When I bicycle around Boston it’s mostly vehicularly. While the rules of the road generally give some order to the roads- I always need be extra vigilant and assume drivers don’t see me.


I’m experienced, follow the rules of the road, and best practices for bicycling. I can do everything in my power- but there’s no barrier if a driver is inattentive.


It is obvious that there is a better way. Re-educationBut why so much resistance to making the dream a reality?Re-education

No amount of education can fix an unequal match of people riding bikes next to cars. And only re-designing the roads will invite more people to ride a bicycle.

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65 Comments on "Redesign"

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Jon Webb
Agree 100% And I’m always disappointed by the way people get so caught up with their own particular approach to safety. E.g., people claiming that helmets aren’t necessary because Dutch cyclists don’t wear them: what we need is good infrastructure. Well, why can’t we advocate for infrastructure while also wearing helmets? I think sometimes that people who spend a lot of time biking think these arguments through so many times that they decide there is only one possible conclusion: whatever they are doing is the only answer. Also the “investment” needed to build bike infrastructure is big only when you… Read more »
The Alternative DfT
Wow, the nonsense of John Forester still lives on in the U.S., doesn’t it? I’m amazed so many hardcore Vehicular Cyclists bother reading your blog, it must just enrage them! Or do they just come here to gripe? I wouldn’t mind so much, but none of them can come up with a good argument against proper cycling infrastructure, all they usually offer is just tired old stuff about junctions – which the Dutch solved decades ago. If cycling infrastructure was dangerous, the Netherlands would be the most dangerous place to ride a bike. But it’s not, it’s the safest. The… Read more »
The problem isn’t with bike infrastructure per se. It’s with the bad bike infrastructure being promulgated but infraphile. What I see proposed and implemented over and over again are short bursts of good intentions with no idea about what to do with cyclists when the eight blocks of two way cycletrack runs out. By the way, two way cycletracks are all the rage in the US now and in Europe, they highly recommend against them. Or we get people who think it’s a Great idea to hide cyclists behind parked cars. I can personally attest to why that idea stinks,… Read more »
The Alternative DfT
There certainly are people out there (“infraphiles” as you call them) who will cheer and whoop about anything bike-related, but I’m certainly not one of them. I’ve written many times about bad cycling infrastructure in London and Berlin, and what needs to be done to make it right. I’ve clashed with both VC evangelists and the infraphiles many times. But that doesn’t change the fact that most anti-infrastructure arguments are regarding problems which were solved long ago, such as junctions (which are perfectly safe, with good design) or broken glass (which needs street-sweepers, just as any other bit of road… Read more »
I kind of divide the debate here into two camps. The infraphobes who don’t want bike infrastructure. The infraphiles who want infra structure. The infraphiles see bike infrastructure as the salvation of bicycling. There will be separated, dedicated bicycle roads everywhere. Everyone will know how to use it and drivers will know what it’s for and will respect it. Politicians will immediately see the logic of such safe bicycle routes and will immediately vote money to build it and maintain it and once that is done, everyone will flock to use it and we will become the Netherlands and Copenhagen… Read more »
You, sir, are wrong on the internet. Rather than match your diatribe point for point, I suggest that you look at the resounding success of Effective/Vehicular/Savvy cycling by itself from about 1974 to 2004 at suppressing ride share and failing to increase bicycle safety. Maybe it works in theory, but that’s not where we live — in the real world most people don’t like it and won’t do it. We also have the example of the Dutch and the Danes to see that there is a better arrangement that works in practice with real people on the scale of nations.… Read more »
You mention deal with the real world. But the real world doesn’t have bicycle infrastructure going where I need to go. How does one handle that? When the two miles of dangerous two way cycle track runs out,how does the cyclist reintegrate into traffic. With the “not a dime to education” mindset, no one would know. I would need to drive my car to the start of the two miles of good intentions, ride two mile, turn around, go back, hoping to heaven that no one pulls a rolling right turn across the cycle track, put my bike back into… Read more »
Exept you didn’t even read what I wrote. What’s the matter, TL;DR? In summary, bad infrastructure will continue to kill people. Good infrastructure is expensive and will take a long time of educating the public for it’s need. So the idea of billions for infrastructure and not a dime for education dooms any attempt to emulate Dutch/Dane experience to absolute failure. No one will want to pay for it. And let’s just imagine if we suddenly do get Dutch Danish infrastructure, by a stroke of magic (since your plan depends on magic paint to keep most people safe) when the… Read more »
Education without changes to the infrastructure is a pipe dream. “Education” has been our answer to cycling on streets since I was a kid, and it got us nothing but declining ride share and declining safety. Scare quotes for “education” because of the two problems that (1) it’s always some other government agency’s problem, so it doesn’t really happen or it’s done poorly (“share the road”, clearly a message for those scruffy cyclists that are in my way, right?) and (2) people (drivers, in particular) are resistant to being educated. I think you are imagining that education would be done… Read more »
You are arguing that infrastructure, even poor infrastructure alone will be sufficient and that with infrastructure will come the knowledge and understanding that will lead to better and safer infrastructure. And you seem to believe that those like me want to improve cycling and cycling safety through education alone. In fact I am of the opinion that education needs to be the immediate focus and it must be two pronged. (1) cyclists need better tools for surviving in the environment as it currently exists. Even once goals are met, infra will not be everywhere and they will still need those… Read more »
We’ve been doing “education” of the vehicular sort for the past 40+ years, most cyclists hated it, and motorists ignored it. I don’t think that repeating the “we don’t want to spend the money” claim helps anything; it simply reinforces the beliefs of the yahoos who don’t want to spend the money, and irritates those of us who do. Your casual flinging around of the word “billions” is also a little dubious to me — that normally leads me to believe that the thing you want most is to not build infrastructure, rather than to save money. Though I absolutely… Read more »
Opus the Poet

I see a little callback to the woman killed last month on Mass Avenue by a semi.


[…] Bikeyface says we need to redesign our cities for everyone to use, not just cars. Redesign Notice the first panel with the semi. What is that semi going to do and will it cross her path […]