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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
  Bike Hut on Tunitas Creek Road is officially open!
By Alison Chaiken 
The Bike Hut interior

The Bike Hut on Tunitas Creek Road is a rest stop, picnic area, watering hole and snack bar for cyclists riding up Tunitas Creek Road on the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area. Since the area has little retail and Tunitas is quite a climb, the advent of the facility is welcome news to the local cycling community. We first got wind of the Bike Hut last fall, and now, prodded by the passage of the Tour of California, the Bike Hut is officially open. The proprietors (who also run Potrero Nuevo Farm) are friendly, so stop by and check the place out.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008
  Rain cover bicycle rack
By Yokota Fritz 
Here's a bicycle rack with a built in rain cover for the saddle.

Seen in Copenhagen. Photo by David Baker and used here with his kind permission.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008
  Dana Point bike lane
By Yokota Fritz 
As posted to Fail Blog...

Dana Point, California. At least there's room for cyclists to get around the sign. Props to my buddy Jonah.


Friday, May 02, 2008
  Stupidest bike lane followup
By Yokota Fritz 
Andy Bowers of SlateV talks about the response to his stupidest bike lane video. It's pretty funny.

Via Streetsblog.


Monday, March 31, 2008
  Stupid bike lanes
By Yokota Fritz 
Everybody is talking about the stupidest bike lane video, but Karl in the UK posts a video of his 10 meter bike lane in the UK.

Do you know of any shorter? Via Carlton.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007
  Traffic lights and bicycles: The technical explanation
By Yokota Fritz 
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed AB 1581 into law, which requires all new traffic actuated signals to detect bicycles and motorcycles after Caltrans adopts uniform standards, specifications and guidelines for these kinds of traffic signals.

Traffic engineer Bob Shanteau is an avid cyclist and active cycling advocate. He will present this paper on "Detecting Bicycles and Motor Vehicles Using the Same Loop Detector" next Tuesday at the state capital on the detection of bicycle traffic using inductive loops. Bob has asked for input on his paper; if you have any constructive feedback, please feel free to email him or comment here. He also plans to publish this as an article in WesternITE, the newsletter for the Western Region of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

The paper is somewhat technical, but describes in great detail how the various inductive loops work, the challenges of various designs with respect to cyclists and where we ride, and his experiments with new designs in the city of Monterey, California.

I'm looking forward to seeing Bob's recommendations translated into state guidelines for traffic signal actuators that work well with bicycles.

How loop traffic light detectors work

Loops of wires are embedded in the road surface. You can often see the saw cuts where the wires are installed at intersections. An electrical current passes through the loop, creating a magnetic field. When a conducting object -- such as a car, motorcycle, or bicycle -- intersects this magnetic field, electrical currents are actually created within the metal object. This electricity in turn creates its own magnetic field in the opposite direction from that created by the loop, resulting in decreased magnetism. When the magnetic level drops below a preset threshold, the actuator is tripped.

If the threshold is too low, traffic in adjacent lanes can trip the actuator and incorrectly trigger a signal light change. Unfortunately, this threshold is often too low to detect bicycles and even motorcycles. In his paper, Bob makes recommendations for inductive loop configurations, loop placement, markings, and engineering practices for setting threshold levels.
Photo Credit: "I'm Going To Be An Actuator" by Hen Waller. Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" license.


Thursday, September 06, 2007
  Bike lane passing lane
By Yokota Fritz 
These passing lanes in the bicycle lane in Portland are kind of cute:

The new markings include side-by-side bike lane symbols to denote the passing lane and skip-striping both where the lane widens (and then narrows) and to separate the slow and fast lanes. The new striping was done to facilitate easier and safer passing on an uphill portion of one of Portland's most congested bikeways. More info at BikePortland here and here.

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Monday, August 27, 2007
  Motorist's brilliant suggestion to improve bike lanes
By Yokota Fritz 
From "Letters to the Editor" in the Menlo Park Almanac, August 22, 2007. This motorist clearly misunderstood the answer to his question and the problem. There's debris in the bike lane precisely because it's been swept there from the passing cars and trucks.

Bike safety in Portola Valley

I have asked various bike riders for their views on certain safety issues.

Q. Why do many bikers ride directly on the white line of the bike lane rather than within the lane?

A. Debris can be seen and avoided.

Based on the foregoing, one might ask why not put the white line of the bike lane in the middle so debris could readily be seen, and double yellow lines on the outside to delineate the lane, thus encouraging both the bikes and the autos to stay out of each other's lanes.

Name Withheld
Santa Maria Avenue, Portola Valley

Posted to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition mailing list.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
  John Forester speaks at Google
By Yokota Fritz 
John Forester gave a talk on bicycle transportation on Bike To Work Day at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Forester started with a brief history on how transportation effects city size, shape, and design.

Then Forester gives his somewhat snarky take on the history of bike lanes in California. Given that he got involved in bicyclist activism when he was arrested for disobeying a mandatory sidewalk riding law in Palo Alto in the 60s, his attitude is understandable. In the Q&A, somebody asks about the bike facilities in the Netherlands, San Francisco and Davis, CA; stop signs for traffic calming; the effectiveness of bike lanes in informing motorists of cyclists;. Watch the entire one-hour-long video on Google Video.

In related news, many folks have been following the case of David Prokop in Los Angeles, in which Forester acted as an expert witness for Prokop. Prokop was riding on a Los Angeles bike trail when he bumped into a fence, lost control, and was injured. He filed suit, contending that poor design by the city led to the crash. The state Court of Appeals ruled on the appeal yesterday, deciding that the City of Los Angeles is not liable for damages, ruling that California Class I Bikeways are not subject to state standards for street safety.

Finally, Los Angeles cyclist Will Campbell doesn't think much of bike lanes. Several others have already mentioned this one, but since we're talking Forester and bike facilities, I figure it's appropriate for another mention.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007
  Seattle to increase bike lanes 800%
By Yokota Fritz 
Making bicyclists of all ages feel more secure in city traffic is a top goal of the city of Seattle, which will soon release the final draft of its Bicycle Master Plan for public comment.

At the heart of the 10-year strategy is a call to designate more than 200 miles of roadway as bike lanes, along with guidelines for safely sharing roads and trails with cars and pedestrians. While the city currently offers only 25 miles of designated bike lanes, the plan anticipates a huge increase in recreational and commuting bicyclists.

What excites Wayne Wentz, the city's director of traffic management, is that the plan was mandated by the people -- as part of a $360 million property tax levy passed last fall -- which means it comes with the funding to make it happen.

Read more in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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