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  • Bicycle lanes/routes Should you use them?

    Howdy.

    Im relatively new to using my bike as a commuter vehicle. i used it all the time for mountain biking and general recreation. but never for commuting.

    I have noticed a few things that are "weird" in this city.

    we have quite a few marked bike lanes and routes. yet quite often bikes dont use this infrastructure. ill be on a bike route and there is people riding on the sidewalk. AND people riding in traffic. while im in the nice clearly marked service lane bike route.

    You guys will probably know more about why this happens. but right now (in yes a very limited experience (only have done 100k or so of commuting by bike this year) i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it. for both bike commuters benefit, but also pedestrian benefit and motor vehicle benefit.

    Personally i have always wondered why a commuter bike insists on riding on a major arterial road averaging 30-40km/h ( i do 30 [im new]) screwing up the rest of traffic when there is a bike lane right next door.

    Now that im biking i still don't know?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Himser View Post
    Howdy.

    Im relatively new to using my bike as a commuter vehicle. i used it all the time for mountain biking and general recreation. but never for commuting.

    I have noticed a few things that are "weird" in this city.

    we have quite a few marked bike lanes and routes. yet quite often bikes dont use this infrastructure. ill be on a bike route and there is people riding on the sidewalk. AND people riding in traffic. while im in the nice clearly marked service lane bike route.

    You guys will probably know more about why this happens. but right now (in yes a very limited experience (only have done 100k or so of commuting by bike this year) i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it. for both bike commuters benefit, but also pedestrian benefit and motor vehicle benefit.

    Personally i have always wondered why a commuter bike insists on riding on a major arterial road averaging 30-40km/h ( i do 30 [im new]) screwing up the rest of traffic when there is a bike lane right next door.

    Now that im biking i still don't know?

    Thanks!
    You aren't obligated to use a bike lane.

    Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, depending on a lot of variables. I support bike lanes, but, generally, bike lanes aren't for me. I'm going too fast, and I'm part of the flow of traffic, behaving like a vehicle (see vehicular cycling). It's often much safer, for me, on the road. I'm fine with the roads, with a few obvious exceptions.

    I've ridden a lot, and rarely, if ever, screw up traffic. I almost never have any problems with drivers (though it's usually a memorable anecdote when I do, which can give the wrong impression). I figure the rare driver who causes problems for me is also someone who causes problems for other drivers.

    Riding on the sidewalk is a bad idea for a lot of reasons that might only become apparent as you do it. I sometimes ride on the sidewalk in winter, when there is nobody walking on them, but I take it very slow.

    One of the major problems with riding on the sidewalk are the numerous intersections (driveways, alleyways, parking lot exits). It needs to be stated that this can even be a problem with separated bike paths (and, indeed, some sidewalks are designated as bike paths), like the one that goes out to Millwoods, especially if they run counter to the flow of traffic. Drivers exiting driveways, parking lots, or alleys often are looking back for a break in traffic while edging out over the sidewalk or path.

    It can mean you need to go a lot slower than if you were riding as part of traffic.

    If you're going anywhere except just around the block , obviously you'll encounter actual intersections. You are far less visible to drivers if you're coming off the sidewalk or path than if you were in the street.

    Being visible and making your intentions obvious are keys to happy commuting, as is looking drivers in the eye.

    Let us know how it goes for you. I really hope you enjoy the experience. I remember when I got started commuting. I wondered why I hadn't been doing it all along, and why more people weren't doing it.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 15-08-2014, 10:39 PM.
    aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

    Comment


    • #3
      I do that Millwoods bike path all the time and occasionally have the problems you mention Jimbo. But if more bicyclists use the paths then it becomes more of a known. A lot of drivers on 34ave simply do not recognize that's a bike path. They behave ignorantly accordingly. If they were confronted with bike users regularly USING the paths it would create awareness.

      Also 91st is excellent path. Speed burn to Argylll than Milcreek trail and wherever you want to go. If not that way 86st(from ARgylll seems pretty bike friendly all the way up to Whyte if venturing in that direction. South of Argyll 86st is a bikepath gong show. Virtually frustrating to even attempt to use.

      Anyway to answer the OP more cyclists should be sticking to the trails. Its silly for most cyclists to be on the street instead of a commuter trail when they are going the same way.
      Last edited by Replacement; 15-08-2014, 10:46 PM.
      "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Himser View Post
        i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it.
        The Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590, and Edmonton Parkland Bylaw 2202 do not require that. What people feel, or what people think is silly is irrelevant.

        It's important to recognize that the onstreet bikelanes and bikeroutes in this city have all been designed the same way - a million monkeys bashing away on a million cad stations, in the blind hope that given enough time they will eventually stumble onto something.

        The Transportation department's recent talk of deleting bikelanes from the 102ave LRT corridor is hilarious, since they claim that they're concerned about "safety." They've never been concerned about safe bikelanes before - as evidenced by basically every bikelane in the city - so why would they be worried about it now?

        It is also perfectly legal to ride bmx or most folding bikes on the sidewalk, including in the downtown and old strathcona areas (although weirdly it is illegal to skateboard or rollerblade on sidewalks downtown or in old strathcona). The bmx-folk on the sidewalks might look like douchebags, but they're allowed to be there (although they legally must ring a bell when passing).

        As for the multi-use pathways: sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. 91st is good. 114st between belgravia and the university is a complete joke.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by newfangled View Post
          Originally posted by Himser View Post
          i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it.
          The Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590, and Edmonton Parkland Bylaw 2202 do not require that. What people feel, or what people think is silly is irrelevant.

          It's important to recognize that the onstreet bikelanes and bikeroutes in this city have all been designed the same way - a million monkeys bashing away on a million cad stations, in the blind hope that given enough time they will eventually stumble onto something.

          The Transportation department's recent talk of deleting bikelanes from the 102ave LRT corridor is hilarious, since they claim that they're concerned about "safety." They've never been concerned about safe bikelanes before - as evidenced by basically every bikelane in the city - so why would they be worried about it now?

          It is also perfectly legal to ride bmx or most folding bikes on the sidewalk, including in the downtown and old strathcona areas (although weirdly it is illegal to skateboard or rollerblade on sidewalks downtown or in old strathcona). The bmx-folk on the sidewalks might look like douchebags, but they're allowed to be there (although they legally must ring a bell when passing).

          As for the multi-use pathways: sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. 91st is good. 114st between belgravia and the university is a complete joke.
          I think the rule for sidewalks and bikes is wheels under 16", but might be mistaken.
          aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Replacement View Post
            I do that Millwoods bike path all the time and occasionally have the problems you mention Jimbo. But if more bicyclists use the paths then it becomes more of a known. A lot of drivers on 34ave simply do not recognize that's a bike path. They behave ignorantly accordingly. If they were confronted with bike users regularly USING the paths it would create awareness.

            Also 91st is excellent path. Speed burn to Argylll than Milcreek trail and wherever you want to go. If not that way 86st(from ARgylll seems pretty bike friendly all the way up to Whyte if venturing in that direction. South of Argyll 86st is a bikepath gong show. Virtually frustrating to even attempt to use.

            Anyway to answer the OP more cyclists should be sticking to the trails. Its silly for most cyclists to be on the street instead of a commuter trail when they are going the same way.
            You take the trails. I'll take the street. It works better for me, and it's where I belong.
            aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by newfangled View Post
              Originally posted by Himser View Post
              i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it.
              The Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590, and Edmonton Parkland Bylaw 2202 do not require that. What people feel, or what people think is silly is irrelevant.

              It's important to recognize that the onstreet bikelanes and bikeroutes in this city have all been designed the same way - a million monkeys bashing away on a million cad stations, in the blind hope that given enough time they will eventually stumble onto something.

              The Transportation department's recent talk of deleting bikelanes from the 102ave LRT corridor is hilarious, since they claim that they're concerned about "safety." They've never been concerned about safe bikelanes before - as evidenced by basically every bikelane in the city - so why would they be worried about it now?

              It is also perfectly legal to ride bmx or most folding bikes on the sidewalk, including in the downtown and old strathcona areas (although weirdly it is illegal to skateboard or rollerblade on sidewalks downtown or in old strathcona). The bmx-folk on the sidewalks might look like douchebags, but they're allowed to be there (although they legally must ring a bell when passing).

              As for the multi-use pathways: sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. 91st is good. 114st between belgravia and the university is a complete joke.
              Well basically if bikes can be on sidewalks... the bike route AND the regular road... as a driver you have no idea whatsoever where that bike is or is going to be. (plus whats the point of having separate infrastructure for a bike route and it not be used. so far in my very limited time commuting. ive seen 2 pedestrians almost hit on a sidewalk next to a bike route.. AND 2 bicyclists in rush hour traffic holding up a major route. (cars just went around). and then most of us commuters riding in the (only slightly slower then the bicycles on the major route) bike route.

              personalty i don't think my "Feelings" are irreverent because i feel this way because the more people ****** off at bikers. increase my danger level in some way.

              The only time i have been riding on the sidewalk is the designated bike path acrooss the bridges on 102ave (groat) stony Plain Road (groat) and 142St (ravene). i know they are legal due to being over 1.5m wide. but i do see the greater danger in sidewalk travel even if legal.

              (unrelated being new to commuting i regularly lose the bike route... the signs aren't very good).

              (i truly believe all multiuse paths should have a second stop sign indicating to drivers to stop and look for bikes/pedestrians THEN stop further up and look for cars. I even forget to do this because as a driver your not necessarily looking if its a regular sidewalk (where bikes "shouldn't" be on) or a multi use trail. ).

              Jimbo. lol i know im actually surprised how fast it is top travel. im out of shape(fat)
              and it takes maybe 20% longer to get there by bike then car. especially with parking. (for me within 50 blocks)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Himser View Post
                Originally posted by newfangled View Post
                Originally posted by Himser View Post
                i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it.
                The Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590, and Edmonton Parkland Bylaw 2202 do not require that. What people feel, or what people think is silly is irrelevant.

                It's important to recognize that the onstreet bikelanes and bikeroutes in this city have all been designed the same way - a million monkeys bashing away on a million cad stations, in the blind hope that given enough time they will eventually stumble onto something.

                The Transportation department's recent talk of deleting bikelanes from the 102ave LRT corridor is hilarious, since they claim that they're concerned about "safety." They've never been concerned about safe bikelanes before - as evidenced by basically every bikelane in the city - so why would they be worried about it now?

                It is also perfectly legal to ride bmx or most folding bikes on the sidewalk, including in the downtown and old strathcona areas (although weirdly it is illegal to skateboard or rollerblade on sidewalks downtown or in old strathcona). The bmx-folk on the sidewalks might look like douchebags, but they're allowed to be there (although they legally must ring a bell when passing).

                As for the multi-use pathways: sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. 91st is good. 114st between belgravia and the university is a complete joke.
                Well basically if bikes can be on sidewalks... the bike route AND the regular road... as a driver you have no idea whatsoever where that bike is or is going to be. (plus whats the point of having separate infrastructure for a bike route and it not be used. so far in my very limited time commuting. ive seen 2 pedestrians almost hit on a sidewalk next to a bike route.. AND 2 bicyclists in rush hour traffic holding up a major route. (cars just went around). and then most of us commuters riding in the (only slightly slower then the bicycles on the major route) bike route.

                personalty i don't think my "Feelings" are irreverent because i feel this way because the more people ****** off at bikers. increase my danger level in some way.

                The only time i have been riding on the sidewalk is the designated bike path acrooss the bridges on 102ave (groat) stony Plain Road (groat) and 142St (ravene). i know they are legal due to being over 1.5m wide. but i do see the greater danger in sidewalk travel even if legal.

                (unrelated being new to commuting i regularly lose the bike route... the signs aren't very good).

                (i truly believe all multiuse paths should have a second stop sign indicating to drivers to stop and look for bikes/pedestrians THEN stop further up and look for cars. I even forget to do this because as a driver your not necessarily looking if its a regular sidewalk (where bikes "shouldn't" be on) or a multi use trail. ).

                Jimbo. lol i know im actually surprised how fast it is top travel. im out of shape(fat)
                and it takes maybe 20% longer to get there by bike then car. especially with parking. (for me within 50 blocks)
                In many years of cycling I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've seen a cyclist hold up traffic. It seems like it when you're driving because anything can be an irritation, but in practice if a car slows at all to pass, they immediately end up where they would be anyway.

                In all seriousness I don't think most drivers even really notice me except that I'm part of traffic. But I've had some mad at me for just being there stopped at a light if I'm in front of them, where I'm supposed to be. I've had someone scream at me complaining that cyclists never stop at stop signs; while I was stopped at a stop sign. And as for rush hour traffic, I just go around it Part of the fun of riding a bike.

                When I first started I was actually surprised by the number of drivers who were really nice to me. It's easy to focus on the bad ones, but I've come across many more good ones.

                There are some things that seem counter intuitive - such as riding too close to the curb. It might seem safer there, but it's not.

                Once you start commuting more a lot of things will be a lot clearer, and you'll really understand the frustration cyclists feel with some of the attitudes they encounter, mostly grounded in naive innocence (but sometimes not), and you too will have to answer the same questions over and over and over.

                I'm really encouraged to hear you are doing this. Watch out, it can be addictive!
                Last edited by Jimbo; 15-08-2014, 11:48 PM.
                aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jimbo View Post
                  Originally posted by newfangled View Post
                  Originally posted by Himser View Post
                  i feel that of there is a bike lane. bikes MUST use it.
                  The Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590, and Edmonton Parkland Bylaw 2202 do not require that. What people feel, or what people think is silly is irrelevant.

                  It's important to recognize that the onstreet bikelanes and bikeroutes in this city have all been designed the same way - a million monkeys bashing away on a million cad stations, in the blind hope that given enough time they will eventually stumble onto something.

                  The Transportation department's recent talk of deleting bikelanes from the 102ave LRT corridor is hilarious, since they claim that they're concerned about "safety." They've never been concerned about safe bikelanes before - as evidenced by basically every bikelane in the city - so why would they be worried about it now?

                  It is also perfectly legal to ride bmx or most folding bikes on the sidewalk, including in the downtown and old strathcona areas (although weirdly it is illegal to skateboard or rollerblade on sidewalks downtown or in old strathcona). The bmx-folk on the sidewalks might look like douchebags, but they're allowed to be there (although they legally must ring a bell when passing).

                  As for the multi-use pathways: sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. 91st is good. 114st between belgravia and the university is a complete joke.
                  I think the rule for sidewalks and bikes is wheels under 16", but might be mistaken.
                  I was pretty sure if the Sidewalk is 1.5m wide its automatically considered a multi use trail

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jimbo View Post
                    I think the rule for sidewalks and bikes is wheels under 16", but might be mistaken.
                    Bylaw 5590 states "wheel diameter of 50 centimeters or less". Following a strict metric conversion a 20" tire would nominally be 50.8cm, but the ETRTO of a 20" bicycle "wheel" is 406mm. The bylaw is poorly written enough that I don't think they should issue tickets to 20" bikes, but if someone did get a ticket during one of the yearly blitzes it should be easy to get it thrown out it court.

                    The city tries to cover for their poorly written bylaw by helpfully (and disingenuously) interpreting it on their website by stating "Only bicycles with wheels less than 50cm in diameter (children's bikes)" but that is NOT what the bylaw says. Even the city doesn't understand its own laws.
                    Last edited by newfangled; 16-08-2014, 09:25 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Himser View Post
                      personalty i don't think my "Feelings" are irreverent because i feel this way because the more people ****** off at bikers. increase my danger level in some way.
                      Coincidentally, here is my story from yesterday morning:

                      I'm approaching a all-way stop at 98ave&111st - residential road, half block from an elementary school, 50kph limit, 30' from the intersection, taking the lane~ish, wearing a hi-vis vest, with 2 rear blinkies - and honk Honk HONNNK from behind me.

                      I come to a stop at the stopsign, turn around and give my default "It's a f'n stopsign!" (I always point out whatever law the morons doesn't understand: stopsign, redlights, crosswalk, oneway, etc)

                      So the @#$% actually gets out of his suv and starts screaming at me.
                      I reply "Read the bylaws, @#$%", which is my typical response to morons.
                      "No! You over there!" He points to the sidewalk? Or the curb? Rough english, so I have no idea what he "felt" I was doing wrong.
                      "Read the bylaws, @#$%"
                      "You over there!"
                      "Read the bylaws, @#$%"

                      As the @#$% gets back in his suv (champagne or gold colored 2005ish Mazda Tribute, I think) I ask if he was even planning to stop. The @#$% peels out around me and blows right through the stopsign.

                      What the @#$% "felt" was irrelevant, just as your feelings are irrelevant. Drivers are ****** off at everyone all the time. But just because drivers are ****** off doesn't make something illegal. Drivers usually have no idea what they're talking about.

                      I "feel" that all cars should be high-visibility yellow, and that buying a black car is silly. I "feel" that all volkswagons should have a Boot installed on them the second that they are sold, because volkswagon drivers are a plague on the earth. And I "feel" that cars should only drive on even numbered streets - it's silly to drive on odd numbered streets when there are all those even numbered streets that people should be using instead. People's personal feelings are irrelevant, because people feel stupid things.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jimbo View Post
                        Originally posted by Replacement View Post
                        I do that Millwoods bike path all the time and occasionally have the problems you mention Jimbo. But if more bicyclists use the paths then it becomes more of a known. A lot of drivers on 34ave simply do not recognize that's a bike path. They behave ignorantly accordingly. If they were confronted with bike users regularly USING the paths it would create awareness.

                        Also 91st is excellent path. Speed burn to Argylll than Milcreek trail and wherever you want to go. If not that way 86st(from ARgylll seems pretty bike friendly all the way up to Whyte if venturing in that direction. South of Argyll 86st is a bikepath gong show. Virtually frustrating to even attempt to use.

                        Anyway to answer the OP more cyclists should be sticking to the trails. Its silly for most cyclists to be on the street instead of a commuter trail when they are going the same way.
                        You take the trails. I'll take the street. It works better for me, and it's where I belong.
                        The thread and question isn't about what is good for you and I.

                        One instance, or 2 or 3, could change your view on this immediately. You kid yourself constantly thinking its safe playing with motorists on main roads. Stats don't bear this out at all, for anybody. So the regular advocating of cycling on road as a vehicle (it isn't) is arguably not in everybodies best interests.

                        Cars and bikes don't play well together, fatality stats reveal that. Motorcycles and Cars don't play well together, fatality stats reveal that. Fortunately bike riders in many cases have options and should ideally use those options which creates use and demand patterns on bike trails and serves notice of those trails, need for those trails, and need for driver vigilance around those trails.

                        While I enjoy that there are people that bike commute, and even if they do it on main roads (and I used to) in present day I would be leery of offering the advice you do to other prospective riders. Especially individuals that indicate they would be commuter novices.

                        Separated bike trails are safer. You're not sharing road with vehicles that can cut you off or run you off the road in an instant. You have to be careful and ever vigilant on intersections while on separated trails but you need to be that on main roads as well and should never assume a vehicle on a side road won't merge right on top of you.

                        It takes me maybe 5 - 10 minutes longer to Cycle downtown on bike trails than it would on roads. This from Southeast portion of city. This ride would be more enjoyable, can be done at comfortable pace, is not stressful, and is often quieter and allowing more piece of mind. Being that the commute is more enjoyable I don't care that it takes me a few minutes longer. One of the advantages of cycling commuting is that the mode is enjoyable, breeze on your face, and can be a zen like activity. I remember though that cycling on roads involves the parallel energy of feeling the stress of the other rushed commuters and is less enjoyable. The thoughts of carnage at hand and several ton vehicles bearing down on you remove a lot of the enjoyment imo. Not to mention the smell of diesel, fumes, dust, dirt and gravel flying at you.

                        I'd recommend people try some of the good trails first to see how they like them. I'd recommend as well that people in threads like this share the designate trails that are reasonably commuter helpful and that work for them. 34AvE then 91st north is fine to get to and from Millwoods to the downtown, to Whyte Ave.
                        Last edited by Replacement; 16-08-2014, 10:27 AM.
                        "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Replacement View Post
                          But if more bicyclists use the paths then it becomes more of a known. A lot of drivers on 34ave simply do not recognize that's a bike path. They behave ignorantly accordingly. If they were confronted with bike users regularly USING the paths it would create awareness.

                          .
                          I think this is a really important point from Replacement.

                          Some drivers encounter cyclists so rarely that when they do come across one they have no idea what to do and are completely out of sorts. as the numbers of regular riders increase i think drivers will start to understand better.

                          also this stuff should really be emphasized in the driving tests and licensing.
                          be offended! figure out why later...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Himser View Post
                            [
                            Well basically if bikes can be on sidewalks... the bike route AND the regular road... as a driver you have no idea whatsoever where that bike is or is going to be. (plus whats the point of having separate infrastructure for a bike route and it not be used. so far in my very limited time commuting. ive seen 2 pedestrians almost hit on a sidewalk next to a bike route.. AND 2 bicyclists in rush hour traffic holding up a major route. (cars just went around). and then most of us commuters riding in the (only slightly slower then the bicycles on the major route) bike route.

                            personalty i don't think my "Feelings" are irreverent because i feel this way because the more people ****** off at bikers. increase my danger level in some way.

                            The only time i have been riding on the sidewalk is the designated bike path acrooss the bridges on 102ave (groat) stony Plain Road (groat) and 142St (ravene). i know they are legal due to being over 1.5m wide. but i do see the greater danger in sidewalk travel even if legal.

                            (unrelated being new to commuting i regularly lose the bike route... the signs aren't very good).
                            This to me is a key and that usage of multiuse separated trails by more cyclists serves to inform where the bikes are going to be. Most drivers you interact with on side roads intersecting with bike trails ride the route regularly and usually live in the area. If they encounter cyclists continually they start to learn "bike trail" if cyclists are avoiding bike trails because they can get somewhere a little faster on a road using much the same route they are in fact competing with drivers, competing with bike trails, adding confusion, and making it less clear that bike trails are even necessary, or well used.

                            Whenever reasonably possible I would say support bike trails by using them. Without use its easy for opponents to argue against the need for them. Which will result in less rather than more bike commuters/users.
                            Last edited by Replacement; 16-08-2014, 10:29 AM.
                            "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I ride on what's available, path or street. I ride on sidewalks only when I'm with my kids (and we're gradually moving to the streets with them as well) or when I'm at destination and I'm about to lock up. I don't find the paths to be too slow but they do make me nervous at intersections if there's a car on my left.

                              "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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