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Can't we all just get along? The car, bicycle, skateboard, pedestrian et al debate

neubilder

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There is a reason bicycles are supposed to go down the middle of the lane, not hug the curb so closely, that pedestrians standing to cross the intersection are at risk of being hit.

I clearly remember being instructed when I was in school many decades ago, to not go down the edge of the lane, so that you aren't hit by things like doors.

I'm not sure why cyclists in Toronto fail to assert their right to the entire lane. By not doing so, they take away one of the safeguards they have against accidents.

At the same time, car drivers must watch out for these things.
That's almost a sure way to wind up under a car. In some cases taking up a lane is realistic, but if you take a lane and cause a motorist to miss a light, or if it seems even a tad on the self righteouss side of things, you will be staring down the barrel of an escalade pretty fast. The road rage you will incite given the wrong person behind the wheel may just get you killed. I learned a long time ago that you have to treat cars like bulls in the ring, you have to charm them, communicate with them, and always keep your eyes on them. And NEVER paint a bullseye on your ass by taking up a full lane when it isn't absolutely necessary and reasonable to do so.
 
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typezed

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Do you not look ahead? It is not that difficult to see if someone is sitting in the driver's seat.
This is a smug comment, containing nothing but ignorance. Blaming the victim. All experienced cyclists watch the cars they're passing, anticipating doors opening. But it is just one of many situations that need to be watched carefully. Many vehicles, such as vans, trucks, SUVs, are difficult to see through to the driver seat until you're right beside the vehicle, until you can look at the side mirror. Danforth is actually a good street to ride on, because the lanes aren't wide enough to accommodate both parked cars and travelling vehicles, leaving a bit of a bike lane on the outside lane, wide enough for a bike to ride out from the doors. Cycle along Danforth, watching for sudden actions from parked cars, and you'll be left wondering just why so many people are sitting in their cars at the side of the road. A good percentage of them are occupied. One surprising thing I see all the time is people entering their vehicles who will walk around their cars and open their doors as a cyclist is passing. A cyclist doesn't need to worry about being surprised by the door prize in this situation, but it does often seem rude.
 

nfitz

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The road rage you will incite given the wrong person behind the wheel may just get you killed.
I always used to go down the middle, or at least about 1/3, of a lane. Never caused a problem. Not sure why cyclists are so meek these days, to let cars take away their rights, and put them in danger of being taken out by doors.

Would I get myself killed these days cycling like that? Well, there's a reason I walk ... I'll probably have a car driver run me over one day, when I tap on their car, when they are getting too close to me ... :)
 

James

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I recall reading a study some time ago which stipulated that it's not so much slow traffic per se that frustrates drivers, but rather the inconsistent flow of traffic that infuriates drivers. In other words, if everyone was moving at 40 kph steadily, most drivers although they may not be pleased would not get into a fit of road rage. If you have one lane going at 40 kph and the lane next to you moving at 80 kph fluidly, that scenario would more than likely evoke a great negative response, followed by some level of road rage.

Although bicycles definitely have the right to the full width of the lane, if there is total clear road miles in front of the cyclist, it is obvious how drivers stuck behind will feel while the next lane over is moving at the posted speeds. The same can be said of an unusually slow driver. If they're crawling along at 20 kph while others habitually drive 60 kph along that stretch, most drivers would get a little frustrated and be forced to pass them as well.

When cycling downtown, traffic is moving pretty slowly anyway, so most times it's not too difficult sharing the road with cyclists. Going along a stretch of road like Sheppard Avenue on the other hand, might be a different story.
 

LordWanker

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If you read my post you would have noticed that "(I was fine because I am always expecting it and keep a safe distance)".

If you think checking the rear windows of parallel parked cars, suv's, cars with backrests, tinted windows, vans with no windows, etc... will keep you safe, then good luck to you. Moreover, if you think the onus is on the cyclist to anticipate what you might be doing while you're sitting, parked, in the drivers' seat, wanker, then I'd say you're due for a good lecture too.
I've been cycling in Toronto since 1980 and been through enough close calls to be experienced enough to say what I'm saying.

This is a smug comment, containing nothing but ignorance. Blaming the victim. All experienced cyclists watch the cars they're passing, anticipating doors opening. But it is just one of many situations that need to be watched carefully. Many vehicles, such as vans, trucks, SUVs, are difficult to see through to the driver seat until you're right beside the vehicle, until you can look at the side mirror. Danforth is actually a good street to ride on, because the lanes aren't wide enough to accommodate both parked cars and travelling vehicles, leaving a bit of a bike lane on the outside lane, wide enough for a bike to ride out from the doors. Cycle along Danforth, watching for sudden actions from parked cars, and you'll be left wondering just why so many people are sitting in their cars at the side of the road. A good percentage of them are occupied. One surprising thing I see all the time is people entering their vehicles who will walk around their cars and open their doors as a cyclist is passing. A cyclist doesn't need to worry about being surprised by the door prize in this situation, but it does often seem rude.
See above as I'm far from being smug and ignorant. Frankly the false sense of entitlement/me first attitude from cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are appalling.
 

nfitz

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See above as I'm far from being smug and ignorant. Frankly the false sense of entitlement/me first attitude from cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are appalling.
Hang on ... pedestrians do have right-of-way ... something that car drivers and cyclists seem to forget sometimes at intersections. Or even on sidewalks and shared pathways ... always seems bizarre to me that cyclists would shout abuse at pedestrians for simply walking down a sidewalk.
 

BurlOak

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Although bicycles definitely have the right to the full width of the lane, if there is total clear road miles in front of the cyclist, it is obvious how drivers stuck behind will feel while the next lane over is moving at the posted speeds. The same can be said of an unusually slow driver. If they're crawling along at 20 kph while others habitually drive 60 kph along that stretch, most drivers would get a little frustrated and be forced to pass them as well.

When cycling downtown, traffic is moving pretty slowly anyway, so most times it's not too difficult sharing the road with cyclists. Going along a stretch of road like Sheppard Avenue on the other hand, might be a different story.
I guess you can use the whole lane if you are going the speed of traffic. However, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) says that slower vehicle (bike) must keep right (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling-guide/section5.0.shtml).

"any vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic speed should drive in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right edge of the road except when preparing to turn left or when passing another vehicle".
 

nfitz

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I guess you can use the whole lane if you are going the speed of traffic. However, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) says that slower vehicle (bike) must keep right (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling-guide/section5.0.shtml).

"any vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic speed should drive in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right edge of the road except when preparing to turn left or when passing another vehicle".
So if it's a 4-lane road (like Danforth) you can use the entire lane.

It also says as right as practicable. Clearly that means you are further left than the gutters, or the radius of car doors.

The same regulations also say that bicycles shall have a bell, lights, obey one-way street signs, stop at stop signs, not ride in crosswalks, and signal all turns. Clearly the regulations are not connected with reality.
 

webster

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Random idea for improving cycling in the city: I recently started commuting from a relatively central, bike-friendly area out to the suburbs. I've noticed that at the same time as there are too few bike lanes further out, there are areas with very wide sidewalks and almost no pedestrians. My conscience rarely allows me to bike on the sidewalk but it's clearly the logical thing to do.

My solution: bike lanes on sidewalks.

The strongest candidates are:

1. Sheppard which happens to be a great way to go east/west across the ravine at Earl Bales Park since there's a bridge at Sheppard.
2. The Kingsway at the western edge of Scarborough, above the bluffs
3. Yonge street on either side of York Mills

Obviously this idea doesn't work in more places than it works. There's be almost nowhere downtown or in the old city of Toronto where it would be feasible since the sidewalks are generally narrow and crowded. But when it does work: instant separated bike lanes.
Mississauga is already starting to do this, they are adding a multi-use path beside parts of many major roads (in some cases replacing the little used sidewalk). Examples: Burnamthorpe, Queensway, Derry, Britannia, Mavis, Rathburn. Generally I think it's a good idea as long as you pay attention to turning vehicles.

I think cyclists have to be predictable and put their safety and the safety of others as their top priority.

This means following most HTA laws to the letter:
- Red lights. Stop! Don't fly through them. Stay stopped until you get the green.
- Streetcar doors - just like cars, stop and stay stopped when they are open and passengers are getting on and off.
- Signal your turns. This makes you predictable and lets others know what you are doing.
- Like cars, yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Have a working bell and (and between dusk and dawn), turn on your lights. A second pair of lights helmet-mounted are a great idea, as is light or reflective clothing.

Laws that should be changed, but I don't advocate breaking.

- residential one-way streets. Cycling the wrong way down a one-way street can be dangerous and certainly unpredictable. But I want to see more contraflow bike lanes. I'd be open to the idea of "cyclists excepted" tabs for the Annex/Harbord Village type mazes (with warning signs to motorists in areas where bikes are allowed to go the wrong way). In Copenhagen, bikes are allowed the wrong way on most one-way streets. The one-way mazes are designed to facilitate resident car parking and keep out through autos, and don't recognize how they don't work for bikes that well. Still, I'm glad to live at the corner of two residential two-way streets in the Bathurst/Bloor area so I don't have to worry about this.

There are some laws which should have some flexibility for bikes:

- Turning prohibtions: more and more temporal no-turn signs now have "bicycles excepted" - these are designed to keep cars out of residential areas. I think turn restrictions (at least right-turns) meant to keep through cars out (and not one-way streets) should not apply to bikes.

- Stop signs. 4-way stops are placed as a "traffic calming" measure, which is not valid. Four way stops are great for managing medium-traffic intersections, or intersections where there is high pedestrian activity and lower auto use, but not for every block merely to slow cars. Most cars go through them as rolling stops, I don't even mind that. Bikes should be the same (and enshrined), but I would then support strict (reverse-onus) liability if the bike hits someone else who has the right-of-way (say a passing pedestrian). Meanwhile, I take each stop sign as they come, at the very least slowing and looking for other traffic and pedestrians before carefully passing through, and fully stopping, no matter what, if a pedestrian or car approaches the intersection.

In the last two days, I've been waived through three times by motorists who have the right-of-way as they see me stopping or stopped at a stop sign. Either they are used to bikes blowing though without ROW (which I can not stand), or not in a rush and considerate, or appreciate me recoginizing the rules of the road.

Bikes have one huge advantage over cars: you can get off and walk it and have all rights of a pedestrian. I've gotten off my bike and walked it past a slow-loading streetcar and then re-mounted. Totally legal and safe. You can make all turns at Yonge and Dundas that way too!
This is one of the best posts I've seen. You should base laws around what makes sense for what you are trying to accomplist. 4-way stops in residential areas are a great example- a yeild sign for bikes would make much more sense.

Having bikes and cars conform exactly to the same laws is ridiculous. They are completely different in size and speed. You don't want cars on mountain bike trails, and you don't want bikes on the 401.
 

BurlOak

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Mississauga is already starting to do this, they are adding a multi-use path beside parts of many major roads (in some cases replacing the little used sidewalk). Examples: Burnamthorpe, Queensway, Derry, Britannia, Mavis, Rathburn. Generally I think it's a good idea as long as you pay attention to turning vehicles.



This is one of the best posts I've seen. You should base laws around what makes sense for what you are trying to accomplist. 4-way stops in residential areas are a great example- a yeild sign for bikes would make much more sense.

Having bikes and cars conform exactly to the same laws is ridiculous. They are completely different in size and speed. You don't want cars on mountain bike trails, and you don't want bikes on the 401.
Oakville has some bike paths on the boulevard beside the sidewalk (i.e. Upper Middle Road) - they are only used by kids. I imagine bicycles feel they are not seen there when it comes time to cross a side street so they just travel along the edge of the right lane instead.

Everyone feels that parts of the HTA should not apply to them - a rolling stop is close enough to a full stop. Should motorbikes be exempt too - why can they not travel between lanes (along the dotted line) to make it to the front of the queue since they will accelerate faster than the cars anyways. The HTA requires that all vehicles make compromises to try ensuring safety. Maybe a few requirements are too onerous - but this is equally true for cars as for bikes.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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Oakville has some bike paths on the boulevard beside the sidewalk (i.e. Upper Middle Road) - they are only used by kids. I imagine bicycles feel they are not seen there when it comes time to cross a side street so they just travel along the edge of the right lane instead.

Everyone feels that parts of the HTA should not apply to them - a rolling stop is close enough to a full stop. Should motorbikes be exempt too - why can they not travel between lanes (along the dotted line) to make it to the front of the queue since they will accelerate faster than the cars anyways. The HTA requires that all vehicles make compromises to try ensuring safety. Maybe a few requirements are too onerous - but this is equally true for cars as for bikes.
It's the everyone should obey the HTA but me mentality, that I'm more important than anyone else on the road mindset. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians can all have this mentality.
 

ShonTron

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It's the everyone should obey the HTA but me mentality, that I'm more important than anyone else on the road mindset. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians can all have this mentality.

And that's the problem. Not sticking to the letter of each and every law, but disrespecting all other users of the limited transportation infrastructure we have. Rolling stops by any type of vehicle, or moderate speeding on major roads don't really bother me. But stupidity or selfishness really does.
 
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LordWanker

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Frankly the false sense of entitlement/me first attitude from cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are appalling.
Hang on ... pedestrians do have right-of-way ... something that car drivers and cyclists seem to forget sometimes at intersections. Or even on sidewalks and shared pathways ... always seems bizarre to me that cyclists would shout abuse at pedestrians for simply walking down a sidewalk.
Nice reading comprehension nfitz. Exactly where did I imply "shouting abuse at pedestrians" ?
For clarification then pedestrians who insist on:
- crossing against a red light
- jay walking, especially while yapping on the cell phone and being completely oblivious to their surroundings
- using designated bike-only paths and refusing to share when politely asked to
I will do my best to avoid them in those circumstances but only if it was safe to do so.
 

nfitz

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Nice reading comprehension nfitz. Exactly where did I imply "shouting abuse at pedestrians" ?
Nice reading comprehension Wanker. Exactly where did I imply that you implied that?

or clarification then pedestrians who insist on:
- crossing against a red light
- jay walking, especially while yapping on the cell phone and being completely oblivious to their surroundings
- using designated bike-only paths and refusing to share when politely asked to
I will do my best to avoid them in those circumstances but only if it was safe to do so.
Fair enough, though I don't really see a lot of people jay-walking yapping on cell phones. Normally if one is going to cross the street when it's not safe to do so, one isn't going to talk on the phone on the same time. I'm sure it happens ... there are always drunks and mentally ill people out there ..
 

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