Bikes and Cars

John Cole points to a new law in Colorado making it illegal for motorists to throw objects at bicycles.  Previously, it has only been a citable offense if one’s aim was good.

Cole wonders, “What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker?” and several of his commenters note the high degree of hostility bikers face from those in cars.

It is indeed amazing that people would intentionally try to harm a stranger merely for riding a bike.  Then again, the concept of “road rage” has been around for years, so it’s not surprising that bikers get their share of the abuse.

More generally, because we’ve designed our roads for motor vehicles, having bicycles mixed in naturally promotes frustration.  It simply doesn’t work to have people in spandex peddling along at 15 miles an hour next to half-ton vehicles driving at 65 competing for space.

My daily drive out of DC into the Virginia suburbs is often frustrating because of the confluence of high volumes of traffic, tour buses, commuter buses, taxi cabs, and vending trucks.  Lanes are frequently blocked by buses and venders, causing people to unexpectedly change lanes.  People drive aggressively to avoid being run over or cut off.

Adding bicyclists to the mix is insane.  While they always seem to think they’re the aggrieved party, the fact of the matter is that few of them obey the rules of the road.  They weave in and out of traffic unexpectedly. They hog lanes rather than driving to the right.  They run stop signs and stop lights.  They’re alternately vehicles and pedestrians as suits them.

It’s hard enough to make a right turn in DC because of the buses, which often seem to ride in convoys that amount to a moving road block and/or force their way into the lane.   So, drivers of normal vehicles have to make snap judgments — if it’s clear, you go.  And then some idiot on a bicycle darts in from the sidewalk or a non-existent lane of traffic.   It’s truly a wonder more of them aren’t killed.

The answer, of course, is more bike lanes so that bicyclists can ride on their own terms.  But, unless or until we do that, motorists and cyclists are going to be at odds.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave says:

    You seem to be defending throwing things at bicyclists…

  2. odograph says:

    Bike conditions are always “local” but:

    More generally, because we’ve designed our roads for motor vehicles, having bicycles mixed in naturally promotes frustration. It simply doesn’t work to have people in spandex peddling along at 15 miles an hour next to half-ton vehicles driving at 65 competing for space.

    Factually wrong on two counts, James.

    There has been a national effort to build bike lanes and bike support into road systems since the 60’s, and expanding with the bicentennial.

    Second, people in spandex do much better than 15, that is more like a people in shorts or swimsuits speed. I’m assuming the the full spandex crowd in your locale are competent club riders.

    Everything is local, and there are roads in bike-friendly Orange County I wouldn’t do … but I’d say as reasonable as you try to be, you still come off as a clueless non-rider.

    You don’t sound like you have the “both perspectives” to know what is really going on in your locale.

    (99.9% of adult rider of course also being drivers)

  3. DavidL says:

    As a recovering bicylist, I only had two rules, both stolen from a trucker. One, never trust a four-wheeler. Two, never suprize a four wheeler. I now walk alot, and still use the same two rules.

    Bicycles are not the only problem. Traffic flows best when everybody travels circa the same speed. Dissimilar speed vehicles, be they bicycles, Sunday Drivers, rubber-neckers, Segways, or wheel chairs don’t mix well.

  4. James Joyner says:

    You seem to be defending throwing things at bicyclists…

    Only the impulse!

  5. rodney dill says:

    While they always seem to think they’re the aggrieved party, the fact of the matter is that few of them obey the rules of the road. They weave in and out of traffic unexpectedly. They hog lanes rather than driving to the right. They run stop signs and stop lights. They’re alternately vehicles and pedestrians as suits them.

    I’d add riding side by side instead of single-file as a big problem.

    I used to ride quite a bit when I was younger, and while I too treated the ‘rules of the road’ more like guidelines, I never assumed drivers of cars were looking out for me. Never had anything thrown at me (that I know of)

  6. odograph says:

    FWIW, my perspective after many miles in cars and on bikes is also to trust the professionals (in semi’s or construction pick-ups). They are much more serious about their driving that the average distracted citizen.

  7. James Joyner says:

    There has been a national effort to build bike lanes and bike support into road systems since the 60’s, and expanding with the bicentennial.

    At least in places I’ve lived, that seems to have been aimed at recreational cyclists. We’ve got beautiful bike paths here but they’re not extending into downtown DC. Clearly, there’s more demand for commutable bike path than there is commutable bike path, or we wouldn’t have bicylists in the road everywhere.

    I’m assuming the the full spandex crowd in your locale are competent club riders.

    Everybody around here seems to dress like they’re riding the Tour de France. And few of them seem like they’re competitive riders.

    And, again, I’m taking about congested highways and downtown roads during peak driving time, not Sunday rides in the suburbs.

  8. James Joyner says:

    FWIW, my perspective after many miles in cars and on bikes is also to trust the professionals (in semi’s or construction pick-ups). They are much more serious about their driving that the average distracted citizen.

    Locally, at least, that’s decidedly not true of bus drivers and cabbies.

  9. odograph says:

    Clearly, there’s more demand for commutable bike path than there is commutable bike path, or we wouldn’t have bicylists in the road everywhere.

    Historical perspective is always useful.

    Bicycles have been legal vehicles longer than there have been auto-mobiles.

    I actually don’t get the deep seated, gut, response that some people get that they don’t belong. Does it date to childhood and coming of age or something? When you’ve progressed from trike, to bike, to first car you feel threatened with a return?

    I mean, I assume you rode a bike across town at one point in your life.

    I can only think that the typical pick-up driving bottle-thrower is threatened in some way.

    Because it isn’t adult? Because the biker is in better shape? Is presumed to be higher class?

  10. odograph says:

    The League of American Bicyclists was founded in 1880, and:

    The League began as the League of American Wheelmen (LAW) in 1880, and was responsible for defending the rights of cyclists from its start. The League of American Wheelmen is credited with getting paved roads in this country before the reign of the automobile.

    You’re welcome for that road, there.

  11. Furhead says:

    As an occasional bicyclist (one who had to have a hotheaded driver arrested for assault), I can still agree with James that many if not most bicyclists disregard the traffic laws and that this creates havoc.

    Sometimes bicyclists hog lanes unnecessarily, but oftentimes the shoulder is all broken up, even when there is a bike lane. Riding over there is even more dangerous, as you could catch a pothole or loose asphalt and fall over into traffic. I have done this, lucky to have an alert driver hit the brakes fast enough to avoid a potentially severe accident. I should also note that the condition of the shoulder is much more obvious to the bicyclist than it is to the driver.

    This simply agrees with the assertion that the road is not easily designed and maintained for wildly different modes of transportation. There’s no easy answer, as usual. I would support ticketing of bicyclists when they are behaving dangerously, as well as harsh laws for any driver who thinks playing chicken with a bike is funny.

  12. odograph says:

    My sister, who is reasonably successful and in reasonably good shape, nonetheless hates the bicyclists who use the big hill by her house for training.

    It’s a very wide 4-lane, with few side streets. Safety and even convenience are non-issues.

    Some how them being there, and doing the work, is offensive.

    I think that kind of thing underpins all of this.

  13. Joe says:

    I wish DC would implement tolls on Va drivers so those of us who live close enough to work to ride bikes or walk could get those bike lanes added.

  14. DavidL says:

    WRT to bicycle commuting, it seems to be that a prime requirement for commuting is a route between where people live to where people work.

    At least in Rochester, NY, when ever a rails-to-trails talks about bicycle communting that is merely lip service to get federal founding. Here multiuse federally supported trails simply do not connect home to workplace. They also to have no signficant bicycle commuting traffic.

    Bicycle commuting may be the biggest commuting hoax other than the myth of “light rail.” The local buses have bicycle racks, for the large part unused.

  15. James Joyner says:

    I actually don’t get the deep seated, gut, response that some people get that they don’t belong. Does it date to childhood and coming of age or something? When you’ve progressed from trike, to bike, to first car you feel threatened with a return?

    It’s because cars are trying to drive at highway speed and the bikers are in the way and quite frequently breaking the law in very dangerous ways.

    Yes, I rode a bike as a kid. Mostly in neighborhoods but sometimes alongside semi-major roads. But I wasn’t weaving in and out of traffic or riding in the middle of a driving lane. Let alone in a major city during rush hour.

  16. roger says:

    I would support ticketing of bicyclists when they are behaving dangerously, as well as harsh laws for any driver who thinks playing chicken with a bike is funny.

    If only law enforcement folks would enforce those rules of the road with bicyclists.

    I don’t know what it is about college campuses, like the one in my town, but students as pedestrians and bicyclists seem to think those rules don’t apply to them. Very frustrating.

    Another school year coming up. (“sigh”)

  17. James H says:

    As both a motorist and a pedestrian, I have interacted with bicyclists. Consider:

    1) When I was about to cross a road last year, a bicycle collided with me … I was knocked down but relatively unhurt. The bicyclist kept moving. And did I mention that I was crossing the street and the bicyclist came from my RIGHT!! Do the math.

    2) At a major point in my morning commute, a bicycle path crosses an exit ramp I use. Bicyclists have a CLEAR stop sign. At least twice, I have nearly collided with a bicyclist who ignored his stop sign.

    Washington, DC, bicyclists migrate seamlessly from pedestrian rights of way to vehicle rights of way. They routinely ignore red lights and stop signs, running through them without regard to oncoming traffic. Behaviors that, I may remind you, would lead to tickets and a trip to traffic court for offending operators of motor vehicles.

    In sum, Washington, DC, bicyclists are arrogant and respect neither the pedestrians with whom they share the public sidewalk nor the automobile drivers with whom they share the public roads. They consider themselves above the traffic laws that pedestrians and driver take for granted and are therefore a menace to others around them.

    Bikers either need to be cleared out of the DC area roadways and sidewalks or else subjected to the same laws that govern those around them … and those laws MUST be enforced against them.

    I don’t defend throwing objects at bikers. But I certainly understand the impulse.

  18. odograph says:

    It’s because cars are trying to drive at highway speed and the bikers are in the way and quite frequently breaking the law in very dangerous ways.

    Are you sure you even know?

    I was driving up Pacific Coast Highway one Sunday. I observed a pace-line of fast bicyclists in the bike lane. As they passed an intersection a big black Escalade SUV joined them from the right, in one of those merge-in lanes. A lane which disappears.

    The driver looked over, was shocked to see bicyclists to his left, and honked at them and flipped them off.

    For the hell of it, once he was clear of the bicyclists, I honked my car and flipped him off.

    He put his hands up in the air like “what did I do?”

    dick

  19. odograph says:

    Bikers either need to be cleared out of the DC area roadways and sidewalks or else subjected to the same laws that govern those around them … and those laws MUST be enforced against them.

    Go ahead, enforce them.

    And stop using that one dick-bicyclist you saw 5 years ago as your model for all bicyclists.

  20. floyd says:

    I am blessed with not having to live or even visit urban areas, and I can tell you that the hostility toward bicyclists is not limited to any frustration or inconvenience that driver’s may experience vis-a-vis bicycles and traffic. Even in rural areas and small towns, bicyclists must be wary of hostility and attack without provocation from those in motor vehicles.
    I will say that the number of hostile motorists is not large,but how many attempted murders does one need to ruin a days ride?
    It is tough enough to enjoy a ride while following all the rules and avoiding heavy traffic areas with it’s share of honest mistakes, without having to endure unprovoked attacks, and I am amazed that assault would not be punishable even when attempted by the incompetent!

  21. James H says:

    And stop using that one dick-bicyclist you saw 5 years ago as your model for all bicyclists

    Did you read the text of my comment? I said “last year,” not “five years ago.” My most recent encounter with bicyclists running the stop sign on the bike trail was less than two months ago. If I hadn’t been watching him better than he watched me, he might have inflicted major damage to my car.

    And as for bicyclists routine bad behavior, I don’t need to look to five years ago. I just need to go outside for five minutes.

  22. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    I live out in the San Francisco Bay area where we have a monthly event called Critical Mass which basically is a demonstration by bicyclists of their ability, abetted by city government, to take over the city streets during a Friday evening rush-hour. Filled as they are with the moral superiority of their commitment to the protection of the environment, they disrupt traffic, disregard the rules of the road, and, on occasion assault motorists who, obviously, are so morally and vehicularly inferior.

    Another peccadillo that I’ve notice about MSBs (Morally Superior Bicyclists) is their reluctance to assume any financial responsibility for their needs in terms of applicable taxes or fees. They want to take their vehicles on all forms of public transportation without any additional charge and in spite of the obvious inconvenience to other passengers. They would like bike lanes without any financial encumbrance for their establishment or maintenance. But, best of all, they coerced/convinced the local government to insist on bike lanes on the new Bay Bridge which was initially estimated to cost a million or two and now is well above that amount without being anywhere near completed.
    Of course, they (perhaps a dozen a day) will not be required to pay any toll.

  23. odograph says:

    Yeah well, James has probably done his homework, in the sense that he has researched which topics product the most hung juries and long threads.

    From my side, I’m not going to trust dick car-only divers. I’ve seen them be totally unaware and totally misunderstand their environment. I only have to go outside for 5 minutes.

    As far as roads and taxes, it’s kind of dumb to assume that one less bike and one more car is actually a net win for you. At least around here, cars make traffic jams, not bikes.

  24. steve says:

    I have been hit bike riding, on purpose or at least I assume so since he gave me the finger before clipping me, and hit with the large side mirror of a pick-up while running. The same thing happens to runners. I was a stickler, my OCD sigh, for following road rules also. Talk with serious runners and bikers in almost any environment, and you will find stories of drivers who just hate them.

    Steve

  25. Ben says:

    Odo, this is obviously a sore-spot with you. But I, having lived in Boston for close to a decade, witnessed bicyclists running stop signs and red lights EVERY SINGLE DAY, and nearly causing accidents on a very regular basis. Bicyclists need to choose which way they want to go. If they’re going to be vehicles that want to share the road, they need to decide to follow the rules of the road. Until then, they are pedestrians that should be waiting for a “walk” sign in my book.

  26. John Burgess says:

    Twice in DC, while leaving a cab pulled over to the right, I’ve had bikers take out the right side passenger door. While the cabs were clearly not pulled to the curb, the three-foot ‘lane’ the bikers thought was theirs turned out to be occupied by door. Both times, both bikes and riders were pretty well mangled; both times, the bikers were ticketed for unsafe riding.

    Where I’m now living, all the major streets have bike lanes, at least four feet wide. On divided highways, there are even directional arrows for the bike lanes. That doesn’t stop the clueless from being clueless, however. Last week, I was turning right onto a divided highway. I nearly took out a biker who was blazing down the bike lane in the wrong direction. I checked with a local cop and was told that it happens all the time. When it results in an accident, it’s the biker to gets the blame, obviously enough.

    My part of FL is also very strict on pulling licenses for DUI. As a result, there are a lot of people on bikes for reasons other than fitness. Oddly, this does not result in smarter riding, only more pissed-off riding.

  27. Jeff B says:

    I read a very insightful commentary once on the phenomenon of people who tar bicyclists with the “I see them running stop signs all the time!” brush. He said quite convincingly that it is the same mental process as racism. I once saw a black guy rob a store, therefore black people need to correct their behavior before I will give them respect. When stated that way, I think we can all see the defect in logic.

    I can go outside and find hundreds of cars breaking the law. In fact I have an ongoing project of photographing cars making the illegal right turn in front of my house. Take for example the driver of this Porsche:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jwbee/596088050/in/set-72157600442202997/

    Clearly he is running the light. This happens all the time. However I never hear drivers saying about motorists the things they always say about bicyclists.

    The fact of the matter is we all need to share the road, and that goes for people in all manner of conveyances, or even those on foot. Politeness, mutual respect, and awareness of surroundings go a long way toward harmonious road sharing.

  28. hln says:

    If the bike is going the speed limit, take the whole lane. Otherwise, to the right. Cyclists of any serious business (over 10 mph and/or on the road) should always wear helmets. I won’t ride without a rearview mirror attached to my glasses, either (not that I have time to ride anymore).

  29. Ben says:

    I read a very insightful commentary once on the phenomenon of people who tar bicyclists with the “I see them running stop signs all the time!” brush. He said quite convincingly that it is the same mental process as racism. I once saw a black guy rob a store, therefore black people need to correct their behavior before I will give them respect. When stated that way, I think we can all see the defect in logic.

    Except that its not once. It is literally the majority of bicyclists I see on a daily basis that run stop signs and go through red lights. I am not exaggerating here. It seems to be so pervasive throughout the bicyclists, at least in my home city, that it transcends the argument you’re making. Now, granted, this is just my anecdotal evidence I am presenting, but that is all I have to go on, my every single day experience.

    I also agree that I see cars running red lights every single day as well. I don’t give them a pass either. But the subject right now is bicycles. You bringing up cars running the red lights is a red herring. You are saying “look, there are car drivers who break the law too.” Yeah, no kidding, that’s not what we’re talking about.

  30. James Joyner says:

    I can go outside and find hundreds of cars breaking the law. In fact I have an ongoing project of photographing cars making the illegal right turn in front of my house.

    That there are lots of idiots driving cars dangerously is so obvious as not to be worthy of a post, unless you’ve got a blog devoted to displaying photos of particularly egregious behavior. The bikes v. car thing, though, is far less understood.

    And it’s particularly bad in DC, which is a frustratingly hard place to drive, anyway. The bus drivers are worse than the cyclists but they’re at least big and easy to see. Cyclists doing the unexpected are liable to get killed.

  31. just me says:

    I would never even think to throw something at somebody on a bike-even if they were annoying me or I was overly frustrated, but then I am not a temperamental driver.

    I do think roads aren’t really designed with bicycles in mind, but there are times when bicyclists do some pretty dumb things-I almost hit somebody last night who was on a bicycle-they made a left turn in front of my car-I didn’t hit him, but it was close enough to make my heart pound. And cars just as often do dumb things-but if I am on a bike I am going to be well aware of the fact that the cars and trucks on the roads will win in any collision between my bike and their vehicle.

  32. James H says:

    At the very least, I would like to see local laws, particularly in DC, that require licenses and registration for bicyclists along with liability insurance. A human being on a bike could seriously damage a car in a collision.

  33. Here’s why I hate bikes. The riders are relying on me to avoid killing them despite their own stupidity.

    It’s not my job to keep you from smacking your styrofoam-encased head and your look-at-my-nutsack spandex panty-hosed body into my grill.

    Bikers are children. They flout the rules — including the laws of physics. Hey, geniuses, if I hit you with a 4,000 pound vehicle, you’re going to die. Why is that hard to understand? So running through red lights, and wobbling off the sidewalk into the road, weaving through traffic, are juvenile, reckless, stupid behaviors and if you keep doing it someone is going to be hosing you out of their radiator.

    Just last week I had a kid on a bike come veering off the sidewalk into a cross walk. Talking on his cellphone. This is at a 4 way stop and I was milliseconds away from hitting the gas. The stupid sh-t didn’t even realize he’d been about five feet away from being dead.

    And I’m really hoping to get through life without killing anyone. It would play hell with my insurance.

  34. Gustopher says:

    Here in Seattle, Critical Mass (large numbers of arrogant bicyclists deliberately blocking traffic) boxed someone in until they went nuts and ran over some bicyclists.

    Yes, yes, vehicular assault is wrong, but some people are really begging to be assaulted with vehicles. Sure, they’re right that the roads are there for them too, but to quote the Big Lebowski, “You’re right, but you’re an a******”

    I hate Critical Mass. I want to get a bunch of pedestrians to block off the shared bike/pedestrian paths in Seattle.

  35. another matt says:

    Most bikers I have no problem tolerating. But the ones who text while driving are the worst! There should be a law against that.

    I admit that as a younger biker, I considered myself both a pedestrian and a vehicle opting for whatever was more convenient. But my Navy background gave me a healthy respect for the law of gross tonnage. Tonnage wins every time.

  36. dutchmarbel says:

    We are more likely to declare cities car-free. Bikes are the only way to really get anywhere if you have to travel in Urban environments. But we use bikes mostly for transport, not for recreation. Should look familiar to you James 😉

  37. odograph says:

    Twice in DC, while leaving a cab pulled over to the right, I’ve had bikers take out the right side passenger door. While the cabs were clearly not pulled to the curb, the three-foot ‘lane’ the bikers thought was theirs turned out to be occupied by door. Both times, both bikes and riders were pretty well mangled; both times, the bikers were ticketed for unsafe riding.

    Good, and honest, of you to mention that 3-foot lane.

    Think about it. You are on a bike a foot and a half wide. You’ve got cars moving to the left of you, and a curb to your right. If you are anyone with more then a few miles under your belt you also have your eyes wide open for someone looking to car-door you.

    Now you got your eyes open, and maybe you don’t trust that cab, but how slow can you go? You’ve got to go somewhere and you are in your designated space.

    Your are probably going to split the difference, because if the cab (you guess) was dropping someone off, he wouldn’t be way out in the road.

  38. odograph says:

    Just last week I had a kid on a bike come veering off the sidewalk into a cross walk. Talking on his cellphone. This is at a 4 way stop and I was milliseconds away from hitting the gas. The stupid sh-t didn’t even realize he’d been about five feet away from being dead.

    Strange thing is, I (the bicyclist) have had that same thing happen to me, when I’m in my car, and I got just as mad.

    I wasn’t stupid enough to think that was “all bicyclists” though, or that I had to suddenly start riding the same way.

    You bike haters really are showing yourself to be a bit irrational.

  39. Dutch:

    I withdraw any criticism of Dutch bikers, at least so far as Amsterdam is concerned. It’s a bike city in which cars are the interlopers. It also has bike lanes everywhere.

    And there is nothing better than Amsterdam in spring, with streets filled with beautiful, blond, 8 foot tall Dutch girls on bikes.

  40. James Joyner says:

    We are more likely to declare cities car-free. Bikes are the only way to really get anywhere if you have to travel in Urban environments. But we use bikes mostly for transport, not for recreation

    and

    I withdraw any criticism of Dutch bikers, at least so far as Amsterdam is concerned. It’s a bike city in which cars are the interlopers. It also has bike lanes everywhere.

    Quite right. The city center is rather clearly designed around bikes and pedestrians, with cars relegated to highways. If DC were designed with, say, easy-access garages by Metro stops outside the city center, I’d be happy to accommodate. But DC’s not a good public transport city, not a good bike city, not a good walking city. It’s incredibly inconvenient to do any of those things.

    It’s also not a compact city but rather a metropolitan area stretched over two states and a federal district. People change jobs routinely, so “live where you work” is impractical. Doubly so of two-career couples.

  41. odograph says:

    Re-reading the thread, I think it’s clear that bike-haters see bicyclists as a tribe, separate from them.

    Adult bicyclists (99% of whom are also drivers) break it down differently. They can see that it’s the dicks that matter, whatever they are driving.

  42. John Burgess says:

    Odograph: I feel your pain, but a three-foot ‘lane’ to the right is never considered a passing lane by reasonable folks. If a taxi pulls over on a busy street, it’s either picking up or dropping off. Either way, that door is going to open and take up the ‘lane’. That’s where common sense comes in, not ‘do I dare’.

    One might suppose that ‘no passing on the right’ laws would pertain–they do, in DC, actually. In fact, if a biker had hit the driver’s door being suddenly flung open, it would be the driver’s fault and ticketable offense.

    Bikes used for commuting should certainly be carrying vehicle insurance, if only for the well-being of the rider’s wallet. The guys that hit my taxis got stuck with paying for the repair to the taxis’ doors–sprung in both instances. We’ll forget about a suit from the drivers claiming economic damages. We’ll also forego medical bills. Just the repair bill would be bigger than the annual insurance premiums.

  43. dutchmarbel says:

    The number of people that bike from home to work is relatively small. For most people a bike ride of 6-11 miles is doable. Next schoolyear my oldest son goes to highschool and 6-8 miles is the cut-off distance for us: further than that is not easily done by bike and he has to bike to school because we can’t take him and there are no schoolbuses in the Netherlands.

    My husband biked a little over 11 miles to work, but his employer had lockers and showers. Unfortunately they moved to the other side of Amsterdam so now it’s over 22 miles. So he biked to the train station and his employer (ING bank) runs commuterbuses from the Amsterdam station close to his work.

    He’s an exception though, most people use a car to get to work. But we use the car a lot less outside of work and almost everybody has a bike (we actually have more bikes than inhibitants these days). One of the reasons people use their bikes more is because it is HARD to get there by car. Cities make parking expensive and decrease the number of parkingplaces, combined with advantages for bikers so that they are often faster at their destination – that helps with getting people on their bikes 😉

    FWIW: moving in the Netherlands is quite expensive. Waitinglists for rentals and everytime you buy a house it will cost you an additional 11% of the selling price in fees and taxes.

    The bike as we know it stems from the end of the 19th century. Amsterdam originates from the end of the 13th century. The center is not really designed for bikers ;). In fact Haarlem (where I live) is more bike-friendly than Amsterdam is and the first bikepath in the Netherlands was in Utrecht (1885).

    Legally, in the Netherlands, when there is an accident between cars and either bikers or pedestrian, half the blame is allready with the persons in the car. Riding the vehicle that is most dangerous, they have more responsibility. Even if they jump in front of your car and you couldn’t do a thing half the blame (and costs) are yours.

  44. odograph says:

    John, when that taxi is 3 ft from the right, how far is he sticking to the left?

    What will a driver overtaking the taxi think of a bicyclist coming out to “pass”?

    I know I’ve been in hard positions, as when a bus stops on a very busy street, and a constant stream of cars squeeze by on his left. There is no way I’m going to do the legal “pass” in that situation.

    What I do is illegal, but safe. I slow down to walking speed, and cost up onto the sidewalk until I’m past the bus. A dick bicyclist would do that too, but at speed.

  45. odograph says:

    Not only that! Balance the injury of a car door with the instant death you get when a taxi accelerates to the left with you in his blind spot.

    It is all about situational awareness, and non-riders don’t always see what we see.

  46. floyd says:

    I have noticed in this thread that people are not concerned about hurting someone by accident because of carelessness or bad behavior on the part of either party.
    They are only interested in justifying intentional vehicular assault, or throwing objects at bicyclists with the intent to kill or maim or at least with a callous disregard for life or limb.
    It seems compassion is reserved for theoretical politics and not for real people in the real world.
    Next time you advocates of socialized medicine see a bicyclist, think of the thousands he will be saving you through exercise,[discounting assault injuries] when you force him at gunpoint into your regressive totalitarian “health-care plan”. Then you might be more tolerant.

  47. Franklin says:

    beautiful, blond, 8 foot tall Dutch girls on bikes

    I live in the wrong place. What long delicious toned legs those must be …