Myth 1: I respect stop signs, cyclists should have to do it too and make a full stop at them
First of all, I've driven 30 000 km a year for 6 years (20 000 miles) on a manual car, so let me point out the elephant in the room: most car drivers do not make full stops at stop signs if they don't absolutely need to. Most car drivers slow down to 5-10 km/h (3-6 mph), look left and right, then start accelerating again. To car drivers, they feel like they have stopped compared to their previous speed, but to pedestrians and cyclists, it's evident the cars aren't really fully stopped. As a stickshift driver, this reality was quite evident to me, starting from a stop on a manual car is quite more difficult than starting from a slow roll, so I realized that most of the time, I didn't fully stop, only when I needed to. I never got a ticket, and probably slowed down more than most at stop signs (as I could see when on 2-lane streets besides someone else).
So the first part is wrong. Any car driver who tells you he respects stops signs all the time and makes a full stop is probably... let's say, "exaggerating" his obedience to the law.
As to cyclists, asking them to do a full stop is really going too far. Unlike cars, cyclists' kinetic energy comes from their muscles, it's not just a matter of moving one foot from the brake to the gas pedal, they need to provide the energy to get moving, and it's the hardest part of cycling. Think about fuel consumption in non-hybrid cars, what happens in stop-and-go traffic? Fuel consumption skyrockets, because you need to convert energy from the gas in your tank to kinetic energy, then you waste that energy in the form of heat every time you brake, so you need to replenish it by burning more gas to get moving again.
Asking for cyclists to make a complete stop and putting their foot on the ground is like asking for car drivers to put their cars in park or in neutral and shut off the engine at every stop.
I'm going to do the rest of the arguments against full stops as bullet points to keep it shorter:
- Cyclists already go at a much slower speed than cars, 15-20 km/h, slightly slowing down would bring them to the same speed most cars make their "stops" at.
- Cyclists have a better field of view than car drivers as they have no windshield and pillar obstructions to their sight.
- Cyclists feel more vulnerable so are in general more careful as they know that if there is a collision with a car, they will suffer much more.
- Cyclists starting from a full stop are unstable and very slow, bikes become stable only at speed, so if they have to make a full stop, they will take more time to cross the intersection and be less stable while doing so, which increases the chances of an impatient car driver cutting them.
- Cyclists with speed are able to maneuver better, so if there is a situation that requires a reaction on their part, they are better off maneuvering when they have some speed.
- If cyclists are forced to stop at every stop sign, it turns them off of residential streets and back roads that are full of them and incites them to try their luck on main arterials where there are no stops, and which are much more dangerous for them as traffic is more important and faster.
So cyclists shouldn't be asked to do complete stops. It is not safer, it is less safe.
Myth 2: Pedestrians/cyclists should have to pay insurance too, just like car drivers!
Myth 3: reforms to help pedestrians and cyclists come at my expense!
Myth 4: these bus only lanes are only reducing capacity and creating congestion, they're mostly empty!
As cars have about 1,25 person in them, that means that the equivalent of a car saturation flow of one car per 2 seconds for a bus lane is one bus every minute or so.
Visually, both lanes in the image below carry about the same amount of people:
|I know it's hard to see, click on it to see it a bit larger, cars in the top lane in blue, buses in the bottom lane in green, yes, it is to scale|
Bus lanes in street grids are a different animal. Street grids tend to have a lot of capacity and to never be really jammed. When they are, it's a disaster. However, as streets cross each other frequently, speed falls progressively as traffic increases. If I was to model speed and traffic vs capacity for highways and streets, I'd draw something like this:
|Speed vs traffic flow for an highway, speed only falls near capacity|
|Speed vs traffic flow for streets in a grid, speed falls progressively as flows increase|
So, each lane in a street had a slower free flow speed and lower capacity than an highway lane, and speed falls progressively as traffic increases rather than maintaining itself then dropping like a stone. That's because of traffic lights and stops mostly. However, as there are a lot more lanes in a street grid than on highways, street grids have better capacity overall than highway systems.
So in the case of urban streets, bus lanes are justified even without congestion to speed up buses by reducing the congestion of the bus lane by cars. In general, bus lanes can slow down cars a bit, but the combined effect of making buses more attractive and the great number of parallel streets means that car traffic is not that affected by urban bus lanes.