Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lower speed limits are safer for pedestrians and cyclists

Groundbreaking NYCDOT Pedestrian Study Recommends Testing 20 mph Limit for Neighborhoods

by Michelle Ernst

Citing even one crash as “one crash too many,” New York City DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan on Monday released the city’s “roadmap for safety strategies.” The study recommends four specific engineering and design strategies to improve pedestrian safety:

* 20 mph zone pilot program in at least 75 residential neighborhoods;
* dangerous corridor re-engineering on 60 miles of street per year;
* dangerous intersection re-engineering at 20 intersections along major two-way Manhattan streets); and,
* improving left-turn visibility by removing curb parking near intersections of targeted Manhattan avenues.

The rest of the Story Here

I grew up in Phoenix where every residential street had a speed limit of 25mph. I was amazed that once we moved to Indiana that traffic engineers think that 30 mph is safe for a narrow residential street where kids are. I was very proud of Karen Goldner, 2nd District Councilperson (My Councilperson, yea!) when she was traveling around to all of the Neighborhood partnership meetings trying to get buy in on an ordinance that she wanted to sponsor to drop all of the residential limits down to 25. Oh you never knew that? Oh, that is because everyone thought that it was a waste of money. They had arguments that it would cost too much for the signs to be changed, and that most of the people who speed live in the neighborhood, and (this one is classic!) that when people have snow tires on their car that they can't tell how fast they are going, among others. That 30 was safe enough even though they don't give tickets if you are going 7-9 mph over that.
Kudos NYC. I am a little envious.
Thanks for caring about the citizens of your city enough to do something to make them safer. I can't wait to visit!

Random thoughts.....

I found this image on the Real Geeks Ride site. They were here last summer as some of you recall.

Our man Vince is there leading the pack and there's Joe, who I just ran into in the elevator of the City County building the other day, right behind him. I know Eric is in there somewhere on his Fixie among others.

I have no idea why I am reminiscing about that ride other than the fact that lately I have been getting a little more cross than usual with regard to cars. It might have something to do with me getting buzzed the other day on Spy Run. Which then begins this cycle of me getting further into the road in an effort to protect myself, thereby pissing more drivers off, and then they buzz me (I am totally exaggerating, I only get buzzed a few times a year)
Maybe it is the weather or the time of year but almost every driver that I see looks so unhappy and I am paranoid that they are going to flex their mechanized muscle onto me in order to prove their dominance. The worst is when they do it just to do it. It helps to remind me that there are douche bags everywhere. I digress.
It is paranoia I know but still, you don't see a smile on the faces of people in a car like you do on the folks in this picture.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The key to cycling safety? More cyclists

Traffic-calming measures and bike lanes increase the number of cyclists and decrease the risk of collisions: study

By Michelle Lalonde, The Gazette August 1, 2010

MONTREAL - The 2010 cycling season was just getting under way when the horrific news hit that three female cyclists had been killed, plowed down by a pickup truck on a dangerous stretch of Highway 112 near Rougemont.

That high-profile collision focused the public eye on the vulnerability of cyclists for the first half of this summer, as for several weeks every collision involving the serious injury or death of a cyclist in or near Montreal got more than the usual share of media attention.

But every year, three or four cyclists are killed on average on the island of Montreal and another 757 are injured, according to Montreal police. And that tally underestimates injuries, since some collisions are not reported to police. Urgences Santé statistics show that over the last decade, 967 cyclists per year on average were injured to the point that they required an ambulance.

The Rest of the story

The Copenhagen Wheel?

Thanks to the Wife for this one.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CM2 Tomorrow! See you all there!

Critical Manners Courteous Mass
Friday the 13th

Lawton Park
6:15 for a 6:30 departure.
We are not going to kill ourselves so come on out!

No, this isn't a story from The Onion

Neighbors say "no" to Goshen bike path
By Clifton French (cfrench@wsbt.com)

GOSHEN — A plan for a bike path in Goshen has some people very angry. Now, one family is trying to stop it.

The family has been in front of their house picketing since Monday and they don't plan to stop until plans for the path are called off. The path has been in the planning along Wilden Avenue for 10 years. The Moreland family bought their home 3 years ago and say they had never heard about the plans until July.

"We're going to have bicycles zooming through here," Tracy Moreland said. "I can't even have my babies playing in the front yard anymore because I'm afraid they're going to get hit by a bicycle."

The rest of this amazingly screwed up story

I love it, "we're going to have bicycles zooming through here". Classic.
A good lesson, research your future real estate property thoroughly, you never know what might be planned for your area.

This OpEd piece from the Charlotte Observer nails it!

Cyclists, motorists alike should chill, obey laws
Why such rage toward cyclists? More cycling saves us all money.
Posted: Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010

When you're driving somewhere in a hurry - and who isn't in a hurry these days? - having to slow down for a bicyclist can be as annoying as ...

As annoying as having to slow down to let a frail elderly person or a mother with a stroller cross the street.

As annoying as having to repeat something to a deaf grandfather.

As annoying as waiting in line at the movies or to get into a popular restaurant.

Yes, some things are annoying. But in a civilized community we take a deep breath, look at the big picture and cultivate some compassionate patience.

So why, after articles in Monday's Observer about tension between bicyclists and motorists, were online comments at CharlotteObserver.com so venom-filled they had to be cut off? Why do bicyclists make so many motorists' blood boil?

We don't know. (Is it the spandex?) If we knew the answer, we'd be out on the consultant circuit making millions selling it to people trying to tame the rage. Here's what we do know:

Bicycles are legal on city streets and the state's roads. Bicycles have every right to share the pavement and to expect courteous treatment.

Jerks can be found behind the wheel, pedaling cycles, even in wheelchairs and on foot. You can be a jerk anywhere. So while that means motorists shouldn't honk at cyclists or swerve at them, it also means bicyclists have no more right to deliberately clog travel lanes than SUVs or tractor-trailers do.

More education is needed for motorists (see first item) - and cyclists. They aren't exempt from traffic laws such as stopping at signs and lights, going the right way on one-way streets and - many motorists don't realize this is a law either - stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Now that you've taken that deep, breath, consider the larger picture:

More and more Americans are getting diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure from being overweight. Anything that gets people outdoors and exercising will be good for all of us, since health care costs (and our insurance rates) go up when more people are sicker.

Our country's oil habit is expensive (think of those Persian Gulf wars), politically treacherous (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela), despoiling the environment (Gulf spill, air pollution) and cooking our planet. With less oil-fueled travel, we all gain.

Local and state governments are sinking under infrastructure costs for streets, highways and bridges built to accommodate ever-expanding traffic. Whatever encourages travel on low-cost bike lanes, not expensive interstate lanes, helps all of us.

Given all that, maybe the next time you're slowed by a cyclist in traffic, instead of getting angry, you take a deep breath, and consider the kind of salute that does not involve only your middle finger.

How timing of traffic lights affect vehicular cyclists

A couple weeks ago I was downtown and on my way home. I was riding east on Wayne. I was stopped at every single light for very long light cycles all the way through downtown. As I was sitting waiting for the light at Clinton to turn a group of 4 cyclists came up behind me, yielded at the red light, and went through the intersection. I watched as they continued this behavior all the way to Clay St. By this time they were 3 blocks ahead of me since I got stopped at the light at Barr St.

It got me thinking. Should cyclists be allowed to treat red lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs? What do you think? Let me know. Or should I just get over it and risk getting a ticket because I guarantee you all, I would be the one that would.

So yesterday, I rode from a friend’s house in the Williams-Woodland neighborhood to my house. I took Harrison North from Creighton (which by the way, was awesome, there is hardly any traffic on that road) to Baker and then to Calhoun. I took Calhoun to Jefferson. At Jefferson I decided to test out the light timing heading east toward Clay. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone riding on Jefferson, but I took my lane and was confident. It turns out that the lights were all timed perfectly for a bicycle! I know! I was just as surprised.

So let’s review. I was on a minor street, Wayne, that has a bike lane (therefore encouraging cyclist to ride on it) and was stopped at every light. Then I am on a major arterial, Jefferson, with no bicycle infrastructure and four lanes of traffic, and I get green all the way through 3 or 4 lights (significant). Where would you ride? Just like other people in cars, I am always looking for the path of least resistance. It would just be kind of funny if, by the light cycle timing, the transportation folks were indirectly encouraging cyclists to ride on busier streets that lack bike facilities.

Infrastructure a comin’

Well, as a person who works and rides downtown seeing the resurfacing of Superior Street is bad and good. The bad part has been riding on the ground up road and having to dodge the manholes and water boxes that now stick up a couple inches above the pavement. The good part is not here yet. That will be once the sharrows or bike lanes (or whatever the City decides to put down) are complete!

This is according to the Bike Fort Wayne Plan under the designing and building a bikeway network section. It can be viewed here

That is exciting stuff considering this road is where many of the trails dump out into the downtown! Kudos to the Bike Task Force for seeing that this is an area that is important to the overall network to connect the City by bikers.

The Fort Wayne Bike Commuter is stoked! (I use it twice daily)

Monday, August 9, 2010

CM2 - Critical Manners Courteous Mass Friday the 13th Bwaaahaaahaaaa

Let's keep it rockin' this month.
It promises to be hot so we will shorten it a bit.
You know the drill? Well if not here it is.

Do you like to ride your bicycle? Do you want to meet other people who ride bikes? Would you like to reduce the level of antagonism between bicycles and cars? Then join Critical Manners/Courteous Mass on the second Friday of the month. Riders should gather around 6:15 at Lawton Park so the ride can begin at 6:30.

All parties are welcome to join and help bring common courtesy back to the streets. For those who need a refresher on what Critical Manners/Courteous Mass is, here is the deal:
• The ride will respect and abide the city’s traffic laws.
• Rides will be on the slow side to ensure no one is dropped and that the Mass stays a mass.
• The Mass will only take up one lane, two when necessary for safety.
• The ride will stop at red lights and stop signs. If a light turns red mid-mass, the riders who made the light should safely pull over to wait for those who were caught by the light.
• Riders are asked to signal turns, call out danger, and communicate their intentions to other riders.

The goal of these rides is to be a visible and positive example of the cooperation that can exist between cars and bicycles when people respect the laws and each other. So join the Mass and help make Fort Wayne a better place for bicycles.This Friday at Lawton Park by the Softball Field.

Ruling paves way for San Francisco bike lanes

Rachel Gordon,Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writers
San Francisco Chronicle August 6, 2010 10:28 PM Copyright San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco streets could see new bike lanes as early as next week after a Superior Court ruling Friday that ended a four-year legal battle over the city's plans to make the streets safer and more convenient for cyclists.

Judge Peter J. Busch found the city in compliance with court-required environmental reviews of traffic and parking issues.

The decision lifts a 2006 court ban against implementation of the San Francisco Bicycle Plan and allows the city to move forward immediately on 35 bike projects.

Striping could start as early as Monday, city officials said.

"Today is the beginning of a new era for bicycling in San Francisco," Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said Friday. "The SFMTA bike program staff has been working tirelessly to prepare for this day and we are committed to doing the work needed to keep the number of bicyclists growing in the years ahead."

"We are completely thrilled," said Andy Thornley, program director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "This really is a green light for the city to go ahead with the whole bike plan."

The rest of the story HERE

It's funny because when I think San Francisco and California I think of people supporting this kind of thing. It is hard to believe that bike lanes were locked up in a legal battle for so long. Nice thing about it is it gave staff plenty of time to plan for when they won! Go San Francisco.

We're Gonna do it, or something like it

Thousands Play in Oakland’s Streets at the First-Ever ‘Oaklavia’
by John Hamilton on July 7, 2010 | 3,172 Plays

On Sunday, June 27th, Downtown Oakland opened two miles of its streets to fun and activities—zumba dancing, circus arts, BMX bike competitions and performances from local musicians. Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) partnered with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Oaklandish, Oakland YMCA, Cycles of Change, SPOKES, and other civic organizations to create the East Bay's first “Sunday Streets” style event. Preparations are in the works for another Oaklavia in the coming months.

I had a couple goals internally that I wanted to advocate for and the CM2 (Courteous Manners/Critical Mass) was one of them. Thanks to Vince for all his help with this one.
Next thing I would like to do is somehow convince some folks that closing off traffic downtown on a Sunday for Bikes and pedestrian only would be a good idea. I don't see it happening until next year but I will begin to light the fire to work on it. Yes Vince, you will be helping. Might be nice to have during Busker Fest! We were there last week and it was pretty cool.