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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Full Polling Memo Debunking the Bike Backlash

Posted by on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Yesterday, we broke the story about a new poll that finds voters in Seattle overwhelmingly support cyclists, believe we should build protected bike lanes, and think that recent anti-cyclist rhetoric is a load of shit. But I couldn't include the full memo from FM3 in the printed article. It's now posted online here. I also wanted to highlight a few numbers I didn't get to in my original story:


Not only is there overwhelming support for greenways (86 percent), which are streets with slower speed limits that accommodate cyclists, it shows that nearly three out of four voters support protected bicycle lanes separated from traffic. Even more, they are willing to sacrifice travel lanes and especially parking to accommodate protected bicycle lanes (58 and 63 percent, respectively). When voters were asked about giving up both parking spaces and travel lanes, 59 percent of them were supportive.

For all the "anger" and "indigestion" about road diets—which give up these two amenities to make bike lanes and streets safer for cyclists—it's obvious that the furious, bilious opponents are a minority of voters.


Comments (15) RSS

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You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 1
Then put it on a ballot and let's be done with it once and for all.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
rob! 2
The name of that firm reminds me of what someone once said of the ad agency Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn (BBDO): "It sounds like a trunk falling down stairs."
Posted by rob! on January 24, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
Really old white voters with landlines who post on the Times while you're busy having fun.

Oh, and that Tunnel is still a GHG unfunded nightmare. Take those dollars and build bike trails we can use instead.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 24, 2013 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Zebes 4
"Creating more neighborhood greenways, which are low-speed, low-traffic streets that are safer for families"

Golly, who wouldn't agree with such friendly language?

What if I'm not in a ~family~ at the time? Is it still safer for me?
Posted by Zebes on January 24, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
lilmonster206 5
I recently saw a documentary "Urbanized" that showed a city that switched the bike lanes with the off the street parking, basically creating a barrier for the bike lane with parked cars. It's extremely low-cost, and could easily be implemented without getting rid of existing car lanes.
Posted by lilmonster206 on January 24, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 6
Should ask if people are willing to pay for it. Watch those numbers switch really fast...

Sorry but we want stuff, we just don't want to pay for stuff
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
@1 and @6 are at odds with each other. Putting things to a vote depends on when they get voted on.

February votes have low turnout by most people, except for very old people.

November votes have very high turnout by everyone.

Which is why we have a Tunnel, for example.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 24, 2013 at 1:41 PM · Report this
It seems to me this poll is measuring aspirations more than attitudes. You may as well include:

8. Would you favor the building of a teleportation device that could instantaneously and safely transport you to-and-from any point in the known universe?

Yes 92%

No 8%

It's not that people are opposed to building bike lanes. They shouldn't be. It's that they're opposed to paying for them.

And generally, the so-called "bike backlash" is probably more about how the public finds the most vociferous individual bike advocates obnoxious and self-righteous. But when the public is presented with sensible public safety policies they of course favor them.

Posted by tkc on January 24, 2013 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 9
I was listening to NPR and they were talking about the master plan having a bike line on 45th to Ballard. Doing so would require removing a car lane and/or parking. Why even contemplate putting a bike lane on that busy street?

Go North or South a street or two and put them on them on the residential street. Most Seattle policy seems to exist only to spend massive amouts of money unnecessarily.

Bus bulb/rapid ride. Trolley on Broadway. Deteriorating bike stripes on potholed roads.
Posted by Lew Siffer on January 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
omfg. here i am getting all amped because i see some dipshits coming out now against bicycles or whatever and you give me some mcginn propaganda shit from like 2010 like that other guy was talking about? wtf??

dominic, i bet you drive a fucking car man. fu.

i was getting all worked up that shit you got is 3 fucking years old man fuck ace hardware.
Posted by tim koch on January 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 11
There have been national polls out for the past decade where a majority of Americans have asked that a significant portion of dedicated highway funds (about a quarter) be diverted to bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

At the same time a Portland study has shown that of those who want to ride a bike, over 60 percent will not do so when there are cars present!

Both bits of data have been around for years and would seem obvious and intuitive to even the most casual observer, however, the dominant theme up until recently has been the vehicular cyclists...the speeding lycra-clad whippet navigating between 45 mph traffic and swinging car doors. This mindset, which is embedded in even may bike-friendly cities, and in my own experience, in "bicycle advisory boards", has prevented the real work of building dedicated cycle tracks from getting done!

One can see that it probably benefits the manufacturers who gladly would prefer people paying $8000 for speedy road bikes over a few hundred for hybrids cycles.

The end result is the majority has not been served.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on January 24, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
@9: The streets immediately north and south of 45th don't cross I-5.
Posted by Orv on January 24, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
"Yesterday we broke the story..."

About a poll being released? That's the story you "broke"???

Notify the Pulitzer committee!!!
Posted by bigyaz on January 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
The "methodology" footnote was laughable. If this had been some wingnut poll, the "progressives" here would be having a field day. And you've got to love the bullshit mom & apple pie questions, combined with the straw man questions about the opponents to Mayor McSchwinn and his insane policies.

This isn't a survey. It's the usual bullshit "progressive" propaganda dressed up with some numbers to make it seem credible to the incredulous.
Posted by Mister G on January 24, 2013 at 6:34 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 15
Let me clarify. Write a master plan, include a funding mechanism to pay for an Agency of Bicycle Transit (think Sound Transit Phase 1) to implement and manage it, and put it to a vote in November. Then we can be done with this ridiculousness once and for all.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM · Report this

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