Local news stories & LTE 2015
From the comments on the Brian O’Neill column:
“I ride eight miles a day, five days a week, no matter the weather. I wear headphones when I ride, so I don’t hear anything around me. And I ride in the comfort and safety of the YMCA in Murrysville, because I don’t want to risk death by riding in vehicular traffic.”
Funny. I think some of us would rather die than do a single pedal stroke on a stationary bike ;-)
Must be nice to live at the Y, so you don’t have to risk death by walking or driving there.
I feel a song coming on…
Eight miles on an exerbike- unless riding really slowly, that is not a lot of time.
I was really glad Brian wrote this- I know all of these points have been addressed numerous times in the comments sections, but maybe his pulling all of it together will reach more people. Maybe the lack of comments means people who don’t believe it now have nothing to say. Or then again, maybe no one read it either because the game or just because.
Vince Troia of the Ohio River Trail Council wrote an excellent comment (truncated, unfortunately) in response to Saturday’s neanderthal blame-the-victim letter to the Post-Gazette editor, http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2015/10/31/Ride-bicycles-on-trails-not-on-roadways/stories/201510310062:
Vincent Troia, Nov. 1
With all the ant-cycling sentiment in the news recently, it seems that most of the animosity is originating from non-cyclists that believe that cyclists do not belong on the road. Below is a response to their most common arguments:
1. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they are not licensed. There is a common law right for anyone including cyclists to use the public roads. Bicyclists are considered drivers of vehicles and therefore have the same rights to the road as motorists.
2. Cyclist do not belong on the road because only Drivers pay road taxes. Paying fuel and vehicle taxes does not give anyone, the right to use the roads and theses taxes do not fund the total cost of construction and maintenance of roads and highways. The balance is derived from bonds, property taxes, local taxes, and sales taxes. Thus, even if you do not drive a motorized vehicle, you are still paying for local roads and highways. Nevertheless, almost all bicyclists also drive cars and pay taxes. They also pay taxes for highways, which is a type of infrastructure that bicycles are not permitted to use. Furthermore, the actual cost of bicyclists using the road is minimal compared to the congestion and road damage created by cars and trucks. Since we all pay for streets, let us make them safe for all!
3. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they are only designed for motor vehicles. The fact is that roads should be designed with all legal vehicles in mind, including bicycles. Roads have been around for many thousands of years, and for much of that time, they have carried carts, horses, wagons, streetcars, buses, bikes, and automobiles. Roads can be designed to carry any type of traffic we determine is beneficial. Nevertheless, we have auto-oriented our roads to the degree that put every other mode of travel at a disadvantage. More troublingly, is that we have auto-oriented our minds, making it hard to imagine that things could ever be different. Since it is widely believed that roads are not for people on bikes, if a Bicyclist is killed, it is believed that it is due to their own fault. Motorists and Cyclists can coexist and will have to become more accustomed to Sharing-the-Road.
4. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they delay motor vehicle traffic. The truth is that cars cause most of the traffic delays. Often the motorist perceived delay due to a cyclist may be more illusory than real, as motorists often catch up to where they would have been and then wait at the next traffic light.
5. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they should only ride on paths. Bicycle paths are not built so Bicyclists can stay off the roads. Bicyclists are legally permitted to ride on the road and can safely do so when both the Motorists and Bicyclist obey the law, especially the speed limits and traffic lights.
6. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they only belong on the sidewalk. Bicycling on the sidewalk is very dangerous to both pedestrians and bicyclists, and is frequently illegal.
7. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they always break the law. Just because some bicyclists ignore the rules does not change the law, which says that bicyclists may use the road. The truth is that some Cyclists neglect to follow some of the rules, mostly rolling though stop signs and going through red lights when there is no cross traffic. It is also true that some Drivers do not always follow the rules, namely speeding, tailgating, not signaling, not stopping before a right turn, texting, failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, honking your horn just because you are angry, and yes, running red lights and rolling through stop signs. The fact that drivers break the law does not make it okay for Cyclists to do so. It is just that traffic laws are some of the most commonly disregarded rules. However, obeying the traffic laws makes both Drivers and Cyclists safer.
8. Cyclist do not belong on the road because they are dangerous. Cyclists have a responsibility to stay safe and look out for others, but Drivers are operating a powerful and heavy vehicle at a higher speed. Over the last ten years automobiles killed between 32,000 and 42,000, people a year. One solution is to redesign our streets to slow down motor vehicles. A person struck by a car at 25 miles per hour has a 10 percent risk of dying. At 40 mph that risk increases to 50 percent. A reduction in the speed limit from 40 mph to 25 mph only increases transit time by 9 minutes over a 10-mile distance. In places with high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists, speed limits can easily be reduced to save lives.
9. Bicycling infrastructure should not be built on roads since it causes more traffic congestion. With good design and implementation, cycling infrastructure fits easily into city roads and intersections. Cities have a finite size. Bikes and public transit are more space-efficient ways of moving large groups of people. We can try to keep squee
I haven’t checked back up on that LTE since Sunday morning. It seems like they finally fixed their comment section and now there are a total of 18. That is 18 comments blasting this stupid backwards letter and 0 for support.
I finally have a little more hope for humanity.
I was very impressed with Vince Troia’s write-up. He’s the trail guy for the ORTC, but it’s excellent to see him absolutely sledgehammer the case for road riding as well, especially in response to bullshit telling cyclists to ride on trails. Everyone everywhere should save his complete text to cut and paste anytime these boneheads come out of the woodwork.
Also I am very glad that many other intelligent people were able to comment. Bravissimo all.
“I am very glad that many other intelligent people were able to comment”
Well, except for a certain frequent commenter, who apparently is still upset that the Schenley Park cycle track screwed her out of her convenient, possibly free parking spot. Now she’s suggesting stuff like referendums for bike lanes. I mean, if you’re going to do referendums about bike infrastructure and its measly cost, well, we should do this for every single public project, right? Fortunately, she does not reside in the city, so she wouldn’t get a vote.
This is an important piece of legislation. If you don’t want some backwater southern politician determining your future, please let your representatives know where you stand. People like Ted Yoho (R – Florida) think like the author of the op-ed letter. They are looking to gain control and stop the tremendous progress that is being made. They believe things like I’ve heard come out of people’s mouths, “That Obama is turning us into a 3rd world country.” These people are not only ignorant but they are dangerous.
Thank you for supporting our effort.
Check our blog at bikeleague.org to find out what happens in the transportation debate, or join us on November 10th for our webinar on federal transportation policy – https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/3877635933194748162
We appreciate your interest and hope that you will consider helping us again in the future.
Your message has been sent to the following recipients:
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The content of your message is as follows:
[The message(s) you sent had each recipient’s salutation here]:
Please vote no on the Carter amendments 68 and 69 and Yoho amendment 158 to the transportation bill.
The underlying Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act includes a carefully constructed agreement on bicycling and walking funds. It rolls transportation alternatives into the surface transportation block grant while maintaining the local control aspects and competitive process that made transportation alternatives program effective at helping Mayors and communities fund their transportation priorities important to their communities.
The Carter and Yoho amendments undermine the Shuster-DeFazio compromise.Rep Carter has two amendments. #68 makes biking and walking projects ineligible for certain types of transportation funding. #69 compromises local small project funding, often used for bicycling and walking projects.
Representative Yoho’s amendment 158 would make the Recreational Trails Program ineligible for any transportation funding.
Thank you for your consideration.
We ask that you support the Shuster-DeFazio base bill and oppose the Carter and Yoho amendments.
Thanks, Dino. I copied/pasted that into an email to Keith Rothfus. He’s generally useless on most anything, but hey, I voiced my opinion through official channels. Not much else I can do.
Damn! Now ORT Vince stepping up HUGE on FB against anti-bike-lane bike-lash re the Trib/Freeport Road article! Huge! For those who do that: https://www.facebook.com/ohio.trail?fref=nf
Two PG LTE’s:
A snarky response to the Moon dude LTE:
Another one stating that cyclists will someday outnumber drivers:
This last one already includes a comment from someone who didn’t read the column by Brian O’Neill (or refuses to accept reality)
Update: Lewis Hardway, the Moon dude LTEr, has posted a comment on one of today’s LTEs. It basically confirms that he’s a troll.
No bikes involved — it’s a car-on-car — but WPXI gets props for calling this a “crash” rather than an accident
The fact that witnesses “saw the driver of the Subaru that caused the crash driving erratically for miles” (note, this identifies the driver, not the car, as erratic) and the bottle of vodka on the front seat of the Subaru might have helped with the “crash” interpretation.
No byline, alas, but good on WPXI. Let’s hope other news sources follow this good example
Another day, another cyclist killed. From the PG:
“A bicyclist was killed today when he collided with a tractor-trailer in Upper Burrell, Westmoreland County emergency officials said.”
Not much information there, but props to the PG for calling it what it is, a crash.
The way the article is phrased though makes it sound like the bike ran into the tractor trailer, which I have a hard time believing.
More info on the Upper Burrell crash here: http://myinforms.com/en-us/a/18709152-bicyclist-killed-in-crash-with-tractor-trailer-in-upper-burrell/
Upper Burrell crash has its own thread here: https://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/another-cyclist-killed-2
(but, seriously, y’all, use descriptive headlines on your threads…)
Travis Grayson, the 3-previous-underage-DUI driver who was drunk and stoned when he killed a six-year-old in Shaler six weeks ago, has waived prelim and will be arraigned next month, with trial date to be set then. Charges include DUI, homicide by vehicle, and aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI. http://www.post-gazette.com/local/north/2015/11/06/Man-20-to-stand-trial-in-6-year-old-Shaler-girl-s-death-millvale-locust-ridge-ava-campbell/stories/201511060235
Good news, but doesn’t exactly break the trend of only drunks get charged with killing people with their cars…
From today’s sports section (in the article Bad Memories) :
An Aussie gets his wheels
Jordan Berry is 24, and the Steelers punter. He has never driven a car. Last week, he finally got his driver’s license learner’s permit. Until now, he never felt he needed a driver’s license.
“Just growing up we have really good public transport in Australia,” said Berry, who attended Melbourne High School in South Yarra, Victoria, Australia. “We don’t even drive — apart from football games. Maybe once every two or three months we’d drive somewhere.
“I just caught the train to school every day and rode my bike to football practice and stuff.”
He needed no more than his bike when he attended Eastern Kentucky University and that was his mode of transportation since arriving here in the spring. But it’s November and Berry figures his bike-riding days in Pittsburgh’s streets could become a tad more difficult through the winter.
“I don’t want to be doing that in the snow,” Berry said. “I settled in here and I need to get a car before the snow hits, so I’d rather get it done now.”
He figures it will take a month or two before he can get his real driver’s license from the state.
“I’ll take some lessons because I don’t want to be driving around crazy. I don’t want to be one of those people.”
Ed Bouchette: email@example.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.
Bike as a transportation…
This is a picture showing Rock Werchter Festival near Brussel
This was honeymoon travel through Europe
Originals (and story) are here (in Russian).
Bike Pgh posted a message summarizing bikelash debates in the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review: “Advocates duke it out in Newpapers’ Opinion Sections”:
Letter in PG
Shifting vehicle traffic would stop these tragedies
The paragraph structure of Kreckel’s letter seemed very odd and contorted until I realized: This letter is a rewrite of Lewis Hardway’s misguided rant http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2015/10/31/Ride-bicycles-on-trails-not-on-roadways/stories/201510310062. (From my PG comment: Hardway’s flawed “logic” was that a car driver recklessly plowed into others, killing a cyclist that was doing everything right, therefore bicycles shouldn’t be on the roads. Here we have Philip Kreckel altering Hardway’s words but reaching a different conclusion: that reckless car drivers killed cyclists and pedestrians that were doing everything right, therefore cars shouldn’t be on the roads.)
Oakland bicyclists, why are you suicidal?
^wow. Shaler represent. seemingly intelligent people should know not to throw their car doors open into lanes of traffic without checking if the space is occupied by another human being. that said, this is generally speaking why I choose not to filter.
There was also the letter below.
Some bicyclists are careless and create hazards
City Paper: “Advocates pushing for greater driver accountability in car/bike crashes”
There’s a lot of good reporting in that City Paper story. Thanks for posting it.
Notably, “PennDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Roy Gothie says that at a September meeting, PennDOT requested that a bicycle subcommittee re-evaluate the segment of Route 51 where crashes have occurred. “
From back on page 11:
Restoration work for Allegheny Landing on the North Shore, between the Clemente and Warhol bridges….Includes reconditioning the busted circular plaza on the trail this year, and work on the trail in 2016.
Email via the North Side Bike/Ped Committee:
TOMORROW, 11/17 at 6pm, we’ll be meeting at the Allegheny Landing reconstruction site to walk and discuss the upcoming trail detour with Addy Smith-Reiman and Vivian Li from Riverlife. If you consistently use the trail, you may be interested in giving input about this.
(ETA: And, of course, that email was received yesterday. The meeting is actually this evening.)
This might be of interest. There’s a searchable database of violations notices in Pittsburgh now: http://communitysafety.pittsburghpa.gov/Search.aspx
Jogger Attacked & Robbed Along South Side Riverfront Trail
Jogger robbed, pistol-whipped on South Side Riverfront Trail
Matt Bauman’s recent analysis of traffic on Forbes sparks citywide safety effort:
Body found along riverfront called suspicious death
Combine this with the recent attack in south side (which seems suspicious), and it seems that paying attention to your surroundings should be observed more than usual.
@rustyred, this is that section of the Strip District trail that currently has inoperable lighting fixtures. These are, per Deb Gross, going to be fixed soon.
I remember seeing a man hanging out by himself in this area on Monday night. Grey-ish beard, 40s, I think wearing a baseball hat. I’m wondering if it could be the same person
2 Not-To-Miss Cycling Events In The Next 10 Days
Slightly crushed to see a post of this sort not including the Chanukah ride in 13 days (can you believe it!?). Included as the first comment. Someone upvote the comment because of ride awesomeness before someone else downvotes me for leaving what’s basically an annoying ad.
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