Berteau Greenway Visit 27-Oct-2013

Summary

Cyclometer Information

Distance: 5.8 miles
Time: 0h 48m 28s

Berteau Greenway Divvy Station

Berteau Greenway Divvy Station

The Berteau Greenway is a nicely done showcase for what could be achieved with a sustained effort by CDOT. The plan that was released is linked to above. The stretch we rode spans the distance from Clark on the east to Lincoln on the west.

The Greenway once again makes clear that the infrastructure is far less important in terms of modifying user behavior than one might suspect. Neither drivers of cars or bicycles showed any increased tendencies to obey traffic laws. Both groups failed to arrive at complete stops when crossing intersections. In fact the only “real improvement” (in terms of behavior modification) seemed to be the use of the round about. It’s presence means that neither cyclists or motorists have to complete stops and yet neither (assuming they move in a counter-clockwise direction) is likely to bring harm to the other.

Because the width of the Greenway was not altered cars moving through have to maintain low speeds to keep from colliding with others. Cyclists seem to use the Greenway at moderate speeds as well. Where you notice danger is when cars exit alleys. Twice cars entered the roadway without pausing to do so while I was riding.

Cyclists use that same strategy when crossing intersections guarded by stop signs. They do not slow down and in some instances do not really look because they appear to be relying on peripheral vision to alert them to the presence of another vehicle. As for pedestrians i encountered only three. The last of these was hesitant about crossing in front of me (although she had the right-of-way) which tells me that bicyclists might not be yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks as they should.

I did like the bicycle-specific stop light on Damen but that seems a bit pricey for a route this short. But again this really appears to be what will be trotted out when dignitaries and guest visit the city as an example of how we plan to build bicycle infrastructure for neighborhoods.

TakeAways

It does not appear that there is an easy way to alter operator behavior on streets. People (whether cyclists or motorists) are fairly selfish and operate in a bubble. Yes you could institute an Idaho Stop Law but that does not solve anything regarding frequency and severity of injuries during collisions. It only means that cops won’t have to ticket cyclists for running red lights or blowing through stop signs. Nothing changes with regards to having drivers and cyclists alert be more mindful of one another.

And what do you do when operators of motorcycles and scooters decide that they too have a right to execute the Idaho Stop Law as well? This situation exposes the underbelly of the practice. If motorists and others are allowed to essentially ignore traffic controls, a fair amount of chaos could ensue. How in fact do you prevent these groups from annihilating one another at busy intersections?