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Author Topic: Can the Bicycle Save Civilization?
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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According to this, converting calories to fuel, a bicycle gets the equivalent of 1400 mpg.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I hate urban sprawl and this whole dependency on cars that ensues, but, if you have three kids (including babies or toddlers) and ten bags of groceries, dance class gear and a tuba to incorporate into your logistics for the day, I don't see how you can do it on a bicycle. Even with baskets.

But I sure would like to be able to use one for some stuff. The way my town is set up, you really can't bicycle anywhere. It irritates me.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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BringTheNoise
Xboxing Day


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How does walking fare? I ocassionally take the bus, but I usually manage to walk everywhere, even when I'm doing a large food shop.

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"The United States Government: significantly less cruel and sadistic than the Taliban." - Dara

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Other than the weekly grocery store type trips, I bus it or walk (I used to bike, but it got stolen and I can't buy another for a bit). Thank the goddess that Denver and Boulder are pretty bicycle-friendly (paths and stuff like bike racks on front of the buses.)

However, I grew up in Jax., Fla., so I get where you're coming from snapdragonfly. There's no way you could get around on public transit, much less bike. You bike, you risk your life (I knew people who would throw bottles out their car windows at bikers for fun). Some towns simply don't make it possible to do anything other than drive a car everywhere you go.

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So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by BringTheNoise:
How does walking fare? I ocassionally take the bus, but I usually manage to walk everywhere, even when I'm doing a large food shop.

*How* on earth do you do that????, or is your idea of a large food shop different than mine?

Mine is about ten to twenty bags. Heavy bags. Gallons of milk, gallons of laundry detergent, canned goods.

Also the grocery store is 7 miles from my house.

Ryda - exactly so.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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I'm not sure how realistic the 20 km/hr mark is for an average fit person. The 2006 Tour de France - Stage 1 is pretty flat and 184 km long. The winner covered that distance in just over 4 hours for a speed of 46 km/hr. Given that these are the top bicycle athletes in the world, I suspect that the average person would be much slower than 20 km/hr.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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BringTheNoise
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
quote:
Originally posted by BringTheNoise:
How does walking fare? I ocassionally take the bus, but I usually manage to walk everywhere, even when I'm doing a large food shop.

*How* on earth do you do that????, or is your idea of a large food shop different than mine?

Err, yeah. What I meant by a large food shop was enough food for myself for a week or two, plus maybe some washing powder, washing-up liquid, etc. I usually have about seven or eight bags at the end, but have started taking my backpack along to put things in, which cuts down how many bags I need.

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"The United States Government: significantly less cruel and sadistic than the Taliban." - Dara

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
I'm not sure how realistic the 20 km/hr mark is for an average fit person.

12.43 mph, right? That's pretty slow. I was a slow biker in Bdr., and my average was 15 mph. I'd say the average biker here does about 20-25 mph.

And then you have the top 25-30% who scare the bejesus out of you and go far faster than the cars. Elkhound, had Murdoch lived here, she would have revised her opinion. Scary bikers, dude, scary bikers.

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So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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Errata
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
I'm not sure how realistic the 20 km/hr mark is for an average fit person. The 2006 Tour de France - Stage 1 is pretty flat and 184 km long. The winner covered that distance in just over 4 hours for a speed of 46 km/hr. Given that these are the top bicycle athletes in the world, I suspect that the average person would be much slower than 20 km/hr.

Going twice as fast is a bit more than twice as hard, so that ratio between top athletes and regular people isn't so unreasonable. Consider that in running, a 5 minute mile is a very good pace (4 minute mile is world class), but a 10 minute mile, half as fast, is a casual jog for someone in average shape, and a 15 minute mile is merely a brisk walk.

The use of bicycles we're talking about here is for short commutes around town, which are probably less than 20 km jaunts anyway. For a several hour journey you might want to keep a more conservative pace.

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Bikes are nice if you're one person only needing to transport a small amount of light things in good weather. Bikes are also useful if you live in any area with a central core instead of urban sprawl and highways.

Bikes are not nice if weather is adverse (lightning storms, snow, deathly heat), if you have to transport multiple things, or if you just live too far away to arrive anywhere without being utterly exhausted or leaving an hour before you need to get there. Or if a busy highway is literally your only way to get to your destination. Also, it is simply not feasible to construct public transportation to transport people everywhere bikes can't go. For example, I live 250 miles from my parents. There's no way in hell I'm supporting train systems criss-crossing all of Florida (it was on the ballot once and voters shot it down). The 3.5 hour trip costs me about $20 in gas. In the car I bring my dog and artwork that I sell at home. I wouldn't be able to bring my dog on public transportation, which means I'd have to pay to board him, nor would I be able to safely carry the artwork, nor would I be able to get there in less than 5 hours. For short trips to the grocery store, I'll walk. I ride the bus to school. But a private car is the most beneficial way for me to visit my parents under my circumstances.

Right now I live in a college town where many people walk, ride bikes, or use the bus, but Florida is the most deadly state for bicycle riders, with 124 deaths and over 4500 injuries from traffic last year.

The idea that there's one solution to this problem is ridiculous. Obviously biking will be a solution for certain people in certain areas. But there's no way you can paint the entire U.S. with one brush.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Paulie Jay
O Little Down-Payment of Bethlehem


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
I'm not sure how realistic the 20 km/hr mark is for an average fit person. The 2006 Tour de France - Stage 1 is pretty flat and 184 km long. The winner covered that distance in just over 4 hours for a speed of 46 km/hr. Given that these are the top bicycle athletes in the world, I suspect that the average person would be much slower than 20 km/hr.

Well, I ride to work every day and my average speed is around 28-30km/h, and that's without actually pushing myself too hard (I can assure you, jumping on a bike at 4.30am the last thing on your mind is the need for speed!). Most people would have no real difficulty in maintaining 20km/h over a distance of around 5-10km. 20 MPH however...

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All the way with Paulie Jay

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
I hate urban sprawl and this whole dependency on cars that ensues, but, if you have three kids (including babies or toddlers) and ten bags of groceries, dance class gear and a tuba to incorporate into your logistics for the day, I don't see how you can do it on a bicycle. Even with baskets.

Try this Xtracycle or this Bikes at Work.

(I'm saving my pennies for both.)

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
I hate urban sprawl and this whole dependency on cars that ensues, but, if you have three kids (including babies or toddlers) and ten bags of groceries, dance class gear and a tuba to incorporate into your logistics for the day, I don't see how you can do it on a bicycle. Even with baskets.

Try this Xtracycle or this Bikes at Work.

(I'm saving my pennies for both.)

I cannot see myself having the oompf to transport furniture by pedal power.

And they still don't satisfactorily address the problem of multiple young kids to cart around, from what I can tell.

They might work for some things though.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
I hate urban sprawl and this whole dependency on cars that ensues, but, if you have three kids (including babies or toddlers) and ten bags of groceries, dance class gear and a tuba to incorporate into your logistics for the day, I don't see how you can do it on a bicycle. Even with baskets.

Try this Xtracycle or this Bikes at Work.

(I'm saving my pennies for both.)

YOu might want to change the first link to this site, your link is to a news article from another thread.

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W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by BringThaNoise:
How does walking fare?

According to my biomechanics professor, bicycling is the most energy efficient mode of self-propelled human transportation (out of the standard ones...this doesn't include your Uncle Ned's fantastic bicyrollerskateboards). Basically, it is much more efficient than walking, running, or swimming (because you have to expend little energy to keep up your speed).

ETA: And here's a source to back me up, with a lovely little graphic:
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http://www.exploratorium.edu/cycling/images/efficeincy.gif

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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I love cycling. Most of the time I cycle into Reading which is on a nice wide cycle track with facilities for locking my bike when I get there. I also ride to work for the same reason. I'd love to cycle to college because due to the small town nature of where I attend, it's actually faster to cycle the six miles than drive must mornings due to an absurd level of traffic. However the roads there are all winding, narrow and dangerous. I only cycled there for about two weeks after crashing my car and it scared the living bejesus out of me. So yah. Unfortunately the car is my only feasable method of transportation to college.

I also cycle to the shop and find I can get about two bags worth of stuff in my rucksack which is a medium sized shop for me.

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Vox populi vox canem

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christmas tree kitapper
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I wish I could bicycle but Tucson is not very bike friendly. Also, there's not way I would bike anywhere when it's 115 outside. Plus working nights- I'm just asking to get smooshed.

I would love a light rail/monorail here in Tucson.

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"I have never in my life been more disappointed by a politician I voted for than I have been with George Bush. He is a total liberal."- overheard by me on the shuttle to the U of A game on Nov. 11th.

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Scout
The First USA Noel


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I cycle to work everyday, it's quicker than the car for the 4 miles I have to travel across the city, and it wakes me up, and gets me a little exercise.

There are showers available when I get here, which makes it much better.

Since I started doing it, I've pretty much cycled in whatever weather has been thrown at me, which has been everything from very strong winds, absolutely pouring rain, and really sticky hot (for the UK [Wink] ) weather. I think the only think that will put me off is ice, as I've come off my bike on black ice before, and that's not something I'd like to do when there's more traffic around.

I don't use my bike to do the shopping though, like Snapdragonfly said, there's no way I could physically carry the weekly shop.

Scout.

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"Abandon shop. This is not a daffodil, repeat, this is not a daffodil!"

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Monza305
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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The tree hugging side of me would like to bike everywhere. I'm sure my body would appreciate it too. But I'm in the same situation as many here are in. Sprawl, kids, and weather prevent it. I could probably bike to work in 45 minutes, or so. Not what I'd want to do first thing in the morining. We've got 4-6 inches of snow on the ground right now & it's cold out...another strike. Plus I have to pick up my DD from daycare after work. Strike three.

Of course, I need to actually own a bike before I could ride one.

If I found myself without a car, our bus system might work. It would be a real pain in the butt, though. I'd have to get up 2 hours earlier & leave work an hour earlier just to make it on the last bus before the routes shut down for the night. Then I'd be home 2 hours later than I would if I drove.

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I've got a pen in my pocket does that make me a writer?
Standing on the mountain doesn't make me no higher.
Putting on gloves don't make you a fighter.
And all the study in the world doesn't make it science. -Paul Weller

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
I hate urban sprawl and this whole dependency on cars that ensues, but, if you have three kids (including babies or toddlers) and ten bags of groceries, dance class gear and a tuba to incorporate into your logistics for the day, I don't see how you can do it on a bicycle. Even with baskets.

Try this Xtracycle or this Bikes at Work.

(I'm saving my pennies for both.)

I cannot see myself having the oompf to transport furniture by pedal power.

And they still don't satisfactorily address the problem of multiple young kids to cart around, from what I can tell.

They might work for some things though.

What about these?

Or these.

Or these.

Or some combination.

As for the leg-strength to move heavy loads, you'd probably have to work your way up to it, but with a low enough gear ratio you'd be surprised how much you can haul.

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
I hate urban sprawl and this whole dependency on cars that ensues, but, if you have three kids (including babies or toddlers) and ten bags of groceries, dance class gear and a tuba to incorporate into your logistics for the day, I don't see how you can do it on a bicycle. Even with baskets.

Try this Xtracycle or this Bikes at Work.

(I'm saving my pennies for both.)

I cannot see myself having the oompf to transport furniture by pedal power.

And they still don't satisfactorily address the problem of multiple young kids to cart around, from what I can tell.

They might work for some things though.

What about these?

Or these.

Or these.

Or some combination.

As for the leg-strength to move heavy loads, you'd probably have to work your way up to it, but with a low enough gear ratio you'd be surprised how much you can haul.

Those might work.

Now if there were just a safe pathway, instead of only freeways with no shoulder, no bikelane, and people zooming by going 85 miles an hour, in which to ride these innovative cycles, perhaps people would. As other snopesters have observed, you are just asking to be killed in a lot of places.

That isn't hyperbole either. Last year a friend of ours, our former tenant, WAS killed as he bicycled to work. He was training for a charity bikeathon, and was cycling to his job as a prison guard out on the country road that goes to it, and someone wiped him out and was never caught. Hit and run.

It was closed casket. *shudder* One of the sadder funerals I've been to.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:

Now if there were just a safe pathway, instead of only freeways with no shoulder, no bikelane, and people zooming by going 85 miles an hour, in which to ride these innovative cycles, perhaps people would. As other snopesters have observed, you are just asking to be killed in a lot of places.[/QB]

And plenty of people get killed driving/riding in cars, too. As a matter of fact, although I have no cites, I have read that the automobile in terms of deaths per passenger/mile is the most dangerous mode of travel. Add to that the number of people killed or sickened by automobile-generated pollution and the automobile probably could be classified--without too much hyperbole--as a weapon of mass destruction.

The lack of facilities is not an insurmountable problem. Massachusetts has recently passed a law that all new road projects must have provision for nonmotorized vehicles, and I think a few other states have similar laws.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I live across the Tennessee River from my office. It would not be safe on ANY of the three bridges I could use, and it isn't even LEGAL on two of them. I do ride on weekends in the park (the only safe place to ride around here).

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And now for something completely different...

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
Massachusetts has recently passed a law that all new road projects must have provision for nonmotorized vehicles, and I think a few other states have similar laws.

Funny, in Alabama, the law is set up such that it is illegal to spend highway funds for nonmotorized use. They are not even allowed to use the highway money to build sidewalks.

Note that sometimes they get around the law by calling the sidewalk a "concrete traffic buffer pad" or something like that, but if it is found out, it is usually taken out of the project.

Alabama is VERY anti-bicycle. We actually received Federal money to build a bike path between the two parks in the bigger town to the North and due to citizen protest, the money was actually returned unspent. It would have made a nice path between two parks, each with a nice bike path. In the middle of the route was the farmer's market. It would have been great. But folks thought a bike path would bring in "undesirables" into the exclusive neighborhoods along the way. Sad, really (yes I am bitter. I was looking forward to taking the path with my kids).

--------------------
And now for something completely different...

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:

Now if there were just a safe pathway, instead of only freeways with no shoulder, no bikelane, and people zooming by going 85 miles an hour, in which to ride these innovative cycles, perhaps people would. As other snopesters have observed, you are just asking to be killed in a lot of places.[/QB]

And plenty of people get killed driving/riding in cars, too. As a matter of fact, although I have no cites, I have read that the automobile in terms of deaths per passenger/mile is the most dangerous mode of travel. Add to that the number of people killed or sickened by automobile-generated pollution and the automobile probably could be classified--without too much hyperbole--as a weapon of mass destruction.

The lack of facilities is not an insurmountable problem. Massachusetts has recently passed a law that all new road projects must have provision for nonmotorized vehicles, and I think a few other states have similar laws.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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Towknie
We Three Blings


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I'm on a stationary bike 30 minutes every night, but I always feel like I'm not getting anywhere.

Tow "We're on a road to nowhere" Knie

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Towknie: Ryda-certified as wonderful, enlighted, and rational.

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Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


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I tried cycling to work, when it was only about 5 miles away, one summer as a student. It lasted days. Why?

- no "bike friendly" route
- averaged maybe 10mph because of avoiding the busiest streets, stoplights, morning traffic
- it was an "office" job, and arriving sweaty didn't go over well
- torrential rain on the 3rd night's ride home

The rain did it. No way I was going to try that again.

Right now I live a mile from work. I can walk, or I can drive, but taking a bike would be ludicrous. Half the drive is along a 4-lane major road. It has a 40mph limit (which means everyone drives 50mph) and sidewalks, *BUT* there is construction development on both sides of the road. The sidewalks and road are covered with clumps of dirt from all the dump trucks hauling it out. When things are finished - in about 2 years - it may be possible to go by bike, but I don't think it is wise to risk my life by sharing the rode.

Even a minor bicycle accident carries with it the risk of severe injury or death. Smart motorcyclists know this too - even a bit of gravel on a curve can cause a loss of control. Such things are barely even noticed by drivers in their cars.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

Posts: 1587 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
El Camino
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
As a matter of fact, although I have no cites, I have read that the automobile in terms of deaths per passenger/mile is the most dangerous mode of travel.

But how much more higher would those numbers be if people didn't take care to avoid biking in dangerous places? In this country at least, a lot of bicycling (probably most) is done recreationally, and these people tend to choose safe routes. I bet if more people used bicycling as their primary mode of transport, thus having less choice in where they go, the numbers would go way up.
quote:
Add to that the number of people killed or sickened by automobile-generated pollution and the automobile probably could be classified--without too much hyperbole--as a weapon of mass destruction.
Aside from the fact that cars used for transport are not weapons nor used as such, you're pretty much right.
Posts: 1048 | From: Brunswick, Maine | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by El Camino:
Aside from the fact that cars used for transport are not weapons nor used as such, you're pretty much right. [/QB]

You haven't seen the way some people drive around here.

As for the person for whom riding in the rain was the tipping point, there is bicycle-specific raingear available. Here is one example.

I'm not saying that the bicycle will be appropriate for everyone at once. What I am saying is that land use, city planning, and other policies, as well as people's attitudes and assumptions, are going to have to shift from our current private-automobile centered culture. Between the environmental degredation, social isolation, and resource depletion caused by our addiction to the automobile, something has to give.

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"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Cars are never going to go away. They're here to stay in America, mainly due to the size of the country and the fact that most of our cities, suburbs, and rural areas were developed after the invention of the automobile. There is simply no other practical way for most people to transport things (or themselves) great distances. Instead of claiming bikes or public transport as a panacea, we should make them more available but also encourage the development of energy-efficient cars that are not dependent on fossil fuels.

quote:
Bikes are not as practical for longer distance trips (although the definition of "long distance" changes once you switch from driving to cycling as your main transportation mode). In these cases, it makes sense to have a good public transit system.

The good news is that with all the available room left by today's car infrastructure, we would have plenty of space to create dedicated transit lines through the city so that bicycles and buses or trolley cars can coexist safely and peacefully. Since their range and uses are distinct, transit and bikes complement each other whereas transit and cars currently compete for space and for users.

Obviously, the author has not given any thought to how people are supposed to commute outside a metropolitan area...which is where most people live. He's discussing transportation in major cities, but I've found that most major cities already have central locations accesible by public transit. The Americans truly dependent on cars are the ones who live outside an area that doesn't have the infrastructure in place to allow for practical bicycling or public transit. In my experience, that's the vast majority of the country. Because of this, we need to realize that the car isn't going to go away, so we need to promote "green" cars, hybrids, or some other form of an environmentally friendly private car.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Paulie Jay
O Little Down-Payment of Bethlehem


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Yeah, I agree. Cycling will only ever work for a certain percentage of people. Not all work places have space to chain up a bike, or showers with which to make one's self fresh, and although I do ride in the rain I wouldn't really expect other people to be thrilled at the prospect.

Snapdragonfly points out that it can be horrendously dangerous for bike riders and she is right - the average motorist sees cyclists as little more than a nuisance. I'm fortunate to have bike lanes/ tracks for the vast majority of my journey to work.

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All the way with Paulie Jay

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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We should have bicycle powered rickshaws. Of course, we would have to make sure that the rickshaw drivers get fair wages

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Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

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JFB
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Mad Jay:
We should have bicycle powered rickshaws. Of course, we would have to make sure that the rickshaw drivers get fair wages

They're quite common in Manhattan, and to my knowledge they're owner-operated.

quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
...we need to realize that the car isn't going to go away, so we need to promote "green" cars, hybrids, or some other form of an environmentally friendly private car.

That works for moderately populated areas, but in denser regions traffic volume and land use are considerations just as critical as fuel efficiency. The traditional approach has been to build new roads and widen old ones, but that's quickly becoming both unpractical and undesirable. Hence the growth of commuter rail in regions that haven't seen passenger trains in decades.

Certainly cars aren't going away. But it's becoming clear that we can't live in close proximity and drive everywhere all the time, so we need to provide alternatives for people who don't need four seats and a trunk to get where they're going.

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Ryda Wong, EBfCo.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by JFB:
quote:
Originally posted by Mad Jay:
We should have bicycle powered rickshaws. Of course, we would have to make sure that the rickshaw drivers get fair wages

They're quite common in Manhattan, and to my knowledge they're owner-operated.
The work that way in Denver, too (We're not as backwoods as we might seem!)

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So many spankings! It feels so good! But at the same time, I don't care about meeting your family! - I'mNotDedalus:

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
Cars are never going to go away. They're here to stay in America, mainly due to the size of the country and the fact that most of our cities, suburbs, and rural areas were developed after the invention of the automobile. There is simply no other practical way for most people to transport things (or themselves) great distances. Instead of claiming bikes or public transport as a panacea, we should make them more available but also encourage the development of energy-efficient cars that are not dependent on fossil fuels.

quote:
Bikes are not as practical for longer distance trips (although the definition of "long distance" changes once you switch from driving to cycling as your main transportation mode). In these cases, it makes sense to have a good public transit system.

The good news is that with all the available room left by today's car infrastructure, we would have plenty of space to create dedicated transit lines through the city so that bicycles and buses or trolley cars can coexist safely and peacefully. Since their range and uses are distinct, transit and bikes complement each other whereas transit and cars currently compete for space and for users.

Obviously, the author has not given any thought to how people are supposed to commute outside a metropolitan area...which is where most people live. He's discussing transportation in major cities, but I've found that most major cities already have central locations accesible by public transit. The Americans truly dependent on cars are the ones who live outside an area that doesn't have the infrastructure in place to allow for practical bicycling or public transit. In my experience, that's the vast majority of the country. Because of this, we need to realize that the car isn't going to go away, so we need to promote "green" cars, hybrids, or some other form of an environmentally friendly private car.
I agree with your assessment. In my ideal America, most people would be able to work near where they live or even from home, most towns and suburbs would be more centrally planned and less sprawling, and cars would be very energy efficient and only necessary for hauling large amounts of crap or going long distances. Even in the Bay Area where there is a lot of public transit and most cities have centralized commerce, there are tons of people commuting by car and doing their daily errands with cars. It's hard to figure out what else they're supposed to do.

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Officially Heartless

Posts: 3065 | From: The Montgomery County of the West Coast- Berkeley, CA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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