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Friday, March 31 2017 @ 12:34 AM UTC

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GUIDE TO BENEFITS OF BICYCLING

Biking Elsewhere-> A recent Biking Expert blog, Ultimate Guide To The Benefits Of Biking, includes health, environmental, financial and social benefits. http://bit.ly/2krRlZU

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Ohio gets a 3' foot passing law and a better safety message

Bike LawsThe law states that when a bicyclist is in the roadway or riding on the yellow line along the shoulder, motorists will need to cross the center lane to pass a bicyclist safely. And if the traffic is not clear, or a blind hill is approaching, the motorist would be legally required to slow down behind the bicyclist until it’s safe to pass.

[From http://www.whio.com/news/new-law-starts-today-drivers-must-move-over-pass-bicyclists/LDAsIKqd7T96mn6bHvCjfL/ ]

B' Spokes: Maryland's law says basically pass safely unless... And if you don't understand the legal technical terms (like too many police) it might as well say pass safely unless you can't. But my main point in sharing this they specified that sometimes it is necessary to slow down and wait behind a cyclists till you can pass safely.
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11 Ways to Make Streets Safe for Walking

Biking Elsewhereby Jay Walljasper, AARP Livable Communities

[B' Spokes: Just the headlines and some comments where noted.]

1. Reduce the number of car lanes on wide streets
[B' Spokes: I amazed of the number of roads with no dedicated left turns (or bi-directional center turn lanes) and since I started driving these roads they're just a slalom race course with just one lane weaving around people turning left and right. I'll assert that we can do this and traffic will flow smoother as well as fewer crashes.]

2. Reduce the width of car lanes
[B' Spokes: Studies have shown that 10'-11' laves are safer than the standard 12' lanes. The challenge before us to get DOTs to acknowledge that 10' lanes are fine and there is zero benefit in giving cars more lane width than that while taking away width from adjacent bike facilities.]

3. Reduce the length of crosswalks
[B' Spokes: This also has the benefit of eliminating high speed right turns by cars that pedestrians are expected to cross with limited visibility and often with a false green walk signal while cars have to look to their left to merge while ignoring pedestrians on the right. And they call that a safe design accommodating pedestrians?]

4. Make crosswalks more visible
[B' Spokes: Meanwhile SHA and other localities are content with near invisible crosswalks (just transverse lines that are too easily confused with how stop bars look.)]

5. Add medians or pedestrian islands in the middle of busy streets

6. Give walkers a head start at traffic lights
[B' Spokes: I can just hear DOT "You mean slow down traffic 2-3 seconds at every signal crossing" No, start pedestrian crossing 3 seconds earlier and you can end it 3 seconds earlier. ]

7. Ban right-turns-on-red
[B' Spokes: This was started as a way to save gas with absolutely no overall gas savings observed because getting to the next light sooner does not save gas, that is unless you travel in circles a lot. I will also assert that right-on-red prevents others down stream from utilizing the break in traffic. At all un-signalized intersections and driveways that are downstream others are delayed by what one person saved. I call this traffic diarrhea, I can't be the only one waiting to merge or cross two lanes of same direction traffic to be held up by essentially just one lane traffic that keeps just dribbling by with no clear break. Thanks right-on-red for your inconvenience.]

8. Install speed humps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming measures
[B' Spokes: I find it rather ironic because motorist can't control their need for speed impulses so government is expected to speed even more money on roads. But heaven forbid government sets automated enforcement and starts fining drivers for their disregard for traffic laws and others safety.]

9. Convert one-way streets to two-way
[B' Spokes: I have mixed feelings on this because I like biking on the left side of one way streets (yes that is legal in Maryland) and I can say without a doubt people know where the right side of their vehicle is a lot better than the left side. And those goes double for those that bought a huge black SUV for their safety and then go around intimidating other road user either on purpose or just because they have no idea where their car is on the road.]

10. Install red-light cameras and other safety tools
[B' Spokes: We live in a place where "Cars are not ATMs." is somehow a valid retort for automated enforcement. We have got a lot of education that needs to be done so safety is preferred over speed.]

11. Stricter enforcement of traffic laws
[B' Spokes: There is no doubt in my mind that how our roads are designed leave too much sympathy for "Of course while you're driving you had no choice but to kill that pedestrian or cyclists." Heck we have a hard time getting anyone in the state to put into writing "If a cyclists is in your way (they have a legal right to the road the same as drivers) you must slow down and wait for a safe opportunity to pass."]

You can read AARP thoughts on each item here:
http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/getting-around/info-2017/11-Ways-to-Make-Streets-Safe-for-Everyone.html
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Bicyclists aren’t as awful as drivers seem to think, study says

Biking ElsewhereBy DANIKA WORTHINGTON, Denver Post

...
“Scofflaw bicyclists tend to be rational individuals trying to function safely and efficiently, even if it means they are doing so illegally, given the social norms of where they live and the transportation system put in front of them,” the study read.

Ironically, studies show that drivers and pedestrians break the same, if not more, traffic laws than bicyclists do. But Johnson said many drivers don’t bike so lack empathy for two-wheelers.
...

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/15/bicyclists-drivers-study/

[B' Spokes: Some of the craziest accusations I have seen are where people flipping out over cyclists not "stopping" (because they did not put their foot on the ground) but meanwhile motorist were not coming to a complete stop either. My assertion is that a car going 30mph slowing to 8mph looks safer to motorists than a cyclists going 10mph slowing to 8mph. And that's just one example where the same thing has different safety perceptions depending on the bias of the observer.]
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Possibility of Passage Dims for State Bill Calling for Pedestrian Traffic Beacons

Bike Lawshttp://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Beat/2017/Possibility-of-Passage-Dims-for-State-Bill-Calling-for-Pedestrian-Traffic-Beacons/

B' Spokes: I just read the article above and I am upset. There are lots of studies for Traffic Beacons and non that I have read have reported the doom that SHA has made up. Time and time again they play an imaginary game of traffic safety in their head and come out against any improvements for bike/PED safety. Anyone else remember their stance against giving cyclists the right-of-way in bikes because what if there was a bike lane through an uncontrolled intersection? For the readers at home we don't put bike lanes through intersections but SHA came up with this imaginary thing just to be against giving us the right-of-way. And they are making stuff up again.

Maryland traffic deaths are 23% pedestrian, that's high, very high. Things like Traffic Beacons would help.
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QUOTES R US

Biking Elsewhere"As cities across the country have shown again and again, the best way to ensure that speeds are compatible with city life is by redesigning streets to better, safer standards, and by enforcing speed limits with automated technology. Too often, outdated state and federal policies incentivize the opposite approach: creating wide spaces for fast-moving vehicles, ignoring people walking, biking, and crossing our streets. Humans are distractible. People will make mistakes, and some crashes are inevitable. Safer street designs can ensure that human errors do not result in needless deaths."
—Linda Bailey, Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) in responding to an estimate of 2016 traffic deaths by the National Safety Council. http://bit.ly/2m6LZEi

"In our downtown we're at capacity. We just don't have the physical ability to expand for people who are driving alone. Our strategy is rethinking the best use of the existing lanes in our downtown. Whether that's transit lanes when we need the capacity, that gives priority and the advantage for those buses. We're also really thinking about pedestrians— they need to get off the bus and get were they need to go. So improving the conditions on the street. We've instituted lower operating speeds for our downtown, wider crosswalks, more time for people to cross, better bike facilities, better predictability."
—Dongho Chang, Seattle City Traffic Engineer, commenting on only 30% of downtown commuters driving alone. http://bit.ly/2kSgZ6A

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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PED BEG BUTTON FRUSTRATION IN EDMONTON, CANADA

Biking Elsewhere-> An Edmonton (Canada) Journal article reports on the disconnect between the walkable culture Edmonton says it celebrates and "beg buttons" — the pedestrian signal lights that never give a walk sign until a person hits the button and waits. They are especially frustrating on popular bus routes where people may wait up to two minutes for the walk signal while watching their bus pull up, stop and drive off.

Edmonton now has official guidelines calling for these beg buttons to be eliminated in high-pedestrian locations. The first was The Way We Move Complete Streets Guidelines (http://bit.ly/2m6WgA7). The more recently adopted Winter Design Guidelines (http://bit.ly/2m6WwPS) echoed the call. A third set of guidelines, the Edmonton Main Streets Guideline (http://bit.ly/2m6MMVB), says lights on walkable shopping strips should put pedestrians first. http://bit.ly/2m6V5AH

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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'Grey graffiti' gang hit streets of Levenshulme to spray paint potholes and damaged pavements

Biking ElsewhereVia Manchester Evening News (via CenterLines)

An army of ‘grey graffiti’ artists have hit the streets of Manchester to spray paint wonky pavements and potholes pensioners could hurt themselves on.

The gang of elderly Mancunians have been pounding the pavements in Levenshulme , spray cans in hand, to highlight trip hazards and other problems that could cause older generations mobility problems.
...

[B' Spokes: A fine example of tactical urbanism]

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/grey-graffiti-gang-hit-streets-11016337
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Unpacking the rise in traffic deaths

Biking ElsewhereBy Chris McCahill, State Smart Transportation Imitative

Traffic deaths shot up for the second straight year in 2016, according to recent estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC). Total fatalities are estimated to have surpassed 40,000 for the first time since 2007, marking a six percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent increase over 2014.

SSTI anticipated this alarming trend last year, pointing to the clearest cause: an uptick in driving. Over the last two years, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 6.4 percent, following a decade of historically low levels. As we noted last year, the strengthening economy has motivated people to drive more, but it also exacerbates the associated risk.
...

http://www.ssti.us/2017/03/unpacking-the-rise-in-traffic-deaths/
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How Engineering Standards for Cars Endanger People Crossing the Street

Biking ElsewhereBy Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

...
The signal timing that puts pedestrians at risk is baked right into traffic engineering conventions, Furth told the Boston City Council in December [PDF]:

Synchro, the standard software [traffic engineers] use, is based on minimizing auto delay, and it doesn’t even calculate pedestrian delay. “Level of Service” criteria give engineers an incentive to minimize auto delay, often at the expense of pedestrian service (which isn’t measured). That’s how we get designs with 30 second delay for cars with 120 second delay for pedestrians.
...

Part of the problem, Furth says, is that transportation engineers have standards for measuring motorist delay but not pedestrian delay. He has developed a tool to assess delay at intersections for pedestrians and cyclists, recommending that Boston weigh those factors in its signal timing.

Disregard for the walking environment is also embedded in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices — a point of reference for engineers. The MUTCD does not require pedestrian-specific signals at crossings, treating them as a judgment call even in urban locations.

The MUTCD does not even “warrant” (i.e. allow) a signalized crossing for pedestrians unless at least 93 people per hour try to cross the street, or five people were struck by drivers within a year.

Meanwhile, there are no such thresholds for motor vehicle signals. Regardless of traffic counts, the MUTCD gives engineers permission to install traffic signals on major streets to “encourage concentration and organization of traffic flow” — i.e. to make things go smoother for drivers.

Ian Lockwood, an engineer with the Toole Design Group, said this institutional bias helps explain why the U.S. has struggled to reduce traffic deaths.

“When a traffic engineer says they’ve optimized a traffic signal, that typically means they made it the best for the motorists,” he said. “There’s a pro-speed, pro-automobile bias that’s built into the traffic engineering culture dealing with these sorts of issues.”

When a pedestrian is killed, Lockwood says, engineers tend to blame the victim for not complying with the standard road design, instead of questioning how the street design created deadly risks.

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/03/03/how-engineering-standards-for-cars-endanger-people-crossing-the-street/
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