Poll: How good is your city’s cycling infrastructure?

How good is your city's cycling infrastructure?

  • It’s fantastic. There are bike lanes everywhere. Cycling is pretty safe.

    Votes: 3 4.1%
  • It’s pretty good. Most streets are designed with cyclists in mind.

    Votes: 18 24.3%
  • It’s average. There are only occasional bike lanes here and there.

    Votes: 39 52.7%
  • It’s terrible. There’s no bike infrastructure whatsoever. Cycling is dangerous.

    Votes: 14 18.9%

  • Total voters
    74

JayVee

Well-Known Member
For Geneva, where I commute, I voted “it’s pretty good”. Over the past 10 years Geneva has constantly been upgrading its road infrastructure to take cyclists into account, so I give the city a lot of credit for effort, even if everything is far from perfect.

I would have gladly taken you guys for a virtual “GoPro” tour of Geneva’s bike lanes, but unfortunately I broke my arm a couple of days ago.

The Good
Geneva has a large bicycling community due to its rather flat topology. Over the past years, the city has progressively been upgrading it's road infrastructure so that every street has a bike lane with dedicated traffic lights and signalization. Bike paths are easy to find: there are signs all over the city which guide you towards them. To encourage cycling, Geneva has made an efficient use of its existing infrastructure by creating bike paths that use underpasses, overpasses, pedestrian zones, back streets, and trails. At large intersections, bike lanes have been laid down in red to make them more visible. Bridges are progressively being widened or redesigned so that they can better accommodate bike traffic. In the peripheral areas of the city where there are high speed transit roads, cycling lanes have been separated from the rest of the traffic for better safety.

** Geneva is both a city and a canton. But the territory is so small, that I have chosen to consider both the city and the canton for this evaluation.

The Bad
Unfortunately, Geneva has a rather unhealthy obsession with its trams. In the mid 90s the city had reduced the number of tram lines, and many of us had hoped that this archaic means of transportation would disappear. To the dismay of many cyclists and drivers, several new tram lines have been inaugurated over the past few years. In the commuter landscape, the presence trams is detrimental to cyclists. Tram tracks are extremely slippery in the winter or when it’s raining and, unlike a bus, a tram cannot swerve to avoid you. In the center of Geneva there are several places where bike lanes cross trams lines. At certain intersections cyclists need to yield priority to trams, but the manner in which this has been implemented is often confusing and dangerous. The safest option is to build a small “island” where cyclists can stop. The cheaper and less safe alternative is to paint traffic signalization on the ground. Unfortunately, this is the option which has been chosen in several strategic locations.

The fact that bicycles have to share a lane with Taxis and Buses can also be quite problematic. If you’re riding an S-Pedelec, you can zip along those quite nicely, but if you need to ride a slower type of bike you will feel the pressure of the angry bus drivers behind you.

The Funny
For years, the city council has been promising that all options to widen the Mont Blanc bridge would be studied, so as to better accommodate the (difficult) cohabitation between pedestrians and cyclists. However, these promises have never really became a reality. So a couple of years ago someone decided to paint a fake bike path on the bridge as a form of symbolic protest. The text is in french, but you can look at the pictures here:

http://www.paperblog.fr/4800421/une-vraie-fausse-piste-cyclable-sur-le-pont-du-mont-blanc/
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
The nearest "city" isn't really a city to most people, it's called a city but with only 65,000 residents it's more of a town. They are adding bike/ped. overpasses now and have a great multi-use trail system run by the county. I live way out in the country and don't have the problems of a city, but I do support bike infrastructure initiatives and am politically active in that regard. My county gets all the funding from private business and industry and it has worked well. I also donate time on the rail-trails in PA. for cleanup.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I'm afraid light rail is the cornerstone of transportation improvements in the Western US. They can't get enough of it in Salt Lake City. People hate buses. I Googled some pictures of what you have in Geneva. Looks like light rail.
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
We're talking about the typical European city tram. The problem is that a) it takes up space (dedicated tram lanes in certain spots), and b) it makes for some very complex traffic signalization (for cyclists).

I've thrown together a little YouTube slide show, which show the good and the bad.

 

George S.

Well-Known Member
The slogan for Western cities is "drive til you can buy". They build farther out for cheap land. This creates transportation issues, infrastructure issues. The European cities are much more compact, I have to assume.

I basically think that by the time they build bike infrastructure, the romance of the thing will be dead. If bike paths and lanes are full, it will be a lot less free and fun. I'm not sure ebikes can avoid being classified as 'too fast' without major restrictions.

In the US there must be some people who just ride a legal ebike where they can. That's me. But there's a real luxury market, which is where dealers make money. And there are people who are basically very involved with high power ebikes that are almost completely incompatible with most 'bike' solutions.

They have a 'scenic' bike path in St. George that crosses the small city from east to west, along the Virgin River. It's not a complete transportation solution, but serves recreational users very well. The trail moves from the scenic to the industrial in maybe 4 miles.

 
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JayVee

Well-Known Member
Well, George, the problem over here isn't that different. Essentially, the whole area surrounding Geneva is a very prosperous area. The unemployment rate is low, and it's relatively easy to find a job (even if your qualifications aren't impeccable). But this prosperity comes at the cost of housing, and this is one of Geneva's main problems. There's a 99.6% rate of occupancy for apartments, which has driven real estate prices sky high. The canton of Geneva is quite small (roughly 100 square miles) and there is very little place left to build new houses or start housing projects. So this means that people need to live further away and commute because it's cheaper. But commuting poses challenges as well. You have an influx of people flooding the city during rush hour. They come from neighboring Swiss towns or from France. During peak hours, there is entirely too little road for too many cars in Geneva. So other solutions need to be found. Many people use public transportation, and e-bikes are starting to be seen as a good solution to replace one of the household's cars. In the end, the issue boils down to how many square feet of space your vehicle occupies on the ground. That's why scooters are also a popular choice for commuting. They're cheap, don't chew up much gas, and are easy to park.

BTW that Virgin River Bike Path looks like a fabulous commute. That's definitely my kind of bike trail. No lights, no stop signs, and no interruptions.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
This is the eastern 4 miles, which is supposed to be stretched out to Zion National Park, eventually. The other part is 8+ miles. I actually rode the other section Friday, 17 miles, in under an hour, on the ebike. First time I tried the ebike on this path. It's fantastic. It would be great to have corridors like this with no cross traffic. But the river is a flood area, so no building is allowed. Every street that crosses is a bridge, so they just run the bikes under the bridge. In the developed parts of the city, this would be impossible. There are some other videos. I'm working on getting the files and the editing packages. I would like to be a big promoter of what they have done, at some point.

Sorry you guys have ended up with the same sprawl of our cities. Clearly, one idea is to build 'up' more than 'out', but nothing is simple. Commuting doesn't make people happy, but if I rode for 60 minutes a day on a 'high speed' bike path, that would be fine. Basic, urban bike commutes may not do that much for (cardiac) fitness. I notice that lake takes up a lot of space, but I guess you don't want to drain it. :cool: Actually, I never realized how much of that area is surrounded by France. Still, cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake run 40 or 50 miles on a side. People commute for hours into LA, and building was intense during the early century boom, far from the central city.

There is a political contingent that says anything that is not "cars and suburbia" is, well, un-American. Plus there is ideological opposition to 'planning'. All people can do is support bike infrastructure within the plans that are being made. So far, voters in Utah cities have voted small but useful amounts of money for bike infrastructure.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I live in a terrible geographic area: The Monterey Bay Area in California. Weather is just terrible with 320 days of bright sunshine and an average temp. of 68F. Given the horrible weather and the shitty views of the Pacific I can understand why there is no sensitivity for bike paths........go figure.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
This is the eastern 4 miles, which is supposed to be stretched out to Zion National Park, eventually. The other part is 8+ miles. I actually rode the other section Friday, 17 miles, in under an hour, on the ebike. First time I tried the ebike on this path. It's fantastic. It would be great to have corridors like this with no cross traffic. But the river is a flood area, so no building is allowed. Every street that crosses is a bridge, so they just run the bikes under the bridge. In the developed parts of the city, this would be impossible. There are some other videos. I'm working on getting the files and the editing packages. I would like to be a big promoter of what they have done, at some point.

Sorry you guys have ended up with the same sprawl of our cities. Clearly, one idea is to build 'up' more than 'out', but nothing is simple. Commuting doesn't make people happy, but if I rode for 60 minutes a day on a 'high speed' bike path, that would be fine. Basic, urban bike commutes may not do that much for (cardiac) fitness. I notice that lake takes up a lot of space, but I guess you don't want to drain it. :cool: Actually, I never realized how much of that area is surrounded by France. Still, cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake run 40 or 50 miles on a side. People commute for hours into LA, and building was intense during the early century boom, far from the central city.

There is a political contingent that says anything that is not "cars and suburbia" is, well, un-American. Plus there is ideological opposition to 'planning'. All people can do is support bike infrastructure within the plans that are being made. So far, voters in Utah cities have voted small but useful amounts of money for bike infrastructure.
I love the video. Very inspiring! I wish more bike trails like that were built !
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
Sorry you guys have ended up with the same sprawl of our cities. Clearly, one idea is to build 'up' more than 'out', but nothing is simple. Commuting doesn't make people happy, but if I rode for 60 minutes a day on a 'high speed' bike path, that would be fine. Basic, urban bike commutes may not do that much for (cardiac) fitness. I notice that lake takes up a lot of space, but I guess you don't want to drain it. :cool: Actually, I never realized how much of that area is surrounded by France. Still, cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake run 40 or 50 miles on a side. People commute for hours into LA, and building was intense during the early century boom, far from the central city.

I think we're not culturally inclined to build 'up' over here, although mentalities might change as commute distances tend to increase. As for the lake, it originates in the Alps and has a maximum depth of 900 feet. The outtake (Rhone river) crosses most of France. Local authorities would like to build a second bridge over the lake (or a tunnel under it) to ease the traffic problem, but each time they try to do that there are oppositions. The main bridge (Mont Blanc) crosses the lake in the center of Geneva, and acts as a "bottleneck", which impacts the surrounding traffic via a domino effect. As for us bikers, we actually have a bridge which we share with pedestrians. The only downside for e-bikers is that the law states that you must adapt your speed and yield priority to pedestrians in these shared zones. Personally it doesn't bother me. I slow down to 15km/h, and don't give it a second thought.

You should definitely promote the use of that bike path, and it was nice to see so many cyclists using it in that video. I love the wooden bridge, and the fact that the trail goes under roads whenever possible. It looks fairly safe too. Here the underpasses are sprawled with graffiti and kids spray all sorts of improvised artwork, the likes of which ranges from awesome to absolutely mediocre. It can be intimidating at times, but I haven't been mugged in 10 years. A sample of "underpass artwork" attached.
 

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Mike leroy

Active Member
I think we're not culturally inclined to build 'up' over here, although mentalities might change as commute distances tend to increase. As for the lake, it originates in the Alps and has a maximum depth of 900 feet. The outtake (Rhone river) crosses most of France. Local authorities would like to build a second bridge over the lake (or a tunnel under it) to ease the traffic problem, but each time they try to do that there are oppositions. The main bridge (Mont Blanc) crosses the lake in the center of Geneva, and acts as a "bottleneck", which impacts the surrounding traffic via a domino effect. As for us bikers, we actually have a bridge which we share with pedestrians. The only downside for e-bikers is that the law states that you must adapt your speed and yield priority to pedestrians in these shared zones. Personally it doesn't bother me. I slow down to 15km/h, and don't give it a second thought.

You should definitely promote the use of that bike path, and it was nice to see so many cyclists using it in that video. I love the wooden bridge, and the fact that the trail goes under roads whenever possible. It looks fairly safe too. Here the underpasses are sprawled with graffiti and kids spray all sorts of improvised artwork, the likes of which ranges from awesome to absolutely mediocre. It can be intimidating at times, but I haven't been mugged in 10 years. A sample of "underpass artwork" attached.
Perhaps, a camera might prevent some of the artwork. Or, permit the artwork with a license.
 
Florida has a lot of bike paths, and it also has a lot of roads with no shoulder or bike paths... Considering the number of cyclists killed every year (We're #2, or #1), have to say our infrastructure stinks!
 

Marko

Active Member
this evaluation.

The Bad
Unfortunately, Geneva has a rather unhealthy obsession with its trams. In the mid 90s the city had reduced the number of tram lines, and many of us had hoped that this archaic means of transportation would disappear. To the dismay of many cyclists and drivers, several new tram lines have been inaugurated over the past few years. In the commuter landscape, the presence trams is detrimental to cyclists. Tram tracks are extremely slippery in the winter or when it’s raining and, unlike a bus, a tram cannot swerve to avoid you. In the center of Geneva there are several places where bike lanes cross trams lines. At certain intersections cyclists need to yield priority to trams, but the manner in which this has been implemented is often confusing and dangerous. The safest option is to build a small “island” where cyclists can stop. The cheaper and less safe alternative is to paint traffic signalization on the ground. Unfortunately, this is the option which has been chosen in several strategic locations.

The fact that bicycles have to share a lane with Taxis and Buses can also be quite problematic. If you’re riding an S-Pedelec, you can zip along those quite nicely, but if you need to ride a slower type of bike you will feel the pressure of the angry bus drivers behind you.

The Funny
For years, the city council has been promising that all options to widen the Mont Blanc bridge would be studied, so as to better accommodate the (difficult) cohabitation between pedestrians and cyclists. However, these promises have never really became a reality. So a couple of years ago someone decided to paint a fake bike path on the bridge as a form of symbolic protest. The text is in french, but you can look at the pictures here:

http://www.paperblog.fr/4800421/une-vraie-fausse-piste-cyclable-sur-le-pont-du-mont-blanc/

We have tram tracks as well. On top being slippery in winter and especially dangerous with studs, I add one more thing: The tracks have a groove which fits perfectly a bike tire. If you accidental ride into one, you almost certainly will fall.

We have the agressive bus drivers too. If you ride on the same road with them where there is no bikelane, you get the feeling they will want to run you over if they can't overtake you immediately.

Pretty funny those handpainted yellow lines. Especially the place where there was about a tire wide lane for the bike and how they did accounted for loss of space in places where there were the lamp posts. Pedestrians certainly get absolute priority.
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
Then there is this most famous protest video: "Bike Lanes by Casey Neistat".

Very funny!
Yeah, pretty comical.

I admire the length people are willing to go for the noble cause. You wouldn't see me pretending to fall over in a gazillion years.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Yeah, pretty comical.

I admire the length people are willing to go for the noble cause. You wouldn't see me pretending to fall over in a gazillion years.
Casey has some great cycling videos, most with humor. The amazing part of the above video is he never looks prepared for the fall, he plays it well.