Transportation

Make Way for the Real Road Warriors

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 06, 2008

Every time the Spectator publishes an article that promotes cycling, like Rob Faulkner's excellent Road Warriors piece yesterday, the real "road warriors" come out in force on the letters page.

Regurgitating the same old tired, discredited ad hominem and straw man attacks yet again, they do their part to bully cyclists off the road and, more important, out of the Real Road Warriors' way.

Bicycle commuters ... are people who selfishly avoid the obligations mandated for all other vehicles; for example, licensing, driver training, accident insurance, seatbelt requirements and minimum age restrictions are not mandatory for cyclists.

As always, the only response is to refer the angry Real Road Warrior patiently to the Highway Traffic Act, which specifies the requirements for a street-legal bicycle:

These, by law, are the "obligations mandated" for cyclists.

Never mind subtlety or nuance: the Real Road Warrior boldly makes sweeping claims about all cyclists, to wit: all cyclists disobey the law.

Let us not discuss obeying vehicle traffic laws.

If we're not going to discuss it, why bring it up?

There is not a cyclist alive who could maintain a valid driver's licence if the rules of the road were enforced.

Ah, it looks like we're going to discuss it after all.

It's a funny thing, but just this past Monday, I was sitting outside the convenience store at Upper Paradise and Scenic during a hike with my children (hikes in my family frequently involve popsicles).

For a ten minute period, I decided to observe the cars that passed through the T-intersection (three-way stop signs) to see how many came to a complete stop. I've done this before, and it never ceases to impress.

Here are the results:

Motorists at Upper Paradise and Scenic
Action Number % of Total
No Stop 47 87%
Stop 7 13%
Total 54 100%

(Monday, August 4, 2008 from 3:33 PM to 3:54 PM.)

Here are couple of additional observations:

Obviously I can't generalize to an entire population of drivers from this one small sample set, but I will note that every time I stop to conduct this experiment, the results are invariably very similar.

Last year, Sean Burak posted an instructive YouTube clip in an RTH comment on automobiles running the stop sign at King and Kenilworth:

But back to the Absolute Truths of the Real Road Warrior's letter. He concludes:

Cyclists are not anything more than recreational vehicle operators. They should be placed in the same category as snowmobilers and golf cart devotees.

Again, he boldly asserts the omniscience to ascertain the purpose and destination of any cyclist he sees on the road. Never mind the actual statistical evidence, which is that driving is down, while transit use and cycling are up.

I commute by bicycle, so I tend to notice other cyclists on the road even when I'm not riding. I've certainly noticed what looks like an increase in commuting cyclists this year, though my observations are strictly anecdotal.

Yesterday morning, for example, I saw an approximately 50-year-old businessman in a suit getting off a brand-new mountain bike in front of the CIBC office and pulling the quick release on his front tire.

I'm pretty sure he was not there in a recreational capacity.

Finally, the Real Road Warrior gets to the heart of the matter:

These so-called road warriors have no place on roadways.

That's his complaint in a nutshell: the real crime of these cyclists is that they dare to ride on the same road as the Real Road Warrior, getting in his way and slowing him down.

For all his outrage and opprobrium, the underlying issue is that he just doesn't want to share.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 06, 2008 at 09:12:37

good post Ryan. The first thing I thought when I read this letter is that every car wouldn't be allowed on the road if the rules were enforced 100% of the time as well.

I too have noticed WAY more cyclists and scooters on the road this year. I hope it continues.

Now, I need to get myself one of those gongs!

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 06, 2008 at 10:11:20

Some people can just bang their heads on their steering wheels to get those gongs! i.e.-"real" road warrior

I am partial to cycling however I have to drive to work unless I want to get hit by someone who runs a stop sign. There are no bike lanes near my work and there are no sidewalks for part of the way. I'm a bit sympathetic to the "Real" road warrior on one point...it's much easier to make a quick and unpredictable move with a bicycle than it is with a car. I think that all rules should be enforced and applicable to all vehicles using the road whether it's a cyclist or a car. If a vehicle has to signal so should a car. If a car has to stop, so should a bike UNLESS it's at a signed all way stop intersection at which I think it'd be a good idea to allow cyclists to proceed with caution (make sure all the other drivers are stopped). What would be really funny to see is having two bikes collide at an intersection because they both have the right of way and neither is paying attention!

I think cyclists should bike either in the middle or to the left of the lane on two lane roads to force vehicles to make a COMPLETE lane change in order to pass them, forcing drivers to think twice before cutting a cyclist off.

As a cyclist, I don't think it should be mandated to have insurance but it would be a good idea for companies to make a policy that costs like 10-15 bucks a month that covers injury and damage and stuff like that if it's an at fault or no fault accident for the cyclist. I'd get it that's for sure. All I need is one idiot who says it's my fault and I have no way to prove otherwise and get my pants sued off for damage to his 2008 Jag.

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By adam1 (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2008 at 13:49:17

I own a new car but choose to cycle to work about once a week. Most people who would otherwise cycle downtown do not because they feel unsafe cycling along Main, King, York, etc... I don't blame them! What about a commuter lane with a 5 foot wide bike lane along major arteries downtown?

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By adam1 (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2008 at 13:50:06

Edit: replace "commuter lane" with "carpool lane" above.

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By Jon (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2008 at 14:09:48

This is the reason some people carry their U-lock on a shoulder strap.

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By gullchasedship (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2008 at 18:55:13

I've been a bicycle commuter in Hamilton for 6 years. I've found the worst part of the trip is the old pavement on some of our major routes.

It would be fantastic, though, if we had more bike lanes. Another good idea would be to add more bike gutters to the stairs.

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By Bee (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2008 at 23:34:57

The signed cycle routes are a joke. They try to avoid the main streets but leave you making many more dangerous uncontrolled crossings along the way. They are not cleared of snow during winter. They lead you away from any actual destination, meaning you still have to find a way on to that main street to get where you want to go.

It's much quicker and safer for me to just bite the bullet and ride King and Main. Separate infrastructure would be nice so long as it's well planned. No bike lanes ending or forcing you to pick a hole through merging highway traffic.

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By Fair weather biker (anonymous) | Posted August 08, 2008 at 23:08:12

As a non thunder storm day cyclist, I see the Lawrence Road bike route to Cumberland to Stinson to Hunter to downtown twice a day. I really think the advisers or planners are not regular daily commuter riders. The Lawrence route is great, then poof it ends where Lawrence meets Gage or from the West Poof infront of The Hamilton Spec building. Or the new York route poof at Locke. We need a start all the way to downtown where the people work. Complete the job suburbs to downtown. It is very scary with the motorists on any busy streetas they appear anti biking. Give us a safe complete route. Is it really that hard to forfeit one lane and mark it thusely.

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By notconvinced (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2008 at 05:01:45

I will gladly join the pro-cycling lobby when I see one, just one, cyclist stop for a red light instead of jumping the curb to use a pedestrian crossing endangering pedestrians and permitting at least three traffic violations on every red light. And using pavement going the wrong way on one way streets,enough said on that one. There are lots of bad auto drivers, I agree, but I have yet to see one good bicyclist on the road.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2008 at 12:07:56

notconvinced, I think you're only seeing what you want to see. I cycle regularly and have a tough time ever seeing a cyclist disobey the road rules. I know some do, but I rarely see them. To suggest that car drivers are safer and follow the rules more than cyclists is unfounded. Based on my experience as both a driver and cyclist, I wish the ratio of cars vs. cyclists were reversed on the road. Road safety would drastically improve and injury/death would drastically decrease.

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By notconvinced (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2008 at 16:21:42

jason..and you are not only seein what you want to see? Being holier than thou and casting a blinding light must surely impair your vision. For the record, I would prefer not to see what I am claiming to witness. Bicyclists on the road are a menace to both motorists and pedestrians.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 09, 2008 at 17:25:40

notcinvinced: I will gladly focus my eyes on cyclists breaking the rules, but I'm too distracted by every single motorist on the road rolling through every single stop sign and speeding on every single street, every day.

Watch yourself and how you act behind the wheel of your heavy machinery (automobile) before casting stones.

I cycle every day, and while I don't claim to be perfect, I obey more rules than any single driver. I will take any driver on for a law-off any day.

In the meantime, I am lobbying for plainclothes bicycle officers so that we can see some enforcement of the drivers who routinely endanger cyclists.

Bikes may be a "menace" to you because when they do obey the rules, they delay you by 10-20 seconds. But cars are a menace to cyclists because they kill us. Slight difference.

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By notconvinced (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2008 at 17:45:49

seancb..please join with jason's holier than thou group! You presume wrongly! I am neither a motorist or a cyclist, I am for most parts a pedestrian who depends on public transportation and obviously never in a hurry and from my viewpoint did come to my conclusion on the behaviour of both motorists and cyclists. We of the pedestrian battalion are mindful of both but have yet to be charged headon with a motorist jumping the sidewalk or abusing "our" walkway. I still contend that cyclists "on the road" are a menace.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2008 at 21:25:43

I think we're all saying the same thing here, but in different ways. There are 'menaces' on the road in all modes of transport (including pedestrian, which I am more often than cyclist). To suggest that cyclists are worse than anyone else is simply inaccurate. Let's assume that all 3 groups are equally at fault and make the same number of mistakes. Cars still come out way on top in terms of injury and death as a result of their poor driving.

As for 'holier than thou' and all that other stuff you feel the need to add into your posts, please spare us. Feel free to carry on a civil conversation.

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By notconvinced (anonymous) | Posted August 11, 2008 at 01:35:06

jason..I can debate in Oxford rules without taking offence. Please go back to your reply to my first post and then read seancb and you will find the reason for my comment in both cases..A civil conversation is warranted when civility is extended.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2008 at 08:36:00

Notconvinced,

With all due respect, your argument is fallacious for the simple reason that you're arguing from anecdotes, not evidence. Even so, I highly doubt your claim that you've never once seen a cyclist following the rules. I don't know where you observe cyclists, but I ride daily in the lower city and see a diverse mix of cyclists: some riding safely on the road and obeying the law, some on the sidewalk, some going the wrong way down the street, some doing rolling stops at stop signs, etc.

I strongly expect that your opinion is influence by confirmation bias - in other words, you're more likelt to remember the anecdotes that confirm your preconceptions.

I experience something similar whenever a motorist cuts me off, passes too closely or yells at me to "get off the road". The experience impresses itself very strongly in my memory and I dwell on it disproportionately to my other interactions with drivers, which are mainly courteous and free of incident.

As a result, my inclination is to assume that most drivers are aggressive and dangerous. It wasn't until I started observing interactions with motorists systematically that I discovered my own confirmation bias at work.

The results I found, on several different streets at different times of the day, are that: most drivers are reasonably safe and civil; some drivers yield the right of way when they're not supposed to, in a misguided but presumbly well-intentioned effort to avoid me; and only a tiny fraction of drivers are actually aggressive and dangerous.

These results are certainly not comprehensive, but they're consistent with the hypothesis that most drivers are civil most of the time, and they demolish my own naive assumption that the road is full of dangerous assholes just looking for a chance to mow down a cyclist.

Now, I've also discovered from other observations that most drivers routinely violate minor traffic laws, like the requirement to come to a full stop at stop signs. Just about the only time drivers obey this law is when more than one vehicle reaches an intersection at the same time.

Further, you write, "I still contend that cyclists 'on the road' are a menace."

I'm not sure what you mean by that, but statistically, cyclists make a vanishingly small contribution to just about any road safety indicator you can imagine. Cyclists effectively endanger only themselves when they ride dangerously.

In any case, cycling on the sidewalk is statistically far more dangerous than cycling on the road. A disproportionate number of collisions and crashes take place when a cyclist on the sidewalk goes through an intersection.

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By notconvinced (anonymous) | Posted August 11, 2008 at 17:19:28

Ryan..another presumption that I am arguing on the basis of anecdotes and not evidence, worng! Since you can't watch my lips please re-read my posts! I have stated that I am in the main a pedestrian, a senior pedestrian I now choose to add, exception being when I ride public transportation vehicles. I was struck by a cyclist on a pedestrian cross walk, one who in an effort to avoid stopping for a red light wheeled on to the green and a collided with me as "I" was obeying the law. That's evidence! I had a plate installed to the bone in my left arm which was broken in three places. That evidence! Citizens noticing my arm-sling enquire and being informed of my plight, in many cases related similar accidents. That could be anecdote! The Police investigating off-handidly remark that the incident is not uncommon. That could be anecdote! The cyclist, concerned more about his machine and getting to work, than his concern for me, that's evidence! His violater's fine. That's evidence! So pray, I am one guy who pays a lot of attention to traffic and the misbehaviour of drivers, whether behind a wheel or a handlebar so please do not patronize me. I sort of half promised myself not to offend jason and say holier than thou, oops..!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2008 at 21:55:47

Regarding drivers obeying laws, did you see this EVIDENCE!? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=182F3KnT9...

notconvinced, If the road were made a safer friendlier place for cyclists, then fewer cyclists would feel the need to ride in pedestrian space. I am not making excuses for those that DO ride on sidewalks and crosswalks - that is against the law and horribly dangerous for the cyclist themselves as well.

But there is a very strong anti-bicycle feeling on our major streets, and this feeling pushes all but the most confident cyclists off of the streets and sometimes onto the sidewalks.

Wouldn't you say that making the streets safer for cyclists would solve problems both for them AND for pedestrians?

I'm not sure exactly what you are arguing for here -- abolishing the bicycle?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2008 at 23:20:07

Notconvinced,

I'm sorry to hear about your injury. I can certainly appreciate why you are predisposed to take a dim view of cyclists after your experience.

I'm also sorry that you interpreted my comment to be "patroniz[ing]", as that was not my intention. The cause of the misunderstanding may inhere in the terms I used. When I wrote that your claim was based on "anecdote" I meant that it was based on an individual experience and perception rather than on hard statistical data (e.g. injury rates due to bicycle/pedestrian collisions).

That's not to discount or make light of your experience, but rather to caution against drawing broad generalizations or making sweeping claims based on a single non-representative sample.

As important as your experience is to you and to people with whom you share it, it can't be the basis of a sound public policy unless it represents the prevailing trend in transportation modes and injury rates.

As it is, your experience is highly rare. It is overwhelmingly more common for pedestrians to be injured by motor vehicles than by bicycles.

Similarly, your having been injured by a cyclist who was riding dangerously does not demonstrate that all cyclists violate the law all the time, which is what you claimed.

As a cyclist who takes safety very seriously and who has tried in this space to educate and advocate for safe cycling, I can state unequivocally that I generally obey the law and that I observe some (though obviously not all) other cyclists on the road also obeying the law.

If you really have never seen a cyclist obey the law, I very strongly suspect it's because you weren't looking for it. Again, confirmation bias is a universal human trait - it's an inevitable product of how humans perceive and process information.

http://www.skepdic.com/confirmbias.html

I'm certainly guilty of it, as I often discover to my chagrin when I decide to test my assumptions and prejuduces.

I think you have to consider at least the possibility that your own negative experience with a cyclist has prejudiced you against all cyclists.


Finally, as seancb points out, you've experienced firsthand why cyclists shouldn't be allowed on the sidewalk, and you've argued that cyclists shouldn't be allowed on the road. Am I to conclude that you don't think cyclists should be allowed anywhere?

I also find myself wondering: if you were hit by a car rather than by a bicycle, would you be arguing that cars should not be allowed anywhere?

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By notconvinced (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2008 at 00:00:53

Oh dear! "What will rid me of this troublesome piece..?"..to paraphrase Shekespeare. The closing two paragraphs in your continuing defence are inappropriate and tend to undermine my intelligence. My experience has not prejudiced my view of cyclists but it has bolstered my sense of awareness as I wait to cross on legal pedestrian walkways while waiting for the light. From my viewpoint I do observe motoring violations. However, on a per capita basis I witness many more cyclists expressing arrogance towards the law. In closing may I add that my own "negative" experience has also helped me to advise my cycling grandchildren on the rules of the road.

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By lawson (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2008 at 16:09:01

I have been following this race between "saencb", "Ryan", "jason" and "not convinced" with interest and from my observation point in the grandstand "notconvinced" is leading by a length.

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By al Fresco (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2008 at 16:25:12

Lawson this is a "discussion" not a "race".

Please go back to the playroom now. The grownups are trying to talk.

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By lawson (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2008 at 17:30:41

I have been following the discussion between "seancb","Ryan", "jason" and "notconvinced" with interest and from my own observations on monitering traffic movemnet on or downtown streets, I agree with the opinion being expressed by "notconvinced". Will that expression help me to avoid the playroom "al Fresco" and at the same time allow you to stretch the cord of imagination?

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 08:15:13

Jason, I regularly see cyclists using ped crosswalks to avoid lights. I also don't think they should be running down the length of a line of cars unless there's a bike lane. It leads to unpredictable behavior and has the potential to cause severe problems.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 08:17:22

Seancb, I'd take you on with your comment about obeying more rules than any driver. Anyday! Bring it! That's just as brainwashed as the others comment. If I follow you, I'll find something you're doing wrong...

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 08:32:35

Finally finished reading all those fun comments. Of all of them, I agree with Jason's the most - all 3 modes of transportation don't follow rules occasionally. However, I take issue with statements about cycling having less potential to cause damage. Sure, if I get hit by a bike, it will most like cause less damage however, pure laws of physics mean that if an area half the size of a car bumper or less impacts me at half the speed it can cause the same amount of damage because the force is distributed over a smaller area. Having said this, because it's half the size it's also half as likely to hit me. Now, statements about the number of car accidents versus cycle accidents are erroneous based on this: there are many more vehicle kms driven per day than cyclist kms. What I mean is that if you add up all the kms that every car in the city drives through this city on a roadway, it will FAR exceed that of cyclists kms on the roadway. I'm pretty sure that's not something anyone can argue. It's because of this that there are "more" accidents related to cars than cyclists however, it's quite possible that if cyclist kms driven were taken into account this number would be nearly equal.

Having said that, I'm a proponent of neither...I'd rather say home. Unfortunately I can't. I'm also unwilling to cycle to work after nearly getting taken out by a snack truck on Barton and the bus doesn't have a bus stopping anywhere near here at the time I start work not to mention that it's only sporadic service....so I have to drive to work. Aside from that, I run my own renovation business and there's something about pulling my mitre saw behind my bike that makes it seem unattractive ;) WHy can't everyone learn to obey the rules of the road and why can't city planners build with a perspective looking forward with considerations made to accomodate greener modes of transport?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2008 at 09:33:07

Frank wrote:

pure laws of physics mean that if an area half the size of a car bumper or less impacts me at half the speed it can cause the same amount of damage because the force is distributed over a smaller area.

Digging back into my high school physics, I think your example is misleading. Force is equal to mass * acceleration, and the mass of even a small car - my Civic is around 1,200 kg - is over ten times bigger than the mass of a person on a bicycle.

What I mean is that if you add up all the kms that every car in the city drives through this city on a roadway, it will FAR exceed that of cyclists kms on the roadway.

That's correct. The only fair way to compare them is by looking at collision/crash/injury/fatality rates by distance traveled or time spent at the activity.

I did some investigating along these lines last year. You can read the essay here:

http://raisethehammer.org/article/617/

By distance traveled, cycling is slightly more dangerous than driving, but by time spent at the activity, driving is more dangerous. When you factor in the health benefits of cycling and the health detriments of driving, it is definitely safer overall to ride than to drive.

These are all averages based on all drivers / all cyclists, and the difference in risk between people who follow safety rules and who don't is enormous. In other words, a cyclist riding safely and carefully is several times safer than an average cyclist or an average driver.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 09:46:26

Regarding Frank's comment:

"I also don't think they should be running down the length of a line of cars unless there's a bike lane."

Although I try to avoid doing this, if there is sufficient room between the cars and the curb (say 2m) and the cyclists isn't going too fast, I don't really see it is a problem.

Drivers seem to want to put cyclists in a Catch-22:

  1. When they are moving, drivers feel free to pass cyclists without changing lanes. This is often dangerous. On the other hand, they complain if cyclists ride in the middle of the lane (like a car) to prevent this (which is in fact the safe thing to do on a multi-lane road).

  2. However, when the drivers are stopped the rules change. Now drivers complain when cyclists move past them.

Many countries (e.g. France, UK) now paint 'bike boxes' at intersections. Cyclists filter past the cars and wait in the box in front of the cars until the light changes. This way cyclists are visible to drivers and don't get cut off. Of course, bike boxes tacitly encourage cyclists to move past stationary cars!

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 10:24:43

Ryan, I may have used the wrong word and either you're being facetious or you're not thinking today. So let me explain - A 100N force exerted over an area of 450 sq cm (35cm by 15cm about the width of a thin person (me) by the height of a small bumper) is .19N/sq cm. It would only take 5.7N exerted over an area of 30 sq cm (2cm by 15cm about the height and width of one side of a handlebar) It's a direct ration of area to force required. This would be the philosophy behind things like sports pads (check out the Discovery TV show "Sport Science")

kevlahan, regarding your bike boxes, great idea but there should be a bike lane. As a general rule our streets don't have bike lanes and if there's no bike lane there should be no riding past cars because it's unexpected behaviour. The only way to minimize any type of accident is make sure that everyone makes as few unpredictable movements as possible - hence the rules of the road. Drivers shouldn't pass cyclists without changing lanes which is why I don't think a cyclist should stick to the right of the lane (not to mention the potholes). If a cyclist used the lane lets say from the centre left that would force drivers to make complete lane changes in order to pass them. Now of course with a bike lane that wouldn't even be necessary. Quite often I will move to the right of my lane to discourage a cyclist from passing me at a stop light not because I don't want to get stuck behind them but because I know that there's going to be one time that some driver up ahead doesn't check before turning right and takes out said cyclist. So no...don't pass when vehicles are stopped at a stoplight. You can't expect others to obey the rules but give yourself carte blanche in the same breath!

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 10:49:26

Frank, as I mentioned in my post I avoid passing stopped cars.

The main problem is that (in my experience) most drivers do not treat bicycles as vehicles with an equal right to road space.

As seen in letters to the Spec, there is still an attitude in this city that bicycles don't belong on the road. This attitude, combined with high speed, one-way streets designed exclusively for motorists encourages cyclists to do what feels safe or convenient rather than follow the actual rules.

The ultimate solution is to get more cyclists on the streets and design streets all users (motorists, pedestrians and cyclists) so motorists see them as part of the traffic, and a culture of bicycles as vehicles dominates. As you point out, cycle lanes and bike boxes are part of this solution.

The bottom line, however, is that cyclists not obeying the rules is annoying (in the 'unfair' sense), but the real risk is very small compared to the death, injuries and damage caused by motorists. Each year about 20 people are killed in Hamilton by motorists ... when was the last time someone was killed by a cyclist?

When I lived in Cambridge UK a couple of years ago each issue of the local paper was filled with irate letters from seniors complaining about cyclists (and bins left on the sidewalk). The letter writers complained about cyclists making them feel nervous, but there were never any reports of actual injury. Ironically, the news section of the paper regularly carried reports of injuries and death due to motorists, but this didn't produce any outraged letters!

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 12:26:08

How many accidents or near accidents are caused by cyclists and pedestrians.

Geometric design changes need to happen before more cyclists will use the roadway and that is what spawned my question at the end of that posting...when will this city start designing roadways with a thought to the future?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2008 at 14:11:50

Frank, I find it interesting that you think cyclists should take the entire lane all of the time. If only this were possible. You are the only motorist I've ever heard utter this request - I fully support your vision, but fear as a cyclist that I will be physically run off the road and possibly abused for practising something like that.

I have to reiterate kevlahan's point about what I call the "cyclist's lane double standard":

When a cyclist approaches a red light or a stop sign, motorists tend to speed past the bicycle and muscle into position in front of them, only to stop at said intersection. In the motorist's mind, the bicycle does not "own" the lane. If the cyclist was taking the entire lane, the motorist would be angry that he was hogging the road. In this situation the driver has no trouble "sharing" the lane with the bicycle.

Now, the situation has become a line of stopped cars who just passed a bicycle. Once the cars have stopped moving, all of a sudden they believe that the cyclist owns the lane and should stay in said lane, lining up behind the cars. They no longer want to share this lane! Meanwhile, if they had thought that way all along, they'd be in line behind the bike anyway since they would not have passed the bike. This is a serious double standard. It reminds me of a small child who approaches you and says they want to "share", but what they mean is that they want some of what you have. If motorists are happy "sharing" the road by taking it from cyclists, they have to accept it from the other direction as well.

One of the main reasons I believe in bike lanes is that they allow fair treatment of cyclists in these "line up" situations.

But bike lanes cause other horrible problems that need to be considered: a bike lane at an intersection can be a death trap. Putting a bike lane to the right of traffic is akin to putting a "straight through" lane to the right of a "right turn" lane. We would NEVER do that. But on many streets this is exactly how bike lanes are installed.

The real key is that a mutual respect must be reached between riders and drivers. And the best way to do this is to get more cyclists on the road so that there is a better balance between the users.

Regarding the "law off", I am open to it because I ride safely and within the law. I break some rules, but generally break fewer than most drivers. However my point was more general: there are different levels of 'law-abiding-ness' in both cyclists and motorists, and it's not fair for any of us to paint all users with the same broad brush.

That being said (and this is the important part), the reality remains: car drivers have an extra responsibility because they are operating machines that can very easily maim or kill human beings through even a minor bout of inattentiveness (or 'law breaking-ness') of the operator.

A side note about the physics discussion... there's a lot more to it than just the pinpoint of force. And I think empirical evidence is enough proof that we don't have to do all of the math. Cars routinely kill people, bicycles rarely do.

And my opinion is that calculating by passenger mile is less accurate than by time spent at the activity in terms of real world safety. Someone may spend their entire life on a bus, travelling countless thousands of miles, so by passenger mile they are astronomically safer than someone who spends their entire life walking back and forth to the store simply because of the math. When it comes down to it, the amount of time you spend doing an activity is more important than how much ground you cover. Distance is arbitrary - by that argument, skydiving is a safer way to travel than climbing a ladder, cause you cover WAY more distance jumping out of planes! Just some thoughts...

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 15:09:09

Seancb, that's where kevlahan's bike boxes come in. I've also seen something I like in the Meadowlands (to my dismay) the bike lane is left of the right turn lane...as it should be.

I don't have a double standard when it comes to cycling on the roadway. From a driver's perspective he gets pissed off if after having just passed said cyclist he must do so again. I'd much rather stay behind you until there's a safe opportunity and pass PROPERLY than have to pass you three or four times in a km because you pass a line of cars everytime you get to a stoplight. That'd be some of what contributes to a drivers aversion to cyclists.

Also, you keep talking about empirical evidence...yet when someone else uses empirical evidence you tell them off. The only reason's vehicles kill others is because of inattentiveness on the part of drivers not because they're inherently more dangerous. A car in the right hands is just as safe in fact probably more so than a cycle. I'd like to see evidence supporting the fact that cyclists get killed while both vehicles are following the rules of the road. The fact is you probably won't find them. My point is this...you claim that vehicles kill people and therefore they're responsible for the problem when it's equally possible that unpredictable moves on the part of cyclists cause the very accident that kills them. Granted if you're in your bike lane and I hit you, that's my fault...but then again, if I'm paying attention I wouldn't be in your bike lane would I? It's not the cars that kill the people it's the stupid drivers in the cars that kill people. Just like it's the stupid cyclists that piss drivers off on the road and cause the very aversion you're now trying to overcome.

You're incorrect however about the mileage thing. I'm not talking individually. We're talking MODES of transport not types...i.e. car/bus/truck vs cycle - motor powered wheels versus human powered wheels (I sure hope you don't walk on the road). Also I'm not talking about a person.....I'm talking vehicles. So think a bus not the people on the bus. If it wasn so inaccurate, there wouldn't have been any studies on it...

As far as jumping out of planes...sure. Statistics show that's it the safest way to travel...DOWN! Unfortunately you can't skydive UP. And if I'm comparing heights...I wouldn't think that skydiving would be safe to change the light on the outside porch...no time for the chute to open. Also...fatalities due to ladder falls anyone?

As an aside, someone here was saying that people on the sidewalk are afraid of cyclists but that's better than getting killed by a car... Neither is good and that argument is idiocy. Rules are rules. Sidewalks are for WALKING! hence the name.

My solution? Include a multiuse path in every urban arterial and collector cross section separated by a boulevard. A multiuse path would be separate from the road much like the one along the Welland Canal. It works there...why not here? Put bike lanes everywhere else.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 13, 2008 at 15:26:10

Frank wrote:

The only reason's vehicles kill others is because of inattentiveness on the part of drivers not because they're inherently more dangerous.

The difference is that when cyclists are reckless or inattentive, they injure or kill themselves; whereas when drivers are reckless or inattentive, they injure or kill others as well as themselves.

I'd like to see evidence supporting the fact that cyclists get killed while both vehicles are following the rules of the road.

I don't think that's what seancb is saying. I think we all agree that cycling is pretty safe for cyclists who ride safely and attentively. Again, the issue is that a car driven inattentively is more dangerous in general - to its occupants as well as others - than a bicycle ridden inattentively.

That's the underlying issue: bicycles are inherently less dangerous than automobiles regardless of how they are driven.

We can't just count on people to drive/ride safely, because we know that people are sometimes inattentive and reckless.

My solution? Include a multiuse path

From all the evidence I've seen, bicycle/bicycle and bicycle/pedestrian collision rates are highest on multi-use paths.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 15:30:56

portland has bike boxes. Folks, let's not kid ourselves. Car drivers think they own the road. Bottom line. They don't want cyclists taking up an entire lane. They don't want to lose a lane for bike lanes. They don't want cyclists riding beside them up to a red light. They don't want them on the sidewalks. They don't want them on the roadway......

it's up to road designers and city hall to create the infrastructure necessary for safe cycling. bike lanes and two-way streets come to mind immediately. Mayor Fred had a platform last election to put bike lanes on any street being reconstructed.
Well, since taking office, Upper Wentworth, Wellington and Garth have all been reconstructed.
Big shock - still ultra wide car lanes with ample room to encourage speeding and accidents, and no bike lanes. Cyclists need to be safe and look out for their own interest. Lord knows the maniac behind the wheel doing 70km trying to run a red, eating a hamburger, blasting music while sending a text message sure ain't.

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 16:04:06

Frank, my reference to the letters in Cambridge concerned cyclists making people nervous on multi-use paths (e.g. passing older people too closely).

As Ryan points out, multi-use paths are notorious for disputes between cyclists, joggers, roller bladers and pedestrians. In fact, Vancouver now separates pedestrians and cyclists in the paths through Stanley park due to past issues.

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By ex-pat (anonymous) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 19:20:13

keviahan..you are quite right about the divided sea-walk around Stanley Park. The difficulty with this is that skateboards and blades share the same lane as cyclists and again there have been incidents and near incidents of pedestrians being hit by speeding cyclists who find their Olympian speeds being curtailed by "families on wheels" and so they tend to jump on to the pedestrian section. As you may know, the pedestrian walk is approximately six inches under the level of the mobile lane, meant as a safeguard, and that is what I mean when I say that cyclists "jump" lanes. There are no automobiles on either lane so the menace is the cyclist and the bicycling mentality to be aggressive and to hell with rules.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 14, 2008 at 13:44:44

Ryan, when a cyclist is reckless or inattentive he can quite possibly cause serious injury to himself any others especially if his carelessness causes another vehicle to react in order to avoid hitting the person. Sure, if a cycle hits a tree, the tree won't get hurt as bad but it's the interaction of the two modes of transport that cause this whole problem.

Multiuse paths might cause disputes BUT they separate the low speed traffic from the high speed traffic thus reducing the possibility of serious injury.

Take a look at the bridge on Barton over the RHC. It's designed with a barrier between the sidewalk and the roadway proper. It's not that difficult to utilize this through the city perhaps subsituting the concrete barrier for something more attractive like a 500 high curb and a wrought iron fence. That protects the cyclists and allows them to use the paved surface and keeps pedestrians on the sidewalk.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 14, 2008 at 13:46:51

And what you're saying is that if a cyclist crosses a road carelessly and causes a vehicular accident in the process or gets killed, it's the drivers fault rather than the cyclist? That's my point. If a cyclist is driving inattentively and causes an accident that injures others or himself, its not the car or the driver that's dangerous it's the cyclist!

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By Linda (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2008 at 00:26:33

Have been following this discussion? debate?conversation? or saga? with much interest and I now come to the conclusion that Ryan and jason will think twice before continuing with the Crusade of claiming that bicyclists are blameless and motorists are demons. I work in Real Estate and unfortunately do more motoring than I would prefer and I can attest to witnessing more cycling violations. Just yesterday I was shocked to see in my rear view mirror a cyclist coming down Main Street between the line of traffic to stop beside me at the light on my right and then another come down and stop on my left. Are they nuts?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 15, 2008 at 01:14:47

Linda,

I have never claimed that "bicyclists are blameless and motorists are demons". That's a straightforward straw man attack.

I've explicitly stated that cyclists don't always obey the law - in fact, I've written extensively and repeatedly on how and why cyclists should follow the law.

However, it is clear that many motorists also routinely disobey the law. In every study I've conducted or seen, the overwhelming majority of motorists fail to stop at stop signs. Numerous studies have also found that most motorists routinely exceed the speed limit, that some motorists change lanes or turn without signaling, and so on. This really shouldn't be a controversial statement.

It is also clear that a cyclist's capacity to cause harm to others is far more limited than a motorist's capacity to cause harm to others. The difference in mass between a bicycle and a medium sized car is a factor of 15, and cars are capable of much higher speeds than bicycles.

In a very well-known British study, pedestrians hit by cars going 32 km/h have a 5% chance of dying; pedestrians hit by cars going 48 km/h have a 50% chance of dying; and pedestrians hit by cars going 64 km/h have a 95% chance of dying.

As vehicle speed increases, the risk of death increases exponentially. The vast majority of cyclists simply cannot exceed around 30 km/h and certainly cannot reach or maintain speeds of 48 km/h or 64 km/h. Even if a bicycle had the same mass as a car, it would not have the same potential to kill others; since bicycles have a mass only 1/10 to 1/20 of an automobile, their potential to kill others is that much lower.

I'm really just astonished and flabbergasted that this argument is controversial to anyone. It strongly suggests that people are willing to twist logic inside-out to justify maintaining a road system that encourages driving and discourages cycling.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 15, 2008 at 08:44:41

Ryan, there's no arguing with that statement. My argument is that when a cyclist gets hit by a car it's quite possible tht it wasn't the vehicle's fault. It's easy for a cyclist to make quick lateral movements and they're much less predictable than someone in a vehicle. So as in other cases, straight statistics are good but in this case they simply blame motorists for cycling fatalities carte blanche and that's not reality!

So let's reiterate...the argument isn't that cars have a greater potential to injure kill someone, the argument is that blaming every cycling death on a vehicle is erroneous as this isn't the case. As I've said before, if both drivers and cyclists obeyed the rules of the road - even the most simple ones, there wouldn't be accidents. Problems arise when people deviate from the rules and they increase exponentially when the potential to do so is relatively unpredictable.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 15, 2008 at 12:38:15

Frank,

No one is blaming every cycling death on a vehicle. What we are saying is that more people are killed (people in general - pedestrians, passengers, etc) in vehicular collisions than in incidents involving bicycles. To claim that cars are no more dangerous to people than bikes is sickeningly absurd.

Pedestrians killed by cars: http://www.thespec.com/news/article/4110... http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl... http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl... http://www.thespec.com/go/healthfitness/... http://www.thespec.com/news/article/3866...

Please find me one spec article in which a death (or even an injury) is attributed to a cyclist's wrongdoing... I couldn't find any.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 15, 2008 at 13:01:17

My argument is that when a cyclist gets hit by a car it's quite possible that it wasn't the vehicle's fault.

Of course. I've never disagreed with that. The police are pretty good at determining fault after a collision or crash.

the argument isn't that cars have a greater potential to injure kill someone, the argument is that blaming every cycling death on a vehicle is erroneous as this isn't the case.

Again, I've never made that argument. The argument I made is that in general, when cyclists screw up, they can injure or kill themselves; but when motorists screw up, they can injure or kill others as well as themselves. In other words, they're inherently more dangerous because their capacity to cause harm is far greater, due to both their higher acceleration and speed and their far greater (at least an order of magnitude) mass.

if both drivers and cyclists obeyed the rules of the road - even the most simple ones, there wouldn't be accidents.

Of course that's true, but we both know it will never happen. Even the most careful, responsible vehicle operator makes mistakes - people drive when fatigued, get distracted, react emotionally, and so on.

Because there will always be people who operate vehicles irresponsibly, and because cars are inherently more dangerous than bicycles, an honest assessment of road safety will place the majority of emphasis on configuring road infrastructure (physical and regulatory) to reduce the capacity of automobiles to do harm.

If we follow the evidence, we must find ourselves drawn toward policies that are empirically demonstrated to achieve this goal: two-way traffic flows, de-timed lights, narrower lanes, curbside parking, street trees, and so on. All of these directly reduce vehicle speed below the threshold at which pedestrians can survive collision; and indirectly reduce the incentive to drive so that people are more likely to make land use and transport decisions that result in less driving.

Emphasis should also be placed on increasing cycling safety, since cycling is also an inherently risky activity - though less risky, overall, than driving for the vehicle operator and far less risky for others.

Again, the goal should be to encourage cyclists to ride safely, i.e. to follow the highway traffic act and not to ride on the sidewalk (which is governed by municipal by-law).

Many of the measures I listed to increase automobile safety also tend to increase cycling safety.

  • Cyclists will not be intimidated by high-speed traffic and seek false refuge on the sidewalk. That increases pedestrian safety and reduces the risk of colliding with right-turning automobiles.

  • Cyclists will no longer need to ride the wrong way down a one-way street to avoid having to ride around the block.

  • With automobile traffic moving around 30 km/h, the speed differential between cars and bicycles will be minimized so they can interact more harmoniously.

These, in turn, will encourage more people to ride bicycles, and that in itself will increase safety as cycling is normalized, motorists come to expect to share the road, and the local culture comes to see cycling as a legitimate transportation choice.

This is confirmed empirically: there's a strong inverse correlation between the rate of cycling and the rate of cycling injuries/fatalities.

I've always been skeptical of bike lanes due to the counter-intuitive situation at intersections (bicycle on the right goes straight while automobile to the left turns right), but they seem to work very well in practice.

It appears that the positive effect of carving out a space for cyclists on the road and creating continuous bike-friendly routes through the city more than makes up for any negative effect of the intersection problem.

I haven't studied this closely, but I expect part of it is simply the familiarization process - as the rate of cycling and the visibility of bike lanes increases, motorists learn to expect cyclists and are conscious to share the road.

In any case, it's certainly what we observe when watching cities that commit to creating continuous bicycle infrastructure. We have a tendency toward exceptionalism when looking at impressively bike-friendly cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but they are bike-friendly because they decided to encourage cycling.

We see the same thing happening today in Portland, which is transforming itself into a bike-friendly city and seeing steady increases in the cycling rate as a direct result.

If you build it, they really will come. Hamilton has been committed for decades to "building it" for motorists, and we have a city street infrastructure that caters excessively to automobiles and alienates pedestrians and cyclists.

There's a certain circularity of causality in that motorists who are accustomed to easy driving tend to push for more roads and wider lanes, but the underlying reason most people drive most of the time is that it's very easy to drive.

If we start to make it very easy to ride a bike, more people will ride bikes more of the time, and that will feed back into still more political pressure to make it easier and safer to ride a bike. Eventually, people will simply scratch their heads and wonder why they took so long to build it in the first place.

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By Ernest (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2008 at 14:33:37

Ryan you should front page this comment. People will go to crazy lengths to justify the status quo, the cranky conservatives are always the last holdouts to making positive change, if anything they just slow down progress and make it happen worse half-arsed when it comes.

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By Linda (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2008 at 23:18:20

Ryan, seancb, this is a no-brainer!
The discussion, as I understand, is not about which apparatus has the greater potential to kill or maim a human, it is about the degree to which the law of the road is abused by "drivers" whether they be on riding bikes or behind the wheel of a car. If I have vote it will go to the side who claim cyclists to be the most likely to break the law.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 16, 2008 at 10:27:42

You are right, this is a no-brainer! Given that speed limits are 50km/h unless otherwise posted, given that a legal stop is 3 seconds (including when turning on a red), given that cars travel much greater distances in an hour than bikes, and given that most motorists break both of these laws on most roads and at most intersections (not even counting other infractions), I think it's safe to say that even if cyclists blew through every stop sign every time, numerically, motorists are still worse offenders by the letter of the law.

But this actually isn't about numerical law breaking. It is about safety for all citizens whether they use the roads for driving, cycling, walking, shopping, or simply hanging out being citizens in their public space.

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By Alan (anonymous) | Posted August 16, 2008 at 15:07:37

I might be a bit off topic here... I commute regularly to downtown from the west end on a bicyle. (12 minutes by car - 15 minutes by bike)

Yup, I've seen some sillyness on bikes and a lot of intimidation by cars... So, I avoid the cars. After my death defying sprint over the 403 off ramp on Main, I head south on Dundurn and cut through Jackson Park and have Jackson all to myself. If only Jackson was a "2 way bike street" between Locke and Queen it would be GREAT! It would be literally, a car free journey from the 403 to Bay Street! - Even the door prizes would be more aerodynamic!

Oh well, I guess the loop up to potholed Bold St. and around will have to suffice if it has to be 100% legal!

Coming westbound is a bit more sane! Although, the left turn from Locke to King can be a bit of a fun time!

Bottom line, leave the road rage at home, bring your attention to what you are doing both in your car and on your bike and everyone will be a lot safer!

Have a safe summer and remember that school starts in 2 weeks and you will see a lot more bikes on the road! - hopefully piloted by people in helmets!

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 18, 2008 at 14:23:59

Ryan, do you not read what I'm typing? If a cyclist screws up he has every potential to kill more than himself. Not to mention a lifetime of guilt for the driver who hit him because of his own idiocy. It's responsibility on the part of both drivers that is the problem. Each vehicle is inherently safe in it's own environment. If you choose to bike, you choose to use an option that provides less personal protection than other modes of transportation on the road. If you're using the road which is designed for the majority of users (larger vehicles) you'll end up paying some sort of price.

Complete segration would be great and I completely understand the inverse relationship between the number of cyclists and the collisions resulting from it, however, when infrastructure can't and isn't being designed to accomodate both modes safely, the majority wins all the time. As such, it's obvious that a cycling network is optimal but...who sees that coming anytime soon?

In reference to a comment made earlier by Jason, the city has capital projects in planning and design stages long before they actually put the shovel in the ground. That's one reason why you don't see bike lanes. That's the only excuse I can think of.

Sean, your statement while possibly correct shows the inane argument we're having. If a cyclist blew through every stop sign, he'd get killed or cause the death of someone else trying to avoid him. If a motorist does so, he gets a wrecked vehicle.

There's no solution to allowing 2 very different types of transportation in one roadway without either forcing both to follow the same rules or have a complete segragation. Hence my comment about bike lanes separated by a 500 high curb (like the new one on the Kenilworth Access) and keep the bike lanes off the road if possible...i.e. have a separate network for cycling and only have bike lanes where there's no other option.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 19, 2008 at 10:25:29

Frank - we are all advocating for obedience to the laws on the part of all road users - drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

But the start of this discussion was a response to a letter writer who singled out cyclists as law breakers who should not be on the road.

So all of this discussion is just to point out that the pot is also black.

The discussion about relative danger of the different modes of transportation is importanbt because cyclists are routinely accused of being serious road hazards, while statistically cars are more dangerous and break more laws.

Would you not agree that for the greater good, we should start by tackling the most dangerous and work our way down to the least dangerous?

If a pedestrian is struck crossing a road - the pedestrian jaywalking and the car speeding at 70 in a 60, that pedestrian will likely be killed. So would police presence be more important in stopping jaywalkers or in enforcing the speed limit? I'd vote that the user capable of doing the most damage should receive the brunt of the enforcement effort.

Regarding segregation - I agree that a completely separate trail network would be ideal - but unless you can convince the city to shut down certain roads completely, we simply do not have the real estate to build it.

But I do not agree with your assertion that physically separate bicycle lanes are necessary for safety purposes. Because there will still be interaction at intersections, and as you said, where space does not permit separation.

A much better option is to make the most dangerous users act more safely - that is to calm the vehicular traffic. This would make EVERY street safer for EVERYONE- drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 19, 2008 at 11:31:57

Sean, No...both should be taken care of. Well I suppose the one is already because he's dead but regardless, when a certain group is targeted they churn out the kind of crap that you see in the original post because they feel they're being unfairly prosecuted. The solution? Target all lawbreakers.

I don't see why some roads can't be closed down. There are many that run under capacity and they seem to all go to the same place. Once there's a viable public transportation system shutting down some roads should be quite easy. Of course, in lieu of that, having physically separated bike lanes on the roadway where necessary is an option.

As far as 70 in a 60, there shouldn't be an posted speeds over 50 inside the city limits anyway. I vote for 50 on all major roads with 55-60 being the speed that traffic is allowed to flow at and all the collectors and smaller streets have a posted speed of 40. Bring in more red light cameras, hire more police officers in the traffic division.... Lots of things to do :)

It sucks when, as a driver following the rules, I get shafted by idiots who don't so I'm just as angry lol!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 19, 2008 at 17:05:25

I am fully in support of red light cameras and photo radar. They are effective and efficient and can make a lot of money off of lawbreakers - which can be spent on the types of improvements you are talking about :-)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2008 at 23:43:23

Linda wrote:

The discussion, as I understand, is not about which apparatus has the greater potential to kill or maim a human, it is about the degree to which the law of the road is abused by "drivers" whether they be on riding bikes or behind the wheel of a car.

Why is a trivial calculation of Highway Traffic Act infractions more important than the question of what behaviours actually injure and kill people?

Is it really that important to know what percentage of motorist vs. cyclists do rolling stops (answer: nearly all of them) when doing so appears to produce almost zero risk of collisions or crashes?

We don't obey laws for the sheer sake of being obedient; and for the most part we don't obey laws because we're afraid of getting caught, since the overwhelming majority of infractions are never observed or punished.

We obey laws (or not) based on whether we a) agree with their stated objectives and b) believe the laws will actually support those objectives.

Why do we have speed limits, stop signs, lane markings, and so on with laws governing their use - if not to prevent collisions and, hence, injuries and deaths?

I've read several empirical studies of bicycle safety - the Toronto study from the late 1990s in particular - and a common recommendation is for the police to focus on those infractions that actually lead to higher risk of injury and death.

Rolling stops, for example, are technically illegal but quite safe. Indeed, most drivers and most cyclists roll through stops most of the time, without consequence. By contrast, riding on the sidewalk is disproportionately associated with collisions, mainly because a car turning right hits a cyclist on the pedestrian crosswalk going straight.

If I was the police and I was really serious about safety, I'd basically ignore stop sign infractions and focus extensively on people riding on the sidewalk. In addition to collisions with cars, it's also associated with more collisions with pedestrians.

In other words, cycling on the road is considerably safer for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians than cycling on the sidewalk. Telling cyclists they should stay off the road is shockingly counterproductive.

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By ex-pat (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2008 at 00:47:18

Ryan, just let it go! Your obsession has blinded you and is keeping you on a sticky wicket.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted August 21, 2008 at 11:18:09

Ex-pat, I'm not sure what you mean but it's this kind of discussion that promotes discussion about the subject and generates ideas that as individuals we wouldn't think of.

Ryan, I don't think putting cyclists off the road is a solution either. I do think that anyone using the road should obey the rules of said road. Share the road, don't be ignorant and no matter how you're getting from A to B, be considerate of the other people who are using the road with you. It's when a single person's goal becomes paramount that they make stupid decisions. What I mean by that is, when it's more important for me to get home in time for supper than it is for you to be safe while you're cycling around me, then there's a problem.

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By ex-pat (anonymous) | Posted August 21, 2008 at 18:33:12

Frank. It simply means that this discussion is being flogged to death by two obsessive opposites. Being on a sticky wicket (cricketers term) means that no one is winning.
I will try to avoid literary idiom in future.

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By Linda (anonymous) | Posted August 22, 2008 at 05:02:07

Frank: I'm not the sharpest tack in the box but I understand ex-pat's line. Enough is enough!

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