It is really frustrating how highway engineers, as a profession, are unwilling to consistently learn lessons from the Netherlands in designing cycle infrastructure. Many cities seem to delight in half-assing their own solutions. So congratulations to Milan, who look like they may have got it right.
The reason why roads were taken back by Dutch cyclists and pedestrians is that they never stopped doing it. At some dark moment in the 1970s the number of children run over by cars was too much for society to ignore.
It was a battle won by blood.
But that's only part of the problem, the amount of entitled, and selfish drivers that ignore traffic rules, lights and sometimes even roads is crazy.
For the record, I am a cyclist. I would love to use it more. But the roads are too dangerous, and town hall meetings are always full of the same two sides talking past each other. It's a perception issue, but hardcore cyclists refuse to acknowledge it. So the situation continues to not improve.
No doubt, there are ruthless cyclists as well. Still, are you aware of the difference in numbers and quality of "car driver killed cyclist" vs. "cyclist hurt pedestrian"?
So you say, it is ok, that there are some asshole drivers but roads still needs to be build and maintained, but not OK, that there are some asshole cyclists and therefore no cyclist deserves more bikelanes? (Or do you want me to dig up numbers on how much is spend yearly on roads vs bikelanes?)
But for real? Arguments for support of cycling by allowing them to do so safe?
How about cycling is way more energy efficient. Does not poison the surrounding with toxic fumes and noise. Increases the health - studies showed it does so even despite the toxic fumes of their fellow car drivers who often overlook and directly kill or criple them and now want more arguments of why the tax dollar is not only for them?
This is the current battle in Toronto, Canada.
Last year, there were more people killed by cars than gun violence, but you wouldn't know it by the media coverage.
The city, largely due to strong local advocacy, has started to respond with physically separated lanes, but we're talking double digit KM/year, if we're lucky, when we need 100s of KM to link the city together like this Milan proposal.
Yeah, it doesn't help that the media used to almost exclusively refers to car crashes as "accidents", falsely implying there was nothing that could have been done to avoid the situation, putting zero fault on any drivers involved. At least nowadays you see headlines about "car crashes", although you'll still find ledes like "person struck by dies of complications". No need for passive voice, a driver struck and killed that person.
..and on that note, they are doing much of the same with gun violence, too. "A 14-year-old girl has died after she was struck by a stray bullet shot by police while in a North Hollywood department store. " Passive voice, putting the intent on the bullet, not directly saying the girl was shot to death. To read that quote, you'd think the bullet took it upon itself to strike the girl, who died of her own volition.
0 - https://people.com/crime/14-year-old-girl-killed-by-stray-bu...
DOTs around the US measure vehicle traffic regularly, but very few measure any kind of other traffic, so they don't even know how many travelers are on roads that are not in a car.
Same thing in the Greater Seattle Anarchist metro area, but we don't get screaming Nextdoor or city subreddit posts every time there's a fatal automotive crash.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout#Turbo_roundaboutsle... turbo-roundabouts.
I realised it minutes after posting it when I noticed the driving was on the left (as opposed to right in NL) :-). The architecture is very close to those in the NL though which fooled my lazy eyes. Pedestrian islands, enabling free movement of cyclists with clear markings etc.,
The usual cooperative approach of "I have right of way, I can help my peer by accelerating a bit so they don't have to wait so long" seems to only work with participants in roughly the same weight class.
Recently, local governments are moving away from the real small roundabouts like this one because in the dark, when it is raining, with cyclists who are without lights, these are still somewhat unsafe:
These are much more modern, and car drivers can more easily see cyclists and mopeds come:
Oh, and yes, car drivers can sometimes be aggressive. The same counts for cyclists though. I guess both kinds of people are just like normal people. And by the way, a lot of people are one day car drivers, the next day cyclist, there is a lot of sympathy.
(yes, the answer will be "but children!", but I'm a believer in "treat cyclists like children and only children will ride bikes!" and I'd be a firm believer if the Netherlands didn't have this annoying habit of proving me wrong ;))
With a segregated bike lane the driver turbing right has the bike lane in front of them.
I suppose there's a better way. However, as a society, Dutch have decided to go whole nine yards to being a cycling friendly nation. And it shows and has its benefits.
Good news about Milan, though. That'll be such an improvement.
For example pedestrian bulb outs and daylighting reducing on-street parking while making pedestrians more visible. Bike lanes remove travel lanes or parking, making traffic slower. Lower speed limits make crashes more survivable, but slow down traffic. When used for safety (and not cash) speed and red light cameras increase safety, but make driving costlier.
I’m talking about policy changes that require a massive change in daily life. Wearing masks. Street redesigns that reduce parking or slow down cars. European-style gas taxes.
That being said, painted lines, in reality, do positively affect safety, both perceived (at least by me) and in accident statistics. Rethinking our cities towards multi-modal transportation will take time.
I believe maximalist positions ("only physically separated bike lanes are acceptable!" probably don't lead to better results, faster.
If they aren't there I feel like I get treated with more patience when I ride in my normal road position, about 75 cm from the kerb.
Obviously separated paths are the safest, although unfortunately in the US they often aren't maintained as well as the road surface, so for long trips it's usually more comfortable to cycle on the road anyway.
But when it comes to painted lines, the situation is a bit hazier. You're right that drivers tend to be ruder and more obnoxious when you - as a cyclist - leave the painted cycle path for some legitimate reason, like to avoid an obstacle or poor road surface... On the other hand, at least drivers who drive in places with painted cycle paths know how to share the road, even if they resent doing it.
For example, I can't count the number of times in the US where I cycled straight ahead in the straight ahead lane after the shoulder abruptly turned into a "right turn only" lane, only to have ignorant drivers beep and hurl abuse at me for doing what I was supposed to be doing. In areas with painted cycle lanes, the drivers understand that in this situation they are supposed to watch for cyclists, give way and then cross into the "right turn only" lane on the cyclists' right, instead of fuming and raging because a cyclist dared to follow the signage.
In places where drivers tend to be more educated about how to share the road, it might be the case that painted lines are more trouble than they're worth, but in the US I think it's still useful as a way to teach drivers how to handle having cyclists on the road.
While this works to some extent when a right turn only lane is present, this actually sets the cyclist up for a right hook when the right most travel lane can be used to proceed straight through the intersection or turn right. In that case, the bike lane is still painted to the right and leads to the situation where a motorist making a right turn is to the left of cyclist traffic going straight through the intersection.
> [I]n the US I think [that painted lines are] still useful as a way to teach drivers how to handle having cyclists on the road.
The problem in the US is that they paint lines in such a way that there's insufficient lateral space between the cyclist and motor vehicles. Most US states have passed laws requiring motorists to leave at least 3 feet between their vehicle and a cyclist.
In the case where a general purpose lane is 10 feet wide and the adjacent bike lane is 4 feet wide, you end up with a siutation where it's not possible to leave 3 feet of distance between the motor vehicle an and the cyclist. A typical larger vehicle is about 7.5 feet wide from mirror to mirror. Centered in a 10 foot wide lane, they have 1.25 feet on each side.
A cyclist is about 2.5 feet wide. 2.5 feet centered in a 4 foot wide bike lane leaves 0.75 feet on each side.
0.75 feet and 1.25 feet add up to 2 feet, which means that the distance with both the motorist and cyclist centered in the lane they're in is not sufficient. This doesn't account for moving side to side within the lane for either the motorist or cyclist.
I found there were quite a few stretches of road in Florida, for example, where there were 3 or 4 lanes of high speed traffic going parallel to a painted cycle path in the shoulder. It wasn't the most relaxing place to ride, but it still felt safer than going down some of the highways and arterial roads in other states where there were few (if any) cycle paths, simply because the drivers had more visual aids (signage plus lines) to tell them what to do when they saw a cyclist. I felt more confident cycling even in other parts of Florida without the cycle lanes because despite the drivers being fairly inconsiderate, at least they didn't visibly panic when they saw me there.
It is important to compare like with like, though. A "cycle path" which is just a bit of different-colored paint in the gutter of an existing traffic lane is pretty much useless. But if the painted cycle path is explicitly painted in what would otherwise be a full-width shoulder, I agree with other commenters here that it allows more flexibility to the cyclist than a separated lane (e.g. in turning left without needing to do a pedestrian-style hook turn) and it has the side effect of teaching drivers how to more carefully consider other traffic.
I really think a lot comes down to driver education. For example in areas where there is frequently slow farm equipment or horse and buggies on the main road, drivers have learned how to share the road, so it feels safe to cycle when there is no cycle path or even no shoulder at all. Unfortunately my experience in a lot of the US is that most drivers don't know how to deal with cyclists, so they'll ignorantly tailgate, cut you off or abuse you just for following the road rules. I'm not sure if that results in more casualties, but it certainly makes the experience of cycling more fraught, which means less people will want to cycle, so there is a vicious circle of increasing driver ignorance. I think painted lines at least provide some antidote to that.
You're not including mirrors in the width of the vehicle. Typical exterior mirrors on passenger vehicles extend out about 6 inches from the body, so that adds a foot to the vehicle's width. My VW Golf Sportwagen is about 7 feet wide mirror to mirror. My Honda Odyssey is about 7.5 feet wide mirror to mirror. I've measured both vehicles by dropping a string from the edge of the mirror housing down to the ground, and marking it on both sides and measuring the distance between the marks. Take a look at the interactive graphic towards the bottom of the page by Cycling Savvy
Commercial vehicles like tractor trailers and buses are 8.5 feet wide at the body. Their mirrors extend out further, meaning that they're close to 10.5 feet wide mirror to mirror.
My complaint is the feeling of being forced to use them when they are the dirtiest and most dangerous part of the road. They are just dashed white lines that were designed by someone who drove down the street in a Transit van once.
Since I've been moved to WFH I exclusively cycle on country roads, I feel like if we had more segregated bike paths in the city I wouldn't mind being stuck behind people, I feel like commuting or cycling into town is a different thing from cycling for exercise or as a sport.
I live in a country where cycling as a mode of transport is basically non-existent, 95% of the people I see on bikes are on road bikes and wearing lycra, so it's possible I'd feel differently about segregated lanes if there more of a cycling-as-transport culture here.
Yes sure this is an enforcement issue I guess. Why not just build a physical barrier that doesn't require enforcement though.
The rationale behind riding closer to the edge of the roadway is that drivers of motor vehicles have more room to overtake. But would a motor vehicle be able to fit between you and another motor vehicle in an adjacent lane when overtaking while leaving sufficient distance between their vehicle and the cyclist?
I would posit that's not possible, meaning that there is no benefit derived from riding closer to the edge of the road. I would also assert that it's actually more dangerous compared to just riding in the center of the general purpose traffic lane.
When you overtake a cyclist driving in the middle of the road, you have a longer time on the other side of the road while overtaking, than if the cyclist drives on the right. So that can mean, a driver will sometimes do a more dangerous overtaking and then in fact, endanger you, when he quickly has to change lanes again to abort the overtaking.
The amount of time needed to move completely to the opposite side of the road as opposed to straddling the center line time 2 is not significant. The amount of time to actually overtake the cyclist easily exceeds that by a factor of 10 or more. In other words, there really isn't any signficant difference in terms of the time required to complete an overtake.
I've just been to Montreal, and with temperatures well below freezing and lots of recent snowfall, the segregated bike lanes were completely clear of snow. Every day. In the places I've been around town, I am not sure I've ever come across any significant debris, in any season.
This is in stark contrast with many (especially older) bike lanes in the UK, which are basically unrideable in any season as they're covered in drain covers, potholes and debris.
I think the difference here is not so much the difficultly of cleaning as the commitment to doing it.
Could you cite any studies to that effect? Some studies suggest painted cycle lanes are actively dangerous:
But a not-bad lane implementation (either enough room for well-sized lanes for both cars and bikes or making the remaining car lane clearly too narrow for double file), yeah, I'd take it over fully separated any single time. Much better coordination with right turning traffic (occasionally, when speed happens to match, I even merge through the right turn lane so they don't have to give me right of way, clear win-win), much safer access to left turn lanes if you need it, much easier merging into traffic when the bike infrastructure is blocked (plenty of occasions, both sides of legality) and in general sooo much less interaction with stray dogs, children, cyclists who ride against traffic because in their mind they are a pedestrian with wheels instead of a very light vehicle, pedestrians who walk there because in their mind they are cyclists (yeah, that has happened to me, I admit) and so on. I love painted lanes! Just please avoid those horrible mistakes that you have to avoid while setting them up when you set them up.
See for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_the_Netherlands#/me...
The decision of just painting over curbs for cost is the main infrastructure mistake and 'false saving' in a lot of European cities outside NL.
The current standard technically doesn't allow for bicycle gutters: Traffic should be either fully mixed on low speed, low volume streets or fully separated. Though bicycle gutters do still get made (space being the primary excuse), from what I've seen it's primarily old roads that have yet to be renewed since the standards changed.
Furthermore, the legal management of cycle lanes is a lot harsher in the netherlands: drivers are not allowed to drive, park, or stop in cycle lanes. Cycle lanes with solid lines can not be encroached on at all, while cycle lanes with dashed lines may be crossed or used to pass an obstacles.
These decisions aren't made by highway engineers, they are made by politicians.
The highway engineer puts a proper bikelane, makes the highway wider, and tells the politician that its going to cost 100 million dollars to do a couple of kms.
The politician says that there is no money for that, at most 10 million, and that they "promised it", and suggests whether one can't paint a line or something for cheap instead. Otherwise, the engineer is fired.
So the cousin of the politician ends up being paid 10 million $ for painting a shitty 1000$ line that serves no purpose.
There is a systemic difference between the UK and the Netherlands.
Suggesting that the UK doesn't have good bike lanes cause Netherlands has better highway engineers is as accurate as suggesting that the UK did Brexit cause their highway engineers are bad.
The highway engineers were generally trained in the 80s or thereabouts to value vehicle throughput and continuous speed as their principal outputs. So they continue to build junctions with massive corner radiuses, shared-use pedestrian/cycle paths to maximise the space available for cars, priority for turning cars at side-road crossings, and so on.
Here in Oxfordshire you could describe the situation as "officer capture" - the officers continue to design dreck, and the elected politicians aren't (yet) strong enough to reject it.
They are made by the public. We need to persaude other citizens, not rely on (and blame) some higher power.
Yikes! That's criminal. You can get an excellent bikelane with a few bollards and a paint can. I would say that's a failure of the engineering profession.
If you leave the 2 car lanes, and make them smaller to fit to one bike lane per car lane, such that cars barely fit, and such that cars can't leave a proper distance when overtaking bikes, you end up with the crappy unsafe solution that the OP is complaining about.
You annoy car drivers, and you give bike riders the impression that cycling is unsafe, so this is actually counter productive.
I moved from Oxford to the Netherlands a couple years ago and let me tell you: cycling here is a bliss.
It's of very inconsistent quality, besides workarounds that are tolerable given circumstance, like that the path cuts off at one point and resumes on the other lane in the street, the abundance of bike lanes that lack any separation at all from the main street makes it so morons use it as a place to stop their cars or trucks, and then you have to make dangerous maneuvers to get around them, or stop and hope some car gives you right of way when the street is busy.
The problem is car dominance. 20mph speed limits are flagrantly ignored everywhere, even right next to schools etc. Most drivers have zero experience on the road except for in a car. Cars are getting bigger and bigger and more and more powerful. Streets are lined with cars. Pavements are filled with cars. It's cars everywhere. We've a long way to go before even stopping the tide, let alone turning it around.
Even when Netherlands style infrastructure is introduced in the UK it's a laughable failure. It ends up making things worse. See the Dutch style roundabout in Cambridge, for example. It turns out you can't change people's behaviour by painting a few lines on the road.
It was built in Spring/Summer 2020. You may start from 1:00 if you're in hurry, you'll get the idea. They moved the parking area towards the center to make way for a protected bike path. The road is narrower for cars but it was stop and go anyway (mostly stop).
Further North, on the way out from the city, they didn't move the parking area. They painted a line between the cars and the parking area.
Jason of the Not Just Bikes YT channel calls these bicycle gutters:
However, what they are currently trying to do by keeping the level of motor traffic and simply slotting in lanes for cycles where there is space clearly doesn't work.
I think a few places like Bristol have been a bit more forceful but they are large enough to have alternate routes for motor traffic.
What does “completely screwed” mean? And is anyone really proposing something that will “completely screw” drivers, or is that more fear speaking than reality?
The existing system of prioritizing cars was never built on fairness for all, and hasn’t been fair to cyclists and pedestrians, nor even really to people who can’t realistically use private transport. It has to be okay for the most privileged among us to experience some changes in their road usage, if we’re to improve the situation for all.
What kind of people can't use public transport but can drive a private car?
That said, haven't seen them actually used yet. Pass a lot more cyclists that choose the road, still.
I have seen too many cyclists hit and bloodied up by automobiles that I would never think twice about cycling on the road in my area, either.
It's just not safe.
The Quickways proposals are focused on East Oxford where there is enough space. Broadly speaking, all of the East Oxford arterials have enough space for a segregated track on at least one side, usually both. It's only the immediate vicinity of the Plain where they're very narrow. But you could get two protected tracks along the Cowley Road as far as Marsh Road, assuming you reworked the road furniture and parking spaces; one protected track along the Iffley Road from the Plain to somewhere round Magdalen Road, and two from there on; two along most of Headington/London Road, Marston Road, and so on.
You can expand this out to so many other areas, like building code too. It's enormously frustrating that everyone thinks they're a unique snowflake, they cannot learn from other jurisdictions and they must re-invent the wheel.
There are so many issues that so many cities are facing that are solved problems in other places.
On some on way side streets they have this weird system where the bike lane and takes up half the road and shares it with parked cars
The British version is about half as wide, and often allows parking for large parts of the day (i.e. is only a lane for a couple of hours).
I've never been to Oxford, but someone mentioned Abingdon Road . Just some bike symbols painted on the road.
Or a little further up  -- that thing on the left is a British cycle lane. If you go forward 3 clicks, you can see it ends almost immediately.
You obviously wouldn't take small kids through crap like this: . Unbelievably, this is "National Cycle Route 57" (the StreetView car is pointed the wrong way to see it, but if you search you can find the tiny blue "57" sign at the roundabout.)
Other than the bridges, the only part of Central Copenhagen with painted lanes I can think of is Bernstorffsgade .
I'm not really sure where you're thinking of for "lots" of bike paths. A little further out  is this, where at least the lanes go behind the parked cars, and are wider. https://osm.org/go/0NWvDIpQ-?layers=C shows solid lines for painted lanes, and there aren't many.
Cycling in the UK is 1% of road traffic, and are drowned out of the conversation on how roads are built up until very recently. They are the most vulnerable things on wheels. They are treated as second class citizens on the road, and are subject to abuse car drivers do not get. I'm not 'anti-car', I'm 'anti-getting-killed-while-cycling'.
If a cyclist crashes into a car, the cyclist comes off worse. If a car crashes into a cyclist, the cyclist comes off worse. It's not even close. The relentless amount of hate cyclists receive in the UK is genuinely shocking to me, and any time any sort of positive action is attempted to be brought up (e.g. building new cycling infrastructure) the haters come out of the wood-work to act as if they're being oppressed.
Do you cycle? My money is on 'no'.
This is why I think this sort of rabid us-vs-them crap should be kept to its own bubble: it has no place in a civilized discussion among even-tempered people.
My reply told you that I own cars, I enjoy driving, I enjoy working on them. I find mechanics interesting, cars and bicycles both. I tried to explain that I do not sit in the 'us-vs-them' camp, I pay VED, yet I cycle a lot too. I think I can see both sides of the issue.
I think my response was even-tempered.
You complain about things being 'us-vs-them', yet you think adding cycling lanes is 'anti-car pro-bicyle'. I think you should look at whether or not you sit in a certain camp, to me, the language you use is telling.
Can you recommend some alternative material for cyclists who want to see the other side?
In densely populated temperate areas, cars are often no faster than other modes of transport (although they may be more comfortable), and they impose a very high cost on others, including: fatalities and injuries associated with traffic accidents, premature deaths and reduced quality of life due to air pollution and noise pollution. Parking and road lanes typically consume a great deal more space per passenger mile than buses, trains, trams, bike or walking.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by hurting 'people who need help the most', but in most urban situations owning a car for personal transport is not an option for those with the lowest income, and no realistic policy will make it affordable.
Again, I'm happy to have my views challenged on this.
Also, it's much more difficult to manage a family without a car. A woman I worked with had to pick her kids every now and then. She wasn't making a lot of money and she had to pay for her own parking. It was a good job for her, so she tried to make the commute work, but it's difficult. It was difficult before, but the quality of life has gone down because people want their bicycle utopia.
I've ridden a bike in Boston since the early nineties and I don't think it's any easier or any safer. I can't tell if the bike lanes are really for bicycles or for people who want to create a hassle for people who depend on their car for their family or job.
Did this help at all?
Ultimately it just depends on your vision of what you'd like your city to be like.
I would like everyone to have the option of cycling or walking around their city without fear of death or hospitalisation. It doesn't seem like an extremist position - the roads are for everyone, there is no intrinsic reason to prioritise cars.
It's so frustrating that it becomes part of some car vs bike culture war.
The public transit buses have been highly impacted by the bike lanes. By reducing the main roads to one lane because of the bike lanes has created more traffic so it's harder for the busses. The solution to that was to create lanes that only busses can travel, in certain parts of the road, which in turn has created even more traffic and not really improved things. I applaud them for trying, but it really doesn't look like it working from a quality of life stand point.
I think your right how it's become a part of the culture war.
Drivers in Boston are being asked to _share_ 1% of the road infrastructure with bikes.
I don't even think cyclists make up 1% of the users of the road. Maybe at rush hour you'll see more, but it's not much. And there are only a few diehards that bike in the winter and in the rain. So we're cutting the main roads in half for 1% of the road users that don't use the roads all the time? I'm not sure that makes sense. They don't run the subway or busses after 12 when I'm sure people would use it to get home from the bars. Although the subway and busses cost money to operate whereas the bike lanes don't.
If you disagree with that, (and live in a democracy) let someone know! Find out who controls the infrastructure spending in your area and call/email them.
I'm a massive fan of public transit, however, as an American this means I can only live in a handful of cities, but it's worth it .
When I lived in LA I was miserable, driving to work every single day, driving in a city is not enjoyable. So I moved, but it's impractical for someone like me to ride the bike to work. My office doesn't offer gyms, and I can't bike in sweating.
As for safety, riding the Metro can't be beat. The worst of both worlds is our current system where bikes compete with cars for a limited set of roads.
If I could build my own city from scratch, I would ban all cars completely. Design something like a 5 mile circle, and build upward.
24/7 slow metro lines allow for commutes within the city. Then have side walks and bike paths covering other commutes. Have every pathway so well lit, 3am is as safe as 3pm.
Then have garages on the city outskirts if you need to own a car to commute out of town.
I can imagine this already existing in Europe. Amsterdam felt very close.
That's… most people.
Like I get it, we have an obesity epidemic, but fat people can ride bicycles. It's not unusual. And a lot of them start shedding pounds fast once you get them out of the automated wheeled easy-chairs we call "cars."
Taking the metro is a bit faster than cycling, I consider myself to be an okay shape. I still need to lose about 20 lb to get to where I want to be, and I still don't think I'd be up to the challenge of hopping on a bike for all my commuting needs.
If you want to propose something, you have to factor in what people are willing to actually do. The typical overweight American, it's not going to be open to biking 4 hours a day to get to and from work.
This might be the only comment that address my point. Imagine if we had mixed use high rises, 1st floor is retail , 3-5 floors are apartments and 5-8 floors offices.
I could live an elevator ride away from work, and still buy groceries without ever going outside!
Unfortunately in America we have business zoning and residential zoning, ensuring we all have to commute miles to do anything. I want mixed zoning. I want to walk to work, and then walk to the bar afterwards.
Hell, biking would only be for longer commutes in this dream.
Note that reliance on cars leads to grocery stores not being within walking/biking distance, and less cars (and denser cities) leads to more livable cities.
The goal is to make it possible to bike places safely, which makes it easier to transition from reliance on cars to better forms of transportation. No one is suggesting that we switch everything over to bikes right now.
And we are talking about $280 Million; that's a piss in a bucket for a city like Milan.
There are American roading projects for a single interchange that cost more than $280 million.
Most of those who can't drive also couldn't get very far on a bike on their own. They can, however, ride in a car (or bus) driven by someone else, making use of that same infrastructure. Bikes are not typically designed to carry passengers.
Younger children can be a passenger on a bike.
In most of the US 16-year-olds can get a full driver's license and drive a car on their own, assuming they have access to one. Most parents these days wouldn't let a 7-year-old travel far without a chaperone by any mode of transportation even if they are physically capable. (Lack of "safe" biking infrastructure is far from the only risk factor.) But yes, in the very short window in the early teens between not being trusted to be out on your own safely and acquiring a driver's license and car a bike can be more accessible when traveling solo or with others of similar age and maturity.
> Younger children can be a passenger on a bike.
One younger child can be a passenger on a bike, at the expense of extra effort on the part of the rider providing the propulsion. Perhaps two if they are both small. (Don't forget that you'll need to bring extra cargo as well—especially if the passenger(s) are very young.) Beyond that you're going to want a larger vehicle with its own power supply, unless your goal has more to do with riding bikes than getting to your destination.
In Britain the insurance cost is so high it's prohibitive for many teenagers. Although based on a quick search, it's significantly less than the average American teenagers pay. Perhaps that shows the lack of alternatives Americans have -- "Teenagers pay an average of $371 a month for an individual car insurance policy" yet "Nationwide, 76.3% of high school students aged ≥16 years reported having driven during the 30 days before the survey".
In the UK, "people in the 17-to-19 age group ... pay ... an average cost of £752 a year" ($1000/year, $85/month), yet only ~20% of licensed school/university students use a car to get to education. (I can't find statistics just for 17-18 year olds. Driving to "high school" would be extremely rare, maybe 1% -- it's not even mentioned in the surveys.)
Nowadays, many people in Denmark using bicycles to carry a child have upgraded to e-bikes. Larger bikes (e.g. "Christiania cycle") to carry multiple children have been electric a while longer, although these are expensive.
When I was in high school some decades ago the upperclassman were allowed to drive themselves, and many did. I was not one of them, being rather young for my grade, but I can easily understand the appeal of a 16-minute car trip (never mind the prestige among your classmates) vs. the 45+ minutes I spent on the bus each way.
E-bikes are a nice middle ground but many have warnings discouraging their use by minors (sometimes backed by local rules—eight states limit unsupervised use of e-bikes to those 14 and older) and the decent ones (new) can cost almost as much as a used car.
No, in 4 states that's true (and while some states have 16½ or 16¾ requirements, it's still less than half where it is true at some point before 17.) A few decades ago before provisional driver’s license rules for younger drivers became common this was true, but full licenses have moved up in age a bit.
Still, the provisional or restricted license you can get before 17 in 49 states (or at 17 in New Jersey) is enough to drive yourself around without a chaperone, even if it falls short of the freedom of a full license. Depending on the state you may or may not be able to carry multiple passengers or drive at night. And a large majority of states (34 vs. 15—with no data on Vermont) do still allow full licenses at 17 or earlier, with the remainder making you wait until 17½ or 18.
Anyway, e-bikes are great. My girlfriend (genetic joint issues) was able to join me doing ~20 kilometers on one of the islands thanks to being able to rent an e-bike for €25 for the day or thereabouts. I mean, there were even hills and the like there, she would not have been able to do even a quarter of the distance on a regular bike.
So do cars! What about people who can't drive, because they are too young, too old, don't have a license, or don't own a car?
More generally, if we want to make life easier for those who can only drive, we should get the able-bodied out of their cars to ease congestion.
Say it's raining, this makes riding a bike much more dangerous. Or even just heat, if it's over 90 F out biking is going to be rough.
American cities are spread out to the point you may need to drive 5 miles to buy some oat meal. Fix that first, I'd vastly prefer smaller cities.
"But what about people who can't cycle?" - Most people can cycle. Besides, what about people who can't drive cars? Why do we invest in extensive car infrastructure when some people can't drive cars, either?
"But what about the weather?" - Some people in my city don't like cycling on a rainy day, so they take a bus or drive that day. Tomorrow, when it's not raining, they'll cycle. This still results in less cars and more cyclists. Most of us don't live in perpetual rain or snow. Not to mention the fact that plenty of people don't seem to mind cycling in the rain or snow at all, so they utilize the cycling infrastructure year-round. "Sometimes the weather is bad" is not an excuse for avoiding bike infrastructure, in my opinion.
I agree on cities should be laid out in a way that encourages and enables cycling. I think building safe cycling infrastructure, such as dedicated paths for cyclists (separated from cars) is a good start.
I don't think most Americans are fit enough to cycle , that's ultimately the issue. But even if your overweight, taking a train isn't a problem.
My point is not that all Americans should suddenly start cycling everywhere at all times. That's unrealistic and undesirable. I get the impression that you're viewing this as some kind of all-or-nothing thing, where as soon as you build a bike path people will be forced to exclusively cycle and not walk, or drive, or use public transport.
My point is simply that building cycling infrastructure that would support people who'd like to cycle some or all of the time is a good thing. Me not wanting to cycle in snow doesn't mean my neighbor doesn't want to cycle in snow, and luckily he and others like him (of which there seem to be plenty) have a bike path to do so safely and easily.
I think it's relatively safe to say if people weren't worried about getting hit by a car, or falling into a pothole, or crashing into a pedestrian, or getting yelled at for being on the road, _more_ of them would choose to use a bike and experience the benefits of cycling.
As a sidenote, I'd also like to point out that you don't have to be super fit to cycle, although cycling can certainly help improve fitness over time. There are bikes built for a more relaxed ride, as well as bikes with electric assist. It is possible to pedal as fast as you want, and go for whatever distances one is comfortable with.
At the same time, unless you radically redesigned American cities, cycling commuting won't work. City layouts take decades to change, even if people want change. I don't see a push for more compact cities in America ( luckily this is just one country, I already have work auth for at least 1 other place).
I plan on getting a cheap Fixie bike next, I had an insane amount of fun with a 100$ Big Lots bike a few years back.
I also know several people who have various form of physical disability who cycle either totally normal bikes or ebikes, or adjusted (to different degrees) bikes or ebikes.
If we had better cycle infrastructure where I live (a relatively small European city), many many more people would release that they can get where they're going faster and cheaper on a bike than in a car, and have more fun while doing it. Even when it's raining.
Wait what, why? Because I'm going to get a bit wet? The rain is no more a threat to a cyclist's safety than it is to a car on a wet day. You just might need to wear a rain jacket, too.
The Dutch certainly don't give a shit about rain, snow or shine, as the saying goes "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes."
If you have a city of Lance Armstrongs , sure everyone could bike commute. That's not practical though.
I'd argue for building more bike infrastructure just since cycling is fun. I'm planing on working remote forever anyway, so I think we'd agree on alot. But I recognize my privilege here, if you need to commute to an office biking won't work over a few miles.
The average American is commuting 16 miles each way. Can you realistically do this on a bike , I know I can't.
In areas with frequent rain, people are practiced in carrying waterproof overclothes and such. Sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice can be a much bigger problem, of course, but good maintenance resolves a lot of that, too, as it does for cars.
As noted by drakonka, you continue to argue the infeasibility of something that works well for many cities/countries, citing things that those with experience know aren't a big problem. Sure, you can't just suddenly start cycling when your life/city is built around driving tens of miles, but a city/country can work towards biking in a way that has worked well around the world.
I'm afraid braking won't work as well, and I'll end up hurting myself.
I don't think inexperienced drivers should drive in the snow, but that doesn't mean we completely dismiss cars as a practical means of transportations in cities that get snow.
Before covid, when I commuted, I used to cycle in 11 miles each way every day. Except when the temperature dropped below 5c. Not because I didn't have warm clothes, but because once I hit some ice under a bridge travelling at ~20mph and came off. It took a long time for the wound on my knee to heel from that.
You know, I'm not sure that in the current moment in time there's much correlation between living in a democracy and the efficacy of petitioning the municipality/ government/ etc.
I see people both irritated with the lack of change in American government while also not politically active (Facebook doesn't count).
Creating policy change is challenging in a government defined by federalism and representative democracy like the United States. I agree letting someone know is likely not enough to make a big change (and it shouldn't be). But if enough people think one way and let the right people know, then they can influence change. People need to organize. A large group that agrees on a topic has influence. Elected officials will listen to them because they can move a large number of votes. The group needs a way to communicate their desires and power (ie. numbers) to elected officials. This is usually accomplished via interest groups which can lobby for their interest. I know lobbying is a dirty word, but it exists on one end of the spectrum. The spectrum exists from attending a local town hall and voicing your solo opinion (which I recommend doing!) to smaller organizations on local issues all the way to the major interest groups (Sierra Club, NAACP, NRA, AARP, etc) voicing millions of opinions.
There is a correlation, but not on the magnitude per person, work required, or time frame that most people hope for. You likely won't make a meaningful change with a single letter (I say likely because you can find counterexamples).
The grey area is what's called "città metropolitana" now, basically the old province of Milan including more than 100 of other cities. Milan accounts for almost half of the population.
 Deep link to the bike paths network https://cdn.road.cc/sites/default/files/styles/main_width/pu...
I’ve never been to the city-proper, only the train station, but it seems strange that any of the missing 20% would be in the city center.
There is an example about "Line 6" at page 14. It starts almost at the eastern city border.
The problem comes down to coverage patchiness. In some places these lines are simply a marking on the road that will not always be respected by the cars and there are places where you need to cycle among large buses and other vehicles which can get scary if there are many of those.
But other than that, even in relatively large cities like London, bike only transportation is very feasible.
Even better, if you are not feeling like break sweat, there are hybrid electric bikes where the electric motor will propel you down the road and you can push the pedals only when you want to do it.
Bike lines are also good for other personal transportation solutions that are getting popular.
Carless transportation in the cities is mostly solved problem actually.
Also: you can make how many bike lanes you want, they will never make biking in the cold comfortable, especially for people that are not used to it.
A lot of people living in Milan come from warmer weathers.
So the main users of bike paths are riders delivering food with their e-bikes and/or tier scooters.
EDIT: I've been living in Milan for 8 years, i live where the new bike lane is, it's 100% a design by committee , that it's so bad that sometimes it runs on the right of public transports, so when the bus has to stop, the bikes run into the people getting off, some other times it runs on the left of the bus stop, so when the bus has to stop it needs to cross over the bike lane, which is as dangerous as you might think.
with "warmer weathers" are you referring to southern Italy? because the same riders you said are using the bike lanes are coming from actually warmer weathers (like western Africa) and if they manage to bike around all evening in January maybe a person from Puglia can commute without big issues.
and the main safety issue with that bike lane (or any other bike lane in this city) is people who treat it as a parking spot or a car lane, not the occasional bus
Also, major yellow flag: "The paths will also feature state-of-the-art infrastructure, including low-impact motion-sensor lighting, digital displays, and a network of fibre optic cables, ..."
Sounds like exactly the kind of over-engineering and over-specing that plagues these kinds of projects.
Personally I can't wait for reserved bike lanes everywhere. Milan is small in size if compared to other European main cities, you could probably bike across the city in half an hour
I leave the fastpaced action for the trip home, just bring spare clothes in case of rain :-)
public work in Italy very seldom respect deadlines;
"scheduled to be ready" .... you can imagine
One thing I’m curious to know is how the cobble stones will be handled. Some of those circular routes have cobbled sections. They remain for historical reasons, however the vibrations to a cyclist would be jarring.
I wish we could have something like this here in the overcrowded cities of India, with increasing number of single-driver cars/taxis hogging evermore traffic. Motor vehicles run at an average speed of ~20km/h despite all the pollution and general danger, and will take about the same amount of time as commuting by bicycle - a cycling network will make it a lot faster.
Alas, amidst the political dramas, crooked bureaucrats and the real-estate mafia, I doubt we'll get serious town-planning in the next 20 y.
My girlfriend lived in a small town about 1.5 hours outside of Milan for a year, and was surprised by the bike path system that linked all the towns together around Lake Garda, and how old some of the people were who were riding to visit friends and family. Literally, age wasn't a reason to not ride a bike on these safe bikeways.
Then again Bologna isn't particularly large. I never had a need to cycle there. I would either walk or drive and occasionally use public transport.
I will believe this kind of change only when I see it.
Italian from Rome living in Milan for 8 years now.
The explanation is simple: transport of goods _and_ a lot of people coming from Monza/Brianza area to work in Milan and back home in the evening.
Crazy at it seems, they prefer to use their cars over the (frankly terrible) regional trains, that in theory can do Monza-Milan in 10 minutes, but in practice most of the times are late, overcrowded or canceled, with no warnings.
There's also a lot of traffic between Milan and San Donato Milanese where a lot of large companies have their own old school giant offices with thousands of employees (Eni, for example) .
IMHO the future lies somewhere between bikes, elon musk and the city tram. What we actually need is a vehicle that fullfills all criteria in some form.
For instance: getting out of your apartment and onto one of those scooters to the next subway station where you either connect directly to the railroad or will be able to reach you destination unil the "last mile" where another scooter waits for you.... But we know how that goes and nobody actually will care about the scooter enough to return or take care of it.
So what do we do? Uber-Tesla-Subway pods. I call it by phone, it shows up to my house, either transfers me or lets me dock with the subway and then brings me the last mile just to leave me there for the next thing it has to do.
Self driving will mean the end of individual driving at that might not be as bad as we think it will be.
Looking at countries like the Netherlands this is not true. Train stations have rentable bikes which are always available in sufficient quantities.
> So what do we do? Uber-Tesla-Subway pods. I call it by phone, it shows up to my house, either transfers me or lets me dock with the subway and then brings me the last mile just to leave me there for the next thing it has to do.
Individual 'pods' will just never be a sufficiently scalable & ecologically friendly solution for any real city. There's just no way that having several hundred kilos of metal & plastic per individual, along with the space requirements (esp for safety) works.
On the other hand, autonomous & shared 'cars' could replace individual vehicles for hauling / transporting as peak usage would be much lower than for transit.
Only for residents of NL, I believe (which in no way invalidates your point and I agree with everything you wrote).
I believe the main reason for the dumped scooters in cities that had them, was that the scooters were an investment boondoggle. It was easier to create fake growth by converting investment money into new scooters, than to actually figure out how to make it work.
I live in a mid sized city (about 250k in US midwest) and a network of bike routes evolved largely on its own, with a bit of help from the city and county. Cars prefer the fast roads, bikes take the slow roads. The speed limit (35 mph ~ 60 kph) is high enough to make up for time lost at stoplights, but of no benefit to cyclists. Instead, we find our way through the narrower neighborhood streets that have relatively little traffic.
That works everywhere except some peculiar intersections, and the dense central district. In those places, the city is creating separated bike lanes when they have to rebuild the roadway anyway. And a number of old rail lines have been turned into bike paths -- too bad for trains but great for bikes. Destruction of roads by the freeze-thaw cycle gives us a chance to renew our urban planning ideas every few years!
I live and bike through the city year-round. I think the only part of the city where I have to share the road with cars is Mitte. But like any sane person I'm never there
Better than a large car park but we don't get many large station car parks in the UK. At least with mass transit like buses and trains, the vehicle isn't parked anywhere for any length of time whereas most cycles have very low utilisation in terms of hours per day.
It is impossible without registration to know how many bikes are abandoned. Not sure if the authorities in Japan already have a system for dealing with that.
Simple solution for a simple problem.
Thing is, it doesn't matter. It is a bit of a rubbish problem, but there is no health hazard. If it gets people to ride bikes, that's far better than cars cramming every road everywhere.
I didn't get much chance to talk to people on the street in China since I only know a few words of Mandarin. Most of the software developers I was interacting with had better means of getting around. But I did walk past some working class housing, which is where you see these really large bike sheds. I suppose it's a hassle to carry oil and a tire pump down from one's apartment and back up.
The fast bikes are still not fast enough and safe enough to ride with cars, but too fast for regular bike paths, so what will give?
I am genuinely sincerely in favor of this. It's inelegant but effective. Driving a car should be more frustrating and uncomfortable than it currently is in the US. Giving slight advantages to slower, non-car road traffic can improve safety and increase the costs of driving over other options, which is long term good.
I also don’t think that this “benaltrismo” is useful :)