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Saturday, October 25 2014 @ 04:15 AM UTC


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Holiday reader: The war on bikes

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: I say this is a must read, but a few highlights.]
by David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington

"Is it okay to kill cyclists?" That's the question an op-ed in the New York Times asks. It's not, but if a spate of other op-eds are any indication, it's sure okay to hate them and the facilities they ask for in a quest for safety.

But studies performed in Arizona, Minnesota and Hawaii suggest that drivers are at fault in more than half of cycling fatalities.

legal to kill people, even when it is clearly your fault, as long you're driving a car and the victim is on a bike

To a lot of people, though, the problem in our society isn't that those who hit and kill cyclists face no consequences; the problem is that those damn cyclists are in the way of driving faster.

Except, Caldwell argues, since our transportation system is over capacity, that means we can't afford to give up a single square foot of asphalt to cyclists or let them slow down drivers. Never mind that you can move more people in less space when some drive and some bike,

But, as many have said many times before, if there is a war on cars, why are cyclists the casualties?
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Who Pays For Our Roads?

Biking Elsewhere image

Bicycle Transportation Alliance
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The top obstacle to cycling in Maryland

Biking ElsewhereTop obstacle to cycling was motorists do not exercise caution around cyclists (84% of respondents).

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What would it take to change that?

Biking ElsewhereBy Sarah Goodyear, The Atlantic Cities


What would it take to change that?

Clearly marked and fully separated bicycle infrastructure might help to do the trick. When survey subjects were shown images of brightly painted protected bike lanes, they had an overwhelmingly positive response. One picture of people riding bikes in a green-painted lane separated from cars by reflective poles got a favorable reaction from 90 percent of the people who saw it, all of whom were registered voters who own bikes but don’t regularly ride.

In contrast, a picture of a lane marked only by white stripes of paint, with cars encroaching from both sides, got an 87 percent negative reaction.

Guess which of these people prefer? Images courtesy of People for Bikes.

But the survey reveals the complexity of our emotional response to bicycling. When asked to evaluate a series of messages about reasons to ride bikes, 60 percent responded favorably to the idea that biking makes you feel happier, has significant health benefits, and saves money. The message that biking "is a safe option for everyone" and that safety increases with more riders and better bike lanes, got a favorable rating from only 47 percent of respondents.


That seems sort of obvious to Doug Gordon, who blogs at Brooklyn Spoke. "Look at the automobile industry," he said in the report. "If they really wanted to appeal to people’s safety, they would show crash statistics, survival rates.... You don’t see that any more. You see the car parked in the driveway and the family playing catch."

[B' Spokes: Imagine an ad campaign "It's easier to die in your car in a crash than win the Maryland lottery." Car ads are designed to sell anything but the horrors of rush hour traffic. Every day on the news, car crashes scattered all over the city and yet people think cycling is dangerous. :/

And Baltimore City please take note, the picture of the bike lane with a 87% negative reaction is a lot better then bike lanes we have been getting. Please, please something better now and then, especially on critical trunk routes.]
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Clever idea to create awareness of pedestrian issues

Biking ElsewhereA motorists moving violation includes 2 hours of community service as a crosswalk guard.

Via Alliance for Biking and Walking webinar.
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If a picture is worth a 1000 words then how much is an animated gif worth?

Biking Elsewhereimage

Via Nicola Deiana - Public transportation
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New Pedestrian Maps In NY

Biking ElsewhereBy Aleks Buczkowski,

This year the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) prepared something for them and for us - a new program of pedestrian maps called WalkNYC. ‘The other people’ will get a new set of city maps that will make it easier to navigate the city streets and find nearby interesting places. What we will get are beautiful maps that are a combination of cartography, great design and well-thought-out user experience.

The maps are designed to encourage people to walk, bike and use public transit, and feature all local streets and major landmarks and destinations, as well as bike lanes. Kiosks displays a large map of the streets with a 5-minute walking distance marked as ring, and another map showing the area in relation to a larger section of the city. This is cool but we’ve seen it on many city maps.

But there is one feature which corresponds to the experience of mobile maps rather than old school analogue cartography… The orientation of the maps! WalkNYC uses heads-up orientation rather than north arrow which is one of traditional mapping dogmas. This mean that the orientation of the map corresponds with the direction the user is facing. This is a smartphone-like approach but I love it and it actually makes a lot of sense (similarly to mobile maps).
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State DOTs Brazenly Request a Blank Check to Build More Highways

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

This is a money and power grab.”

“It’s very disappointing and very AASHTO.”

AASHTO’s recommendations boil down to one thing: less local control and more power at the state level. They want to wrest control over transit funds from transit agencies. They want more “flexibility” on every front. They want less distribution of funds to officials at the city or regional level — a move Lovaas calls “regressive” since “more and more people, businesses and jobs are becoming centralized in metro areas.”

MAP-21’s one real achievement, a provision allowing some degree of local control over funds for biking and walking, gets targeted in AASHTO’s wish list. AASHTO complains that states aren’t eligible for this relatively tiny pot of money, and demand to get their hands in the cookie jar that’s closed to them.

What’s more, Lovaas noted, AASHTO boldly resists any form of accountability. The association insists that no additional performance measures be implemented until the new ones from MAP-21 can be amply tested out. And yet they want to go full throttle with their agenda to accelerate “project delivery” — basically making an end run around environmental and community scrutiny.

Indeed, AASHTO is positively allergic to performance measures. They want to make sure states aren’t required to fix infrastructure that’s in the worst condition first, though they don’t explain why any other approach would make any sense. Over and over again, they affirm their “steadfast opposition” to “using performance measures as the basis for apportioning or allocating federal funds among the States” — in other words, having any mechanism whatsoever to ensure that they don’t spend billions of dollars on wasteful projects.

Above all, AASHTO says over and over that “the implementation of MAP 21 [and any subsequent bill] should avoid any unnecessary administrative burdens or unnecessary restrictions on State flexibility.” Translation: Hand over a blank check. Nowhere does AASHTO say how it intends to improve the transportation system,
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Blaming the victim is not promoting safety

Biking ElsewhereBy Becky Pallack, Arizona Daily Star

Police and pedestrian safety experts say at least part of the increase is due to pedestrians being more distracted. In the first fatal incident this year, a man was wearing headphones and looking at a handheld device while crossing Valencia Road.

Pedestrians have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings, just like drivers, said Tucson police Sgt. Mary Kay Slyter.

“Pedestrians think, ‘I can see them: They must be able to see me,’ but that’s not the case,’ she said.

Even in a crosswalk, people need to be aware of vehicles around them, she said. “You may be right, but you don’t want to be dead right.”


[B' Spokes: I will strongly assert that "you don’t want to be dead right." has done so much harm to our society. What should be said is something along the lines of "Assert and verify." That's what should be done by motoriterist when changing lanes and other situations where there is a potential conflict of right-of-way in fact all road users should follow this principle.

But when you stress that the victim should not be dead right you are stating the more vulnerable road users have no rights. The police are reluctant to charge at fault drivers because it's just common sense that drivers will not yield to you... Think about that for a moment, because something is a known fault, by a majority of motorists it now becomes lawful for drivers to behave that way and unlawful for pedestrians to follow the law. :/

Even worse, when it becomes "dangerous" for pedestrians to cross in a crosswalk with a walk signal because of turning traffic and non sopping right-turn-on-red motorists. And safety "professionals" go OMG look at that ill behaved pedestrian trying to cross in that situation, doesn't he know that he may be required to jump out of the way at a moments notice?

So when pedestrians do notice they no longer have the right-of-way in intersections and they are own for safely crossing the street, it comes down to what's safer, 1) Crossing where you are expected to yield to traffic coming from all the points on the compass in chaotic patterns (drivers rarely use turn signals) or 2) Crossing where you are expected to yield to traffic that is predictable and only traveling in two directions.

So mister "don't be dead right", look what you've done, you have just strongly encouraged jaywalking. :( ]
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Your Commute Is Now Your Gym dot com

Biking Elsewhereimage

By Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

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