Posts Tagged ‘traffic signals’

How motorists cause major delays for bicyclists

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Stop sign in Motown

Bicyclists have heard the complaints from motorists if not the police. In short: Get off the road, you’re slowing me down.

But as we wrote about a couple years ago, the amount of traffic delay caused by all bicyclists is insignificant compared to all the other delays.

So, what about the delay motorists cause for bicyclists? Is that insignificant, too? No, it’s not.

Motorists on the roads is the number one source of delay for bicyclists — and here’s why.

Bicyclists began riding on Detroit streets in 1879.

By 1900 there was one main rule of the road: a speed limit. Bicyclists and other road users were limited to 12 miles per hour and just 8 miles per hour in corners. Given the city’s poor roads, this sounds fairly reasonable.

There were no stop signs, traffic signals, or cross walks.?These came about when the increase in motorists introduced significant public safety problems.

Detroit installed its first stop sign in 1915 and the world’s first modern traffic signal in 1923.

And today, stop signs (notably 4-way stops) have routinely been misused for traffic calming in an attempt to slow speeding motorists.

These stops slow bicyclists and restarting from them requires much more energy that maintaining a steady speed.

There are other travel delays created due to motorists, e.g. one way streets, Michigan lefts, and congestion. Also, with Metro Detroit’s general lack of Complete Streets, many cyclists are compelled to ride out of their way to avoid them.

Yes, motorists cause bicyclists to pay a heavy price in terms of time and effort, not to mention safety. To put the blame on cyclists for negatively affecting traffic is absolutely absurd.

Rolling stop law

One reasonable step towards reducing this burden is the rolling stop law as implemented in Idaho. With this law, cyclists can legally treat stop signs as yields. We’d like to see this in the city of Detroit, if not all of Michigan.

To be clear, we don’t want the “Same Rules” as motorists. We want better rules that get us closer to the rights cyclists had and fought for over 100 years ago.

Making cycling easier and faster is a sure way of making it a more competitive transportation choice — and that should be a priority.

Sign of the times: Removing 15 traffic signals

Monday, November 15th, 2010

There’s been much discussion on Detroit’s overbuilt roads. The loss of people and their cars not to mention the construction of the Interstates has left the city’s streets feeling bare — an excellent condition for bicycling.

In that same vein, many of Detroit’s traffic controls are no longer appropriate for the low traffic volumes.

So in response, the Detroit City Council is considering the removal of 15 traffic lights tomorrow:

Brown, reso. autho. Traffic Signal Removal at 15 locations.  (There are fifteen (15) signalized intersections that are currently operating on full time “STOP control” mode for more than a year in compliance with the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) and are scheduled for removal due to changes in traffic conditions.)

It seems some of these traffic lights haven’t been working for a while. Public Works has put up stop signs in their place.

And hopefully this removal effort is just a start. We’re guessing there are ten times more traffic lights that could be removed in Detroit.

This could make biking in the city just a tad quicker.