Seattle’s new focus on neighborhood biking and protected bike lanes makes national news

Dexter Avenue's buffered bike lanes are a glimpse of the next generation of more inviting bike lanes

Seattle is getting press all over the country today from an AP story about the city’s new neighborhood and protected bikeway focus. Not only does the story by Phuong Le do a great job of capturing the city’s shift to next generation cycling facilities, but it also shows how the conversation about cycling in Seattle has changed:

“No one is trying to force anyone to pick mode of transportation,” said [City Councilmember Mike] O’Brien. “It’s not about taking away someone’s car keys and demanding they get on a bike. But for people who do want to do it, they have a right to be safe getting back and forth to where they need to go.”

As the city overhauls a plan currently aimed at tripling the number of cyclists in the city, many say they’d want features that cater to a broad range of riders.

The current plan “is working great for people who are already comfortable biking in the city,” said Dylan Ahearn, who helped form Beacon BIKES after feeling the plan did a lot for commuters getting downtown but not as much for those getting around neighborhoods. “There’s a wider segment of the population that could be served if they (the streets) were safer.”

Ahearn says he understands the angst that motorists can feel toward cyclists. Neighborhood greenways with slower speed limits, signs, crosswalks and other features could help resolve some tension between them, he said.

Greenways “protect people by re-envisioning neighborhood streets as great public spaces, great community places,” said Cathy Tuttle, coordinator of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

Family cycling has become central to the conversation about biking in Seattle

Compare this to big media news stories just one year ago, and you can see how far we’ve come. The vision of the city’s bicycling future is one where just about anyone feels comfortable biking around their neighborhoods. People working to encourage more biking to school or to the park or the grocery store have had a huge impact on what biking means in our city. Since most trips in the Seattle region are less than five miles and one-third of residents cannot drive, making our neighborhoods more bikeable has immense potential to garner support beyond the hardcore bike commuter crowd.

Next generation cycling facilities in Seattle mean more than just a couple feet of extra paint on the road. They mean a shift in the common sense transportation options for the average residents of our city. It means cycle tracks downtown, neighborhood greenways near every home and a modern bike share system. It doesn’t mean that people won’t be able to drive, it means that biking will be so easy, safe, fast and affordable that people will rather bike instead. It’s not a carrot and a stick, it’s a harvest dinner and an acupuncture needle.

The AP story does go briefly into some anti-tax, pro-car arguments from the conservative think-tank Washington Policy Center, but the arguments come off pretty flimsy. Something about it not being “fair” when installing bike lanes means lowering the number of “auto lanes.” Since fairness usually involves some kind of sharing, complete streets that include bike lanes and safe crosswalks while reducing the number of car wrecks and auto passenger injuries are about as fair as you can get. And even the WPC seems to support neighborhood greenways:

“We don’t have a problem with the city investing in bike infrastructure,” said Michael Ennis, transportation director for the conservative Washington Policy Center. “It’s just when it’s at the expense of auto lanes, then we start running into issues of fairness.”

Sounds like Ennis wants to start an Enumclaw Neighborhood Greenways group. Which would actually be super awesome, because once he starts, he’ll realize that it is FAR less expensive to create new safe walking and biking routes if the arterial roads are already complete streets. In fact, safe streets are among the most fiscally responsible investments a municipality can make (Forbes says bicycling alone already saves the US at least $4.6 billion every year).

Unfortunately, KOMO decided to play up the tired cars vs bikes meme in their headline for the same AP story: “Motorists wary as Seattle tries to attract more bicyclists.” Oh please. That is in no way the subject of that article. A headline like that might fire up the anti-bike Internet trolls, but it’s tired and outdated. The conversation has moved on, and it would be great if the city’s big media would catch up.

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44 Responses to Seattle’s new focus on neighborhood biking and protected bike lanes makes national news

  1. Todd says:

    Mike O’brien nailed this right on:

    “No one is trying to force anyone to pick mode of transportation,” said [City Councilmember Mike] O’Brien. “It’s not about taking away someone’s car keys and demanding they get on a bike. But for people who do want to do it, they have a right to be safe getting back and forth to where they need to go.”

  2. Mondoman says:

    I thought it was a pretty good story, and framed positively about what we can achieve in the near future.
    Tom, do you have a source for the “most trips in the Seattle region are less than five miles and one-third of residents cannot drive,…”? The link just goes to a Cascade blog entry without any link that I could find to a study/survey/etc. Thanks.

  3. K says:

    Having spent my fair share of time perusing and occasionally participating in these online car vs. bike debates in the comments sections of local papers, I have to admit to being perplexed as to the massive hostility in this region on the part of some towards cycling and cyclists.

    Is this a fairly small group of angry and misguided trolls who post under various pseudonyms to create the appearance of there being a mass anti-cycling movement, or are there really that many bike haters here, and why?

    As far as I can tell, their gripes fall into two broad groups. One has to do with legitimate anger at the relatively small numbers of cyclists who zoom through red lights and stop signs or past slower-moving pedestrians without stopping or even slowing down, and, while I think it’s less legitimate, a still understandable if misplaced and misguided (because it’s based on misinformation) anger at valuable and limited road space and municipal budgets being devoted to improvements that they view as benefitting cyclists at the expense of drivers.

    The other, though–and this is the one that drives me nuts–seems to be about simply hating “those skinny lycra-clad latte-sipping yuppie tree-huggers” because they’re generally fit, mostly well-off (because those expensive bikes and clothes don’t pay for themselves), probably more politically liberal than them, and every now and then force them to slow down a tad on a narrow stretch of road where it’s unsafe to pass a slower-moving cyclist (which is kind of ironic given that these same people are likely also upset at cyclists for going too fast).

    I.e. it’s a cultural thing, having less to do with cycling vs. driving than about the social and political leanings of cyclists vs. drivers (or at least these drivers). I.e. it maps the current left/right divide in the country, with cycling merely being a convenient excuse to unload on people they just don’t like (even though they don’t even know them for the most part).

    Or, at least, that’s my theory.

    • Doug Bostrom says:

      I think your intuitions are sound.

      “Why let facts spoil a perfectly good prejudice?”

    • T says:

      You have apparently never been accosted by a gang of ‘Critical Mass’ bicycle terrorists whilst driving. I have, and the current mood amongst many bicycle riders in this region is an anti-driver one.

      Morever, you’ve apparently never been downtown K, to witness the disgusting spectacle of some of today’s bike messengers as they weave in-and-out of traffic, dodging cars, kicking cars, punching rearview mirrors, punching the bodies of cars, and failing to heed any and every traffic law.

      How obtuse can you be, K. The mood in this city isn’t anti-bicyclist. It’s anti-driver.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Found one, K!

        Look, T, it’s silly to hold all people who ride a bike responsible for the actions of a few. Do you want to be held responsible for every drunk driver who kills someone on a highway? Or how about every kid with a souped up Civic who kills someone during an illegal street race? Of course not.

        Jerks are going to be jerks whether they drive or bike. Your points are moot.

      • K says:

        You make a lot of assumptions about me, all wrong. I have in fact been around CM events and haven’t been bothered by them at all. Sure, they can seem a bit intimidating to people who’ve never seen them before, but I found them to be peaceful, and they come and go within minutes, and only take place a few times a month IIRC. Do you get intiminated or annoyed by funeral processions that take up the whole road?

        And I’ve driven and cycled downtown many times. Neither are particularly enjoyable experiences, but not because of cyclists, but rather because of its design, which is unfriendly to cars and bikes. But then there’s not much that can be done about the steep grades, and since downtown is so compact, there’s not much that can be done about the invitable density of people and, yes, cars. Well, unless the mayor has his way and gets some of them out of downtown.

        Btw, I’m originally from NYC, and have lived, driven, walked and cycled in Manhatten many times, and actually found it safer and more enjoyable than downtown Seattle. So I’m not exactly unused to cycling in urban areas. But I don’t have a sense of entitlement, either, about being a driver or cyclist, and don’t understand anyone who does.

        Bottom line, there are jerks in all forms of transportation, including pedestrians, and to single out any one group is just dishonest and lame, IMO. So I still suspect that most of the anti-cyclist mentality is coming from angry Rush Limbaugh follower types who are angry at many other things too because they violate their unearned and unwarranted sense of privilege and entitlement.

        No, it’s not your road. It’s everyone’s road.

    • Mike H says:

      I’ve been trying to figure out the venom on this issue myself.

      One thought I did have is that SDOT, Mayor, and Council made a big deal about the Bike Master Plan. To back that up, they had projects that had to be done to meet their accountability goals. So, the next step was the implementation. So, with all of this, they proceeded to add facilities everywhere and make changes. The problem that I see with that is that it is a radical change regardless of whether or not any travel lanes are being removed or simply realigned.

      Maybe a better approach would have been a policy to add bike lanes to every road during major reconstruction projects, including paving jobs. Over time, the system would come together. Sometimes, the desire to be completely transparent can come back and bite.

      Of course, this should have been done years ago. Now, we are faced with ever increasing demands on our road system, climate change, and no time to make a gradual change.

  4. Deanna says:

    Should not be hard to figure that if every cicylist on the road removes one car from the road, there is a reduction in the demand for gas, demand drives the price of gas upward. Not to mention the reduction in traffic jams and car pollution, and extremely limited parking for cars. So when I have to slow my car a few moments for the occasional biker I prefer that to the alternative. Also, I never see overweight bikers, they are probably healthier reducing the cost of healthcare for us all. So, who is more selfish on the road? Drivers or bikers.

    • Gary says:

      And yes that’s true, more bicycles equals plenty of parking…

      http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-23/in-athens-fear-loathing-and-plenty-of-parking

      (The positive side of the Greece Euro crisis.)

    • Al Dimond says:

      I should hope there are some overweight cyclists! There are lots of overweight Americans, and there’s a limit to how fast people lose weight, especially if weight loss and fitness aren’t their goals! If there are no overweight cyclists then only already-fit people are cycling. If we are to build a mass cycling culture, most of the people that swing their legs over bikes will be people that don’t do so regularly today.

      I’ve read in various places stories of people that started biking while out of shape or overweight and felt shunned or shamed by the cycling community, not encouraged. It’s something that we could stand to reverse. Weight is hardly the end of it, too — I raced a triathlon a couple years ago and was utterly dropped on the bike by two guys that probably had 60 and 110 pounds on me, respectively.

  5. Dustin says:

    They really need to start tolling these bike lanes if they really want to keep it fair. they are literally getting a free ride while everyone who has to drive a car, whether they want to or not is taking it up the tailpipe in fees and taxes.

    • Todd says:

      Sure. Sure. You poor auto driver. It must be rough getting picked on. I don’t suppose you know this comes out of your property tax. If you own property, I thank you for contributing to the Washington State Transportation system. Boy, the state sure could make millions off of us bike riders. It’s so unfair.

    • Gary says:

      I just want to chip in how unfair it is that drivers have to be tested, and then pay an additional fee for their licenses. Bicyclists get off totally from having to have a grumpy person tell them that they can’t park straight, or turn right. In fact I had to take my driving test a couple of times because I was so terrible at it. I suppose I’d never get to ride a bicycle if I had to pass a similar test. At the very least, bicyclists should have their eyes checked every 4 years. That way they can be sure an oogle the passing carbon frames and read the manufacturers names on them.

    • Daniel says:

      Gas taxes and license fees haven’t covered the full cost of road construction in years. The sales taxes I pay to the state and city more than cover my share of services, thank you very much. And, my federal income taxes pay for part of your gas.

      Furthermore, when I shop at Safeway, part of the retail mark-up on my milk and eggs goes to pay for your parking space.

      The whole “who subsidizes whom” argument is mean-spirited and pointless. I’d be happier if I rode more, and I think you would be if you did too.

  6. Gary says:

    On a side note, Today I rode from Edmonds back to the Eastside and then back to Edmonds to drop off my car for some repairs. I had forgotten what a bad bicycle layout looked like from all my riding from the Eastside to Seattle. Edmonds has truly made a hash of the Interurban trail. I got totally lost not having a good map with me, (dumb on my part) and of course now I know my way around Edmonds way better than I wish I did.

    However I did want to mention that with the new Swift run on 99, the lanes are wide open for bicycles. And it was pretty easy to cruise up and down 99 (while looking for the Interurban…) And yes I don’t mind busy streets but I do my best to avoid them.

    And then when I got home, I printed out the detailed maps and the return trip was not bad at all except for that long grind of a climb from the Burke Gilman trail up to the Interurban… There needs to be a better connector as while the traffic speeds were low the road I was on didn’t have much of a shoulder and no sidewalks to ride on. (I don’t mind a sidewalk when I’m granny gearing up a long hill.)

    • Doug says:

      I agree. The Interurban north of Seattle is pretty bad. It’s way too easy to get lost for it to be called a trail.

      • Mondoman says:

        Shoreline has done a good job with the Interurban from Seattle to the Aurora Village Transit Center. Granted, after that it’s a mess, but I think they’re in the process of at least improving the stretch after Aurora Village.

      • Gary says:

        Well considering the Interurban used to be a rail line, Edmonds has totally broken it up. Also Seattle has a hacked some of it as well in the Southern portion. Compared to the Burke Gilman and the Samamish Valley Slough Trail it’s terrible.

        Where I totally got messed up was the I-5 overpass at 195th. If you didn’t know it was there you’d never see the entrance. And of course my King County Bike Trails map conveniently labeled roads but didn’t bother to put the street name on it! ARG!!! And google bike map directions suck rocks…

      • Morgan Wick says:

        Do you mean at Lynnwood TC?

      • Morgan Wick says:

        Actually, I guess you’re probably referring to the connector overpass at 196th/SR 524…

        Is there a reason you have to swing over all the way to Meridian at 200th? The old right-of-way looks pretty clear from 200th to 76th…

        It sounds like Lynnwood and Everett are more of a problem than Edmonds, though. There are weird segments at 212th, 208th, just northeast of Alderwood Mall near the 5/405/525 interchange, 164th, 128th, Everett Mall, the way it gets past 526, and a lengthy stretch where Commercial Ave has taken the right-of-way.

      • Gary says:

        Here’s the link.

        http://goo.gl/maps/q2Ps

        It’s NE 195th which crosses I-5

        The entrance to the path is lower than the road

        From the East side looking West you can see it if you know that it’s there. ( no signs)
        http://goo.gl/maps/7KWt

        But from the West end looking East for it, it’s 100% invisible, and the road sign says “Dead End”
        http://goo.gl/maps/EKXx

        So I didn’t go down there, and instead turned right on 1st and effectively retraced my route back to 200th street.

        When I got back to the Vortex that is Aurora (All roads suck you in when you are near it) I turned again right and rode for 10 blocks till I saw the 99 North sign, so I turned around and rode South to 160th, and then back to 185th… then finally I was on enough of my King County map to see where Perkins Lane is and connect to it and back down to the Burke Gilman.

        You would think that a sign that said, Interurban this way, Burke Gilman this way would let bicyclists connect between two popular trails but nooooooo.. I’d own a bicycle GPS but they are $$$ and most of the time I don’t need it. Yesterday it would have saved me 15 miles and an hour of wandering around asking people in cars… and boy are they clueless about bicycle paths.

    • Russ R says:

      On the plus side, the Interurban sees about 1/4 of the use of the BGT or LST! (My guesstimate)
      But I agree- having recently moved up here, the first time I rode the IUT to Everett, I was shocked they even referred to it as a bike path. I felt like I was sometimes cutting through people’s backyards…

  7. Brad Hawkins says:

    Tom,

    I love it when you show that picture of my daughter and I at last year’s cargo ride. At that point, my then 4 year old son had taken off down the hill with the others and was watched while I got to just dawdle a little with the 2 year old. We were singing a song together in that photo. I think that Tim King of Carfreedays took it.

    Nice write up.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      No way! I took that photo. Actually, it’s a screenshot from a video I took but never used. I thought it would be a good illustration for, well, posts like this one!

      That ride was probably among my favorite rides ever. Val really brought an amazing number of inspiring Seattle bikers together.

      • JAT says:

        Charming photo (or screen capture, I guess) though, being a giant grumpus it was the one part of the story I didn’t like: cutting through Volunteer Park isn’t bike infrastructure, it’s playtime…

        I’m the first to concede / claim that cyclists can’t be expected to speak with one voice anymore than motorists can, but if I were the spokeman for the motor-centric status quo I’d say I’m a lot more nervous about giving over any part of the roadway to small children wobbling their unpredictable way as part of the emphasis on “family cycling” than I am about the occasional black-clad hipster blowing through a stop light at night, ’cause you know, people actually like their kids…

      • Al Dimond says:

        Cutting through the park may not exactly be bike infrastructure, but it’s a safe and low-key way to get around on a bike that’s accessible to many people. They might be out just to ride, they could be going some place they would have gone anyway, or it could be somewhere in between (i.e. “We’re going to bike out to get ice cream” where the trip is equally about the journey and destination).

        There are certainly parks and public spaces that people ride through on their way to places. Judkins Park and the I-90 freeway lid; Ravenna Park; Myrtle Edwards Park and hopefully in the future the downtown waterfront; Interlaken Park; the Arboretum; Seattle Center. Just to name a few parks that I’ve personally used to get places. If Volunteer Park was on my way somewhere I might ride through it, too.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Many people do cut through Volunteer Park to get to 10th Ave on their way to the University Bridge or Eastlake. If Federal were a neighborhood greenway (let’s ignore the pavement condition for a second), cutting through Volunteer Park would become a pretty vital transportation connection. However, I understand JAT’s point, too (though Brad’s family uses bikes as a serious transportation mode, I can see how someone might not get that from that photo).

        When the city installs a safe cycle track downtown, I’ll grab a new photo of kids biking down 2nd :-)

  8. Pingback: KUOW discusses the importance of more inviting bike infrastructure | Seattle Bike Blog

  9. sara says:

    Please use the Bicycle Master Plan update web tools (survey and mappiong tool)to provide some initial input for the plan update: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster_survey.htm

  10. Pingback: Seattle's new focus on neighborhood biking and protected bike … | Bicycle News

  11. Joe says:

    With that my big thing is actually the money.

    People have been riding their bikes in Seattle long before sharrows or bike lanes and did it safely for years. Were there accidents? Probably, $#!+ happens you know. But as a driver, I didn’t need sharrows to let me know I couldn’t hit bicyclists or bike lanes and lines to let me know I needed to park next to the curb. A lot of money has gone into altering lanes and lines and honestly, you just don’t see it getting used. Its a waste of money. Those bike cage things, waste of money. There is one up the street from Gas works and I drive by it almost everyday to and from work and it sits empty. I’d be more of a fan if I felt the cost equaled the need but to be honest, the math isn’t right and the money could actually go towards fixing more roads that are in desperate need, and by doing so actually make it safer for your 10 speed to safely navigate. Again just a money thing. I would also recommend for new cyclists to get out a map and really learn your area and try alternate routes other than arterials. I rode a bike solely while living in Colorado and never had a close call because I avoided arterials as much as possible and found alternate, residential routes by looking at the map or exploring the myriad of options available in a city. And I did it without sharrows or bike lanes.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      As someone who rides on side streets as much as possible, I agree that some time with a map can make your life a lot easier if you are trying to bike around the city. However, many times the side streets don’t work. They often don’t have traffic signals or any other crossing help at intersections with busy streets, for example. Where the arterial has a signal, the side streets often effectively dead-end at their arterial crossings. This is the biggest reason why people choose to bike on arterials instead: They dependably go through without dead ends.

      This problem is worsened by Seattle’s geography. Often, the arterial road is the only way to cross a body of water, or the arterial stays on a ridge and the side streets have steep hills or dead ends. In many places, the arterial is simply the only option.

      Plus, businesses and destinations are most often on arterial streets, and people on bikes need to ride on the arterials to access them.

      The bike parking corral at Essential Baking Co is not in the best spot. Go check out the one in front of Cafe Presse on Capitol Hill to see one that is almost always packed. A bike corral in downtown Fremont would be much heavier used than one in a low-density area like Essential.

      And yes, the bike facilities do get used. A lot. As someone who rides a bike, I don’t see it as a waste of money at all. Plus, streets with bike lanes are safer for all users, including people driving. So if you factor in the saved costs on the health care system, car repair costs from people’s pockets, etc, bike lanes easily pay for themselves.

    • Gary says:

      It’s also a function of “connectedness” the less connected the good paths are the less they are used. So spending a bit more money to make bikeways more connected is a benefit that exceeds the cost of the small connections.

      If you really want to see what I mean, just pull up maps.google.com and click on bicycle, then look at the trails and how they run for a ways then just disappear. You’d never stand for that with roads for cars.

      A few more bicycle street signs indicating why you should follow one set of sharrows or bike lanes make a huge difference for someone who is not familiar with the route. It’s the same for freeway signs, “this way to the ferry” is not very helpful when it’s the 4 lane road no shoulders, 45mph.

      Besides we need an alternative to using fossil fuel to get around. Not for everybody for every trip, but that it should be possible to get from A to B safely. Recently I’ve been looking at the map to see if I could ride from Redmond to Bellingham, and it sort of looks like you can but then there are these huge blank spots on the map where it’s not clear what the better roads for a bicycle would be. In car it’s easy, up I-5. But for a bicycle there are these nice bike trails but then they end miles from the next.

  12. Eric says:

    I want to scream whenever people complain about “taking away automobile lanes”. Most of the road realignments (I hate the term “road diet”) involve ADDING a left turn lane. They replace four inefficient lanes with three more efficient lanes, plus they make room for safety improvements that benefit all users. THERE IS NO DECREASE IN AUTOMOBILE CAPACITY!! In addition, the (relatively small) reduction in cars on the road reduces congestion (http://blog.bikeleague.org/blog/2012/06/small-decrease-in-driving-huge-decrease-in-congestion/ — copy and paste the link to see the study)

    • Morgan Wick says:

      “There were two thru lanes in each direction. Now there’s only one. How is that not a decrease in automobile capacity?”

      • Ben says:

        The changes from four to two lanes on 120th have caused the city to loose revenue from most of the speeding tickets at the bottom of the hill. I don’t see any problems with fewer lanes on 120th, the traffic flow is the same at it was with four lanes.

    • Joe says:

      There may be little to not decrease in capacity but there is a strong increase in the likely hood of missing or sitting a light for multiple cycles, especially at evening rush hour, you know, when people LOVE sitting at multiple lights. Traveling north on Stone, it is common to sit at the light for 40th, 45th, and 50th for more than one cycle.

      40th: One lane can only travel north through the light, cars coming from Fremont and off Aurora converge at light that also has a photo ticket giver thingy. 2 cycles easily, especially if coming up stone. Right lane is for lightly used 4oth right turn only. Used to be 2 lanes running north, got a lot more cars through.

      45th: One lane for northbound, left turn lane and must turn right right lane. Backs up for up to 3 blocks.

      50th: 5 corners and virtually 2 road diets meet. Evening rush, cars are backed up heading east on 50th all the way to Stone/Greenlake Way. Ironically traffic opens up at 1st Ave NE where street opens to 2 lanes of traffic. Stone opens up to 2 lanes but because often 50th is backed up cars trying to turn right can’t.

      Oh and 125th isn’t better. I drive in the bike lane all the time, yet to see a bike trying the hill out. Only major light at 15th is backed up and often causes multiple light sittings as well on 15th going north and 125th heading east.

      For the earth concious people here, I first want to just say thank you for riding your bike and all you do for the earth. But cars idling causes more polution than cars moving.

      • Brad Hawkins says:

        Nice to see all the bike trolls come out for this meme. Welcome to all those who admit to driving in the bike lane, apparently, just to see if there are cyclists in it, to the play by play of Stone Way as it intersects 40th through 50th and how it somehow is all the fault of cyclists, great work!

        I also got a kick out of the guy who seems to always have a cyclist balance themselves on his car! Imagine being such a cyclist magnet. I wonder what kind of car inspires that kind of good will and trust that they would seek out his. Prius? Subaru? Ferrari? Is there a bike rack on the back? Does he offer shot bloks? I’ve only had a cyclist lean on my car once and it was while we were having a conversation and I invited him to do so. Rampaging cyclists. Indeed.

        Now in regards to family biking, how should one get around in this city? Are there rules mandating enclosed wheeled boxes to transport one’s children? Should I be shamed into not using a bicycle because of pressures, either socially or financially that would mandate the mode? If the infrastructure was created without the thought of cycling as a mode, should I just throw in the towel and give up, or should I lobby my electeds and work to aggregate support for safer streets and easier transit? (transit with a small t, though I’m also a fan of Metro).

        The photo of me and my daughter was taken at the park road at Volunteer Park on a Monday afternoon. It was a slightly organized ride which afforded us a great amount of safety due to our numbers and lack of speed. I love these rides because my kids can ride on the roads during certain sections and it recharges their batteries. To say that families should not use bicycles for transportation is much more demagogic than “taking away a car lane” could ever be. Remember, public rights of way were for bicycles decades before motorized traffic.

        As a fun thought experiment, notice that boats always have right of way over trains who always have right of way over cars. This is because they came first before cars. Now let’s take that to road traffic. In many European countries, there is this kind of strict liability but for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars too. Namely, Pedestrians always have right of way over the other modes and cyclists over cars. Drivers are generally always liable. In this country, we revel that the equal treatment of unequals will somehow arrive at equality for all, but seriously, who believes that?

        So in answer to the hypothetical posited by the bicycle running into the Ferrari, in Europe, the Ferrari and its driver would be at fault because they have the greater responsibility. Here, it would depend upon who has greater economic pull with the local authorities. Remember that “I didn’t see him” is a recognized legal defense in this country.

        OK trolls, feast away.

      • JAT says:

        (I’m really replying to Brad Hawkins but his comment doesn’t have the “Reply” option)
        I did a quick search and it looks like I’m the only one who commented on family biking, and since it looks like it struck a nerve let me quickly say: you’re totally right. You can and should get around with your family by bike.

        I think I had in mind how nervous I am when I watch my own kid ride his bike mentally unengaged and blithely assuming he can go where he wants (you know – like a motorist…)(he once actually hit a parked car – which gave me a guilty satisfaction of sorts)

        I didn’t mean to imply kids shouldn’t be on bikes getting around; lord knows I sure did.

  13. gary shutes says:

    That could be it-or maybe it’s drivers who find the already terrible traffic congestion being made ever worse by the new bike lanes. We get the feeling that if we’re not willing to bike around town in the cold rain, and risk our lives and limbs by riding around with no protection whatsover, save a flimsy helmet, then we’re not welcome here. Well-you win. I hope you enjoy your bike utopia in Seattle, because I am DONE trying to drive here-the road designers seem to make it harder and slower, when they should strive to move people quicker in, out and around the city. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Enjoy your bike-topia. Bye-bye.

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