Are you a Facilitator or Vehicularist?

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Ted Ross

Oct 18, 2009, 7:04:46 PM10/18/09
to West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance

Chris Scherer

Oct 19, 2009, 6:28:35 AM10/19/09
Great article.

I don't like buckets, especially two-party ones. If we were to go back
to the beginning and redesign all roadways to accommodate all forms of
traffic, we might end up with a very different world. After all,
different users have different uses and needs. Pedestrians use one
type of 'road' (sidewalks) that are generally reserved for them alone.
In part, this is due to the fact that sidewalks are generally too
narrow to fit bicyclists (and other faster-moving modes, like
rollerbladers or even horses). If sidewalks were ten feet wide, there
might be room for bicyclists and rollerbladers...and maybe horses.

Why should bicyclists not have similar privileges (like not stopping)?
All else equal, what happens when two bicyclists meet at an
intersection at night and neither has lights? Probably a collision.
So, we need rules.

Imagine the same scenario, but instead of two bicyclists, one is a
pedestrian. The outcome is likely the same: a collision. What's
missing? Rules. Should pedestrians not have similar rules about
visibility (i.e., seeing and being seen)? Probably. Do pedestrians
typically wear things that make them visible? (Certainly not around
the Princeton Junction train station) Or maybe that situation deserves
better street lighting.

Imagine another scenario where a really big vehicle doesn't have to
stop at an intersection. Can't imagine that? It's called a train. For
whatever reason? Trains get to go through intersections. I'm betting
the reason has to do with momentum (or loss thereof) and the energy to
get moving once stopped. It makes sense.

The point is: each situation has different players, all of which have
different needs. If the rules and accommodations don't address all
players and needs, then the result is usually that somebody gets hurt.
One last thing, education and enforcement are critical to ensure the
players know how to operate within the rules and actually do so.


Chris Scherer
Wes Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance

On Sunday, October 18, 2009, Ted Ross <> wrote:
> >

Chris Scherer
609-933-2465 cell
609-397-8589 home

Oct 19, 2009, 8:25:32 AM10/19/09
My answer is yes, I'm a facilitator or a vehicularist, and feel free to alternate depending on the type of bike rider (e.g. experienced, casual, child) and the environmental context, e.g. urban neighborhood, suburban arterial, main street, etc.  One size does not fit all or even in my opinion most.

The article states that being frugal with taxpayer money is the strongest argument for riding on the streets as they currently exist, but I'm not convinced. 

I believe whether you ride or drive is dependent on many factors, e.g. encouraging factors might include the price of gas, level of traffic congestion, etc. while discouraging factors might include your personal risk tolerance, the weather, etc. If more people ride (due, say, to the increase in gas prices overcoming their fear of riding on the roads) I believe more people will want separate bike facilities, because the newer bicyclists will want to be better separated from traffic, and motorists will want the bicyclists out of their way. 

This pattern of related forces work to reinforce each other - better facilities draw bicyclists with lower risk tolerance, which increases demand from both bicyclists and motorists for facilities to get them off the road. 

We build new and improved roads all the time - why wouldn't we build new bike facilities along with them? 
We need a Complete Streets policy!

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