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Scared of the cars passing me

Old 08-26-16, 04:27 PM
  #26  
canklecat
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I think traffic bothers most people at first. The more you ride the more confidence you'll get and sooner or later it will all seem normal.

https://youtu.be/W4ghpwIkzfw
This video covers the basics well. 10 minutes well worth the time. I don't see any significant quibbles I'd have with the video's advice.

Beyond that, try to find alternate routes around the areas that seem too risky to you. Leave more time to arrive safely. I've modified my own city riding to accommodate traffic patterns. There's a boulevard between my home and downtown that saves four miles off the MUP, but there are sections with bumper-to-bumper traffic bottlenecked around highway on/off ramps that make it sketchy. During weekdays and some Saturdays I'll take the longer MUP to get downtown. Then I'll take the city street back home because there's hardly any traffic after 9 p.m.
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Old 08-26-16, 04:56 PM
  #27  
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Whether or not I take the lane really depends on the stretch of road. There are many sections of road along my commute that are wide enough that taking the lane wouldn't gain me any safety and would only serve to annoy drivers behind me, especially going uphill. Really, I'm more than happy to let cars pass me and get on their way!

That can be unnerving for new cyclists, who may perceive the passing car as being closer than it really was, or who may read waaayyy too much into the pass. Just remember, the overwhelming majority of drivers don't want to hit you. Even if they don't care about you or dislike you as a person, they don't want to damage or dirty their cars, or the legal ramifications. So even if they're passing closely, they're trying to do so without hitting you.

Come to think of it, most of my lane-taking is at intersections, where I'm asserting my decision to go a particular direction, and take my rightful turn when there aren't traffic lights. And there's another downhill stretch where cars park along the curb and it's just simpler to avoid ambiguity.
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Old 08-26-16, 05:30 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
.... try to find alternate routes around the areas that seem too risky to you. Leave more time to arrive safely. I've modified my own city riding to accommodate traffic patterns.
+1

There are places in my riding area that [also] don't seem safe... at all times. Good (common?) sense... and a little forethought about the area(s) and traffic is always a good idea. But even though there are routes I won't travel.... there isn't anyplace I can't get to.
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Old 08-26-16, 06:07 PM
  #29  
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Four days ago a guy riding in the Door Zone Bike Lane on Summit Avenue in St Paul got doored. He's been in intensive care since with a prognosis of likely brain damage. Last summer someone riding along this same DZBL swerved to avoid a door opening in front of them. The car coming up in the lane behind didn't have time to swerve. I believe she's in a wheel chair.

Many car doors can open to over four feet so I give at least five feet.
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Old 08-26-16, 06:38 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Four days ago a guy riding in the Door Zone Bike Lane on Summit Avenue in St Paul got doored. He's been in intensive care since with a prognosis of likely brain damage. Last summer someone riding along this same DZBL swerved to avoid a door opening in front of them. The car coming up in the lane behind didn't have time to swerve. I believe she's in a wheel chair.

Many car doors can open to over four feet so I give at least five feet.
I like to stay as far from the door zone as possible. There are residential streets were I might get a little closer temporarily. But on a commercial street, stay far away.
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Old 08-26-16, 08:03 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by king88uy7 View Post
I'm curious how other commuters handle getting close passed...

I give myself about four feet from the parked cars and this puts me about a foot inside the lane. This lane position causes drivers to squeeze past me in the same lane. If I move left to take the lane, drivers punish me by passing close at high acceleration. These are both scary.

How do you all handle this situation? I'm thinking the best thing is to just stay as far right as possible and ignore the close passes. Does anyone have anyadvice? Thanks.
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I passed a car with no lights on at night under a street lamp. 9:00 at night, long after the library across thestreet closed. Door opened into my handlebars. I passed a VW squareback I couldsee into and saw no one. The mom inside was bent forward gathering her kidstoys from the passenger floor. She opened the door into my face.

Your advice works most of the time. The times it doesn't you will remember the rest of your life. Trust me...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
One of my Riding Safety Aphorisms that I keep in mind to stay safe is When riding at night, look for cars, not just headlights.” More likely if a cager is driving without headlights, he/she is distracted.

[To illustrate my concept of Safety Aphorisms, I posted these recently that always come to mind in these particular situations:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…surely a car door is one of the most frequent and dangerous obstacles. I have an aphorism, Like a weapon, always assume a stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit, from either side
I’m pretty comfortable riding in traffic (even after being hit from behind four years ago), and these and other aphorisms, gleaned from years of experience, alert me to those situations where unseen dangers may lurk. But more importantly I'm comfortable because I wear and use a rearview mirror (not to turn this into a popcorn thread).

Of course, you could always move to Boston, a city known for its pleasant relations between cars and cycles.

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Old 08-27-16, 05:46 AM
  #32  
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A lot of information for dealing with the problem on an immediate temporary basis. I've been riding bicycles for racing and daily transportation for several decades. I did get use to the cars and close passes for a while but after several friends and acquaintances killed and experiencing a few near misses myself including a couple of trips to the hospital in an ambulance I'm no longer as comfortable. We have zero protection when we share the road with cars. It only takes a brief moment of distraction for a driver to kill us. What is a very minor fender-bender between two cars can easily be death, major injury or disability for a bicycle rider in the same incident.

Longer term you need to talk to your city and county about making this road safer and better for all users. It sounds like at a minimum it should have a 10' wide MUP on each side with appropriately designed junctions (see CROW Bicycle Traffic Design Manual and MassDOT Bicycle Guide MassDOT?s New Bikeway Guide is the Beginning of Good Things | streets.mn).

Ideally though it should likely have a protected bikeway on each side as well as a sidewalk (both designed to CROW or MassDOT standards). Don't you wish someone had come along 10 years ago and fought for that so you'd have it today?
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Old 08-27-16, 09:38 PM
  #33  
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Four feet is about the minimum safe distance from a parked car. Any closer than that is asking to be doored. Being doored can easily be fatal and should never be risked.
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Old 08-27-16, 11:59 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
A lot of information for dealing with the problem on an immediate temporary basis. I've been riding bicycles for racing and daily transportation for several decades. I did get use to the cars and close passes for a while but after several friends and acquaintances killed and experiencing a few near misses myself including a couple of trips to the hospital in an ambulance I'm no longer as comfortable. We have zero protection when we share the road with cars. It only takes a brief moment of distraction for a driver to kill us. What is a very minor fender-bender between two cars can easily be death, major injury or disability for a bicycle rider in the same incident.

Longer term you need to talk to your city and county about making this road safer and better for all users. It sounds like at a minimum it should have a 10' wide MUP on each side with appropriately designed junctions (see CROW Bicycle Traffic Design Manual and MassDOT Bicycle Guide MassDOT?s New Bikeway Guide is the Beginning of Good Things | streets.mn).

Ideally though it should likely have a protected bikeway on each side as well as a sidewalk (both designed to CROW or MassDOT standards). Don't you wish someone had come along 10 years ago and fought for that so you'd have it today?
You don't ask for much do you...
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Old 08-28-16, 12:01 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Four feet is about the minimum safe distance from a parked car. Any closer than that is asking to be doored. Being doored can easily be fatal and should never be risked.
I'll take my chances with stationary cars if it's all the same to you. The ones moving at 35 mph probably hurt much more...
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Old 08-28-16, 07:21 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
You don't ask for much do you...
Nope. Only what is done elsewhere that has resulted in better and much safer conditions for people walking and riding bicycles. The US has the most dangerous road system of all developed countries. Someone riding a bicycle on the road in the US is about 5 times as likely to be killed as someone riding in Germany, 8 times as likely as someone riding in Denmark, and over 10 times as likely to be killed as someone riding in The Netherlands.
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Old 08-28-16, 07:51 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Nope. Only what is done elsewhere that has resulted in better and much safer conditions for people walking and riding bicycles. The US has the most dangerous road system of all developed countries. Someone riding a bicycle on the road in the US is about 5 times as likely to be killed as someone riding in Germany, 8 times as likely as someone riding in Denmark, and over 10 times as likely to be killed as someone riding in The Netherlands.
True, but the reasons have to do with fundamental economic and social underpinnings of the American Way that likely won't be changed in yours or my lifetimes.
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Old 08-28-16, 08:22 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
True, but the reasons have to do with fundamental economic and social underpinnings of the American Way that likely won't be changed in yours or my lifetimes.
Nope, it is changing (and I'm still in my lifetime. I think). Just in the past 5 years the number of fairly decent protected bikeways that I've seen installed in NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, and elsewhere is significant. And the growth rate is growing — each year more miles of protected bikeway are installed than the year before. Next year more miles of protected bikeway will be installed across the US than for the entire 2009-2014.

Much better is the increase in the number of people bicycling thanks to these bikeways.
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Old 08-28-16, 11:28 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I'll take my chances with stationary cars if it's all the same to you. The ones moving at 35 mph probably hurt much more...
The ones moving at 35 mph are only moving 15 mph relative to you going 20. Someone opening a car door into you is throwing an immovable, relatively sharp and pointy hunk of steel right into your face. Worse yet, it's hinged so that when you hit it, it swings open, takes you with it, and throws you under traffic.

The moving cars are in traffic and can see you and make adjustments. The person opening the door does not (is supposed to but doesn't).

I think until you're actually doored, you don't know how much it can hurt. I have not been either hit or doored, but I have a friend who has been doored (but never hit). He was lucky enough to not be thrown into traffic, but he had a broken arm, a broken clavicle, and had 2 surgeries to put his face back in order. He now stays out of the door zone (and in the traffic lane) and in 10 years since that incident has not had a problem.
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Old 08-28-16, 01:03 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
...The moving cars are in traffic and can see you and make adjustments. The person opening the door does not (is supposed to but doesn't)....
*This* I have not been doored, but I have encountered enough doors opening just far enough ahead for me to react in time, and enough just behind me to breath a big sigh of relief. When I hear the click of a door latch retracting, it sounds the same to me as the hammer on a fire-arm. I'll take my chances with the moving cars.

Last close call with a door was an unmarked state trooper car. He pulled over suddenly behind a utility truck in the bike lane and immediately swung it open as I was moving left to pass. Fortunately I had already checked my speed and the disc brakes took care of me with a few feet to spare, otherwise he would have thrown me into the speeding traffic in the next lane. He said "Sorry about that, be safe now". Sure Bud.
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Old 08-28-16, 01:13 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
The ones moving at 35 mph are only moving 15 mph relative to you going 20. Someone opening a car door into you is throwing an immovable, relatively sharp and pointy hunk of steel right into your face. Worse yet, it's hinged so that when you hit it, it swings open, takes you with it, and throws you under traffic.

The moving cars are in traffic and can see you and make adjustments. The person opening the door does not (is supposed to but doesn't).

I think until you're actually doored, you don't know how much it can hurt. I have not been either hit or doored, but I have a friend who has been doored (but never hit). He was lucky enough to not be thrown into traffic, but he had a broken arm, a broken clavicle, and had 2 surgeries to put his face back in order. He now stays out of the door zone (and in the traffic lane) and in 10 years since that incident has not had a problem.
This. So much this.
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Old 08-28-16, 01:55 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
Night time is of course a different story.

I've had many close calls with car doors; sorry yours went so badly...
Had it happen in day time... was passing a lane of parked cars near a university... little did I know that in one car apparently a student was napping and suddenly had to get to class... and swung that door open quickly.

You just never know. I pass wide. Take the lane... you are as entitled to the lane as much as any other driver.
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Old 08-28-16, 02:03 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
You don't ask for much do you...
Well either that or that every driver not be an idiot, and actually obey the laws...

Oh wait, perhaps that too is "too much..."
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Old 08-28-16, 02:46 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Longer term you need to talk to your city and county about making this road safer and better for all users. It sounds like at a minimum it should have a 10' wide MUP on each side with appropriately designed junctions (see CROW Bicycle Traffic Design Manual and MassDOT Bicycle Guide MassDOT?s New Bikeway Guide is the Beginning of Good Things | streets.mn).

Ideally though it should likely have a protected bikeway on each side as well as a sidewalk (both designed to CROW or MassDOT standards). Don't you wish someone had come along 10 years ago and fought for that so you'd have it today?
I agree with you that separate pathways are the best answer and a long term solution, but another frequently overlooked option is to ask for increased enforcement of existing laws protecting our right to ride on the roadways. I've been a member of several city bike advocay groups and whenever I've brought up that idea I always get the "well that would be nice, but let's be practical" answer and then the conversation goes back to how there isn't enough money to pay for all of the proposed infrastructure projects.
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Old 08-29-16, 08:14 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I agree with you that separate pathways are the best answer and a long term solution, but another frequently overlooked option is to ask for increased enforcement of existing laws protecting our right to ride on the roadways. I've been a member of several city bike advocay groups and whenever I've brought up that idea I always get the "well that would be nice, but let's be practical" answer and then the conversation goes back to how there isn't enough money to pay for all of the proposed infrastructure projects.
That is largely ineffective though. Incidents of bicycle riders being killed or injured are overwhelming due to brief inattentive driving by otherwise fairly law abiding drivers — a quick look at a cell, something on the cars display, grabbing a bite of a sandwich, checking out the gal walking on the other side, a bee or other bug in the car, acknowledging something a passenger said, etc.

NO country has ever achieved ANY level of safety for bicycles sharing the road with cars. You are about 5 - 12 times as likely to be killed and 70 times as likely to be injured riding on the road in the US as riding in a car (per mile). OTOH in The Netherlands it is slightly safer to ride a bicycle. In Denmark it is about the same risk and in Sweden, Norway, and Finland the risk is only slightly higher. These lower risks due primarily to protected bikeways.

The Netherlands, Denmark, and others have found that the only way to make sharing somewhat safe is very narrow roads with frequent chicanes, 12-18 mph speed limits, and generally no passing. By narrow they've found curb to curb or curb to parked cars width of about 8' with parking side switched frequently to create the chicanes is best. They know that they can't depend on drivers paying attention or obeying laws so they force it by design.

Last edited by CrankyOne; 08-29-16 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 08-29-16, 10:13 AM
  #46  
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NYC has about 6,000 miles of surface streets inside the urban core. 6,000 miles! Gets you to every single address in the city. And if you ride a bicycle you are going to have to get used to the FACT that there will NEVER be a duplicate network of protected bikeways, in NYC or in any other city in North America, that will rival the surface street infrastructure created over centuries for the movement of all people, but became co-opted for the movement of motor-vehicles. Even the Netherlands relies mainly on strict speed and other vehicle regulations to keep cyclists safe on those roads that are not expressly for the use of unpowered vehicles.

Bikes and cars must learn to share the roads going forward. Pining for a 'separate but equal' road system for bicycles will relegate cycling to a pastime again. If there are many more cycling only roadways, drivers will incorrectly assume that bicycles can go everywhere they need to go without ever needing to travel on surface streets. Its a bad idea all this "protected bikeway" advocacy. We need to press for stiffer sanctions against aggressive behavior towards cyclists trying to share the road. AND cyclists need to actually share the road. 'Taking the lane", "Lane Control", these tactics are not "sharing the road". If you can ride comfortably for any distance at 20mph on a road with a 35mph speed limit while "taking the lane" you are part of the problem. If the door zone is dangerous, it is because you are moving too fast in it. People don't fling car doors open in your face everyday or even every month. People slow down so they wont sweat (what?) but they won't slow down to reduce the chances of a fatality in the low likelihood of a dooring?

I am really fed up with all the fear in here. You are just feeding one anothers insecurities. When I am out and about I don't see any evidence of generalized dooraphobia. In Portland the vast majority of cyclists ride in the door zone. Whether its a painted door zone deathtrap bikelane or simply a surface street without designation that is shared by bikes and cars. Hell even on legal sharrows, for the very large part, cyclists adopt a road position towards the right edge of the road. Cars can't pass on a sharrow but... conditioning... a heck of a thing. So, lets get real. Let's see some videos of the hard-core door zone haters doing their "five feet from the parked cars" thing. I will not believe it until I see it.
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Old 08-29-16, 10:30 AM
  #47  
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Door zone riding has nothing to do with speed. if you are going 10mph (can we agree that's slow?) and someone opens the door quickly 6' in front of you, you about 1/2s to come to a full stop or evade. You hit a door at 10mph, it's gonna hurt a lot.

I ride 4-5' off parked cars and i do it all the time. If you want to come and follow me, you can take the picture.

J.
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Old 08-29-16, 01:06 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
That is largely ineffective though. Incidents of bicycle riders being killed or injured are overwhelming due to brief inattentive driving by otherwise fairly law abiding drivers — a quick look at a cell, something on the cars display, grabbing a bite of a sandwich, checking out the gal walking on the other side, a bee or other bug in the car, acknowledging something a passenger said, etc.

NO country has ever achieved ANY level of safety for bicycles sharing the road with cars. You are about 5 - 12 times as likely to be killed and 70 times as likely to be injured riding on the road in the US as riding in a car (per mile). OTOH in The Netherlands it is slightly safer to ride a bicycle. In Denmark it is about the same risk and in Sweden, Norway, and Finland the risk is only slightly higher. These lower risks due primarily to protected bikeways.

The Netherlands, Denmark, and others have found that the only way to make sharing somewhat safe is very narrow roads with frequent chicanes, 12-18 mph speed limits, and generally no passing. By narrow they've found curb to curb or curb to parked cars width of about 8' with parking side switched frequently to create the chicanes is best. They know that they can't depend on drivers paying attention or obeying laws so they force it by design.
That's interesting. I grew up at a time when drunk driving was so common it was widely accepted, and yet those attitudes have changed with time as well as improved law enforcement. Drunk driving accidents and deaths are way down now, what is it the intoxicated know that the sober don't when it comes to driving?
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Old 08-29-16, 01:37 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
That's interesting. I grew up at a time when drunk driving was so common it was widely accepted, and yet those attitudes have changed with time as well as improved law enforcement. Drunk driving accidents and deaths are way down now, what is it the intoxicated know that the sober don't when it comes to driving?
Two different issues. Drunk Driving is much easier to solve than of the moment inattention. Inattentive driving is something that numerous countries have been trying desperately to solve for decades, long before cell phones, and none have had much success. It can be done by making a street so dangerous feeling (very narrow with hard curbs/cars on either side not just paint and numerous chicanes) that it forces drivers to slow down and pay attention but cannot be done on faster or higher traffic roadways. This is what underpins The Netherlands Sustainable Safety initiative, why it has been so successful, and why others are following.
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Old 08-29-16, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
NYC has about 6,000 miles of surface streets inside the urban core. ...
Yes, you will never have protected bikeways on every street and road nor even on half of them. Nor do you need that.

The Netherlands essentially has 2 types of general roads; Bicycle Streets and Other. Bicycle Streets are those where motor traffic and bicycles share the road. Speed limits are 18 mph or below and in many cases cars are not allowed to pass bicycle riders. The majority of these are narrow single-lane one-way streets and often with chicanes produced by alternate side parking or other hard elements. I ride on these frequently and they are generally quite safe.

If speed is to be above 18 mph then there will be a separate bikeway either a painted bike lane or a physically separated protected bikeway. If speeds are to be above 25 mph then there will be a protected bikeway (protected by curb, grass, parked cars, etc.).

In addition there are motorways that are, similar to our interstates and highways, for motor vehicles only. There are also numerous bikeways not attached to any motor traffic road.

Applying Dutch CROW standards to NYC: The majority of streets would be limited to 18 MPH, designed to enforce that, and shared by all. Some number of larger streets would have higher speed limits and volumes of traffic along with protected bikeways. And this is actually the direction that NYC is slowly going.
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