Does anyone follow "the rules?"

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fungicyclist
Participant
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“If you’re wondering what the rectangular lights are on the front and rear of the bike–they’re turn signals. It drove me nuts that many younger drivers didn’t seem to understand hand signals so I made turn signals using 2 sets of super bright amber LED strobes that I control via a center-off toggle switch on the handlebars. (I also added a brake light while I was at it that’s triggered by a micro lever switch attached to the rear brake cable.) It’s a DIY project I’d recommend and cost less than $30.” from http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/02/15/gallery-anns-schwinn-frontier-fs/#more-14793


thehistorian
Participant
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Mick,

Here’s the link to the page in Neil Fein’s journal:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=78671&v=8z

In retrospect, I found the following amusing:

“The ride is over trails, roads, parking lots, highways. Bruce and Dom seem fond of highway overpasses. Pittsburgh is a pretty bike-unfriendly city, and the residents seem to hold the word “bikeable” to a different standard than I’m used to.

“One high, curving overpass the two of them ride onto looks particularly unsafe, and I decide to take the sidewalk. Dom pulls back to ask about that, and it turns out that I’m going to be cut off from the roadway at the end of the overpass. I tell him I’ll catch up in a bit.

“It turns out there’s a significant flight of stairs I need to negotiate. I take my 75-pound bike down one step at a time, and very slowly. Dom rides back while I’m doing this, but there’s really not all that much he can do to help. I have to walk my bike through about fifty yards of scrub and rocks to get back on the roads.

“Route 837 is widely seen in the larger biking community as a highway o’ death. Neil had gone ahead, and I asked Bruce and Dom if there was any way of rerouting. They point out a couple of side streets that will let us cut off some of the highway, and hopefully let us catch up to Neil. “


thehistorian
Participant
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fungicyclist, thanks for that link to the turn signals. I may try that, although since I don’t have an electric assist on my bike I don’t know if it’s workable.


fungicyclist
Participant
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I’m going out on a limb here and boldly asserting the power assist is superfluous to the turn signal and brake lights. Though I’ve no evidence to back up this wild assertion, I’ll claim one could fabricate such a contraption for under $10.

Oh, wait, sorry, yes I do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqz4PzAXzd8

This one’s pretty cool:

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/03/diy-bike-signals-with-accelerometer.html

There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of DIY plans for this sort of device out there.

No, I haven’t one myself, yet. In the lull between morel season and the Green Quilts, I think I’ll fab one.

I’m solidly in agreement that “Visible, safely, predictable, and courteously” is a splendid mantra, but, save for “safely”, it dances around the real issue: communication.

If more then a few wheelpeople in Pgh had LED matrices fore and aft, which could function as not only brake lights and directional indicators but also as messaging devices, the attitude of Pgh drivers would change more quickly then it would otherwise. Though I believe this, I (really) have no evidence to support it. However, it is a testable hypothesis.

The messages could be programmed, and controllable by a simple switching device. Heck, one could likely interface some portable computing doohickey like an iPhone. Messages could include, (but obviously are not limited to), “Thank You”, “Pardon Me, But I’m Taking This Lane”, “Please Back Off, You’re Scaring Me”, “Hey, I’m Here”, “Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?”, and the immortal classic “F*CK YOU MOTHERF*CKER, JUST TOOK A PICTURE OF YOU AND DOWNLOADED IT TO THE POLICE!”

Call me crazy, but I think holding a mirror before an as*hole is the best way to get them to face their behaviour. Barring that: public shame and humiliation. Pillory Rules!

And, though the notion triggers an involuntarily shudder, with such a message board one could attract sponsors…

Ride fearlessly. (Brought to you by…)


gimpPAC
Participant
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I’m under the impression that some sidewalks, like on certain bridges or on non-commercial blocks are ok to ride on. Some even state that it’s a shared use. I frequently go up the 5th avenue (bus lane side) sidewalk toward Oakland between Birmingham Bridge and Craft. It’s wide and whenever I see pedestrians (or more likely, a parked car, grr) I temporarily dip into the bus lane. I would be more likely to use a sidewalk going uphill as I can usually pick up enough momentum downhill to keep up with traffic.


Lyle
Participant
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Sidewalks on bridges are almost never business districts. Use of the sidewalk from 5th avenue from the B’ham Bridge to the slip ramp is legal, beyond that is not. However, it is probably safer than riding on the “shared use sidewalk” over the Smithfield St Bridge, for instance.

I think the laws about bikes on sidewalks are messed up, fwiw. The idea that you can’t ride on a sidewalk through a burned out warehouse district but you can blast down a sidewalk in a neighborhood full of children is… bizarre.


unixd0rk
Participant
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“he rides on the sidewalk by Halkett Street in Oakland during his morning commute to avoid riding on Forbes for 50 feet because he doesn’t want to ride around the block to avoid crossing a bunch of lanes of traffic.”

perhaps you are talking about me, but i can assure you that i’m not the only person who sidewalk rides where it’s safer than dodging jerks in moving weapons on 5th ave. traveling toward downtown through oakland on a bike that can’t do 25mph easily is one of those.

also, i’m riding a trials bike – i don’t enjoy mixing in with 35-45mph traffic on forbes or fifth much on a bike with a 24 tooth front chain ring. it kind of pisses people off and feels kind of dangerous – take it from someone who does dangerous things on bikes regularly.

in my opinion, forbes and fifth should be two way. get rid of some on street parking or encourage more ridesharing and cycling if you still need space 3 bus lanes through oakland.

i am always amazed that have more problems with cars on 5th avenue when there are like 4 lanes available. what’s up with that?


Lyle
Participant
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I don’t know. I was doing about 12-15 up Forbes tonight without any real problems. I think problems with motorists are mostly random. Well, not actually random, but they’re more closely correlated with how much of a jerk someone is than where you happen to be when you meet them.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Fifth through Oakland has enough paved real estate to be a prime candidate for a total reworking. Bus lane, two-way bike lane, two lanes of cars. I’m for keeping it (and Forbes) one way. But I’ll leave it for the brains to figure out properly.


ieverhart
Participant
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Is there any really good reason not to make Fifth and Forbes both two-way streets, rather than the one-ways they now are? Doesn’t the livable/safe streets consensus disfavor one-way streets, as opposed to bidirectional streets? (Or did I make that up?)


rsprake
Participant
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At the very least fifth should become two main travel lanes like it is before Bellefield. I bet traffic would remain unchanged or be reduced. All those lanes do is allow more cars in to clog it up.


Lyle
Participant
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And about 10mph into a 25mph headwind inbound on 5th this AM.

If 5th goes two-way, the dedicated bus lane goes away. I like dedicated bus lanes on principle. I dislike two-way bike lanes because one of those lanes is always going to be on the wrong side of the motorized traffic. Bike lanes on one-way streets are also problematic because people use them to go the wrong way. contraflow bike lanes on one-way streets are handy for that, though they do introduce some crossing conflicts. I’ve seen people make left turns in front of a BUS on 5th avenue, like they simply didn’t see it (or not perceive it, which is actually pretty likely).

For the most part, I think 5th avenue basically works. Allowing bikes in the contraflow bus lane might be reasonable, if the cyclists could be counted on to be patient and not try to overtake the busses on the right or left.


Mick
Participant
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Forbes and 5th one way allow for traffic flow – in particular, timed lights, which are nearly impossible on two-way streets.

Now, my opinion is that they should slow the timing down on the lights 3 or 4 mph, but that is a different question.


dwillen
Participant
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I don’t mind either one of them being one-way. Biking down the one-way bit of Forbes isn’t bad at all. The lanes are narrow and well-defined and I don’t feel bad placing myself right in the middle of any of them. I can keep up with traffic and make the lights. 5th, on the other hand, has this giant ambiguous bus/parking/delivery truck/turning lane on the right. It seems kind of stupid and find it somewhat dangerous to bike in. If you bike on the right side of the road you’ll get boxed in/cut off by busses, right hooked by people trying to turn or park, and passed by people thinking you aren’t actually in a lane, but that they are. I usually bike in the lane to the left of this, and skip the mess on the right.


ejwme
Participant
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one way also eliminates the “goddamned left turners!!!!!” issue, as my father puts it (well, a sanitized version of his eloquence).

I like it the way it is, the lights timed to slow but move traffic, I think it’s good infrastructure. It’s the drivers I’m not fond of.


Impala26
Participant
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I don’t know what it is, but traffic on Fifth always seems to be going faster than Forbes. To me, biking on Forbes feels safer than Fifth because of this as well as the gentle downward slope starting at Magee Hospital all the way to the Carnegie Museum. I can keep general pace with traffic on Forbes, but Fifth feels less comfortable to me because of the faster traffic and the uphill.

Forbes should get a right lane sharrow while Fifth deserves a true dedicated inbound bike lane. Make the contra-flow bus lane a shared lane as well.


rsprake
Participant
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The speed limit is 35 of Fifth and 25 on Forbes right? Add in more lanes and people go wild when it’s not grid locked.


Impala26
Participant
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I think an alternative to reverting Fifth back to two-way, the on-street Bus Rapid Transit idea should be considered. Take out the parking lane and make it a two-way busway and divert the Forbes buses onto it. Have the Forbes buses reroute back to Forbes along (a new two-way) Bellefield Ave. I’m pretty sure that you could accommodate for this, two or three lanes of traffic and a bike lane as well if the parking lane were removed. However, the only issue is the big bend near Robinson Street and how to continue the busway through Uptown and into Downtown. This latter part I’m not sure how to realize.


Pseudacris
Participant
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Well, if there were a s*load of express buses going between oakland and downtown, it would be pretty lame to just skip over uptown, even though the volume of riders would be lower than in oakland.

Perhaps they could have route numbers like EXP-a and EXP-b. They’d stop at all stops in Oakland and Downtown, but they’d alternate stopping at every other bus stop in Uptown. Odd stops for the -a express and even stops for the -b express.

Edit: in Oakland and Downtown they could have special high-volume bus stops and in Uptown they could use the existing lanes and stops.


Steven
Participant
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I’m not sure you need to continue a westbound bus lane in Oakland any farther than the turnoff onto the Blvd of the Allies. My impression is there isn’t much congestion on Fifth between there and downtown, since so much traffic heads onto the Blvd, even with just two lanes.

Rerouting eastbound Forbes Avenue buses onto the Fifth Avenue bus lane might not speed things up. You avoid some congestion sometimes, but add two more intersections/traffic lights to the route.


Lyle
Participant
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Impala: There’s onstreet parking on both sides of forbes, so only the middle lane flows. Also, the “drain” for 5th is huge.

@dwillen: the safest thing to do on 5th is hang out just to the right of the lane line and wait for the bus in front of you. Not the fastest thing, but probably some of the safest riding in the city.

@pseudacris: the young/old/infirm/heavily laden passengers will find it difficult to walk the extra distance. But if you do discharge at any stop, and only pick up at alternate stops, you don’t gain much. I favor dispensing with the fare boxes, and using the back door all the time.


dwillen
Participant
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I would be opposed to sharrows in the right lane on Forbes. I hardly ever bike in the right lane. If you need to turn left, you’ll be in the left lane. If some jerk is parked with their flashers on in front of McDonalds (diy drive-through?) or there is a line of 5 busses at 6:13pm, I will be in the middle lane.


Lyle
Participant
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How about sharrows in every lane? Also on 5th.


dwillen
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:)


Kayla
Participant
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Dan, you forgot to mention the wheel-eating pavement between Oakland and S. Bouquet, and the bus stop immediately after the latter.

Regardless, that stretch of Forbes is one of my favorite places to show cars that sometimes I can keep up.


Pseudacris
Participant
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@lyle: I don’t think they’d need to walk farther. If the express buses ran every 10 minutes at alternate stops, the most anyone would have to wait would be 20 min.


Mick
Participant
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@pseudacris <emIf the express buses ran every 10 minutes at alternate stops, the most anyone would have to wait would be 20 min.

True-if they RAN every ten mintues.

If there were SCHEDULED for every 10 minutes, no one would have to wait more than an hour. Or maybe 2.

All joking, when they put the T in, they bent to pressure and had it stop at every block on Broadway. Acording to google, there are two stops that are 200 feet apart.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Broadway+Avenue+%2F+Neeld+Avenue,+Pittsburgh,+Pennsylvania,&aq=&sll=40.402621,-80.031047&sspn=0.003162,0.005332&ie=UTF8&hq=Broadway+Avenue+%2F&hnear=Neeld+Ave,+Pittsburgh,+Allegheny,+Pennsylvania+15216&ll=40.404265,-80.030208&spn=0.00585,0.010664&z=16


Pseudacris
Participant
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I broke the rules tonight. I was heading home after 10p from the cultural district. I decided to go through the strip dist. Got creeped out in Spring Way (lurkers) and didn’t want to get creamed on Smallman or Liberty. So, I took a cue from a couple of ninja cyclists I saw zip by and decided to ride the wrong way up the Penn Ave sidewalk from ~23rd to 31st st. I felt MUCH safer – better lighting, curb cuts, and very few pedestrians.


Steven
Participant
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Acording to google, there are two stops that are 200 feet apart.

Just being pedantic, but the two stops at your link are Neald inbound and Neald outbound. And I think Google is putting Neald outbound in the wrong place. It’s actually adjacent to Neald inbound.

A better example is Hampshire outbound, a few stops north of there. It’s about 200 feet from Fallowfield station. I think it’s the closest pair of T stops by far.

The TDP says stops should be 700 feet apart on frequent service routes, but less where there are “significant topographical challenges”. (I think this is how consultants say “hills”.) So I expect Hampshire will be the first to go when they get to that stage of the Transit Development Plan.

On the other hand, Hampshire inbound is better positioned (about 400 feet from one station, 600 from the other). If you get rid of the outbound stop but not the inbound, it’ll be confusing, and the inbound stop is arguably OK per the guidelines due to the hills.

After Hampshire, the next-closest pair of stops on Broadway are about 600 feet apart, close to the guidelines already, and a number of stops on Broadway are over 1000 feet apart. So apart from Hampshire, pushing the stops on Broadway out from 600 feet (and up) to the suggested 700 feet or more wouldn’t eliminate many stops.

Getting the buses to run on time should be easier once PAT gets real-time bus position data working.


edmonds59
Participant
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You go, pseuda. My rule #2 is personal safety rules over rules.


Lyle
Participant
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@psued: “I don’t think they’d need to walk farther. ” They would when they disembark, no? If the nearest stop to your house is odd, and the nearest stop to your destination is even, one way or the other you’re walking. (otherwise, the odd/even stop scheme will decay substantially)

@steven: real-time bus positioning? You say this like you know something I don’t — spill!


fungicyclist
Participant
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@edmunds59: You beg the question; what is your Rule #1? Don’t kill anyone?

My Rule #1 is “Don’t Die”.


dwillen
Participant
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“@Steven: real-time bus positioning? You say this like you know something I don’t — spill!”

I think the new fare boxes enabled them to implement GPS tracking. I’m not shocked if the funding to roll out the system doesn’t exist though.


edmonds59
Participant
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Rule #1 Brown belt/brown shoes, black belt/black shoes.

Rule #2 Personal safety over rules.

Rule #3 Don’t die, today. More of a guideline than a rule actually, since I try not to be absolute regarding things over which I have limited control.

Rule #4 Breathe the air and take in sunlight the way an oenophile takes wine.

Rule #5 Be on time.

Ideally that’s really all I worry about.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Rule #1: Don’t talk about Fight Club.

Rule #2: DONT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!


Mick
Participant
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Real time bus positioning? I had the vague impression that there is a clause in the driver’s contract that forbids it.

Paging Stu from McCandless.

Paging Stu from McCandless.

PS Purple belt with pink shoes OK?


edmonds59
Participant
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“PS Purple belt with pink shoes OK?”

Oh, hell yes, but that’s double black diamond expert territory if you can pull it off.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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on the original topic, it occurred to me riding to work today that i see people riding on the sidewalks every day. my commute traverses most of morewood, and the cmu contingent really seems to dig the sidewalks. almost had someone pull off one out into the street in front of me yesterday. and i sometimes see folks heading 15+ mph on the sidewalk upstream. that’s dangerous, if you ask me!


Lyle
Participant
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Rule #4 Breathe the air and take in sunlight the way an oenophile takes wine.

? With a spittoon ??


edmonds59
Participant
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Ha, ha, sure!

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