Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board Bicycle Driving › PPH Article on Tukey's

PPH Article on Tukey's

John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,188
Bicyclists want rule change to legalize access to Tukey's
The group says 'highway-confident' riders should be able to use the bridge, but opponents say traffic volume and speed make it too risky.

Full Story

First, a big thank-you to ­Christian for putting himself out there for this, figuratively and literally. I appreciate it!!

The article's not so bad as I feared, or perhaps I was just prepared for it. The bottom line as I see it is that a lot of people who cannot imagine riding on the bridge, many of them not bicyclists at all, or at least not "highly confident" ones, and some of them in authoritative positions, think they know more about the safety aspect than we do, so they need to "protect us from ourselves". Personally, I think it ultimately has to do with lack of respect for bicycling as real transportation and bicyclists as potentially responsible road users, leading to assumptions that (1) mixing with cars is inherently dangerous no matter how skilled a cyclist you are, (2) those who think it's safe don't know what they're talking about, even if they do it successfully all the time, therefore (3) separation is the only safe solution.

I do have sympathy with the concern that legalization will encourage unskilled cyclists to do it, and of course it's the unskilled cyclists that everyone is concerned with. It's just that most non-cyclists seem to think that all cyclists are equally unskilled. They are always going to bring up the example of the stupidest thing they ever saw a cyclist do in traffic as the reason cyclists should not be let on this bridge. I personally think the fear of traffic is going to continue to keep the vast majority of unskilled cyclists off the bridge, even if it is legal, but not everyone agrees with me on that.

Regarding the online reader comments, I'm going to try to do my best not to take most of the bait. Most comments I see so far are of the simple "What a stupid idea. It's far too dangerous" variety, and I know I'll be typing all day if I try to counter that, so those I'm intending to leave alone. I did leave one comment so far, though, to correct a misunderstanding of the national legality of interstate bicycling.

I also want to issue a general apology for inconveniencing those who use the bridge regularly by "poking the sleeping dragon of law enforcement", to use a phrase Ken used recently (in another context). It was not our choice to have the media hop onto the story so quickly, although of course we might have seen it coming. sad
A former member
Post #: 538
Well for better or worse, there is a lot of discussion around bicycle transportation biggrin.
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,191
Noting a link while I've got it (researched it to post a comment): Google Maps picture of 50 MPH sign on the bridge
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,192
Great comment by Christian:
I bailed out your car manufacturers; the least you can do is grant me the freedom to ride.
love struck
Kenneth O.
kob22225
Portland, ME
Post #: 315


I do have sympathy with the concern that legalization will encourage unskilled cyclists to do it, and of course it's the unskilled cyclists that everyone is concerned with. It's just that most non-cyclists seem to think that all cyclists are equally unskilled. They are always going to bring up the example of the stupidest thing they ever saw a cyclist do in traffic as the reason cyclists should not be let on this bridge. I personally think the fear of traffic is going to continue to keep the vast majority of unskilled cyclists off the bridge, even if it is legal, but not everyone agrees with me on that.

I'm a big believer in not giving credit where credit is not due. I have no sympathy with folks making this argument. They don't know what they are talking about. I suspect they have little interest in learning that they don't know what they are talking about.

Remember - it's a paradigm shift. It also happens to be a paradigm shift that the majority of people on both sides of this argument don't really want to work through.

The truth is:

1) ABSOLUTELY EVERY LEVEL BICYCLIST will be safer traveling Washington St. on Washington St. than on pedestrian facility and links on and off this pedestrian facility.

2) Because it is a HUGE paradigm shift, on issues with multiple, big, status-quo constituencies convinced that their interests would be hurt rejecting existing false paradigm - No matter how sensible the explanation why 1) is true... no matter how ironclad the data supporting 1)... Anyone who attempts to make this correct argument will be characterized as a nut. This will be especially true in coverage by a status-quo, stoke-controversy-to-sell-papers-rag like PPH.


John. Don't blame yourself. Fresh off my rediscovered disgust for my fellow human (at minimum, a disgust for at least 53% of the Maine voting public), the thought that jumps first to my mind given the recent concerted effort/explosion pushing foolish bicyclist facility ideas like bikelanes in Portland ME: I smell a ploy by crappy-facility-advocates. They stoke this controversy as a way to steer funds towards gold plated segregationist facilities. - "Look, build us even wider more expensive gold plated segregationist facilities or we will demand to ride your interstates!"
Kenneth O.
kob22225
Portland, ME
Post #: 316
From another thread, I wrote:

Our culture holds a false paradigm. You take that whole cloud of cultural wrong-thinking on the subject - demand it coalesce down to something concrete - what will fall out is a bikelane.

Another concrete thing that falls from the false paradigm: a State Trooper like George Loder, hired to enforce his and the culture's ignorance... with an arrogance and righteousness only the most ignorant and unquestioning are capable of.
A former member
Post #: 541
I was in my car with my family on 295N yesterday, and saw a cyclist in the shoulder exiting Washington Ave. I never would have given this another thought if it wasn't for all of the controversy in this article. His presence did NOT affect motor vehicle traffic in any way that I could see. He looked very natural, like he had done this many times before. I couldn't tell if it was Christian or not.
Scott
user 5414356
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 102
Yay, the Press Herald published my letter to the editor in response to this article.

Let cyclists use Tukey's Bridge
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,203
Excellent letter, thank you!! love struck
Steve G.
user 3288830
Portland, ME
Post #: 7
I think that the main thing that will come out of this discussion is that people are actually talking about this issue. It has been festering for years. I find that the most dangerous and annoying thing about crossing the bridge legally is using the multi-use path. Washington Ave. is one lane on the South side of the bridge so there is no reason for it to be two lanes wide on the bridge itself. That extra lane would make a very nice rout for cyclists of every ability. Heading South the only squeeze point is where the road goes under the overpass where there is no shoulder and the curve is blind and sharp. Here again two lanes are totally superfluous as once off the bridge there is only one lane of traffic. It is time that everyone learns to share the road and be considerate of all the other users. Having more cyclists on the road actually makes it safer for the cyclists as motorists will expect to see them and therefor look out for them.
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