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This is entirely subjective and colored by an old man's nostalgia, but I commuted and trained extensively in the western suburbs of Boston, 1980-1989, where on-road cycling infrastructure was nonexistent and the roads themselves were crap, but the sheer numbers made it a great place to ride. I was scared witless on the roads when we moved down to Rockville.

Rockville will get better. But right now, it is not the best place to ride. Most cyclists In see there are on the sidewalks.

Or we could look at policies to increase cycling that do not address safety - like for example new bike share systems (although these are often done in tandem with seg infra)

But OTOH, if the critical mass argument is wrong, and its only the infra itself that causes improves safety, does that not contradict the VC claim that seg infra is no safer (and even many of us who are not hard core Forrester fans agree that many forms of common seg infra are not safer, or barely safer) I mean while critical mass theory has more than one applicatuion, is not one of them to make the case for seg infra DESPITE the possibility that seg infra is not safer? If seg infra IS safer, then that case does not need to be made.

Bike share might increase safety even if all it does is move people from their own bikes to bikeshare bikes (but doesn't increase numbers), because bike share bikes are slower, sturdier, upright, have lights and better maintained than the average bike.

If the giant spaghetti monster came down and told us that "safety in numbers" is bunk, that would have some policy implications, but I'm not sure what those are.

We fixed the Rockville problem, after 23 years, by moving to Bethesda. Downsizing from 4000 to 2500 sq' felt pretty good, too--just not enough bike storage.

Has you hit the Green Mile yet? It was snow-covered last I went that way, but it's got to be clear by now. I will say, that stretch of road does not especially bother me, but there's no question the sidewalk there is an improvement for the vast majority of riders.

No Green Mile for me. Tiffany's delivers to us by armored car.

My orbit is pretty much commute to NIH via Little Falls and streets W of OGT, gym N of T-Town, and Fredding out to Potomac and beyond. Sorry to clutter up the comments, WC et al.


You could perhaps address that by looking only at bike accidents on non bike share bikes (assuming you could find the data sliced that way)

But I agree with your latter point - even if the South korea example disproved the critical mass hypothesis (and I am not at all sure it does) I am don't see too many policy implications. Certainly it does not less the desirability of good seg infra. It MIGHT suggest that policies whose entire aim is to increase biking numbers for the sake of critical mass would be ill advised. Beyond that, it would change the shape of the debate over mandatory helmet laws.

@Crickey7: I've used the Green Mile twice to go back and forth to Bethesda. MAJOR improvement over the west sidewalk;much wider,perfectly smooth,and only like one cross street at the beginning. I'm no longer going to waste money on Metro hitting the comic shop.

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