The rights and duties of drivers of vehicles enable traffic to flow safely and efficiently. But motorists, for their own convenience, denied cyclists important rights, thus making cyclists second-class road users, trespassers subject to discrimination by police and harassment by motorists, and unable to take advantage of the safety and efficiency of obeying the standard traffic rules. Repealing the restrictive laws that deny cyclists the full rights of drivers of vehicles is the most important task for those cyclists who recognize the value of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. Because these rules violate both traffic-engineering and legal principles there are reasonable arguments for repealing them. Repeal discussion
The Federal Highway Administration's graduate course in pedestrian and bicycle transportation puts anti-motoring bikeways ahead of cyclist safety and convenience.
The Synthesis of Bicycle Safety-Related Research is the supposed scientific justification for the cycling policy and program of the nation. It purports to contain a summary of all the important research since 1981 into cycling transportation. That information, when added to the valid portions of the work done before 1981, ought to support our nation's cycling policy and program. According to Clarke and Tracy, it does. (Hereafter, I list the authors as C&T.) However, they have made it do so only by ignoring half or more of what was done and by misquoting and maligning much of the rest. The result probably persuades the politicians and highway administrators, and many bicycle advocates as well. However, to one who knows what actually was done and the amount of scientific support possessed by each report, the result demonstrates that our nation's cycling policy and program are so far from reasonable that, instead of being supported by scientific knowledge, they can be supported only by ignorance and/or mendacity. That demonstration is the important work of this document.
The government plans to design our cycling transportation system for beginners and incompetents, on the false arguments that 95% of its users will always be inexperienced (that's like asserting that 95% of married people are virgins) and that bikeways make cycling much safer for beginners.
To support its bicycle transportation program, the federal government set up a system of laws, funds, research, and standard designs that looks like the normal highway engineering management system. This indicates to the typical designer that he can use these designs with confidence that they are properly based on scientific investigation and engineering testing. However, the system was started on the basis of superstition and the later research has either failed to support the system or has utterly discredited the system.
The federal government funded 24 studies to discover how best to make cycling and walking transportation better, safer, and more useful. Since the bicycling parts of the National Bicycling and Walking Studies were based on the superstition, or were intended to support the superstition, that bikeways are great for cyclists and cycling transportation, they are either useless or misleading.
The Federal bicycling policy is not one of making cycling better but is one of preventing bicycling from bothering motorists. Thus, ironically, it is encouraging motoring rather than bicycling. The whole program is supported by claims from junk science. The whole program needs to be changed into one that makes cycling transportation safer and better.
How to Reclaim Safety Standards for California's Bike Paths. Call_to_Action
For thirty years, California has had mandatory safety design standards for bikeways, the standards that have largely been adopted by the rest of the nation. However, by a series of ill-judged opinions, California's courts have determined that a carefully engineered bicycle path has only the legal status of a dirt trail through the wilderness. That means that California's city, county, and state organizations that operate bicycle paths may make them as dangerous as they choose. The court has said that it is better to have a dangerous path than to pay the costs of a path that is safe for public use. We now have the opportunity to overturn this judicial mistake, but we need money for legal expenses.
The parts of the California Vehicle Code most relevant to cyclists and cycling are discussed herein. California Vehicle Code
Government page last changed: 10-Jun-12