Initially bike paths seem like a great idea lots of money has bee spent on providing many excellent facilities.
However they dont seem useful to certain cyclist.
I have seen cyclists in Port road by the Coke factory when there is separate bike path that runs along side.
The Amy Gillett bike path has be criticised by cyclists that prefer to use the road that runs parallel.
Anzac Highway is popular despite several alternative routes with less traffic.
While bike paths are often well used it seems they are not universally accepted.
I think someone even expressed the sentiment that "real cyclists would never ride on a bike path"
So are bike paths a waste of money and resources at least for certain cyclists?
Should groups who what to encourage cycling not be advocating for bike paths?
If not what should they do?
i rarely use bike paths as i have found on many occasions riders coming in the opposite direction ride 2, sometimes 3, abreast which has almost caused accidents. Personally i perfer riding on the ride as most of the surfaces (especially south) are better maintained and clearer than the bike paths and support a higher speed ride. They Stuey O path is great but not in my hood.
I think the paths are a great resource for cyclists. While the paths to present their own risks, such as iPod-wearing pedestrians and their unrestrained dogs, they're still very useful.
I ride on many of the shared use paths regularly for my commute and also with my family. For my commute, I've found my singlespeed commuter is slow enough to work well on the paths (West Side Bikeway, Mike Turtur Bikeway, Sturt River and the River Torrens), but the roadie is a bit too fast and can be frustrating. I use an even lower-geared singlespeed 29er for recreation riding on the paths, and it also works out well. Wave next time you see a slow-moving 29er towing a kid trailer down the River Torrens .
+ 1 to you, Don...
Bike paths have an intuitive appeal, but are not necessarily supported by evidence.They *are* expensive, you could do a lot on the road (for cyclists) with the cash spent on (often unsatisfactory) paths. Basically, bike paths appeal to the "cyclist inferiority complex" that levels all cyclists down to a very low common denominator, and separates them from the "real" transport system, rather than providing "..safe conditions for cyclists on *all* roads.."
I suffered the worst accident and injury of my life on a bike path. Fractured tooth, split lip requiring 2 stitches and I now have a supported implant where my tooth used to be - I collided with another bicycle riding across the bike path from a side street, went over handlebars and landed face first.
Bike paths start and stop seemingly at random, and you have to share the path with pedestrians who don't stick to the correct lanes, and often panic and run in a random direction who you ding them with your bell from behind. Dogs are also unpredictable with bikes.
Bike paths are often poorly maintained compared to roads, and the trees and foliage on the sides are often overhanging dangerously low.
If a bike path is to work, it needs to be a dedicated bike only path in my opinion, and for foot traffic to have it's own dedicated path too. It also needs cyclist to be in touch with local councils to ensure they are properly maintained too I supposed.
Do local Councils have staff with a cycling infrastructure specific role?
I think the main negative aspect of bike paths for cyclists is that drivers expect us to use them even when (for the many reasons listed above) they are not appropriate. It is a bit like asking a car driver to use an old single lane road when you have a 6 lane expressway next to it.
Despite the craziness that happens on the roads a lot of it is somewhat predictable where as the things that tend to happen on bike paths tend to be a lot more random. That said, I love bikepaths for family rides with kids.
I remember your post on fixed.org, you took that was some serious damage.
You only need to experience the country wide bike networks that the Netherlands has and that are used by people of all ages - not just "cyclists" but everyone - to realise that they are valuable and make a huge difference to the numbers of people safely using a bicycle for transport.
The problem is not bike paths but crappy bike paths. They are not at all useful. Badly designed, inadequate and incomplete infrastructure does not really help safety.
In answer to your question, groups should be advocating not just for bike paths but complete, integrated, properly designed bike networks.
Edward, +1 +1 +1
Also lets get terminology correct. A path in Adelaide with pedestrians is likely to be a shared path, not a bicycle path which is rare in Adelaide. I can think of three only: the Veloway, SOB and a short section of Frome Road (which inconsiderate pedestrians use, despite a parallel pedestrian path). The Veloway works fine for fast riders and slow me, but not my regular commute.
Maybe. Maybe not. New York is very dense but has very low cycling rates. This is a good read.