recumbent tricycle (that alone gets cars to give me a MUCH wider berth than two wheelers, almost ridiculously so). The novelty of my trike gets me more attention from drivers.

A large reflective flag, and numerous lights for cloudy/night riding also make me much more visible. One evening when I was riding with blinking lights on all three wheels, a flashing light attached to the flag, a tail light, and a headlight atttached to my helmet, one neighbor referred to my trike as a U.F.O.

gadfly said...

You were in Colorado, Professor, so you know what bike nuts are about on The Front Range. Boulder has sharrow markings everywhere.

Curious George said...

"Gene said...

John, the $4 or $5 that you say we pay in taxes per tank of gas doesn't doesn't begin to cover all the costs imposed on taxpayers by automobile use. It's not just the cost of air pollution or noise pollution or damage to shrubbery and agriculture (substantial in a city like Los Angeles), you also have to add in the cost of all the aircraft carriers, helicopters, tanks and troops we need to keep mideast oil flowing.

I don't remember the exact numbers right now. But I saw a calculation a few months ago that suggested that if one added in the cost of the military the price of gas a gallon of gas would roughly double.

I agree that bike riders don't pay their share of building and maintaining roads. On the other hand the unrecovered costs they impose on society are astonishingly trivial compared to the costs that automobiles impose on us. "

This is painfully retarded. No cars? Then there are no bikes. No roads. No planes. No industry.

Automobiles are the link to the wealth this country...and all Western and developing nations...have.

Jesus fucking Christ how stupid can people be?

Steve Koch said...

Because bicycles are so light, it would be relatively cheap to build elevated bicycle lanes. This would reduce the need for bikes and cars to share the same lanes.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I don't remember the exact numbers right now. But I saw a calculation a few months ago that suggested that if one added in the cost of the military the price of gas a gallon of gas would roughly double.

Why would you trust a calculation from someone dim enough to believe that if we didn't have cars we could get by without a military?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...Stop means stop, idiot. It's not optional just because it's inconvenient to get going from a dead stop..."

I was going to reply with a clarification but I think ill just go with go fuck yourself.

Curious George said...

"probably relishing her effect on all those evil cars."

And that's it in a nutshell in Madison. The bikers are assholes for this very reason.

As a matter of fact, so are the walking pedestrians.

MadisonMan said...

No cars? Then there are no bikes. No roads.

Bikes and roads pre-date cars.

Curious George said...

"No cars? Then there are no bikes. No roads.

Bikes and roads pre-date cars."

Sure they do. Want to go back to just those roads that predate cars?

My point is that the car was primarily responsible for creating our modern society.

Loren said...

Gas taxes don't pay for city streets. They pay for Federal, state and (sometimes) county roads. City streets are built and maintained with property taxes and whatever other general taxes a city levies.

I ride a road bike, and I drive an SUV to make up for it. SO I pay gas taxes. I own property, so I pay property taxes. I buy stuff, so I pay sales taxes.

I generally stay to the right side of the lane, unless there are potholes, glass, sand, gravel, or trash on the right, then I offset to the left a is reasonably practical. Which, generally, is what laws require, stay to the right as is reasonably practical.

At stop lights, I move to the center of the lane. This so some car does not pull next to me, then turn right into me, after forgetting I am there. When the light changes, and I move through the intersection, I move right again. If there is a bike lane, I will go to the front, but if there is a bike lane, then I don't need to mix with you.

Some spots cars have to go slower than you would like because I am on the street, tough. If I were driving a model T, instead of my bike, you would have the same problem (and I see T's on the streets nearly every week in the summer, nice restorations). Get over yourself. In a minute or two, you can safely pass and we both go on our way.

Sharrows are dumb. I can already use the street, whether on my bike or in my SUV regardless of some line painted in the street.

John said...

Sorry, but in my neck of the woods, the motorists who occasionally flout traffic signals and stop sign are vastly outnumbered by the cyclists who usually do the same. Saying it's all right for cyclists to do it because motorists do it, too... Well, that just won't wash.

Both motorists and cyclists who use public roads must obey all traffic rules, signs, and signals. No exceptions. There! Now everybody's being treated equally! No more "tu quoque"!