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Is Lawrence a bicycle-friendly community?

Asked at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, 802 Mass. on August 2, 2009

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Photo of Emily Schoelle

“For the most part, I think Lawrence is really bike friendly. It’s worse when the students are in town. I don’t think a lot of them understand what it’s like to be in a biking community.”

Photo of Deborah Altus

“Not really. I just think cars are not very respectful of bicyclists. I wish the city could do more bike lanes and more trails.”

Photo of Juan Gonzalez

“Generally, but I think it could be a lot more bike friendly. Certain parts of town are not as accessible to bikes. There are not a lot of bike lanes on the east end of town. It’s still probably one of the friendliest in Kansas, I’d say.”

Photo of Joshua Dorton

“Yes, it is more bicycle-friendly compared to other cities I’ve lived in. They have more bike lanes.”

Comments

thelonious 4 years, 8 months ago

The short answer is no, not really.

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parrothead8 4 years, 8 months ago

@purplesage

You say: "There are lots of bike lanes. The roads with shoulder are OK but they really ought to stay out of the path of traffic, to the right of the white line, just for the sake of safety."

Where are these "lots" of bike lanes? And there is no way it is safe for a bike to ride to the right of the white line on most roads around here. The shoulder is the least-maintained part of the road...full of cracks, debris, and holes. That's the most dangerous place to ride.

I ride as far to the right as I deem safe, but drivers need to operate with the philosophy that a cyclist is not an obstacle in traffic, but part of traffic.

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gphawk89 4 years, 8 months ago

"Considering I was hit by cars in Lawrence more times than anywhere I have lived since, it wasn't."

Me too! Both on bike and on foot. Even so, I felt more comfortable riding in Lawrence than other cities I've lived in.

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lubyloo 4 years, 8 months ago

I bike occasionally, and when I do, I try hard to stay out of the way of traffic by using bike lanes when available and by (yes!) riding on the sidewalk when permitted (everywhere except downtown). Why do so many cyclists feel that they must ride their bikes in the street, rather than on the sidewalk? It holds up traffic unnecessarily. It's just a matter of courtesy.

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tanaumaga 4 years, 8 months ago

purplesage (Anonymous) says…

Bicycle tolerant, maybe? Bicyclists are largely responsible. There is a contingent of them, however, who don't get it. They ride in the traffic lane, refuse to get over, tie up auto traffic and generally make a nuisance of themselves, especially when they are two abrest. There are lots of bike lanes. The roads with shoulder are OK but they really ought to stay out of the path of traffic, to the right of the white line, just for the sake of safety.

it's people like this that don't get it, and in fact are part of the problem.

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secrettoalonglife 4 years, 8 months ago

Considering I was hit by cars in Lawrence more times than anywhere I have lived since, it wasn't. Perhaps it's better now

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mom_of_three 4 years, 8 months ago

I would agree that there are bicylists who are largely responsible. But there are some I encounter on my way to work around campus who fly through stop signs (even though I am stopped, waiting for them to stop) and then those who ride on the sidewalk and nearly run you over, blindsiding you.

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purplesage 4 years, 8 months ago

Bicycle tolerant, maybe? Bicyclists are largely responsible. There is a contingent of them, however, who don't get it. They ride in the traffic lane, refuse to get over, tie up auto traffic and generally make a nuisance of themselves, especially when they are two abrest. There are lots of bike lanes. The roads with shoulder are OK but they really ought to stay out of the path of traffic, to the right of the white line, just for the sake of safety.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

The vision from a car or truck is quite poor compared to that of a pedestrian or cyclist. Vehicles per se have many blind spots therefore drivers should consider slowing down and taking more time to look around.

It is because of these blind spots and careless driving habits that bring on the suggestions to wear eye catching colors when walking or cycling. Dark colors definitely blend with most all surroundings.

Pedestrians and cyclists have a ton of vision. However we cyclists and pedestrians must assume larger vehicles cannot or do not want to see us. In spite of the much better vision as a cyclist it is difficult to see cyclists at night without lights when behind the wheel.

As far as who owns the roads? All of us own the roads therefore must share the roads. Most all pedestrians and cyclists own vehicles which is to say we pay our fair share of taxes across the board.

August 17 public school opens for business. Due to cancellation of bus services many more children may well be walking or riding bikes. Be evermore on the look out.

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farfle 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't think that bicyclists are very friendly toward those who drive motorized vehicles.

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bronze 4 years, 8 months ago

NO not really bicycle friendly, far too many of the automobile drivers have very poor training & experience.

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Donnuts 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, here then let me tie my shoes and explain something to you. My name is Kleatus and I graduated HS in '88 and somebody has a real sense of humor I don't much like about where I went to school and why. I also don't like the way some of them speak of others mainly myself and how they refer to me in derogatory ways sexually. I guess I am not much of one for liars, but the occasion presents itself that these people will be as they are.

I am a cyclist and have met with nothing but the worst of people in the town having lived there so long, I was wondering what the fascination with people that are so aggressive and hateful have to do in life besides try to run people over with their cars and their words.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 8 months ago

I also have insectoid sunglasses, they have to be that shape to shield my eyes. I have found Lawrence to be a very friendly town.

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gsxr600 4 years, 8 months ago

^ Sounds like they are looking out for puddles

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 8 months ago

I do believe we discovered an untapped Darwin effect of cycling. Check out the level of the four 'surviving' cyclists interviewed. Does this mean that if everyone rode a bicycle, time and circumstances would eventually kill off the less intelligent, less diligent members of the humans race?

I also note that none of the above are wearing insectoid sunglasses. Perhaps another effect?

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been_there 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm not much of a bicyclist but drivers of cars need to watch when they drive through large puddles spraying cyclists and pedestrians with water. I have seen drivers deliberately swerve over to spray a five foot wall of water on a pedestrian waiting to cross the street. I wish just once an officer would see them do it and give them a ticket.

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been_there 4 years, 8 months ago

I think the everyday bicyclists tend to be ok, it's usually the serious cyclists that seem to have a problem with sharing the road and following traffic laws. I have no problem with them using the sidewalk as long as they are willing to go around pedestrians. I would rather have kids on the sidewalk than the street, but parents need to tell them they need to go around pedestrians or to one side instead of pedestrians getting off the sidewalk for them.

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Donnuts 4 years, 8 months ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xDUCYtS4vM

I dont think the people in Lawrence are generally very respectful either.

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Donnuts 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't think Lawrence is generally a very friendly community at all.

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logrithmic 4 years, 8 months ago

There should be a network of bike lanes that permit you to get anywhere you want to in the city. This network does not exist. In fact, there aren't really any true exercise bike lanes like the ones that exist along the shore in S. Cal, or the ones that exist in Gainesville, FL, or even the ones that exist in Waterloo, Iowa or Johnson County, KS. If such a network were available, we would have a bike friendly town. Instead, we have piecemeal bike lanes and dangerous roads. In the country there isn't even any shoulder at all.

God bless....

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parrothead8 4 years, 8 months ago

My bicycles are friendly, so long as I ride them on a consistent basis. They get cranky when they sit still for long periods of time.

Seriously...Lawrence seems like a bicycle-friendly place to me, but I've only lived here a little over a month. Every other place I've lived (20+ locations in six states) has been less bicycle-friendly than Lawrence.

More bike lanes would be great, but that doesn't happen quickly, so we need to do a better job educating cyclists how they can ride more safely in traffic, which starts with parents taking their children on bike rides (that's how I learned back in the day). That being said, people flying around in hunks of metal weighing thousands of pounds need to remember that they hold cyclists' lives in their hands. A quick move that can save an automobile driver 10 seconds in his day can cost a cyclist the next 50 years of her life.

For those of you who don't walk or ride often and spend most of your time getting around in your autos, I should point out one thing I've noticed that may cause cyclists in Lawrence to be viewed as "unsafe" riders: poor road conditions. Some potholes or patches of gravel that you wouldn't even glance at from your car can be major, dangerous obstacles for a bicycle. Oh, and that little white patch of concrete extending from the curb where you think a cyclist should be riding? That is where every piece of road debris winds up. There are also many holes in the concrete surface, leaving little room to maneuver. Also, that black stuff used to seal cracks in the roads gets soft on hot days, and that presents yet another problem for cyclists.

To cyclists (casual and serious): Bring common sense to the road with you. Be visible. Wear a helmet. Obey traffic signals. Be hyper-aware of traffic. And BE PREDICTABLE! There's nothing stupider than a cyclist deciding at the last second to weave across traffic...cars can't stop on a dime.

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jumpin_catfish 4 years, 8 months ago

The bikes are ok it's the riders I have an issue with sometimes. I understand there are bikes on the road and they have right to be there but they also have a responsibility to use the road in the same way motorist are required to such as obeying traffic laws. Too many incidents to list but the question could be worded: Are Lawrence bicyclist friendly and responsible in their use of the road? I imagine most are but it's the few idiots that give everyone else a bad name just like idiots behind the wheel of a car or truck.

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smitty 4 years, 8 months ago

Noooo waaaa!!! We are slowly working toward it. Mean while the bikers and the non-bikers are at odds politically and share the road way. Love the way the signs say share the road but little to no responsibility to provide the road to share.

Oh, were you asking about the biking events held in Lawrence? Well, why didn't you say so?

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autie 4 years, 8 months ago

I guess it depends on who you ask. The guys on the bikes or the ones hitting them in the intersections.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Roe. The bicycles I encounter tend to be silent as well. I can't tell if they are feeling moody, mad because they are left outside, or just shy. Seriously, we need to have a day set aside when everyone who has a bike shows their love. p.s. I would never of thought of this angle had it not been for Roe.

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RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

The ones taken out of the dumpsters are more appreciative than friendly. Most are too (two) tired to be friendly.

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