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Sunday, September 25 2016 @ 10:33 PM UTC

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Cars vs Bicycles – The Motorist’s Warped View Actually Reveals the Problem

Biking ElsewhereVia The Warrior Factor

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Five key grievances were made in an editorial in Melbourne’s major newspaper, the Herald Sun, today. Some are actually genuine. The problem is that the motorist’s fury is poorly directed. The true culprit is decades of government inaction, over zealous nanny state regulations, and an obsession with turning cyclists into “vehicles”.

THE MOTORIST

The road was made for cars. It’s a road that’s slowly being shrunk and chopped up so bike lanes and Lycra-friendly nooks can be carved into parking spaces across the city. As a motorist I don’t mind sharing the road. With other cars. But cyclists often take things too far, and I’m not just talking about their leg grooming habits. Some of the things they do on the road simply drive me mad. So here they are.

1) WHEN YOU TAKE UP A QUARTER OF A LANE YOU MIGHT AS WELL TAKE UP THE WHOLE LANE
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2) DON’T TOUCH MY CAR
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3) YOU CAN SEE ME INDICATING SO WHY PULL UP NEXT TO ME?
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4) YOU WANT ROAD? OBEY ROAD LAWS
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5) YOU GO SLOWER THAN CARS SO DON’T PRETEND YOU’RE A CAR
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<a href="https://warriorfactor.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/cars-vs-bicycles-the-motorists-warped-view/">https://warriorfactor.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/cars-vs-bicycles-the-motorists-warped-view/</a>;
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[B' Spokes: Some of the responses here are great. Keep this kind of thinking in mind so next time an anti cycling letter appears in the paper we can call it out for what it is.]
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Injustice at the Intersection

Biking ElsewhereBy Benjamin Ross, Dissent

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The rules for pedestrian crossings nationwide are set out in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, known to specialists as the MUTCD. Chapter 4C specifies when red lights can be installed. One rule concerns vehicle traffic that approaches busy highways from a side street. It takes 240 cars in four hours to justify a traffic signal.

Under the same conditions, at least 300 people must walk across the main road before a red light can be installed. A pedestrian, in other words, counts for four-fifths of a driver.*

Even then, no signal is allowed if there is another light within 300 feet. This distance is considered a short enough detour to impose on pedestrians, even though, at a steady pace, a 600-foot round trip on foot takes two-and-a-half minutes. Drivers’ time is valued quite differently: engineers classify an intersection as “failing” if an average car is delayed in rush hour by a minute twenty seconds.
If pedestrians don’t use the crossing because it is unsafe, moreover, no light may be installed. Determining where to install traffic lights by counting people who step onto a dangerous highway, critics point out, is like deciding whether a bridge is needed by observing how many people swim across the river.

Absent a traffic light, might Cobb County at least paint simple crosswalk stripes at the Nelsons’ bus stop? No, it may not. The 2009 revision of the MUTCD banned new crosswalk markings on roads where heavy traffic moves faster than 40 miles per hour—just the sort of environment where the only people likely to walk are those who cannot afford a car.

The ostensible rationale for this edict rests on a little known and less enforced provision of traffic law. In most states, a pedestrian crossing the road at an intersection with no traffic signal always has the right of way, whether or not there are stripes on the pavement. Pedestrians, therefore, should need no help getting across the street. In theory, markings exist only to prevent collisions by warning drivers of the need to stop. But in a massive federal study, researchers observed that, in practice, “very few motorists stopped or yielded to pedestrians either before or after marked crosswalks were installed” at intersections with no traffic light.

This much, surely, was already obvious to anyone who’s ever navigated the suburbs on foot. But the study’s conclusion was somewhat more surprising: on roads with four or more lanes, pedestrians were more likely to be hit by drivers in a marked crosswalk than when crossing at a corner without crosswalk markings.
...

They concluded that the absence of stripes makes it safer to walk across wide roads.

Not only does this defy common sense, but the highway officials’ own behavior contradicts it. Their safety campaigns never advise pedestrians to avoid striped crosswalks and cross at unmarked intersections.
...

<a href="http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/injustice-intersection-suburbs-traffic-engineering-poverty">http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/injustice-intersection-suburbs-traffic-engineering-poverty</a>;
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DECLINING WALKABILITY: BIG ROLE IN CHINA'S OBESITY PROBLEM

Biking Elsewhere-&gt; According to a Nov.17th CityLab article, &quot;In China's rapidly changing urban landscape, the Chinese middle class may be bearing the greatest burden when it comes to the connection between the way their cities are being built and rates of obesity, a new study suggests.

&quot;A paper recently published in the journal Preventive Medicine (Walking, Obesity and Urban Design in Chinese Neighborhoods: <a href="http://bit.ly/1xmYmcW">http://bit.ly/1xmYmcW</a>;) examines the connections between obesity, income, and the built environment in two of China's major cities, Shanghai and Hangzhou. The research team is headed up by Mariela Alfonzo, an assistant research professor at the NYU School of Engineering and a Fulbright scholar who has spent years developing measures of walkability in the United States and is now expanding that work to China.

&quot;Alfonzo and her colleagues found that, as in other countries, there is a link between neighborhood designtheir walkabilityand levels of physical activity among residents. They also found, however, that the relationship between income, obesity, and physical activity is not a linear one in China. There, the poorest and the most affluent were both less likely to be obese than the middle class...&quot;

Source: <a href="http://bit.ly/1EYEg9n">http://bit.ly/1EYEg9n</a>;

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling &amp; Walking.
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Poll: Support for Active Transportation Funding Is High Across Party Lines

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

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image
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http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/08/poll-support-for-active-transportation-funding-is-high-across-party-lines/
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LAKEWOOD (OH): NO SCHOOL BUSES, ALMOST ALL WALK TO SCHOOL

Biking Elsewhere-&gt; According to an article in the November issue of Governing, &quot;In a nation where few students still walk to school, how has Lakewood, Ohio, gone without school buses for so long? Lakewood doesn't have any school buses and it never has.

&quot;There are a few reasons why Lakewood may be the nation's unofficial walk-to-school capital. Density, for one... the city of 52,000 has 9,000 residents per square mile.... As Lakewood grew, the city opted against setting up a school bus system, focusing instead on building schools to fit within the community. Most of the schools are multistory buildings on relatively small lots, making them easier to incorporate into residential neighborhoods. As the facilities aged over the years, officials chose to restore and upgrade the existing structures, rather than build sprawling new single-story campuses.
&quot;In Lakewood, there's another benefit to having everyone walk: The city saves a fortune on school buses. When Lakewood does need to provide transportation for students -- for field trips, out-of-town games and so on -- it contracts with the nearby town of Olmsted Falls. But all told, the Lakewood school district spends about $500,000 a year on transportation, about $1 million less than comparable school districts...&quot;

Source: <a href="http://bit.ly/11ByuhU">http://bit.ly/11ByuhU</a>;

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling &amp; Walking.
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A pedestrian bridge that's more than a bridge.

Biking Elsewhere&quot;The design of this three-level pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but It was a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views.&quot;

<a href="http://realiran.org/irans-largest-pedestrian-bridge-inaugurates-tehran/">http://realiran.org/irans-largest-pedestrian-bridge-inaugurates-tehran/</a>;
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Cycling Is Creating More Jobs in Europe Than Automakers Are in the U.S.

Biking ElsewhereBy Taylor Hill, Takepart

Want to lower greenhouse gas emissions, get fit, and create new jobs? Ride a bike.

That’s the finding of the first comprehensive study on Europe’s cycling industry , which details a cycling economy that employs more than 655,000 people in industries such as retail, manufacturing, infrastructure investment, and tourism.

On just two wheels, the industry is creating more jobs than Europe’s high-fashion footwear industry (388,000 jobs), its well-established steel sector (410,000), and the United States’ Big Three automobile companies (Ford , General Motors , and Chrysler ) combined (510,000).
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<a href="http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/12/03/not-just-health-and-fitness-cycling-has-created-650000-jobs-europe">http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/12/03/not-just-health-and-fitness-cycling-has-created-650000-jobs-europe</a>;
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DENMARK: COMPREHENSIVE, EFFECTIVE PROGRAM TREATS CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Biking Elsewhere-&gt; According to a Nov. 8th BBC News article, &quot;Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic, but it is not easy to treat. Now a scheme proven to help children shed pounds by asking them and their families to make numerous lifestyle changes has been adopted across Denmark.

&quot;A Danish pediatrician claims his pilot project has made a significant breakthrough in the battle against childhood obesity. The scheme, in the town of Holbaek, has treated 1,900 patients and helped 70% of them to maintain normal weight by adjusting about 20 elements of their lifestyles. The way it tackles all aspects of the children's lives - and those of their families - sets it apart from traditional 'small steps' approaches to losing weight...
&quot;At the beginning of the programme, children are admitted to hospital for 24 hours for extensive testing, including body scans to measure their body fat. They also answer a detailed questionnaire about their eating habits and behaviour patterns... The programme requires wholesale changes in lifestyle to defeat the body's natural resistance to losing fat, and each child has a personalised treatment plan which targets 15-20 daily habits [including bicycling or walking to school]...&quot;

Source: <a href="http://bbc.in/1xCDL5Y">http://bbc.in/1xCDL5Y</a>;

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling &amp; Walking.
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Stop Obsessing Over the Gas Tax and Change How We Fund Transpo

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

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The Highway Trust Fund has more problems than just its 1950s-era name. Funded by the federal gas tax, the trust fund is becoming obsolete over time, as efficiency gains and declining miles-traveled sap its size. The Eno Center for Transportation says it’s time to rethink the entire system.

In a new report [PDF ], Eno compares the U.S. method of funding transportation to that of five peer countries. Ours is the only one that still pretends to rely on a “user-pay” system. (Yes, pretends: The last six years of constant last-ditch infusions from the general fund, totaling $65 billion, have exposed that particular myth.)
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Eno argues that the Highway Trust Fund skews funding decisions by introducing petty conflicts ... “These challenges have historically overshadowed substantive arguments over policy and hindered the tying of federal funds to national goals or performance measures,” according to the report.
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<a href="http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/04/eno-stop-obsessing-over-the-gas-taxaand-change-how-we-fund-transpo/">http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/04/eno-stop-obsessing-over-the-gas-taxaand-change-how-we-fund-transpo/</a>;
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JUST ANOTHER PEDESTRIAN KILLED

Biking ElsewhereBY CHARLES MAROHN, Strong Towns

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The accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. as the woman, her daughter and her niece came out of the library and attempted to cross directly across the street to the parking where their car was parked, Delaney, public information officer for the department, said.

They were hit in one of the westbound lanes as they attempted to cross near the front steps of the library, some distance away from the nearest crosswalk at the signalized intersection of State and Chestnut Streets.
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Costa said there used to be a crosswalk there some years ago, marked by an orange traffic barrel. Even then, however, the association lobbied for something even more visible, she said.

The crosswalk was removed, however, and a hedge and chain fence were installed directly in front of the library to encourage those seeking walk across State Street to do so at the Chestnut Street intersection, Costa said.
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Here’s what I am just fed up with:

* The engineering profession is so worried about liability if they vary from any highway design guideline, regardless of how ridiculous they are. Someone needs to sue these engineers for gross negligence and turn that entire liability equation around. It’s way past time.

* Professional engineers here and elsewhere use “forgiving design” principles in urban areas where they do not apply. They systematically forgive the mistakes of drivers who stray from their lane or go off the roadway by designing systems where these common mistakes are anticipated and compensated for. They systematically show indifference to the easily anticipated mistakes of non-drivers. A kid playing in their yard chases a stray ball out into the street and gets run down. To the engineer, this is a non-foreseeable, non-preventable accident. For everyone else, we understand that cities are more than cars – they include people doing all kinds of complex things – and forgiving the common mistakes of ALL people is what a humane, decent professional does.

* Professional engineers claim that they cannot alter human behavior with their street designs. A highway lane width is 13 feet just the same as your local street lane width. There is often no appreciable difference in the cross section of a highway and a local street except for the posted speed limit, which is up to the police to enforce. (I wrote about this years ago .) Despite this, the engineers in this situation – knowing there was an obvious problem – as well as many others in similar situations, put their brains to work to come up with all kinds of ways to attempt to alter human behavior, but only for those humans outside of their automobiles. For humans not in a car, we erect fences, hedges and other barriers to get them to go where we think best. Which is it, engineers? Are we behavioral scientists or not?

I’m fed up with people being killed because my profession contains a bunch of dogmatic idiots.
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<a href="http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/12/3/just-another-pedestrian-killed">http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/12/3/just-another-pedestrian-killed</a>;

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