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Milan confirms new cycling network linking 80% of the city to bike paths (road.cc)
402 points by znpy 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 218 comments

Meanwhile our idiot city (Oxford, UK) is spending £1.2m on "Quickways", which are painted lines on existing roads... guaranteed to keep cyclists 0% safe. This in the face of national Government guidance in favour of physical segregation from cars. (Plans at https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/quickway-cycle-route-oxf...: the promise of "segregation where possible" in reality means about 5% of the network.)

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.

In Holland they learned the hard way that you have to physically cordon off half of every road for bicycles. But you have to remember that just putting some paint on the pavement is a lot cheaper so that's what the government tries first.

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.

Americans seem really good at ignoring cyclists being run over. Children don't seem to walk/cycle and rely on being driven around by their parents here so they don't die as much (good, obviously people know its not safe) but doesn't promote infrastructure investment for alternative transit (bad).

And there's plenty of space in the US; most roads can be half as wide and still service most cars. Plenty of space to build in a hard shoulder / fencing and a dedicated two-way bike lane.

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.

In suburbia America, where bike lanes are abound and plenty of cyclists to boot, it is the cyclists that are entitled, selfish, arrogant, and ignore the traffic rules. They've recently resorted to riding 4-5 cyclists wide to take up the entire roadway. They ignore stop signs and traffic lights, trying to pass as a pedestrian whenever it is convenient, and have been responsible for many pedestrian related injuries.

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.

We were able to find a few cyclists who misbehaved so we are going to justify killing them with 1 ton metal machines because we feel threatened by them?

This is the absolute least charitable interpretation of what I am saying.

Death because you are annoyed is not a good look you know. We shouldn't advocate that here.

"They ignore stop signs and traffic lights, trying to pass as a pedestrian whenever it is convenient, and have been responsible for many pedestrian related injuries"

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"?

Yes. I am aware. This doesn't change the argument, and more importantly, nor does it change the perception of the situation. Cyclists situation in America will not improve so long as the perception of them are they are smug assholes. Everyone already knows there are smug asshole drivers. But we already have roads for cars everywhere. If you want to try and get more tax dollars for segregated bike lanes, the perception and the argument has to change.

"Everyone already knows there are smug asshole drivers. But we already have roads for cars everywhere. If you want to try and get more tax dollars for segregated bike lanes, the perception and the argument has to change."

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?

Yet the worst is you are annoyed, not dead. Bicycles and cars are not the same.

This is one of my favorite artists! It's so great to see him referenced here!

I was very fortunate to raise kids in low density exurbs. My son completely wore out a bike going to school and visiting friends, often miles away. Dozens to hundreds of serious cyclists visit town on weekends to ride here. We also have people on roller skis and longboards on our roads. It seems really shortsighted to exclude these people in favor of cars.

Are there bike paths, or does he ride on the road alongside cars?

No bike paths, just rural roads. Generally without any center line, even. We gave our kids mobile phones early on so they could stay in touch while being independent. It is common for kids in town to go fishing or sailing small boats on their own on a large pond in town. Lots of autonomy.

Were there lots of other children doing the same? Living in eastern Canada I've never really seen what you're describing.

Yes, this was, and still is, normal. Some people do drive their kids to school. But kids are still very independent. It's a small town with spread out houses. The general store, library, after school sports, and the town beach, in warm weather, are the choices of things to do. Things have changed a bit. It's more upscale. Farm dogs don't roam about. Hidden fences are installed most places. That makes life easier for cyclists.

In America you just get social services called on you if you let/make your child walk or cycle anywhere.

Yes! I bike with my kids to school daily and if one of them gets out ahead of me inevitably a car stops to ask if they are alright

> It was a battle won by blood.

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.

but you wouldn't know it by the media coverage.

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. [0]" 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...

A driver should certainly be at fault, but also how much blame should be put on the engineers designing our roadways? They have built an environment that is hostile to anyway not in a car. I get that they have "standards" that have to be followed, but when you're implementing a bad design that likely will result in any number of deaths greater than 0, shouldn't those design standards be questioned?

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.

> Last year, there were more people killed by cars than gun violence, but you wouldn't know it by the media coverage.

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.

I lived in the NL for a year. Their road ways are a work of art. I can go on and on about their beauty, utility all day long. I mean look at this [1] and this [2] for instance.

[1] https://imgur.com/aEwTSm0

[2] https://imgur.com/4Lreaar

Those are pictures of a Cambridge roundabout, trying to imitate a Dutch roundabout. However except for very light traffic situations all (as far as I am aware) roundabouts newly constructed in the Netherlands are so called turbo-roundabouts [1]. Other than that, I agree that the standard of roads and infrastructure in the Netherlands is a fair bit higher than anywhere else I know of. Of course there are nice roads in every country, but in the Netherlands, there are almost no really bad roads, and every freeway is properly designed and maintained.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout#Turbo_roundaboutsle... turbo-roundabouts.

> Those are picture of a Cambridge roundabout,

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.,

How does right of way with this wide separation work though? In my experience (not Dutch) it always goes like this when a car and a cyclist approach a point where their paths cross and the cyclist has right of way: cyclist slows down to be ready for an emergency stop knowing full well that right of way won't be of any help when bones are crushed, driver takes it as an invitation to "slip" through.

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.

Car drivers get trained when doing driving lessons. There are so many roundabouts that you have to cooperate as a car driver. Also, it is well-known that when an accident happens, the car driver gets the financial damage, and yes, the insurance will pay, but he/she will lose a big percentage of the no-claim decrease in insurance fee.

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: https://www.telegraaf.nl/images/1540x866/filters:format(jpeg...

These are much more modern, and car drivers can more easily see cyclists and mopeds come: https://www.denhaag.nl/upload/0690e94f-f7ac-43a3-8c1e-4fb768...

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.

I simply don't understand why roundabouts aren't just shared. Do separation as much as you like 10m away from them, but in the roundabout, there's exactly zero excuse for a speed difference between motor vehicles and bikes. When drivers are expected to let segregated cyclists pass on leaving the roundabout, they actually have to go slower than they would merged behind even the laziest cyclist. I really don't get it.

(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 ;))

Blind spots. The driver turning right doesn't see the cyclist planning to take the next exit if the bike lane is right next to the car lane.

With a segregated bike lane the driver turbing right has the bike lane in front of them.

Basically, the bike always has right of way and cyclist act like it as well, cyclist don't slow down and assume the any cars will stop, on the other hand, car drivers are drilled to always be on the look out for cyclists and give them all the space required, you get drilled on this and don't get a license untill you fully understand how to keep cyclists safe, that in practise means you need about 40 hours of driving lessons before you have any change of getting a driver's license. On the liabity side of things, the law basically assumes the driver of the car (more generally a motorised vehicle) is always at fault. Aside from some extremely reckless behaviour bordering on intentially throwing yourself in front of a car, any damages to your own vehicle as well as the cyclist you hit, is coming out of the motorists insurance.

Cyclists have unilateral priority over everything else. I suppose first few years a few cyclists' bones did get crushed. However through training, stringent laws etc., it's drilled into everyone to make way for cyclists. At the roundabouts there's no negotiation etc., Motor vehicles dare not slip through. They patiently wait lest they invite the wrath of authorities.

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.

Have the roads been taken back though? Segregated trickle-lanes have been taken, but in the process the roads themselves have become effectively limited access down to tertiary level. I'm not saying that the Dutch method is bad, the results speak a very different language, but "taken back" is not what happened.

Uhm, don't the Dutch separate cyclists and motorists only where the speed limit is >30km/h? At ≤30km/h there's no separation at all IIRC.

Good news about Milan, though. That'll be such an improvement.

30km/h is very low speed. Majority or roads are faster.

30km/h is not an uncommon speed in European urban areas. For example, in France within towns 50km/h is the default speed limit for main arteries, but it is 30km/h for areas where pedestrians are expected. Most of Paris has made the switch, so has Brussels. I would go as far as saying they are a majority of streets, while yes, roads are always faster, but that would be playing semantic games.

All streets are roads, no? While not all roads are streets.

I'm going off of Strong Town's differentiation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ1HhLq-Huo, also tackled by Not Just Bikes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORzNZUeUHAM.

Majority by road count, road length, road surface area, number of trips travelled or what? The answer varies. And BTW, 30km/h isn't very low speed in a country where bicycles are common.

But apparently your Danish counterparts to the north are doing just fine without?

In the US far more people have died of COVID-19 than we’ve ever seen of dead bike riders. The bar for the US to change policies because of a “dark moment” is going to be in the millions of deaths, which just isn’t going to happen when bike riding has such a small mode share here.

Road safety measures would benefit all road users, not just cyclists. Around 40,000 Americans are killed each year on the roads, and 1% of the population are injured seriously enough to require medical attention. Those are scary large numbers, and the fact that the country has gotten accustomed to this is really unbelievable.

Vulnerable road users have a disproportionate share of crash fatalities. And the commonly accepted safety improvements might reduce crash frequencies for drivers, but it doesn’t do it enough (and have enough impact on major injuries death) to overcome their complaints of slower traffic and less parking. If it did, America’s traffic safety numbers would look more like Western European countries.

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.

9/11 was an anomaly and the aftermath was that we are now comfortable with constant surveillance and a region that hasn't known peace in decades.

9/11 policy changes had barely any long-term impact on civilian Americans. Taxes didn’t have to go up. Airports already had security lines, TSA was largely a management change. And the constant surveillance is largely transparent (unless you lived near a government or military installation).

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.

I'm a road biker and would love fully separated bikeways wherever possible. The scheme in Milano sounds exciting and full of the right spirit.

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.

I have the opposite opinion of painted-line bike paths: I'd rather they not be there at all. If they are there I feel forced to use them by drivers punishment passing me, despite the fact that the so-called bike lanes are full of glass, potholes and cars.

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.

I both agree and don't agree, having recently cycled across the US and experienced areas with no cycle paths, painted cycle paths and separated cycle paths.

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.

> 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.

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 think your calculation of car sizes is a bit wide. I think most cars in the US are around 6 feet wide. Even large minivans are only around 2m. Granted, the mirrors add width and some drivers add excessive dongles on the edge of that, but conscientious drivers of wide vehicles should already be accustomed to passing slow moving vehicles more carefully. In addition, in the places where there are proper dedicated cycle lanes, the lanes are painted inside a full-width shoulder, with space to spare on both the left and the right.

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.

> I think your calculation of car sizes is a bit wide. I think most cars in the US are around 6 feet wide.

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[1]

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.

[1] https://cyclingsavvy.org/lane-width-space/

I feel like I must be in a distinct minority because I personally prefer painted bike lanes over any other alternative. It's pretty rare in my own experience to have cars ignoring or being impatient with them (maybe because I like in a fairly bike-friendly city) I also don't like getting stuck behind really slow people in physically separate lanes where there's no room to pass.

We have 200 m total of segregated bike paths in my city so I don't have too much of an opinion on them.

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.

My issue is that painted bike lanes are also de facto loading, waiting, and short term parking zones. The bike lane existing makes car drivers more hostile when I'm forced to enter "their" lane because of cars blocking mine.

Yes sure this is an enforcement issue I guess. Why not just build a physical barrier that doesn't require enforcement though.

> I ride in my normal road position, about 75 cm from the kerb.

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.

"I would posit that's not possible, meaning that there is no benefit derived from riding closer to the edge of the road. "

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.

> 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.

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.

A more dangerous overtaking than someone trying to 'squeeze' through without even going into other lane?

Physically separated bike lanes are even worse. You can't get out of them easily if you come across a lot of debris. And they are harder to street clean, so debris accumulates more.

As a counterpoint to the "harder to clean" argument, I can offer the following.

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.

Why would they be any harder to clean? A city can just have one of their sweepers be a much smaller, cheaper, sweeper. Likewise for snow clearing. A much smaller and cheaper machine can often be used.

I do have some sympathy with your latter point, but there comes a point where you have to say "if not now, when?". Oxford built one world-class segregated track in the 70s (Marston Ferry Road) and has basically regressed since then. I'd be a bit more forgiving if it were Piddleton-on-the-Marsh, but Oxford has "A Cycling City" signs at every entrance to the city...

> That being said, painted lines, in reality, do positively affect safety [...] in accident statistics

Could you cite any studies to that effect? Some studies suggest painted cycle lanes are actively dangerous:



Casey Neistats video about painted bike path obstructions in New York comes to mind: https://youtu.be/bzE-IMaegzQ (2011)

Painted lines can be both very good and very bad. It really depends on implementation. A painted strip right through the door-zone of parking is the well known example of bad painted lines. But painted lines next to a pair of narrow lanes are bad even without parking: here, without the bike lane a cyclist would effectively take most of the full lane, with overtaking cars easily doing a half-width zip merging on the outside lane. It's an easy flow with cars temporarily "compressed" onto "1.5 lanes". But when you compress the cars onto two permanently narrow lanes, with an explicit bike lane, drivers will reliably stop the zip merge and just plow through, often even much closer to the bike lane than to the other car lane. The worst examples are those where the original road was slightly too narrow to make 2x car and 1x bike and they painted a minimum width bike lane: on those, drivers keep doing double file and those on the right routinely enter the bike lane - and they still don't do the "partial zip" they'd do without the bike lane. Those things are not only worse than fully separated, they are worse than absence of bike infrastructure.

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.

In regards to painted lines--they mostly do not pass the 'would you let your kids ride on them?' test. Drivers treat them as additional car lanes or a place to drift off into while texting.

In the Netherlands there are also roads with just a painted bike lane. The difference is that the whole bike lane is painted in a solid color (usually reddish). This gives a constant visual feedback to drivers. Because of the paint it is just ever so slightly raised and has a different texture than the regular asphalt, so there can be a noticable difference in sound when car tires go onto the bike lane.

See for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_the_Netherlands#/me...

The main difference is that the decision of painting the road or segregating traffic in the Netherlands is based on traffic volume and traffic speed. High speed high traffic zones get segregate bicycle traffic. Low speed low traffic routes can cope with mixed traffic and just a side lane for bicycles.

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 main difference is that the decision of painting the road or segregating traffic in the Netherlands is based on traffic volume and traffic speed. High speed high traffic zones get segregate bicycle traffic. Low speed low traffic routes can cope with mixed traffic and just a side lane for bicycles.

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.


Cycle lanes are the subject of active and intense debate in the netherlands, and while they remain grandfathered (not sure they’re allowed for new roads) they are not the part of the recommendations.

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.

> It is really frustrating how highway engineers, as a profession, are unwilling to consistently learn lessons from the Netherlands in designing cycle infrastructure.

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.

I wish that were true but, having sat in lots of meetings with them (including an hour with the leader of the County Council last month), that's not my experience.

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.

> These decisions aren't made by highway engineers, they are made by politicians.

They are made by the public. We need to persaude other citizens, not rely on (and blame) some higher power.

> 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.

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 the road is designed for 2 car lanes, without much tolerance, something has to give. Either you make it wider, or you change it to one car lane, or you remove parking spaces, etc.

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.

Ah, the ol' Oxford cycle "lanes". Where (if they exist) the paths themselves are bumpier than the Netherlands, and every few dozen meters you are greeted by a water drain or a manhole. In addition you have quite busy rush hours in the mornings and evenings.

I moved from Oxford to the Netherlands a couple years ago and let me tell you: cycling here is a bliss.

Is "a bliss" a typo or is that a (UK) English way of speech? I'm American and I've never seen someone say something is a bliss just that something is bliss (no indefinite article).

Frankly, I have no idea. I'm not a native English speaker myself, just picked that phrase up.

I’m an American, and i’ve heard both “is a bliss” and “is bliss” my whole life.

may be regional dialect

NYC has, at least in Brooklyn, a quite extensive bike lanes network.

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.

Cars and trucks? That's nothing. Go along Vernon Blvd in Queens and you might be interrupted by large commercial dumpster-trailers being staged in your lane.


Neistat's Bike Lanes is a perennial classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzE-IMaegzQ

I've pretty much given up on cycling in the UK. I drive now. It's just not safe or fun any more.

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.

This is perhaps the most trafficked new bike path in Milan, going to the city center from North https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtBeEBgodCw

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.

> Meanwhile our idiot city (Oxford, UK) is spending £1.2m on "Quickways", which are painted lines on existing roads..

Jason of the Not Just Bikes YT channel calls these bicycle gutters:

* https://twitter.com/notjustbikes/status/1431260478303518724

I think it's tricky really. The only way it can work well is if a council starts closing certain roads to motor traffic or to through-traffic but this does cause a knock-on effect that is not easily fixed. There are lots of people who can't realistically use public transport (at least not until it is better etc.) and so if they are completely screwed by traffic decisions then that isn't really fair.

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.

> if they are completely screwed by traffic decisions than that isn’t really fair.

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.

But in the long term people need to take responsibility for their own choices. If you live in the middle of a medieval city and expect to travel 50 miles to a random market town at rush hour you are going to have a bad time. That was never a reasonable choice and puts an unfair burden on everyone else. Oxford can be made suitable for bike and pedestrians. It can never be made suitable for significant vehicle traffic.

> There are lots of people who can't realistically use public transport

What kind of people can't use public transport but can drive a private car?

You want to move yourself oop north, Greater Manchester's "Bee Network" delivers fully segregated cycle lanes - they've just done a large tranche of work to the roads south of Stockport to resize the road to make the walkways wider.

That said, haven't seen them actually used yet. Pass a lot more cyclists that choose the road, still.


If the bee network gets fully built then it could be great, but even then it relies upon a lot of paint on the road rather than segregated cycleways. There are some, such as Stockport and Oxford Road but there needs to be far more.


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.

Forget the paint, just remove the cars from the roads. Suddenly they become really safe, for everyone.

So what would you propose as a solution specifically for Oxford? Many streets such as Abingdon Rd are already narrow enough and I can't see how one could segregate a dedicated lane for cyclists there.

Abingdon Road is the difficult one because it genuinely isn't wide enough for segregated tracks. But it's also the easy one because there's a parallel, direct backstreet route (Marlborough Road/Wytham Street), and Abingdon Road itself has few enough businesses that it's not really a destination in itself.

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.

And that's why the national cycling network actively avoids Abingdon Rd: https://explore.osmaps.com/en/route/3647727/Sustrans-Hanson-...

Remove all paint and signage to make car drivers slow down from fear. Require cyclists to have extremely bright flashing rear lights. If all else fails increase the number of tiny roundabouts and speed bumps.

NL does not segregate in historical inner cities either.

> Many cities seem to delight in half-assing their own solutions.

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.

I would be surprised if part of Milan's plan wasn't just to paint some bits of roads a different colour and call it a cycle path. These large initiatives tend to be a mix of solutions, from paint to dedicated cycle paths. This has happened pretty much anywhere a city has announced upgraded cycling infrastructure. Some cities ratio it better than others.

As they did last year... There was quite some adapting for the drivers then and still confusing for drivers not familiar with these streets. Newly painted lanes with width that would vary every 50-100 meters (or less), random taxi/bus stops and parking being interchanged with the bike lane... Not easy for the riders nor the drivers...

A lot of bike paths here in Copenhagen are simply painted and it works fine, even for small kids.

Is there actual enforcement of people stopping their car or parking in those lanes? Doesn't happen for the most part in the US.

You’re definitely not allowed to drive or park in a bike lane, nobody would do that.

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

A painted bike line in Copenhagen is huge compared to the lanes they paint in Britain.

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 [1]. Just some bike symbols painted on the road.

Or a little further up [2] -- 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: [3]. 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 [4].

I'm not really sure where you're thinking of for "lots" of bike paths. A little further out [5] 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.

[1] https://www.google.com/maps/@51.7378951,-1.2521828,3a,70.1y,...

[2] https://www.google.com/maps/@51.7471822,-1.2563676,3a,75y,18...

[3] https://www.google.com/maps/@51.7504861,-1.2448391,3a,75y,12...

[4] https://www.google.com/maps/@55.6698747,12.5700607,3a,75y,31...

[5] https://www.google.com/maps/@55.6598222,12.6187002,3a,75y,16...

I haven't done a statistical analysis, but looking at my way to work now it's more than half of it that's painted bike lanes. That from Østerport to the Parliament, meaning the outskirts of the center to downtown.

It's equally frustrating how a certain class of people, i.e. rabid anti-car cyclists, only read publications within their bubble that are equally anti-car, while constantly throwing shade at any country that is not the paradise Netherlands. I encourage you to take that next step: only commenting on these type of stories within your bubble.

When I commuted to work I cycled 16+ miles a day rain, snow or shine. I also own 2 cars, I love working on them. I've built a few bicycles and regularly maintain them for my friends and family. I think I have a pretty decent perspective on both sides.

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'.

It's NOT about car drivers vs. cyclists. You've immediately classified me into somebody who couldn't possibly cycle, as clearly I am evil. I disagreed with an anti-car pro-bicycle article after all!

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.

I've classified you as someone who doesn't cycle because of how you wrote your initial comment, 'i.e. rabid anti-car cyclists'. This language is the same language people who hold prejudiced views on cycling use. I don't think these people are 'evil', you are making wild assumptions.

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.

I'm a cyclist but I try to get as many perspectives as possible.

Can you recommend some alternative material for cyclists who want to see the other side?

I agree with you. Having a car maximizes your opportunity, so by making it difficult and expensive to own a car and drive hurts the people who need the help the most.

It really depends on the context. Driving is often the only feasible way to get around in sparsely populated areas, or areas with extreme weather.

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.

I live in Boston, in the 90's it was way easier to have a car. The bike lanes have cut our two lane main roads down to one which has created a lot of traffic, a lot more than in the past. And there's much less parking due to the bikes, but also the new developments. The Mayor of Boston in the 90's wouldn't let anyone build housing unless they provided a parking space for every bedroom. The new mayor just green lit a big development that will provide no parking spaces. Having a car is your independence, not having one make you dependent on the public transportation system. It's great if you can choose not to have a car, but I don't think it's fair to prevent other people from making that choice, or making it expensive or difficult.

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?

Thanks for your reply.

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.

I would also like the option of using whatever transportation you like to get around. But my observation has been that the roads are unfortunately not for all in Boston and we need to make a choice. Boston is a great pedestrian city, so I would focus on public transit and prioritize cars over bicycles, it worked better that way in the recent past.

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.

Just to put some perspective on this, I looked up Boston's bike lanes. There are 8 miles of separated bike lanes in Boston, out of 800 miles of down town roads.

Drivers in Boston are being asked to _share_ 1% of the road infrastructure with bikes.

The 60 miles of regular bike lanes caused the loss of parking and loss of two lanes in most of the city's main roads. The main roads are just wide enough to have two lanes of cars, one lane for parking and a nice sidewalk.

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 live in a region where bike infrastructure is underfunded, and car infrastructure is overfunded, it’s probable that’s because cycling is viewed as a recreational activity in your area and thus undeserving of tax dollars compared to ‘essential’ car travel.

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 fairly anti-car myself, But factor in cycling is not practical transportation for most people. It targets a certain demographic, people who have the physical ability to actually cycle. What about those who cannot, what about disabled people? Even if you are fit, anything more that 10 miles a day is difficult.

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.

> cycling is not practical transportation for most people. It targets a certain demographic, people who have the physical ability to actually cycle.

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."

For myself cycling takes about twice as long. Assuming a peak physical condition, then driving.

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 hits on an interesting fundamental that is often skipped when talking about bike infrastructure. Zoning. If you live in a country/area where living, working, recreational activities and shopping all happen in distinct areas, like it does in most cities built for cars, the distances traveled are often too far for the average person. In this case you are kind of right that investing in public transport might be more urgent. To become a true cycling city, municipalities also have to allow for more mixed use development to shorten distances.

Thank you !

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.

Get an electric bike or scooter. The fact that the government is willing to offer thousands of dollars in subsidies for electric cars, when that amount could buy the best of the best electric bike or scooter is insane.

What are the subsidies up to now, $12,500 per car? I haven't spent that on bikes all my life, and it's been my primary transport. Paid retail for all of it, too, of course.

I was referring to the assertion that "most people [cannot] ride a bicycle." Nobody, overweight or not, is going to bike 4 hours a day to get to and from work, that's outside the scope of what we were discussing.

It's not necessarily about physical disabilities. Think about 1 parent with 2 young children and 3 bags of groceries. And that roughly fits a LOT of folks. Maybe if both your house and the grocery store (or other destination) are within 1-2km of a mass-transit stop you can use that - otherwise it's pretty much personal car/bus. And if that's the case for one particular trip, you still need to have this option for the others.

It's a norm to see mothers riding two children on a bike here in Tokyo. Grocery stores are typically in walking distance, so no need for the bike ride for that.

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.

This is such a weird argument. Many people can't drive (minors, elderly, handicapped, health issues, etc.), and we still shade a ton of money on car infrastructure. This is not a zero-sum game; more cyclist means fewer cars, which means better services/life for people who need to drive.

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.

> Many people can't drive (minors, elderly, handicapped, health issues, etc.), and we still shade a ton of money on car infrastructure.

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.

Most people between age 7 and 16/17/18 can ride a bike, but not drive a car.

Younger children can be a passenger on a bike.

> Most people between age 7 and 16/17/18 can ride a bike, but not drive a car.

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.

How many American 16/17 year olds can afford a car? Perhaps more than I realized.

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.

A cheap used car isn't necessarily a huge expense (they start around $3-4k in my area, despite the current shortages), and you don't necessarily need an individual policy or even your own car if you can borrow a family vehicle. It isn't free but many in this age range would have a summer job which could easily cover the expense.

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.

> 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.

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.

Okay, perhaps "full driver's license" was excessively optimistic. I was able to obtain my full license well before 17; I hadn't realized we'd regressed quite so far.

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.

There's bicycles made with accessibility options; tricycles, arm-propelled bikes (sometimes in the form of clip-on accessories for wheelchairs), e-bikes in all shapes and sizes, scooters, etc. I mean that doesn't make it an option for everyone, and a large percentage of people will continue to depend on cars, but at least here in NL with a good bike infrastructure, you see plenty of people on adjusted bicycles getting around, retaining their independence, and reducing their dependence on e.g. reserved parking spaces (which may still be further away from their destination than they can reach with adjusted bikes).

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.

> It targets a certain demographic, people who have the physical ability to actually cycle. What about those who cannot, what about disabled people?

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?

If more people cycle, then thoes with special needs that need a car will have less traffic and more parking space available, thus improving their experience. People using public transit like busses will also have less problems since busses won't be stuck in traffic as much.

Disability comes in many forms. Many disabled people cannot legally drive but can cycle. Others cannot walk easily but can use a specialised bike. And yes, some can drive but not walk or cycle. But this idea that pro-bike = anti-disabled does not hold up.

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.

E-bikes and other electric personal conveyances disrupt various arguments you raised.


Weather ?

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.

I read these types of arguments a lot from people who live in places where cycling is not the norm. They tend to read like strange nitpicks in light of how common it is for people of ages to cycle in different types of weather. 5 miles doesn't seem like that far to cycle. I am by no means an avid cyclist myself - for longer trips I take public transport. But I see plenty of people cycling even while I am on the train, and that's the nice thing: good cycling infrastructure allows us to choose what is most convenient for us on any given day or destination.

"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.

If every American city was dense, I'd go for metro + cycling. But as is that isn't the case.

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.

I sympathize, but don't really feel like your comment addresses anything I said. Maybe I didn't get my message across very well in my comment, so I'll try to clarify it here:

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.

I'm on your side, infact I'm considering nearby bike paths for my next apartment.

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 hope you enjoy your Fixie (and find an apartment with nice bike paths!) I have a little folding Brompton that's served me well over the years, and a beefier e-bike that was a life-saver last year when I didn't want to take public transport due to COVID.

Even if you're overweight, cycling a bike is very rarely a problem. I'm an active cycle campaigner so I am definitely more exposed to many types of cycle commuters, but I know many people who are overweight for whom cycling is their primary method of transport. At two of my friends have told me that they cycle because it is actually more comfortable than walking long distances for them. I personally have an injury which can make it tough to walk long distances, but which doesn't stop me cycling 10x that distance.

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.

> Say it's raining, this makes riding a bike much more dangerous.

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."

You seriously think inexperienced cyclist should ride in bad weather?

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.


Rain does not make in-city cycling significantly more dangerous, and is definitely fine for inexperienced cyclists. But if people cycle regularly, they aren't inexperienced, anyway.

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 actually intrigued by this, I own a bike and whenever it rains, even a little bit I leave it at home.

I'm afraid braking won't work as well, and I'll end up hurting myself.

Sudden braking from a fast speed might be more likely to cause a skid (same as a car but scaled down), but if you're popping down to the shops or commuting to work, you likely will be cycling in a more relaxed style anyway. If you're uncomfertable with braking in the rain, I recommend finding a quiet strip on a rainy day and seeing what it's like. Actively try to skid so that you know what your bike's limits are - from decade of experience cycle commuting in a famously rainy city with some highly aggressive drivers, I've never found the rain to cause additional issues beyond getting wet if I'm unprepared. The only time I have ever come off my bike by my own fault was skidding over a patch of ice about 9 years ago, so I would recommend higher levels of caution in the snow.

When you get a bad feeling about something, it's often an indication of implicit knowledge that you might not be consciously aware of. In this case, I'd suggest your brakes might need maintenance/replacement. As the sibling post here notes, you shouldn't be working near the limit of your brakes in normal use, anyway, and so a small reduction in their ability in rain shouldn't be a problem.

>You seriously think inexperienced cyclist should ride in bad weather?

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.

What should I wear for snow, or ice and how do I know if I would encounter those conditions?

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.

>>If you disagree with that, (and live in a democracy) let someone know!

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 just think people's perception in how easily their opinion should change public policy is wrong. And I'm glad it is. They usually don't know all the nuances behind a given policy.

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).

If any of you have been to Milan, the inner circle of the image [1] is more or less the city boundary. That path could be anything between 70 to 100 km according to how they'll design it. I had no problems cycling 100+ km around the city during the second quasi-lockdown of one winter ago.

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.

[1] Deep link to the bike paths network https://cdn.road.cc/sites/default/files/styles/main_width/pu...

I would have thought that the inner circle would be the Via Santa Sofia-Via Senato circle road.

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.

If you zoom it enough you can read the text albeit only barely. The second circle goes as far as Assago and Sesto San Giovanni; the third goes as far Rozzano and Rho; the fourth goes as far as Cornaredo and Pioltello. Based on this the first circle should be the circonvallazione esterna (viale Liguria etc.).

I found this PDF from the City council [1]

There is an example about "Line 6" at page 14. It starts almost at the eastern city border.

[1] https://www.cittametropolitana.mi.it/export/sites/default/po...

Europe has some serious success in this. UK is also not that bad, London has "Cycle Superhighways"[0], which are essentially 2 way designated lines with 1 bike per line capacity.

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.

[0] https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/routes-and-maps/cycleways

TBF the new biking lane in Viale Monza sucks big time.

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 [1], 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.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_by_committee

the new biking lane in Viale Monza is the greatest thing to happen to Viale Monza since the metro.

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

Glad to see they're making an attempt, and I hope it works out well, but there is a big difference between talking about something that will (might, we hope) get done in the future, VS something that has already been accomplished that one can feel proud of. I look forward to seeing if this can make the transition from the former to the latter.

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.

Giving how well public transportation works in Milan and how expensive it is to own and park a car in the city center, I am surprised at how many people still insist on driving.

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 wish my country would invest more into cycling infrastructure, £200m for 750km of track seems like a pretty good deal (if it's useful). Road infrastructure costs vary, but the last figure I read was around £10m/mile for the UK.

Also don’t forget that road infrastructure actually is a HUGE maintenance burden and thats where most of its cost problems arise.

A local university was surprised apparently. The city had put in a protected bike lane next to their campus, thinking to help students. Welp, it was gorgeous, until they immediately had it all removed, thousands upon thousands of dollars wasted. They needed the few dozen parking spaces back apparently, and the bike path wasn't 100 percent safe as it used the sidewalk in a couple sections. Sigh. It will take us hundreds of years to figure out the proper infrastructure.

Re: London's cycle network... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gohSeOYheXg

BTW the next problem we have to solve after bike paths lacking in a city are showers lacking in office buildings.

I bike to work in -2 to ~30 degrees celcius, as long as you don't go really fast you don't really sweat that much in the climate of Denmark, it's mostly about pacing and not wearing too many layers.

I leave the fastpaced action for the trip home, just bring spare clothes in case of rain :-)

with the weather in Milan, from late June to early September even one layer is too much

Say what you want about leed certifications one very nice aspect of them is they require bike storage & showers in addition to all the green energy requirements.

E-bikes help with this. No need to be sweaty if an electric motor is doing most of the work.

Aaaah completion-date 2035. I see where that’s going (although I’ll be happy to be surprised)

Apparently the first new paths are opening this summer. If they have a regular cadence of opening new paths and prioritize connecting a network together, it won’t matter if they only end up building half because the half they did manage to build could still be a huge improvement.

ah, me too

public work in Italy very seldom respect deadlines;

"scheduled to be ready" .... you can imagine

This is great news to see. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Milan. It is one of my favourite cities, although the pollution is noticeable. Something else I’m hoping this plan will improve is noise pollution. Thanks to the ubiquitous Milan is one of the noisiest cities I’ve been in.

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.

Bikes are a pretty big part of Italian transport, or at least more so than any other place I've been other than Amsterdam.

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.

Italian here: good weather, bikes are kinda cheap, why wouldn't you bike often? The more you bike, the better the infrastructure gets around you.

Bike theft. When I lived in Bologna it was so rampant that there was a place where you could assemble a bike for free out of the parts left by thieves, picked up by the cleaning services.

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 don't quite agree. I mean yes, we use bikes, but Milan is one of the most car-heavy cities I've seen in Europe. There are cars everywhere, parked on tram stops, parked in the middle of the road, etc. It sucks, and I definitely don't feel safe cycling. What you say holds for smaller towns. In my hometown 40 km from Milan I never needed a car nor a bus. (However as soon as you need to go to the next town you need a car.)

Milan and other large Italian cities have a terrible car-centric culture. In Rome this is more justified because public transport sucks. In Milan, I don't get it.

I will believe this kind of change only when I see it.

> In Milan, I don't get 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) .

Here in Berlin you can easily get with the bike through the entire city. If you survive that is a different topic, but you could if you wanted!

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.

> But we know how that goes and nobody actually will care about the scooter enough to return or take care of it.

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.

> Looking at countries like the Netherlands this is not true. Train stations have rentable bikes

Only for residents of NL, I believe (which in no way invalidates your point and I agree with everything you wrote).

well its not neccesairly a pod per person but more a pod the city owns that is shared when i need it. Here in Berlin we do have bikes and scooters the like but its the same with car sharing. Sometimes you still will have to walk 15 minutes to your car (and thats the problem i mostly see with the scooters)

One idea is to put a deposit fee on the scooter, like Michigan has for bottles and cans. Therefore, the choice of whether to dump the scooter or return it is just based on your willingness to pay. Meanwhile, collecting and returning scooters could be a source of some cash income for folks who are otherwise hard to employ.

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!

> Here in Berlin you can easily get with the bike through the entire city. If you survive that is a different topic, but you could if you wanted!

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

for the majority of people it should also be fine to walk (yes, walk!) from their appartment to the next bus/tram/subway station around the corner.

I do bike through the city quite regularly. The city also has wonderful public transit. I’m not sure what more we actually need here, except 24/7 service on weekdays.

Damn this is so cool, I wish we could have something like this in the US. We barely even have sidewalks in Texas (a great many streets only have them on one side), let alone bike pathways.

They did a great way of encouraging biking and reducing total carbon emissions. I hope that other countries will start doing this like this and will create an overall effort to impact our environment positively.

There is an issue that needs consideration, if you compare to Japan which has enormous cycle usage. Although it is good for air pollution, you end up seeing whole seas of cycles everywhere which is not nice in terms of the aesthetic nvironment. Go to a normal suburban train station and there might be 500+ bikes all in a massive area.

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.

Bicycles locked wherever is possible are not nice to look at but to be fair the seas of parked cars along the streets are also not aesthetically nice and cars move maybe 2 or 3 hours per day, then most of them loot the streets. Abandoned cycle shares bicycles are definitely sad to look at and should be removed as soon as possible especially when they belong to a failed company. Disclaimer: I drive much more than I cycle.

In an area where you store 1 car, you could instead store 20 bicycles (more with better storage infrastructure). If 20% of people switch from driving to biking, you can save 19% of the storage space, which will be reclaimed by the city. The decluttering of the public spaces has a positive aesthetic effect on the urban environment, which is clearly visible in Dutch cities.

In my city there is a team that goes around the bike racks marking tyres with chalk. If they find chalk still on the tyre next time they tie a note to the bike saying you need to move it. If they find the note still there next time they remove the bike.

Simple solution for a simple problem.

You should see China. Big sheds crammed with rusting bikes were a commonplace sight, though that was 10 years ago now. You could tell the Americans by their helmets and going 2X faster on fully inflated tires.

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.

Just curious why aren't the locals riding on fully inflated tires?

They ride pretty slow, and don't lavishly maintain their bikes in general. You see people smoking while riding a bike in the city. This applies to the typical bike on the street. I understand there is a road bike culture in China now but that's a whole other thing.

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.

Abandoned bikes are a problem here in Denmark as well, but not an insurmountable one. City workers regularly put tags on the wheels of bikes parked at , fx. the train station. If the tags are not disturbed in a month or so, the bikes are removed.

You can easily fit 10 bicycles in the space of one car.

the real competition for bike paths will be for normal unpowered bikes and slow pedal-assist ebikes competing with fast throttle "ebikes" and electric scooters/mopeds.

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?

The role those fill isn't that different from scooters, which are common in a lot of places. The traditional solution is to let them crowd the road, slowing car traffic and incentivizing using more scooters and other vehicles better able to navigate the congestion.

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.

Now if they could just pick up all the trash and dog shit, we'll be great.

Milan has no problem with trash

I also don’t think that this “benaltrismo” is useful :)

Looking out of the window in Cinisello where I am right now, I'd be inclined to disagree with you. Far far different to Sweden, where I normally live.

It's not as bad as in other places but there should be less trash and dog shit around. About dogs, owners started to pick up their poo and dispose of it years ago so it's not as bad as it used to be. However everything is relative. I was in Japan, maybe Tokyo, with a friend of mine from Switzerland (regarded by Italians as a very clean place) and he looked around and told me with a sad face "It looks cleaner than home."

benaltrismo = whataboutism, for those who don't speak Italian

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