Robert Hurst is the guy who wrote The Art of Urban Cycling, which is now just called The Art of Cycling. He has his own website / blog up now at Industrialized Cyclist. Besides his blog on (mostly) biycle stuff, he has a nice section on bicycle accident and safety statistics -- check out that URL if you want a clue about how he feels about this research... :-)
His book, by the way, is about the best I've read on practical city cycling. Robert covers it all -- if you haven't read his book, I highly recommend it (and not just because Amazon will throw a few dimes at me if you buy the book...)
IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
Dear (Denver Post) Editor,
Bicycles have been my main transportation for 40 years. I believe bike riders should be allowed to treat stop signs and stop lights as yield signs and be permitted to ride on sidewalks.
Every other form of transportation has its own pathway. Trains have tracks, planes have the air, pedestrians have sidewalks, and cars have streets. Bikes have nothing. Denver does not have a bike path system. It has bits and pieces at best.
So bikes have no choice but to intrude on streets and sidewalks. Cars are more lethal to bicyclists than the latter are to pedestrians. To allow bikes on sidewalks doesn’t mean riders can’t be cited for reckless endangerment if they do so unsafely. Rules for sidewalk riding, not prohibition.
Next to walking, bicycling is the slowest mode of transportation. If bicyclists stop for every stop sign and stop light, it takes twice as long to get somewhere. Biking is already slow. Constantly stopping makes it even slower.
This is an unnecessary burden for three reasons. First, bicyclists can see better than drivers because nothing is obstructing their view. Second, they can stop faster than a car because they go slower and weigh less. Third, bikes are more vulnerable than cars, which gives them an incentive to be more careful.
Yield signs already exist for cars and are effective at controlling motorist behavior. Making stop signs and stop lights yield signs for bicyclists makes sense and will work just as well.
A minute percentage of Denverites commute to work everyday on bikes. Bike riding is slow and dangerous. The right rules can make it less slow while making it less hazardous for everyone. The wrong rules make it more cumbersome but no less dangerous.