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Tuesday, June 30 2015 @ 12:41 PM UTC


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Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: While I don't agree with everything in the linked article by Eben Weiss a.k.a. Bike Snob he does make some points to think about. Roads were our first campaign for multi-use paths, they would be good for everyone and we can all share the space, would be one way to paraphrase the Good Roads Movement but then bicyclist became the trespassers on the very roads they helped get built. Ever notice that on our current multi-use paths that if there are rules posted they are only for cyclists and no other users, pedestrians are free to be unpredictable and lawless as are the dog walkers because there is nothing saying you can't walk with your leash crossing the whole path. And most of all, the rights of iPod-zombies must be protected above all else because everyone knows it is cyclists that are scofflaws and no other group. :/

I'm not saying cyclists should not be careful around pedestrians but I am saying everyone needs to watch out for each other but when you single out just one type of user as the trouble maker it all goes down hill fast. And that has been our problem with the so called "Safety Experts" to this day, the total lack of explaining shared space and the movement that is expected from everyone.

But back to the article, there is no doubt the unspoken and hard question to answer is "Why wouldn't cyclist do everything they could to improve their safety? And why shouldn't we make it a law?" First let's flip this to be a car centric example; "Why wont drivers drive with their headlight on during the day if it improves their safety? And why isn't it a legal requirement?" - That's a good question as more lives could be saved doing that then anything we could do with cyclists.

Which brings me to what I feel is a major problem with our society, cars are perceived as safe even though they are the number two cause of premature death just behind smoking. Cars have become the ultimate embodiment of sociopathic behavior as too many things about them could be summarized "As long as I am safe everyone else be damned." Things like going fast has become a priority as if saving a minute is worth killing people over. Statistics were manipulated to promote speed, freeways were deemed safer not because of their grade separated crossings but because of their speed and the same with roads that have a large speed differential it's was the cars going the speed limit (not faster) that were to blame for the increased in accidents, so increase the speed limit is a common recommendation.

Then eliminating delays became a priority to improve speed even though issues like right-on-red with its known dangers to pedestrians was never really studied to see if there was an overall improvement in traffic flow. It used to be traffic was pulsed so turning out of a shopping center on a major road was a simple mater of just waiting for the main platoon of traffic to pass from the traffic light upstream. Nowadays we have to wait for a small gap in the constant traffic diarrhea of people utilizing the right-on-red. So making things "faster" for one person makes things slower for more than one person downstream (more me first and everyone else be dammed.).... and we call this an "improvement" even though general impatience on the road seems to have been multiplied even though impatience has been "accommodated" (in one situation but not others) . Tell me you have never encountered someone turning into traffic that was not taking a risk in the hopes you would stop abruptly while they took advantage of the only gap in traffic they could see. I will assert that right-on-red is indirectly causing more traffic accidents downstream then what we would have if there was no right-on-red (the overall benefit even to just cars is dubious at best.) And then there is the assumption that some how this benefit of turning right on red is cumulative, like we spend our time driving in clockwise circles. Sure there can be a one time ~30 second improvement per trip but that's the best it can be and no better and for that we put pedestrian lives at risk not to mention other things that I have asserted that are not a benefit to society as a whole.

Things like this has lead to the unspoken corollary "Faster modes of travel need to travel faster and slower modes of travel should be made even slower." Like a 350 horse power car is going to have to really struggle to make up a two second delay and other kinds of "people" don't mind five or more minutes of delay. Too many things are ratcheting us in the wrong direction, which is my point here and I think it is also the point in the following article.]
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The Real Danger to Children Is Cars, Not Strangers

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: To ballpark the danger to kids (more info in the article)
115 - Kidnapping by strangers
449 - Children killed when they were walking or biking
2136 - Children killed being chauffeured by car. ]

by Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

"Why are we building communities that are unsafe for our children? This goes beyond free range vs. helicopter parenting debates. Our infrastructure forces decisions by some parents — and are unhealthy for our children besides!"
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Biking Elsewhere-> The road system used to be largely funded by the gas tax. Gas taxes, tolls, and other fees on driving account for only about half the money spent on the U.S. road system, according to a new report (Who Pays for Roads? How the "Users Pay" Myth Gets in the Way of Solving America's Transportation Problems: []

[See also: A financial analysis by the Center for American Progress found that about four out of 10 U.S. highways don't carry enough traffic to generate sufficient revenue to pay for their maintenance - let alone construction. (Advancing a Multimodal Transportation System by Eliminating Funding Restrictions:]

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> A new study (Driver Approach Speed and Its Impact on Driver Yielding to Pedestrian Behavior at Unsignalized Crosswalks: published by TRB, reveals that drivers are nearly four times more likely to yield for pedestrians at travel speeds around 20 miles per hour than at 40 mph. These findings bolster the case for more stringent speed enforcement. However, Tom Bertulis, the studys lead author, says this work can also improve the way designers deal with unsafe crossings. []

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> A pair of researchers at the University of Minnesota recently set out to test the theory that a connected bike network where bike lanes provide continuous routes between many possible destinations is a major determinant of how many people bike. What they actually found was a little unexpected. Connected bike infrastructure matters, according to the study, but not as much as the density of bike infrastructure. (The Missing Link: Bicycle Infrastructure Networks and Ridership in 74 US Cities: These findings suggest that cities hoping to maximize the impacts of their bicycle infrastructure investments should first consider densifying their bicycle network before expanding its breadth, the authors concluded. []

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Biking Elsewhere-> Vision Zero the idea that we should no longer accept traffic deaths and serious injuries is gaining momentum as a framework for thinking about city streets and transportation, as more American cities adopt the goal of ending traffic fatalities. But what actually constitutes a Vision Zero policy? What are the best strategies to dramatically reduce traffic violence? Which cities are doing it right, and which are talking the talk without walking the walk? A new organization, the Vision Zero Network (, seeks to help American cities adopt the most effective street safety policies. The organization launched last week under the leadership of Leah Shahum, former executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, with support from Kaiser Permanente. []
(See also a We the People Save 33,000 lives annually with Vision Zero policies petition to the Obama Administration. It needs 100,000 signatures by May 16, 2015 to require the Administration to review and respond to the petition:

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Federal survey planned on transit to recreation

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: Coming to a random mail box near you (if approved.)]

By Charles Pekow, Examinar

So how many people got to their recreational destinations by what form of transit? The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) wants to know and has proposed asking about it in its 2015 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). FHWA is taking public comments on the proposed survey, which needs permission from the Office of Management & Budget (OMB). FHWA announced the plan in the Federal Register of Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

FHWA wants to know who is using what form of transportation to get where they are going. FHWA plans to use the findings to help gauge factors such as safety, energy use, air pollution, congestion and safety; and to help determine research needs. It wants to know how many people are walking, biking, driving their own car or taking public transit to recreational and other destinations. FHWA also plans to share the data with state agencies so they can do the same type of evaluations.
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Tucson will pay $225,000 to settle a lawsuit involving an injurious pothole.

Biking ElsewhereBy Becky Pallack, Arizona Daily Star

"Ken Baarson was riding his bicycle on East Pima Street near North Sonoita Avenue in July 2012 when he thought he saw a puddle of muddy water. He tried to ride through it but the puddle turned out to be a deep pothole filled with water, caused by a leaking pipe under the pavement."

[B' Spokes: The city of Baltimore should take notice of this liability.]
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The Critical Ten

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: I'm posting this because I think the speed limit on the most northern part of Roland Ave (where Tom was killed) is too high. Why does anyone "need" to travel 35 mph for ~ 1/2 mile when the rest of the street is 25 mph?]
By Bill Lindeke, Streets MN

The problem is that for a good urban street, this muddy “middle ground” between ‘walkable’ and ‘driver’s paradise’ can sometimes be the worst of both worlds.



The Critical Difference Between 30 and 20

I’m talking about traffic speed. If you look at the average speed of traffic on a urban commercial streets, there are a lot of things that begin to change when you slow down cars from the 30 to 35 mile per hour range into the 20 to 25 mile per hour range. Most importantly, perception, reaction time, and crash outcomes are far better at 20 than at 30 mph, while traffic flow doesn’t seem to change very much.


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Biking Elsewhere-> This month, for at least the second time in a year, the Institute of Transportation Engineers has challenged its members to rethink common practices and metrics that are often thought of as objective and unbiased, but that convey values that arent necessarily in line with the greater public interest. In particular, these values emphasize the movement of vehicles above all other interests.

In an op-ed for this months ITE Journal (<a href=""></a>;), Jason DeGray, a licensed engineer and a member of the groups advocacy committee... argues that conventional approaches to engineering, developed over years of outward suburban growth, are particularly biased toward motorized road users--most noticeably in urban areas.

A feature article in the ITE Journals August 2014 issue, titled Decisions, Values, and Data: Understanding Bias in Transportation Performance Measures (<a href=""></a>;), gives an example of one such metric--level of service--explains precisely how it reflects values and biases inherent to transportation design... [<a href=""></a>;]
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