How can you stand the lopsided car infrastructure?

Drathnoxis

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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.
Why does it need to be New York? All I know is I hate it when I'm walking down a path or sidewalk and some idiot on their E-bike goes flying by around a bend, no bell, no nothing. Cyclists are annoying on pedestrian paths as they are on roads.
 

Xprimentyl

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Why does it need to be New York? All I know is I hate it when I'm walking down a path or sidewalk and some idiot on their E-bike goes flying by around a bend, no bell, no nothing. Cyclists are annoying on pedestrian paths as they are on roads.
I chose an extreme example because you chose an extreme equivalence between car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. My point was simply that you can't argue that the danger to a cyclist in traffic on a road is not the same as the nuisance to pedestrians on a sidewalk shared with cyclists. Cyclists on a sidewalk may be "annoying" by your measure, but they pose far less risk of serious injury/death to themselves and liability to drivers staying off the roads.
 

Gordon_4

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An issue with cyclists is that they’re fast enough to be highly hazardous to pedestrians on footpaths, but also represent slow hazards on roads with cars.

Of course when we say cyclist, what we mean are (in Australia at least) the Lycra Brigade. These are people to whom cycling isn’t a simple means of transport, a nice way to keep fit or a fun thing to do with friends. It’s a way of life and practically a cornerstone of their personality and philosophical outlook. People who spend as much to buy their bikes as some people do their cars. It’s these fuckers pedestrians don’t like because they do zoom around as if trying to beat land speed records all the time, they consider a bell to be optional and are oftentimes quite rude.

Obviously all of that is a stereotype and car drivers can be assholes to the nth power about sharing the road. But this stereotype didn’t spring forth from nowhere.
 

Drathnoxis

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I chose an extreme example because you chose an extreme equivalence between car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. My point was simply that you can't argue that the danger to a cyclist in traffic on a road is not the same as the nuisance to pedestrians on a sidewalk shared with cyclists. Cyclists on a sidewalk may be "annoying" by your measure, but they pose far less risk of serious injury/death to themselves and liability to drivers staying off the roads.
Unless they hit someone or get tangled up with a dog on a leash.
 

Baffle

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An issue with cyclists is that they’re fast enough to be highly hazardous to pedestrians on footpaths, but also represent slow hazards on roads with cars.

Of course when we say cyclist, what we mean are (in Australia at least) the Lycra Brigade. These are people to whom cycling isn’t a simple means of transport, a nice way to keep fit or a fun thing to do with friends. It’s a way of life and practically a cornerstone of their personality and philosophical outlook. People who spend as much to buy their bikes as some people do their cars. It’s these fuckers pedestrians don’t like because they do zoom around as if trying to beat land speed records all the time, they consider a bell to be optional and are oftentimes quite rude.

Obviously all of that is a stereotype and car drivers can be assholes to the nth power about sharing the road. But this stereotype didn’t spring forth from nowhere.
From my charmingly British perspective, the Lycra Brigade wouldn't be seen dead on the pavement (but are occasionally seen dead on the road). You can't get a good pace on the pavement because it's so often intersected by side streets that you constantly have to stop, whereas if you're on the road you have right of way.

The people on pavements here tend to be less confident riders, just everyday commuters, and kids, and I'm all for it. I think it's one of those areas where people have one slightly negative experience and then treat a whole group as though they all do it (but never a group of which they are a member - all the bad drivers are other people).

The rules changed here recently (beginning of this year, or maybe even last year) to put more onus on people to be careful in order of how much damage they're likely to do, so lorries/buses > cars > bicycles > pedestrians > small mammals, including giving way to pedestrians crossing at a road you're turning into. It was the most minor of minor rule changes that you're never going to be penalised for ignoring, but the tears and the wailing!

There was a case where a pedestrian forced an elderly cyclist who was on the pavement into the road, where she was immediately hit and killed by a car that had no chance to avoid her (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-65645364) - an awful consequence of being too much of an arsehole to smile and step to one side, which would have cost nothing.

Pedestrians have been killed by cyclists on the pavement here, and obviously there's been injuries too, but the numbers are nothing compared to what cars do to cyclists (and pedestrians). I fully do not understand why this is a subject people are so obsessed with, but you see it in every community group like nextdoor.com.
 
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Xprimentyl

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Unless they hit someone or get tangled up with a dog on a leash.
If you equate the danger of a cyclist hitting a person while riding their bike on a sidewalk to a cyclist getting hit by a car while riding their bike on the road, I'd say you're being unnecessarily contrary and unreasonable. Of course the potential for either incident is there, but the potential for serious harm is different by orders of magnitude. For every incident you can cite of a person dying after being struck by a bicycle on the sidewalk, I could cite 1,000 incidents of people on their bike dying after being struck by a car.

Just saying, I don't know what kind of cyclists you're dealing with in your day-to-day life, but I don't see people in parks "diving out of harms way" because people on bikes are riding about. I DO see a lot of drivers mitigating risk by slowing down (often below the posted speed limit) and moving to avoid the potential of hitting someone riding their bike on the road. I'd rather see annoyed/inconvenienced pedestrians on a sidewalk than dead cyclists on the roads.
 

Gordon_4

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If you equate the danger of a cyclist hitting a person while riding their bike on a sidewalk to a cyclist getting hit by a car while riding their bike on the road, I'd say you're being unnecessarily contrary and unreasonable. Of course the potential for either incident is there, but the potential for serious harm is different by orders of magnitude. For every incident you can cite of a person dying after being struck by a bicycle on the sidewalk, I could cite 1,000 incidents of people on their bike dying after being struck by a car.
That’s probably because many orders of magnitudes more people drive than cycle - more’s the pity.

Cyclists unfortunately occupy this almost vestigial space in terms of transport where they’re dangers to the general user base of footpaths and roads.

Just saying, I don't know what kind of cyclists you're dealing with in your day-to-day life, but I don't see people in parks "diving out of harms way" because people on bikes are riding about. I DO see a lot of drivers mitigating risk by slowing down (often below the posted speed limit) and moving to avoid the potential of hitting someone riding their bike on the road. I'd rather see annoyed/inconvenienced pedestrians on a sidewalk than dead cyclists on the roads.
This may not be uniform, but when I was taught to drive I was told both pedestrians and cyclists had the right of way in all road interactions outside of blatantly incorrect if not illegal actions. Maybe that is more common than I thought.
 

Ezekiel

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That’s probably because many orders of magnitudes more people drive than cycle - more’s the pity.
No, it's obviously because cars have far more mass than people on bicycles. That's why I don't obey all the same traffic laws all the time. I will do far less damage to someone.
 

Ezekiel

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I think most police understand the many times higher damage cars can do than cyclists, which is why they will so often ignore them for breaking the same laws that they ticket drivers for or let them go with a warning.
 

RhombusHatesYou

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This may not be uniform, but when I was taught to drive I was told both pedestrians and cyclists had the right of way in all road interactions outside of blatantly incorrect if not illegal actions. Maybe that is more common than I thought.
At the end of the day Physics has the right of way and more people should respect Physics.
 
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Gordon_4

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No, it's obviously because cars have far more mass than people on bicycles. That's why I don't obey all the same traffic laws all the time. I will do far less damage to someone.
10 points to Gryffindor for the bleeding obvious. I know cars being bigger, heavier and faster is what causes the higher probability of mortality in cases where car meets bicycle. But the reason there’s numerically more of those incidents as a whole than bicycle meets pedestrian is, again, because way more people drive cars than ride bikes.

At the end of the day Physics has the right of way and more people should respect Physics.
I don’t disagree with this in any way but sadly I can’t call physics or anyone to represent it in my favour if I’m in court.
 
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Ezekiel

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A study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research claims drivers break traffic laws more often than cyclists. The way they conducted it seems really sketchy. Of course the cyclists will be more compliant with traffic laws if you equip their bikes with cameras and sensors for the study. But at least it shows that drivers exaggerate when they complain so much about cyclists, because (Forgive the hyperbole.) everyone on the road is an asshole. Should be separated where possible, though.
 

Baffle

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A study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research claims drivers break traffic laws more often than cyclists. The way they conducted it seems really sketchy. Of course the cyclists will be more compliant with traffic laws if you equip their bikes with cameras and sensors for the study. But at least it shows that drivers exaggerate when they complain so much about cyclists, because (Forgive the hyperbole.) everyone on the road is an asshole. Should be separated where possible, though.
Without reading the article, I'd say it's a lot easier to break the rules accidentally as a driver compared to a cyclist. You can easily slip over the speed limit or not give enough clearance when passing another road user (minimum 1.5m in the UK for overtaking a cyclist, which puts you way over in the other lane), which are rules that realistically can't apply to cyclists.

But I'll almost always side with cyclists because the standard of driving I observe is absolutely shocking. It's taken for granted as a right rather than a privilege you get to keep by being a safe road user.

I'm in favour of mandatory retesting every ten years or so, but when this is raised people go on about how you're taking away someone's independence, as though their right to independent travel somehow outweighs the right of others not to be run over by someone not competent to drive a 1.5 tonne vehicle.
 

Xprimentyl

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That’s probably because many orders of magnitudes more people drive than cycle - more’s the pity.

Cyclists unfortunately occupy this almost vestigial space in terms of transport where they’re dangers to the general user base of footpaths and roads.
That's the obvious point; the more nuanced one is that cyclists on a pedestrian path is more commonplace than cyclists on a driven road, and the latter is a lot more inherently dangerous and a liability. I'm certain it happens, but I cannot recall, anecdotally or otherwise, a single substantial incident between cyclists and pedestrians beyond minor nuisance or minor injury, much less a fatality. However, just a few months ago, I witnessed a person getting stuck by a car just two doors down the street from my home, and that's my anecdotal experience of the fact that people get hit by cars every day.

This may not be uniform, but when I was taught to drive I was told both pedestrians and cyclists had the right of way in all road interactions outside of blatantly incorrect if not illegal actions. Maybe that is more common than I thought.
I was taught the same, and it's basically true/law because cyclists and pedestrians have absolutely no agency on the road when it comes to the behaviors of the multitude of +2-ton vehicles traveling many times faster than any bike or footgoer. It's law because people are gonna people, and jaywalk through and/or ride their bikes with traffic, and drivers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times given their crucially limited response time and speed when hurtling what's effectively a blunt-force missile of liability down the street.

Without reading the article, I'd say it's a lot easier to break the rules accidentally as a driver compared to a cyclist. You can easily slip over the speed limit or not give enough clearance when passing another road user (minimum 1.5m in the UK for overtaking a cyclist, which puts you way over in the other lane), which are rules that realistically can't apply to cyclists.

But I'll almost always side with cyclists because the standard of driving I observe is absolutely shocking. It's taken for granted as a right rather than a privilege you get to keep by being a safe road user.

I'm in favour of mandatory retesting every ten years or so, but when this is raised people go on about how you're taking away someone's independence, as though their right to independent travel somehow outweighs the right of others not to be run over by someone not competent to drive a 1.5 tonne vehicle.
I think cyclists on the road get a universal eyeroll because they slow traffic down and create liability as I've spoken of so many times already. If I'm driving down the road, and suddenly there's a herd of bikes doing a third of the speed limit and taking up half the road, it IS annoying. I have to slow down, check behind me for faster moving traffic for an opportunity to change lanes and get by, and when I do, I have to pray one of them doesn't fall in front of me while I'm passing. Imagine if any of this happened in normal commuter traffic:


Regardless of the conditions of that study, of course cyclist are safer than drivers; they have no choice if they want to live! Do you think a cyclist starts pedaling faster to get through a light that *just* turned red? Is a cyclist gonna blindly cross two lanes in traffic because they might miss their turn? If they can exceed the speed limit, more power to them, and that's damned impressive.

Cycling in traffic is one of those issues that's always gonna hit a nerve to some extent, like breastfeeding in public, or those people who bring small children into a bar full of rowdy adults, or the old lady who buys $30-worth of groceries, then fumbles in her purse for a $0.50-off coupon before paying with a check, i.e.: yes, they're "allowed," but goddamnit, seriously?!?
 

Baffle

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Regardless of the conditions of that study, of course cyclist are safer than drivers; they have no choice if they want to live! Do you think a cyclist starts pedaling faster to get through a light that *just* turned red? Is a cyclist gonna blindly cross two lanes in traffic because they might miss their turn? If they can exceed the speed limit, more power to them, and that's damned impressive.

Cycling in traffic is one of those issues that's always gonna hit a nerve to some extent, like breastfeeding in public, or those people who bring small children into a bar full of rowdy adults, or the old lady who buys $30-worth of groceries, then fumbles in her purse for a $0.50-off coupon before paying with a check, i.e.: yes, they're "allowed," but goddamnit, seriously?!?
Ah yeah, it can definitely be annoying, especially if you can't pass them safely for ages, but I generally think to myself that I should cycle more than I do, so they're taking one for the team (so I don't have to) from my point of view.
 
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Catfood220

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I always try to look out for cyclists, but people painting all cyclists as being innocent of accidents is just wrong. The amount of times I've seen cyclists jumping red lights like the highway code doesn't apply to them. Or the time a cyclist has just cut in front of me or across me and just expected me to be quick enough to stop is unreal.

And lets not get started on the morons who don't feel lights or reflective clothing are necessary when its dark.

The OP admits to wearing things over their ears to drown out traffic noise. Are you fucking stupid?

This narrative where cyclists are pure and innocent and car drivers are evil is ridiculous. There is enough blame to go around, I'm sure some car drivers don't care about cyclists. But cyclists expecting others to look out for their well being while they ride like they have a death wish really does my head in.
 
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Baffle

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I always try to look out for cyclists, but people painting all cyclists as being innocent of accidents is just wrong. The amount of times I've seen cyclists jumping red lights like the highway code doesn't apply to them. Or the time a cyclist has just cut in front of me or across me and just expected me to be quick enough to stop is unreal.

And lets not get started on the morons who don't feel lights or reflective clothing are necessary when its dark.

The OP admits to wearing things over their ears to drown out traffic noise. Are you fucking stupid?

This narrative where cyclists are pure and innocent and car drivers are evil is ridiculous. There is enough blame to go around, I'm sure some car drivers don't care about cyclists. But cyclists expecting others to look out for their well being while they ride like they have a death wish really does my head in.
There certainly are bad cyclists, they're just massively outnumbered, and far less dangerous than, bad drivers. In both cases most of the problem is incompetence, selfishness, and lack of concern for consequences to others rather than malice, I think.

I see bad driving all the time (people on phones, drifting lanes, massively excessive speed, pulling out dangerously, tail gating, and some where I just have to assume they're drunk). I just don't see anything like the same level of risky cycling.
 

Ezekiel

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The OP admits to wearing things over their ears to drown out traffic noise. Are you fucking stupid?
Unless the windows of your car reduce noise by less than 27 decibels, you're not one to talk. The inside of a car is far quieter. Noise like that damages your hearing, stresses you and shortens your life. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't be better off wearing the hearing protection instead of this helmet again, considering that most cyclists will never crash onto their skulls, but all of them will be hurt by the effects of traffic noise over time. I still don't wear the helmet under heavy rain or snow because it doesn't fit under the hood of my poncho easily. It's not the law here.

The blame is weird. I admit to being distracted by it myself, but that's not what this thread was about. Like I said, I was even more furious at the infrastructure than I was at the driver. Even though it was completely his fault.

Another coworker asked me a few weeks ago why I cycle. I told him (among other reasons) that I think America was ruined by obsessive car infrastructure and I don't want to be a part of it. After I explained induced demand and said that I'm not judging and that I understand why he needs to drive, he started going off on this rant about climate change lies. *****, nothing I talked about had to do with climate change. Middle-aged white people can be so tribalistic. Nothing gets done in America because everything is reduced into "us and them." It was a friendly discussion, but it was shit. Realized I need to think about how I answer that question, because most drivers would never understand.
 
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Phoenixmgs

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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.
Don't go saying sugar is bad for you (even though it's painfully obvious it is) because you'll have people on here saying how wrong you are. People just don't eat real food anymore, though it's mainly has to do with how the US Government had a war on fat (and still does) and has made food no longer be food. My high school friends and I just last Sunday got together for the 1st time in years to have breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and one of them brought their kids and they got chocolate milk, and I saw on the individual sized carton that it was no-fat milk and just shock my head. I very much doubt my friend specifically ordered no-fat milk, but why are you taking the good stuff out of the milk and giving it to kids? That makes no sense, but this is where we are. Obviously, that's a super microcosm of the whole problem, and the fact that like 80% of the stuff in the grocery store isn't what I'd call food is of course the far bigger issue.

I don't think the design of most places people live makes it so kids don't get out and play, I feel it's far more cultural than that. Sure, living in the heart of the downtown of a city makes playing outside overly difficult for kids. But most people I'm guessing live in far more "normal" neighborhoods to where there is some open places to play. I grew up in America and I lived outside when I was a kid (and I grew up walking distance from the city of Chicago so not some undeveloped rural area, we had a mall walking distance away too). My parents would have to like drag me inside to eat dinner for like 15 minutes and I ran right back outside. I played sports all day with the neighborhood kids or we just wandered around the forest a lot of times, finding trials and whatnot. This probably seems so foreign to kids nowadays, but we all did the standard of going to such and such's house and ringing the doorbell asking if so-and-so can come out and play, I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen any more (as there was a joke in a movie I recently saw where the parent is asking their kid to ring the doorbell and the kid is like that's so rude and texting the friend to come out). With the rise of parents being so overly concerned about child safety and the digital age, culturally just having your kids go out and play is just not a thing parents or kids want anymore, and it's pretty sad. Kids play video games (not that we didn't) all the time or get on social media stuff or watch streamers or influencers or whatever vs going outside and just playing (as parents really don't allow that anymore either).

I think the biggest thing with cyclists and drivers is the fact the there's no physical division between the lanes and the fact that most areas (outside of downtown in cities) have very little bike traffic so you're just not expecting and looking for cyclists outside of actual bike trials. They keep redoing the roads around my area and adding in bike lanes but I only ever seen a cyclist once in blue moon in the bike lane. Sometimes they're so lazy, they just put "share the lane" on the road and it just magically becomes bike lane (but obviously not since there's no room for both). If you were always seeing cyclists, then you'd be used to looking for them.