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The most dangerous road for cyclists in America (bicycling.com)
165 points by laurex 62 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 216 comments



At one point I was determined to move to a car-free neighborhood in the US. Unfortunately they all seem to be tourist islands: Fire Island, Monhegan Island, Mackinac Island, Bald Head Island, etc.

I gave up and resigned myself to teaching my kids how to avoid being killed by drivers and advocating for safer street design. But if someone ever builds a Cyclocroft[1] or Culdesac[2] in my region I'd happily move there.

[1] https://twitter.com/mrmoneymustache/status/10960784095689891...

[2] https://culdesac.com/


I simply moved out of America. If you want to live a real car-free life safely in a place where you can have a real job, a normal life, and not just live on some weird little tourist island, that's the only way to make it happen.

As a bonus, you avoid many other problems that America has: a spiraling crime wave, housing crisis (depending on where you go), school shootings, mass shootings, more guns than people, religious restrictions and laws pushed by religious groups, I could go on and on.


For now we're in an old New England town with good bones and good pedestrian infrastructure. Not much in the way of crime waves or shootings and the only religious laws are blue laws which I can live with. But the cars are enormous and just keep getting bigger, and housing is expensive.

Moving to a safer country run by grown-ups is something we considered and it's not off the table if things get worse. My wife and I both worked in Sweden years ago, but besides that I have only been a tourist in Europe, and have never traveled outside of that. I'm curious what countries you have in mind?


I can second Belgium, although I’m a bit biased since I’m Belgian-American.

I used to live in Los Angeles, so talk about a car dependent extreme, and now settled down more permanently in Belgium. I’m car free for about a year and a half now and it’s extremely doable between my bicycle, the train and car sharing.

Every now and then I contemplate moving back to the US but then I run into the same predicament as you, which less-than-completely car dependent place to move to.


Belgian here, moved to America. Living just outside of Los Angeles (TO). Used to live in Belgium. I walk more here than I did in Belgium. Partially because I don't need to deal with the weather anymore. And since I work from home I don't commute.


"Partially because I don't need to deal with the weather anymore. "

I'm completely lost, since it's 7AM, but I would guess it's very hot out there?


No. It’s T-shirt weather 11 months out of the year.


Nice, I lived in Agoura Hills so I’m quite familiar with TO. I used to get more steps in too but you’re in a relatively nicer part of Greater Los Angeles to walk, and that doesn’t change the fact that your transportation options for things beyond a leisurely walk are limited at the end of the day.


Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark (esp Copenhagen) - all modern, safe places to live and cycle.

Just not the UK. We don’t meet your test of “run by grown-ups” …


The UK is on my list. It’s not run by grown ups now, but neither are we. It’s an infinite step up, walkability-wise, and I think things will improve politically over time. Surely you guys are learning some lessons now, right?!


> Surely you guys are learning some lessons now, right?!

I wouldn't count on it. As bad as the Tories are, Labour still doesn't seem to mount much of an opposition. I think the country would be much improved if both those parties were to vanish and replaced by the LibDems and the Greens or something. The SNP frequently comes across as the sanest party on the island, and that's really quite unusual for a separatist party.

(Not a Brit, but I've looking at it from across the channel with varying degrees of horror for a number of years now.)


You could get away without a car in London because the public transport is good. Outside of London it isn’t great, depends on where you are - you will probably need a car. London is not a great place for cycling. It’s very congested. I got knocked off my bike every year there. Maybe not as bad as the US but the UK is still a very car centric country.


When I visited London a couple of years ago, I noticed a couple of very questionable bike paths that were short, appeared out of nowhere, and disappeared into nowhere. Arguably worse than no bike path at all.

Public transport was great, though.


It depends what you mean by "without a car". I live on the edge of a medium sized city in the UK and could manage without a car for getting the kids to school, shopping and I'm still working at home. In practice, I might need to go to work sometimes and my hobbies require a car so I have one.

When saying the UK isn't a place for grownups ( and it certainly isn't run by grownups at the moment ). I'd place it somewhere between American and Northern Europe in terms of the sensible rating! I like American too, but agree with some of the shortcomings mentioned above.


We came over in July to try it out. We stayed in Kent and living car free wasn't a problem at all. We both work from home so that wasn't a problem. I brought my bike and riding around Kent was incredible. Much nicer then back home. I even went out with the local bike club and they all had wonderful things to say about the area.

Now, going in London itself - although it took less then an hour by high speed train - wasn't as much fun by bicycle at all. The cars were crazy and there were stop lights everywhere so it took much longer to get anywhere.


You have to be a special kind of biker to enjoy cycling in London. A friend cycled across London twice a day every day but I'm not sure I'd want to do that. Public transport is good so you can walk or take the tube/bus.


You should get away without a car in London. :)


"Learning lessons" isn't really a thing in UK politics if you look at the general trajectory of the past century. If you like the idea of living in the UK but want to avoid the actual UK, might I suggest Ireland or the Netherlands?


I've thought of both, the Netherlands especially looks very appealing, but they don't allow dual citizenship and, unlike Germany, don't appear to have any plans to ever do so. I don't really want to give up my US citizenship.


Netherlands allows dual citizenship for foreigners marrying Dutch citizens. So if you are single, go for it!

My partner is Dutch. I'm not. My own Dutch citizenship was approved last week.


All university towns in Denmark are bike-friendly and improving. Copenhagen is definitely further along that path, even car-unfriendly, but also with much more expensive housing.

Danish culture is (statistically) not authoritarian. People are expected to think for themselves, and also expect to be allowed to.


How do they treat folks who haven’t yet learned their language and/or don’t look like them?


I moved to Sweden years ago and I can only recommend, especially if you have kids.

Yes, this is not heaven and we are having problems but overall this is a really safe and people friendly place.


What are the problems? I live in the Netherlands by the way. Genuine question.


High taxes, immigration and integration and rising crime rates are just a few. Immigrants tend to complain about the unfriendly natives, the darkness and the slowness of the government.


So it's just the same as the Netherlands?


> I simply moved out of America.

There's nothing simple about getting permanent residency in a country of which you are not a citizen. How did you do it?


Pretty simple: I just got a job here. A job comes with a work visa. There's lots of places where you can get jobs with local companies that will sponsor a visa for you. Then usually, after living in the new country for a while, you're able to apply for permanent residency. Given that this is HN and many people here work in tech, the tech industry in many countries is just as desperate for competent workers as in the US.


It heavily depends on your abilities to get a decent paying job.

If you can convince the review process that out of the gate you'll have stable income (won't be a burden to their society - better yet if you already have the job at entry), is well behaved with potentially high education, the door with easily open.

I think a lot of people here would fit the criteria. Now it becomes exponentially harder the farther you're off that golden path.


I have recruited a lot of people from all around the world, including from USA, to Helsinki. From USA, it's easy for employer and employee. Simplified, one can start working right away and the permanent permits come through before the temporary ones run out. (My info is a couple of years old.)


Just like learning the local language, it is indeed simple, it just takes a lot of time.

(I did it too.)


Same here, I only have one life and given that I have the means to, I might as well live it somewhere whose values align with mine. No regrets!

(Based on your username I'm guessing you're also in Japan?)


>Same here, I only have one life and given that I have the means to, I might as well live it somewhere whose values align with mine.

Yep, this was exactly my thought process too!

>(Based on your username I'm guessing you're also in Japan?)

Good catch! Yes, that's correct. Biking isn't perfect here, but it's not bad, and I'm not afraid for my life.


How’s the diversity and acceptance of foreigners? Will non-white immigrants be treated fairly?

During a conference there, I (a brown person) didn’t feel as welcome as in the US. Same holds for Europe.

The US despite its flaws is orders of magnitude more diverse and welcoming than the alternatives here.

I am okay sacrificing walkability for being treated as an equal.


Where I grew up in the flyover parts of the USA as a mixed race kid, my school had around 5 people in my year who weren't either white or black, and experienced some instances of hillbillies and old people complaining about me being there because I didn't blend in. Can't say that the community really made me feel integrated despite being born and raised there. Interestingly my close American friends generally tend to have a similar background.

In Japan if you're hoping to blend in as a Japanese person, that's a pipedream - you're not Japanese, you don't speak, look, act, or think like a Japanese person, and you probably never will. It's not the same as America where anyone can legitimately call themselves American. And that's fine if you ask me, Japanese people have every right to preserve and be proud of their unique heritage.

But people will treat you "as an equal" in day-to-day life so long as you at least try to assimilate (speak some Japanese, be generally polite). So long as you don't hold onto the belief that one day you will be Japanese, then you won't be bothered by the fact that you're different.

I lived in China for some time as well, and that was similar; my friends who have lived in India seem to feel the same way, and I suspect this is the case in any country with a dominant ethnicity or sufficiently distinct culture.

That said I do hear it's harder to climb corporate hierarchy as a foreigner, but it's not something I worry about since I just work for global/foreign companies rather than for Japanese ones. A legitimate concern for others who want to join the rat race, though (still amazed @patio11 subjected himself to that).

Guess it's a difference of values; I for one would easily take walkability over blending in with the crowd, but maybe that's because I never have experienced that even in the USA (and I lived in SF and spent time in NYC, and honestly I have had as much culture shock in those places as I did in Tokyo). I've come to see "equality" as a different thing than how Americans typically view it, and my particular circumstances allow me to navigate around the parts where I would hit a glass ceiling while enjoying the parts where I wouldn't.


> I (a brown person) didn’t feel as welcome as in the US. Same holds for Europe

Europe is vast. You might get funny looks in a country that doesn't have lots of non-their own colour palette, especially in smaller places. E.g. in a smaller village in Romania, "brown" people are rare, so funny looks or the occasional ignorant comment are.. expected.

However if you go to a more mixed country, like France, Spain, Germany, Italy, there will be the occasional hardcore racist (as everywhere, stupid is not nationality/ethnicity specific) but those are rare, mostly old, and shunned by society. And extremely rare in big cities. (As an example, a few years ago in Paris an old lady sad "of course it's a black person" about a woman talking loudly in an African sounding language on a bus, and multiple people reprimanded her).


Exactly how did you not "feel as welcome"?

I see brown people here all the time; I even work with some.

Have you tried visiting northern Idaho BTW? Good luck feeling welcome and treated as an equal there.


During the conference, I was networking and inquiring about tenure track positions. I got the vibe that my application wouldn’t be successful. And the data bears this out.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Japan

Tell me can a brown person aspire to the highest post in Japan?

I did my PhD in a very conservative area in the US. I have travelled a lot.

There is this weird fetishization of Japan, an ethnostate, by white folks who don’t consider other experiences even exist.


You "got a vibe" about some tenure-track position and somehow this makes the place "unwelcoming"? Wow. Obviously you've made up your mind despite having no actual experience living here.

>Tell me can a brown person aspire to the highest post in Japan?

You mean the PM? No, of course a non-Japanese person is not going to be the head of government. How about in America? Can an immigrant be the President? Definitely not, it's unconstitutional.

>There is this weird fetishization of Japan, an ethnostate, by white folks who don’t consider other experiences even exist.

Only Americans say I have a "fetish" for wanting to live in a place that's walkable, peaceful, and doesn't have school shootings. Every time I have a discussion about Japan with them, I get utterly bizarre accusations like this and I'm so glad I got out of that insane country.


As a brown person, I don't even feel welcome in the Netherlands and I'm a native Dutch perron.

Health care is non-existent for me. I'm happy to explain it later on, since I'm sleepy.

Education is way more difficult with autism, nobody will help you, but someone else non-brown will make things easier.

I have to prove every ducking thing.


Most of America has much less crime than most places to which Americans consider moving, objectively.


Which places are you talking about?

According to https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/crime-rat... the US has amongst the highest crime rate of "1st world" (I know loaded) countries, I can only see France and Sweden at slightly higher.


He's probably talking about places where there's no people. The western states have many places like this.

And what is going on in France? Their crime rate is much higher than all their neighbors, and in the range of countries like Mexico, Ecuador, Paraguay, etc. Sweden is a surprise too; again, their neighbors score much better.


Its unpopular to say these days, but France failed with immigration. Too easy to get citizenship, many people from northern Africa or Middle east who are not integrated and have crappy jobs at best. It shows in frustration of 2nd generations who feel they are bound for blue collar jobs at best, hence the massive unrests and burning of cars some years ago.

Getting your phone/purse/whatever nicked in Paris became sort of tradition and part of visit long time ago (for me it was the phone, in museum where they have Napoleon at rest... seriously staff working the lockers just took it from my backpack).

It even leaks into neighboring countries, ie Geneva surrounded by France from 3 sides is the town with highest crime in whole Switzerland. Second highest is Basel, on the border with... you get the pattern.


Most places in the USA have low crime. Almost all of the USA’s crime is concentrated in the bad parts of a few cities.


That's ... not true.

Wage theft is one of the most common forms of crime in the US, and it's widespread, including wage theft from farm workers.

(Indeed, farm employers may be violating a lot of laws - https://www.epi.org/publication/federal-labor-standards-enfo... .)


Yes, you’re 100% correct. I meant violent crime, my mistake for not specifying. The USA is corrupt as fuck and there is tons of graft done throughout industry (as you note) and local, state, and federal government that makes the violent crime dollar amounts seem tiny by comparison.

Police steal more dollar value from innocent people in the USA than burglars do. This is of course crime but is not counted in normal crime statistics or regarded as violent crime despite police doing this while armed.


I don't believe "Almost all of the USA’s [violent] crime is concentrated in the bad parts of a few cities" is all that correct. I believe it's because your understanding may come from older reports.

As far as I can tell, per capita violent crime is indeed often higher in urban areas than suburban or rural areas, but sometimes the violent crime rate in rural US is higher than the national average.

Quoting a 2018 publication at https://atlantablackstar.com/2018/07/16/rural-red-states-tha... :

> According to Pew Research, violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply in the past 25 years. For the first time in a decade, violent crime in rural areas has surpassed the national average, as the website Governing reported. The reasons for this state of affairs are severalfold: Although all rural areas are not poor, poverty has increased, which has led to an increase in crime. Employment has fallen in the countryside as farming has consolidated and manufacturing jobs have left. Further, the opioid crisis , as well as the methamphetamine epidemic,continue to make their presence known in small towns as a driver of crime. Finally, there are fewer law enforcement resources in the country due to shrinking tax bases, with fewer jail cells, and sheriff’s deputies required to cover significantly larger patrol areas than their urban counterparts. This rural reality provides an opening for criminal activity such as drug dealing to thrive.

Or, Table 7 of https://bjs.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh236/files/media/docu... states that in 2019 the rate of violent crime in suburban US was higher than that of urban US.

There are regional numbers at https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/252630.pdf?utm_cont... correctly, ("Victimization in Different Types of Areas in the United States: Subnational Findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010–2015").

In looking at the numbers I think the take-home message is that violent crime is not mostly due to "bad parts of a few cities".


Not only this, but these statistics are all pre-pandemic. Things have changed a LOT in America since 2019, and not for the better.


Table 7 also lists 2020, which is the first pandemic year.

Violent crime rate dropped in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

2021 numbers should be out within a month.


If you want to live in a place with a Costco, you’ve got crime.


I'm really skeptical of comparing crime rates across borders. Slight variations in enforcement, reporting, different processes for conviction, etc can really mess up the data.

Even local crime statistics are a mess to interpret, extrapolating to the whole world feel suspect.


No just Bikes has an episode about a car free neighborhood [1], in Canada.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWDFgzAjr1k


Love the channel. The Toronto Islands seem like an attractive place to live. With a population of only ~700 and a (full) waiting list capped at 500 it's clearly in high demand, which makes it all the more strange to me that more developers aren't building places like these.

I mean, I can't be the only one who is willing to pay 2-3x more to live in a neighborhood with no cars.


Well in this case the no-car neighborhood's houses are 1/3 the price of normal houses due to a weird law. I wonder how much that contributes to the waitlist.


Because in most places in North America it would be illegal to build because of strict zoning laws https://piped.kavin.rocks/watch?v=ajSEIdjkU8E


Ah. I was searching for "Not Just Bikes", but you have a small typo, so I added my own comment.

Highly recommended channel!


What about Davis CA? Town designed and inspired by Dutch Biking.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/aug/03/davis-califor...


Roosevelt Island isn't car free, but if you're willing to accept 15mph max speeds, no through traffic in exchange for living in NYC with some of the most incredible views it's a nice place to be.


Good point. I used to bike over the Queensboro bridge every day and daydream about living there. I even took the gondola once to see what a commute like that would be like. We ended up looking at a couple condos in an older building near the church there but never made any offers and eventually moved to New England for other reasons.

But Roosevelt Island and Governor's Island were like the two places I ever felt halfway relaxed in NYC.


Throw Randall's on that list too.. the quietest of them all.


How do you teach to avoid being killed?


The road toll in the US is staggering given its wealth. The conversation to reduce it doesn’t obviously exist like it does in other places. The NHTSA figures showed an increase per kilometre in 2021, where many developed nations are showing a year on year reduction. Any Americans want to posit a reason why?


I feel that road rage has increased even in rural areas. Being on a bicycle or on foot automatically makes you an “other” and the contempt on busy roads is palpable. The law states “cars must yield to pedestrians in crosswalk” (novel idea) but it seems many in cars look at me like “what are you going to do about me not stopping? nothing” which mirrors a certain political climate as well. There’s a sense of entitlement and power when you have your fellow man’s life in your hands - and many choose to aggressively step on the gas.

As an aside, I’m raising a 5 and 2 year old a block away from a very busy 4 lane (2x2) street. A few years ago the state awarded our city a grant for a road diet (1x1+center turn). Everything was set to be changed and then our city council was replaced by car-loving candidates sponsored by local big-money. The grant was forfeited and the road remains oversized and dangerous.

The upside is I get to teach my children how dangerous this road is, meaning they won’t have a complacency that otherwise could set in if the road was made safer.

What a twisted logic … ugh!


The conventional answer is that vehicles are getting bigger/higher off the ground/heavier in the US.

Some new pickup trucks are so big and have such a bad view of the road in front of them that you can't even see a normal sized car stopped in front out the windshield and they need to have a front camera. A lot of SUVs aren't quite there yet but they are getting ridiculously big/heavy and still high enough that it's hard to see children in front.

The height means that the bumper is positioned in a much worse way and rather than rolling on the windshield you'll just die if you're hit. The weight also increases the risk to pedestrians in a collision.

Also, some other countries are doing much more serious things to reduce pedestrian/cyclist deaths while the US is doing pretty much nothing.


In Seattle, they paint bike lanes everywhere. The craziest ones are the ones that Kriss-Kross the car lanes, like those slot car tracks where the cars swap lanes.

Madness.

There's no way I'd ever ride a bike in those lanes.

I hate the Kriss-Kross when I'm driving, because in slow traffic the bikes often move faster, passing on the right and then Kriss-Krossing in front of you.


I biked many thousands of miles to/from work/school in Seattle - well, up until the third time I got run over and decided to call it quits - and agree 1000%.

The idea that "sharing the road" is possible if only we were all a little nicer and more attentive is a supremely naive fantasy that exists primarily as a justification to not build real physically divided infrastructure.

Painted bike lanes (and crosswalks, tbqh) are death traps and overall fucking terrible fig-leaf concepts. Barriers (and over/underpasses, etc) or nothing.


I generally feel safe at crosswalks, but I never trust the infrastructure of the crosswalk to keep me safe. If you blindly trust the crosswalk light you'll probably wind up dead. I always look both ways while crossing the street, I keep my head on a swivel during the entire crossing not just the start. Ultimately I am responsible for my own safety, I won't get a second life just because the traffic light said I was in the right.

If you stay attentive when crossing, I think almost all crosswalks are safe. If you aren't attentive when crossing, none of them are safe.


> ”Painted bike lanes (and crosswalks, tbqh) are death traps and overall fucking terrible fig-leaf concepts. Barriers (and over/underpasses, etc) or nothing.”

Painted, unprotected lanes aren’t ideal, but they’re better than nothing if they encourage more people to cycle.

There’s plenty of examples where I live where painted cycle lanes have later been upgraded to proper protected cycle lanes (with kerbs, cycle-specific signals at intersections, etc) once they showed the demand was there.

I’d also argue that simply having more cyclists in an area makes cyclists safer because car drivers become more aware of them.


Sharing the road with a sane driver travelling at sane speed limits in a sane car is perfectly reasonable. There's no practical reason 95% of motor vehicles couldn't be as small as the eu L7e class (or even half the weight) and governed to 40km/h (with a manual override for larger roads) with the remaining 5% only travelling on local roads by timed permit. Filling the roads with monster trucks is an intentional policy choice, not some inevitability and even not what people would naturally decide to do.

For rural roads a bike lane works fine as there are very few conflict points.


> “Filling the roads with monster trucks is an intentional policy choice”

It really is. For decades, US fuel economy standards, emissions rules, and tax breaks and depreciation rules have all been weighted in favor of bigger, heavier vehicles.


There is a bike lane near my house painted on the right side of the road. At some point, it just ends. Then a hundred feet away, it just starts up again on the left side of the road. Every time I ride it, I’m amazed that such a crazy design is still there. Do the civil engineers think that bikes are able to teleport?

Sometimes I think it is a decorative bike lane - there to give the impression of biking, not for actual use.


It's there to satisfy a requirement, nothing more. It's not actually intended to be used. The people who made the requirement don't ride bikes, and are just fishing for votes. The people who made the lane are just fulfilling the contractual requirement for the city, and also don't ride bikes.


People who actually ride bikes were not consulted about any of these designs, no question. I love getting shouted at by belligerents about not using the bike lane because I consider it to be hazardous.


Being around local government conversations in California, public and private, for mostly unrelated reasons, and only privately being interested in bicycle and pedestrian policy, I became enormously disillusioned and depressed about the chances of making real change. There was a sense that anyone arguing for good bicycle infrastructure was seen as akin to a militant political extremist who should be excluded from any real conversation: I once waited while a planning hearing for a major project was delayed for around forty five minutes while the simple request from a father that a single bike rack be put near a public park was met with a sea of concerned residents who seemed to describe him as everything from a likely outside invader, to a paid activist, to someone who should be investigated by CPS (Where was the mother of the children? Why wasn't she at the meeting?), to someone who wanted to make the park a place where murderous teenage bicyclists would run down senior citizens trying to walk on pleasant paths. Bicycle infrastructure was only really discussed in terms of getting funding, then placed in pointless locations, or left in endless planning. What seemed like a wilful misinterpretation of Vision Zero was used as an argument against any pedestrian safety improvements other than speed limit reductions and speed bumps, with a seeming focus on suburban single-family-home residential areas where, entirely coincidentally I am sure, residents were upset about traffic noise. I actually heard a transport commission member argue that the city should not consider improving crosswalk and pedestrian intersection safety, because Vision Zero showed speed limits were better for preventing fatal accidents. Even simply asking if police would increase pedestrian patrols instead of driving on pedestrian paths in even small parks in street patrol cars was met with enormous hostility.

At best, bicycle and pedestrian topics would get a question or two at local debates, usually along the lines of "Do you walk, or take public transport, or ride a bicycle in the area?", almost always answered along the lines of "Yes, of course, in [some rare situation], but I can't normally because it isn't suitable transportation when working". But as locals would primarily vote based on somewhat arbitrary senses of feeling and intuition, without considering direct local questions or any research, nothing really changed.

The same projects and funding, which out-of-the-way places to add patchwork bike lanes to, and whether those bike lanes should be painted, or maybe just "bike route / share the road" signs on the side of the road, are probably being discussed now, a decade later.


Almost every bike lane near me is like this. Just randomly fucking ends with no notice, dumping you onto a 4 lane divided highway. Or has you weaving in and out of traffic between cars in the far lane and the turn lane. Or there's parking to the left of the bike lane, and people park in the bike lane (never ticketed, of course) instead of the designated parking area with plenty of room. Or there are cars parked to the right of the bike lane that you must watch very carefully in case a door suddenly opens in your path. Or there's just a bike painted onto the shoulder (2.5 feet wide shoulder) where all the rocks, broken glass, and other debris accumulate. The worst offender I've seen is a set of sharrows in downtown that leads you directly onto a highway that legally cyclists are not allowed on (they certainly couldn't ride there safely), and terminate after you're already beyond the point of no return down the one-way on-ramp. If you didn't know better, you could end up in real trouble.

If it weren't so frustrating it would be comical.


I’m not in the US but that happens all the time in the north of Ireland where I live. I’m convinced that bike lanes here are designed by someone who drove a Transit van down the road once.


Unfortunate NACTO (which is considered LESS shitty for bikes/pedestrians than AASHTO, whose road design guidelines are used in more places in the US) actually recommends these things: https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/int...

This design is absolutely terrible, so hopefully this will change at some point (other countries like the Netherlands have figured out better approaches to how to allow cars to turn when there's a bike lane).


Yeah, some of those designs look pretty bad. The solution in London at busy intersections is to have separate signals for cyclists and turning motor traffic. Turning traffic will have a red light while cycle traffic has green and vice-versa.

At smaller intersections without signals, the turning motorist is responsible for looking for (and giving way to) cycle traffic before turning across the cycle lane.


As a cycle commuter I feel like London compromises very heavily because the authorities aren't willing to reallocate or expand the existing road space to do what's necessary, and instead just do what they can.


True. It's much better than it was 5-10 years ago, but there's still much more to be done. Some councils are better than others.

Obviously most London roads can't be "expanded", but even reallocating a few parking spaces can often create a lot of space for cyclists and pedestrians.


I'm obviously biased as I commute 18 miles from South London, but I think it could be done. We built tarmac roads where they didn't previously exist, after all.

I think the core problem is that councils are allowed to drag their feet or do dumb shit. CS3 is too narrow to safely passage oncoming traffic and veers across roads, CS7 has a "safety" bollard right after a chicane. These don't seem like the actions of people who view separated cycling infrastructure as a priority.


NACTO really hasn't vetted their designs or really written a standard design guide https://john-s-allen.com/blog/2014/04/endorse-nacto/


Can we just copy the design standards of the Netherlands? With 0 brain-power used it would result in an instant order of magnitude improvement.


" In Seattle, they paint bike lanes everywhere. The craziest ones are the ones that Kriss-Kross the car lanes, like those slot car tracks where the cars swap lanes"

Same in the Netherlands, not all bicycle and stoplights are equal


European here. We mostly get what you guys have in terms of cars and politics lagging just a few years or months back. Usually with narrower roads and worse infrastructure.


From a pedestrian safety perspective, narrower roads and worse infrastructure is a good thing. It slows cars down and makes it less pleasant to drive, so fewer do.


You'd expect so (and I'd hope so) but nope. Drivers become even more reckless. Driving huge, noise-insulated cars seems to put them in the mindset of total control, detachment from actual speed and "I'm not gonna hurt myself anyways". Depending on the country you can add a less than perfect driver education (if any) to the mix.


The other side of the coin is that you're safer inside a bigger and heavier vehicle when you're inevitably in an accident. A big Ford F-350 is going to have a much better chance of successfully protecting its passengers than a Toyota Camry.


Safety for you at the direct expense of everyone else. Classic tragedy of the commons I suppose.


This is not wrong, but it's a horrible arms race that leads to an incredible loss of life as well as massive amounts of unnecessary pollution.


"Make sure the other guy dies" is not a great approach to social policy.


But it is a very American approach.


So, arms race towards everyone driving a tank?


Let's drive tanks then, and play https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RoadBlasters !1!!

edit: Did not downvote, because on point.

But mine is too, in extrapolation.


Based on what? I have never heard of this rule "Bigger = safer".

Nothing "inevitable" about accidents.


It's very simple physics: if your vehicle is much larger than the vehicle you crash into, you're going to have lower acceleration forces inside your vehicle and thus experience fewer injuries.

Sucks to be the person in the other vehicle though. The end result is an arms race of vehicle sizes.


>Nothing "inevitable" about accidents.

Car accidents are a question of when, not if. Sooner or later you're going to be in one.

If you somehow get through life without ever being involved in one, you were a very lucky bastard.


Then I'm a lucky bastard, as lifelong pedestrian and bicyclist. Though I'm always acting as everybody else on wheels is out there trying to kill me.

Not even intentionally, just some distraction, inattention, miscalculation of my speed, or even sudden technical defect, or health problem.

Though I had countless near misses.


That's a defeatist attitude. Most people I know have never been in a car accident (I actually have; I just remembered. I hit a bike when turning right when I just had my license; never happened since, fortunately. Nobody was hurt). But I live in a country that cares about safe traffic design; that matters a lot.


>That's a defeatist attitude.

It's called being realistic.

First, think of the stupidest guy you can think of and understand half of humanity is stupider than him.

Second, think of simply how many people and cars are on the road at any given time. Counting would be a fool's errand, to say the least.

Third, understand that driving a car is not something that comes naturally or instinctively. Some might be more talented drivers than others, but we all have to learn how to drive a car to varying degrees of competency.

Fourth and finally: Murphy's Law.

When you combine all of these together, it's a miracle that we aren't seeing several orders of magnitudes more car accidents on a daily basis. The old saying that you're more likely to be in a car accident going to the airport than the chance you'll be in a plane accident is based in reality.

If you get through life without being in a car accident, I reiterate you were a lucky bastard and I would sincerely be happy for your good fortune.


Live in Germany, driving for 25 years. Never was in an accident. Same as my father, who has been driving for more than 45 years. Anecdotes, I know, but I definitely know less people that were in accidents than those that were not.


Nobody in my wider family drives. But I remember 4 accidents. 2 as passengers in a car, which is already very rare in a family without cars. 2 hit by cars breaking traffic law when cycling. Nothing overly dramatic happened, but still.

Most of my relatives and friends have been in car accidents. 2 friends of friends even deadly.

Germany, too.

Edit: My active memory is around 50 years.


Other countries are literally reducing road space that is exclusively for car use and building protected bike lanes and pedestrian spaces where such road users cannot be killed by cars.

The USA is likely not to the same degree. (Certainly not at the pace of Paris, which has changed remarkably)

This is the simple, dull solution. Cars inevitably kill other road users because they’re fundamentally unsafe. Remove cars from having any possible interaction with other road users and deaths go down. It’s that simple.


Many factors:

The Americas, as a whole, are a more violent place. Life is just not valued as much.

American apartments suck in every way, particularly sound. Most people in cities go through a phase of apartment living and it sucks and as soon as they can afford they move into a house, but they require cars because even the houses are built poorly and only have a semblance of privacy with big spaces between them.

So most people need cars, any costs added to cars are costs borne by most people, people don't like voting for things that cost them personally. We don't trust the government to execute social change, because both the right and left preach against it (cabrini green, for example).


Oh, fun fact: Washington state legislature tried to reduce the number of DUIs before you go to prison from 5 to 4, but they decided not to because it would cost too much money.

We have to have some sort of collective trauma that should be worked out.


I was on the Jury for someone in California with a prior DUI that caused an accident (injuries but not deaths) while drunk, fled the scene and ditched the car. After a plea bargain, no jail time.


Driving culture is pretty bad here. Get out into very rural areas, and drinking and driving can be frighteningly common.

Also, as is in the article, the punishment for speeding tends to be a slap on the wrist by way of a comparatively small fine. You'd need to be going at least 20 miles an hour over the speed limit before you're in real trouble.

That said, the numbers are still small enough that the average person doesn't really care about it come election day- not in comparison to other issues. And that's if they even care about local elections at all- these are issues handled at the state level, which makes a very tiny percentage of the population who is even remotely interested in.


I'm not entirely sure if this is a US only problem, but Americans have a way about making logistical details of how they lead their life a fundamental part of their identity. Roads, cars, obesity, single family homes, HOA are IMO all symptoms of this.

The bureaucrats are never trusted with even the most minute details by the populace or the politicians. This is a problem of the left and right. If statistics show that BRT will reduce traffic, but if the population thinks that 'removal of a lane' will slow road traffic, then no change will occur. From the location of a train-stop to an affordable income apartment, local politics poisons all efforts grinding all efforts to a complete halt. participation in local politics is good. Micromanaging governance using 2 minute snippets from a tiktok video as inspiration is not.

The left ignores all literature around urban crime management, the science around obesity and effectiveness (or lack thereof) of good-intentions based educational interventions. The right ignores all literature around infrastructure regulation, transit, welfare or coercive religious interventions.

The gridlock means that systems that are in a downwards spiral (urban crime, car accidents, obesity epidemic, drug epidemic, school costs, healthcare costs) continue spiralling. The most radical of either political side leverages this using promises of policies that can never be enacted, while any politician who might have been willing to strike compromises for slow movement towards real solutions is pushed out of their party.

IMO, a center-left or center-right govt. with a Party Govt. (Pres, Senate, House) up & down the ballot with the ability to pass bills would be able to push for useful change, even if it is with policies that are diametrical. The grid-lock is an unstable equilibrium, where a move in any direction will probably make things a lot better than just staying still.


> The left ignores all literature around urban crime management

Can you elaborate here? Didn’t mean to get totally off rails but this seems the opposite to me. Social-democrat European cities tend to have less crime than American ones.


> The left ignores all literature around urban crime management,

Isnt it the right that ignores any literature except like two old books with the theories that are heavily under dispute?


>The bureaucrats are never trusted with even the most minute details by the populace or the politicians. This is a problem of the left and right.

This has to do with the founding principles of the United States.

Remember, the US came about as a result of giving the finger to British governance (read: bureaucracy). All Americans can unanimously agree to hate on politicians and the government, specific exceptions notwithstanding.


> Remember, the US came about as a result of giving the finger to British governance (read: bureaucracy). All Americans can unanimously agree to hate on politicians and the government,

This is bullshit. The cry in Boston was "no taxation without representation", not "fuck the government".


Puerto Rico would like to have a word.


Yes, no taxation without representation.

Also known as: Fuck a government that just takes our money and then tell us to fuck off.

The sentiment is enshrined in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, and it is the basis for the forever-long American distrust of bureaucracies.


USA was heavy on governmental involvement whole its history - both for good and bad purposes.


> Any Americans want to posit a reason why?

2 things. 1) Covid / social distancing fucked up everyone's interpersonal skills. So if you're driving towards a pedestrian or cyclist, people are like "fuck it, they deserve to die if they're in my way." 2) It's currently the "style" to have pedestrian-killing bull bars on your truck. People think they look cool, but it just crushes the pedestrian you hit into a paste instead of pushing them up and over your hood.

1 is probably hard to fix. 2 should just be made illegal instantly. I get if you drive your pickup truck on a farm, or are regularly participating in high speed chases as a police officer, they might come in handy (?), but if you're driving around in the city commuting to your desk job, you don't need 'em. It just turns "we broke every bone in that poor pedestrian's body" into "he's dead, Jim". Absolutely no need for that; if we want to keep cars around, we need to design them to do minimal damage to the other road users they hit while their drivers are drunk. It might not look cool, but even better than looking cool is not murdering other people.


On the bright side, at least collision avoidance systems (AEB) in modern vehicles are getting better at detecting and avoiding pedestrians and cyclists.


And yet still the pedestrian death toll is rising. Even technology that would seem miraculous 20 years ago isn't enough to slow down the carnage.


This isn't just a car driver issue. 90% of the cyclists and 75% of the pedestrians are also like "fuck it!", I don't care that the light is red, I'm crossing now. Fuck anyone who has the right of way. They'll have to wait". Add in the pedestrians who don't even look up from their phones as they cross on the red. Probably drivers doing this too.

I'm not making excuses for cars. They are obviously big and heavy and kill people. Rather I'm saying the attitude of "fuck you, I'm going" is ubiquitous, at least in some parts of the USA.


Yeah, you should wait. The streets are for pedestrians and cyclists, car drivers can do whatever they need to do later. You can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5 seconds. We're walking around at 3mph if we're in a hurry.


Because we are generally extraordinarily stubborn.


"Given its wealth" America is basically dirt poor. We have almost no public realm worth having. The only things we have that make us seem wealthy are things you can easily count, like bank accounts and big TVs and huge medical bills that make our GDP seem artificially high.


People going faster due to less congestion due to the pandemic.


Don't know why you're down-voted when NHTSA agrees that's one of the factors. Quoting https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/56125 :

> During the first 9 months of 2020, driving patterns and behaviors in the United States changed significantly (Wagner et al., 2020; Office of Behavioral Safety Research, 2021). Of the drivers who remained on the roads, some engaged in riskier behavior, including speeding, failure to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Traffic data cited in those reports showed average speeds increased during the Q2 and Q3, and extreme speeds became more common.

At https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/58456 :

> Analyses of speeding behavior (driving faster than the posted speed limits) since the start of the pandemic reveal other changes. Cambridge Mobile Telematics (2021) analysis of telematic data suggested that as trips taken decreased by 50%, their measure of speeding risk increased by 45%. Further, they reported an approximate one third increase in speeding above pre-pandemic levels from November 2020 through March 2021.

Or from https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/03/30/as-roads-empty-to-cov...

> “We do have fewer car crashes right now, because there are fewer cars,” said Jacque Knight, a St. Louis-based traffic planner. “But the crashes we do have are likely to be more severe because speed is the biggest determinant of serious injury and mortality — especially for pedestrians. Our hospitals can’t handle that right now.”


Was it because there was exceptionally less driving in 2020?


The title mentions the most dangerous road, but I see no pictures or visual details of the road itself except for a terrible picture taken from a corner that looks like 80% of the multiple lane roads in America.


That’s because it literally looks like 80% of the multiple lane roads in America. There are probably >20 intersections in my city that would be completely indistinguishable.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/vGr7gyiEPTfXxtY17?g_st=ic

It’s also the point of the article. These very dangerous designs are everywhere and they kill thousands every year. A man was killed in my city two nights ago on an arterial just like this one.


I was also looking for photos or diagrams of the road. So weird they didn’t include any.


It's your basic north American "stroad".


Why would you expect it to look different? Danger comes from metrics or proximities or traffic patterns or design flaws not apparent in a photo.


I've seen accidents out there.

I guessed that this was the stretch of road correctly before even reading the article.


I guessed Pacific Coast Highway, but i actually had a worse time biking everywhere in california on Imperial Highway.

I live in Central Louisiana now, and while i loved the health benefits of biking, i will never bike in louisiana. There is no infrastructure at all for anyone except motorists anywhere except a 4 block area downtown.


As a European that multiple lane road looks lethal for cyclists so I guess that tracks.


In the absence of any hope of a quick and easy solution for car and pedestrian interactions, there are a couple of rules I always follow personally when crossing.

1) Cars always go first/have right of way, and I will wait until ideally, there is a gap in traffic

2) Move into a position where you are "almost" obstructing the vehicle's path (to get driver to stop, but to be able to pull back if they do not), and stare at the driver and make eye contact, waiting until the vehicle comes to a stop before entering its path.

3) Once in the path of the vehicle, sprint or move as quickly as possible out of the vehicle's path to avoid the eager accelerators

4) if possible, tag onto a group of strangers (run to catch up if needed, then stick with group). Cars have a lower chance of running over a larger group of people

5) Spend as little time as possible in the roadway, move quickly, and mentally focus on crossing before reaching intersection


It's not great that you have to do something like a fairly complicated extreme sport just to cross the road.


>4) if possible, tag onto a group of strangers (run to catch up if needed, then stick with group). Cars have a lower chance of running over a larger group of people

There's an old saying in Japan that goes: "It ain't scary crossing a red light when you're in a group!" :V


> There's an old saying in Japan that goes: "It ain't scary crossing a red light when you're in a group!" :V

Originally that wasn't even a saying, it was a joke (famously told by Beat Takeshi's comedy duo around 1980). I guess that's long enough ago that you can say it's old now and because it sounded so much like a saying it's basically accepted as a saying now though.


You have to scroll about 2/3rds of the way down the article to see the description of the crash:

>> Andrew entered the left lane on the far side of the road as a 19-year-old was driving down it in a red Toyota Camry. In a statement included in the police report, the driver said he was headed to Starbucks and estimated he was going 55 mph. The speed limit was 40. At 55 mph, it takes the distance of a football field to stop a car. Suddenly there was a boy on a bike in the road before him and now that boy and his bike were rolling up the hood and into the windshield that abruptly shattered and now they were airborne and now they were not and the driver was pulling off to the side of the road and running over to the boy lying in the road by his twisted bike but the boy wasn’t moving. It all happened so quickly. The driver called 911.

Earlier in the article, they mention that he had been taught to cross in the crosswalk:

>> He crossed, probably, in the crosswalk because he’d been taught he’d be protected there

Searching google maps, this intersection[1] may be the one he crossed, but the article didn't really specify where he crossed, so it's not possible to determine whether he crossed at an intersection in a crosswalk or mid-block.

From the description in the article it says:

>> Andrew entered the left lane on the far side of the road as a 19-year-old was driving down it in a red Toyota Camry.

Does that mean that the motorist was going to run a red light? Was the cyclist crossing on a red light or a don't walk signal? Looking through Google streetview on Hempstead Turnpike between N Wantagh Ave and Berger Ave, there are no mid-block crosswalks that I can see; the only crosswalks are at traffic signal controlled intersections.

If the motorist ran a red light, then why wasn't he arrested and/or charged with violating that law? The motorist admitted he was exceeding the posted speed limit by a significant amount, but he wasn't even charged with speeding.

Or did the cyclist just cross mid block without checking for approaching traffic or crossed against the light and/or pedestrian signal?

[1] https://goo.gl/maps/pida8vz91j5iumjGA


You're looking for fault and there's something to that but there's also just re-designing the streets to prevent the accidents in the first place

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ByEBjf9ktY

also

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-26/u-s-lesso...


Crashes have a number of factors that lead up to one. When the NTSB investigates an aircraft incident, they look into the actions or lack thereof that lead up to the incident and issue recommendations based on what their investigation finds. They don't look for fault, but they look into what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

Could we not do something similar here? What lead up to the crash? Is there a police report that describes the events leading up to the crash in more detail? What about witness statements or video recordings that may have captured the events leading up to the crash or the crash itself.


The fault is to some degree the design of the road.

It's fine to have highways that convey people in cars quickly from one place to another at high speed. But these should have few exits, and pedestrians and cyclists should not be anywhere near them.

Streets in cities should be slow and safe for all road users.

Here's an article about a known deadly street. There's been a push to redesign it to be safer, but some people place a higher value on the convenience of carrying more car traffic.

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2022/9/23/springfield-de...


> The fault is to some degree the design of the road.

What specifically about the design of the road? You allude to the fact that it allows for traffic to move at high speeds in close proximity to cyclists and pedestrians and this is one of the factors behind why the crash happened. But this particular crash didn't involve a motorist running off the roadway and crashing into the cyclist. The article states that the cyclist was in the left lane on the far side of the road just before the crash.

This indicates that the motorist never left the roadway and that the cyclist was on the roadway. Given the fact that there's no mention in the article about the motorist failing to comply with a traffic signal, it also indicates that either the cyclist was crossing mid-block outside of the crosswalk, or was crossing in a crosswalk without waiting for the walk signal.

Going back to the road design, the point that it allows motorists to drive at higher speeds is one factor. But what other factors would lead to someone attempting to cross against a light or outside a crosswalk? From a pedestrian point of view, having to walk relatively far to even get to a crosswalk is one thing to consider. Another thing to consider is how long they have to wait for a walk signal. These factors lead to pedestrians crossing without a walk signal or mid-block.

For a cyclist, the amount of time to get to an intersection isn't as much of a factor because you can move far faster than walking pace when riding a bike. So that leaves the amount of time it would take to wait for the walk signal as a factor that would encourage non-compliance.

Besides slowing traffic down, what else can be done to improve safety for cyclists? Could we promote cyclist education where they learn how to navigate intersections in a vehicular manner? Could we improve traffic lights so that they they can detect cyclists and chagne in a reasonable period of time to discourage non-compliance before crossing an intersection?

For pedestrians, could we provide more frequent crossing points? Could we improve pedestrian signal timings so that they don't have to wait so long for a walk signal?


There's a lot going on, but if you're curious, I'd recommend this book:

https://www.confessions.engineer/

Not trying to sell it; borrow it from your local library like I did if you're interested. It has a lot of good discussion of these issues.

A good 'road' is something like an interstate. There are 'safe' for pedestrians because there are no pedestrians near them.

Good streets are often like old-school downtowns and nearby neighborhoods where traffic is slow.

Trying to create a hybrid 'stroad' where traffic is both fast and also there are pedestrians and cyclists is a recipe for doing neither well, and people die as a consequence.


Thanks for the recommendation. Could you elaborate on some of the issues this book goes over that factor into this particular crash besides the speed of motorists and the proximity of cyclists and pedestrians?


"Why Cars Rarely Crash into Buildings in the Netherlands": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra_0DgnJ1uQ

tl;dw: because they actually do what you suggest, and they incorporate their findings into better road designs.


NEVER RIDE A BIKE IN A CROSSWALK

or a scooter for that matter.

I've seen cyclists blast across crosswalks in the dark and fortunately my ABS prevented me from hitting them. And there's been a number of near misses with cyclists blasting down a sidewalk into the crosswalk when I'm turning left. Space does not permit me to catalog all the scenarios of [usually] failed cyclist suicides.

Cyclists see more of the environment immediately around than drivers whose eyes are typically 6-7' behind the front bumper. Unfortunately cyclists are mostly unaware that a driver can not see as much of the surroundings as can a cyclist.

Driver perception is adequate in the case of a pedestrian approaching and entering a crosswalk at walking speed of 3 mph. It does not work for a cyclist at 15-25 mph = 30' per second 20-50' away from the curb.

Earlier on I commuted some 15 km each way by bike, but as I got older I was more choosy of my routes and eventually switched to roller blading opposite traffic so I could hop the curb when necessary.

Stupidity in drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will always be with us.

Nobody will do anything to miss you if they don't see you.


I stopped biking to work decades ago because I figured it was only a matter of time before a car whizzing by 2 feet away at 50 mph was going to hit me.


This is why you take the whole lane. Cars are forced to merge like they do around any other stopped or slow traffic, giving you a lot more room than if you allow them to squeeze by in the same lane as you, near where the parked cars are swinging their doors.


All the roads on Long Island suck for bicyclists.

No shoulders, for the most part (and when there are shoulders, they are wastelands of rubble, trash, and dead varmints). Also, Long Island drivers are, to put it charitably, downright terrible.

There was a story, a few years ago, about a local town official, that said that people just shouldn’t ride bikes on Long Island.

It went viral, and he was pilloried in the Court of Public Opinion, but he was actually probably right.

It has nothing to do with bicyclists being a problem, and everything to do with Long Island being the problem.


If you're interested in topics like city design and infrastructure, walkability, cycling, people on foot or bicycle not getting killed by cars, I highly recommend the Youtube channel Not Just Bikes. It was created by a Canadian who emigrated to the Netherlands, with interesting and entertaining videos, often comparing the situation in North America to European (mostly Dutch) cities. Very bingeable.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0intLFzLaudFG-xAvUEO-A


Owning an SUV, a truck, a bicycle, and a motorcycle I can tell you that there is this huge difference between a motorist incident and a cyclist incident.

If you don't have a VIN you're not in the system and you can die and it won't matter. Being legible to the state is important.


In much of Europe stoplights are on the near side of na intersection and there are stoplights exiting intersections as well as entering. This facilitates integration of pedestrian and bike lanes/crossing (often these are separate). Also there are no left turns across traffic, instead there are roundabouts, and these are more easily integrated with cyclist lanes.

Finally, of course, cars are smaller (on the the other hand, so are streets).


Not Just Bikes did a video about the timing/switching algorithm of European traffic lights recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ByEBjf9ktY

They look amazing. Wish we had them here in the US.


> In much of Europe stoplights are on the near side of na intersection and there are stoplights exiting intersections as well as entering. This facilitates integration of pedestrian and bike lanes/crossing (often these are separate).

How, I dont see it?


I am always surprised by this: I live in the UK, our roads are narrow and winding because they are basically medieval (or Roman even) tracks that have been gradually upgraded. It sort or makes sense to me that cycling here is dangerous. But in my experience US roads are very large with many lanes and lanes much wider than cars. It feels like it should be easy to (a) avoid other road uses and (b) take some space to give them dedicated spaces.


As a comparison I looked up London and they had 81 deaths in 2019. 75 pedestrians and 6 cyclists killed. Still less than NYC. Paris had 16 pedestrian deaths in 2019. I think 58 in Rome in 2018.


One of the big differences between the US and Europe in this regard is the much larger proportion of bicyclists in Europe. In Europe, the larger number of bicyclists trains you as a driver to always be on the lookout for them. Driving past a bicyclist in the US is a much rarer event. Drivers should of course always be vigilant for anything in their way, but as a practical matter it's easier to mentally drift off when bicyclists are much less common.


This appears a choice by Europe or at least some cities.

Pictures of how bike unfriendly it was in the 70s

https://inkspire.org/post/amsterdam-was-a-car-loving-city-in...


Fantastically written article that, like many others in it’s genre, will be ignored


> the driver said he was headed to Starbucks and estimated he was going 55 mph. The speed limit was 40.

And the driver was not charged with a crime? In many countries if you drive over the speed limit and kill someone that's a manslaughter charge. Several countries always have a driver at fault if there is an accident with a bike or car.


I think you found the real problem with this stretch of road - the DA hates bicyclists.


It boggles my mind how much the HN crowd utterly despises cars.

I could never imagine myself living without a car, even in cities/countries with amazing public transit (NYC is not such a place).

I am 100% in agreement for banning cars from dense urban cores.

But my impression is that people here want to go much, much, further than that, ranging from exterminating the concept of suburbs all the way to exterminating all privately owned cars ensuring the only way to visit Grandma‘s farm is via bus.


Many years ago I took a course in high performance driving. One of the takeaways is the advice to always be predictable. Being predictable means the other drivers can avoid you. Being unpredictable means they'll hit you. Give the other drivers a chance to avoid hitting you.

I bring this up because Drivers' Ed never mentioned it.

For an obvious example, using turn signals is being predictable. Not passing on the right is being predictable. Driving at the same speed as the rest of the traffic is being predictable. There are all kinds of traffic laws, but most boil down to just be predictable.

For the cyclists, please don't draft behind some unwitting driver. (Yes, I see this now and then.) Please don't randomly weave in and out of traffic. And please don't bike across the crosswalk, walk your bike across it. Drivers cannot react fast enough to a bike darting across the road.

And when the bike lane does a Kriss-Kross across a car lane, stay alive and don't do it in front of traffic.


I'd like to see drivers ed put more focus on personal judgements of safety, and less emphasis on following the law. A huge number of car crashes seem to happen because people are doing the speed limit during poor weather/road conditions. The presence of the speed limit makes many people feel entitled to go that speed, entitled to not be burdened with the responsibility of thinking for themselves. Driving at 65 mph through pea soup fog is insane, but I've seen tons of people do it. And presumably when they crash they blame the fog...

I know drivers ed courses tell people that the speed limit is the legal maximum, not minimum, but I don't think they do a good job of effectively getting this point across. With proper training, drivers should be able to evaluate the road and weather conditions and estimate a safe speed for themselves using their own judgement, without the aid of speed limits giving them hints. If it were up to me, drivers license tests would have the speedometer blinded to the driver during part of the test, and the driver would be graded on their ability to drive at a safe speed without it.


California Driver's Ed hammered this in. In california you can get a ticket for going the speed limit if it's foggy, raining, etc. I can't imagine getting pulled over for doing the speed limit anywhere else. I think most of the rest of the country (that i've experienced) has a belief that 90% of people go slower than the speed limit, and the rest are split between people that go the exact posted amount, and people that drive over the speed limit.

I've probably put about 800,000 miles on the road in my life, and i gotta say, "exact posted" is fairly rare, but most people are within 1% or so. you really only notice if you're in a factory stock car with stock tires and have GPS telling you your exact speed. Otherwise it feels like everyone is going faster or slower arbitrarily, when it's probably just mechanical. I think i have read more than a thousand times that manufacturers allow for slop in the speedometers, so long as it shows you going faster than your actual ground speed. up to 10% even.

it's 2022, 2023 almost. Why isn't the speedometer at least half GPS or otherwise corrected? BTW, the way to determine if your speedometer is correct is with the mile marker signs. you set your cruise control or foot to 60MPH and start timer/look at a watch/clock and you should hit the next mile marker at exactly 60 seconds. From what i've read, most cars will hit that up to 6 seconds later than they should.

interesting aside: toyota and ford cars from the late 80s early 90s with digital displays would cap out at like 85MPH but if you switched to KM/H it would allow readings above 85MPH. then again, my first ford was missing the little peg that stopped the analog dial from going past 85, and at one point i was pulled over at 3 AM on I-210 going "R" miles per hour. The Statie told me he was on an interchange, and didn't believe his eyes, because that ford was basically iron oxide and epoxy.


> And please don't bike across the crosswalk, walk your bike across it. Drivers cannot react fast enough to a bike darting across the road

You lost me there. Cyclist feel a lot safer biking across because they can react quicker.

I live in a place that went from having very few cyclists to a decent percentage of all commutes. Dealing with car traffic today is so much easier simply because car drivers have gotten used to cyclist and now pay attention. Most american cities are still at the stage where only risk takers cycle.


I know of two cyclists who died by suddenly darting across the crosswalk. In both cases the driver was exonerated because there was no way he could have reacted in time.


That's very sad to hear. I hope those intersections/crosswalks went through a redesign after this because this shouldn't happen.


Don't dart across the road in a bike. For the same reason moms tell their kids not to run across the road. Improving the markings won't help.

When I use the crosswalk, I stand expectantly next to it but off the road, and wait until the cars stop. Then I cross. I never run out into the street hoping cars see me in time.

Hoping other cars see you in time, especially if you dart in front of them, is just a bad strategy.


I'm not talking about markings, I'm talking about designing crossings so that pedestrians and cyclist don't have to watch out for turning cars and improving traffic lights so that pedestrians and cyclist don't feel the need to run red lights.

Here are two really good videos about this that talk about this:

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ByEBjf9ktY

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSnSeyG74fw


> Cyclist feel a lot safer biking across

Feeling safer doesn't mean actual safety. For example, some cyclists feel safer riding facing traffic, but statistically, that's much more dangerous compared to riding in the same direction as traffic.


It matters when creating infrastructure for bikes though. If you put down a bike lane and nobody uses it, it's likely that the cyclist feel safer riding in the street.


Being predictable is good advice, but I don't think that's the point. The reality is you're never gonna get people to behave predictably 100% of the time. And even in a perfect world where everybody was acting predictably, accidents would probably still happen on the Hempstead Turnpike. The real issue is planning and designing roads in a way that's safe for everyone, not just cars.


Of course some don't behave predictably. That's why there are collisions. My advice still stands. If you don't want others to drive into you, behaving predictably greatly improves your odds.


Road use design aside, I do think this is a large contributor to US crashes. Driver education in the US is poor but should emphasize predictability and attempting to understand how other modes could use the road. But making it harder to get a license is an equity issue in a country this driving dependent so DLs remain easy to get.


> Driving at the same speed as the rest of the traffic is being predictable

This is easier said than done. There's a stretch of freeway between the Bay Bridge and Candlestick park where the speed limit is mostly 50 mph and a portion 55 mph. Nearly no one goes 50. They generally go 65-70. And yet, friends have gotten speeding tickets for going over 55. Those speeding tickets end up costing $2000-$3000 in increased car insurance over the years it takes to clear the points on your record.

I wish the CHP would patrol the area and get traffic to slow down. Or add cameras and fines. Or raise the speed limit to 65 if it's safe (probably not).


Add cameras, but even more so add average-speed camera. They suck but are absurdly effective. They record your plate from two places and if you got there too fast it means you went over 50 and are fined.


I don't understand the reasons, but the use of average-speed cameras, and in fact, the entire practice of enforcing speed limits based on measuring time between two marked points on a road, is not just not used in California, but is outright illegal.

This is particularly depressing, because they work amazingly well, and seem far fairer than an arbitrary (or perhaps worse, discriminatory) choice, made by a handful of police, of targets to give de facto large penalties, after extra fees and insurance are considered, for a practice that everyone is doing.

With average speed cameras, you can exceed the speed limit, even significantly, for short moments when it's important to do so (eg, to avoid an accident, to pass someone safely, etc), because average, not instantaneous, speed is what matters. You can know with near certainty that you'll get a (comparatively minor, in many cases) penalty if you speed for significant periods of time. But traffic will also be going the speed limit, not 20mph faster as in California, because everyone knows this, and no one feels they won't get caught if they're just careful / friends with the police / etc.

Driving in average-speed-camera-heavy parts of Europe is quite pleasant by comparison to the madness in California.


I've never gotten a ticket for driving with the flow, even if the flow was speeding. Besides, I prioritize safety over the cost of a ticket. I'd fight a ticket for going with the flow.

If you're resolutely driving at 55, and the flow is 65-70, causing those cars to swerve around you, you are likely to get the ticket for creating a hazardous situation.


> I've never gotten a ticket for driving with the flow, even if the flow was speeding.

Is a ridiculous metric. I've never been mugged in DTLA has no barring on whether or not people get mugged in DTLA

You can not get a ticket for going the speed limit even if the flow is generally faster. You can easily get a ticket for going with the flow over the speed limit. A simple google will yield 1000s of results of people who've gotten one


> Or raise the speed limit to 65 if it's safe (probably not).

The safest value for a speed limit is what 85% of the drivers would do anyway. If everyone goes 65-70, then it's definitely safe for the speed limit to be raised to at least 65. This is exactly what they should do, and if they can't for some political reason, the next best thing would be to basically not enforce the speed limit at all on that road anymore.


This is arguably not true. We can look at the history of traffic accidents to see that, left to their own devices, drivers will drive faster than is safe. Laws, enforcement (cameras), and better road design (best), will get drivers to slow down.


People will speed en masse if the speed limit is set too far below a reasonably safe speed.

I've seen that many times where a faster arterial gets suddenly set to 25.


"Don't be polite, be predictable"


During my time in school, two kids died in traffic. One decided to run across an arterial, the other swerved his bike to cross the road. I once ran into the street, luckily the driver was alert and stopped on a dime. He was furious, I was ashamed.


If a driver cannot react fast enough to someone on a crosswalk, then the driver is driving too fast. Cyclists don't throw themselves right in front of a moving car. It's a lot safer to cross on a crosswalk, even on a bike.


> If a driver cannot react fast enough to someone on a crosswalk, then the driver is driving too fast.

You can be going 25 and a cyclist veering into the crosswalk right in front of you is going to get hit. So will one appearing in the crosswalk where a parked truck on the side of the road is blocking the view to the right of the crosswalk. Those caused the fatal crashes I know of, and the drivers in both were not charged.

> Cyclists don't throw themselves right in front of a moving car.

Yes, they do.

> It's a lot safer to cross on a crosswalk, even on a bike.

The safe way to cross on a crosswalk is to wait expectantly until the traffic sees you and stops, and then cross. There is no other safe way.

Remember, you mom prolly told you not to run across the street, but walk. Same reason.


This is exactly what I tell people who like small cars. I've got a big truck. I can't necessarily see you. If you're driving a smaller car, be predictable. Don't cut in front of me or I'll end up crushing you.

To those of you driving in anything smaller than an SUV, signal before you turn. Don't cut across multiple lanes. I frequently see small cars and sedans think they can just cut in front of a space I leave.

Right of way won't matter once you're crushed metal.


Alternatively, you could, you know, NOT drive a death machine, and expect the peons to get out of your way.


Just follow the rules. If you drive a small car, just think of yourself like you are a bicycle to me. If you ride a bicycle, read up to the top of the thread.


You are the one supposed to keep in mind that smaller cars, cyclists and pedestrians are there. You are responsible for their safety.

If you hit someone in smaller car, because you did not seen them, it is your fault.


If you are hit and crippled/killed, being dead right is of no use to you. Transferring responsibility for your safety onto others is a very bad idea.


Sure, in the same sense that you're responsible for cyclists and pedestrians in a smaller car, but I don't see you guys saying anything to people talking about that earlier in the thread.


Actually the article this thread is based upon is all about a small, red Camry hitting a young child with a bike. Folks might just not want to belabour the point.

FWIW I agree with the other commenter -- YOU are responsible for your behavior on the road. Driving a larger vehicle means more responsibility. I don't care if the USA has collectively decided that murdering someone with your vehicle is fine: even if small cars and bicycles don't always behave safely around you, you should drive slower or give more distance to avoid murdering people since you chose to drive a huge vehicle.


That person literally finished by:

> Right of way won't matter once you're crushed metal.

while arguing that small cars and everyone else should actively count in his lack of visibility and lack of care into their behavior.

We react to this driver and not to small car drivers, because those did not shown such a huge lack of care about safety of everyone else. I argue that if your car makes you hit someone with right of way because you did not seen him, that car should be banned or you should be banned from driving.


It's not about right of way. It's about being safe. I realize this because I drive defensively. If you can't drive according to the rules, don't drive.

Stay safe out there.


I can follow the rules every day of my life and still get murdered by selfish people like you, and you'll walk away without a scratch. And then you'll somehow find a way to make it my fault.


Following the rules isn't enough. Being an active participate in your own safety is just common sense.

For example, once the traffic in front of me came to a sudden stop. I braked hard, and stopped in time. I looked in my rear view mirror, and realized the guy behind me wasn't going to stop in time, so I pulled off onto the shoulder as fast as possible. That guy rear ended the car in front.

The damage was minimal, nobody was hurt, as my pulling aside gave him an extra few feet to slow down.

I've avoided other accidents even though I was totally in the right and the other guy was totally in the wrong. I just don't understand the attitude of no problem, it's the other guy's fault if he hits me.


Where does this entitled attitude come from? You just expect everyone to scurry out of your way so you don't blindly crush us?

If your vehicle is so large that you can't see other road users properly, that's your fault. You chose to buy it and drive it. You are selfishly externalizing the costs of your preference onto all other road users. If you hit and kill someone because they were doing ordinary road things and you couldn't see them because of your gigantic A-pillar blindspot or your grotesquely oversized front grille, then that is your fault and you are a murderer.

Like, it just amazes me that you can type these words: "I've got a big truck, I can't necessarily see you", and think the problem is with everyone else. Fuck you and fuck your big truck.


Too much distracted driving, and too little enforcement of existing rules for me to care. Every day, I see other road users take calls, record videos, all behind the wheel: why should I give a shit? My options are either to remain frustrated with the world, or simply adopt societal norms and drive my Chevy Tahoe stress free :)


This in a nutshell is the difference between American driver's ed and traffic laws, and places like Germany.

Despite the stark difference in optics, traffic in the US feels more like Lord of the Flies than, say, Pakistan. You're literally describing the law of the jungle.


Yep, this is exactly why I recommend everybody I know to buy the biggest, largest car you can buy. The outcome of vehicular collisions is based almost entirely on who has more mass and energy, and you might as well set yourself to win. Sure, big cars cost more to operate-- but $150 fill-ups are nothing compared to a lifetime of chronic pain and injury.


Yup, it's not worth being dead right.


Here lays the body of William Jay,

who died maintaining his right of way.

He was right, so right, as he sped along,

but he's just as dead as if he were wrong.


Unfortunately, letting the assholes win breeds a world full of assholes. I don't want to die and I'm not going to assert my right of way and risk my life, but, the laws need to be enforced else we get lawlessness and a world of whoever is most aggressive wins.


The nice thing about traffic is that safe driving can be enforced with proper infrastructure where unsafe driving feels unsafe. And that has the benefit of both forcing drivers to drive safely and keeping cyclists and pedestrians alive (since they no longer interact with drivers or only do it in ways that are better for everyone).

Not Just Bikes is a great YouTube channel explaining a lot of those concepts, usually by example in the Netherlands. Whereas in North America you have basically motorways going through residential and commercial landuse areas, which feel like, well, motorways and invite driving fast.


Yeah, well, you will encounter situations where you are right but still need to take action to avoid an accident.

After all, when you make a mistake while driving, you'll appreciate the other guy helping to avoid the collision.


Only tangentially related but .... In California, a double white line is supposed to mean "don't cross period"

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySectio....

> (b) If double parallel solid white lines are in place, a person driving a vehicle shall not cross any part of those double solid white lines, except as permitted in this section or Section 21655.8.

> (d) The markings as specified in subdivision (a), (b), or (c) do not prohibit a driver from crossing the marking if (1) turning to the left at an intersection or into or out of a driveway or private road, or (2) making a U-turn under the rules governing that turn, and the markings shall be disregarded when authorized signs have been erected designating offcenter traffic lanes as permitted pursuant to Section 21657.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySectio...

> (a) Except as required under subdivision (b), when exclusive or preferential use lanes for high-occupancy vehicles are established pursuant to Section 21655.5 and double parallel solid lines are in place to the right thereof, no person driving a vehicle may cross over these double lines to enter into or exit from the exclusive or preferential use lanes, and entrance or exit may be made only in areas designated for these purposes or where a single broken line is in place to the right of the exclusive or preferential use lanes.

> (b) Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle displaying a red light or siren, as specified in Section 21806, a person driving a vehicle in an exclusive or preferential use lane shall exit that lane immediately upon determining that the exit can be accomplished with reasonable safety.

> (c) Raised pavement markers may be used to simulate painted lines described in this section.

Given that, it's interesting that a few sections of Valencia street, between 18th and 19th

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Valencia+St,+San+Francisco...

Between 15 and 17th

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Valencia+St,+San+Francisco...

Have double solid white lines separating the bike lane from the car lane. But, past the bike line are car parking spots. Given the law above, it would be illegal to use those parking spots since it's illegal to cross the lines to get to them.

I brought this up because cycling down Valencia the cycling lanes are often blocked by cars stopped for deliveries, pickups, dropoffs, other and so cyclists have to dangerously move into the car lanes.

I did see some police the other day telling these cars they had to move but I suspect that's rare. I don't know what the perfect solution is. Further down, like around 14th is I think a better solution where it's street->parking->bike instead of street->bike->parking. This puts a barrier of parked cars between the bikes and the traffic. At the same time, some accommodation for deliveries to businesses, people moving into/out of apartments, etc needs to be made.

Also, more on topic, the latest "Not Just Bikes" video is all about how deadly roads are but don't have to be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ByEBjf9ktY


The rules of the road don't matter if they're not enforced in America. Which in San Francisco is now a rare occurrence:

https://www.sfchronicle.com/sf/bayarea/heatherknight/article...

So the solution now is better infrastructure. And ideally more than just soft-hit posts, aka vertical paint":

https://mobile.twitter.com/JGrantGlover/status/1531005837866...


Putting parked cars to the left, like separated bike lanes, reduce your visibility to cars turning right, but adds the extra bonus of car doors and pedestrians walking in the bike lane completely unaware of their surroundings.


The majority of USA does not even have the minimum design that allows bike safety and nothing can be done about it since building anything now is almost impossible. It is just foolish to insist a life style that doesn’t have a infrastructural support.


Clickbait: “Hempstead Turnpike is a congested section of state Highway 24 that starts at the edge of New York City, the eastern border of Queens, near a ballfield encircled by an on-ramp. It runs 16 miles east into Long Island, through Elmont, Franklin Square, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Uniondale, Salisbury, East Meadow, Levittown, Plainedge, and Farmingdale.”


You should probably why that excerpt makes the article click bait.


I think the idea is that the title is clickbait, because it doesn’t include the name of the road.


not only that, it took about 60% of the article before i realized this was in new york!




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