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Thread: Is Road Riding Worth the Risk?

  1. #21
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    If we do live in "a society that devalues cyclists" and from recent Australian study found that "more than half of car drivers think cyclists are not completely human", it seems that more bicycle infrastructure would just add to the resentment among drivers as to some, this is not sharing the road, but rather having some of it taken away from them. How is this helping the situation?

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I attend meetings of Alexandria BPAC every month, and I can state with certainty that you are incorrect. We spend time on the police report, on discussing city policy issues, Vision Zero (which includes enforcement, education, and culture change in city agencies). We discuss speed limits, no right on red, etc. We even spend time on data and data collection efforts, how police record crashes in their database, etc. Our infrastructure discussions include sidewalks, curb cuts, traffic calming where it mostly is for pedestrians, etc, etc. We have at least three members now who never or rarely ride bikes.

    We DO ask the bike community to get involved on behalf of complete streets projects that often include bike lanes as ONE ELEMENT. We also asked people to get involved to support the adoption of VZ, which as I noted, as plenty of non infra components, and is oriented towards peds as much as riders.

    Aside from lobbying, we spend time on education and encouragement efforts, such as supporting bike education in Alexandria schools, and holding bike rodeos for kids.

    If you don't like what Arlington BAC spends it time on, I suggest attending meetings, and volunteering your own time on other activities. I would be surprised if they turn you down.

    This generalization about the regional bike advocacy community is not helpful, IMO.
    Ah, the "if you don't like how we're doing things then why don't you do it" response is so unfortunate. As at least quasi-governmental organization, if not outright governmental organizations, the various bicycle advisory committees should be open to receiving public input, not just rejecting out of hand to input that doesn't fit their agenda.
    Last edited by sjclaeys; 04-24-2019 at 03:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    It's also important to note that infrastructure changes often go through a public process, so the bike advocacy piece of it is a very public push to get people to write in, take surveys, go to meetings, speak up.

    But the institutional changes are a lot about building relationships, changing hearts and minds, finding where the weak link is, crafting policies to address those issues. That doesn't usually look like a twitter campaign or a rally or a call to action. You don't see all the coffees and emails, and individuals who go to other meetings and catch a leaders ear as they're walking out. It's a LOT of work that you don't see, but it doesn't mean it's not happening.
    ACPD continues to run stop sign sting operations targeting cyclists and put up large electronic signs that actively perpetuate drivers' stereotypes that cyclists are scofflaws that do not belong on the streets. At the same time, ACPD continues to not devote resources to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians at intersections like Lynn & Lee Highway. I'm sorry, but how can one objectively see any improvement in this regard?

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  6. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaCynic View Post
    If we do live in "a society that devalues cyclists" and from recent Australian study found that "more than half of car drivers think cyclists are not completely human", it seems that more bicycle infrastructure would just add to the resentment among drivers as to some, this is not sharing the road, but rather having some of it taken away from them. How is this helping the situation?

    Where do we start? One, plenty of drivers think we are human. When I drive I think cyclists are human. When my wife drives she thinks cyclists are humans. Etc, etc. As for road diets, some people oppose them (even some cyclists) Some drivers support them. In the case of Seminary Road, we have some drivers who support a road diet with bike lanes because they live right on the road, and don't want drivers speeding at 40MPH 3 feet from their front lawn. Others live on cul de sac streets that intersect with Seminary without a traffic light, and want slower traffic to make it safer to turn on to the road. The folks who don't want the road diet are folks who live on side streets that intersect WITH a traffic light, so they don't think they gain (not all of them obviously, but a fair number).

    The notion that everyone but people on bikes hate road diets is incorrect, though it is spread by that groups of drivers who hate road diets.

    There is no evidence I know of that road diets make drivers drive more dangerously around cyclists in general or dehumanize them more. If you have such evidence, be kind enough to share. AFAICT there are as many conflicts created by cyclists taking the lane as there are by bike lanes - to the extent there aren't it is just because there are not that many cyclists actually taking the lane (IE VC wouldn't scale up well, IF we could get more than a handful of people to take the lane on fast arterials, which we can't)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Ah, the "if you don't like how we're doing things then why don't you do it" response is so unfortunate. As at least quasi-governmental organization, if not outright governmental organizations, the various bicycle advisory committees should be open to receiving public input, not just rejecting out of hand to input that doesn't fit their agenda.

    Alexandria BPAC is a private non profit. So is WABA. I want input from people willing to do work, not from the on line peanut gallery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    ACPD continues to run stop sign sting operations targeting cyclists and put up large electronic signs that actively perpetuate drivers' stereotypes that cyclists are scofflaws that do not belong on the streets. At the same time, ACPD continues to not devote resources to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians at intersections like Lynn & Lee Highway. I'm sorry, but how can one objectively see any improvement in this regard?
    I know in Alexandria, APD has gotten much more bike friendly in recent years, but faces both political counter pressures, and a legacy culture that takes time to change. I have learned a lot by being involved. I do not know the situation in Arlington because I am neither on Arlington BAC nor in Chris's unofficial group. I would think to have insight on the politics of the police I would need to be involved. I would hesitate to give Arlington BAC a performance review based on police behavior seeing as even if they are working hard, they do not control the police.

    The bicycle lobby - to the windshield perspective NIMBY's we are all powerful. To the angry VCers. we are at fault for NOT being all powerful.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 04-24-2019 at 03:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guus View Post
    We have to start somewhere though, right? Physical infrastructure is not easy to obtain -- but changes in institutional infrastructure are much harder. To get changes in institutional infrastructure, "the public" or "the voters" will need to consistently push for changes over very long time-lines. To get a critical mass of people that push for that, infrastructure is an crucial first step.
    The question is when do we finish this first step? At what point does focusing on installing PBLs and getting other bicycle-specific infrastructure detract from making the harder institutional changes? Under this current approach, everyone from elected officials down to bicycle advocacy organizations get to pat themselves on the back with the opening of each PBL without addressing the underlying causes for vulnerable road users to be at risk. Yeah, its hard to get police to focus on driving behavior that poses the greatest threat to the community and not assume that the cyclist is always at fault in a crash. It is hard to get the public works construction managers to prioritize cyclist and pedestrian safety over contractor convenience. But that is what will ultimately need to be done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Alexandria BPAC is a private non profit. So is WABA. I want input from people willing to do work, not from the on line peanut gallery.
    Well the Arlington County Bicycle Advisory Committee is charted by Arlington County so, as required by their charter, they at least are required to listen to the "peanut gallery" of the great unwashed masses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    The question is when do we finish this first step? At what point does focusing on installing PBLs and getting other bicycle-specific infrastructure detract from making the harder institutional changes? Under this current approach, everyone from elected officials down to bicycle advocacy organizations get to pat themselves on the back with the opening of each PBL without addressing the underlying causes for vulnerable road users to be at risk. Yeah, its hard to get police to focus on driving behavior that poses the greatest threat to the community and not assume that the cyclist is always at fault in a crash. It is hard to get the public works construction managers to prioritize cyclist and pedestrian safety over contractor convenience. But that is what will ultimately need to be done.

    We have a police officer attend BPAC meetings, and we go over collisions involving a bike rider OR a pedestrian. Lt May (head of the traffic squad) rides, and seems to get it. But changing the culture of the force takes time. We are all working on it, again, you should join in the effort if it matters to you.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 04-24-2019 at 03:48 PM.

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  18. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    Well the Arlington County Bicycle Advisory Committee is charted by Arlington County so, as required by their charter, they at least are required to listen to the "peanut gallery" of the great unwashed masses.
    Dasgeh listens with more patience than I would. I am not sure they are required to listen to comments on this forum though - at least in Alexandria chartered commissions, etc, have public meetings for citizen input.

    And since we know each other here, we might want to treat each other as human beings, not as pols to be attacked. Dasgeh is one of a small group of advocates who works tirelessly on such issues (which I have pointed out even when I have disagreed with her). Someone complaining about how she spends her volunteer time, who is not themselves expending similar time on the issue, rubs me the wrong way.

    If I am coming off harshly, we are engaged in a bitter, emotionally exhausting fight over Seminary Road in Alexandria. A bike advocate in DC was just murdered last Friday. I am really, really, really, not in the mood for people crapping on bike advocates, especially "avid cyclists".

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