What to do to make town more bike friendly?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What to do to make town more bike friendly?

    I live in a town of about 10,000 people. I love commuting on my bike. It's only about 5.25 miles one way, makes total sense rather than driving my truck to work. The problem I am running into is 4 out of 5 times on the way home, people don't pay attention or they are in such a hurry to get wherever they are going, and almost hit me in some way.

    Even on a wide 3 lane road (middle turn lane) they don't get over hardly, if at all.

    I am about to write a letter to the mayor about this problem. Even just having a designated (painted) lane to keep people aware of bikes would help I think. The side streets are a different story and I actually don't have much problems with them. Sidewalks are not an option for a road bike, not sure in Indiana if it's illegal to ride on them or not, but they are so broken up only a mountain bike can ride on them.

    What measures should be taken to help see action, or what options are there? This town is small enough and could be more health conscious, meanwhile saving gas for such short trips.

  2. #2
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    Read up on traffic control measures. there are lots things that your town can do to slow down traffic. When drivers a forced to go more slowly, they are much more forgiving of cyclists, and are less pressured to make quick decisions when turning.

  3. #3
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    very true. wide lanes are also rather helpful, as drivers feel more comfortable making a pass when necessary without feeling like they're in danger of hitting oncoming traffic.

    most streets in my city (just over 30k) actually don't even have lane markings. cars behave themselves surprisingly well here, but the speed limits on those roads is also typically 20-30mph.

    also, making it easier for folks to go about their daily business by bicycle can help put more bikes on the road, and more bikes on the road mean drivers will be expecting more bikes on the road. so, encourage businesses to put secure bike racks in front of their establishments, also.

  4. #4
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    I also found that upping te visibility with an ANSI vest or traffic yellow jacket dis wonders. It seems to penetrate their unconscious sooner so they have time to plan their moves. Just my observation, and cheap enough to implement.

    BrianMc

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    With that name I assumed you where from Oregon at first (Portland Trail Blazers) looking at local laws and making yourself as visible as possible will help. Seems strange there are no bike lanes writing the Mayor sounds reasonable to me regardless.

  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durzil View Post
    With that name I assumed you where from Oregon at first (Portland Trail Blazers) looking at local laws and making yourself as visible as possible will help. Seems strange there are no bike lanes writing the Mayor sounds reasonable to me regardless.
    you've never been to the midwest, have you?

    though to be honest, bike lanes are not the only answer. in my town of 30k, we also have no bike lanes. there's actually a respectable number of folks getting around by bike. every day I see at least one. usually I see more than that. though I do wish there were bike lanes in a couple of spots in particular, it's not too bad where I live now, and I attribute it to the fact that in large part, drivers accept cyclists as traffic here.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    I also found that upping te visibility with an ANSI vest or traffic yellow jacket dis wonders. It seems to penetrate their unconscious sooner so they have time to plan their moves. Just my observation, and cheap enough to implement.

    BrianMc
    +1

    I gained at least an extra foot or two and a ton more courtesy just by wearing a green high vis jacket. Bright flashing lights gains a bit more beyond that too.
    I also think there is something to be said about consistency. It often helps with the same people using the roads at the same times to become more aware and they will be expecting you.

    Posted w/ Tapatalk via Android

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridemtn View Post
    I also think there is something to be said about consistency. It often helps with the same people using the roads at the same times to become more aware and they will be expecting you.
    Yes, ou train the regulars if you roll either way in the same time frames. There will always be a few newbies, though.

    BrianMc

  9. #9
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    I actually live in southern Indiana, most people in our area do not ride bikes much. Kind of a "prestigious" town, or so they believe. Today is the first day I have commuted since I had a really close call. Kind of nice to be back on the roadie.

    I wear my bright green camelbak mule nv bag, and I always have a flashing light on the back of my bike. I would say 35% of the passerby's give more than extra room, the rest barely get over.

    This past year we got a new mayor in town, and he is open to suggestions, I may talk to my local bike shop and see if maybe we could get a group together to bring awareness.

    Thanks for the tips guys, any help is much appreciated

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazer62808 View Post
    I actually live in southern Indiana, most people in our area do not ride bikes much. Kind of a "prestigious" town, or so they believe. Today is the first day I have commuted since I had a really close call. Kind of nice to be back on the roadie.

    I wear my bright green camelbak mule nv bag, and I always have a flashing light on the back of my bike. I would say 35% of the passerby's give more than extra room, the rest barely get over.

    This past year we got a new mayor in town, and he is open to suggestions, I may talk to my local bike shop and see if maybe we could get a group together to bring awareness.

    Thanks for the tips guys, any help is much appreciated
    With Indy's mayor making such a big push towards putting cycling on the map in the city, you would probably be able to point to what's going on there as an example.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazer62808 View Post
    I actually live in southern Indiana, most people in our area do not ride bikes much. Kind of a "prestigious" town, or so they believe. Today is the first day I have commuted since I had a really close call. Kind of nice to be back on the roadie.
    *** Same area, same attitudes, maybe more Meth heads. If you ride the same routes at the same time the regulars get accustomed. The further back they see that you are a cyclist trying to be seen, the more they respond well. Some still take it as a personal affront and that you have no business slowing up their progress. Lunch time errand runners, people picking up kids at school, and high school getting out, are all special hazards to be avoided if you can. leaving work late after most are home is a quieter ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazer62808 View Post
    I wear my bright green camelbak mule nv bag, and I always have a flashing light on the back of my bike. I would say 35% of the passerby's give more than extra room, the rest barely get over.
    *** Anything less than a Planet Bike Turbo, PDW Radbot 1000, Cygolite HotShot, NiteFlux Red Zone, or one of the Dinotte tail lights or equivalent is ineffective in anything brighter than partly cloudy conditions for people not conditioned to see and recognize regular bicycle lights. In bright sun, nothing beats fluorescent yellow-green like the camelback. A narrow beam helmet light so useful for trail riding works effectively on drivers threatening to pull out from side streets even though you are almost upon them. They are unused to a bike doing much over 5 mph, if they see you in the first place. I run mine on rapid flash in the daytime.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazer62808 View Post
    This past year we got a new mayor in town, and he is open to suggestions, I may talk to my local bike shop and see if maybe we could get a group together to bring awareness.
    *** We don't even have sidewalks and we have a BMX jump park with only the narrow road as an MUP with vehicles to access it. Most lights won't trigger with a steel bike.. So I wish you well, but am not overly optimistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazer62808 View Post
    Thanks for the tips guys, any help is much appreciated
    *** BTW I find good bike lights at night get WAY more respect than my hi vis day stuff. The less you look like a recreational cyclist the better. Bicycle shorts under pants, basically look like you are going to school or work, is better.

    *** And winter riding is seen as evidence of a contagious madness and even more room is ceded.

    BrianMc

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazer62808 View Post
    ..This past year we got a new mayor in town, and he is open to suggestions, I may talk to my local bike shop and see if maybe we could get a group together to bring awareness.
    This is a worthwhile, but long term project.

    What every government wants is money. There are federal subsidies for making roads multi-use. I don't know the ins-and-outs of it all, but I would start at the next layer of government, the county and see if they have funded programs and so on up the layers of government.

    The goal here is to go to the mayor with something along the lines of "There are matching funds available for your roads department to implement shared lanes." Or, if you can figure out how to fully fund multi-use paths, then go for it. You'll be surprised at the number of departments that will say "No!" for little to no good reason. But, stick with it.

    Voters tend to love the multi-use paths these days. Sharrows? Less so, but definitely not a negative.

    Another way to look at it is you want to find ways to slow cars down. This tends to lead to more "livable" streets. The road planning people in my area don't like this. Maybe you'll have better luck. Politicians and voters sure do though.

    Any way you go, it's a long term project and there will be lots of resistance. But, the results tend to be very positive for the community. Go for it!

    A shorter term project is to start a walking/bike riding day where the city shuts down a long low-traffic weekend use road for anything but motorized transportation. Merchants love it. Voters who show up love it. CicLAvia | Ciclavia History

  13. #13
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    Get in touch with your local bike advocacy group.

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