Bad Idea Jeans

Smarties in Boulder are making already vulnerable cyclists even more vulnerable.

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- Bicyclists in Boulder may have to watch how fast they coast. The City Council is considering an 8 mph speed limit for cyclists in certain locations.

The council will consider the speed limit proposal at next week’s meeting. In the meantime, the ordinance has some cyclists pedaling their opposition.

One of the only defenses a bike rider has is to be able to keep up with the pace of vehicular traffic. A strong cyclist can cruise at 25mph -- the speed of suburban or urban traffic. Speed also allows riders quicker maneuverability to dodge a reckless or careless driver.

So let's make sure riders are forced to go significantly slower than the cars whizzing past them, leaving them defenseless to adequately maneuver through traffic. What a phenomenally bad idea.

  • muselet

    Beyond stupid. First, 8 mi/h? Why not 9? Is 8 someone’s lucky number or something?

    Second, making cyclists slow to the random number speed limit at crosswalks probably means cyclists would have to slow down to the random number speed limit every block or two for no obvious reason. If there is a pedestrian safety issue, then have the police cite riders who are causing that issue. Or simply require cyclists to yield to pedestrians (which they already have to do, at least here in California, because bicycles are vehicles and as such are subject to the vehicle code).

    Third, if a cyclist has to slow to the random number speed limit for a crosswalk but car traffic doesn’t, that makes the cyclist even more vulnerable: I can imagine distracted drivers ramming into the backs of slowed cyclists.

    No one will be safer because of this proposed law.


  • holyreality

    As a scofflaw who routinely rides against traffic, runs the reds, and bunnyhops on and off curbs, with the rare sidewalk encroachment, I see why bikes need to slow down for pedestrians in crosswalks. I do not see how this affects road speeds.

    Fair is fair, and pedestrians are vulnerable. In most cases when a car stops, the bike at 8mph is more agile, and can get through and out of the way before the pedestrian even exits the crosswalk while the car waits.

    Give the more vulnerable the upper right, how difficult is it to step on a pedal or turn the wheel a fraction? Drivers who think they rule the world need to ride a bike more often, the world would be a better place.

  • Clancy

    I think the operative words here are “in certain locations.” According to the article, the speed limit would cover cyclists when they are traveling through a crosswalk. To me, this indicates that there is a pedestrian safety issue that’s prompting this proposal.

    While I don’t know if this is a good law for Boulder, there is a certain absurdity in insisting that bicycles and cars operate under the same rules. Bob, I wonder if you feel that cyclists should be required to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk (as cars are required to do), or should they simply maneuver to a portion of the road where they are certain to not hit the pedestrian. . . while “cruising” at 25+ mph? This proposal seems to be a compromise between requiring cyclists to stop and simply having them slow down.

    • staci

      Here in Chicago, I would just like for the cyclists to ride in the street and stay off the sidewalks. From bike messengers to casual riders to the police, it seems to have become the new norm to ride your bike wherever you’re most comfortable and pedestrians be damned.

    • andrewdski

      Yes, of course bikes should yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. And no, bikes should not be on the sidewalk. (If the 8mph rule applied only to bikes on the sidewalk, I’d be fine with it.)

      Look, there are plenty of bicycle scofflaws, it is true. That doesn’t change the fact that this law is misguided, and likely to cause more problems than it solves.

      • Clancy

        Seriously, how is this law (specifically) misguided? The scenario Bob paints above seems entirely outside of what is covered by this law. I’m a little more sympathetic to cyclists than the average American (who seems to have a knee-jerk hatred of them that defies logic), but I don’t understand how this particular regulation is either problematic or dangerous (to cyclists). Unless either can be demonstrated, it’s difficult for me to accept it as misguided simply because many cyclists think it will inconvenience them.

        • andrewdski

          I’m actually a bit unclear on what the law is. In the article Bob originally quoted, it just said the 8mph limit was in “certain locations”. Other articles seem to say in crosswalks. If by “in crosswalks” they mean using crosswalks, and not crossing them as a car would, I’m fine with it.

          If, however, they mean that while I am in traffic I must slow to 8mph, while the cars next to me continue at 30mph, that is dangerous. That’s why I called it misguided.

  • Corebela

    How stuuupid, there cannot be more deadly bike crashes from speed then there are car crashes .

  • andrewdski

    This is a joke, right? Dude, I can *run* faster than that.