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Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety    
Monday, April 16 2012 @ 05:48 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: Anonymous

OpinionI recently was biking into town, down Canal Street towards Malfunction Junction. I have done this many times before. Somehow, it dawned on what a stupid and downright dangerous route this is. Where the cars are (in relation to your unarmored self) changes as you proceed through Malfunction Junction. I can easily keep track of all the cars around me but the cars were so close to me, I can only assume that the drivers just didn't even know I was there. In short, I was almost knocked over by the meat eating / wall of steel known as "Buick."

At the intersection of South Main and Canal, you have cars behind you and ahead of you and to your left is the on coming traffic. As you move through the Junction, the cars are basically all around you, no matter how legally you ride, because if you are going straight / left, you CANNOT really expect to travel in the right lane. In the right lane, it is mandatory for traffic in that lane to turn right. So, into the sea, yeah verily into the middle of cars you must go.

OR, skip trying to get into town that way, which is what I have started to do. Sure, I have legal right to go that way, and I should be respected as a living human being with bones and a nervous system, but it is better to be alive than to demand respect on Malfunction Junction. So instead, I now take South Main to Washington, or to Pine, and head down Birge Street, and lackadaisically and safely roll into Brattleboro from Elliot Street.

Personally, I will break any law if doing so increases my safety, (and there are situations where following the law makes you less safe). But I also am for staying alive long enough to see my boy ride a bicycle around town. The cars win this one, I concede the road between South Main and Elliot Streets.

Other bicyclists mus have found similar safe and less safe ways to travel about the greater Brattleboro Metropolitan region.. What might be great, is a map. Who knows about efforts to make any such map?

Could it be, Dave Cohen? I am not psychic, I vaguely remember Dave C. talking about the effort to create such a map. Does anyone know about this ? Dave ? Anyone?
Maybe such a map already exists. Help me here, so that I am not tempted to recreate the wheel.

Thanks,

Rolf

 

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  • Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety | 10 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety
    Authored by: FHdogs on Monday, April 16 2012 @ 08:44 PM GMT+4
    It's not the best and easiest way to create such a map, but
    Google maps can be edited, and you can indicate what roads
    have bike lanes and/or are suitable, preferred or should be
    avoided for bike use.

    I do regional moderation for these maps, and would love to
    see bike information added to the Bratt area. I don't
    personally ride near Bratt, but I'd be happy to help out with
    such edits.

    http://www.google.com/mapmaker - To jump right in
    http://support.google.com/mapmaker/ - For general help
    http://goo.gl/9ckPk - For help on editing roads

    I'm not on iBratt much, but if anybody makes edits for bikes
    in the area I'll keep my eyes open and try to help/approve
    changes ASAP to help Brattleboro bikers out.
    Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety
    Authored by: Rolf on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 10:13 AM GMT+4

    Very interesting.

    Thanks for the information and links.

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    Dreams Trump Video
    Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety
    Authored by: cgrotke on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 01:53 PM GMT+4
    I think the legal thing to do is to get into traffic and take up
    a slot like a car or motorcycle would do. I see motorcyclists
    stick to the center-left so they are directly in front of the
    driver behind them.

    If we were interesting, we'd consider an elevated path for
    bikes and pedestrians that went over cars. And a bike
    escalator on High or Green St.
    Yeah the legal thing
    Authored by: Rolf on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 02:14 PM GMT+4
    I probably did not write that clearly. Yeah, that is the
    legal thing, to "take up a slot. The problem is on the way
    to the bridge over the Whetstone, cars sometimes start
    encroaching on this slot, which is of unmarked width.
    You have to get and stay in the left lane and become
    surrounded on all sides by car drivers, some of whom
    are jockeying for position on the bridge if they are
    worried about beating the next approaching light
    change.
    There is no consistently truly safe way, in my opinion, to
    make it down that stretch on a bicycle. Some days it
    FEELS safe, ie the cars stay far enough away to give one
    the felling that one was never in any danger. but
    actually staying safe depends on both controlling your
    bicycle, AND having all the car drivers to be attentive to
    your presence. One slip on their part, and its mauling
    time. Since you never know who is going to be driving on
    any particular day, and the road makes it so that they
    are always really close to you, and weigh tons, I think it
    is never actually safe.

    Granted, as people like to say, there is no perfectly safe
    way to get out of bed in the morning, death can strike
    anywhere. But travelling among moving turning cars at
    that particular location no longer seems to me, like a
    wise way to commute to town.

    Did I beat that one into the ground?

    An over pass for bikes? Now that would be safe, and
    probably expensive. On the Northampton to Amherst
    bike trail they built tunnels under Route 9. Now that
    rocks. No education plan needed, a physical solution to a
    physical problem. It probably also cost a chunk, is my
    guess.

    Rolf


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    Dreams Trump Video
    Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety
    Authored by: tlemon on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 01:58 PM GMT+4
    I don't particularly like riding on Canal Street, for the
    reason you state. You can bypass Malfunction Junction by
    going down Elm Street, though—you don't have to take
    quite as big a detour as you're describing. The pedestrian
    bridge over Whetstone Brook gets you to the co-op.

    I still take MFJ when I need to get over to Hinsdale,
    though. There's no way around it. What Chris suggests
    is correct: take a lane. Traffic goes really slowly here.
    If you are in the lane, cars will see you. There are a few
    drivers around Brattleboro who seem to be antagonistic
    toward bicyclists, but I don't think any of them are
    actively homicidal, so as long as you are obviously visible,
    it really shouldn't be a problem. Be where they are
    expecting a car to be, so that they'll see you.
    Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety
    Authored by: Rolf on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 02:39 PM GMT+4
    The problem is that one antagonist driver, is enough to
    get you killed or paralyzed. They don't have to be
    homicidal, just sloppy, distracted, drunk or let their
    crankiness influence their judgement of angles and
    distance.

    I prefer the Birge way instead of Elm. Its flatter over all,
    and I can travel down Birge and Elliot most of the time at
    full speed without being near cars.

    (Hee hee hee. That's got to be one of the biggest
    ironies, that cars make bicycle traffic slower because
    they get in the way of bicycle traffic)

    It would be interesting to see though, how much more
    quickly one could get to the center of town on a bicycle
    going one of these other routes, than in a car going
    through malfunction junction. I mean, have a car and
    bicycle leave from a the same location, such as my
    house, and take actual measurements of the time that
    it takes for each to arrive. So, the car would have the
    most power and the straightest route along route 9 into
    town, and the bicycle would have a longer route but not
    be impeded by the lights.

    Of course, in a way, I don't want car drivers learning the
    faster routes so I should delete this post, . . . but I don't
    think many will ever take them. Laziness is
    frequently(not always) what leads many to take the car
    in the first place, and laziness will probably stop them
    from learning an alternate route.

    I hope I am not jinxing anything.

    Rolf



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    Dreams Trump Video
    Canal Street Carnivore or Bike Safety
    Authored by: murph on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 03:06 PM GMT+4
    I've often thought about this as a semi-frequent bike commuter. In your time measurement you must also include the time that it takes, in a car, to find parking and then walk from your parking spot to the door of your destination. As opposed to riding up to the door and locking your bike outside.

    In a former life i commuted on a bike in Boston and in my 35 min bike ride commute would play a game giving myself one point for every car i passed and -1 point for getting passed. Scores in the range of 100 were not uncommon. Parking was free and right outside my office.
    Somerville to MIT
    Authored by: Rolf on Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 12:06 PM GMT+4
    I used to bicycle from Somverville to MIT area and when I
    did so, I frequently beat out traffic.

    However, that ride would probably be harrowing to me
    today. I have had a few bicycle accidents in the intervening
    time, and know how quickly things can go wrong. It's the
    old cliche; the young think that they cannot die, and then
    they do.


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    Dreams Trump Video
    Birge vs Elm, redux
    Authored by: Rolf on Wednesday, April 18 2012 @ 04:44 PM GMT+4
    Just to be clear, I don't go down to the end of South Main
    and then back down Canal towards Birge. I should have
    explained that I take side streets off of South Main, that
    drop me off right across from Birge, making this long cut a
    little less long.

    ---
    Dreams Trump Video
    looking ahead
    Authored by: spinoza on Tuesday, April 17 2012 @ 11:50 PM GMT+4