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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What if bike comfort is more important than bike safety? | Green Lane Project

When I'm standing near the edge of a high ledge or cliff, I know, rationally, that I'm unlikely to fall. I've spent most of my life without spontaneously tumbling sideways, and standing on the edge of a cliff doesn't change that.
I know, statistically speaking, that I am almost completely safe.
But that doesn't mean I like to stand near the edge of a cliff.

When I'm in the front seat of a roller coaster, I know, rationally, that my body is extremely safe. Tens of thousands of thrill-seekers have raised their hands in the air without being harmed.
But that doesn't stop me from being scared of raising my hands in the air in the front seat of a roller coaster.

When I'm riding my bike along a five-lane arterial road, I know, rationally, that the professional truck driver next to me is statistically unlikely to suddenly swerve to his right, crushing and killing me.
But that doesn't mean I like to bike on a street like this:

Last week, I interviewed a man whose main ideas about street design have been rejected by mainstream bike advocates in the United States: John Forester, founder of the "vehicular cycling" concept. Because cars and bikes rarely collide when they can see each other, Forester and his allies argue, people should ride bicycles where they are most visible: right down the middle of standard traffic lanes. Protected bike lanes modeled on those in Northern Europe, they argue, move people on bikes to the side of the roadway where they're harder for people in cars to see.

[Keep reading at Green Lane Project]


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