The out-of-town news thread
@Marko: that’s correct. Actually, AFAIK, in some cases the decision to allow a specific technology in a community is a conscious experiment, to evaluate the impact of said tech on a single community for a decade or two, before deciding whether it should be prohibited or encouraged on a wider scale.
To put some positive news out there, I just got back from Virginia Beach, a quick end of summer jaunt, and the place has been infested with bikes. Since last I was there, a decade ago, they have built a bike-only-lane adjacent to and the length of the beach walkway, and it is heavily used, AS WELL AS putting sharrows on the main drag. These are not mutually exclusive, rather, complementary.
Pic 2, normal people riding bikes on streets.
Pic 3, at one point there was a band with an immense party/gathering at which a large number of people had arrived by bike.
Pic 3a, gathering.
Pic 4, This is the “main drag” directly out from the gathering in Pic 3. There are 1,000+- live partying human beings just east of this photo. On my previous visits, this was a car-glogged pedestrian nightmare. I am hesitant to attribute direct causality, but worth considering. Aside from the bikes, drivers are now noticeably deferential to pedestrians, stopping well in advance of people in crosswalks. Mildly remarkable.
USA Today names Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Trail the “#1 Urban Trail” in the country: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-urban-trail/
News flash – Rush Limbaugh hates bike lanes.
 see bb’s link below
I don’t encourage anyone to click on the link and drive ad$ to his sight, but lots of folks listen to this blowhard while actually driving their two ton pollution machines, so be careful today in case one of his “followers” takes him seriously.
Scary close pass of cyclist in TX caught on video, and meh job of reporting. (pay attention to how fast cars fly past the reporter)
> Using donotlink.com instead of linking to questionable websites directly will prevent your links from improving these websites’ position in search engines.
http://www.donotlink.com/gc3y will take you to that rush limbaugh page (and your favourite ad-block and tracker-suppression extensions should do most of the rest).
Bike Boulevard, 40th Avenue E, in Minneapolis, MN – 5:33
Might’ve floated through a couple of stop signs, as seemingly most others were doing. Since I’ve returned to Pittsburgh, I’ve learned that there is a bit of an uproar out there over cyclists not obeying the rules of the road. So, if you go, follow the rules, as you do here in Pittsburgh.
You will see some Female Somali Pedestrians during the video. This part of Minneapolis has large Somali Community.
I biked in Montreal last week. A few observations:
Lots of bicycles. As a rough guess, perhaps 5 times the rate of cycling there as in Pittsburgh.
Lots of bike commuters.
Their bike share system (Bixi) is big (5200 bicycles) and very popular (2014 stats).
There were lots of women bicycling, lots of families biking.
Most cyclists wore no helmet, and no special bike clothes, except on weekends.
Most had no light, even at night. (It seemed unsafe, but apparently car drivers have learned to deal with it.)
It was very rare to see cyclists all lit up, with reflective vests and multiple lights.
I saw cyclists running red lights sometimes, probably at a higher rate than in Pittsburgh.
Most cyclists used the bike lanes and obeyed the traffic lights, same as in Pittsburgh.
Car drivers appeared to accept bicycles. I was never buzzed or honked at, and I didn’t see other cyclists get harassed by cars, either. Doing a similar ride in Pittsburgh, I would have been buzzed and honked at.
^I had a similar experience back in May, very positive.
One of the factors that I found that I believe has a huge impact is that in the city limits of Montreal, right turns on red are NOT allowed, as they are in the rest of Quebec. As a result, on a multi-lane street, a cyclist can take the right hand lane at a red light and there is NO pressure from an automobile to squeeze to the right – they can’t turn anyway. City centers everywhere need to seriously consider shit-canning rights-on-red.
Also, contrary to the concerns of vehicular cyclists (which I myself have shared) the existence of bike lanes in the city does not seem to have increased the tendency of drivers to demand that cyclists get in bke lanes. On non-bike-laned, non-sharrowed streets, there are nearly as many bikers, and drivers seem to have just learned to “deal with it”. My guess is that the bike lanes and sharrows have increased the total numbers of cyclists, drivers see them everywhere anyway, and drivers are more acclimatized to their presence.
The right-on-red rule has been around a while, but those of us with long memories can recall the days before it existed, roughly mid-to-late 1970s. The impetus for creating the exception, IIRC, was to lessen fuel use, as prompted by oil embargoes and steep increases in the price of gasoline. The 55 mph national speed limit was implemented at about the same time for the same reason.
I hadn’t thought about the idea of rescinding that rule in city centers. Slippery slope time, though: Where do you draw the line? Golden Triangle, seems pretty obvious. Various corners along Baum Blvd, do they qualify? It’s city, but higher speed, wider, and has a lot of bikes.
Having had drivers squeeze past me, or gun their engines or outright honk at me for not making a right on red, at various locations throughout the city, I’d say, yes, absolutely, _everywhere_.
Locations outside the Triangle may be higher speed, but that’s where it’s often even more dangerous to make such a turn, both for drivers and pedestrians. After all, if you’re busy looking for a car that you may be about to cut off at 35+ mph, you’ve less time to look for the pedestrian that might be trying to cross from your right.
Meanwhile, intersections along, say, Butler Street might be lower speed, but they’re also more likely to have cars parked in such a manner as to make it more difficult to see what’s coming. I’ve seen numerous near-accidents caused by drivers making a right-on-red onto Butler St in front of greenlit drivers that were hidden behind parked cars.
Right on red is suitable for high-visibility, low traffic intersections, where you can see that there’s no traffic coming that you need to wait for–and most of these should probably just be downgraded to stop signs.
The Golden Triangle area is full of “no turn on red” signs, and understandably so. There’s a few that are activated depending on the time of day. That drivers disregard these signs is a different matter
Conditions under which a no-turn-on-red sign is warranted.
There is now a no-turn-on-red sign on the SouthSide end of the hot metal bridge. see 1.vi
With so much trail activity at the end of the hot metal bridge that there was constant conflict for users trying to cross on the crosswalks to continue on the trail. I noticed the new no right on red signs there. Glad we got this fixed.
@benzo, the real fix would be to narrow the four lanes down to two right at the bridge. There is no need for the extra lanes for that small stretch (100 feet?) from the light to the bridge deck. You could also eliminate the left turns at this intersection by having turning traffic use the next intersection. If you are a car coming off the bridge into SS and wanted to head to the sports complex you would go to the second light, turn right, and loop back to the water street and proceed to your destination.
This would make crossing there a lot safer for everyone and have the added benefit of preventing cars from sneaking up the right lane and cutting off drivers getting onto the bridge heading toward Second Ave. Stand here during morning/evening rush and watch how often this happens. It’s amazing.
This fellow was the brother in law of a close friend and former housemate of ours. Ugh.
Not exactly news, but it goes to show that “problem drivers” have been a known problem for a long time:
Of particular interest to women, this story from the UK about getting pushed off the bike by a pedestrian but using the experience as empowerment.
Some good before/after stats
Developing Downtown Carlisle: The road diet and its lasting effects
Migrants fleeing Syria to Norway via Russia, partly on bicycles. [link]
More injuries and deaths as more adults bike: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/02/436662737/as-more-adults-pedal-their-biking-injuries-and-deaths-are-spiking-too
^here’s the JAMA link (though you can only see the first page)
Injuries increased from 96 per 100,000 to 123 per 100,000 (population, NOT cyclist only)
Hospitalizations increased from 5.1 per 100,00 to 11.2 per 100,000 (population, NOT cyclist only)
So you have a 0.01% chance of being hospitalized? Horrifying!
And from what I can tell the study does not take into account that more people are cycling now than in 1998 – they just found that more injuries are occurring within the total population.
I think the article is fair and not scare-mongering. It’s just pointing out that there’s been an increase in injuries and death. It discusses things cities are doing to make the streets safer for riders.
There’s an op-ed anti-bike column from a Boston Globe journalist making the rounds on the Twitters. I’d link it, but I’ve not read because it’s probably the same crap that we have heard a thousands times before. Apparently there’s even references to the All-powerful Bicycle Lobby!
No need to generate ad revenue for that.
The app works with a phone’s internal accelerometer to measure sudden changes in the bike’s motion, and record the offending pothole’s location and “intensity.” It then triggers the mounted paint dispenser to physically mark the spot in the road, using water soluble paint that washes away after a few days.
Edit: I don’t think we would have enough paint
Student uses Barbie Jeep to get around after DWI
Chicago bike-law blog: Ignore NPR, Bicycling Is Safe
A Los Angeles Plan to Reshape the Streetscape Sets Off Fears of Gridlock
Their mayor says:
“The old model of a car-centric, different-neighborhood-for-every-task city is in many ways slipping through our fingers whether we like it or not,” Mr. Garcetti said. “We have to have neighborhoods that are more self-contained. People want to be able to walk or bike or take transit to a movie.”
Big things may also be coming soon for California as a whole. Via Streetsblog: “A bill was introduced [Friday] to double the funding available for projects and programs that encourage people to walk or ride bikes by making streets and paths safe and comfortable for them.”
Ex-bishop who killed cyclist pleads guilty to manslaughter
A Los Angeles Plan to Reshape the Streetscape Sets Off Fears of Gridlock. The City Council has approved a far-reaching transportation plan that would reshape the streetscape over the next 20 years, adding hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes, bus-only lanes and pedestrian safety features as part of an effort to nudge drivers out from behind the wheel.
A Commuter Created a Protected Bike Lane with Potted Plants
Britain now has duck lanes
Tragic news out of Ventura County, CA. Emmy winning bicyclist and a motorcyclist killed by probably-distracted driver. Cyclist was riding on wide shoulder; motorcyclist headed in opposite direction on other side of street.
Edited to add: The story says the driver was going 55 mph. Prior to that corner, the road is posted 40. After that corner, there is no speed limit sign. So I don’t know if it’s 40 or 55. But at 5:30 p.m., it was broad daylight. And the road is a posted bike route.
Encouraging more people to drive by offering them protected car lanes: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/across-the-united-states-drivers-applaud-new-protected-car-lanes. (And, BTW, making the streets safer for the rest of us by getting cars out of our way.)
We’ve discussed about how exceptionally bad driving is nto a criminal offence – even with fatal consequences.
But we should be able to forbid people from ever driving again for a non-criminal event like that one. One advantage of it being non-criminal is the proof beyond a reasonable doubt would not be required.
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