By Yokota Fritz
It was about a week ago in conversation a friend told me she was 'hooked' when a car driver passed her then immediately made a right turn into her.
"It was so weird," she told me. "I've never heard of anyone get hit like that before."
I, in my super knowledgeable bike advocate smarminess, informed her that this collision is, in fact, the most common type of bike vs car collision. It even has a name: The Right Hook.
It turns out I'm wrong, at least in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The city traffic department analyzed accident reports involving bicycles from the year 2000 to June 2009. The infamous Right Hook -- or what the city calls "Overtaking Turn Accidents at Intersections" -- is the second most common collision at 13% of the total in their count.
The most common collision is "The Broadside," at 60.5% of crashes. That's when a motorist goes straight through an intersection even when there's a bike right in front of him.
The Coloradoan article on this analysis highlights the fact that of the 214 "broadside" collisions, 123 of them involve a cyclist riding against traffic. Naturally, the public comments section focuses on the scofflaw cyclists as the cause of this traffic mayhem.
What the article failed to mention is that in 10% of the broadside collisions, the motorist failed to stop at a stop sign or even a red light. Two of the drivers were DUI. In 130 instances, the drivers were cited for "failure to yield right of way."
To be sure, cyclists should ride with traffic for safety, but that's not the only problem. There's a problem with the bull in the china shop, and that bull should be controlled (to use the methaphor from Copenhagenize).
The third most common collision type is the left cross at 9.3% of collisions. This is when a left turning motorist slams into a cyclist going straight through an intersection. Of the 33 left crosses, 3 involved a cyclist riding on the sidewalk, 2 were going the wrong way, and two failed to stop at a signal or sign. The overwhelming number of these were motorists who just kept going in spite of the presence of a bike in their path.
Hit from behind
After that, the next collision type is the dreaded "Hit From Behind." The 30 "sideswipes" recorded account for 8.5% of bike collisions. With the exception of a single head on, all fatalities are these types.
The report also counts 25 severe injury (including fatalities) collisions out of the 354 bicycle accidents in the analysis. About half of the severe injuries are from the "Broadside" collisions.
Many risks are controllable while cycling and the city report highlights some of the contributing factors that involve bicyclists -- you should generally ride with traffic, avoid sidewalks, and obey traffic control signs and signals. There's still work to do to reign in the bull as well -- Ft Collins with a population of 137,000 has a serious injury accident almost once a month.
But is it dangerous?
For the 9 year period that Ft Collins examined, the accident rate is 0.93 per 1,000 population. Compare that against an injury rate of 7.7 per 1,000 population for all people involved in car accidents. There were four bicycle fatalities in Ft Collins in nine years, compared against two to four traffic fatalities total each year.
While bicycling is generally a safe activity, there are risks in bicycling, and it's good to see Ft Collins quantifying some of those risks.
By Yokota Fritz
I'm being a gutter bunny and filtering to the right of traffic on Mission Street in Santa Cruz, California. It's generally a bad idea to ride to the right of moving traffic, and you should never pass trucks on the right.
I mitigate the risk somewhat by slowing behind vehicles when crossing intersections, but I still invite "right hook" collisions as I cross several driveways. Another risk: there are plenty of people coming the other direction waiting to make a left turn. They might try to shoot across a gap without seeing the cyclist (me) coming into the gap at the same time.
Beside the two biggies of the left cross and right hook, what are some other possible risks in passing on the right like this?
The modu bicycle jacket is intended for easy fit on your bicycle when going for a casual ride. The modu bicycle jacket features a large visible and easy to use screen that can be easily attached and detached to and from the center of the handlebar. This jacket offers an additional unit that can be reached from the handlebar grip and allows easy operation of the modu phone's main features using only your thumb.
Non-custodial ex-husband forbids children riding bikes
By Yokota Fritz
Does anybody know where Randy's girlfriend can get help for this situation? Posted here with his permission. They live in Longmont, Colorado.
I am writing this on behalf of my girlfriend and her two kids. There has been an issue with my girlfriend's Ex-husband about the fact that we allow her two children (age 7 and 11 as of March 9th 2009) to commute to school by themselves on a bicycle. The Ex contacted there Mediator Arbitrator and complained, and the Med/Arb set a ruling forbidding the children to commute by bicycle by themselves.
All of us commute by bicycle all over town, and my girlfriend and I both commute to Boulder. If we were to continue to transport ourselves by bicycle, her two children need to go it alone to their school in the mornings. We had ridden with them for over 4 months, the same route everyday, and taught them all of the rules of the road.
As we felt the youngest lacked the responsibility to do this on his own bike, we set them up with a Yuba Mundo (www.ilikebikeonline.com), a cargo bike that is built to transport multiple passengers as well as cargo. I installed an extra set of handle bars on the rear of the bike for the youngest to hold on to. My girlfriend and I made several test rides with them to and from their school to ensure they not only operated the bicycle safely, but that they also felt safe on the bike and the route.
The route they travel is as safe as any route in town, and 90% of it is on streets with bike lanes, the other 10% in on streets either wide enough to have a bike lane, or little to no traffic. They use crosswalks with lights, or intersections with stop lights or 4 way stops to cross major intersections.
I feel a very dangerous precedent is being set here that should concern us all. I am asking for your help to fix this situation.
Given that my major mission is to promote bicycling as a safe activity, I'm very concerned about these kinds of misinformed rulings.
By Yokota Fritz
This 1972 bicycle safety comic book from the Highway Safety Division of Virginia is a like a Jack Chick tract for safe cycling.
Flip through the whole comic at Comics With Problems and follow "Dan the Disaster" as he learns his lesson to become a safe cyclist. Scofflaw cyclists, repent of your wicked ways and take this important lesson to heart!
By Yokota Fritz
I got a Safe Turn review unit and promptly lost it. We moved after Thanksgiving, we're empty boxes and look what showed up! I finally found the Safe Turn bicycle turn signal.
The yellow flashing LED is mounted to a wrist band that you slip onto your wrist. A position sensor detects when you lift your arm to signal a turn to activate the flashing amber LED.
It's a clever idea and it works well. The position sensor is adjustable. You turn the light on and off by pressing the top of the lens down, and a activation delay ensures random hand motions won't set the blinker on. It's almost magical how well it works. The designers obviously put a lot of thought and testing into the design of the Safe Turn turn signal light.
Drawbacks: the light isn't bright for daylight use. The LED is powered by a pair of LR44 button cells that are not available as rechargeable batteries, though given the size constraints I'm not sure there's a good solution to that problem. Since I'm a multimodal commuter, I throw everything into my bag when I'm not riding, resulting in the lamp getting turned on and off all the time, which means I drained the batteries in about a week of riding. A friend of mine with a similar commute just leaves the Safe Turn light on his wrist for his entire trip to avoid that problem.
There's a USA distributor, but the easiest way to get this light is directly from the manufacturer which accepts PayPal and ships internationally. About $19 plus shipping, order fulfillment is very quick. SafeTurn.com for more information and to buy.
By Yokota Fritz
That's the take home message in this news from Science Daily, which highlights research showing that the more cyclists there are on the road, the safer it becomes. Motorists change their behavior and driver more safely when they see more cyclists and pedestrians on the road around them.
Experts say the effect is independent of improvements in cycling-friendly laws such as lower speed limits and better infrastructure, such as bike paths. Research has revealed the safety-in-numbers impact for cyclists in Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, 14 European countries and 68 Californian cities.
"It's a positive effect but some people are surprised that injury rates don't go up at the same rate of increases in cycling," says Sydney University's Dr Chris Rissel, co-author of a 2008 research report on cycling.
"It appears that motorists adjust their behaviour in the presence of increasing numbers of people bicycling because they expect or experience more people cycling. Also, rising cycling rates mean motorists are more likely to be cyclists, and therefore be more conscious of, and sympathetic towards, cyclists."
Lloyd at Treehugger goes into more detail on the safety aspect, pointing to Bike Commute Tips where Paul writes, "Amen to this. Stop perpetuating the myth of bicycling as a dangerous activity. Leave your helmet at home."
Dr Rissel says transport authorities should highlight the fun, convenience and health and environmental benefits of cycling, rather than what he views as an undue emphasis on danger and safety messages, which can deter cyclists: "We should create a cycling friendly environment and accentuate cycling's positives rather than stress negatives with 'safety campaigns' that focus on cyclists without addressing drivers and road conditions. Reminding people of injury rates and risks, to wear helmets and reflective visible clothes has the unintended effect of reinforcing fears of cycling which discourages people from cycling."
Carbon Trace in Springfield: In Springfield the number of bikers on the road (and every other available surface) has increased dramatically in the past three weeks because college students are back in town. And I’ve noticed less honking and other cranky behavior by motorists.
Amsterdamize: We already knew this, but hey, let’s keep science right smack in the middle of the ‘discussion’ and spread the word, ok?
By Yokota Fritz
Just like the children in Lake Wobegon, all of us are "above average" drivers.
I'm reading the book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt quotes former New York City traffic commissioner Henry Barnes, who says, "As times goes on the technical problems become more automatic, while the people problems become more surrealistic." Traffic discusses the "surrealistic" people issues of driving -- the psychology and sociology of traffic.
Chapter 2 discusses the "Lake Wobegon effect" -- that we all think we're better than the idiot drivers around us. Vanderbilt talks with Rusty Weiss of DriveCam in San Diego. To improve safety for commercial fleet vehicles, DriveCam installs video cameras that record the 10 seconds before and after an "event" -- a collision, sudden braking, hard steering and so forth. They capture the 99% of near hits that all of us take for granted and forget about in our daily driving, and use that video to coach drivers how they can drive more safely. Research shows that driving with the DriveCam improve safety dramatically, even with teen drivers. They also capture some dramatic crash footage, like this one of a cab driver who falls asleep at the wheel and ends up with his head in a rear window.
Higher quality and more videos are available at the DriveCam website. The middle video on this page shows a tow truck driver falling asleep at the wheel and driving several hundred feet in a bike lane before he's jolted awake when he hits the curb. The scary thing is that he's unaware of what happened even after the curb hit -- without the video, there's no way for him to learn how to improve his driving. If a cyclist was rear-ended at that point, no doubt the driver would have claimed he was correctly in his lane and the cyclist, naturally, must have veered in front of him because he's a good driver with a good driving record.
Traffic safety: If you can't see, the speed limit is zero
By Yokota Fritz
Two children in a marked crosswalk were hit by an SUV at Portola and 30th in Live Oak, California. The driver told officers she couldn't see the children because she was blinded by the sun. "It's the driver's responsibility to make sure they can safely drive without any obstruction," California Highway Patrol officer Grant Boles said. "Don't just drive blind into the sun."
Officer Dave Reed adds, "If you can't see, the speed limit is zero."
By Yokota Fritz
Happy Friday! I've been too cranky lately so I was planning to post something happy and non-controversial this morning, but then I saw this: a mother in New York City lets her 9 year old child ride the subway. Alone!
I met a guy at a party last week who makes his daughter phone home after walking one block to her friend's house. And he's in a suburb. The leafy kind! Two parents told me they won't let their kids walk to the mail box. There's too much "opportunity" for them to get snatched. Other parents told me that they'd love to let their kids start going out on their own - at maybe 13, or 14. Until then...
In they stay. Or they're driven around by their parents.
The fact that a child is literally forty times more likely to die in a car accident than at a stranger's hands makes no difference. Driving is seen as safe. Freedom - once a right of childhood -- is seen as suicidal.
When my son was nine he rode his bike to school alone, and many other parents thought I was borderline abusive for this. I recall a story from a few years ago of a teen who rode his bike in all weather to school - a "concerned" parent actually called child protective services in on the parents because the Boy Scout was forced to endure weather!
Admittedly, nine seems a little young to me, but if the kid is familiar with the route and knows his way, I'm not going to freak about a parent who allows this. In response to all the media attention and controversey, Lenore Skenazy started a new blog, Free Range Kids.
Over 500,000 children's head injuries are recorded each year!
By Yokota Fritz
So protect your child and buy this product TODAY before it's too late.
I can see a legitimate need for that product (children with special needs, bruising disorders and so forth), but the extra padding for everyday children seems a bit much.
Something I keep meaning to mention is Cozy Beehive. Ron, the author of Cozy Beehive, is a mechanical engineer, avid cyclist, and a Category 4 racer. He's been blogging about bikes for a couple of years now but I first noticed Cozy Beehive a few months ago. I've bookmarked a whole pile of pages from his blog intending to link to them in posts here from Cyclelicious, but pretty much all of his posts are good so just go visit his blog and subscribe to his feed already.
By Yokota Fritz
Zakkalicious posts about Fear Mongering among some American cyclists. I think it was Bike Lane Hottie who wrote that cycling advocates continually gripe about how dangerous cycling is, and then wonder why nobody wants to ride a bike. Cycle Dog and I occasionally discuss this topic of ineffective advocacy over email.
Enjoy the ride and quick worrying so much about the traffic. They're not gonna hit you, and if they do it only hurts a little.
By Yokota Fritz
David R. Ragland, P.D., is the director of the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center and teaches traffic safety planning and injury courses in the UC Berkeley Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Public Health. The San Francisco Chronicle posted his essay on improving cyclist safety in their Opinion section.
If we are going to encourage cycling and walking (and taking transit) for the "greater good," we must be sure we know the effect of our policies. We need to make sure that our efforts to encourage people to do the right thing don't place them in harm's way.
Ragland also, surprisingly, advocates for centerline rumble strips. In the past, cycling advocacy groups typically lobby against such strips, because they discourage drivers from crossing the centerline when passing cyclists.
The Chron also published an opinion piece by S.F. Bike Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum:
In the wake of the tragic deaths of two cyclists in Cupertino, I am startled by a looming prejudice against those who choose to ride bikes, particularly in the media.
Though it is clear that these cyclists were not at fault when they were killed by a deputy sheriff veering across the road, what has surfaced is an inexcusable "blame the victim" sentiment.
We have seen articles about which streets are "most dangerous" for bicyclists, stories about how often cyclists are deemed at fault by police in collisions, and reports of bad cyclist behavior.
The Cupertino tragedy has been portrayed as a "bicycle safety" story, instead of what it really is, a story about the risks of dangerous driving. If that deputy had veered across the road into an oncoming VW Beetle or Mazda Miata instead of a line of cyclists, the occupants of that car would likely be seriously injured or dead, as would the driver himself.
By Yokota Fritz
It's for motorcyclists, not bicyclists, but I can kind of see how something like this might work for bicyclists.
The video demonstrates the Dainese D Air racing air bag system, which is designed for use in Dainese motorcycle racing suits. Bicyclists don't tend to wear much protective gear -- we're usually much slower than motorcycle racers and heat can be a problem -- but this product brings some possibilities to mind.
By Yokota Fritz
The San Jose Mercury News created this Google Maps map showing the location of bicycle fatalities over the past decade in Silicon Valley. Click on the markers to see details about the location and victim.
The related article notes that many crashes (not necessarily fatalities) occur on six stretches of road: El Camino Real near Stanford Avenue, Palo Alto, nine crashes; Arastradero Road near Foothill Expressway, Palo Alto, 17 crashes; El Monte Road near Foothill Expressway, Mountain View 10 crashes; McLaughlin Avenue near Story Road, San Jose, 15 crashes; Snell Avenue near Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, 15 crashes; and Austin Way near Highway 9, Saratoga, 11 crashes.
The intersections nearby are high-traffic areas and popular with cyclists. Many of them are near schools and colleges. When drivers cruise through these spots, CHP officer Todd Thibodeau said they have to realize where they are, as well as what is going on in front of them.
"You've got to be aware that it is a bike route," he said, and be on the look out for cyclists.
In about 20 percent of crashes, drivers slide over the double-yellow or other dividing lines and strike cyclists.
By Yokota FritzTake this test of your awareness skills, then come back for discussion. Spoilers/hints are below so take the test first before you read any further!
A couple of people already mentioned this test in comments elsewhere, and I posted it to CommuteByBike yesterday. I passed the test and saw that "surprise ending", but I knew what to look for because I was familiar with the UIUC perception study from a few years ago that Sue mentioned.
By Yokota Fritz If you hit another car in traffic, it's probably just another fender bender. If you hit a cyclist, you might cause a death or serious injury. Austin Murphy pleads with motorists to "Open your eyes!" in his Sports Illustrated column.
I was at the far right edge of the road. The car didn't stop. I overtook it, and was attempting to open the passenger door at approximately 15 mph when a very distraught woman rolled down the window and tearfully explained that she was just coming from visiting her husband in the hospital, and that she "didn't even see me."
I thought to myself: I'm rocking electric blue Lycra shorts and an orange jersey, not because I'm color blind, but because I want cars to see me! How could she miss me?
Nearly every cyclist in America has similar stories. We beseech you: Start seeing bicycles.
I live in a part of the country where traffic is expected to increase 250 percent in the next 20 years. We live on a planet whose addiction to fossil fuels has created problems that might be alleviated if people rode their bikes more often.
Bicycles are part of the solution. Start seeing bicycles.
Read more. For Yehuda Moon, click on the comic to see large.
The number of bicyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles has increased 28 percent over the past decade - from 18 to 23 deaths per year, according to a Chronicle analysis of data collected by the California Highway Patrol.
That increase is despite a 22 percent drop in the number of regional bicycle accidents between 1997 and 2006 in the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. The number of bicyclists injured in accidents over that period declined by a similar amount.
"That means more of the bicyclists who are being hit are being killed," said Sean Co, bicycling coordinator for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Accidents in urban areas are most common but occur at lower speeds where injuries are more likely to be less serious. But accidents on rural roads or open highways are likely to involve higher speeds.
"Speed," Co said, "is probably the highest contributing factor in any bicycle collision that results in a fatality."
According to the CHP statistics, 179 Bay Area bicyclists have been killed and 25,715 injured in bicycle collisions with cars between 1997 and 2006. But the number of accidents and the number of injuries have each steadily decreased while the number of fatalities remained steady for years before jumping to 23 in 2006. And, based on an analysis of incomplete 2007 data, the increase in fatalities is likely to continue.
By Yokota Fritz
Professional racing cyclist Dave Zabriskie started Yield to Life to engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life. The "About" page is worth reading:
We all travel life’s roads. I stand before you to ask for your cooperation in providing safe space for cyclists. When you see a cyclist on the road, please, yield to life.
As a professional cyclist I have ridden my bike all over the world, but, sadly, each of the three times that I have been hit by a car has been in the United States; the worst of the accidents was in 2003.
I had just flown back to Salt Lake after my most successful season to date when, on May 23, I was in Millcreek Canyon in Salt Lake City. I was enjoying one of my favorite rides when I was hit by an SUV on the way down. The SUV made a left hand turn directly into me. I flew through the air and landed on the ground, unable to move the left side of my body. After spending a week in the hospital, I left with pins in my wrist and my leg, and some cadaver bone in my knee. The doctors did not think I would ride again.
It took a lot of hard work and determination to come back from my injuries. I often wonder what I could have accomplished had I not had such a devastating set back. I also wonder what went through the driver’s mind when she hit me. If she had only thought of me as life, a living, breathing person, rather than an obstacle in her way. Did she ever consider the prolonged agony she was creating by her reckless attitude and wrongful acts? If she had just waited a split second for my safe passage, I would have not been reduced to a wheelchair for months, and then in need of a walker and painful rehabilitation to even walk again, let alone ride a bike.
It is my mission to humanize and personalize cyclists to help motorists to always be aware that we are "life" and that we deserve a safe space on the road. I love to ride my bike as do my fellow cyclists, but we should not have to place out lives at risk everyday for that enjoyment.
Yield to Life is a non-profit organization devoted to creating a safer environment for cyclists and, by so doing, encouraging more people to ride for their own health, the good of the environment and the well being of society.
By making cycling safer and promoting the activity as a responsible means of transportation and a healthy means of recreation, Yield to Life can contribute to tackling some of today's major concerns—from such issues as pollution and global warming to obesity and diabetes. In this way, Yield to Life can play a role in increasing the quality of life not only for cyclists, but for everyone—for our generation and those to come.
By Yokota Fritz
The Seattle Times published this decent article on the danger of "right hooks" from motorists. This is the hazard of a motorist who passes the cyclist then turns right directly in front of the cyclist, which often results in the cyclist hitting the side of the car. It's probably the most common type of accident for cyclists and is sometimes fatal to the cyclist, especially when it's a truck that hooks the cyclist.
The Times article notes that bike lanes can increase the hazard to cyclists by creating a false sense of security for the cyclist.
I can't agree with the suggestion in the article that urban cyclists stay alive by assuming we're "invisible to all drivers" and to "ride paranoid." If I want to be invisible, I'll ride in the bike lane -- I ride to be visible by positioning myself in the traffic when necessary and by signaling my intentions. My last collision (and my first in over a decade) occurred when I was hooked last fall while I was invisible in the bike lane. I ride defensively, but I believe that's different from riding as if I'm invisible or paranoid. For the most part, motorists are not out to get me, if only to avoid the inconvenience of a police report and insurance claim on their part. (Incidentally, for the snarky straw man idiots in the A&S forum over at BikeForums.net, positioning myself to be seen and for destination does not mean blocking whole lines of traffic behind me also).
Cyclists in California are taught to leave the bike lane or the right turn lane and position themselves for their direction of travel. The California Driver Handbook says this regarding bike lanes:
When you are making a right turn and are within 200 feet of the corner or other driveway entrance, you must enter the bike lane for the turn. Do not drive in the bike lane at any other time.
I should note that motorists are required to merge into the bike lane only if the lane is clear, the same as if they're merging right into a regular traffic lane. If everybody actually followed this rule, we'd cut down substantially on the number of right hooks.
Before anybody complains that "this is too hard", let me direct you to the photo below showing a ten year old boy to the left of a right turn lane on busy Saratoga Avenue at I-280 in San Jose, California. The photo doesn't show it (I wouldn't have snapped the photo when the traffic was heavy), but moments after the photo was snapped traffic caught up from the intersection behind us and passed us on the right and the left. The right turn lane in the photo is access to an Interstate Highway on ramp. The Santa Clara County bike map labels this intersection "extreme caution" because of the heavy and fast traffic.
Here's another example of a cyclist positioning herself for her destination by moving to the left of the right turn lane.
Of course, the California "solution" is not a panacea -- there are still idiot drivers and even (dare I write it?) idiot cyclists. Here's a dramatic video from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition showing a cyclist getting hooked at speed by a driver making an illegal right turn from Market onto Octavia up in San Francisco.
The solution? I believe increased education for both motorists and cyclists on the hazard of right hook can help. Awareness through general media outlets like the Seattle Times article is good. Oh, and it's a "left cross," not a left hook. See Bicycle Safe for other types of common bike collisions and how to avoid them.
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By Yokota Fritz
Andrew Bamberg ran a stop sign, presented photos of a different intersection to "prove" the absence of a stop sign and then -- when a traffic engineer offered to take a look at the intersection -- switched street signs around to confuse the court.
The 42-year-old former car salesman was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court to a year in the county jail after he was convicted of three felonies - two counts of perjury and one of preparing false evidence - for trying to dodge a traffic ticket by taking photos of another intersection and then lying about it in court.
Bamberg was driving on Whipple Avenue in Redwood City when he allegedly ran a stop sign at King Street. Bamberg argued he had stopped at the sign at the intersection of Whipple and Copley avenues, but had not stopped at the intersection of Whipple and King because there was no stop sign.
In fact, King Street and Copley Avenue are the same street, but the name changes at Whipple Avenue - something prosecutors believe Bamberg tried to obscure when he was making his argument. The intersection is a four-way stop.
Bamberg, who was then representing himself, offered five black-and-white photos in his defense at a May 10, 2005, trial in traffic court, two of which he said showed no stop sign at King Street, according to court documents. Traffic Commissioner Susan Greenberg suspected those two photos were not of the relevant intersection but from one block away.
When Greenberg said she would go to the scene herself to investigate, prosecutors suspect Bamberg replaced the King Street sign at the Whipple Avenue intersection with one from Copley - essentially erasing any trace of the intersection of King and Whipple - in an attempt to confuse her.
I'm not familiar with this intersection in Redwood City, but Google Maps shows me a residential thoroughfare. I'd guess the four way stop is in place to slow traffic, and this abuse of stop signs leads poor stop compliance at these intersections. Bamberg probably got what he deserved when he tried to fool the court, but there are plenty of reasons to fight failure to stop tickets at these kinds of intersections. Multiway stops are appropriate for high volume streets, where there are a high number of accidents, where there are problems with visibility, or from balanced traffic volume at intersections. In most other cases, 4-way sstops are not appropriate because drivers (and cyclists) don't stop for "unnecessary" stops, stop signs don't slow speeds and in fact drivers speed up to make up for the perceived lost time, and the unneeded stops increase noise and pollution in the immediate area of the intersection.
By Yokota FritzDual Chase Productions creates a number of PowerPoint presentations with video showing how cyclists interact with traffic. These instructional videos are intended for cyclists, motorists, law enforcement, advocates planners and engineers. Instructional videos for cyclists are intended for LCIs and other educators. Cycling advocates can use the PowerPoint slides and videos to show planners, engineers, law enforcement and motorists road use and safety from a cyclist's perspective.
Another example is this presentation on "Inclusive Design and Planning", which is designed to help planners understand and inclusively plan for the diverse spectrum of cyclists by showing on-bike video of cyclists in traffic and combining this with road diagrams.
By Yokota Fritz
"No charges were filed." That's the postscript of every single one of the cycling deaths that Bob Mionske reports in his latest issue of Legally Speaking. James also makes note of the extremely low rate of prosecutions against dangerously careless drivers in his state of South Carolina, where only 5% of "accidental" traffic deaths results in any charges being filed. Of 101 cyclists killed between 2001 and 2004 on South Carolina roads, only 18 citations were written.
Cycling is safer than many our perceptions lead us to think, but it can be made safer with little effort. The United Kingdom until recently had a cyclist fatality rate similar to the U.S. With a recent emphasis on traffic law enforcement, however, the cyclist and pedestrian fatality rate dropped significantly.
From my own participation in the political process and bicycling advocacy, I know cities and police departments are often reluctant to increase enforcement of unpopular traffic laws. Even after a tragedy occurs, the response from officials is often "blame the victim" for being in the "wrong" place. Bob and James both promise more on traffic safety and enforcement in the United States; I'm looking forward to what they have to write.
By Yokota Fritz
When I was a teen growing up in the early 80s, I was a huge fan of the Canadian "math rock" band RUSH. Among my favorite songs was Red Barchetta [video], which takes place in a future world where the "motor law" prohibits driving performance sports cars on public roads. In the song, the protagonist visits his uncle to drive his old Ferrari Red Barchetta sports car. "Alloy air cars" then give chase to run the Ferrari off of the road. The music is wonderfully evocative.
"Red Barchetta" was inspired by a short story in the November 1973 issue of Road & Track entitled "A Nice Morning Drive." In this story, author Richard Foster anticipates a future in which safety requirements for new cars results in huge "Modern Safety Vehicles" (MSV). Foster predicts way back in 1973 that "Cars became larger, heavier, less efficient. They consumed gasoline so voraciously that the United States had had to become a major ally with the Arabian countries."
"People became accustomed to cars which went undamaged in lO-mph collisions," the story continues. "They gave even less thought than before to the possibility of being injured in a crash. As a result, they tended to worry less about clearances and rights-of-way, so that the accident rate went up a steady six percent every year. But the damages and injuries actually decreased, so the government was happy, the insurance industry was happy and most of the car owners were happy."
In the world of fiction, some MSV drivers would purposely run older, smaller cars off of the roads simply because they could do it.
In the real-life 21st Century, cars have indeed become much safer, and in fact they are somewhat less likely to be in an accident because of safety improvements beyond just adding bulk to a vehicle. There has been one deleterious side effect, however: people drive faster and more dangerously so that the more vulnerable road users -- pedestrians and bicyclists, for example -- are now dying at a higher rate while overall road deaths have dropped. I'm hearing more often that "the laws of physics" mandates that I keep my bike off of the road, and that if I'm hit and killed it's my own fault.
I'm amazed that Foster anticipated the psychology of "mass rules" 35 years ago, but these things ought not so to be. ABS, traction control, stability control, rollover protection, adaptive cruise control, airbags, crumple zones and all the other advanced safety features of modern automobiles are great to have, but often these things only enable motorists to behave even more like boneheads when they're behind the wheel. And of course, when I say "bonehead" I include myself in that category, because better control almost naturally leads to faster driving.
Cycling still has about the same relative risk of serious injury or death as driving, but the risk seems to be trending upward for some areas. A real solution is to increase the number of bicyclists so that all road users expect to see us on the road and adjust their driving accordingly. I'm not convinced that tougher or new laws (such as the fad for 3-foot passing laws) is entirely the answer, though enforcement of existing laws would be a tremendous help. I'm also a fan of road diets and traffic calming, though these measures are generally appropriate for slow traffic areas such as residential neighborhoods.
I'm not clever enough to come up with the solution to this safer vehicle paradox. What are your ideas? What have you seen in the media or blogosphere on how to mitigate risk compensation?
By Yokota Fritz
Raise The Hammer in Canada posts a good article about the safety of bicycling relative to the risks of other common activities such as driving and walking. The author, Ryan McGreal, uses real numbers and everything!
The fatality rate for every million hours spent cycling is 0.26, compared to 0.47 per million driving hours (on-road motorcycling comes in at a whopping 8.80 deaths per million motorcycling hours). For every million cyclists in the US, 16.5 die each year, whereas for every million motorists, 19.9 die each year.
Another way of evaluating risk is to examine the odds of dying if you do crash. The odds of dying from a bicycle crash are one in 71. This compares to one in 75 for a light truck (pickup truck, SUV, van), one in 108 for a car, one in 43 for a truck, one in 26 for a motorcycle, and one in 15 for a pedestrian.
In other words, the odds of dying in a bike crash are about the same as the odds of dying in an SUV crash. The false sense of security that comes from an SUV tends to produce far more dangerous driving behaviour.
The author discusses risk quite a bit more and talks about commute homeostasis and the factor of improved health of cyclists, but in the end he concludes that cycling is a relatively safe activity.
Part of my mission at Cyclelicious is to note that bicycling is a safe activity. There's a perception among too many that bicycling is a dangerous activity -- it seems counterintuitive that sitting exposed in traffic on a bike is about as safe as riding inside of a metal cocoon. McGreal makes an important point in his article that our riding behavior can have a significant impact on risk. Following the rules of the road and an educated awareness of traffic risks reduces the risk of injury collisions significantly.
If you want to be a safer cyclist, read Ken Kifer's archived information on bicycling safety. I recommend the book The Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst, which is good for all kinds of city cycling, not just downtown urban cores. I also recommend the League of American Bicyclists bicycling education courses for instruction in safety and bike handling skills. Even if you're an experienced cyclist, you can learn quite a bit from taking the LAB classes.
A hat tip to Paul Dorn for pointing to the risks article. He also posted good commentary on motorist advocacy in Seattle.
By Yokota FritzWarren stopped to take video of law abiding motorists at a stop sign. Unfortunately, he couldn't find any law abiding motorists. Because of the great damage and carnage that can result when motorists don't obey the law, motorists always obey traffic laws for the safety of everybody! That's the myth, anyway.
Cannondale folder update: Bike Designer Guy James found some more information about the development and design of the Cannondale folding bike, dubbed the Cannondale ON. Cool stuff.
Most of my U.S. and Canadian readers have a three day weekend with Labor / Labour Day coming up. It's also my 17th wedding anniversary. Other than a possible Eurobike update later today, posting will be sparse to non-existent. Enjoy the weekend, all!
By Yokota Fritz
The state of Virginia recently hiked traffic fines so that going 20 mph over the limit can result in a fine of $1000. If you're caught driving under the influence for a third time or if you're "felony reckless driving," the fine is $3000. Other offenses result in similarly high fines.
While the motivation of the state legislators was to increase revenue, I applaud efforts to make dangerous driving more painful to those who commit the crime. While roads generally have become safer for drivers and car occupants, traffic fatalities have gone up significantly over the past few years. Safer cars with better crash protection, better suspension, better brakes, and more powerful engines just means you can drive even more like a bonehead. Drivers are more likely to wreck their cars, but the wrecks are more survivable as long as you happen to be inside the metal cage. Wrecks are also more likely for the more vulnerable users of our road systems -- pedestrians and cyclists -- but the improved crash worthiness protection doesn't extend to us.
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.
By Yokota Fritz
Raise your arm before a turn, and a tilt switch activates big amber LEDs to signal your turn at night. An accelerometer detects when you slow down to illuminate a big patch of red LEDs on your back. This clever cyclist jacket is the invention of Michael Chen in London, who won a design competition with this jacket. He hopes a manufacturer will pick up his idea in time to make the jacket available in time for Christmas for UK£100 (about US$200). This cyclist jacket is demonstrated in the video below.
Hat tip to Cycle Dog, who wonders how the wiring and electronics will hold up under constant use and wet weather riding.
City Traffic Commission: Cyclists are insane idiots
By Yokota FritzUpdate: See Ms Ballingall's comment below for her apology and explanation.
The town of Saratoga, California is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose, CA. It's a popular area for Silicon Valley road cyclists to ride to and through. While the city of Saratoga considers cyclist safety an important issue, Saratoga Transportation Safety Commission chair Brigitte Ballingall has a different view of cycling. "I think it's an idiotic sport to do on the road - it's just insane," she was quoted as saying in this news about cycling safety in Saratoga.
Cyclists are asked to "be nice" in their emailed comments to her as they explain that cycling is a relatively safe activity that can be enjoyed by almost anybody. For more information about the Saratoga Transportation Safety Commission, see the city website.
Hat tip to Paul on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition mailing list for this news.
The baby died after his dad drove to work and forgot his son was in the car. Ian Takemoto perished in the back seat after outside temperatures reached 80 degrees. And people are a afraid to ride their bikes to work.
The anonymous driver was killed when a maniac driving 100 mph in rush hour traffic struck two cars, sending the maniac and another driving to the hospital and sending the third driver to his grave in a cataclysmic explosion that shut a major freeway down for four hours with backups along Highway 17, I-880 and surface streets for miles around. And people complain about bicyclists who hold up traffic.
The two teens were driving like teen drivers do on an empty residential road. They lost control, and hit two senior citizens out for a walk in the cool evening air before they hit a pole and were killed themselves. And the other night, a driver struck a police officer directing traffic in San Francisco. And people complain about the laws that cyclists break.
Death Monster photo from San Francisco by Allen & used with permission. All rights reserverd.
I believe cyclists should generally follow the rules of the road. One of my hot button issues, though, is the idea that cyclists who break the law are such a public danger that they require special enforcement attention and cyclists should be held to a higher standard than motorists.
While I'm ranting, this idea that I'm personally responsible for the actions of some idiot in San Francisco or Berkeley or NYC or London is just plain weird. CycleDog left a comment somewhere (I think at Masi Guy but I can't find it) about the secret instant cyclist internet that's built into every bike. We're jacked into it the minute we connect seat to saddle -- perhaps through a bionic USB connection? I don't automatically think my motoring friends are somehow to blame when I read of or personally witness one of the 340 traffic fatalities that occur annually in the San Francisco Bay Area, not to mention the countless insane wrecks that occur daily.
But enough ranting. Let's move on to facts and reasoned argument. Treadly and Me reports on some interesting statistics from Australia on running red lights. It turns out more than half of surveyed motorists admit to running red lights. I see it every single day on my commute in Menlo Park where Willow Road meets Bayshore Expressway. I was well into the intersection on a solid green last week, looked right and watched a truck coming at me at 50 mph with no indication that the driver intended to slow. I waited at the median as he flew by before I continued. One driver behind me even honked as I stopped, and no doubt felt like a moron she saw the reason I stopped. I probably saved her life, but I've learned to watch for light-running traffic at this intersection.
Back to Treadly, who writes:
And here is something that sticks in my craw: motorists who complain about the behavior of cyclists are expecting a higher standard of conduct from cyclists as a group than they are prepared to apply to their own group. Too often we hear the all inclusive complaint that bloody cyclists jump red lights, but when it comes to the in excess of one hundred thousand drivers who run red lights, well that’s just a few ratbag individuals. The vast majority of drivers are pure as the driven snow when it comes to red light running.
[Motorists] console themselves with the thought that...bicyclists are outlaws, and can't be permitted into civilized society. I set out to document the ridiculous nature of this claim on May 4th, during the height of the Critical Mass hatemongering by the Chronicle. On a single 30-minute walk home I photographed so many traffic violations by motorists that I ran out of storage on my camera.
For decades government policy has privileged driving and encouraged anti-social behavior by motorists. Drivers routinely roll through stop signs, drive at excessive speed, run red lights, fail to yield to pedestrians, block fire hydrants, double park in bike lanes, drive under the influence, and use horns excessively. Only a fraction of this vehicular crime is punished. Each and every year motorists kill more than 42,000 people, hospitalize hundreds of thousands more, and cause billions of dollars of property damage. Motorist endangerment is so ubiquitous that even the Vatican has issued 10 commandments for drivers. And yet the perception in the U.S. is that bicyclists are the greater miscreants?
My best advice to any bicyclist encountering such bias is to vigorously push back. Bicyclist behavior is entirely consistent with traffic behavior in general. Which transportation mode poses the greatest danger? Which mode offers the greatest social benefit?
So I arm myself with the fact and what I hope are persuasive arguments and vigorously push back. It seems like CycleDog wrote something about that also recently, but I can't find it. Help me out, Ed...
By Yokota Fritz
Human teeth, that is, not the teeth on the ring or cog. Tim Kelton of Wichita Falls, Texas, was commuting on his singlespeed bicycle when his chain snapped and sent him over the bars. See the gruesome aftermath here. "However expensive that derailleur and a few gears would have been, " Kelton writes, "this is more."
The only time I've snapped a chain is with a dérailleur-equipped bike. It beat my rear dérailleur into little bits before spooling around the rear cog and locking up my rear wheel in heavy traffic, but I managed to stay upright and avoided injury to my teeth or the rest of my face.
By Yokota Fritz
Natasha now has her driver’s licence, so that pretty much makes her an expert. Watch the video for important safety tips for cyclists from a car driver. Natasha tells us why we should avoid opening doors ("I've had to replace mine three times!"), why motorists throw insults and objects at cyclists, and complains about bearded guys on those "lie-down" bikes.
Ft Collins analyzes bike accidents
Do we know how Ft. Collins collects/keeps cycling accident stats? My own local gov't (fairly cycling friendly, as these things go) insists that it's not possible to do a similar evaluation for our city.
Leave it to me to post before RTFA. Data was compiled by looking through police reports. (Which I'd say skews the numbers low - lots of crashes go unreported.)
Thanks for the data. Broadside threats are the most common I experience. I see a lot of people push too far forward before they stop at lights/stop signs.
I find that action is the one most likely to cause me to yell or call out to make sure the driver sees me. I can normally spot potential right hookers in my rear mirror and make sure they cannot pass me. Both types are drivers that I actively look out for at every intersection.
@MB: you're probably right. I've been about 50/50 in reporting my own bike vs car collisions, and in one instance the cop declined to even take the report. In Colorado, police are now required to file a report if a cyclist reports an accident, but this wasn't always the case.
@Duncan: I admit that the "broadside" never really registered with me as a threat, but thinking back you're right - it's very common for me as well. I can almost count on a motorist running a stop sign along one residential street I ride every day.
"For the 9 year period that Ft Collins examined, the accident rate is 0.93 per 1,000 population. Compare that against an injury rate of 7.7 per 1,000 population for all people involved in car accidents. There were four bicycle fatalities in Ft Collins in nine years, compared against two to four traffic fatalities total each year."
These can be misleading numbers. I would love to see these normalized for the percentage of the population that participates in riding and driving.
.93 per 1000 looks like a very different number if 10 in 1000 rides a bike on or around the roads.
@SEan - I was going to explore that part but it was getting late and I went to bed ;-) But roughly, over that period something like 2% of commuters in F.C. biked to work. 2% of 7.7 is 0.15, so cyclists have roughly 6x the risk of an injury collision as car occupants (fudging also the fact that not all bike vs car accidents result in injury for the cyclist).
For 2008, the bike modal share in F.C. is over 7%, which edges out Portland OR's 6% share.
I just can't understand how anyone could overtake a bike and then turn in front of them. I believe a right hook is done in only one of two ways: 1) the car passes the bike and turns, with the intent on causing harm to the bicycle (Why else would you do that?)
2) The car is turning, and a fast moving bicycle runs into the turning car (the cyclists fault)
I just can't see how it would happen any other way.
"The Broadside ... That's when a motorist goes straight through an intersection even when there's a bike right in front of him" vs "After that, the next collision type is the dreaded Hit From Behind" What's the difference here?
@Tony Bullard : I think it happens because the motorist doesn't judge the cyclist's speed well, and believes he/she can safely overtake the cyclist and turn out of the intersection before the cyclist gets to it.
@Tony: I was hooked a couple of years ago. I was cycling at close to 25 mph in a bike lane (Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA). The driver passed me at probably 35 to 40 mph, slammed the brakes and turned directly in my path pulling into a gas station. I grabbed brake but I only had maybe two feet of response time, hit the back of the car and flipped up and over.
I'm pretty sure the driver either didn't see me or misjudged my speed, so it clearly wasn't intentional.
So explain to me again how this is the cyclist's fault?
Yakota, I could see it being the cyclists fault if they're tearing down the road and the try and cut in front of a turning car. I'm not saying this happens often, as I imagine most cyclists that daring would just pass the car on the left.
As for the case where you got hit, I wasn't there, but I'd have a hard time believing the car that crossed in front of you just misjudged. Well, that's not true, there are plenty of stupid drivers out there. I myself would have simply waited till you passed the gas station, but I'm a cyclist, so I think about other on the road more than most motorists.
"bull in a china shop" may not be the right line of thought or argument. Cars also very much have rights on the road, and are fundamental to our society.
Besides, they outnumber us.
That's not to "justify" or "coutenance" any of the behavoir - especially the really daffy stuff.
By the way, as a driver, the cyclists who alarm me the most are the ones doing 'weird' things - riding on the wrong side of the road, ignoring red lights, appearing from odd places. It's worth thinking about what things you see that baffle you or surprize you while driving, and remember that while riding, and vice versa.
To echo Mr. Willman, I agree.
We can talk all we want about improving driver behaviour, but the single best thing we can do for anyone who's found this site is to tell them what they _personally_ can do.
I think the takeaway, from this, is that sidewalk riding, salmon riding, and running lights is more dangerous.
Ride defensively. If we could put it to a vote today they'd ban bikes, not regulate motor vehicles: So let's not get too excited about that.
Of the 126 broadside collisions with the "Bike riding against traffic", 80 of them were "Bike on sidewalk/crosswalk". It may be a bad idea, but it's not quite the same as riding the wrong way on the street.
The data is interesting, yet it begs for questions it cannot answer. For instance, in a 'broadside' collision - who was at fault? Did the cyclist fail to yield or did the motorist? Prying out details is essential if we're to use this information to prevent future crashes or try to influence public policy. And they're more properly called CRASHES rather than accidents. Crashes have causes and they're preventable. Accidents are more in the realm of Acts of God.
What is most frightening about this data, to me, is that the most deadly type of accident (hit from behind/ sideswipe) is the thing that even riding defensively can do little to avoid. I can avoid a lot of potential right hooks by never coming up next to a moving car at at an intersection, I can stay out of the door zone, and avoid most broadsides and left hooks by being very careful not to go into an intersection until I see that it's clear and make eye contact with any oncoming traffic. But someone drunk or texting who veers out of his lane- not much I can do to see that coming or prevent it. Thats the kind of thing that scares me...
=v= These findings are interesting because they seem to be broadly consistent with the analyses done by Right of Way, on New York City data. Right of Way focused on fatalities, though, and the Ft. Collins study has a much smaller sample size of those (a total of 2, both sideswipes). The prominence of overtaking and cars running red lights and stop signs is about the same, as is that of bikes running stop signs and going the wrong way on the street.
Don't ride like this
One of our locals got a citation from campus cops last week for it. Just warning, but written up. In general, the social hazard of pissing off drivers and being perceived as another dangerous bike rider with utter disregard for "the rules," though most of the drivers fuming the thoughts would be passing on the right in the automotive equivalent (i.e., enough room to get by)
I have to assume that was faster-than-normal video. Still, you were dangerously close to the curb and those pedestrians at times. Also, there's a danger from a passenger opening a door in front of you.
Dooring. Being squeezed by a car whose motorist is exoecting you on his right, he might pull over to drop a passenger, dodge a hole on the road, or give an overtaking motorcyclist oe cyclist room.
In that situation, I don't think being a "gutter bunny" was as bad as it could have been -- as long as you were aware of cars overtaking you on the left at intersections.
Plenty of visibility, no parked cars, slow moving traffic. Not really the doomsday we're told to expect.
However, another unsung danger is pedestrians popping out from between parked cars. They don't look most of the time, so you have to look for them. But then they get mad at you for riding too close and assume you didn't see them or something.
Otherwise, I wholeheartedly support blowing past stopped traffic at every opportunity. If you piss them off, they deserve to be pissed off by it. Nobody's forcing them into their cars to be stopped by traffic.
The border between the concrete curb/gutter and the black pavement of the roadway is a danger. It's almost never a flush joint, and at that parallel angle it can grab your wheel or push it out from under you if you don't traverse it right.
There's a wider "lane" when you split lanes; about 6 feet. The "lane" for gutter bunnies is about 3 feet.
Gutterbunnies also have less help than lane splitters. Gutterbunnies have a reactive variable on the left (a car might respond to you and move aside) and one static variable (a curb that can never help you out by getting out of the way). When splitting the lanes, both sides are reactive and might respond positively to your presence.
Modu phone handlebar mount
Just dumb. People hate other people on their phones while driving. Lots of people hate cyclists on the road...you really want to combine the two? If your lack of attention doesn't kill you, someone's anger will.
My phone has GPS. I could see wanting to see a map... but I am pretty sure I don't have the connordination...
Non-custodial ex-husband forbids children riding bikes
I'm with dad. Accompany the kids still...
I used to walk to and from school by myself, in the San Francisco Bay Area at age 8, I'd say riding at 7 and 9 isn't much different. I wonder if they walked rather than biked, would the situation be different. Meaning, does the father have issue with them riding or commuting to school alone in any fashion?
At some point, as a parent, you need to let go, release yourself from the burden that your child isn't safe without you around.
I say let them ride.
Really? I wouldn't let my 7 and 11 year old ride BY THEMSELVES just because they can ride a bike and obey the traffic laws. No matter how safe you are on your bike, there are some SICK people out there that would snatch up those kids in an INSTANT if they were alone. I mean come on people...sure don't overprotect your kids but be reasonable!
It seems to me that the point isn't necessarily the bike riding in itself but rather the fact that the the kids are unsupervised. if the boyfriend and/or mother are that concerned that the kids can't ride them maybe one of them needs to go with. I agree with the dad that I wouldn't let my 7 & 11 year old children out without supervision, even if it was just down the street. There are too many variables (read pediphiles) out there to warrent not being the least bit concerned for the childrens safety.
"pediphile" - is that a freudian slip?
I walked by myself to school starting with Kindergarden. There aren't any more pedophiles today than there were back then - it just gets more publicity so people aquire the irrational fears. Certainly this depends on *where* the child is walking - Longmont is a pretty tame town - at the age of ten I was walking from Niwot to Longmont with a big plastic bag collecting cans from the ditch for a scouts fundraiser.
In fact, if anything the streets are more safe - haven't you heard the pedophiles are all trolling the internet these days!
I have to agree with murphstahoe. Most children are abused and kidnapped by people they know. It does depend where you live. I honestly don't know where the irrational fear takes hold, but there are statistics for this thing. Draw conclusions from reality, not from gut feelings.
There are issues here that extend way beyond cycling. Custody issues are about power and control.I doubt that there is anything that can be done to change this guy's mind- he most likely knows the family does not use a car and wants to make life difficult.
as to 7- i am very liberal on the freedom of kids to move around their environments. But... at almost 10, i am only now comfortable with my daughter riding alone in the neighborhood. Not because of pedophiles (worst excuse ever!!!!) but because she is small enough that she is not easily seen in the bike lane.
Here is an excellent site about raising independent kids with lots of real info on the true #'s about crime and 'danger'.
Ten years old is the base age for kids biking to school on their own. Each parent has to make their own decision based on their child and the conditions on their route to school. I'm concerned what kind of precedent this would set and I wonder what authority the mediator has to regulate the parents transportation choice. I think it's great this parent has set up the kids with a system of Active Transportation that works for them and they obviously feel it is a safe option. Does the Mediator cycle this area? Do they know the issue completely?
As far as the safety issue- the number of abductions in the US have not increased over the previous four decades (though coverage of them has). However our childhood obesity rate HAS tripled as the amount that our kids walk or bike to school has gone from over 50% in the 70's down to about 10% nationwide. We are protecting our kids so much we are killing them. The danger is not out there, it's right with us.
Shane- Safe Routes to School Program Manager.
The ruling may relate to being alone vs the bike safety thing. There's a lot of kooks out there. Children that age probably shouldn't be that far from a responsible adult.
Danny and the Demoncycle
Classic 70's style! Love it! Thanks for finding it.
Glad you like it. I found it via Twitter. Please add to StumbleUpon, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc if you like it!
So when Danny got old he changed his name to Yehuda Moon? B/c he sure looks the part.
I dunno, Mr. Moon takes it easy on his Van Sweringen. This kid on the cover is riding it like he stole it!
2Tire: You need to flip to the last page -- it's very cool.
Silly Danny, rail trails are along inactive lines.
=v= I love how he has 1970s helmet hair (instead of a helmet). Note how the whole thing is pre-Forester!
P.S.: First seen on LJ and put it on FB PDQ, LOL.
Hey Sioux Geonz, look what I found
I'm all over it :) :) I don't need 'em for the daytime, anyway.
It's totally, man, glossy here now. Studs still slide when it's somewhere between water and ice adn there's a 30 mph crosswind...
Highlight the fun of cycling
It is possible to highlight the fun of cycling w/o leaving your helmet at home. While helmets do not protect against severe collisions, or collisions that do not involve the head they do still save lives (at least its saved mine - the accident was not my fault).
Instead of framing helmets as this mythical shell that protects bikers from imminent death they should be framed as a normal safety measure associated with cycling - similar to seat belts in cars. The rhetoric of leaving helmets at home is foolish. They do not make you less safe.
Amen, Mark...I don't wear a helmet because I think of cycling as a dangerous activity. I wear it because I value the accumulated memories, pop culture factoids and experiences I've been collecting between my ears since 1969.
Frankly, I'd rather "have it and not need it than need it and not have it", to dust off an old chestnut.
"Your results may vary" says the fine print on things like diet programs. Likewise, America's infatuation with trash talk and exerting force on inconvenient populations could dilute the effect we as cyclists wish so fervently to believe in. Motorists who see more and more cyclists could just get more and more pissed off at cyclists. I hope it ain't so, but we in the USA are known for a bit of a "me first" mentality. It makes us avid competitors and sometimes less than adequate at sharing and playing nicely with others.
We await real world results with hope, but years of caution blunting our expectations.
Cafiend, I bike across Palo Alto, CA every day which has about a 6% bike mode share. In spite of absolutely nuts behavior by many cyclists (or maybe because of it), drivers here are very cautious around cyclists for the most part. I never get honked at in the SF Bay Area and harassment of any kind is very rare, about the same frequency as I might expect if I were driving.
Downstate Illinois was the worst place I've cycled -- I've been yelled at, honked at, had items thrown at me. I was also the only regular bike commuter I knew back them (early 90s).
I got yelled at on Saturday. I was riding towards GGP on Fell in San Francisco. At Baker, the crazy bike lane ends (crazy in that it's on the left side of the one way street) usually you detour off of Fell onto the Panhandle bike path. However, there was a Breast Cancer walk going on on the bike path and we would have been blocked, so we stayed on Fell.
Some 50ish lady drove by and yelled "GET ON THE BIKE PATH".
Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to mention to her we could not ride on the bike path because people were raising funds for a disease of which she is the prime demographic...
Fritz, I want it to be true. I just fear the NASCAR mentality.
Murphstahoe, when someone in a motor vehicle yells "get on the bike path" the proper response is "Get on the Interstate!"This post has been removed by the author.
Although it's typically motorists who I prefer to not deal with, today was my first time having another cyclist send obscenities my way. I made a left a turn onto a road with a bike lane and damn near went head on into a cyclist riding the wrong way in the bike lane. I quickly swerved to avoid him, and trying to sound as calm as I could said wrong way dude, to which he replied "well f**ck off". I want to see more cyclists on the road, but I also want to see education increase with it so we don't end up with so many suicide riders.
Murph, that's just typical big city abuse from and for users all modes of transport :-)
Gary, suicide cyclists are everyday life in Palo Alto. I can count on a near hit at least weekly from cyclists running stops and lights. Last week it was a pair of women chatting who pulled out DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME without looking. This morning it was Joe College on his old mountain bike blowing through a stop and nearly got hit by me, by the two cyclists coming the other direction, and by the motorist directly behind me.
Above average drivers
The Q & A at the link to the book is a must read. I'd wager that the majority of motorized drivers are unaware of the obvious and ongoing problems, driver education has yet to be taught. We're still learning how driving behavior is changing and evolving while distractions are increasing along with speed and horsepower. Traffic and congestion, natural results, only compound stress related problems and "brains are put on hold". Jack
Traffic safety: If you can't see, the speed limit is zero
It always amazes me when people try to pass me on a couple of little rollers on my commute. Absolutely zero visibility over the crest of the hill, but they just have to pass me right there...
We had a cyclist killed here about a month ago, and there has been quite a debate going on in the comment section of the newspaper article.
The woman said she could not see the cyclist because the sun was in her eyes. She was not charged.
Several motorists have maintained that he should not have been there and it was his fault for even being on the road, and any cyclist in any roadway can pretty much expect that one day they will die on the road when there are cars about.
anyway I posted what the officer said about the speed being zero when visibility is zero.
On the plus side, at least it's gotten people talking about distractions of all kinds.
The consequences of distraction are still illegal. For example, unsafe lane changes, running stop signs, etc.
You don't actually have to hold a cell phone to your ear, or be drunk, to do something stupid/dangerous/illegal while driving. Even perfectly sober, alert people do stupid/dangerous/illegal things while driving.
That's a scary picture.
A few days ago on I-55 between Chicago and St. Louis I passed a man in a convertible reading a book while driving at 70+ mph.
Free range kids
Welp, given that we've contaminated all kinds of aspects of our environments, and made for highways where once 'twas safe passage...
... but back to bicycling. We get an email today - setting up interviews with the Daily Illini about "bicycle safety." THe language implies that the bicycle is inherently unsafe. We don't call Driver's Education Car Safety, do we? Let's make new language. Smart Cycling? Strategic Cycling?
Here's the latest fearmongrel to drop into my box: The hazards of lax dress codes. (42 seconds)
That video is too much!
Good luck on the interview. Remember to only say the things you want them to print -- journalists generally print the most alarming thing they hear about. If your entire 20 minute interview is about how fun cycling is, and you mention off hand about the jerk who honked at you last summer, guess how the article will lead off? "Sue Jones battles rude drivers and dangerous traffic conditions as she fights quixotically to improve safety for herself and the five other cyclists we found on Green Street." (from personal experience)
Although there are valid safety concerns with kids, I think as a society we over protect them. I think part of it is our access to media and can hear about all the terrible things that happen in the world instead of just where we live.
I was riding all over by the time I was 12. When I was 15, I did a 150 mile solo ride. We didn't even have cell phones to call for help. There were places where it was over 30 miles between towns and hardly any houses.
Good for you Fritz! As a father with four sons, raising them with emphasis on personal responsibility and experience in dealing with the world outside of cars pays large dividends.
My youngest has been riding to school on his bike since he was seven. Another son (age 25) has yet to own a car, rides his bike to work daily and rode the subways alone at age 12.
And as written on Free Range, cell phones turn adults into babies...so true. Jack
"the Boy Scout was forced to endure weather!"
Funniest thing I've read in the last week or so.
Over 500,000 children's head injuries are recorded each year!
Why just for kids? The world is full of banana peels, sticks, power cables, etc that could result in a crippling head injury even for the fully grown!
I agree! That is why I always wear my helmet, even to bed! (You never know when a particularly violent dream causes you to fall out of your bed!) I also have a set of knee and elbow guards.
To get 500,000 they must have used a fairly broad definition of "head injury". Probably the kinds of bumps and scrapes that every single one of us got when we were kids, right about the time that we (well, most of us) learned to stop smacking our heads into things. Shielding small children from that kind of feedback can severely restrict their ability to learn how to interact with their environment.
Thank you for mentioning me Fritz. I keep checking your blog from time to time. Keep the posts coming.
Now read this
I've done the local Ride of Silence and plan to again this year. Ours is pretty small and there's no fear mongering just respect for those killed. Just on Sunday, 2004 RAAM finisher Randy Van Zee was hit from behind and killed. It does happen. I've had close calls on the bike but I may get killed in a car accident. You never know. You just can't take for granted you'll be here tomorrow. Until then I intend to keep riding.
I used to be the type that only occasionally wore my helmet...that changed on Monday. I will always be wearing a helmet from now on...others can still do as they see fit but I can guarantee that I wouldn't be here, in the same capacity I am now, if I hadn't been wearing my helmet.
I'm sure helmets get pushed plenty hard...but one saved me...so I guess it was worth it.
Keeps my hair out of my face.
On the "My Helmet Saved My Life" rhetoric... This link is of interest.
In short, regarding people who claim, rather unscientifically, that a helmet 'saved their life' it is said: "As there is no evidence that helmets save lives or serious injury at all across cyclists as a whole, most of these perceptions of helmet benefit must be mistaken."
A helmet is not designed to help you in collisions with other vechicles. Not even the most fervently religious helmet advocate will claim that. Belief is one thing, knowing the scientific facts is quite another.
Bike helmets are a voluntary issue and should remain so.
Well the difference between my head hitting pavement from a 6 foot drop and my head in a helmet hitting pavement from a 6 foot drop is dramatic. I have demolished a helmet and walked away without even a headache. Sure, the helmet did not protect my knee, but I never expected it to. Without a helmet, it would have been a very different outcome.
Sure, people can choose not to wear a helmet, but if I am on a group ride and somebody busts their head open without a helmet? I just do not have time. If you do not care about your head enough to wear a helmet, I do not have time to stop and sit with you while waiting for an ambulance. The helmet-less rider can spend his waiting time thinking, if he still can, about links explaining that helmets may not save his life in a bike accident.
I caught a buddy riding one day without his helmet. I just rode up next to him and asked him to picture his ex-wife explaining to his two girls why daddy was now a drooling moron. He has not ridden without one since.
Tim, do you and your friend also wear helmets while driving? If not, why not? Your chance of serious head injury is higher while driving, after all. Of the three drooling morons that I know well, all of them were transformed from reasonably bright, happy people into drooling morons while they were unsafely within the confines of automobiles. If you play basketball with your buddies, you better wear a helmet on the court -- per hour of activity, your chance of head injury is *much* higher than that from bicycling.
Yeah, that's what I thought. After all, what kind of idiot wears helmets while driving or playing ball? They'd all look like retards.
I'll also point out once again that I draw a distinction between a slow speed ride to the store and your group rides. Helmets can be justified by the increased risk of higher speed rides on rural roads.
Ride of Silence effective advocacy...that's the debate? Well if preaching to the choir expands the flock, then it is. Cyclists find great comfort in having their beliefs reaffirmed... who doesn't?
Memorials are important in recognizing the empathy cyclists have for each other. What determines effective advocacy requires more space and time. Jack
Welp, there is that social element. Frankly, if it were part of the culture to wear a helmet in the car, I probably would. Since I'm in a car so rarely, putting on a helmet's pretty automatic when I'm walking out the door.
While it is of course possible that all those real, living riders are mistaken, it is also possible that evidence has simply not been properly interpreted. To assume they *must* be wrong is simply fallacious logic. So is assuming that I think the helmet will protect me from being made into a grease spot by a car. I don't. Whenever someboyd has to apply selective logic, they've lost their credibility with me. (Yes, this applies to the "everyone should wear a helmet" crowd, too.)
Odd as it may seem, there are other kinds of accidents on bicycles. I've smacked my little helmeted head enough times to be glad there's this silly cultural expectation that I wear one. It's just not that big a deal! I also have to partake in other utterly illogical social rituals that have no evidence that they really make sense.
I think people cna choose their risks. So I don't say "where's your helmet?" at strangers, tho' I consider it... the same way I consider but then decide against saying "why are you in that horrible death machine?" to drivers and "have you ever *heard* what dying of lung cancer sounds like?" to smokers.
Hmm, suddenly I want to get one of those old-timey motoring helmets, some leather gloves, and a white silk scarf, and go take a drive through the countryside at 40 mph. :-)
I don't want to make cycling seem dangerous. I am as big a cycling booster as anyone and I do see the point, but frankly riding in Demark and riding in the US are just not caomparable. Like Ultrarob, I will be participating in our local Ride of Silence next month. A guy I used to race with was killed on a training ride by an inattentive driver, and I will be thinking about him, as well as the wife and kids he left behind, as I do the ride. I don't know if it "only hurt a little" when he was hit, but he is no longer around for me to ask. I could say the same about one of our club members who was killed last year on her commute. On my commute, I ride on some roads that others would consider unsafe. I don’t have an irrational fear of riding in traffic, but I certainly think there is room for improvement in the way motorists interact with cyclists
On the flip side, I also know people, including a relative, who have died in auto accidents and I don't go around griping about how dangerous it is to drive. Oh wait, I DO go around griping about that… every chance I get in fact. 40,000 traffic fatalities a year in this country is a horrific statistic that we should not settle for. While it is true that riding a bike is not as unsafe as some people think it is, the fact remains that, in the U.S., driving or riding a bike are both more dangerous activities than they are in other industrialized countries. Those high traffic fatality statistics are not something that we should ignore in the name of not scaring anyone; I just can’t buy into that. Everyone in this country should be a little “scared” when they venture onto the roads. Maybe then some of the motorists would actually hang up the phone, put down the burger, and pay attention to the damn road."Tim, do you and your friend also wear helmets while driving? If not, why not?"
Because I am in a car? Are you a drooling moron? That is the stupidest argument I have ever heard. I thought bikesgonewild was stupid! My head is contained in a car.
I don't think I need to read your blog anymore if you do not understand the difference between riding in a car and on a bike, and the exposure of your head.
Also, please cease publishing any of my photos.
Make cycling safer
...leah makes some good points on a trend in the mainstream media, i've noticed also, since the cupertino fatalities... ...the have been two children on their bikes hit by vehicles in the last week in the greater bay area...one incident was fatal... ...& the 'city of sf' is introducing a proposal to almost double the number of bike lanes in town while reducing the number of parking places w/ the threat of cracking down on parking in the bike lanes... ...the natives will be restless & up in arms but good for 'the city' for showing some gumption...
Airbag for cyclists
The regions of the body in most danger during a crash are the hip, collar bone, knee and the wrist. I like the airbag idea but the fact that cyclists will need additional gear when going uphill is a discouragement.
What bike handling skill clinics can do in this regard maybe is to teach cyclists the right way to fall off a bike during a crash. I've seen similar instructions given to stunt men and record speed breakers. You know.. fall like a ragdoll, don't stiffen up your body, things on those lines. Not sure if they can apply to cycling.
Good points, Ron.
Mostly I think cycling is safe enough. Modern helmets are a reasonable compromise between additional safety and the inconvenience of wearing them, and we can heal from road rash. I've hit the deck at 25 mph -- it's painful, but not life ending.
...props for good points to both you guys...i could see something like this to supplement the hardshell gear the DHers use...crashing at 50mph on the old kamikaze downhill still hadda hurt, even w/ the right equipment of the day... ...& i'm gonna shout out about a friend, miles rockwell, who all these years later still deserves props for winning that race...55mph on the dirt is frickin crazy...missy g, jimmy deaton, all these folks hit speeds i could only dream about.,..
Maybe this guy:
could use something like that. I know there is a better video out there, but this is the only one I could find with the sound off at work.
Santa Clara County bicycle fatality locations
Has anyone done a similar map showing motor vehicle fatalities and/or pedestrian fatalities? This could go a long way towards determining where the roads need re-engineering or the vehicle statutes need tighter enforcement. Just showing one class of road user really doesn't give enough detail about what is causing the fatalities.
A similar map showing motorist fatalities over the past decade would be covered in those little markers. In Santa Clara County alone there are 12,000 collisions per year resulting in over 10,000 injuries and 100 deaths -- that's in a single year, while the map shows a decade's worth of cyclist fatalities. The leading factor in motor vehicle fatalities in the county is DUI.
Test your awareness and perception skillsThis post has been removed by the author.
Yeah, Fritz. Me too. Both on passing the test and on being familiar with what was going to happen. For more videos that test perception try this site. Select "The Videos". I like the "Colour-changing card trick", but they are all good. (wrong link on first posting)
The furry bear in the study was fairly obvious..
I obviously was too focused because I didn't even see it the 2nd time. I had to watch a 3rd time and then I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it.
Please pay attention
London is having a safety boost at the moment. Giveing 'booster' mirrors to trucks and lights to cyclists
they also have a test to show how hard looking for two things at once is http://www.dothetest.co.uk/ No Cheating!
I've said it before and I'll say it again... "I didn't see you" should never be accepted as an excuse for a driver almost hitting you, no matter if you're a cyclist, pedestrian, or another car.
If they didn't see you, they weren't looking hard enough, and if it comes right down to it they should be charged with negligence.
Looks like the Brits have borrowed from C-U's 'gorrilla study' ( see http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/grafs/demos/15.html ) and done their own: http://www.dothetest.co.uk/
The "awareness campaign" -- You guys beat me to mentioning it! I posted last night to CommuteByBike and got around to posting it today here.
I saw the surprise ending, but I was familiar with the UIUC study that Sue mentioned.
So, while it's true that people "weren't looking hard enough," it doesn't *necessarily* mean it was because they were attending to anything but driving. Therefore it simply doesn't fit legal negligence.
It reminds me of when somebody says "if you don't remember that, you just didn't try hard enough." Granted, I need to be responsible for finding a strategy to be where I"m supposed to be, but ... I can't *make* my brain remember. If I don't remember your name, I can try 'til I puke. It's not going to come to my brain.
If our brains didn't automatically screen out 90% of stimuli, we'd not be able to do the amazing things we do.
Obviously, if htey were also texting it changes everything - that's a choice to involve the attention and vision somewhere else.
And of course, the vehicular cyclist in me has to comment that he should *not* have been at "the far right edge of the road." People don't see you when you're out of the arc of attention.
More cyclist deaths in the Bay Area
"Traffic engineering" always seems to be about turning city streets into quasi-freeways.
It puts bikers at risk, not to mention pedestrians, and probably means more deaths and injuries for people in cars, too.
It would be interesting to see before and after figures for specific roads that have been "improved".
Where do you find figures like the 100/deaths per year for SCCo? Do they have more detailed information?
SC County government has the stats on their website. This PDF for example has 2006 data.
speed is up... how 'bout involvement of small electronic devices?
Z sez: Yield to Life
...while i'm guilty of making fun of dave z's new moustache, i've always respected him as a cyclist...
...now, w/ his intelligently named "yield to life" i can't tell you how much admiration i have for the guy...no need for me to mirror the worthy objectives here, but needless to say, a well conceived program...
...fritz, you mentioned the exchange amongst various types in sf...i thought it interesting that someone who was objecting to cyclist's riding on certain "dangerous" streets specifically mentioned 'fell st' which has a decent width bike lane on it's south side over a good portion of its length...when it hits the panhandle, blocks before gg park, the lane channels you into paths through the 'handle... ...i've both ridden & driven it recently & find it decent for either of it's purposes...
...i only mention it to shed light on the naysayers who would object even when reasonable accomodations are made...some folks just never like to give ground...
thanks for the HPT plug; to add to that rant, just learned that Squid & Co. have canceled Monstertrack! - in part due to the fatality in Chicago and increasing concern about the ability to manage the race.
Got in Fritz and read DaveZ's comments, upsetting but inspirational. His dedication to cycling and his goal to improve the cycling environment will benefit everyone...good for him. Jack
Cycling and right hooks
Buried in these forum comments are key reasons for the continuing problems between cyclists and motorized vehicles in the USA. In the section "do cyclists face the same problems in Europe" are these comments:
1) The most important thing about Europe is the culture and attitude towards cyclists. 2) is that the countries with the strictest driver's licensing laws and rules of the road (Germany, Austria, etc.) have the highest levels of bicycling, whereas those with more lenient licensing and arguably greater anarchy on the road (southern Europe, U.S.) have significantly lower levels of bicycling 3) Cyclists actually have a wonderful dedicated network of paths... 4) Motorists are petrified of hitting a cyclist.
All too true. Jack
...anon 11:54am...re: (4) motorists are petrified of hitting a cyclist...
...that's a true statement basically because while no one wants to accidentally take a life, most motorists just don't wanna deal w/ the ensuing hassle...we are a 'problem' best swept under the rug...there is no pro-active thought regarding the fact that bicycles are a valid form of transportation & should be regarded as such 'on the road'...
...while yes, there are a lot of clueless, inconsiderate cyclists out there who contribute to the negative image of cycling, most non cyclists in vehicles, don't think about cyclists or want to think about cyclists until we are 'in their way'...
...i may sound like a broken record on this but every motorist will encounter cyclists at some point of their day for the rest of their lives & maybe that needs to be pro-actively recognized or addressed...
Sadly this whole situation goes beyond visibility of cyclists. I've been right hooked numerous times on my bike, and have been fortunate enough to miss hitting the car every time but one. Then a few months ago, I almost hit a car that right hooked me while I was DRIVING! I was in the right right lane, and without looking or signaling, the other driver tried to turn right onto a side street from the left lane. Some people get into a car and just become completely oblivious to all other road users.
Jail sentence for running stop sign
...while i share yer sentiments regarding unnecessary stop sign usage especially in light of being a cyclist, this guy bamberg is an idiot & a clown...
...nothing is sweeter (in these situations) than the law having to acquiesce to the defendant, when the official format is wrong...but pulling a stunt like this idiot did is deserving of punishment...
...that being said, as was pointed out in the 'chronicle', house arrest would provide less of a burden on the state...ankle bracelet, tons of community service, whatever else but it looks like the court wanted to set an example w/ this guy...
Taking the lane: How it's done
Thanks, Fritz. I've forwarded this information to one of our local cycling advocates who's looking for instructional material.
These presentations fail in so many ways to address the realities of cycling, especially the failure of law enforcement, the role of educating auto drivers, and proper road design. No amount of educating cyclists can compensate for the combination of irresponsible street designs, irresponsible auto-truck drivers and iresponsible law enforcement.
Notice how each of these critical areas are labeled "under development". Also the group has a clear and obvious bias against separated bike lanes which can be very beneficial as proven around the world.
In addition, the presentations typically are from the perspective of an adult and ignore the needs of young children and older adults.
Thanks for posting this link. I would like to address Anonymous, time stamped 11/30/2007 10:03:00 AM remarks:
> presentations ...
Excuse me where do you live? All vehicle operators are responsible to "exercise duty of care" to others on the road. A sound grounding in vehicular cycling help the cyclist know where and how to drive and anticipate, prevent others ignorance or irresponsibility!
> notice how each of these critical areas are labeled "under development".
How about looking at Richard Moeur's "Bicycle Facility Design" for an expanded looked. http://tinyurl.com/ysgowg
> the group has a clear and obvious bias against separated bike lanes which can be very beneficial as proven around the world.
The presentations is are unfair, they clarifies the weakness of special facilities, i.e. bike lanes, whose benefits are dubious. My Local EMS service counted 19 bike accident in four years, over half (10) we're on a multi-use path (aka bike path). Thanks so much for bicycle friendly facility! A vehicular [educated] cyclist can adapt to any situation or road.
> presentations typically are from the perspective of an adult and ignore the needs of young children and older adults.
Young children need good role models [parents] to learn how ride a bike and I don't see any problems with older adults, except breaking old habits and disarming fears. Chris Quints' "A Kid's Eye View: Bicycle Safety for Parents from a Child's Perspective" featured on LAB Enjoy the Ride: Essential Bicycling Skills (DVD) http://tinyurl.com/29stpo is quite good for parents of younger riders.
> very disappointing...
If you want a slower paced, less technical view, try "Cyclist's Eye View: Driving Your Bicycle in Traffic" also on Enjoy the Ride: Essential Bicycling Skills (DVD). While this information fails to fulfill your hopes or expectations I find it extremely informative and well done!
that road in laguna is insane. while i am 100% supportive of bicyclists asserting their rights on the road, but that looked rather unnecessary. why not pick a slightly less busy road?
having grown up in orange county, i realize that most roads are huge and fast, but a lot of roads also have a bike lane or at least a shoulder.
vehiclar cycling is one thing, but planting yourself in the midst of SUVs piloted by cell-phone talking drivers going 50mph to prove a point is another. why should you believe, even for a second, that a car behind you is going to see you or give you a wide berth just because you're in the middle of the right lane? people still give me a foot or less when passing me, even when i plant my butt right down the middle of the lane.
No charges were filed
Of all the cycling deaths in KC that have gotten any press in the short amount of time that I've been riding and interested in this sort of thing, I can say that most of them in KC end up the same way.
I was VERY thankful when the court finally laid the smack down on the guy who slaughtered a man and his grand-daughter who were training for the local MS-150 charity ride.
Fritz, you may want to take a look at this:
"No charges in death of Mesa cyclist: Police say more proof is needed to cite driver with violation of "3-foot law""
They say cycling is dangerous...
This reminds me a little of that sniper in the D.C. area :(
Americans are 10X more likely to die of skin cancer than a bike accident. So wear sunscreen.
A Nice Morning Drive
hope that as gas prices go up people start driving less and slower. Encourage local representatives for heavier taxes on gasoline and building up dutch-style bicycling facilities.
I think it runs deeper philosophically; when people are invulnerable, they become unaware of the harm they do to others. WOrks on an individual and a group basis.
Fahrenheit 451's descriptions of the highways were also eerily accurate.
Thanks for the comments. Good point about the psychology of invulnerability.
Bicycle risks and safety
great link fritz! thanks for sharing. something i alway weigh is the risk i put myself at when i get behind the wheel, whereas i have always perceived my long distance cycling habit to be the riskier of my choices.
I do feel more vulnerable on my bike but I think how someone rides makes a big difference in safety. I won't ride with even one earpiece as I think it reduces awareness of what's going on.
Route choice also makes a big difference although roads that seem safe can lull me into not paying attention. I have quit doing one of my favortie 200 mile rides from Colorado Springs to Glenwood Springs because of worries about narrow roads and lots of high speed traffic. I've replaced it with a ride to Avon that's 190 miles and avoids the busiest section of the ride to Glenwood.
"I do feel more vulnerable on my bike"
Ironically, that's part of why you're safer. The reverse is people in SUVs who think they're totally safe and end up lying sideways in a ditch during a light snowfall.
Do as I say, not as I do!
$1000 speeding ticket
Whaaaaaaaaaat? Cops don't enforce the law on bicyclists? You should have a chat with Tulsa PD Santa Task Force. Maybe they just trying to show Santa some love and Christmas cheer?
This is what I've been saying needs to be done all along. Make the speeding laws something that's actually going to HURT people in some way. That way they'll stop speeding.
The law I've been pushing recently is to give anyone who speeds in a school zone a six-month license suspension. If we can't create laws to protect kids at school, what good are we? Lives are more important than speed on the road.
THat one drawback is pretty significant, especially since it means the same guy could deserve a ticket ten times and there might not even be a record. End result: more crazy drivers, not fewer. I'm of the "earn your right to the road" school. If our culture stopped thinking it was a horrible thing to deprive somebody of the privilege to drive, then a: those same outraged citizens would create options and b: htere *would* be fewer dangerously impaired drivers out there.
Tulsa's fine law enforcement personnel are exceptional in every way, I'm sure.
I think it's Finland that figures speeding fines as a percentage of income.
I read that one reason the VA legislators voted for increased speeding fine was because they were afraid to increase gas taxes by roughly a penny per gallon. the measure is meant to increase revenues for roads, as you've noted Fritz, but the legislature is tax averse.
Now we get to see how much backbone they have when confronted with angry voters.
Third offense for driving under the influence gets a $3000 fine? It ought to get 10 years!
One of the biggest complaints about the law is that out of state drivers (there are a lot, District and Maryland residents) are exempted from the high fines because they are allowed to plead ignorance. The roads right around the District are nasty to drive in, but there are already a number of programs to encourage people to report "aggressive" drivers. Maybe there just needs to be more effort to track down the reported aggressives.
Are you nut? I make 1500 a month. I don't speed but speed traps all over my rout to and from work on downhills and 25 mils speed limit? Are you telling me you never went over limit? Do you even live in US?
Anon, read the article. If you're going 45 in a 25, then you deserve to get nailed. IMO.
Motorist's brilliant suggestion to improve bike lanes
At least that person means well... I think.
I think this shows you the level of people out there. Bicyclist are second class citizens, its obvious by the way people treat us and the laws that protect us (or lack there of).
Cyclist jacket with brake light and turn signals
I've invented this a thousand times... or at least wished it.
Now for a "horn" that will do assorted sound effects. When my brakes were really squeaky, people knew I was there!
How about something to hold a lipstick so I can beautify myself while at a stop light?
Seriously, I think some major brainstorming could come up with some major improvements for utilitarian cyclists. Cycling products tend to be focused on fair-weather recreational cyclists.
City Traffic Commission: Cyclists are insane idiots
As Chairperson for the Saratoga Traffic Safety Commission I want to apolgize for allowing any words I have uttered to be so misunderstood and misquoted. This quote is so outrageous as to not even be believable, but I guess we all tend to believe what we read. My quote should have read "that" road which refered to a discussion about one road in Saratoga in particular whose conditions are dangerous for all vehicles in many places. This road has a long history of accidents, community concern and media attention. At this same meeting we later discussed bike lane safety for which the other quotes in the article refer to. I have worked for many years WITH cycling through the commission to add biking lanes, sign appropriately, Safe Routes to School and promoting biking and walking as an althernative to driving. I have always worked diligently to have families bike to school and have been involved in most of the design work in our cities attempt to renovate schools and inmprove traffic in around them to promote safety. I, of course, do not think this awesome sport is insane nor idiotic, and where else would anyone bike if not on the streets? Parking lots! The misquote came from a differnt discussion in the same meeting where we addressed one address on one street. I do reserve the right to have an opinion about one very dangerous road in my city,knowing full well that it is within the rights of all bikers to ride where they want when they want. Thank you, Brigitte Ballingall
Thank your Mr Ballinger for leaving your comment here. I appreciate that. I hope my followup is reasonably accurate!
Your follow-up was greatly appreciated and an accurate summary of my post. I wrote a letter and sent it in response to a few emails I recieved yesterday. I will format it as a "Letter to the Editor" that will not "retract" a statement I never made but explain the statement I did make and what it refered to. The quote is not only inaccurate and out of context; it is absurd. I am concerned about the negative publicity this will have for a city that has been committed to cycling promotion and safety. But, I am most concerned of about cylist safety and how this distorted statement might potentially negatively influence that. Brigitte Ballingall
Safe Routes to School and promoting biking and walking as an althernative to driving. I have always worked diligently to have families bike to school and have been involved in most of the design work in our cities attempt to renovate schools and inmprove traffic in around them to promote safety. I, of course, do not think this awesome sport is laptop batteries insane nor idiotic, and where else would anyone bike if not on the streets? Parking lots! The misquote came from a differnt discussion in the same meeting where we addressed one address on one street.
See also this sad story.
What was the outcome of that Y2K road rage in SF?
Crime and perception
I'll look through the files, Fritz. I know I did an informal count of motor vehicles stopping/not stopping in front of the library one afternoon. But I won't have it until this evening, at least.
"My best advice to any bicyclist encountering such bias is to vigorously push back. Bicyclist behavior is entirely consistent with traffic behavior in general. Which transportation mode poses the greatest danger? Which mode offers the greatest social benefit?"
Hmmm... which direction to "push back?" Global ferocious enforcement for all the violators, or global ferocious focus on the benefits?
+1. Plus the effects of my errant biking are far less...
No Kidding. I bike to work every day, and it amazes me how many motorists seem to think I shouldn't be on the road, and push by with little to no room left for myself, occasionally causing me to run off the road. Our city by-law says to ride in the middle of the lane if you feel you don't have enough room. Maybe I should try that...
We've still got these folks that, I believe, in-your-face confrontation isn't going to help: this guy ... I'm not sure what will get this guy out of "roads are made for cars." I mean, otherwise sensible people honestly believed for years that "women just can't... (fill in the blank)" or believed in spontaneous generation, for that matter.
Broke bike chain breaks teeth
Ouch. The only time I broke a chain was on a track bike at the velodrome down near Ft. Lauderdale. I was out of the saddle doing a sprint coming down off the bank when all of a sudden there was no more resistance on the pedal. My balance was totally thrown off by the quick acceleration of the foot through the rest of the pedal stroke and I when straight down. The concrete surface was just smooth enough for me to slide on my butt for about 20 feet. The spandex in my shorts melted (I could see the singed edges around the big hole) and I got a huge case of road rash conveniently right on the part of the cheek that makes contact with whatever you're trying to sit on. Kept all of my teeth, though. This post was like driving past a car accident on the highway, I couldn't help but look at the photos... Thanks for sharing.
Cyclist tips from a car driver