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Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:13 pm

Meade, it's possible that your alder was deliberately trying to mislead you. But considering the similarity between "25000" and "250000" I think there's a much simpler explanation.

Given the pretty high frequency of errors in your own posts here, you might want to be a little less hasty to interpret other peoples' errors as "troubling" signs of ... something nefarious.

Your own erroneous claim about bicyclists a couple of posts back was pretty bad. But my personal favorite was when you proclaimed that Obama was "worse than Bush" on the basis that Obama had campaigned to end the war in Iraq but actually expanded it. You wrote that approximately 10 days before the last US troops came home from Iraq.

Obama did put an end to Bush's Iraq fiasco, and you didn't even realize it. When you learned of your mistake, did it have any effect on your perception of the president?

Sorry for the digression.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby Marvell » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:18 pm

kurt_w wrote:Your own erroneous claim about bicyclists a couple of posts back was pretty bad. But my personal favorite was when you proclaimed that Obama was "worse than Bush" on the basis that Obama had campaigned to end the war in Iraq but actually expanded it. You wrote that approximately 10 days before the last US troops came home from Iraq.

Obama did put an end to Bush's Iraq fiasco, and you didn't even realize it. When you learned of your mistake, did it have any effect on your perception of the president?


Headline:

"Self-satisfied ass remains an ass"
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby DCB » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:58 pm

kurt_w wrote:Of course, those calculations assume that you'll increase your food consumption to compensate for every calorie expended bicycling or walking.

Your other assumption is that Meade really gives a damn about having a sensible conversation about energy consumption.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:19 pm

Actually, I wasn't really assuming that. My expectations of Meade are not particularly high these days.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby snoqueen » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:02 pm

My impression is Meade's been on line having Firesign Theater-esque arguments for way too long (arguments he believes he wins) and recently he's finding out he's not as smart as he thought.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:14 pm

snoqueen wrote:My impression is Meade's been on line having Firesign Theater-esque arguments for way too long (arguments he believes he wins) and recently he's finding out he's not as smart as he thought.

Love the Firesign reference, but Meade might not get it. He's more Cheech and Chong.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby WestSideYuppie » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:45 pm

I use the SW path for my daily commute, getting on at the Odana golf course and heading south. I'm the geezer on a crappy old bike.

The lack of lighting hasn't bothered me much. The joggers are only out in the dark for a few days after the daylight savings time switcheroo, and then I think that they adjust their schedules or routes. I haven't encountered much by way of debris or varmints. I did once run over an armadillo on my bike when I lived in Texas.

A non-thermonucular LED headlight and rear blinky are sufficient for me. I keep mine pointed below the horizon. The worst thing for my night vision is the bright strobe headlights. That's really unnecessary on a bike path. You're visible from far away in the dark, and you aren't competing with cars for attention.

Oddly enough, brighter stripes might help me as much as lights. Maybe it's a cognitive thing, but being able to keep the edge of the path in my peripheral vision would let me shift more of my attention to the road ahead.

How many people will actually use the path during the winter if there are lights? Remember that darkness is not the only impediment. There's also cold, snow, and general winter lethargy to cope with. I suspect it would be roughly equal to the number who ride during the summer in all weather. Under those conditions, I see the same half-dozen die-hards every day.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby fennel » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:19 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:I haven't encountered much by way of debris or varmints. I did once run over an armadillo on my bike when I lived in Texas.
That calls to mind the Jim Hightower title, "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos."
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby WestSideYuppie » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:39 pm

fennel wrote:
WestSideYuppie wrote:I haven't encountered much by way of debris or varmints. I did once run over an armadillo on my bike when I lived in Texas.
That calls to mind the Jim Hightower title, "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos."


How did armadillos develop the innate propensity to dash in front of Suburbans before the Suburban was even invented? It must be proof of intelligent design.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby kurt_w » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:00 am

I would second everything that WestSide Yuppie said. A very highly reflective strip down each side of the pavement would help, at much less cost and less disruption than lighting.

I was one of the three-season riders WSY mentions -- in the spring, summer, and fall I rode the SW bike path every day, but hung up my bike and took the bus during the winter months. Except for a couple of months around the summer solstice, at least one of my commutes each day would be in the dark. With fore and aft lights on my bike, I never had any problems.

As a bicyclist, my main safety concern was dog walkers. If the dogs are off the leash, you worry that they're going to run in front of you. If the dogs are on the leash, you'll sometimes see their owners standing chatting on one side of the path, the dogs snuffling about on the other side, and their leashes stretched across the path like a tripwire.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby WestSideYuppie » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

Well, I just got home. All I can say is... ouch. Time for studded tires.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby bikingguy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:23 pm

Interesting. A full review of all comments now on the three websites that address whether to light the SW Path (City of Madison, Isthmus DailyPage site and Bikies ListServ), discloses that most commentators oppose, rather than support, fixed lighting and that, of those expressing support, many expect any fixed lighting to be low-profile and/or solar-powered.

The City proposes fixed lighting, at $250K to $300K over a three mile span, to increase use and safety. Yet it says the Path needs that lighting because its use is far more than expected, so the first reason requires more explanation. If the goal is to take cars off the road, data must be collected to determine if fixed lighting would actually increase bike commuters during nighttime hours – with the major drop in nighttime commuters plainly being weather-related rather than light-related.

Advocates confirm that the “safety” concern is not crime-related (and, indeed, studies show that lighting a previously darkened area can substantially increase crime). It instead boils down to the fact that some traveling the SW Path at nighttime are not visible because they bike, walk or run in ways that make them hard to see.

The solution to this real problem is not, at least at this time, fixed lighting of the Path. In fact, fixed lighting on the path could cause walkers/runners to stop carrying their own lights (which could cause collisions with bikers whose night vision is eliminated through that fixed lighting) and could increase the number of bikers riding without lights, who would then continue to do so in poorly lit areas off the Path.

We should start with education and, if the problem persists, enforcement of the laws prohibiting bikers from riding at night without lighting. Changed behavior through education works best through humor. So how about taking a small fraction of the $250K to $300K budgeted for lighting the Path and instead posting occasional series of signs along it using the old “Burma Shave” signs as a model (http://burma-shave.org/). If lit signs is desired, that can be done with solar lighting and very low wattage on each sign. Here’s some examples (perhaps with the last “Be Safe” sign in “Burma Shave” lettering) to get the ball rolling:

A six-sign series for Path walkers/runners:

He dressed in black…
And couldn’t be seen.
Just saw his back…
In time to scream!
Light Your Own Way.
Be Safe.

A six-sign series for bikers riding without lights:

No lights on my ride…
Through the law says I gotta…
Not so cool to collide…
I guess next ride I oughta!
Light Your Own Way.
Be Safe.

Lots cheaper than fixed lighting of the whole path and it might have much better results – including the creative jingles that Madtown folks would undoubtedly develop.
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby DCB » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:31 pm

bikingguy wrote:Advocates confirm that the “safety” concern is not crime-related (and, indeed, studies show that lighting a previously darkened area can substantially increase crime).

Can you back that up?
bikingguy wrote: In fact, fixed lighting on the path could cause walkers/runners to stop carrying their own lights .

Does lighting on other streets result in cars not using their headlights?

If lighting decreases safety, should we apply that logic to all streets in Madison?
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby snoqueen » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:45 pm

You seriously think path lighting is a bad idea, but you propose lighting for this signage?
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Re: Lights on the Southwest Bike Path

Postby ArturoBandini » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:57 pm

snoqueen wrote:You seriously think path lighting is a bad idea, but you propose lighting for this signage?
If some lighting is bad, then ALL lighting must be bad!

I actually like the burma-shave signs idea, but they wouldn't need to be lighted. Most people who use the path in the nighttime also use it during daylight hours, so they could read the signs then. bikingguy - wanna get together and just make the signs? I'll put $10 toward this effort.
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