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I didn't want to tip the City Paper discussion too far in to bike zealot territory, but that's a given here...

How does a badly constructed second-year social science methodology project paper make it into The Atlantic Cities? Is it part of Berg's (hypothetical) broad anti-bike agenda, or just brainless pay-by-the-word blogging?

The class paper is pretty much crap as research, IMHO. They picked study sites based on proximity to campus and guesses about traffic volume, two of the intersections involve the same monitored road, no bike-free intersections (or car-free ones!) were monitored as controls, and sampling was apparently done at irregular intervals - though that's hard to tell because the figures are badly formatted.

I don't blame them for writing the report that way because I don't know what the assignment was, but at the same time I can't understand how The Oregonian and The Atlantic Cities would both publish actual journalism based on the report as it stands.

In addition to DaveS's comment, one of the comments on the Atlantic notes that two of the intersections were T intersections where cyclists continuing straight across the top of the T did not risk any interference with auto traffic due to the presence of a bike lane. That makes it hardly surprising that many of them ignored stop signals.

. i[f] most cyclists run stop signs and red lights, then it shouldn't be "unpredictable." It should be expected

That is fantastic.

@Brian: My understanding is that (and of course "laws vary from state to state") the car-lane traffic control does not apply to a bike lane crossing the top of a 'T', but the bike lane may have its own traffic control device.

I wonder how they count "cars observed." Not every car that comes to an intersection and stops has a chance to run a red light. If you are driving and desperately want to run the light, but the two cars in front of you don't, you are largely screwed; but on a bike, you're almost never boxed in. Running is always an option. So what is the count for those who had an opportunity to run the light, I wonder.

This is the same effect you see with speeding. Drivers always point to some number like, "There's a 50% compliance with speed limits" when in fact, cars that are obstructed by congestion tend not to speed. Those that can, do.

And you completely nailed it with the "unpredictable" question. First of all, it should be expected. Second of all, what's upsetting to drivers is that they can't drive as fast as they would on a totally deserted street.

You see the same anger and frustration from drivers when talking about congested downtown areas with lots of pedestrians. "If only all pedestrians would GTFOOMY, traffic would flow much more smoothly."

Pedestrians and cyclists on the streets are an indicator of a healthy urban environment. We need more, not less of this. The fact that things become less orderly increases safety. That's a good thing. And increased driver inconvenience is an inevitable byproduct of that.

Slow down, or take an alternative form of transport.

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