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You had me until:

"Do you want cyclists to stop bike salmoning? Then support contraflow bike lanes."

Not having a contraflow lane present isn't an excuse to salmon. There are plenty of legal ways to get from point a to point b. Salmoning is more often a result of laziness than it is of poor infrastructure. And if poor infrastructure is the reasoning, I can't believe the legal method is any worse off than riding into oncoming traffic.

Easiest way to discourage salmoning: as many streets as possible two-way, especially in commercial areas, like downtown. One-way streets suck.

Agree with Greenbelt. One-way streets are a car-centric design artifice to channel and/or increase traffic speed.

I think two-way streets in urban areas make for a more livable environment because traffic speed is held lower and cyclists are able to ride legally in the direction they need to go.


I always thought grizzlies were the best way to stop salmon

I agree about two-way streets, but not that salmoning is a result of laziness.

It is the result of thinking it's no big deal to go 2 blocks out of one's way to get somewhere. It might be no big deal in a car, but on a bike it can be. It is car-centric thinking.

" but on a bike it can be"

Doubtful. Unless hills are involved. Not an excuse to be lazy.

The general idea -- get more bikes into the streets and acting in a coherent fashion - is right.

We are cursed in DC with overyly wide street and overly wide sidewalks -- and they are sometimes attractive bait. I'm always tempted on 18th st to hit the sidewalks on weekend when nobody is around.

one way streets prevent the kind of thick traffic that becomes major backups and delays on two way streets when making a turn across traffic that flows the opposite direction at an uncontrolled intersection where there is no dedicated turn lane. As an example, left turn across oncoming traffic into a driveway. In some places it is generally faster and safer for me to pull across a cross street and, behind the line of waiting traffic (usually, just me) to then go across with the light on the cross street. I'm sure it'd be frowned upon in a motor car, but I don't think think anyone thinks about it on a cycle. On the other hand, the intersection at work has no cross street, so the people behind me just have to wait for me to have a clearing or go around on the right. (though I watch for them on the left, 'cos I have been passed by people before while preparing my left turn)

SJE, I don't think I need to worry about those, but I will keep a serious watch for them!

I don't think the direction of traffic flow should be a subjective matter, at least not while out on the road. Discuss it all you want at ANC meetings, but out on the road, the direction of traffic flow should be followed.

Nobody likes to ride a bike on the sidewalk. The sidewalks are often in bad shape, blocked by utility poles, uprooted by tree roots and enormous curbs without ramps.

The only reason we ride on the sidewalk is because we're afraid to die on the roadway. Thanks for this post.

I think educaiton is why there are some cyclists on sidewalks in the no riding on sidewalks area. There is little to no signage (at least not that I know of) and with more and more tourists and others using the Cabis, it may be a good time for an education campaign.

Simultaneously, we need to educate people about how a cycletrack is like a lane of traffic. You don't step into it without looking and you certainly don't walk down it getting annoying as cyclists ride down it.

As far as salmoning goes, I really don't see much of it in the city. When I do it's usually messengers. I'm even having a hard time seeing where it would be necessary. About the only instances I can see is when you're on somewhere and riding a few feet up to the intersection such as from a parking garage.

UrbanEngineer, that's not a fair argument. No one is justifying wrong-way cycling. What we're saying is that if you build bad infrastructure you get bad behavior. And if what you want is good behavior, then you should push for good infrastructure.

Silly WashCycle, on-road bike lanes are for contraflow joggers. At least in Clarendon that's apparently what they're for.

People are either willful idiots or we are enticing them into idiocy by poor design. The result is the same. Bike lanes on northeast Capitol Hill one-way streets have wrong-way cyclists in them every day.

"There are plenty of legal ways to get from point a to point b. Salmoning is more often a result of laziness than it is of poor infrastructure. And if poor infrastructure is the reasoning, I can't believe the legal method is any worse off than riding into oncoming traffic."

Maybe in a city like DC - out in the gridless burbs there are often no decent alternative routes for miles around, the main roads are very difficult to ride, and there are few pedestrians anyway.

Note, I assume above the reference is to sidewalk salmoning. Road salmoning is something else (and is one reason folks in the suburbs will take the sidewalk) OTOH I've been in places where the only alternative to brief stint of shoulder salmoning is trying to cross a 45 MPH road at a location with no traffic lights, no crosswalks, etc.

Just another rider writes:

one way streets prevent the kind of thick traffic that becomes major backups and delays on two way streets when making a turn across traffic that flows the opposite direction at an uncontrolled intersection where there is no dedicated turn lane. As an example, left turn across oncoming traffic into a driveway.

Maybe urban designers should take the lead from package delivery companies and limit the streets where left turns are allowed.

Left turning motorists are among the most hazardous for pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. If we banned such turns on our major streets then motorists would simply have to "drive around the block".

The delivery companies have already figured that this is actually faster and I think it would prevent a lot accidents.

Such a restriction would not greatly impact cyclists as they could simply execute a "box turn" by pulling across the intersection and reorienting their bike. This is safer negotiating a merge across one or more lanes to in order to make a left.

@washcycle I see what you're saying. Your wording just seemed to excuse the bad behavior.

@Read Scott Martin, the street doesn't even have to be one-way. I see a lot of salmoning in the bike lane where there's another functional lane going your way right across the street. 14th St NW has a fair amount of this going on. It really does get under my skin.

But to be fair, I see this most frequently near on westbound Monroe St NE toward the Met Branch Trail at 8th St. And a lot of those riders are trying to avoid a left turn at a busy intersection where there's no signal and oncoming traffic never has to stop. So here it does get back to infrastructure after all.

*frequently on westbound.

I am unclear on the "sidewalk salmon." Sidewalks do not have a strict direction of flow, and are bidirectional, so how do you get salmon?

I thought it was considered preferable to bike in the direction of traffic even when on a sidewalk - the places where I ride the sidewalk,in FFX, the sidewalk is often not complete, and one rides there as a temporary alterntative to service lanes, shoulders, etc. Riding the opposite direction will get you in trouble at some point. I will be more careful with my use of terminology in the future.

"Do you want cyclists to stop bike salmoning? Then support contraflow bike lanes."

Yes, this sounds very much like justifying wrong-way cycling.

More important, it sounds VERY much like it to the non-cycling community, which is used to seeing bad behavior from cyclists, and lame excuses for it.

Do you want cyclists to stop bike salmoning? Then cyclist should stop salmoning. And they should get ticketed for it.

person,

What it sounds like is kind of up to the listener I suppose, so that's on you. If you think saying we should pursue solutions that work is justifying bad behavior, then I can't do anything about wrong thinking.

There are many ways to change behavior, and enforcement and "expecting" are rarely the best ones.

More important, it sounds VERY much like it to the non-cycling community, which is used to seeing bad behavior from cyclists, and lame excuses for it.

No one dislikes wrong-way cyclists as much as the greater cycling community. It's just that, generally speaking, we understand that clenching our tiny fists in feckless rage isn't really much of a solution.

At least "support contraflow lanes" is a constructive suggestion--something that could actually happen.

Simply holding your breath and saying "they should stop salmoning otherwise they'll get ticketed for it" is simply fantasy.

I, too, oppose cyclist bad behavior and lame excuses for it. I expect better excuses from now on.

"Yes, this sounds very much like justifying wrong-way cycling." -person

And that sounds like justifying bad infrastructure and lazy design.

That said, while there are times and places where riding in the sidewalk is perfectly fine, there aren't many of those places in Dupont Circle. There are a few people riding the sidewalk in Dupont (usually on 16th St) who have no business in the sidewalk, and plenty of salmoners on 17th and R/Q who have no business riding a bike at all. There are definitely parts of Mass Ave or Conn Ave that are thorny, but the portions of those Avenues in the Dupont ANC area itself are pretty rideable.

An ANC resolution isn't necessary, and neither is more ticketing, but we've put too much time, energy and effort into creating marginally good bike infrastructure only to see people completely ignore it and ride on the sidewalk.

So instead of simply following traffic law, we should build special lanes for cyclists to go the way they want?

Come on, people.

Simply following the law, and ticketing those who don't, could actually happen. Cheaper too.

Blaming our law-breaking on infrastructure is lame. We wouldn't tolerate it if motorists tried to blame their dangerous behavior on the condition of the roads.

person, that's a false choice. I would say that in addition to riding in a safe a courteous manner, we should add infrastructure that makes that easier and more likely. And that if you want to see others ride in such a manner, supporting safer roads is the option more likely to give you the results you seek.

But that's my point too - the statement "Do you want cyclists to stop bike salmoning? Then support contraflow bike lanes" is itself a false choice!

No, it's not (the two are different). If you want OTHER people to stop bike salmoning the best thing YOU can do is support better infrastructure. It's much more effective than just complaining about bike salmoning.

Person: People ride the way they do to avoid becoming hood ornaments. If the infrastructure and laws strongly favor motorists, such that cyclists are afraid to ride on the road, then it is reasonable to ask whether we should be forcing changes in the cyclists or looking at the infrastructure that drives that behavior. There is a lot of literature on product safety, and it is generally agreed that it is usually easier and cheaper to change the product than change human behavior. This is not a cyclist issue, its human nature.

So my ONLY choice to expect others to obey the law and bike safely is to build them special lanes? No, it is not.

SJE, don't even begin to tell me that cylists are all salmoning for their own safety. In most cases, salmoning makes a cyclist less safe, not more.

I agree that we need better infrastructure. Declaring that we will ride however we want, disregarding both the law and safety of others, until someone builds us our own little lanes - and at the same time getting mad when cars endanger us on the roads we demand full access to - is just lame. No wonder we have a reputation for being self-centered scofflaws.

Not your only choice, but your best one. Other choices include but are not limited to:

1. Hoping - really hard
2. Running an illegal cock-fighting league
3. Acupuncture
4. Rain dancing
5. Standing on the corner and giving bike salmoners the stink eye

All of these things are choices, but they are likely to be ineffective.

Declaring that we will ride however we want, disregarding both the law and safety of others, until someone builds us our own little lanes - and at the same time getting mad when cars endanger us on the roads we demand full access to - is just lame.

Well then, it's a good thing no one is doing that.

"Well then, it's a good thing no one is doing that."

Hmmm.

"Do you want cyclists to stop bike salmoning? Then support contraflow bike lanes."

Sure sounds exactly like that. Maybe it's not what you meant, but that's what it sounded like. I'm sure you think that simply expecting cyclists to follow the rules of the road, as we expect motorists to do, is the first and obvious choice. Which is all I was saying. So why all the complaints about that?

As hard as it is to believe, there are those of us out there who happen to believe that contraflow bike lanes and two-way 0n-street cycletracks do not constitute good infrastructure. By encouraging such infrastructure, we encourage right and left hook conflicts with motorists. I much prefer wide traffic lanes to (not really) segregated bicycle infrastructure.

Contraflow bike lanes are, IMO, insane, particularly on roads with large amounts of traffic. Drawing lines on pavement doesn't really make salmoning relative to the prevailing traffic flow much safer. Is it really that difficult to bike over to the next block and travel in the same direction as cars?

Sure sounds exactly like that.

Nope. That's how you interpreted it. Nowhere do I

1. Declare that we will ride how we want
2. or that we will disregard safety and the law
3. Nor did I get mad at drivers for endangering anyone.

What I said was, in fact, entirely different from what you wrote. And was certainly not "Exactly" the same. Or was exactly the same in the same way that 2+2 is exactly the same as banana.

Which is all I was saying. So why all the complaints about that?

No. It wasn't all you were saying - you said I was justifying bad behavior, which is why you get the pushback.

Is it really that difficult to bike over to the next block and travel in the same direction as cars?

I think the facts on the ground answer your question. You're advocating for the status quo, except that everyone will magically behave better. Let me know how that works out.

I'm not argue that everyone will magically behave better. I expect they won't.

The facts on the ground answer my question. It is really difficult for some people to bike over to the next block. It is really difficult for some people to figure out how to put lights on their bikes. It is really difficult for joggers not to run in the bike lanes against traffic. It is difficult for motorists to enter into the left turn lane on L street before turning left. Life just sucks... What laws do we enforce?

It is really difficult for some people to figure out how to put lights on their bikes.

And so we do outreach to give lights to people and help them install them.

It is really difficult for joggers not to run in the bike lanes against traffic.

And so perhaps education is needed.

It is difficult for motorists to enter into the left turn lane on L street before turning left.

Well, this is pretty new (is it even finished yet) so yeah, it is difficult for people to deal with change. Time can heal some of this.

What laws do we enforce?

Those with a high safety benefit to enforcement cost ratio.

Person: the options are not binary. I agree that salmon are dangerous. But I disagree that the only route is to enforce the law, as you imply. I think we should do 'all of the above' e.g. Education, signage, enforcement, infrastructure.

Lets look at another situation: speeding. We know speeding is against the law and is dangerous,and most people have gotten tickets for doing it. But most people still speed.

By contrast, we have strongly curbed drink driving through a combination of enforcement, education, changing social norms, and changing the infrastructure so that you don't have to drive. We keep Metro open late on weekends, many employers offer free taxi service if you have been drinking, etc.

Hey, you can believe that what you wrote sounded like what you meant in your head, or you can listen to what your readers actually hear. One is not very good for communication and one is. I'm not the only one who interpreted the statement that way. Getting defensive doesn't help either.

SJE: I explicitly said enforcing the law isn't the only route to stopping salmoning. I think it's the first one though. I have nothing against improving infrastructure too. I think the fundamental difference between talking about drunk driving and salmoning is we all agree drunk driving is wrong. The statement "don't like salmoning? build new lanes" sounds to some ears like it's justifying salmoning, rather than simply offering one way to stop it. If you heard a drunk say "don't like drunk driving? buy me a taxi ride home" you probably would react negatively too.

person, What I said was pretty explicit. I can't help it if people read into it things that aren't there. I stand by the validity of this statement:

IF you want cyclists to stop bike salmoning...

Then you should support contraflow bike lanes.

There is nothing in that about condoning bad behavior or excusing it. It is a prescription for solving the problem. That is all it is. If you read more into that...that's on you. But you've claimed that it is exactly the same as something which is very different. In other words, you're wrong and so are others who read it that way. Sorry to be blunt, but that's the fact.

As for being defensive...I'm being attacked. So I'm defending myself. That's different than being defensive. And even if I were being defensive saying it doesn't help is kind of silly and cliche don't you think. Win on the merits of your argument or don't, but don't make this about my perceived behavior.

Person: we NOW all agree that drunk driving is wrong because of decades of education. It was illegal forever, but it was a combination of enforcement and education that changed it.

Couple of thoughts here: first of all, there was a long, concerted effort to eliminate drunk driving because we've come to understand that drunk drivers kill other people in large numbers.

Such an effort is a bit silly when it comes to salmoning cyclists because people understand that they pose a negligible threat to others. It's the same reason we don't have jail terms and stiff penalties for jaywalking.

I explicitly said enforcing the law isn't the only route to stopping salmoning. I think it's the first one though.

Again, this won't happen because "salmoning" is about 34th on the list of things that pose a public hazard. The top 33 are actions of drivers. So, no, our law enforcement is not going to waste it's time cracking down on wrong-way cyclists any more than it's going to crack down on pedestrians, or people who drop used gum on the sidewalk.

As I said upthread, it's a fantasy solution.

If you want to fight drunk driving, you need to have more bars and residences walking distance of each other, with good pedestrian facilities linking them.


There, I've said it.

@ACyclistInTheSuburbs,

How dare you defend drunk drivers, &tc...

Lots of food for thought in this thread. I find it interesting that people think one-way streets are so bad for cyclists. I myself have always preferred them. I'm not all that fast, and when the cars have more lanes, I'm more comfortable riding in the right lane. (I'm assuming no bike lane and a 25- or 30-mph speed limit.) Plus cars aren't turning in as many directions as they are on a two-way street, so there's a little less for me to worry about. I used to love biking home from work in the right lane on 15th Street, before the bike lanes went in. I felt like the cars had plenty of space and so did I. It used to be my favorite street to ride on.

"So instead of simply following traffic law, we should build special lanes for cyclists to go the way they want?"

why not? Isn't that what we do for drivers? Or, what are highways but a way for drivers to drive really fast without having to stop? Why do we have a right turn on red law, other than the fact that drivers didn't like to stop?

This is how our society works: people find a law to be annoying, and then change something (either the law or the circumstance) so it no longer annoys them.

"I thought it was considered preferable to bike in the direction of traffic even when on a sidewalk"

No. In many places there's only a sidewalk on one side of the street anyway. The proper way to use the sidewalk is to choose the side which will minimize conflicts.

Mike, I agree, but to answer one question, Right turn on red became law during the gas crisis as a way to conserve gasoline.

That was a rationalization. The actual reason is that drivers didn't feel like stopping, and the effort to allow it predates the gas crisis. The societal cost from the number of pedestrians killed by people turning right on red almost certainly exceeds any fuel savings, but this is a convenience issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_turn_on_red

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