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I agree that the correlation between gas prices and biking is weak, especially if you look across the USA and internationally. LA has more expensive gas than DC, but about the same price as Portland, but Portlanders ride a lot more than either.

Gas in Australia is twice the price it is in the USA, but you don't see twice as many Australians on bikes. Looking at Europe, gas is more expensive in Italy than in Denmark or Netherlands, yet less people bike. http://www.drive-alive.co.uk/fuel_prices_europe.html. What you see, instead, are smaller cars.

What this suggests is that culture, laws, infrastructure and culture have far more to do with promoting biking than the price of gas.

Whats the point of the last pic? That is, why not just extend the concrete the length of the bridge?

So cycling might be chosen as a mode of transport as a way to get out of paying for $3 and $4 per gallon fuel and it might be because of all the moral reasons listed in the 2008 post. I say, whatever floats the boat, Man.

maybe for some people cycling is about the feelings of "green" moral superiority. And maybe more people would cycle to where they need to go if that was the common way to go places. But it isn't here, so I don't think it is constructive to grumble that "if only more people cycled"

My culture was about not wasting the spare bits of money I had. I got into cycling as a mode of transport to save on fuel costs when going to nearby places when I was in school. And I nearly bought a pickup on the grounds that I could drive with the bike in the bed so I could park in the farthest, easiest parking spots and ride to the various buildings I needed to be. Instead of truck & bike, I found alternatives that did not require the single outlay for a vehicle and accepted frequent payment for the price of gas at the time. But, the pressure to save money led me into it earlier, apparently, than most people. So if that's what it takes to make it so the more tame sort feel comfortable, I don't suppose I have too much trouble with it. Get more of them out of their little boxes and onto HPVs on the streets and it makes it safer on the streets for all HPVs. They can realise the positive side-effects afterward just like I did. Those people don't need to be aware of it to make them choose to cycle for utilitarian purposes--they need to have some prime motivator.

The timing to choose cycling as a method transport might well be guided by infrastructure and law as it provides a sense of safety (as opposed to stubbornness in my case), but I doubt it alone promotes biking. Rather, the pressure to choose an alternative to driving everywhere are probably more defined by the interest in saving fuel money or time.

that Westpark Drive bridge is peculiar. I will guess that is a ramp and it separates cycling from pedestrian lanes into its own lane on the road surface. Further, I imagine the pedestrian and cycle lanes are merged because there is high-speed interchange, or the highway behind is a large exit ramp for a highway or outlandishly sized auto and truck intersection or some-such. I am guessing because I just can't tell from the perspective. Needs some signage, or paint or markings of some sort. I hope that place gets it!

Still, I like that the ramp. I wish more places that merged pedestrian and cycling facilities had dedicated ramps and arrows and markings to show they merged. Too many paths I've seen mix and merge and there's rarely a note or hint that the preferred route takes a side path. And none have merge lanes; they are all at 90 degree angles!

The price of parking might be more strongly correlated. Better yet, the presence of driving-age teens in the household.


It is convenience, not gas prices.


(related to this, why women don't bike. The GF and I had to walk home yesterday instead of b/s. because of her skirt.)

And that is why B/S works better, it gets away from the urban bike storage/theft issues. As I've said before, in 15 years here of biking and I've one nasty fall (my fault, went down on the tracks in Alexandria), no serious incidents with cars -- a few honks -- but 4 bikes stolen.

@ just another rider, 'for some people cycling is about the feelings of "green" moral superiority'

Are you saying it is impossible to do something for one's community without becoming a "moral superior" jerk? Of do you just dislike "green" stuff?

I've worked with volunteer organizations for years and have always assumed that they run entirely on the positive feelings that people get when they truly believe they are doing something positive. Perhaps I should instead be pumping people up on the morally-superior jerk thing.

I do agree bigtime about the pictured ramp--I am very happy to see it. A big issue I see in many places are lousy/unsafe connections between on-road and off-road bicycling facilities. I hope this particular example turns out to work well.

@Charlie, I'm confused about the skirt thing. Bikeshare bikes have skirtguards.

@Jkrall; flashing, not skirt guards.

re the economics

Gas prices COULD explain variation in cycling over time better than they do variation across countries or even cities - differences in culture and infrastructure across places are great - and while they do change over time, probably not all that fast - OTOH there are enough other factors its probably hard to tell

Re the morally superior jerk meme - there is a resentment around against folks who express there values by their transportation or housing choices, or by their choices of consumption products (fair trade coffee anyone?) that is not directed against folks who do volunteer work or who donate cash (or who go to church to pray for some particular outcome) I think this may have something to do with certain cultural tensions within our society.

For the record, my comment about culture was not meant to imply anything about superiority merely that some places riding is normal and accepted.

Jonathan Krall,
I really did not mean to push in the idea of being a "jerk." In my mind, the "jerk" is the one lording his Goodness over others; no, the morally superior bit is merely a mindset or a cause. I don't think one need lord it over anyone to consider oneself morally superior. --Maybe ACyclistInTheSuburbs is right about it being in the eye of the beholder. I don't think so, but I'm willing to concede that perception influences.

I would prefer more cycled for utilitarian needs, because more people on HPVs in the road and fewer in their autos means safer cycling for all.

SJE,
I re-read your initial comment, and I am forced to agree that you are right that there are many places where cost of fuel ought to indicate greater interest in utility cycling than there is. Maybe cost is not the fundamental driver (pardon the pun!) I think it is. Maybe it is proportional to cost of living or other things. Or perhaps as a factor it is in more equal weighting with other driving factors.

Re tickets on the W&OD:

I was issued a ticket for violation of § 46.2-821 (running a stop sign at an intersection) because I didn't come to a complete stop on the W&OD where it crossed a road. I went to court (Loudon Cnty) and won. The judge agreed with me that where the trail crosses a road is not an "intersection" as defined by the VA motor vehicle code.

Grad Student Research Project:

Compare bike commuting by state using increases in the gas tax to determine how much bike commuting responds to increases in gasoline price.

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