September 07, 2009
George, George, George on Your Bicycle, Look Out for That...Ohhh!... Door!
Clearly the Motorist, in this case was wrong, but Bike Lanes to the left of where cars ARE allowed to park are not my favorite places to ride.
Sharing the Road in Iowa Leads to Competing Initiatives, and Heated Debate
1. A program dubbed "complete streets" that aims to focus on cyclists and pedestrians rather than only motorists is being considered in Des Moines, and has not been fully embraced by the public.
2. Leaders of something called the Metro Advisory Council are exploring approval of a regional ordinance that could include elements of certain protections for cyclists that failed to pass in the Iowa Legislature earlier this year.
It was a bill that would have expanded required passing and following distances..
3. A group called Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa wants to prohibit bicycles on farm-to-market roads, which include paved county roads and some of the more heavily traveled gravel roads.
Read more here: Des Moines' bike talks echo Iowa's
Doing a Google for Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa will bring up some interesting news stories, and Blog postings, on the whole debate. ;-D
July 21, 2009
Lorry, Lorry, on the Street, Our Goal of Safety Help Us Meet
The increase in the number of cyclists sharing the roads in Great Britain is causing problems.
An interesting story from the London Evening Standard illustrates one such problem:
A thousand free safety mirrors are to be handed out to lorry drivers in the City, in an attempt to halt the rising number of cyclists being killed.
Police and Corporation of London staff will stop drivers entering the Square Mile at checkpoints and hand out the stick-on mirrors. The “Fresnel” lenses are fitted to the cab window so drivers can see cyclists on the passenger side of the lorry. Without these, drivers have a blind spot which has been blamed for a string of fatal accidents involving cyclists and left-turning lorries across London.
7 cyclists killed in less than 5 months, 6 of them women (No jokes about Crazy Women Cyclists, please! Safety is a serious matter, and it should not matter the gender of the dead, and injured.)?
Cyclists will also be stopped at the checkpoints and given free high-visibility belts, as well as road safety leaflets. “Our message is: don't ride out into that suicide space',” said Matthew Collins, the corporation's road safety officer. Latest figures show 17 cyclists were killed or seriously injured last year, compared with eight in 2000.
An interesting, yet heated, conversation is going on in the comments to this article.
July 04, 2009
I Get Comments: One Persons Misguided Rage Against All Cyclists
It has been a frustrating week for me.
After returning from the Southern Ca. Genealogy Jamboree, in Burbank, I had planned to Blog the heck about it on my other blog, then spend this weekend doing some cycling.
Didn't work out that way.
Computer issues have kept me home pecking slowly away at my Genealogy blogging while waiting for a back-up hard drive, and still to come help from tech support to fix my issues.
In the mean time, I get comments. ;-D
This one in response to a post I did, in January of 2008, Fullerton Man in Trouble for Making Bike Trail Holes
If I was a crabby old man I probably would of done the same thing.
You cyclists, or whatever, need to be more Fucking considerate.
My 8yr old brother and I were run down by two cyclists that were racing.
He broke his leg, and had a severe concussion, and I had to get 30 stitches.
Damn bikers, get a real hobby.
Yet again we have someone misguidedly blaming every cyclist for the stupidity of a few.
I am sorry for the injuries suffered, but taking out your anger, whether in words, or, more dangerously, with deeds, does not solve the problem for anyone.
Education, of all users of Multi-Use Trails, is the best way to handle things, that, and fines, or jail time, for those caught doing something unlawful.
June 13, 2009
Possible Beer Bike Ban Bums Blissfull Bicyclists
A Bicycle Built for 10 is causing concern in Amsterdam.
Actually...some of these contraptions can apparently accomodate up to 22 people.
Oh, and when you toss in a Karaoke Machine... (See Link below). ;-D
There are lots of the contraptions on the street in this, um, Forward Thinking, city.
The bike, which can seat at least 10 people around a central "bar" as they pedal through the city center, is a frequent sight in the Dutch capital and is said to be popular with stag and hen (bachelor and bachelorette) parties. A non-drinker steers the bike.
But two accidents involving the bikes since the start of April has prompted the city councilor responsible for transport, Hans Gerson, to investigate how many bikes there are and whether they pose a problem.
For a look at an example of the beast go here. ;-D
For more on this story go here.
June 03, 2009
The 3 Feet Please Campaign and Road Guardian
Cars, SUV's, RV's, Busses, and Trucks, OH, MY!!
As I wrote in Dec., when I first reported on the 3 Feet Please Movement, it doesn't matter how safe a bicyclist you are, no matter how properly you share the road with the 4 to 18-Wheeler Majority, the problem of how close, is too close, is of concern to Recreational Cyclists, and Bike Commuters, alike, every single day.
The US states with "3 Foot Laws" are: Florida, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, Illinois, Tennessee, Minnesota, Utah, Wisconsin, Arizona, South Carolina, Washington, Oklahoma, and Maine... and other states aren't far behind.
In fact, Colorado recently enacted a law that includes a 3 Feet Requirement.
What can people in the other states, and in countries around the world, do to get others to get on board?
Well, there's always the option of making the point with a peaceful, bold, and clear, FASHION STATEMENT. ;-D
Joe Mizereck thought that was a brilliant idea! ;-D
He created a 3 Feet Please Campaign and related T-Shirt, and Cycling Jersey,
"The battle for space between cyclists and motorists is intensifying--worldwide. And the need for space has never been greater. More must be done to educate motorists of the importance of sharing our roads and giving cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.
As a cyclist who spends a lot of time on the roads in traffic I have experienced numerous close calls. After one frustrating ride I decided to act. I designed a jersey with the words "3 Feet Please" on the back. I shared this idea with several fellow cyclists who thought this could make a difference."
I, too, think it will help.
If nothing else it will get the attention of those we share the road with.
Oh, and, um, if not...when you are flattened from behind, by that SUV, and the cops show up to question the person driving the thing, they can ask him/her if they noticed the words on the shirt you were wearing. ;-D
Check out the website of the 3 Feet Please Worldwide Campaign.
On the Media Page of the website is an amazing 5 min. video report by Fox News in Wisconsin.
It has footage that will blow you away.
Jeff Frings is an ordinary cyclist, and he’s tired of being treated unfairly on the roadways.
His experiences show it’s not just ordinary motorists who put us at risk, it’s municipal workers and even police officers.
So he mounted a couple of video cameras to his bike and put together a blog.
Check out Jeff's Bike Blog for more information.
On his blog Jeff makes this important point...
He, and Joe, are not alone:
Whatever they are doing, the point is they are doing something.
I commend anyone who is trying to make the situation better.
I would also urge anyone who is doing something to talk to your local media about your efforts.
I think educating the public is the key to improving the situation.
To all those who've had enough and decided it's time to do something, thanks and keep up the good work.
As for my own humble efforts, I have a whole archive of personal investigative reports, photos, and reports on other stories: Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters!
That story, with photo, can be read here.
Recently Joe told me of a new site he has helped begin with Max Jones, a fellow Floridian, called Road Guardian... "the first worldwide tool to help cyclists report, mark and share cycling incidents and trouble spots."
As the website describes it:
"The company name is SafeCycling, LLC, a for-profit corporation based in Tallahassee. Max is the tech guru who makes it all happen. Joe, well, he's the cyclist who wants to save other cyclists' lives and make cycling safer for everyone. RoadGuardian.com was Joe's idea… Max gave it life..."
As for its purpose:
To save lives by helping cyclists avoid risky roadways.
There are a lot of wonderful roads to ride around the world and there are some roads that cyclists should avoid because they have problems, danger points, and troublesome histories as experienced by cyclists.
This site offers cyclists a process for reporting, marking and sharing those danger points. This information will help cyclists plan their routes for safe experiences.
And what's equally exciting is that by making cycling safer for existing cyclists we make cycling more attractive to non-cyclists. When non-cyclists become cyclists they increase the numbers of cyclists on the road and this makes it even safer for all cyclists… just think about what that means.
You can learn more about how it works, and how to use it, on the detailed FAQ Page.
I decided to give the site a try, by reporting the incident above, and signed up.
Going to the Reporting Tool I found a collection of questions, and Info Logging Steps to go through.
I had to choose an incident from Close call, Collision, Death, and Trouble Spot.
I chose Trouble Spot.
I next entered the date, time, and location.
Next I had to choose a Problem Type from Vehicle, Dog, Bicyclist, and Road Condition ( No, Pigeon, Cat, Jogger, and Pedestrian were not among the options to choose from ;-D ).
I chose Vehicle.
Next I had to choose directions for me, and the Motorist from N, S, E, W, NW, NE, SW, SE.
If the incident does not involve a Motorist then the Motorist direction is not answered.
Next I had to describe the incident in my own words.
The description is only as good, and as useful, as the contributor takes the time to make it, including the answers to all the other questions before and after, and that might be a problem if the contributor does not take the appropriate time, and effort to be helpful, and clear.
Next I had to answer Yes or No to wether the incident was Harrassment.
Next I had to answer Yes, or No to wether I filed Crash Report with the police.
Next I clicked on Preview to allow the Google Map to change its image to that of the location I provided it, and watched as a Satellite View, with Street Names (The Hybrid, as opposed to simply the Map, or Satellite choices alone.) of the intersection, and its surroundings, appears.
If all is as it should be you click "Yes, this is Correct", or if not, "Change Address".
The map allows the person viewing it to move left, right, and up and down, and zoom in, or out.
Once I approved it a Thank You note appeared, and I was done!
To make sure all really went well I went to the Report Viewer Page.
Once there I have several menus to chose options from in the Filter.
I Chose Trouble Spot, United States, Long Beach, and hit Search.
The map appears with the location marked with either a yellow marker for Close Call, Red for Collision, Black for Death, or Orange for Trouble Spot.
Clicking on the marker brings a pop-up allowing you to read the incident report, and also see a street level view of the location.
Road Guardian is a real cool tool, and while members don't have a page where all their personal reports can be found in 1 place, and there are still growing pains of a Technical Nature, that doesn't keep me from recommending the site.
As you can see, in the photos above, I have now taken to wearing the 3 Feet Please T-Shirt, and Jersey, on my Commutes to, and from, work. ;-D
The reactions from motorists has, so far, been positive in the 2 weeks I've been wearing the shirts.
Motorists of all types have given me a wide birth, and if I have taken the lane, as I do for 4 miles on the ride thru Long Beach, no-one has honked their horn, instead just going around me in the lane to my left.
On the bus I've had a few people ask about the shirt, and the Bus drivers have gotten a kick out of them.
So far I've had no cyclists approach me on the street about them, but expect that that will happen a lot as time goes by. ;-D
Approach of New Colorado Law Steams Motorists AND Cyclists
In Colorado things are getting a little, um, rocky, with regards to the realionship between Motorists, and Cyclists.
Legislators did, as Legislators do, pass new rules with regards to bicycles and vehicles road-sharing with a recent bicycle safety bill, set to take effect in August.
Problem is...on narrow mountain roads motorists are getting mad about cyclists "taking the lane", and cyclist don't like getting honked at.
Another source of aggravation is the fact that the new bicycle safety law was passed to protect cyclists, but the wording of the bill has left law enforcement agents with little options if a cyclist is being uncooperative. "There's nothing we can do about it," Pelle said. "Essentially, this law takes away our ability to enforce anything."
The article points out some of the requirements of the new law (and links to the bill itself), all of which are simply common sense, including the "3 Feet" part directed at motorists.
Read the article by Glorianne Scott at Examiner.com: Conflict on the road between bicyclists and drivers intensifies after bill signing.
Cyclist Stupidity in San Jose Up for Discussion
Gary Richards writes the Roadshow Column for the San Jose Mercury News, and yesterday spent most of a column sharing, and discussing, readers views on a recent bit of cyclist stupidity: The act of Car Punching.
Apparently some cyclists think it's a brilliant idea to "intentionally dent cars when the driver does something that is dangerous for bicycles."
In the case under discussion the cops rulled that the motorist was acting appropriately, but even if the motorist wasn't since when was a bit of excessive Cyclist "Road Rage" an appropriate way to respond?
If caught you could be made to pay for the damage, at best, or, at worst, the motorist could be armed, and dangerous, and decide to chase you down, and blast you right out of the saddle.
Yes, the motorist would go to jail, but what good would that do YOU, or your loved ones, when you are 6 feet under? ;-D
Now, I'll admit to staring down, or wagging the middle finger at, a misbehaving driver who puts me in danger, a time or 2 in my 49 years of life (If there is a Saint among us who HASN'T done 1, or both, at least once, I'd like to meet this Jesus on 2 Wheels!), but I've learned over the years that it is far more constructive to attempt to talk to the driver if given the chance, and the person was receptive to my doing so.
At best I educate the driver, at worst the driver looks bad by their behavior in response to my approach.
So far no driver has pulled a weapon on me. ;-D
Read the article, and the comment section - Roadshow: Bicyclists and car punching — not a good idea
May 13, 2009
Columnist Steve Lopez, Like Me, Points Out the Uneasy World of the Bike Trail
Recently Steve Lopez, the always interresting, and informative, columnist of the LA Times, did for the Santa Monica Bike Trail what I tried to do for the Huntington Beach Bike Trail, and the Newport Beach Back Bay Trail, in 2006, camera in tow (More than 3 years of coverage of the issue of Motorist, Cyclists, and Pedestrians getting along, and the Share The Road Campaign, can be explored, at your leisure, in this Archive of posts.) ;-D
Paradise. Nirvana. Whatever you call it, we're lucky mugs to have a tranquil respite from the urban madness and permanent bottlenecks.
But wait. Do I see a collision in the making?
A woman is pushing a stroller, a teenager is on a skateboard, a man is walking a dog on a leash -- all of them idling along on a path that's marked BIKES ONLY -- and here comes a cyclist, closing in on this knot of nudniks. The cyclist slows, he weaves, he shoots past them and all are safe. But it doesn't always work out like that...
The term "bike path" doesn't leave much room for ambiguity. But pedestrians just can't seem to get it...
the hazards are mounting because so many people are on cellphones or using iPods, oblivious to the world around them...
None of this catapults the issue to the top of our list of regional concerns. But how hard is it, really, to enforce regulations and prevent accidents? Southern California does a lousy job of accommodating bikes on city streets.
You'd think we could at least get it right at the beach, but hazards abound.
Read the whole piece: On Santa Monica's beachfront bike path, an uneasy mix.
Oh, and BTW, this is the same Steve Lopez responsible for the magnificent human interest story that was the basis for the great film The Soloist. ;-D
April 20, 2009
Concerns and Solutions Regarding Proposed 3 Feet Law in Colorado
Last week, David Petersen, of Durango, tossed in his 2 cents about Senate Bill 148, in a Letter to the Editor of the Durango Herald:
Senate Bill 148, which would require motorists to keep 3 feet of space between vehicles and bicyclists - is not only an accident waiting to happen, as one opposing legislator has pointed out, but a slew of lawsuits as well. Just try driving Florida Road any nice weekend, and you'll encounter everything from polite defensive bikers strung out in their lane single file, to mobs of dozens huddled together blocking entire lanes and refusing to "line out" even when cars are stacked up behind them with horns tooting.
His solutions, to what he sees as a problem, involves wider bike lanes, making cyclists pay a road tax, setting a maximum legal size for groups of bicyclists traveling together, and "decreeing some county roads simply too narrow, winding, high-speed and dangerous to allow for bicycle traffic at all."
While the wider lanes idea seems a good one, the other ideas are totally unworkable.
The cost alone, in enforcing those notions, would be a problem for state governments, and citizens, especially in these hard economic times.
Setting group size, when there's no guarantee the whole group is even together at any given point on the ride?
Does that mean toll booths are every major intersection?
A tax would especially be unfair to the poor...especially those who don't own cars, and rely on their bike as part, or all, of their transportation options.
Telling cyclists they can't travel on certain roads because they are dangerous?
When part of the problem causing the dangers on such roads can be laid at the feet of the motorists cyclists share the road with?