How Much Street Space: Car vs Bus vs Bicycle

This poster, said to be from Munich’s transportation department, shows how much street space it takes to transport the same amount of people via car, bus, and bicycle. It seems that if you choose buses or bicycles there’s more room for lederhosen parades.

[via How We Drive]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Fine if there are more parades or festivals; just don’t let Clark Griswold participate.

  2. leprechaunshawn says:

    Huh? Sounds like someone is pushing a green agenda.

    • danmac says:

      God, why does everything have to be a left-wing conspiracy with you? It clearly shows that metropolitan congestion can be prevented if people use public transportation or ride bicycles to work. If the byproduct happens to be less pollution, it’s a secret pro-environmental agenda? You need to take off your reactionary goggles and stop with the political baiting.

      • Orv says:

        There’s a certain strain of conservatism that believes any solution to congestion other than “add more lanes” is a left-wing conspiracy.

        • Chaosium says:

          These are the idiots who would rather set up toll roads than set up working infrastructure in the first place, and who actually screw up traffic more just to piss off bikers, walkers, busers, etc.

      • SlayerGhede says:

        You expect serious dialog from someone whose avatar is a leprechaun mooning, and always takes an extreme position.

        • leprechaunshawn says:

          Oh, I was serious. As in seriously sick of the green movement. It’s nothing more than a fad that will pass when the next big, important issue comes along. I, like many people, am not willing to change my lifestyle in order to “save the planet”. Sure, I recycle, but only because it’s the law where I live. If it wasn’t, everything would be trash. I also run my a/c all summer and drive around in an SUV. I sometimes hop on my Harley and ride with no destination for hours. I play golf on courses treated with pesticides because I like playing on nice golf courses. I buy bottled water because it’s convenient. I cut my grass in the middle of the day. Those things are part of my lifestyle and I am not changing them because somebody tells me my activities are bad for the environment.

          • dreamfish says:

            Were you singing ‘drill, baby, drill’ while typing that?

            • leprechaunshawn says:

              Gotta get that oil!!

              However, I don’t think we should be drilling in 5,000 feet of water. If we were drilling just off shore in 500 feet the spill would have been capped a long time ago. You can thank enviromentalists for that.

          • Randell says:

            Typical selfish right wing nut job. You don’t care about the future, since you won’t be around. As gas prices rise, you are not allowed to scream like a whiny bitch, since you CHOOSE to spend your money on wasteful items. The so-called fad has been around longer than you have been alive, so you have been proven wrong on that “prediction”. You have no credibility on anything, and the fact that you are stupid just confirms everything.

            • Draygonia says:

              Yes, what about the health craze? That went well…

              There needs to be alternative fuels, but burning fossile fuels every now and then will not kill us. Yall want to straight outlaw coal, oil and all those unclean fuels when we can use them in conjunction with clean energy.

            • leprechaunshawn says:

              Yes, resorting to calling me “stupid” really makes your point credible.

              Until to can have a discussion without name calling, MOVE ALONG CHILD!!

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            Environmental concerns aside, you’re getting ripped on bottled water. As a Consumerist reader, I would think you’d want to avoid paying extra for TAP WATER.

            • leprechaunshawn says:

              Yes, it is a ripoff but the bottles of Fiji water say they’re carbon neutral. Doesn’t that mean that buying Fiji water is good for the environment? Or is that just a company marketing how “green” they are?

              Which brings me to another point I’d like to make here. I am getting blasted for being open and honest about my opinions towards the green movement but what’s funny to me is that a lot of people probably think like me, they just won’t admit it because they don’t want to hear it from the environmentalists. A lot of people make good green decisions because they’re good for their bottom line, not because of what they do for the environment. In the past 5 years or so I didn’t replace the light bulbs in my home with CFL’s because they’re good for the planet, I replaced them because the lifetime cost of a CFL is lower. I also didn’t replace an old inefficient HVAC system to save the planet, I did it to save money.

              Since this is a consumer blog let’s talk about how companies approach the green movement. A lot of companies do green things because they’re good for the bottom line, not because they’re good for the environment. For example, Company A produces Product B. Company A realizes that they can save money by reducing their packaging by 20%. Now they’ve reduced the overall cost to produce Product B, thus adding dollars to the bottom line. However, they haven’t lowered the MSRP of Product B, adding even more dollars to their bottom line. Now they slap a sticker on Product B that says “We’re green, we’ve reduced packaging by 20%”, or something to that effect. Now they’ve taken the green movement and turned it into a marketing tool. People who like to be environmentally friendly might now purchase product B because it aligns with their beliefs even though Company C sells comparable Product D at a lower price. In the mean time, those of us who think logically, will be saving money by purchasing Product D.

              • izl says:

                Awesome, someone that thinks just like me. Make it easy and cheaper for me to “go green” and I’ll do it. Make it hard, more expensive, or impractical and I won’t.

          • suburbancowboy says:

            What is with Right-wingers and their staunch anti-environmentalism? Shouldn’t conservatives want to ya know…conserve?
            You love playing golf? Good for you. I like going hiking in the woods. I like going to beaches that aren’t covered in litter, and I like breathing clean air, and drinking clean tap water. So I guess I’m selfish too, but I am also considerate of others and realize that everything I do has an impact on the future. I want my great-great-grandkids to be able to do the same thing too.

            Good environmental policy is good foreign policy.

    • ARP says:

      So you’re pro-traffic and pro-pollution. (I can use Faux News style positioning too.)

      Munich has to maintain those streets, help direct traffic, install and maintain lights, clean streets, etc. They also probably would like a cleaner city. So yes, they have an interest in reducing the number of cars on the streets.

      • iggy21 says:

        To repeat Beastfeast: “Soooo…You’re an idiot, right?”


      • leprechaunshawn says:

        I’m not at all pro-pollution, I’m anti being told I should be.

        • leprechaunshawn says:

          For clarification – I’m anti being told I should be anti-pollution.

          • Marshmelly says:

            Why are you annoyed when people are trying to do something good? If you don’t give a shit about the environment, then just don’t pay attention and go on with your life. Some people actually care about about issues not related to their own lives…obviously that isn’t for everyone, but you could at show them some respect for their good intentions.

            Its not like you have to be some tree-hugging hippie to be anti-pollution. You can be generally supportive of a better environment without drastic life changes (and without giving into all the “green” marketing hype). Many people have been doing things to reduce pollution and environmental waste for years…its not some new thing.

            • leprechaunshawn says:

              It doesn’t really bother me when people do green things for good reasons. What bothers me is when people do green things and then go running around like “look at me, I’m green, I’m saving the planet”, when they’re really only doing it because it saves money or helps them keep up with the Jones’. That’s hypocritical. Yes, I don’t go around throwing my trash on the ground but not because it’s good for the environment, I do it because trash on the ground is an eyesore. I do green things not because they’re green but because they save me money. In the end, I am doing good things but not for the reasons people would like me to do them. The kind of people that aren’t happy with that are the same people who gave me shit because I got my kitten 2 years ago from a pet store rather than a rescue shelter. In the end, I gave a cat a good home so why does it matter where I got him?

    • Beastfeast says:

      Soooo…You’re an idiot, right?

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I think it’s kind of wrong to assume that it would be one person per car, but many people per bus.

    • Orv says:

      Why? Those are the normal quantities of people for those modes of transit.

      • semanticantics says:

        Not all cars are single occupant and not all buses are packed to maximum capacity. When I rode the bus (everyday from ages 16 – 26), the bus was often 1/4 – 1/3 full. Very rarely approached capacity.

        • Orv says:

          The vast, vast majority of cars have only a single occupant, though. And at peak times most of the buses I ride are stuffed to the gills with standees.

    • _Rand_ says:

      Even if, say the bus holds 40 people, and the cars have 4 people in them each (which is reasonable for non-massive consumer vehicles) thats still 10 cars vs 1 bus.

      And 10 cars is a lot bigger than one bus.

      And in my experience, 40 people is much less than maximum capacity.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        There’s a bunch of tradeoffs. With cars, you need a place to park them when you get to your destination. With buses, you don’t.

        However, you lose the freedom of going directly to where you want. You are stuck on general bus routes, moving back and forth between them and walking to get to where you want. Time is a valuable thing.

        • sixseeds says:

          Depends on the neighborhood. In my neck of town, transit is pretty well mapped and you can burn years off your life looking for parking. In other parts of the city the reverse is true.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        I’m not debating that. But if you are going to assume all the people will fill that one bus, you need to, in all fairness, say that some of those cars will have more than one or two occupants. If you want to allude that people won’t pack the cars, then you should have 3 buses. Because the chances of all of those people going to the same location is very slight.

        • bendee says:

          Think of it as ‘what if all the people on the bus started driving cars’ rather than ‘what if all those drivers took the bus’.

          The ad is not saying find 40 people driving and you can put them on a single bus, it’s saying that forty people who get out of their cars and take the bus network removes the road of that many cars.

        • denros says:

          take 10 cars out of that picture. still horrendous.

        • NewsMuncher says:

          Very true.

          In North San Diego County (North County Transit), I would ride the bus during the day to Carlsbad or Oceanside, and the bus usually had maybe five people on it in the morning, but filled up around 4pm. It took an hour to get from Vista to the Oceanside transit hub. I could catch the Sprinter (light rail) and that could potentially shave time off the ride, but only if I caught the bus at the right time, otherwise, I’d be sitting at the Sprinter station waiting on the train, when I could have been sitting on the bus that goes to the same destination and still be moving.

          Traffic in North County was killer during the rush hours. Getting from Oceanside to Vista from Mission Marketplace Shopping Center (in Oceanside, on College Blvd) to Kaiser Permanente over by Sycamore in Vista took an hour via 78, but only about 25 minutes outside those times.
          Getting to the Buena Creek Sprinter station is a pain unless you drive there. The bus going east past it drops people off across a busy street where you can’t cross unless you go up or down the street, across traffic and then back down.

          The NCT was reducing service last year, cutting down the number of runs, which makes passengers have to plan to leave for their destinations much earlier. I was trying to get up to Pendleton one day, and I had to leave three hours early to take an hour and a half bus ride, to be half an hour early for my appointment.

          The attitude I picked up from people in the area was a bit of leeryness towards the bus system. When I rode, the bus was mainly used by people who spoke no English, or who were obviously unable to drive through disability.

          People drove everywhere, badly. God forbid the power should go out at a traffic light: people just ignore each other and if you are on the smaller street you can forget getting out of it, for people may or may not treat it like a four way stop sign.

          Sidewalks seemed to be pretty sufficient, thought there were none leading to one of the Sprinter Stations in Vista, and the overgrown vegetation along the road often forced one to walk in it.

        • Southern says:

          I don’t think that going to the same location has anything to do with it, as people will get on and off the bus over the distance of the entire route, which in some cases can be ~30 miles (or more) long. With that length of a route, that bus could actually fill up (and empty) the equivalent of 2 or more times.

          Or if it’s a “Park and Ride” style commuter bus, where everyone goes to one central location (a parking lot) and boards the bus for a specific destination (downtown), they WOULD all be going to the same destination (in fact those commuter style buses can hold ~100 people at a time, 25 rows of seats @ 4 across).

    • ARP says:

      The VAST majority of the time, no matter how you do the math, the space the cars takes up, will be larger than the bus.

      • HungryGal says:

        Plus there’s the space needed BETWEEN the cars on the road. The space that the cars don’t take up takes up a lot of space. O_o

    • coren says:

      Ok, that’s a fair point, but even if we assume 4 people in a car (which is high) and only 12 on the bus (which is low) the bus still wins. Or if we had 40 people across 10 cars and 40 people across 4 buses, the buses would still take up less space (and be better for the environment)

    • LinebackerU says:

      You’re right. Where I live, it’s not one person per car. It’s one person per pickup truck, with no cargo.

    • magus_melchior says:

      I suppose they could have calculated the average number of people in a car and did the left photo that way, but I don’t think it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

  4. PanCake BuTT says:

    I didn’t need photograph’s to point out the obvious, but it does help put things in better prospective. BTW, I ♥ Germany ! *BerLin*

    • nybiker says:

      Yes, the photographs do have a nice perspective. BTW, what is the meaning of the way you spelled *BerLin* after your comment about loving Germany? Thanks.

  5. Spinfusor says:

    You can take my car from me when NJ Transit isn’t 24 minutes late.

    • PsychicPsycho says:

      Only 24? I wait over half an hour for my bus home from work some days.

      • veronykah says:

        And I can easily spend an well over an hour driving 12 miles in LA.

        • nbs2 says:

          I can spend two hours waiting for freight congestion and signal problems and heat restrictions to let me get home. That’s on top of the hour that I would be on the train if it ran on time. And if the train makes the station stop that it is scheduled to make.

          • zjgz says:

            Well I have to spend 5 hours in traffic getting to the bus stop, then 12 hours for the bus to get through traffic for my flight that is 40 hours late!

  6. AllanG54 says:

    This coming from the land of no speed limits on the autobahn.

    • mac-phisto says:

      it’s also the land of $2500 driver’s licenses, which may help to explain why they don’t need speed limits.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      And where you can get fined for tailgating. And the fine is based on your yearly salary. You can also receive fines for making “obscene” gestures, such as pointing to your head.

  7. Orv says:

    According to the signs I keep seeing around here, you’re supposed to leave 3 feet of space around each side of a bicycle. So, slightly misleading.

    • Siegeman says:

      From what I’ve seen in Europe (especially in more bike-friendly cities like Amsterdam) people generally leave less than a foot of room during peak times. Of course, when there’s more room available, everyone spreads out much as possible.

    • pinecone99 says:

      There’s usually more room between cars as well.

  8. smo0 says:

    Simply put – this is an all or none situation. I’d be the last person to scream “conformity,” but either people have to collectively find the same way to get around town or it will continuously fail in every way. Ecnomically and environmentally.
    I used to own a car.
    I currently take the bus.
    Prior to owning a car I walked and/or rode a bike.

  9. Wireless Joe says:

    Sure, if every cyclist always rode with one foot of space between their front tire and the back tire of the person in front of them. They do have the “four people riding side by side taking up the whole lane” part right (at least for my little suburb).

  10. pantheonoutcast says:

    When were those pictures taken? 1973?

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      Pretty much. I remember seeing this ad when I was a kid. Which would have been in the 70’s.

  11. mac-phisto says:

    it says the same number of people, but damn are those pictures misleading. there seem to be slightly more people in the car picture than in the bike picture & a lot more in both the car & bike picture than in the bus picture.

    maybe it’s just that the car picture is zoomed in closer (which doesn’t make any sense, btw). i dunno.

    • MuffinSangria says:

      Your right. The bus and bicycle pictures are zoomed in a lot more than the car picture. Just look at the yellow umbrellas on the left.

      • MuffinSangria says:

        Sorry, meant they zoomed out on the car picture and in on the bus and bike pictures (just can’t think and type at the same time recently).

        • MuffinSangria says:

          Edit button, PLEASE! :)

          If you haven’t figured it out by now, the car picture is zoomed OUT and the other zoomed IN.

    • brianisthegreatest says:

      yeah, i thought the same thing.

  12. Illusio26 says:

    That’s great if they are all going in the same general direction (or not over a few miles for bicycles).

    • sparkypinball says:

      I commute 25 miles, each way, by bicycle. Takes 2 hours, and I get there in the same amount of time it would take by a car on the Freeway (Yay LA traffic!)

      And if you ever heard of Critical Mass or other large group bike rides, then you will see hundreds, or thousands of bikes all going together to the same place, in the same direction.

      Quite a sight, really.

      • DorsalRootGanglion says:

        Blocking buses, not wearing helmets, not stopping at traffic lights, hitting pedestrians and, in one case, pulling someone out of a car and beating him up when they thought he deliberately backed over a bicyclist.

        Critical Mass proves that bicycle riders are raving douches in large numbers.

        • Geekybiker says:

          To be fair, motorists behave like complete douches towards bicyclists no matter the number.

        • ffmariners says:

          Blocking main thoroughfares, racing through streets in 4,000 pound death machines, hitting pedestrians/bicyclists/other motorists, and deliberately acting aggressively towards other cars or even cyclists on the road.

          Critical Mass… errr Rush Hour… proves that motorists are raving douches in large numbers.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        YEah, they tried that in Austin and people got killed. There are too many cars here to try riding your bike on a street or highway built for motor vehicles.

      • jurisenpai says:

        That’s awesome that you commute so far! My bike commute is only 11ish miles round trip, but it is all hill climbing. It’s still faster than the evening rush hour, though.

  13. rahntwo says:

    If they were really serious, they would be using unicycles – they take up alot less room than bicycles

  14. Illusio26 says:

    This probably isn’t meant for non city dwellers. I live about 29 miles from my job. According to google maps, it will take me 43 minutes by car, 2 hours and 37 minutes by bus and 2 hours and 25 minutes by bicycle.
    I think I’ll stick with my car.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      Ditto. I live 1 mile away from where I work and I still drive my SUV there.

    • rdclark says:

      It’s hard to effect cultural change. We live in a culture where we start by assuming that it’s OK and acceptable to decide where to live based on our ability to drive from there to where we work. We’ve built a big part of the American lifestyle on that assumption. Now it’s being challenged, and shown to be increasingly unsustainable, and it’s a painful realization that many people violently reject.

      I bet, however, that you could keep your car out of the city, where it does the most harm, creating the most pollution, the most traffic, and the most wasted time, by parking somewhere at the periphery of the city and cycling from there to your job. For many people there is a point where the last couple of miles of their commute takes longer than the whole rest of the trip; why not bike that part? parking would probably be cheaper as well.

      • Patriot says:

        I don’t need a libtard telling me where I should live.

        • AnonymousCoward says:

          And you didn’t get one. Comprehension, it’s not for everyone.

        • ARP says:

          Fine, I’ll stop teling you where to live, but then you’ll have to agree to pay extra taxes for the road construction and maintenance, signage, streetlights, oil subsidies, oil policy (e.g. foreign aid, wars, etc.), environmental damage, etc that you cause compared to a city dweller who takes public transportation.

          I’m sure you’d be fine with that, since you should only pay your fair share, right? If not, then you’re trying to redistribute wealth, which makes you a libritard.

        • rdclark says:

          Apparently you do.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        “parking somewhere at the periphery of the city and cycling from there to your job.”

        Please, for the love of all that is holy, stay away from NYC….we don’t need any more people parking on the streets of the outer boros and we certainly don’t need any more bicycles in Manhattan.

      • shepd says:

        I’m fine with that as long as you get rid of all the rules in the city. I want to do what I can do in the country, like burn my garbage, have my own septic tank, have my own well, put up a 100 ft HAM tower, and install a 20 ft. satellite dish. Did I also mention I want to be able to shoot things whenever I feel like it?

        As long as I can do all that in the city, you’re absolutely right.

    • Jesse says:

      I attempted to map out a bus route from my house to the office. After about a 20 minute fight trying to use the site, the closest stop to my office was about 1.5 miles away and the commute would take 4 hours each way.

      The transit site was difficult to use, so maybe I did something wrong. I would love to use mass transit – it would save tons on fuel, wear and tear on my car etc, but it’s just not efficient in my city yet.

      • Framling says:

        I would suggest using Google Maps, if they list transit in your area. They’re usually pretty good for regular route planning (as in, finding a route you can take regularly).

        • Jesse says:

          Unfortunately, my city’s mass transit system does not interfact with Google maps right now. Biking is another option. Assuming I don’t get killed, it would only be an hour ride each way and good exercise.

    • Blow a fuse? I can fix that... says:

      I used to live 40 miles from work, which took me 35-45 minutes by car, or about 2 hours by public transportation. Once I got to grips with the insanity of it all, I moved. Now my commute takes about 5 minutes. By Segway.

    • Randell says:

      Actually that is part of the major problem. People want to waste open space in the exurbs and commute 30 miles to their job in the city. It falls under the American thinking that there is plenty of land so who cares.

      • brinks says:

        My previous neighborhood had virtually no parking, high rent, but plenty of stuff close by. I took the bus or walked everywhere. Sick of the 40 minute commute on a bus that was always late to a place that was only 12 minutes by car, I moved within walking distance to work.

        Then I lost my job.

        Now I’m out in the ‘burbs with far fewer public transit options, so I might have to buy a car.

        Ugh. I TRIED to do the right thing!

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        I’m not sure where you live, but ’round these parts (that would be NY), it’s cheaper to live in the suburbs and commute to the city. Also, for most families, it is more desirable to live in the suburbs than in the city center. People need to live in the here and now – not wondering about how much space might be wasted three generations from now. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

  15. rdclark says:

    I’ve never understood (well actually I do: they’re idiots who can’t think farther than their hood ornaments) the drivers who begrudge cyclists space on the street. If every one of those cyclists were driving a car instead, the only traffic that would be moving would be pedestrians.

    I have a 26 mile RT commute, which I bike most days. It takes the same amount of time door to door as the regional rail train (but doesn’t cost $9) and only 20 minutes longer than driving (but no traffic jams or parking issues). The only consistent downside is the obnoxious, selfish, and arrogant behavior of the drivers.

    • Alvis says:

      To be fair, VERY few bicyclists follow the law when biking, so car drivers have some right to be pissed.

      If every biker used hand signals when turning and didn’t try to pass stopped cars in traffic, they’d get a better rap. As it stands, they want all the benefits of using roads, but none of the responsibilities.

      And yes, this is a huge generalization, but tell me it’s not true.

      • rdclark says:

        No, it’s true of many cyclists, and I hate them as much as you do. When they ride against the traffic or run lights they are more of a danger to me (because I’m more vulnerable on my bike) than they are to you, protected by a 2-ton steel cage.

        And that’s where this argument fails. Whatever you want to say about law-flaunting cyclists, they don’t kill people in cars. People in cars, talking, texting, eating Big Macs, trying to trim 10 seconds from their drive or make the next light, DO kill people on bikes.

        Cars are powerful weapons. With great power comes great responsibility.

        • Alvis says:

          Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m a bicycle/motorcycle guy, so I’m constantly scared of cars, too!

        • ludwigk says:

          That hardly makes the argument fail. The fact that one individual is in a car, and the other on a bike does not relieve the biker of all liability, in the same way that a car is not relieved of all liability when driving next to a truck. If I try to zip by a semi making a wide right turn and get clobbered, my car and life are ruined, and the truck has some major cosmetic damage. That doesn’t mean the truck is at fault.

          The reason bicyclers are so annoying is because bikers often follow neither the law of the pedestrian, nor the law of the motorist, so they move like no other object found in the cityscape. On top of individual responsibility, roads are made safer by making travelers upon them behave in a systematic and predictable fashion. Bicyclists are maximally disruptive to this goal.

          Driving a car carries with it an assumption of responsibility in the same way that riding a bike is an assumption of RISK. If you chose to travel at roughly the speed of car traffic, but with the meager protections of an ordinary human, then small errors in judgment can result in crippling injury with or without cars involved.

          • rdclark says:

            I’m not defending bad behavior by cyclists or drivers. But “annoying” doesn’t even make it onto the radar compared to “life threatening.”

            I think it’s indicative of the arrogance of drivers that “annoyance” can even be mentioned in a discussion where the stakes are so much higher. And of how deep-seated the unchallenged assumptions of American car culture are, where we can seriously propose that avoiding annoyance is more important than getting some kind of control over this plague of cars that’s choking the life out of the urban landscape.

            • sixseeds says:

              From what I’ve seen in Chicago, “annoying” is shorthand for “thank god that wasn’t worse.” If a cyclist blows a red light but the green-lighted driver manages to slam on the brakes just in time to avoid hitting him/her, the driver will say they are annoyed, but what they really mean is that they were briefly scared to death that they would have to live with the memory of being party to something that was in no way their fault. (See ludwigk’s comment above.)

          • LandruBek says:

            Maximally disruptive? For every story of a driver grinding his teeth out because of a silly cyclist’s antics, I’ll tell you a story of a cyclist whose bones were shattered or head was smashed in by a law-flouting motorist going up against a law-abiding cyclist. You know what’s really maximally disruptive? Being run over by an absentminded bus driver, having your legs and pelvis crushed, and losing 6 gallons of (mostly transfused) blood.

            Collectively, motor vehicles are soaked in blood and also to blame for our nation’s addiction to oil, which leads to multi-billion dollar wars and ecological devastation. Now, that’s “maximally disruptive.”

            • pantheonoutcast says:

              “Collectively, motor vehicles are soaked in blood and also to blame for our nation’s addiction to oil, which leads to multi-billion dollar wars and ecological devastation. Now, that’s “maximally disruptive.””

              Can anyone who lives an “alternative” or self-described “progressive” lifestyle (recycler, vegan, cyclist, etc) merely just do their thing without getting in everyone’s face all the time with their ridiculous hyperbolic politics? Good for you – you ride a bike. So does my 5 year old nephew. Difference is, he doesn’t go around telling everyone else how vastly superior he is because he does so.

              I have an 18 year old truck whose cargo area is filled to the brim with T-bone steaks in Styrofoam coolers. Get your toy the fuck out of my way.

              • LandruBek says:

                The story so far —

                Ludwigk: “You bikes are so annoying!”
                Landrubek: “You cars are really destructive to individuals and society!”
                pantheonoutcast: “Yes, why do you mention it?”


              • rdclark says:

                No, I won’t get out of your way. In fact, I will try to impede you as much as possible. Why? Because you’re acting obnoxiously, and because I can, and you’re on my road. Go ahead, run me over. I dare you.

                If you’re not being obnoxious, pushy, and arrogant I will happily take the first opportunity to move aside and let you pass, if that will help. Otherwise, the person I feel sorry for is whoever you kill in the head-on collision when you cross the double-yellows to pass me illegally.

                PS: Your behavior and license number are recorded via my helmet-cam. You’re a lot easier to find than I am. Be happy I’m not one of the many cyclists who are armed.

        • LandruBek says:
      • Coles_Law says:

        Agreed. I’m the rare cyclist who signals and stops, and I’ve nearly been hit countless times by cyclists who do not.

      • LandruBek says:

        I think your generalizations are false. There are plenty of bike scofflaws but to say VERY few obey the law is false: there are lots of responsible cyclists. Yet I do wish the police would ticket the irresponsible ones more often.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          Horseshit. I’ve been driving in and out of all boros of NYC for almost two decades and I’ve never once seen a cyclist signal a turn, make a complete stop at a red light, yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians or obey any law that would give a driver a 2 point summons. Cyclists confuse having a right to the road with owning the road. And maybe that plays out real well in some granola-eating city somewhere, but here, those with four wheels are king.

          • Alvis says:

            NYC’s not the best example, as not even car drivers there seem to understand the basics of signaling, right-of-way, and whatsuch. It’s like your tires touch an NYC road, no matter what you’re riding, and you’re immediately cursed with a screw-you-I-gotta-get-somewhere attitude.

          • LandruBek says:

            Maybe you live too insular a live in NYC, or aren’t paying attention. Anyway, there are lots of responsible cyclists whether you admit it or not.

          • Moriarty says:

            Actually, in NYC, pedestrians are king.

    • npage148 says:

      Try explaining to a driver that by having a cyclist roll a stop sign you are saving the driver time. A full foot down stop will slow that car that is behind significantly. So you get attacked for following the letter of the law and slowing the angry motorist down or you get attacked for not obeying the stop sign and saving the driver time

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        What about when I want to make a right on red and the cyclist passes my stopped care on the right and stops right in my potential path?

        And rolling the stop sign is fine if there isn’t cross traffic that has to stop! I have started to go only to stop again for cyclists many times. At least slow down for a stop!

        • newsbunny says:

          You got your directional on? Did you have it on before you came to a stop? I’m not saying you didn’t.

          I look for all that when I ride my bike, and do my best to be courteous. But I’m not psychic. There are a lot of drivers out there who don’t bother to signal, or come to a full stop at a sign, or yell at me when I do stop at a sign, or don’t look before open their traffic-side doors (i was scared to death today by that, and had a very close call). I have no problem getting out of a vehicle’s way at a stop. But let’s be nice about it.

          • colorisnteverything says:

            It’s YOUR job to stay 4 ft away from a car door so that you don’t get injured, not the car’s. While yes, it is nice if they notice, you are not a CAR. Therefore, a bit harder to see.

            • npage148 says:

              Yeah, I’ll stay 4 feet away from parked cars but then the asshole behind in the car lays on the horn and nearly sideswipes me when he passes because he’s pissed I’m taking up the lane and making him late to his job

              • rdclark says:

                Which you’re not, but people leave all reason and logic behind when they get behind the wheel. They’re all about nothing but “get out of my way.”

    • sixseeds says:

      Not trying to troll, but the drivers who begrudge cyclists their space on the street are analogous to cyclists who begrudge pedestrians their space on the sidewalks (and crosswalks). When I had a car, I was super careful of cyclists, especially b/c most people riding in my crappy NJ suburb were kids (like my brother) who didn’t have licenses yet. Now that I live in Chicago, land of the stop sign blowers and sidewalk riders, a series of near misses (and in my boyfriend’s case, an actual collision) has left me a lot less sympathetic. Yeah, you’re green. Pedestrians are green too. Just because hitting us won’t necessarily kills us doesn’t make it OK.

      • sixseeds says:

        *won’t kill us

        Time to go home.

      • colorisnteverything says:

        And how many cars don’t roll stop signs?

        I will stop when there are other cars at the stop sign. If they are all going to be gone when I get there, I go. If it is a light, I ALWAYS follow as well as I would in a car. I don’t roll stops in my car because it takes nothing to get going.

        However, when I am clipped in, I constantly have drivers honking at me while I go from a stop. It takes a rider a bit of time to take back off and clip in, even when in a super-low gear. I wish more drivers would rid with courteous cyclists to get an idea that A. we are not out there to kill them, B. most of us are drivers, too and C. we aren’t hobbyists or lazy sunday riders who don’t know the rules.

        • shepd says:

          The way cyclists do? 0.01%?

          We’re not talking about the slow down to 5 km/h, look carefully and keep going sort of rolling. We’re talking about the speed up because you’re going to blow the stop and don’t want to be hit kind of rolling. You know, the kind you die from.

      • ARP says:

        I live in Chicago as well and not only do the people not follow any laws, they’re fairly self-rightous about it. So a woman with headphones on, without a helment is weaving in and out of traffic and yells at me for almost hitting her?

        I sometimes joke that people in cars should be able to accidently (and must be an accident) hit one d-baggy bicyclist per year with complete immunity. But I’m not sure I’m always joking…..

      • varro says:

        There’s also the fact that I really don’t *want* to hit bicyclists.

        Unpredictable behavior, like zooming into and out of blind spots, not signaling turns, zipping across lanes of traffic, and not using the bike lane, make it more likely a cyclist is going to be hit by me, even if I’m the most careful driver.

        They don’t help it by wearing black at night, riding with no lights, riding with earphones, or riding unsafe fixed-gear bikes.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I have packs of cyclists going up and down my road, and there are times they are halfway into the lane I am in and there is no passing, and they are doing 15-20 mph in a 50. And do they assemble themselves into a straight line? No. They are chatting with each other and riding three deep, so I have to illegally pass.

      • Alvis says:

        Or you could just be patient and not break the law, but I guess you have your priorities? In most areas, cyclists have the right to a full lane width for themselves. Don’t like it? Stay off the road.

        • DorsalRootGanglion says:

          Bikes are supposed to stop at red lights, not run over pedestrians, and wear helmets.

          So…you first.

        • nbs2 says:

          Cylcists also have a responsibility to ride on the street, going with the flow of traffic, obeying traffic signals. There’s a reason why, as a pedestrian, I take joy in forcing cyclists to choose between a law suit for hitting me or taking the road rash from avoiding me.

    • shepd says:

      I don’t begrudge cyclists space on the road.

      I begrudge people who do incredibly unsafe illegal things all the time on the road their space. Just happens to be that most of those people ride bikes.

      The short list of illegal things: Rolling stops, riding around stopped traffic, not signalling, riding through crosswalks, not stopping to let faster traffic pass, riding against traffic, cutting off drivers to change lanes. There’s more, that’s all I can think of that I saw today.

  16. smartmuffin says:

    I’m sure it varies depending on the area, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on a bus that was more than 70% full. So the whole “one bus can transport 50 people” thing is sort of a red herring, especially when you consider that the whole bus still has to drive around town even if there’s only one person riding it.

    • Wolfie XIII says:

      Here in seattle I’m often stuck on busses that are standing room only and you get more intimate with strangers than you really want. You can cram a lot of people onto a bus, when the bus system works and is reliable and afforadable.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      I haven’t been on a mass transit in any large city in the last 10 years that wasn’t standing room only, especially during rush hour. The buses will empty out at the ends of the line, and at night, but they run pretty full.

    • LandruBek says:

      The buses run full to capacity when there is a good bus network, and appropriate incentives for public transit. I believe both those conditions exist throughout much of northern Europe.

    • outlulz says:

      I’ve been on buses in LA that are jammed completely butt to gut, with every seat and every inch of standing room filled all the way until people are jammed against the front doors. It depends on where you live.

    • ajlei says:

      In Portland, during heavier commute times, I’ve been on buses refusing new passengers because they are so full.

  17. mszabo says:

    While there is a lot of truth to that photo, certainly seems to be misleading in that the number of people on the street at any one time actually changes with the different mode of transportation. If the average speed of a car is 40 MPH and the average speed of a bicycle is 10 MPH there will be 4x as many bicycles on the road as cars, even assuming only one person per car. If a bicycle is slower then its on the road longer and there will be more of them on the road at any one point in time.

  18. bhr says:

    The bike space claim is bull (at least in Maryland). Thanks to recent law changes bikes require almost as much space as cars, as they have a buffer zone around them

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      Cars, when moving, need more space than shown in the picture, too.

      And bikes don’t need nearly as much space next to other bikes as they need next to bigger, faster cars.

  19. Jemaine says:

    I don’t like sitting with people in a waiting room much less ride with them on a bus. One never knows what will get on the bus, having to deal with babies, or possibly having to stand up (which I just don’t even understand), everyone on cellphones (I don’t want to hear someone else’s conversation, much less letting them hear mine); what if there’s a bus wreck, there’s a lot more people involved. I’d rather pollute and get to where I’m going on my own time, with just me and no one around, and I wouldn’t have to worry about a weirdo sitting next to me either. Besides, if one misses the bus, they have to wait till the next scheduled stop, versus having a car and getting somewhere late rather than later.

  20. RogueWarrior65 says:

    Of course this assumes you never have to transport anything bigger that a Sucrets box. The bus assumes that 40 people all want to go to the same place.

    • HungryGal says:

      Busses tend to make multiple stops.

      I take public transit in the city all the time. When I’m home in the suburbs, I drive my car.

      This might be a shocker to some of you guys, but different solutions make sense in different situations.

      • OnePumpChump says:

        When I was in middle school and high school, it took my (rural) bus 45 minutes to get me about 4 miles to school. (Before you say it, you don’t even want to know what kind of weather I would have been walking in) It didn’t used to, until a bunch of asshole parents started requesting that the bus stop right in front of their house so that their precious little angel wouldn’t have to walk 300 feet to the bus stop at the intersection.

    • Moriarty says:

      They don’t all have to be going to the same place, they just have to be going to within easy walking distance of one of the places the public transit goes. I live in NYC, so for me that means essentially everywhere. I can see how that would be an issue in other places, though.

      As for carrying things, I haven’t found it to be too arduous. I can carry a couple of grocery bags down the block, less than distance across many suburban parking lots I’ve seen. I also have a granny cart for big loads. And on the rare occasions even that is not feasible (maybe once a year), I can just take a taxi. Different solutions for different situations!

  21. beej says:

    Wow,consumerist, or treehuggerist? Stay on point guys, or start a new blog.

  22. danmac says:

    I believe you meant “AMAZINGLY!!!!

  23. FrugalFreak says:

    But then you have to sit next to other people. Smell thier BO, Have them touch you, Catch sickness. I prefer privacy of own vehicle.

    • rdclark says:

      I’m not surprised that people feel this way. I AM surprised anyone wouldn’t be too embarrassed to actually say it.

    • varro says:

      Pretty much the same here. Since I work for myself, I can try to time it right (work 10 – 6, miss the morning rush hour and the mid-day drunks and crazies).

  24. smo0 says:

    Since there are so many uneducated comments about “busses riding around all of the time with one person,” I’ll just make another post here.

    I live in Las Vegas and I ride the bus. It’s about 109 outside right now so you guys can give me just a little credit instead of the typical commentors who troll my posts.
    I also rode the bus in L.A.
    Even on Sunday (the start of my work week) the bus is crowded.
    I’ve never seen
    I take two buses to work – one bus that runs every half hour, which splits the route on two parallel streets which makes it run every hour.
    Then I get on another bus that runs once per hour 7 days a week, same schedule.
    I would love for them to increase the frequency between these busses, especially in the mornings and afternoons as it’s extremely crowded with work day commuters.
    Generally speaking, busses frequent their times at the start and end of normal business hours, and they show up less frequent on weekends and evening/night/pre dawn hours. So your little theory about one bus running every 5 minutes with one person on it just got shot to hell. (Was I assuming? oh I’m sorry, I was trying to be one of you since 90% of the commentors here fucking ASSume all of the time.)
    In some areas of town, busses run every 2 hours.

    In LA, no matter the time of day – the busses were never NOT crowded.

    I understand that people sometimes have long commutes to and from work – and we’ve become a society that’s trying to eliminate PT or at least RELIABLE PT, and I whole-heartedly ADMIRE the people who bike those long commutes to work, I’m not jumping on people for the vehicles they drive either.
    But if your response to something postive, is “I’m gonna tromp around in my SUV short distances and I only recycle because it’s the law” ….

    I hope your SUV rolls over on the freeway and you die in a fire….

    …your kids too.

    No, I’m not bitter.

  25. denros says:

    unfortunately here in the U.S. it’s a chicken and egg problem: people don’t bike as much as they would because the roads in many places are choked with cars. Yes, it would help if if more people travelled by bike; but many people who otherwise would are scared to.

    Plus most people are terrible drivers. Do you ever actually just sit and watch some of the things people do?

  26. pinecone99 says:

    Here’s to scooters and motorcycles which aren’t much bigger than bicycles and can ride 2-up and carry more luggage!

  27. maztec says:

    Many cities have done this. Seattle did a poster of this a few years ago. It also included a picture of people sitting in chairs where each car was, in order to emphasize the difference in density.

  28. JuliB says:

    When I lived in Chicago proper, I used my bike, public trans and cabs. (This was before the age of zip cars and the like…) I live in the far burbs now and doing such things just isn’t possible. Why some people get so pissy, and other people get so sanctimonious is just beyond me!

    In certain areas, it isn’t feasible – and in others, it’s perfect. Why all the nastiness?

  29. erratapage says:

    We’re moving to a community without public transportation from a community that requires a car to use public transportation.

    • Holy_C says:

      I hear you on that one. I take a motorcycle to work from March through November, and I’m a paying customer in a car pool the rest of the year. I wish the system worked here in Minnesota….

  30. zero says:

    This doesn’t seem accurate to me.

  31. Groanan says:

    Yes! And if we all lived in giant facilities like the people working at Foxconn, we could walk to work and get our food from the company cafeteria!

    We can pack all of our living locations into giant sky rises and live like ant colonies!

    Just because it is “green” doesn’t make it a better way to live. Individual vehicles means we go directly to where we want to go, on our own time, not dictated by the bus schedule. It also means that we are not as close to other people with communicable diseases.

    The solution to population growth problems is for people to stop having children.
    Just say no to kids and we won’t have to live like the sardines in San Francisco.

  32. Draw2much says:

    I think there is truth to this to a certain degree. In big cities where public transportation is easy to find and bicycling is relatively safe than I don’t see why a person wouldn’t use buses, subways, trans, and bikes.

    That being said, most of the USA is not a big city. We have lots of smaller towns, small cities, and even neighborhoods out in the middle of no where. Especially when you get into states with lots of farming and cattle ranches. In places like that, public transportation just doesn’t work. Anyone who thinks it does either has some sort of special secret they need to share with everyone else or they’ve never lived in the places I just listed.

    And I just want to remind people that these smaller cities, towns, and such make up most of America.

    That being said, I really wish we had a better train system in the states. The Shinkansen (bullet train for the uninformed) in Japan was great! If we could make a train system that was fast and clean and reliable like they have in Japan, I’d totally travel that way rather than by car or plane.

  33. ap0 says:

    I could take the bus to work every day (I’d have to leave an hour earlier to catch the last bus on that morning route), and it’d take about an hour to get there, or I could drive and take ten minutes.

    We get it: where public transit is a reasonable thing, use it. Where it’s not, don’t. This isn’t particularly eye-opening or amazing. When I lived in the city in college I rode the bus to and from school every day, and it worked out great. Now that I’m a grownup and live in the suburbs and close to my work, public transit isn’t so great.

  34. Westerneer says:

    This is a very impactful picture, however it is photoshop and not based in fact. Can we see the study that correlates with this clever graphic?

  35. nybiker says:

    I’d like to ask that when people use the phrase ‘where I live (or lived)’ that they indicate a city/state location. That way we can see how good or bad things are around the globe.
    Ok, so I live here in New York City. This past weekend our wonderful transit authority (MTA) took a steak knife to bus & subway schedules & routes. A couple of subway lines & more than a few bus lines were eliminated entirely. And in some (or most) cases, there is no other alternative now for those routes. And with the remaining services, the schedules are going to be tweaked so that buses & trains run less frequently. Oh joy. But wait, we’ve got more bike lanes nowadays here. Problem is that most buildings either don’t let you bring your bike in (and there’s virtually no secure parking locations) and if they do, you have to use the freight elevator and in all likelihood, the elevator’s schedule doesn’t match yours (especially when you want to leave). But we’re working on getting buildings to loosen their restrictions but it takes time. And unless you don’t sweat, I hope you have a shower facility when you get to work; or at least a wash-up place where you can clean up and change. Yeah, the rest rooms will work, so use ’em.

    And most people aren’t really thrilled with the idea of cycling inches away from cars, buses, & trucks. Most bike paths we have are not separate (not that I want them that way anyway), so you have to put up with police cars, taxis, regular motorists, & pedestrians who block those paths, which means more problems.
    So, what to do? Get out there and ride. And Ride Right. e.g., don’t go the wrong way on a one-way street.
    And of course, what if you’re so far away that it takes you twice as long to get to work as it would if you took the bus & subway? Just some more stuff to think about.

  36. lordargent says:

    Going to work by car: 15-30 minute drive.
    Going to work by bus: 2-3 hour ride *

    /at least, that’s how long it took about 12 years ago when I didn’t have a car.

    /those numbers are for a single direction of travel. Meaning that by car, I would spend 30 minutes to 1 hour for my round trip for the day. But by bus, I’m looking at a 4-6 hour round trip. Riding the bus around here SUCKED and I doubt it’s changed today (since there are fewer routes now than when I rode).

  37. jenjenjen says:

    I prefer ze peektur on ze left. Eet ees motch more orderly.

  38. Doughbuy says:

    Where’s the subway/rail transportation?

  39. CharlesFarley says:

    I bet they can not ride their bikes in a formation of that density.

  40. Sarge says:

    Can tell a LOT of people here have never been to Europe….comparing the public trans system in Germany to the pitiful system in the US is like comparing a Ferrari to a Yugo……

    The US is SO far behind it’s not even funny….

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Same in Hong Kong. I’ve attended and tried to introduce sanity to our VTA and BART leaders, but to no avail. Absolute insanity. We’ve paid billions of extra tax to build an extension only to have every facet of it lopped off and made completely unusable. I live at the intersection of the two mass transit systems. I think the VTA gets a percentage of the pie, so the larger the boondoggle, the more money and subsidies they make. They say their cuts will save 5%. It’s a scam.

      They’re redirecting it. It will not connect to the international airport. Several stops are eliminated. The point the two rail systems cross will no longer have a single station. Now people will have to walk down two flights of stairs, walk a quarter mile, cross a major expressway, climb two flights of stairs. They said they will look into putting a flyover the major expressway. So now, that’s twice as many stairs, when previous plans had people just changing trains. There are so many more idiotic, moronic, criminally stupid changes they’re making.

  41. ElleDriver says:

    I’m not surprised this poster originated in Munich. I visited the city last year, and I’ve never seen a place where the bikes, cars and pedestrians integrated so flawlessly together. There’s bike lanes everywhere, and cyclists follow the same traffic rules (ride on the right, pass on the left). The cars always give right-of-way to cyclists and pedestrians. No traffic congestion, as there weren’t as many cars on road (a third of the population are on bikes) so drivers have an easy time getting around. Plenty of public parks and no-car streets for pedestrians. And the subway system was easy and efficient. With the addition of the copious amounts of beer and pork products I consumed, I would move there in a heartbeat.

  42. quirkyrachel says:

    “space it takes to transport the same amount of people”

    Ok, I can’t help it because it’s my grammar pet peeve. It’s number of people. Number! People don’t come in amounts, unless you’re talking about brain matter.

  43. gparlett says:

    I got really tired coming to a red light and having cyclists pass me on the right and moving to the front of the line, so now if I see a cyclist behind me I pull all the way over to the right so there’s no space between me and the curb. The cyclists who are interested in sharing the road (and thus would normally line up behind my car and take their proper place in the queue) have no issue with this and the ones who want to skip to the front of the line get a little retribution and a lesson that cyclists have to share the road with drivers, the same way that drivers have to share the road with cyclists.

    • econobiker says:

      Problem is not the bicyclists but the red light. Nix the red lights for round a bouts without stopping – yielding only- and the issue disappears…

  44. Bob says:

    And…..I still would rather get to work within one hour in my car and not be soaked to the bone during the commute.

    If I took my bike it would take about 3.5 hours.

    If I took the bus system I would have to walk 45 minutes to the Bus, change bus and trains, and walk about an 1.5 hours to get to work.

  45. JulesNoctambule says:

    I wish our municipal transportation system had the funding and range of Munich. Too many people around here bitch and moan about MAH TAX DOLLARS when it comes time to fund public things that benefit everyone. Of course, they’re all smiles when those precious, precious tax dollars go to benefit *their* special interests.

  46. econobiker says:

    Motorcycles and scooters take up almost the same space as bicycles and cut down on transport time.

    Just sayin’…