‘Everyone has the right to be on the road,’ mayor declares

Mayor McGinn has jumped into the endless bikers-vs.-cars safety squabble tonight, writing that he will take on not only specific safety issues, but attitudes: “My office will be convening a summit of community leaders, experts and elected officials to determine how best we can encourage an attitude of responsibility and empathy on the roads, and make it safer for all users.” Meantime, Cascade Bicycle Club invites everyone who’s interested to attend its media briefing tomorrow on the same topic (mentioned in this Tuesday night WSB story). It’s in North Seattle, but the two politicians who are speaking happen to be from West Seattle (City Council Transportation Committee chair Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, speaking as County Board of Health chair), 9:30 am (location and other details here).

86 Replies to "'Everyone has the right to be on the road,' mayor declares"

  • marty September 14, 2011 (9:39 pm)

    AND: “Everyone has the right to elect a different mayor”.

  • sj2 September 14, 2011 (9:40 pm)

    If everyone has a right to the road, then how come everyone doesn’t have to pay fees to maintain the roads?

  • Cakebake September 14, 2011 (10:14 pm)

    Mcpeddles makes no sense
    Jam the city up with bike lanes during the summer
    Too bad they are all totally empty 9 months of the year
    Quit jammin up my traffic
    And whats with the super lame speedbumps on eurskin?!?

  • Max September 14, 2011 (10:48 pm)

    Yeah. Just change everybody’s attitude. Empathy…share the road dude…peace, love, dove. Don’t bogart that lane my friend. Pass it over to me. Summit of community leaders? Who will these people be? Hopefully they will be actual bike riders, and not just his new buddies he picked up at Hempfest.

  • B September 14, 2011 (10:49 pm)

    The bicycles need to pay their share of taxes too if they will be using the roads. Also, why don’t they carry insurance if they are riding their bikes full time? I like the idea of bicycles too but they need to help pay their share.

  • pam September 14, 2011 (10:55 pm)

    Really…..he’s going to take city money to form a task force to work on our attitudes??? How about putting that money into schools or a food bank or fund a few jobs for those who still haven’t found work.

  • Dora September 14, 2011 (11:07 pm)

    I completely agree with B and sj2, why don’t bikes pay registration fees and insurance just like everyone else on the road. Bike riders should also be ticketed for not following the rules of the road. Bottom line, if you use the road pay your fair share regardless if you are a bike or car.

  • JN September 14, 2011 (11:31 pm)

    Is anyone monitoring this blog? EVERY time bicycles are mentioned some idiot spouts some nonsense about how cyclists don’t “have to pay fees to maintain the roads”. PROPERTY and SALES taxes maintain the roads, you poor, simpleminded fools. Are the gas fumes from the pump killing off your brain cells, or were you born mentally incapacitated?

    • WSB September 14, 2011 (11:54 pm)

      JN, we have provided this link before.
      Anyone else who wishes to dredge up links to refute anything your fellow commenters say that you believe to be untrue, please do. We do the best job monitoring that we can (including throwing out the nastiest comments people try to post, but if you see one you think crosses the line, please e-mail editor@westseattleblog.com, we and our filters may miss something) given we’re also busy covering the news.
      For anyone who refuses to click that link, it refutes the contention that only gas taxes/license tabs pay for the roads.

      Even if they did, the “pay your fair share” argument might run into a mathematical challenge: How much does a car weigh vs. a bicycle weigh, and how much does that affect the road? I recall paying roughly 100 bucks for my registration on a Honda Element that weighs 3,000 pounds, and let’s say I had a bicycle (I don’t) that weighed 30 pounds (that’s an “average weight” I found in an online citation) – my proportionate “fair share” for a bike license would be $1. (Someone more mathy/techy than I can probably fix this with the per-wheel calculation, or something.)
      That doesn’t take into account the gas tax issue, but you could flip that one around and say that emissions and leaks, into the air and on the roads, have costs for which gas-burning vehicles’ drivers aren’t paying. And so on and so on and so on.
      Any thoughts on the actual topic here, the point of “can’t we all just get along?” and can we ever get there? – TR

  • george September 14, 2011 (11:31 pm)

    I recommend that the Agreesive Driving Response Team target bicylists for a few weeks to see if that would calm things down a little. Say on University, and then downtown? What say you, Mr Mayor?

  • JN September 15, 2011 (1:21 am)

    @TR, I would like to apologize for my earlier comment. It’s just been a crazy couple of days for myself and other cyclists I know with a lot of insensitive comments flying around (though I should unfortunately expect nothing less), and I admit that I went a little overboard. I know that you do a very good job monitoring this blog, and I appreciate the news you supply (honestly one of the only reliable and relevant sources I trust). I guess I just need to cool off a little bit :)

  • Caprial September 15, 2011 (4:52 am)

    Bicyclists may pay prop taxes, etc… but they don’t have tabs. Bikes should be licensed (with a visible bike license) and tabbed. Those tabs pay for the roads “JN”. And when bikes scrape the side of your car on the ferry, or while you’re waiting at a red light…as they illegally pass between the lanes (not bike lanes)…you would be able to turn them in and perhaps they could be ticketed. It is the exception that I see a bicyclist not only observing the rules of the road, but actually in a bike lane. So how the heck did they warrent their own lane for a very few months of the year?

  • Goldie September 15, 2011 (4:57 am)

    Mayor McSchwinn is flat out wrong stating that “everyone has the right to be on the road.” Roads were built for motor vehicles. Mixing motor vehicles with bicycles is like mixing oil with water — it does not work. Hence, all the emotions that emanate from vehicle drivers and bicyclists stem from the mismatch. Bicyclists should be restricted from roadways until Mayor McSchwinn and his crew decide on bicycle roadway laws. Rogue bicyclists in my experience are more prevalent than not because there are no laws making them accountable for their actions on the roadways.

  • Aman September 15, 2011 (5:54 am)

    As my dear old Scottish Grandmother often said, “I will save my breath to blow my soup.”

  • Mark S. September 15, 2011 (6:36 am)

    I love the idea decreasing cars on the road and am more than happy to encourage cycling and making concessions to allow for it.


    No matter how much is done, I continue to see more and more (obviously not all) cyclists ignore the lanes set for them, ignore the law, and generally act entitled and aggressive. Riding between cars, excessive weaving in middle lanes, running red lights, blocking buses in regular lanes, coming off the sidewalk into a road in the middle of a block …

    I feel fairly confident saying that I don’t think anyone intentionally hits a cyclist. These are accidents that need to be avoided. And while drivers need to be as aware as possible of cyclists, no amount of keeping your eyes on the bike lane will help when a cyclist makes an illegal turn across several lanes of traffic between cars and ultimately in your path.

    I was sworn at by a cyclist recently. I saw him. He was in the middle lane in the road. And had he been a car, I would’ve done the same thing. I needed to get over, there was space, I signaled, I changed lanes. At the next intersection he began yelling and swearing at me, telling me to stay out of his f’ing lane. I pointed out the bike lane on that road, not a shared lane, a clearly defined and separate lane. His response was that he could take any f’ing lane he wanted. I moved on, he went, seemingly out of his way, to follow me, and continue verbally accosting me at the next light.

    I’m fairly certain it wasn’t my attitude that needed changing there.

  • Max September 15, 2011 (6:36 am)

    TR-Thanks for all the hard work. I agree that taxing bikes won’t encourage biking to work, or make our roads any safer, and it surely won’t change peoples attitudes. I don’t bike to work, but I am pro-bike and pro-safety. And being “pro-bike-safety” means, GET THE BIKE LANE OUT OF THE ROAD FOR GOODNESS SAKE! Bikes and cars don’t mix and never will. I’ve got an idea. Let’s build a bike lane for bikes, and a car lane for cars, and diffuse the whole issue. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  • Sonia September 15, 2011 (6:39 am)

    If they have the right to be on the road, the city should make them pay a fee like we pay for car tabs!

  • amused September 15, 2011 (6:58 am)

    I’m sorry, how much to bikes pay to use the roads? Nothing you say. Well then, that should be the same courtesy they are forwarded…nothing.

  • marty September 15, 2011 (7:38 am)

    I’m surprised bikes don’t pay a fee, only because it is one of the few “opportuitiies” this city/county/state hasn’t used to charge another tax.

  • Edchurch September 15, 2011 (7:57 am)

    I like Sonias comment. Sonia, didn’t you read TRs post?!!?

  • Amanda September 15, 2011 (8:05 am)

    What’s with all the self righteousness car drivers? Are you really that miffed that bicycle riders are asking for safety and car drivers to watch what the heck they are doing behind the wheel? Dont be a hater! The roads are big enough to share with everyone! Geeze!

  • Alex September 15, 2011 (8:19 am)

    I don’t care whether bikes pay to use the road or not, I care whether there is enough room for them on narrow roads that were designed for cars. When a bicyclist is going 15mph on a road designed for 30mph that has the new “sharows,” he’s holding up traffic.
    A holdup of 5 vehicles is illegal in this state. I’d like to see bicyclists cited for that infraction when they roll along blocking traffic for dozens of commuters…
    This is not an issue of bikes vs cars, it’s an issue of one human self-righteously blocking the path of others, and hindering THEIR right to use the roads.

  • timh2o September 15, 2011 (8:20 am)

    Road maintenance sources for City of Seattle:


  • Scott September 15, 2011 (8:23 am)

    I agree that the Speed bumps are super lame on 48th. They should not allow cars to park right next to them as it is hard to maneuver through them. I think that a 10 foot no parking around them with help with traffic.
    p.s. The road is not big enough to fit everyone. Example speed bumps with parked cars do not allow people to get through.

  • Blazejac September 15, 2011 (8:24 am)

    TR (WSB), just want to say thanks for consistently focusing on this issue. Obviously, it is a polarizing powder keg that will only grow and it’s important that people understand the facts.

    We go through it ad nauseam, but cyclists are just people. Just like drivers are. It’s easy for both sides to lop everyone into convenient categories and labels, but never makes any sense.

    Has another driver done something reckless and/or dangerous in front of you that made you shake your head in disbelief? I see it all the time. But I don’t automatically lop every single person behind the wheel of a car an irresponsible scourge that deserves some kind of public whipping or whatever.

    The next time a cyclist does something stupid in front of you, focus on the person – not the minority. There are a lot of responsible, mindful cyclists out there getting along with responsible, mindful drivers.

    As far as licensing, fair share, etc most cyclists, including the 95% of cyclists who already own and operate a car are truly fine with paying for it – so long as we have a safe and effective infrastructure in place.

    Until that happens, paying on a scale mentioned by TR only makes sense, which in the bigger picture actually makes no sense. The administrative logistics alone would render it useless and taxing a bicycle on the same level as a gas-consuming, road-wearing vehicle is ludicrous.

    The general sentiment is that cyclists don’t pay anything to use the roads, whereas drivers do. Though we’ve already gone over that misconception – a lot – please do yourselves a favor and read that link TR posted.

    Seeing how I already pay my fair share for the roads, I will continue to exercise my right as a law-abiding American to ride them and coexist with other vehicles.

    And to the driver in the truck that waved me through the four-way stop on Admiral this morning, the driver who waited for the right moment to pass on Mercer Island, and the friendly smile from the pedestrian downtown – thanks!

  • Alywest September 15, 2011 (8:50 am)

    Just this morning I was at a redlight when a biker just road right though the redlight! With no regard to himself or others….I know I would feel horrible if I hit someone and it wasn’t even my fault.
    I also think they should have to pay for tabs to cover the cost of the bike lanes. Share the road, share the expense!

  • lucky chick September 15, 2011 (8:50 am)


  • lucky chick September 15, 2011 (8:53 am)

    It’s quite refreshing to hear a politician at least make noise about getting at the real problem (and the most dangerous part of cycling here): peoples’ attitudes. And the fact that those people on bikes are HUMANS, like your mother, sister, son, neighbor… Would be nice if learning the laws regarding cycling was required for drivers as well, but now I’m just dreaming.

  • PGS September 15, 2011 (9:17 am)

    I’m not bothered by the funding that bicyclists are not adding to the pool, simply because they most like ARE paying through other sources, just not in gas money. I do think they should at least cover the cost of the license plate that should be applied to their vehicle in order to share the road with all the other licensed vehicles. That way, when one flagrantly disregards the rules of the roads on which they so desperately want to risk their lives and limbs, I can report them as individual hazards to public safety rather than just whining about their entire lot, which I know to be irrational since many of them are great at cohabitating with powered vehicles. What irritates me more than anything here is that I’ve seen SPD ticketing pedestrians and of course cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even a Metro bus! NEVER have I witnessed a citation being written to a bicyclist, yet every single day I see cyclists breaking the road laws in dangerous ways. Step up the enforcement, SPD, and you will drastically reduce the road rage that ensues between these two groups.

  • alkikmac September 15, 2011 (9:27 am)

    Bikes can damage cars. Years ago my beloved Buick Riviera, which was legally parked on the side of the road, was rear ended by a man on a bike training for a race. He stated he was maintaining a speed of 19mph. His body went through my back window, head first, and he landed between my bucket front seats. I was sitting in the drivers seat at the time. He did thousands of dollars of damage to my car, all of which his homeowners insurance covered. Thankfully, he was only cut up a bit & fully recovered, but don’t fool yourself into thinking a bike cannot cause serious damage to a car.

  • KT September 15, 2011 (9:43 am)

    As a car driver, motorcyclist, bus and ferry mass transit user, and bicycle commuter, I’ve tried most of the ways that you can get around Seattle. Taking a motorcycle safety course to get my endorsement many years ago before I was legally allowed to hit the road was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I learned that car drivers aren’t jerks; a lot of times they really don’t see you. You learn that your life is in your own hands, and you have to ride that way.
    -Be a defensive driver and always ALWAYS look around you to evaluate your surroundings.
    -Drive at a speed where you can brake and avoid that person making an unexpected turn in front of you or pulling out of a driveway and cutting you off.
    -Don’t split lanes. You are asking to get hit because people just don’t expect you to be there.
    Riding my motorcycle has given me a healthy dose of the reality of sharing the road with vehicles much larger than mine and how little protection a helmet and leathers actually provide. When I’m on my bicycle, I try to follow all the rules and live by the same principles I follow when on my motorcycle in addition to the extra precautionary measures that being on a bike requires. On almost a daily basis, I’m astounded by the complete disregard many cyclists have for their own safety. I can’t understand it, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it except for making all cyclists take a safety class (logistical nightmare and unfeasible), stepping up police patrols to target illegal/unsafe cycling behavior, or these unsafe people getting hit and injured and learning the hard way.

  • bike2work September 15, 2011 (9:57 am)

    oh…don’t worry PGS…SPD DOES pull over cyclists. Geez…hasn’t happened to me driving a car in over 25 years but guess what..pulled my arse over while riding my bike. Naughty me…ran a red light down town…late at night…I sat and sat at that damn red light but it wouldn’t go green (BTW, this happens all the time)…my bike isn’t big enough to trigger the light…so the choice was run the red light or spend the night at that intersection. Well SPD was watching (they obviously had nothing better to be doing that evening) and yep, I’m a law breaker…oh no!

  • wsguy September 15, 2011 (10:07 am)

    I agree with Marty – everyone has a right to elect a new Mayor – Goodbye McSchwinn

  • mrhineh September 15, 2011 (10:14 am)

    SPD does speeding and DUI crackdowns. The Coast Guard does boating safety checks and publicity. Where are the bicycle programs?

  • t September 15, 2011 (11:12 am)

    The best drivers are truck drivers. I’d like to give a healthy dose of thanks to all the port truck operators who stop and let cyclists through the marked crosswalks at the East end of the lower bridge. I always wave thanks and get a thumbs up from the drivers.

  • datamuse September 15, 2011 (11:13 am)

    Amused, I pay property taxes, sales taxes, AND gas taxes. So yes, I DO pay to use the road, whether in my car or on my bicycle.
    Seriously, do any of you claiming that bicyclists don’t pay to use the roads do ANY research before commenting? Google. It’s there. Use it.

  • vote him out September 15, 2011 (11:31 am)

    @bike2work – SPD obviously had nothing better to do but SAVE YOUR FRICKIN LIFE idgit! Or the lives of others who you could have collided with. Why is it that you think you don’t have to heed lights and stop signs? I’m glad SPD nailed you because I see this way too much.

    This little video comes to mind with the vitriol from bicyclists in this city: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3nMnr8ZirI

    I will be voting this mayor out – he spends far too much time on making roads accessible to bikes and very little on other things. I think he is setting us back YEARS in transportation and its not even practical for Seattle. Making cars the ‘evil’ of the city is just silly. I hope the next mayor reverses all these stupid waste of money rechannelings. It’s an agenda plain and simple – nothing has had this much pull in his office than these changes. Can’t wait to vote him out!!!

  • mrhineh September 15, 2011 (11:36 am)

    Come on VHO, how many times have you sat at a light in a car wondering, wondering, wondering if it is going to change or if the switch is broken when. When it comes to tripping signal lights, bikes are way underserved. There’s a difference between blowing a light in broad daylight and traffic vs. late at light with no cars around when you’ve been waiting for it to trip. Settle down the venom. Lets get the SPD to use logical tools, rather than the ones that are silly.

  • datamuse September 15, 2011 (11:37 am)

    A politician has an agenda? You don’t say.

  • godofthebasement September 15, 2011 (11:55 am)

    Sigh. So much disinformation out there, so little time to correct it. Here are some facts for the anti-bike crowd:

    First: Seattle’s road money comes primarily from property tax and sales tax (license fees and gas tax go almost entirely to State highways, only a tiny portion goes to local governments). Cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users all pay taxes for our roads. Until only drivers pay property tax and sales tax, it is COMPLETELY FALSE to claim that cyclists don’t pay for our roads. It is sad and unfortunate that the LIE that bikers don’t pay taxes has been repeated so many times that it overwhelms all other transportation issues.

    Second: Without bike lanes, cyclist would still be here, they’d just all be riding in the traffic lanes with the cars. As a driver which would you prefer: having traffic lanes exclusively for cars (which you get when there are bike lanes), or share all traffic lanes with bikes (which is what you get when there are no bike lanes). Thus, bike lanes benefit drivers just as much as they benefit cyclists.

    Third: IT’S NOT ABOUT MIKE MCGINN. Most of the bike, transit, and pedestrian projects of the last several years were are part of the transportation safety master plan passed UNANIMOUSLY by the city council in 2007. Mayor McGinn was not in office then. Everyone that thinks McGinn is the reason we have bike lanes is woefully uninformed of the facts. But, nevertheless, the mayor does deserve credit for upholding the city’s commitment to improving transportation safety.

  • amalia September 15, 2011 (12:19 pm)

    I’d like to think that “truck drivers are the best drivers,” considering the enormous vehicles they wield. And in general, I have found them to be sensible. But one incident comes to mind, down on Alaskan. I was riding in or near the bike lane (before all the construction) and a truck looked like it was going to pull in front of me from a road on my right, so I yelled “BICYCLE!” and got a hearty “F*** YOU!!” for my efforts. Figured I should just feel sorry for him.

  • A September 15, 2011 (12:20 pm)

    @Datamuse…We Pay all those taxes plus Tabs!
    Why shouldn’t a bike be licensed and pay tabs so that it can cover the cost of the lttle cartoons on the road and repairs of the potholes that can give you flat tires?

  • datamuse September 15, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    I pay for car tabs too, A. So do most bicyclists. If your point is supposed to be that bicyclists are getting away with something because they don’t have to license their vehicles, you might want to consider that license fees mostly go to state highway projects, while most bicycle use is in city. Isn’t your point that people shouldn’t pay for things that they don’t use?

  • confused by double standard September 15, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    I ride my bike around West Seattle for my health and enjoyment. I obey the lights and use hand signals when turning (more than I can say for several cars whose turn signals are apparently broken).
    People in cars don’t want bikes on the road, people on sidewalks don’t want bikes on the road, where should one ride? With Americans already suffering with obesity from a sedentary lifestyle, what is someone who is actually trying to improve their health to do? Am I supposed to join a gym and ride a “sedentary” bike (anyone else see the irony in that?) because others want to impose their views on me? I do live in America, right? I’m amazed by the amount of hate and energy people put into this topic.

  • amalia September 15, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    Why don’t the vehicles that make the potholes (and it ain’t my Trek) pay to repair them? Why do I have to pay with my property taxes and my car tabs (when I barely use my car)?

  • Leslie September 15, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    I like the idea that if one wants to ride on public roads they should have taken a safety course and gotten a bicycle license for their bike. If they only ride on designated bike trails like Burke Gilman or the like they don’t need to be licensed. Anyone under the age of 16 is not allowed to ride their bike on a public street.

    I also like the idea of having the agressive driver patrol do a bike patrol at some of the spots where there are the most serious bike infractions to help educate those who are making a bad name for those who do follow the rules.

  • WSSpartan September 15, 2011 (1:42 pm)

    I suggest we have a good old S.E. Hinton style rumble. Bikers v. Drivers. Settle this seemingly unbridgable divide once and for all. Mortal enemies locked in a duel to the death over who has the right to control the streets.

    Anyone interested? (Not sure if I have to mention this but…I’m kinda kidding)

  • Jiggers September 15, 2011 (1:49 pm)

    Cool..Im going to take my golfcart out that can hit 60 now. Thanks mr. mayor.

  • Steph in WS September 15, 2011 (1:55 pm)

    How about telling the bicyclists to ride safely? I have had two close-encounters with guys on a bike that are going out of control or weaving in and out of traffic. Didn’t hit them only because I was watching everything. Tell THEM to be careful!

  • JAT September 15, 2011 (3:06 pm)

    I’m a single issue voter, and this is it: If it’s bad for cycling it’s bad for America. I’m appalled at the show of intolerance here; appalled at you, my neighbors. Mayor McGinn makes a simple statement about community and so many here react like troglodytes. You bike haters should be ashamed.

    I would love to have liability insurance while riding my bike – it’s not commercially available. I’d be fine if cyclists were required to pass a test on the safe and legal operation of a vehicle on the public roadways. I’d ride with an ID plate if I thought for a moment that I could meaningfully narc on a miscreant motorist and have any legal effect. I’d forego all lanes and sharrows and city-wide bike plans if I thought all motorists would treat me with courteousness and dignity.

    The roads were built for horse carts and trams. The move to pave and improve them was founded by bicyclists. Motorists require a license because of their great capacity to harm others. These are the facts as I understand them – do you believe them to be otherwise?

    I like Mike.

  • Caprial September 15, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Motorists require a license because of their great capacity to harm others? Also for their capacity to do damage. They need to be identified. Bikes do damage as well. Anyone over 16 with a bike should have to have it licensed. Period. They need to be identified when they are riding recklessly weaving in/out of traffic, ignoring lights, ignoring people in crosswalks and getting far too close to parked cars. It is rare I see a bicyclist observing the rules of the road in WS. Sad, but true. Take a drive down CA Ave.

  • WSTroll September 15, 2011 (6:06 pm)

    We should be reducing the number of distractions on our streets. Cars and trucks are gigantic heavy killing machines and the people that control them have way too many things that require their attention. Squishy meat puppets with random trajectories should not be sharing the road with automobiles.

  • McGinn One Term mayor September 15, 2011 (6:20 pm)

    Reading some of the comments from the militant cyclists reinforces my opinion that they wish to be treated as a protected class. I find it odd that a cyclist would scream out “Bicylist!” at a vehicle they thought might enter the road in front of them. Would they yell “Car!” if they were in an automobile?

    Motorcyclists pay for an endorsement on their driver’s license. Perhaps bicylists should as well.

    I realize that people are getting needlessly killed while riding bikes. However, pedestrians and people driving cars are also killed in avoidable accidents. Just stay safe and be aware of your surroundings no matter what mode of transportation you choose.

  • Seattlite September 15, 2011 (6:33 pm)

    After reading over the comments, the main theme is “safety.” The bottom line is Seattle has been plagued with poor leadership on this issue and many other issues. Mayor McSchwinn and his predecessor, Mayor Knucklehead, jumped the gun by adding bike lanes before educating auto drivers and bicyclists on sharing the roadways to ensure the safety of all. Aggressive auto drivers and aggressive bicyclists endanger everyone on the roadways.

  • JN September 15, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    I think that it’s kind of interesting that the people who think their car tabs and gas taxes pay for the roads have no evidence whatsoever to back their claims up, while those of us who are not ignorant have the facts and truth on our side.

  • R September 15, 2011 (7:12 pm)

    @JAT Bicyclist harm others too. They can damage vehicles and injure pedestrians. Or do those things not count? I cant count the times bicyclist have almost hit me both in my car and as a pedestrian.

    As far as the insurance and licensing for bikes- of course it doesn’t exist- no one’s pushed for it. If bicyclists can push for paving and improvements, why can’t they push for licensing (which would create a market for insurance companies to cover them). The answer is most don’t care and goes back to the root that many don’t think about others. Explain how else I deal with traffic back ups (5-15 cars) daily by bikers who decide its appropriate to go 10 mph or less in a 35? I applaud going green and biking to work, but pick a smart route, not one that’s uphill, especially when you know you can’t bike up it with an appropriate amount of speed.

    And why are there people saying most bike riders own vehicles as well? Where did that b.s. statistic come from? I can guarantee you its false. You could say “a large number”, or “many” (I still wouldn’t believe you), but “most” in this case is absurd.

  • J September 15, 2011 (8:02 pm)

    The ignorance of some is amazing. Those that think roads were built for automobiles are fooling themselves. Have they never seen the pictures of the Seattle in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s? Streets filled with wagons, horses, and god forbid, pedestrians!
    The law allows me to ride my bike on any road I choose, bike lane or no. I must follow the rules of the road (and I do). I can take and entire lane if safety calls for it. I use the left lane to make left turns. I move up to lights on the right and position myself so that those turning right see me before they turn into me. If you are slowed, suck it! What do you think will happen when tunnelgeddon arrives?
    I also pay car tabs and property taxes. Again, suck it! You might not see cops pulling over bikes because we are riding within our rights and you are just oblivious to them.

  • MikeC September 15, 2011 (8:33 pm)

    If I’m on my bike cruising to downtown on my bike via the low bridge trail, that’s one less car you have to battle merging onto the ws bridge. Seems like that benefits everyone. Also, I’m not causing wear and tear on the roads. Also a plus for everyone.

  • datamuse September 15, 2011 (9:12 pm)

    WSSpartan: I wonder how many people are going to get the S.E. Hinton reference? ;) (The Outsiders was my favorite book when I was a teenager. This will surprise no one who knows me.)
    Steph: How many close encounters have you had with cars? Because I have that many every day. (I’m in my car, too. Which is good because that way I have comprehensive insurance when one of them runs a stop sign and t-bones me.)
    JAT: A-freaking-men. The main reason I’m less than well disposed toward licensing fees for bicyclists is that every single person I’ve encountered in favor of them seems to have “That’ll show ’em!” as their primary argument. That is not a rational basis for anything.

  • Eaglelover September 15, 2011 (10:49 pm)

    Grrr..a nother cross post..our family unit ownes several props and pay taxes on them in King County and I drive 15k+m a year and we bike alot. Seriously, tabs and licenses for all?? Are you the crowd that likes more government?? That’s what your message is saying…to those that mention weavers on bikes impeding your drive, I have never seen that, there are bikes that hinder my drive for 2 seconds but the same thing happens all the time while driving to alki. We live in a great place that accepts distractions, come on…

  • JN September 15, 2011 (11:07 pm)

    It would appear that many others have already mentioned what I was about to say, Caprial and others. Your points have been thoroughly disproved and revealed to be born of ignorance.

  • JRF September 16, 2011 (12:08 am)

    Wow. If effective Democracy depends on an educated public, I think we are doomed.

  • datamuse September 16, 2011 (1:04 am)

    Pick a route that’s not uphill, R? In SEATTLE? Do you actually live here?

  • rosenlaw September 16, 2011 (1:28 am)

    No – Bikes DON’T pay the SAME as everyone else.

    I don’t give a rats a$$ if you own a bike and a car. This math is super simple:

    You own a CAR and a BIKE. You use both on the public roadways. Yet you only pay for the car.

    *I* currently only own a CAR and it is the ONLY vehicle I use on the public roadways. I pay the same as you, but get half as much. Hmmm…

    Seems pretty simple to me. Don’t give me any links and horsecrap about vehicle weights, etc. You’re getting to use the road ON a vehicle that you DON’T pay any LICENSING or INSURANCE on, and yet you people want all kinds of special consideration and cause tons of inconvenience to the vast majority of roadway users – vehicles? Sounds pretty selfish to me.

  • Caprial September 16, 2011 (5:00 am)

    @JN – my points haven’t been thoroughly disproved at all. Funny you’d say that considering the agreements written. However, my biggest complaint is that bikes aren’t licensed so that those riding them can be identified if/when they create damage and/or cause an accident and/or are riding illegally to be ticketed. I see this everyday, literally.

  • Cordelia Anne September 16, 2011 (8:14 am)

    We’ve got a three-year old girl walking down the middle of our inner-city road, unsupervised by her parents who are drinking beer on their lawn at the end of the block. Really, Mr. Mayor? Everyone has a right to be on the road? What about all the joggers who eschew perfectly good sidewalks and then flip cars off for honking at them to get out of the middle of the road? Or all of the idiots downtown who cross against the light and force cars to wait who have the right-of-way? *sigh* I miss the 1980’s, when pedestrians, including children, seemed to have more common sense.

  • velo_nut September 16, 2011 (8:25 am)

    I’m baffled by 90% of the posts on here.

  • datamuse September 16, 2011 (9:26 am)

    rosenlaw, do you support paying a fee to walk on public sidewalks? How about crossing the street? How about putting in a sidewalk even if it means narrowing the roadway?
    Your post makes no sense. Your insurance premiums don’t fund the roadways, and it’s been pointed out several times that the contribution of licensing fees toward roadway funding is a pittance.
    Velo_nut: you and me both. I seriously do not understand the vitriol that bicycles seem to elicit among so many people. So you have to drive a little slower. Do you also curse all the other cars on the road when you get stuck in traffic? If one person crosses against the light, do you assume that all people on foot are idiots? If one car cuts you off in traffic, are all drivers morons, yourself excepted of course? Then what is with the sweeping generalizations?
    I drive more than I bike, and I RARELY see the kinds of behaviors from bicyclists that are so frequently the subject of complaints here. Y’all are gonna give yourselves heart attacks if you keep this up.

  • sam-c September 16, 2011 (9:46 am)

    these comments all appear to be the standard/ endless bike vs. car debate, which.. can’t we all get along?!?
    however, one road that is not shared with bicycles is the viaduct. we were headed north last night, getting on from the West Seattle bridge, when we encountered someone riding their bike up the clover leaf. we were so stunned, slowed down, but there was someone driving right behind us so we couldn’t stop and do something… so we called 911, so that hopefully a cop would get him off the road, we were afraid he was going to get himself killed. did any-one else see that? was the cyclist ok ?

  • datamuse September 16, 2011 (10:24 am)

    It’s pretty classic us vs. them thinking, Sam-C. Seems to be an element of human nature that we’re stuck with. Depressing, isn’t it?

  • WSSpartan September 16, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    I am baffled by this whole debate. Drivers…How much of an inconvenience are bikers really? I encounter them once, maybe twice, a week on the roads. Yeah it can be a little stressful trying to get around them, but c’mon, where do you need to be so badly that you honk, yell or curse at them? Bikers…You ride in the street. Some of you pretty slowly and some of you in the middle of the road. You have to realize that that may spark some hostility and you could get hurt (which is not cool I know, trust me). Cars will hit bikes, bikes will hit cars, cars will hit cars and maybe bikes will hit bikes. Streets are dangerous. At least that’s what my parents told me eons ago. I listened and now I drive and ride accordingly. I wish everyone else would too. I’m glad there are folks who really care about this…because I just don’t. It is what it is. Drivers don’t hit bikers. Bikers behave yourselves. As Aretha would say “R E S P E C T” is what it’s all about.

  • G September 16, 2011 (4:37 pm)

    Seattle is not a city designed for bikes, period.

    Seattle is hilly, has a lot of vegetation that obscures road visibility, it is densely congested, and for 9 months out of the year miserably wet and often windy. Where are the legions of riders in Februrary riding up Admiral Way with a cold rain in your face? T

    Quit trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; no matter how much you try, it doesn’t fit.

  • datamuse September 16, 2011 (5:00 pm)

    G, what is your point? That people shouldn’t ride because it’s hilly here and it rains?

  • yeah... September 16, 2011 (5:29 pm)

    @rosenlaw – Mr./Ms. Rosen: if you do in fact practice law, I feel terrible for your clients.

    I’m on board with WSSpartan. The number of bikers in this city (esp. during rush hour) is miniscule. I am guessing that there is a lot of misplaced anger here. Drivers are upset with other drivers (and traffic in general), and it is so extremely easy to blame bikes. Chances are that a cyclist slowing you down for 30 seconds isn’t really affecting your commute time that much.

    Having lived (and biked, and driven) in Portland, I just don’t understand what people up here are complaining about. There are far more cyclist commuters in Portland, which means more congestion, both for cars and bicycles. This means more bikes in the car lanes. Bicycle congestion does not occur here, at least in West Seattle.

    Stop whining. Pay your tab. Come on, it’s a tank of gas for a bunch of you. And stop threatening people with your vehicle. And over the internets.

  • austin September 16, 2011 (6:19 pm)

    I wonder if the people complaining about bikes realize how nutty they sound.

  • JN September 16, 2011 (7:30 pm)

    While I may not be alive to see it happen, in another few decades gas will be so outrageously expensive that none of you gas-addicted motorists will be able to get anywhere. And the hills in Seattle are incredibly overblown. I suppose if you don’t use your muscles and drive everywhere then they may be intimidating, but it really doesn’t take much time at all to get up them. And you bring up the cold and rain? It’s called a waterproof jacket+sweater and gloves. Problem solved. And in Bern, Switzerland over 25% of trips are made by bicycle, and that is a HILLY city, not to mention much colder and very nearly as rainy as Seattle. So the only conclusion that makes sense is that Seattleites and Americans in general have been brainwashed into thinking that only cars make sense. That or motorists are obese and lazy.

  • JN September 16, 2011 (7:32 pm)

    And the only city designed for cars is Los Angeles, Ca. Do you really want to live there? Because I’ve been there multiple times, and it is a real cesspool.

  • DIZZLEY September 17, 2011 (10:09 am)



    That is what most of these comments say to me; no one wants to budge one bit. For those that hate bikes, just think that every bike on the road is one less car holding you up on your precious commute. So, sit back, have another donut and just relax, no need to make your hypertension any worse! Many (non-US) cities have more bikes than cars and they all co-exist! Try to think beyond your own personal wants for a minute. We all know the roads are crap, so less cars is a good thing!!!

  • sam-c September 17, 2011 (1:47 pm)

    so…… no-one else saw the cyclist riding up the wsb on-ramp for the viaduct ?
    i am so curious how that turned out….

  • mike flynn September 17, 2011 (7:41 pm)

    When I’m behind the wheel, bicyclists prove a huge challenge because I’m crazy enough to not want to hurt him or her. But too often I find bicyclists who seem to flaunt their fragility in my face by riding as slowly as possible in the middle of the road. It also impedes me, just as a car driving at half the posted speed limit would.

    And while we’re complaining, let’s not forget pedestrians who jaywalk in front of you — really, jay-DASH — or walk across the street in the crosswalk as slo-o-o-owly as possible because they get to control your life for 15 seconds legally by doing so.

    My default is to live and let live. Bicyclists have made it impossible for me to think of them as anything but problems on the road. For those who drive safely, I’m sorry for you.

  • datamuse September 18, 2011 (11:00 am)

    I can’t speak for other bicyclists, Mike, but if I take the lane, it’s because in my judgment it’s not safe to ride further to the right. Sorry if my looking out for my own safety bothers you.

  • Seattlite September 18, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    datamuse — Bicyclists have no right to take the auto lane — bicyclists are to remain as far right as possible as designated by the street signage or get off the roadway. Moving a bicycle into the auto’s lane, endangers the auto driver’s safety and the bicyclist’s. Again, Mayor McSchwinn’s leadership is unacceptable at best in creating this issue and resolving this ongoing issue of autos vs bicyclists.

  • JN September 18, 2011 (5:24 pm)

    Seattleite, bicyclists DO have the right to take priority position in the travel lane when conditions warrant it, i.e. dangerous debris, dangerous conditions (danger of getting doored, poor road condition). In my opinion (don’t know the exact rules concerning this), there is no “car” lane unless there is a viable, safe bicycle lane on the same street. Otherwise it is just a travel lane, which is open and legal for all users. Apparently you think that the solution to resolve this “ongoing issue of autos vs. bicyclists” (also like how you admit that when you drive a car, you dehumanize yourself, i.e referring to motorists as “autos”) is to kick the bicyclists off of the roads. Hey, maybe I would agree to that if you motorists accept ALL costs associated with maintaining your lifestyle. And FYI, I see cars parked in the bicycle lane all the time.

  • yeah... September 18, 2011 (8:35 pm)

    Oh, mike flynn, you had me at “because I’m crazy” . . . (blush).

    Why exactly are you sorry for those who drive safely? Your entire post is confusing.

    @Seattlite – just read through all the WSDOT laws I could find re: bikes on the roadway, and I couldn’t find anything to support your claim that bikes have no right to take the lane. What you may not realize is that bike commuters have to deal both with people driving on their left and getting doored on their right, which occurs when they are as far over as they can get to the right. Almost happened to me three times on my ride up California the other day.

    We get it, you don’t like the mayor, didn’t vote for him, etc. Stop using that to attack a tiny subset of commuters.

    I have heard plenty about long commutes into the city. This is usually because of I-5, or Viaduct construction, or something else. I have yet to hear someone recount a lengthy drive to work in which they were stuck behind a cyclist for an hour. Your complaints are silly, misguided, and completely irrational.

  • jno September 19, 2011 (12:23 pm)

    Seattleite’s assertion that “bicyclists are to remain as far right as possible as designated by the street signage or get off the roadway” is incorrect.
    Shoulder vs. Bike Lane – Cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs (RCW 46.61.770).
    And from the RCW:
    (1) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe except as may be appropriate while preparing to make or while making turning movements, or while overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway or highway other than a limited-access highway, which roadway or highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near to the left side of the left through lane as is safe. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway may use the shoulder of the roadway or any specially designated bicycle lane if such exists.
    (2) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

    (emphasis mine)

  • Yardvark September 21, 2011 (7:26 pm)

    I love seeing kids riding their bikes around Seattle!

Sorry, comment time is over.