As a dutch person I would absolutely NOT want to ride a bike in the US, it's simply too dangerous. There are so many cars that are not looking out for cyclists. For example, I never saw my Uber/Lyft driver peek over his shoulder. In the Netherlands we fail our driving exam if we forget this even once. Another example is the insane speed cars fly past the "share the road"-bikelanes. It's crazy. I would feel really unsafe on a bike in the US.
I understand this perspective, but as a counter to this, if no one bikes in the US then this won't change. I ride all over San Francisco. In the last 18 years of me living here things have gotten better and better for the cyclist, but there are still many areas that can be improved. I encourage you to support local organizations, like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which can pressure local governments to make changes that improve safety for all cyclists.
For too long in the US we've designed our roads with the idea that cars have some right to the road that others do not. We're finally starting to rectify that in cities across the country, and it's only getting better.
I just visited SF, and it was notable to me how much of the city's infrastructure is given over to cars and parking: https://jakeseliger.com/2018/08/19/what-santa-barbara-says. The rhetoric on the Internet made me think the reality on the ground would be different.
The point I was making is how much things like SFBC and Critical Mass over the years improved things because of the community involvement.
I’d like to see bicycle boulevards and dedicate roads to bikes, but what we have is better than when I got here, and feels like it’s improveing at a rapid pace now.
I just did my driving test in the city, and this was drilled into my head by my instructor.
Infrastructure shouldn't be designed in a way to cause these types of turning conflicts. The general rule of the road is that vehicles on the right make right turns. Vehicles on the left make left turns, and vehicles in the middle proceed straight through the intersection.
Turning conflicts, like what you're describing, are a significant hazard to cyclists. Cars need to check for traffic on their right, move to the right, and then make their right turn. Cyclists need to pass right turning traffic on the left.
 Cyclists are traffic.
The US is unusual in expecting pedestrians to cross while traffic is also trying to negotiate an intersection.
I live in UK and the part of the traffic codex that seems to be unknown to literally all British drivers is the one that says "pedestrians have priority over cars making a turn" - so if you are crossing a road near an intersection and a car is making a turn into that road you are just crossing, you have absolute priority even in the absence of a designated crossing - but drivers get really upset and honk and wave as if you are in their way.
"watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way"
They have a very efficient system for reminding fellow road users, though. Two fingers in the air slightly apart, a pedestrian’s walking legs upside down, indicating the priority reversal.
People are generally very receptive to this, because it is quintessentially British to understand you have to live together harmoniously to get ahead in life.
Note to non-UK-residents: The described gesture is, in fact, a very rude insulting gesture:
Oh come on, making a V sign is not dangerous. Most likely, someone shouts an original insult to you.
I don't have numbers but I think this is the other way around: UK is the exception while most of Europe have pedestrians cross with turning traffic.
As a pedestrian I prefer the "normal" way of sharing the crossing with turning cars. In UK you'll have to wait for a way too long time for the pedestrian green light, and as a result (?) people cross pretty regularly against the red light. This is the case for London at least -- could also be that people are just more impatient in such a crowded metropolis.
That's because the infrastructure design is deficient here (which is putting a straight through lane to the right of a right turn lane). Either the cyclist needs to stay in the lane that's meant for straight through traffic, or there needs to be some form of intersection control that only allows traffic to proceed in a phased fashion like a traffic light.
For the latter option, the light would only allow cyclists to proceed through the intersection or allow other vehicles to proceed through the intersection, but not both at the same time.
You are absolutely correct, but so many people don’t know the rules well enough to even realize they’re breaking them.
Both classes of vehicles have to be diligent.
(To be fair, when I drive a car, I find myself driving similarly badly way too often. So I definitely do not claim changing the culture is easy)
It’s a really awful design. Just have a roundabout. It flows traffic through a lot better.
It was attempted to get a similar law passed in CA: AB 1103.
Many cyclists would agree that a rolling stop allows them to get through, when there is no traffic, the intersection much faster and more safely due to the dangers of an intersection. I'm not arguing for blowing through at top-speed, and they must stop when pedestrians are in a cross-walk.
Just because it's the law, doesn't mean it's correct.
I have literally never felt that to be a disadvantage. I'm not racing, I'm commuting.
Using clips while riding in city traffic is like using cruise control while driving in city traffic.
With clipless pedals, you just mash your foot in and go, and your foot is now in the perfect position and you don't have to think about it. But that transition time is more hazardous than simply having your feet on the pedals all the time.
The pedals on my bicycle have some slight metal protrusions that keep my feet in place while riding and work just fine with conventional shoes. Plus, in dry weather, I don't have a problem with my feet slipping off the pedals. Even in wet weather, they don't really slip that much unless I'm not careful about it.
The same thing also applies to motorists and pedestrians. Also, generalizations like this lead to the attitude that it's somehow the cyclists fault if they get hit by the car even if they are following the rules.
Both parent and I agree with GP's point that, "Turning conflicts...are a significant hazard to cyclists"; I simply argued for vigilance in the presence of deliberate rule-breaking by cyclists. Surely you would not argue for less vigilance by motorists? SF drivers are a whole other rant...
If you meant to say that I am making a hasty or sweeping generalization, I did no such thing. I make no claim as to the proportion of two-wheeled scofflaws. Anybody who rides in SF can see it, and some riders have owned up in child comments herein. If your complaint is against motorists who justify their own shitty driving with claims that cyclists are 'always' flouting the rules, then I agree that this is dangerously fallacious. But such a sweeping generalization nonetheless starts with cyclists who clearly break traffic rules.
That's why I wish they would stop. This is about saving lives. And if you are also a rider then you know the apportionment of blame becomes moot when 1800kg of SUV hits 80kg of cyclist. I think GP is absolutely right that good infrastructure design is key to avoiding such risks, but like all transportation systems it has to be built on the assumption that traffic rules will be followed.
There's a myriad of reasons why this is the case. Traffic signals and signage aren't designed for cyclists. Google a little.
Further, this is a false equivalence. When a cyclist fails to be diligent, the risks are fairly small. When a motorists fails to be diligent, other people die.
I ride the streets that I'm speaking about. San Francisco has a team of engineers who redesign road infrastructure, markings, and signage to promote safe cycling. I think they do good work and I benefit directly from their work. I think the infrastructure is better suited to cycling than your dismissive comment implies.
I disagree with your characterization that the risks to motor vehicle-bicycle interactions are fairly small risks as long as motorists are diligent. But I don't suggest that you accept my risk assessment. My equivalence is grounded in California law. Cyclists have equal responsibility with other drivers. Both groups of vehicles need to be operated diligently.
They're adapting roads which were created entirely with motorists in mind in an attempt to promote safe cycling. The infrastructure is more well suited to cycling than it was previously, but I'm not sure that folks from Portland would agree. Folks from Copenhagen, most especially wouldn't agree.
In any case, it's a subjective assessment.
You disagree with my characterization and feel like the law somehow proves you right?
Yes, it is equally illegal for a motorist and a cyclist to blow a stop sign. If a motorist blows a stop sign and has a collision with another motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian, then likely outcome is injury in one of those cases, and death in the other two.
If a cyclist blows a stop sign and causes a collision, the likely outcome is that they'll end up a stain on someone else's car. It's possible they could injure, or even kill a pedestrian, which has happened all of once that I can tell.
The risk is vastly different. Bicycles aren't really ever considered to be deadly weapons.
If the average car driver has 2x, 10x, 100x or anything like higher accident rate than cyclists, and car traffic is several time larger than bike traffic, then it make logical sense that most traffic law and enforcement is put on addressing car traffic and drivers. The only consideration is when funding for such enforcement and laws don't follow strict scaling, in which you have to find the point where putting more funding in bike traffic laws actually produce lower accidents.
Bikes taking up the place of a car, would really slow car traffic down to a crawl. There's a good reason they get separate lanes.
Cyclists can go between 10 to 20 mph. Some faster ones can go 25 to 30 mph. On a city street, you have cars going between 20 to 30 mph. On other roads, they may be going up to 40 mph. Given typical speeds, you have a 0 to 30 mph difference.
On highways, there are trucks that are limited to 55 to 60 mph amongst cars that go 70 to 85 mph. In that case, you have speed differences ranging from 10 to 30 mph.
> Bikes taking up the place of a car, would really slow car traffic down to a crawl.
Not really. If there are multiple lanes of traffic going in the same direction, then they don't slow down traffic any more than a bus would. If there's a single lane of traffic going in that direction, then cyclists are far more easy to pass compared to a bus or truck. In many states, it is legal to pass cyclists by crossing a double-yellow line when safe to do so. Second, it's much easier to see around a cyclist compared to a bus or car.
> Cyclists can go between 10 to 20 mph. Some faster ones can go 25 to 30 mph. On a city street, you have cars going between 20 to 30 mph. On other roads, they may be going up to 40 mph. Given typical speeds, you have a 0 to 30 mph difference.
Average cycle speed is about 15 kph, which is approximately 10 mph. 40 mph is more than 60 kph. Muscle-powered cyclists might reach those speeds if they're professional Tour de France racers going downhill, and even then only the downhill experts.
Also, on highways you've got multiple lanes, allowing for easy overtaking.
I'm talking about cyclists. On a hybrid/commuter bike, I have no problem cruising at 15 mph (and I'm middle-aged and a bit overweight rider). Most people who regularly commute can maintain speeds similar to what I can. Could you cite your source about the average speed of 15 km/h?
> Also, on highways you've got multiple lanes, allowing for easy overtaking.
There are many streets in cities that have multiple-lanes for same direction traffic.
I'm completely unable to not work myself into a sweat when cycling, but I'm not remotely average. Average cyclists include children, elderly people, disabled people. People with kids, people with cargo, and many, many people not in any kind of hurry.
> There are many streets in cities that have multiple-lanes for same direction traffic.
Still, the US is not the only place with very mixed standards for driving tests. I once heard that the easiest way to get a Dutch driving license was on the Caribbean island of Saba, where you'd get your license if you could drive around the central square without causing an accident. I knew someone who got his license there, and he didn't dare to drive a car in Netherland. Fortunately he had a Dutch motorbike license.
IMO you should have to re-take the test every 5 years starting at 50... and maybe ever year starting from 70 or 75.
The written portion of the test consisted of sign identification and a few very easy multiple choice questions.
I did this when I was 15. That as almost 20 years ago. Have never, and will never, need to do anything else.
My US driving test was a joke. I pulled out of a parking space, pulled up to a road, took a right turn, drive 100-200 feet to an intersection, took a right turn, then took another right turn into the same parking lot I had just left, then parked. That was my entire driving test.
It sounds like you're taking this personally, and have some kind of issue because you failed two driving tests.
> For too long in the US we've designed our roads with the idea that cars have some right to the road that others do not.
Bikes have always been popular, but quite a lot of the things described in this article have been fairly recent developments.
And these improvements are happening all over the US. I've been pleasantly surprised to re-visit places and see how much progress has been made.
- Valencia street being narrowed and bike lanes on both sides, improved protection is being worked on.
- protected lanes continue to be improved on Market, but it’s still not great.
- the wiggle through the lower haight is nearly a bike boulevard
- Ceasar Chavez, still not very safe, but traffic has been slowed down and bike lanes added on both sides.
- folsom street now has protected or very wide bike lanes to third street, and Howard now has wide bike lanes starting at 6th.
I mean yeah, it’s not amazing, but it is safer and is continuing to be improved. It will be a long time before we’re like Holland.
It's completely different here, I wear a helmet, go much faster, have a much nicer bike, have to pay more attention and would never ride drunk.
I still take it over sitting in traffic any day.
That's not geography, that's urban planning, or a lack of it. America's geographic size meant that we could sprawl, not that we had to.
And indeed, especially in the post-WW2 era, we collectively chose to sprawl out far and wide, greatly favoring the automobile at the expense of walking, biking, and transit.
> I would feel really unsafe on a bike in the US.
That makes sense, since yeah, it's dangerous as hell. Got hit twice the last year before I moved to Munich.
You're basically right, but it's land use regulation. We have plenty of 'planning' in the US, and it mostly keeps in place what's already there. If you look at the places built in the US before zoning codes and 'planning', a lot of them are actually quite nice because they were built more to adapt than things these days, which are "built to a finished state" to borrow a phrase from the folks at Strong Towns.
Is that right? A bit hazy after all this time.
It's a huge, fairly flat coastal basin, and although the city limits don't cover the whole area, Los Angeles itself is 500 sq mi, which is larger than Phoenix, or 50% more land than New York City. It's really, really big.
I used to think the opening city shots in Blade Runner were an obvious exaggeration but apart from the Tyrell Corp building it looked pretty much the same.
The US was still rather empty by the time faster transport came along.
I use my bike every day and I don't mind the winter either. I still can count the times I've been hit. Near misses though happen almost daily. Especially with cars turning right not watching bike lanes.
Good luck and keep on cycling!
Aside from this , it's overall pretty repuslive to see how my hometown continues developing with the expectation that people will just drive out and drive back.
In the US, I wouldn't dream of doing that - it's just too dangerous, because there's too much risk of being involved in a high speed collision. But, after having spent some time in the Netherlands, it's come to feel like a minor injustice every time I put my helmet on. It's a little reminder of how, in the US and much the rest of the world, we have blithely turned our public right-of-way into a space that's fundamentally dangerous for humans to be in.
However, I don't want it to be mandated by law. That has shown to keep a lot of people from cycling.
I'm Dutch and do my daily commute on my casual bike without a helmet. In the weekends I ride my road bike and wear a helmet. I've once had an accident on my road bike and broke my helmet (along with my collar bone). A few weeks later I went out on my casual bike (not wearing a helmet) to buy a new helmet for my road bike. On my way back, holding the new helmet in my right hand, my steer got tangled up in the helmet and I fell. Undeniable conclusion: Having a helmet with you on a casual bike actually causes accidents!
For normal traffic use, people in the Netherlands use bikes where you sit in an upright position, and they don't go very fast (like 15 km/h). You can take quick evasive action away from the road, or put a foot on the ground to prevent a fall. It's hard to imagine breaking a helmet on a non-racing bike here.
I average around 20-22kph on my 8km commute riding my current bike. It's nothing particularly special, just an 8-speed city bike, and I certainly don't go all-out, I ride at what feels like a comfortable speed for the bike.
Biking in Copenhagen, I definitely see a fair share of people on granny bikes dawdling along, they're much more likely to crash due to sudden mechanical failure, or due to inattention from staring at their damn phones.
But either way, we're only talking about solo accidents. You can certainly also hit your head against the hood of a car, for instance.
Besides, I like wearing the helmet. It concentrates airflow across the top of my head, and it gives me more area to put stickers on.
Also, according to some reports, there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing alone.
 Melua (2005)
I have a friend who takes her three children in a bike because she does not have a big enough car for three children seats.
I couldn't find the study that was posted on hn, but there are lots of articles.
The short answer is, "wear a helmet if you have one, and try to get one, but if you don't have one, you should still bike anyway."
I think even safer (i.e. drivers keep more distance while overtaking) than no helmet was pretending to be female by wearing a wig with long hair.
My own sense is that the science seems pretty clear that, provided you are in a wreck, wearing a helmet greatly reduces your risk of serious injury and death. Helmets aren't perfect, and they may primarily be designed for lower-engery impacts, but even insufficient energy dissipation is better than zero energy dissipation.
There's a secondary claim that not wearing a helmet results in safer behavior than wearing one, and that outweighs any potential benefit. I'm not aware of any quality research to back that claim, and you'd never be able to get a study to pin the question down past an institutional review board, so I'm inclined to say that cuts very close to what we called a fundamentally unanswerable question back in my class on experiment design. (Well, actually we used the acronym most the time. ^_^ ) My personal sense is to think that expecting your garden variety distracted, chronically fatigued, or nonzero BAC driver to notice whether you're wearing a helmet in the first place, let alone modify their behavior accordingly, is giving them more credit than they've earned.
Including on bike helmet safety labels. Fact is, they really are designed for falls and not for collisions with motor vehicles. In that situation, they may just be a "better than nothing", possibly not enough to make any difference to the outcome.
So . . . you wear a helmet when driving? Because people get head injuries all the time in car wrecks.
You're right, though. Cars are fundamentally dangerous. High risk of violent injury or death, and, even in the best case, they subtly harm your health and longevity by encouraging a sedentary lifestyle. Damned expensive, too. Perhaps we should all just move to Rotterdam so we wouldn't have to deal with them so much.
yet statistically per-passenger-mile you're more likely to get a head injury while in a car than on a bike.
An argument can be made that you should wear a helmet of some sort in many circumstances where it's not required (or expected) today. Look at downhill skiing. It's still far from universal but no one (besides racers) wore a helmet until 20 years ago or so. I still don't wear one.
Depending on how fast you are going, a helmet may even help for hitting things. Quite a few people don't exceed 25 km/h on their bikes, especially in city situations. Similarly, if you are aware of a dangerous situation, then slowing down may give you some protection. It's absolutely not going to help if you are bombing along at 40 km/h and get doored, but at that point, nothing really will.
One thing that would help is taking the lane when going at those speeds. People don't normally drive their cars going 40 km/h in the door zone, so the same thing should apply when riding a bicycle.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) impact testing procedure for bicycle helmets does not account for collisions with motor vehicles 
I still managed to walk to train station with the bike which had a puncture - only in the morning when I got up did I notice I had dried blood all down one side of my head
The majority of serious injuries from cycling have one thing in common, says Fred Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. “Two thirds of hospitalizations and three quarters of deaths from bicycle injuries are due to head injuries,” he says. “The most effective way to prevent that from occurring is to wear a helmet.”
Indeed, extensive research has demonstrated that a helmet is the best way riders can protect themselves against head injuries—especially those that are potentially fatal.
Statistics bear it out: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in the majority of bicyclist deaths the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent.
Tangentially, here's how they test bike helmets:
In our tests we strap helmets onto head forms and use an apparatus that drops the helmets at about 14 mph onto a flat anvil to find out how well they withstand impact. An electronic sensor inside the head form monitors the force that would be transmitted to a rider’s skull in an accident.
We also test the strength of helmet chinstraps, attachment points, and buckles. We drop an 8 3⁄4-pound weight 2 feet so that it yanks on the straps to simulate the force that might occur in a crash.
EDIT: Add a paragraph and footnotes
I also use MTB (Shimano SPD) pedals: they're easy to clip in and out of, and I can wear normal-looking shoes that I can actually walk normally in.
The racing stuff is just ridiculous: it gets you a tiny improvement in performance at a huge penalty in usefulness. If you're not actually racing, it's pointless.
People's bodies simply were not evolved for a concrete environment. Helmets are how we deal with that.
You can't say that with 100% certainty. There could be a curb there, and you might not catch yourself properly, and hit your head on it.
Sorry, but I'm not going to bet my life on your feelings of "how good people are". Putting on a helmet isn't some kind of huge burden; it's no different than wearing a seat belt in a car.
>Road rash is no fun either but you're not more likely to hit your head on a bicycle than you are when just walking around.
When you're walking around, your head isn't traveling 10-30 mph. The relative likelihood is irrelevant, what's important is velocity.
A lot of Americans also think it's too dangerous. It's an obstacle to getting more people on bikes.
When people at my workplace see me with my bike, or find out that I'm a cyclist, they beg me to be careful, promise to wear a helmet, and so forth. I have friends who are avid cyclists, but who limit their riding to dedicated bike paths or off-road trails, because they don't feel safe riding on the roads.
Just looking at pictures and videos, it's apparent to me that cyclists in the US and Netherlands have very different riding habits due to the differences in conditions. The Dutch seem so carefree. Americans seem to have a much more wary, defensive, and sometimes aggressive style, and may prefer more maneuverable bikes for a reason. You'd probably get used to it, as lots of us do.
We also probably have to pay more attention to planning our routes to avoid the worst of traffic. I know all of the dedicated bike paths and side roads in my town. Google Maps gives different routes for bikes and cars. Residential streets have lots of cars but not a lot of traffic volume. I actually encounter relatively few cars on my rides.
Much as I defend cycling in the US, I'd still prefer the Dutch environment.
Well, in the Netherlands it was supposedly the reason for demands for safer infrastructure, which in turn led to people starting to cycle more.
> Google Maps gives different routes for bikes and cars.
It does the same in the Netherlands, but I guess that's for a different reason: often roads are one-way only for cars, and bidirectional for cyclists.
(It's not as bad as it once was, but it still has the annoying tendency to avoid the Sarphatistraat, for example.)
That's basically how I am. I live in the DC area, and luckily for me there's tons of really nice bike paths like the W&OD trail. I can easily ride 50+ miles in one ride here just sticking to these trails, and see a lot of different parts of the area. Or I'll ride on subdivision roads that are very low-traffic. But there's no way I'm riding on normal high-traffic roads around here; it's just too dangerous.
I think the helmets are a big part of this.
If you go around telling people, "Body armor required," then they are not going to feel laissez-faire.
The other side is the presumed liability on the part of the car. Cars have almost all the responsibility to ensure they do not collide with a bike in the Netherlands. That makes cycling more pedestrian, you can just go and overall not worry about things around you.
But I do think that helmets get more attention than they deserve. Oddly enough, among experienced cyclists, a helmet is just part of the equipment. You either wear one or you don't. But non-cyclists (the folks who "advise" me at my workplace), the helmet is the first thing they ask about.
Oh, one more thing, European roads tend to be in a lot better condition. I had a near-accident last week because I didn't notice a gaping hole in the road that would have sent me over the bars.
But what difference does that make? Why would I be more likely to visit a different city rather than another part of a bigger city?
I was in the bike lane...
Also our metro areas tend to spread out quite a bit, so to get from one area to another typically involves biking >5 miles.
The buildings and motorways are an absolutely hellscape of trash design, though. Whole damn city is an asphalt desert with a building sprinkled here and there. Why? Because laws force businesses and homes to have parking that often takes up more space than the building itself.
For those of us commuting to work, to move from place A to place B and back, that is unfortunately not always feasible...
I grew up there and my friends and I used our (regular) bikes a lot to get from town to town. Because of the hills it was exhausting but doable. When I went to study up north, I remember being surprised how easy cycling is in the rest of our (flat) country: you can easily go on for hours!
And the topography doesn't hurt - its flat as a pancake.
Also isn't it possible to basically ride between every city in the Netherlands? I once biked from Rotterdam to Den Hague using only bike paths and protected bike lanes. I got the impression that I could continue riding to Amsterdam in the same fashion if wanted to.
You definitely could. A couple of years ago I've actually done a trip like that, Rotterdam to The Hague to Amsterdam (then onwards to Amersfoort) — it was about 150 km long, and all of that was on designated bike paths and lanes.
Of course that doesn't apply in US areas that do have higher population density, but there's a lot of country over here.
I wonder how much driving will change with technology before we get full self driving cars?
But ya, the USA still sucks for bikes. It’s not just the cars, but that you are in the same road with the cars in the first place. Netherlands is much better in that regard, with bike trails everywhere and intersections heavily engineered with an eye towards cyclist safety. Not to mention the laws are heavily biased toward cyclists.
When I ride in newer cars, I'm always surprised at how poor the outward visibility is. Front pillars have gotten enormous in order to house airbags, and the rear pillars seem to always be absurdly think with tiny, useless corner windows (for crush/rollover strength?). It's no wonder that you're more dependent on technology.
Luckily, rear cameras and radar sensors give me much better visibility now than I ever had with older cars that had more glass.
That's correct: a car's roof (or rather the pillars that hold it) has to be strong enough to not get crushed in case the car gets flipped. That's why pillars are so thick nowadays.
You will still find many physically separated bike lanes even on 50-kph roads if they carry heavy traffic, but it's not mandated by law. It just happens that sharing a road with cyclists also slows down cars, and that decreases traffic throughput.
The equation is not so simple if you consider that one person in a bicycle is one less car on the road, thus occupying a lot less space for the overall traffic.
well, while it's very safe to ride a bike here in Netherlands, sh*t still happens regularly and crazy drivers are there. Past year I had this accident : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUY7psClcbQ
> I visited the US recently and you can drive for 30 minutes in a car and you are still in LA, if you drive for 30 minutes in the Netherlands you're in a completely different city.
My not-so-pedantic comments to these facts are (a) LA is freaking HUGE (if ever fly into LAX at night, pay attention to when the earth becomes a solid carpet of city lights. It's a looong way from the shoreline). We aren't constrained by water on three or four sides like say, NYC/Manhattan or San Francisco.
And, (b), at LA's 101/10/405/surface street speeds, thirty minutes may only be three or four miles (or two, if you venture to travel at The Wrong Times), while you can get to one of the major secondary cities (Anaheim, for example) in about fifty minutes if you time it well.
So, while technically true, those points aren't representative of How Things Really Are, imho.
(me: exclusive transit/bike commuter here for 6+ years)
Almost everything :) It says that there needs to be a separated, protected bike lane on every road that has a maximum speed over 30 km/h. This is not true (and pretty infeasible, too). The vast majority of average boring roads in residential areas have a 50 km/h maximum speed and no separated bike lanes (and often, if the road is small/quiet enough, not a marked bike lane at all). Most countryside roads have a 80 km/h maximum speed and no bike lanes.
I bet some details were left out that accidentally made it incorrect. I can imagine that there's some law/guideline going on that if a road is particularly busy, then it needs to be either max 30 kph or have separated bike lanes. But most suburban roads or countryside aren't particularly busy.
Look closely though, a lot has changed in the last decade. Most of the residential streets are now 30 km/h, with only the larger arterial thoroughfares (which do have tend to have separate cycling lanes) and roads in industrial areas left at 50 km/h.
> Most countryside roads have a 80 km/h maximum speed and no bike lanes.
A lot of those remaining roads that don't have a separate cycling lane have been turned into 60 km/h roads.
Wherever in our country do you live that this is not the case?
It depends where you are. I used to spend a lot of time in Raleigh and Cary, North Carolina and often borrowed a bike to cycle from Cary to Raleigh and around both places, I was told by many Americans that it was dangerous but in fact I only had one slightly difficult moment in hundreds of kilometres of cycling and that was a low speed bus that came within ten centimetres of me.
Yeah, that one. Your country is ridiculously flat with highest peak of around 300m above see level.
On the other hand, there are a lot of raining days in Netherlands! I was very surprised that Dutch don't care too much about weather, they ride on sunny days same as on rainy days.
The Dutch rain typically comes in 15 minute blocks as bands of clouds cross the country. So most Dutch cyclists would check the Buienradar rain radar app on their phones and adjust their departure time accordingly.
Coincidentally to this discussion, last weekend I fell off my bike in Amsterdam: Cycling too fast, in the rain, hurrying to an appointment, and misjudged a turning, braked too hard, skidded, and hit the gutter.
That was my second bike crash in Amsterdam. The first was 8 years ago, when I was cycling, carrying a TV. Also in the rain.
Apparently a Honda Accord 2018 weighs more than 3,000 lbs (up to 3,428).
Also, and somewhat surprising given the above, you can buy a Ford F-150 that weighs just 4,000 lbs
The Accord, for instance, gained almost 2 feet in length and 6 inches in width between the late 80s and today.
Of course, the trucks were smaller back then too - The Ford Ranger (1989) model weighed only 2800lbs.
Right, 100%. I wonder if the cheap electric-assist bikes will make more countries / cities essentially “flat”
Edit: Huh, I hadn't read the article yet; it appears not to be about moped-/motorcycle-like scooters as I expected (because there has been an increase in such scooters in the Netherlands in the last five to ten years or so), but about electrified kick scooters. (Dutch uses different words for each (scooter and step), so I had no idea about the double meaning.)
Incidentally the one age group in the Netherlands with an increase in road deaths in recent years has been 65+. That's largely attributed to them using Ebikes to travel much faster, while having comparatively slow reaction times and less resilience to injuries sustained in the higher speed crashes.
There’s an interesting clip from a documentary in 1972 about the neighborhood De Pijp in Amsterdam, when it was still very much a car-centric city. At the time children in the area protested how dangerous the streets had become and how they lacked safe areas to play.
Compared to the situation now, it’s vastly improved. Fortunately the car did not win and the city did not destroy itself with a highway through the middle.
Here’s another (recent) documentary you might find interesting:
I've read urbanism brochures from the 1960s, when the Technical University was getting moved from central Copenhagen to a suburb (Lyngby), and it's remarkable how car-centric the design was. An old airport, where the runway was converted into a huge parking lot, and commuting by car was carefully considered to weight all decisions.
I used to live in housing designed for factory workers of DAF. The company didn’t succeed because of other issues. But it is typically Dutch that they chose to design their cities for people instead of giving away what amounts to a subsidy paid for by lower quality of life.
I'm curious how you though the article failed to cover this issue? In fact, that's the first example that the article covers, that car-centric planning in Rotterdam post-WWII was changed to be bike-friendly in the 1970s.
Did the article get rewritten after you commented?
I'm curious why you interpreted my comment that way. I just added additional context.
In contrast, Rotterdam was mostly rebuilt after WWII. This gave them the opportunity to make the city more accessible for cars. Still you can get around Rotterdam by metro quite easily, and you are a first class citizen on a bike or on foot. i know lots of people living in Rotterdam who don’t own a car.
This really isn't limited to Amsterdam. Even at the zebra crossings where bikes are technically obliged to stop for pedestrians...they (and to be honest, I) most often don't.
Why did the kids want to play on the streets instead of parks or something?
The one on left vs. right really is not even close to an issue. I would guess most MPs of most parties cycle to work. There is literally not a (native) child that doesn't bike by 7. We even have courses for newcomers to learn how to cycle.
The reasoning behind this is, whatever accident happens, one of the two people involved is protected by a ton of glass and steel, one is out in the open. The one that is protected inherently has to bear more responsibility.
But you’re right...no one is discouraging biking.
If that is not possible, they design roads in a way which forces people to slow down to "safe" speeds. (50km/h or lower usually).
Can confirm. Colleague of mine met the Dutch PM (Rutte) cycling to work the other day
I don't own a bike any more.
I used to cycle 18km to get to work and if I would tell a Dutch person it was always "Oh that's nothing, I used to cycle twice that distance in the snow uphill when I was younger!"
Generally the rain was fine, it was the wind that can make you feel like someone is pushing against your bike that really got to me.
We knew where the dodgy guy hung out near the public toilets in the park, and avoided him (the teacher at school was a different matter).
I think ... people were less alienated from society then. It seems different now.
My parents were very unusual, to the point that my friends' parents would lie to them to cover for me, but the practicalities meant I still couldn't do much of what they did. I didn't own a useful bike, didn't have money for the bus etc.
It wasn't like this here when I was growing up.
This is why I'm still waiting for Google Maps and the likes to include an "I have a bike and am willing to use it to get to the closest train/metro/bus station" option.