How can you stand the lopsided car infrastructure?

Ezekiel

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I rode my bike home in late April, a nine mile commute that I do four days a week, when a car suddenly turned right, only a few yards ahead of me, crossing the bicycle lane. There was no time. I pushed my brakes so hard that I flipped forward over my front wheel and crashed on the street with my jaw and arm. I dad a black eye from where the goggles smashed into my face, chipped a tooth (that I would later learn had a cavity), missed a week of work because I could barely use my arm in the first two days and had lingering pain, and the height of my chin is now uneven. I have a beard now to hide it, and I'm not fond of beards. After thousands of dollars in medical bills that the taxpayers ended up paying, there is a scar on my chin where hair no longer grows. It required six stitches. Why would a driver look over their right shoulder before turning if they are already on the rightmost lane? They train themselves to look out for other cars, not cyclists. Cars and cyclists never should have been mixed as they are now. Though I was pissed off at the driver and still am for avoiding my lawyer and likely not having insurance, when I sat there with blood gushing from my chin, unable to rise easily because my brain had just been jostled, I was even more furious about this car infrastructure that I had been criticizing for years. I felt defeated by it. The paramedic whom I refused to take a ride with for fear of being charged thousands of dollars* told me that I wasn't wearing a helmet. Why tell me this? The doctors also wrote that I wasn't wearing a helmet. I landed on my jaw, not my skull! Helmets are just things that make drivers feel better about the awful state of American cities. It's cope. At the time, I wore 3M over-the-ear muffs to reduce the noise of cars. Now I do wear a helmet again.

*When I heard the sirens, I got up and rode my broken bike away. The fire truck cut me off so that they could speak to me. I lay on their stretcher before finally deciding not to go with them and signing an electronic form acknowledging that they informed me that if I did not go with them my injuries could get worse, potentially resulting in death. Thirty minutes later, I went to the hospital on a tram and my own two feet.

Buses and especially trains move far more people than cars. Drivers should WANT better transit, because it removes cars from the road and gives them less traffic to contend with. Almost nobody in America takes transit because it's always done so half-heartedly. Infrequent stops, almost nothing at night, no service on Sundays in many places, unreliable drivers. The few good lines we do have are always in danger of having their funding reduced by politicians who never have to fight for anything in the long term and are only looking out for their next positions as they appease car-brained voters who feel threatened any time there are plans to improve walkability and transit.

This lopsided car infrastructure isolates us, both as pedestrians and as commuters. You need to work far harder to overcome it, meaning go to places you normally wouldn't to meet people, since everyone is in their motorized cage until the last small stretch of their destination. Everything is zoned separately because the expectation is that everyone will drive, which stretches everything out far more and of course also hampers public transit. Your friend might not even want to come to your home because it's so time-consuming and expensive.

Remember all those people who froze to death in their cars in the northeast early last year trying to get essentials in that big storm. That's single use zoning for you. They could have had smaller stores in their communities, places to walk to that wouldn't need so much parking because they would serve smaller communities. Or residents could run shops in their own homes (which was legal in many places before the car boom). Instead, everything is separated by zones and the streets are designed to move as many cars as quickly as possible, which only increases traffic by way of induced demand and lets superstores dominate. The big chain stores that can afford the huge parking lots dominate and the little guys struggle and go under because they are usually not even seen by motorists. Nearly every business is in a single story building, again because the expectation is that everyone will drive. The amount of land that we use could be significantly reduced and thereby commuting made easier if businesses shared buildings with multiple stories, maybe two or three businesses per floor. You could place the stairwells and elevators at the front of the building so that shoppers or workers wouldn't spend as much time walking to the stores as in malls.

This obviously also adds to obesity. What is America at now, almost half percent obese and 2/3 overweight? That's insane. I don't think it's just because it's so difficult and often dangerous to walk anywhere, but also because the single use zoning and the great distances made by all the parking and roads and lawn requirements places supermarkets so far away that most people don't buy enough fruits and vegetables. They buy more frozen foods and non-perishables that will stay good before their next expensive drive to the supermarket. If they are lucky, they have a store on their way home from work. But maybe they don't want to go shopping after working for nine hours. I understand that as a cyclist. (My backpack doesn't even have that much room when I go to work.) Obviously, grain and fiber being removed from foods (requiring people to eat more before they are full) and sugar being added is a big factor, but that's another story.

It ruins the children. When I was a little kid, I went outside without adults all the time. My brother and sometimes my friend and I played soccer in the neighborhood, explored the forest, rollerbladed, dug big holes in the playground, sneaked into a school construction site, one time drew with my mother's art chalk all over the sidewalks until she got pissed... All of that changed after we came to America when I was nine. The amount of time my brother and I spent outside instantly changed and then rapidly declined farther. The noisy streets and parking lots are so unwelcoming. It's like that with kids in this country all over. Parents don't want their kids to be outside on their own because they are afraid they will be hit by a car. It makes sense when you consider how children play and their lack of experience. Parents drive their kids to schools that are just a mile away. I can't remember the numbers, but the decline of kids walking to school from the 1950s when car infrastructure was not so lopsided to now is gigantic. What do you think always being inside, having their parents drive them to the few places of safe activity, having no autonomy, does to their minds?

I understand that some of you consider driving to be freedom. The problem is that there is no balance with other modes of transportation and there is almost no walkability, which makes your travel more congested and miserable as well. I don't know how you can look at these inherently ugly places with almost no pedestrians all over the country, listen to the ceaseless noise and breathe in the fumes and think it's good. Why do I not go some place else? Because I'm poor and not that courageous.
 
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Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Most American cities and suburbs are designed around personal vehicles. Other modes of transportation are secondary. You have places where that isn't as much the case but its not that common, especially outside a city center. Plus you have the sense of freedom that a lot of American's associate with cars so before things can really change, you have to tackle that issue, which already has the problem of sprawling suburbs making a personal car kinda important.

I think if you want to change the view, you need more mixed zoning. You need condos with stores and such on the first floor so people get more and more used to the idea of walking somewhere.
 
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The Rogue Wolf

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The thing is that you're railing against nearly seventy-five years of "see the USA in your Chevrolet" commercials and a couple of centuries' worth of "you're in my way; YOU move" mentality, as well as the conceit that depending on public transit is allowing the government to tell you where you can go and when (practically heresy to the American mindset). At this point changing things would take a monumental upheaval of both city design and public opinion.

I guess I have a weird view on the topic myself because it was just this Tuesday when I signed the title of my car over to have it wrecked because it would have cost too much to repair and I only ever really drove it once a week anyway. This city's traffic flow is ridiculous (a major highway lets out onto two residential roads) and I'm certainly glad to not have to deal with that traffic anymore, but bicycling anywhere is a near impossibility as it's illegal to bike on sidewalks here, and while the bus service is, well, serviceable, it could absolutely be better.
 
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Ezekiel

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After that crash, I started recording all my rides and wearing the fruity bicycle clothes. I go to the warehouse in a revealing bib and (normally regular) T-shirt. Always was afraid of donning that look, but now I do it proudly, almost as a statement. Even better if some driver is annoyed by my ass.
 

Thaluikhain

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!5 minute cities! Eating bugs! Communism!

But yeah, even moves to make US cars more fuel efficient was shouted down by the usual suspects.
 

Drathnoxis

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Sorry to see you've been having a rough time since the last time you posted here.
The paramedic whom I refused to take a ride with for fear of being charged thousands of dollars* told me that I wasn't wearing a helmet. Why tell me this? The doctors also wrote that I wasn't wearing a helmet. I landed on my jaw, not my skull!

This is the kind of helmet my dad wears on his e-bike.
 

Ezekiel

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Sorry to see you've been having a rough time since the last time you posted here.


This is the kind of helmet my dad wears on his e-bike.
Looked into those after my crash, but one reviewer of the model I researched said it gave them tinnitus because of the wind tunneling into the helmet. But this one looks too compact for wind to tunnel to the ears. Wonder if it's too warm in there, though. They're also rather pricey. Not ruling it out, though.
 

Drathnoxis

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Looked into those after my crash, but one reviewer of the model I researched said it gave them tinnitus because of the wind tunneling into the helmet. But this one looks too compact for wind to tunnel to the ears. Wonder if it's too warm in there, though. They're also rather pricey. Not ruling it out, though.
He just got it recently so I can't make a complete recommendation yet, also I'm not sure of the specific model.
 

hanselthecaretaker2

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I rode my bike home in late April, a nine mile commute that I do four days a week, when a car suddenly turned right, only a few yards ahead of me, crossing the bicycle lane. There was no time. I pushed my brakes so hard that I flipped forward over my front wheel and crashed on the street with my jaw and arm. I dad a black eye from where the goggles smashed into my face, chipped a tooth (that I would later learn had a cavity), missed a week of work because I could barely use my arm in the first two days and had lingering pain, and the height of my chin is now uneven. I have a beard now to hide it, and I'm not fond of beards. After thousands of dollars in medical bills that the taxpayers ended up paying, there is a scar on my chin where hair no longer grows. It required six stitches. Why would a driver look over their right shoulder before turning if they are already on the rightmost lane? They train themselves to look out for other cars, not cyclists. Cars and cyclists never should have been mixed as they are now. Though I was pissed off at the driver and still am for avoiding my lawyer and likely not having insurance, when I sat there with blood gushing from my chin, unable to rise easily because my brain had just been jostled, I was even more furious about this car infrastructure that I had been criticizing for years. I felt defeated by it. The paramedic whom I refused to take a ride with for fear of being charged thousands of dollars* told me that I wasn't wearing a helmet. Why tell me this? The doctors also wrote that I wasn't wearing a helmet. I landed on my jaw, not my skull! Helmets are just things that make drivers feel better about the awful state of American cities. It's cope. At the time, I wore 3M over-the-ear muffs to reduce the noise of cars. Now I do wear a helmet again.

*When I heard the sirens, I got up and rode my broken bike away. The fire truck cut me off so that they could speak to me. I lay on their stretcher before finally deciding not to go with them and signing an electronic form acknowledging that they informed me that if I did not go with them my injuries could get worse, potentially resulting in death. Thirty minutes later, I went to the hospital on a tram and my own two feet.

Buses and especially trains move far more people than cars. Drivers should WANT better transit, because it removes cars from the road and gives them less traffic to contend with. Almost nobody in America takes transit because it's always done so half-heartedly. Infrequent stops, almost nothing at night, no service on Sundays in many places, unreliable drivers. The few good lines we do have are always in danger of having their funding reduced by politicians who never have to fight for anything in the long term and are only looking out for their next positions as they appease car-brained voters who feel threatened any time there are plans to improve walkability and transit.

This lopsided car infrastructure isolates us, both as pedestrians and as commuters. You need to work far harder to overcome it, meaning go to places you normally wouldn't to meet people, since everyone is in their motorized cage until the last small stretch of their destination. Everything is zoned separately because the expectation is that everyone will drive, which stretches everything out far more and of course also hampers public transit. Your friend might not even want to come to your home because it's so time-consuming and expensive.

Remember all those people who froze to death in their cars in the northeast early last year trying to get essentials in that big storm. That's single use zoning for you. They could have had smaller stores in their communities, places to walk to that wouldn't need so much parking because they would serve smaller communities. Or residents could run shops in their own homes (which was legal in many places before the car boom). Instead, everything is separated by zones and the streets are designed to move as many cars as quickly as possible, which only increases traffic by way of induced demand and lets superstores dominate. The big chain stores that can afford the huge parking lots dominate and the little guys struggle and go under because they are usually not even seen by motorists. Nearly every business is in a single story building, again because the expectation is that everyone will drive. The amount of land that we use could be significantly reduced and thereby commuting made easier if businesses shared buildings with multiple stories, maybe two or three businesses per floor. You could place the stairwells and elevators at the front of the building so that shoppers or workers wouldn't spend as much time walking to the stores as in malls.

This obviously also adds to obesity. What is America at now, almost half percent obese and 2/3 overweight? That's insane. I don't think it's just because it's so difficult and often dangerous to walk anywhere, but also because the single use zoning and the great distances made by all the parking and roads and lawn requirements places supermarkets so far away that most people don't buy enough fruits and vegetables. They buy more frozen foods and non-perishables that will stay good before their next expensive drive to the supermarket. If they are lucky, they have a store on their way home from work. But maybe they don't want to go shopping after working for nine hours. I understand that as a cyclist. (My backpack doesn't even have that much room when I go to work.) Obviously, grain and fiber being removed from foods (requiring people to eat more before they are full) and sugar being added is a big factor, but that's another story.

It ruins the children. When I was a little kid, I went outside without adults all the time. My brother and sometimes my friend and I played soccer in the neighborhood, explored the forest, rollerbladed, dug big holes in the playground, sneaked into a school construction site, one time drew with my mother's art chalk all over the sidewalks until she got pissed... All of that changed after we came to America when I was nine. The amount of time my brother and I spent outside instantly changed and then rapidly declined farther. The noisy streets and parking lots are so unwelcoming. It's like that with kids in this country all over. Parents don't want their kids to be outside on their own because they are afraid they will be hit by a car. It makes sense when you consider how children play and their lack of experience. Parents drive their kids to schools that are just a mile away. I can't remember the numbers, but the decline of kids walking to school from the 1950s when car infrastructure was not so lopsided to now is gigantic. What do you think always being inside, having their parents drive them to the few places of safe activity, having no autonomy, does to their minds?

I understand that some of you consider driving to be freedom. The problem is that there is no balance with other modes of transportation and there is almost no walkability, which makes your travel more congested and miserable as well. I don't know how you can look at these inherently ugly places with almost no pedestrians all over the country, listen to the ceaseless noise and breathe in the fumes and think it's good. Why do I not go some place else? Because I'm poor and not that courageous.

I’ve always been of the mindset that cyclists have more in common with pedestrians than they do two-three tons of steel. I’ve never felt comfortable using even a bike lane let alone the shoulder, because often times there’s a lip on where the curb meets the pavement, loose gravel etc. and that can easily wreak deadly havoc under the wrong conditions. I’ll still ride my bike on the sidewalk when one’s available whenever possible and there’s high traffic. Fuck rules in this case. Ain’t worth losing a life over.
 
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hanselthecaretaker2

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Other side effects of a growing reliance on modern transportation in a society that just keep growing and growing -



@eggelviseat
1 month ago
Last night, I was playing with one of those marble runs with my 3-year old daughter. I built a track, and after she started playing with it I decided to make some modifications as she continued to drop marbles down it. It took me about 5x as long to make modifications while she was playing with it than it took me to add pieces at the outset. And that’s basically the problem in a nutshell.
 

Xprimentyl

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But... you wrote it. Who were you talking to?
It's a comment from the comments section of the video he shared.

I’ve always been of the mindset that cyclists have more in common with pedestrians than they do two-three tons of steel. I’ve never felt comfortable using even a bike lane let alone the shoulder, because often times there’s a lip on where the curb meets the pavement, loose gravel etc. and that can easily wreak deadly havoc under the wrong conditions. I’ll still ride my bike on the sidewalk when one’s available whenever possible and there’s high traffic. Fuck rules in this case. Ain’t worth losing a life over.
^This. I don't care what the laws/rules are, cyclists should use sidewalks just like pedestrians for their own safety. We have quite a few cycling groups around here; it's not uncommon to see 20-30 of them bunched up using the road with cars doing 40-50mph whizzing right by them. Not sure if you've seen cycling accidents before, but when you've got that many people riding that close together, all it takes is one crack in the road, gravel, or pot hole to turn one person's mistake into a substantial wreck for a dozen others. Now compound that with the chance a car being right there at the wrong time, several people could be injured if not killed in a split second. I always get as far away as the lanes of the road allow and I slow way down when driving near those groups.
 
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Baffle

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There's two groups that are hated equally in the UK: cyclists and paedophiles. Which just goes to show what a dogshit bonkers country this is.

Well done for getting back out there on your bike after an accident.
 

Drathnoxis

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It's a comment from the comments section of the video he shared.
Oh, I see. I thought he was @'ing at someone here with his comment.


^This. I don't care what the laws/rules are, cyclists should use sidewalks just like pedestrians for their own safety.
And what about the safety of the pedestrians that don't care to have cyclists whizzing by them at 30km/h.
 

Ezekiel

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I don't like the sidewalks because of all the bumps between slabs. They are not made for tires. I only use them when it's convenient. There is barely anyone on them, so I don't care. The law would make sense if the way they designed cities resulted in way more walkers. That's right, Hansel, the side of the road is covered with gravel, needles from trees at certain times of the year and other debris blown there by motorists and washed there by rain that can make cyclists lose traction, especially when it's windy, and puncture their tires. Understand this when you see cyclists on the right lane rather than at the edge. A long stretch of the side of the road on my way home has had abundant gravel on it for months and months. The city never does anything about it. I'm sure they clear off the two car lanes every now and then, but the bicycle lane/side is ignored.
 
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Xprimentyl

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And what about the safety of the pedestrians that don't care to have cyclists whizzing by them at 30km/h.
What cyclist would be traveling at 30km/h on a ostensibly bustling sidewalk of pedestrians? I'm thinking a New York City sidewalk with hundreds of people walking in both directions; what cyclist would think it'd be reasonable to ride through the pedestrian traffic at top speeds suggesting they own the sidewalk? Outside of that extreme, you've got minimal foot traffic on a sidewalk, and a cyclist can ride at a pace befitting their pedestrian surroundings. You don't really have that same luxury on the road. Driver's can expect other cars doing similar speeds per the posted limit; what they can't so readily expect is someone on a bicycle moving at a fraction of the posted automotive speed whose only protection from serious injury is a helmet and knee pads.

A cyclist might run into a person on a sidewalk, but it results in bumps, bruises, and inconvenience. A cyclist getting hit by a car easily results in severe injury if not in death. I'm sure to mitigate the severity of potential damages, the solution is obviously remove cyclists from harm's way and have them use sidewalks when possible, and the roads at their own risk.
 
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