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Posted by on Feb 9, 2011 in General | 17 comments

Odd Ends

I’m working on several posts that take time to construct. In the meantime, here are some odds and ends from here and there.

Changing the Plan

Transit-oriented development is all the rage. But what if you build it the exurban development before the transit, they come, then they don’t want the transit after all?

See Residents of award-winning transit-oriented development say no to transit on Grist.

Negative Distortion

Does helmet cam video make cycling seem more dangerous? Be careful what you show, to whom.

We have discussed the use of video for this before. I think it’s good to capture outrageous behavior for political purposes (to increase enforcement, influence policy-making or report commercial drivers). For example, Jason captured an excellent example of incivility over a group of us ignoring the 3ft-wide faux bike lane on Tuscawilla Rd. I’ve experienced that kind of abuse many times in similar situations, but video tells a much more powerful story about why striping substandard gutter lanes is detrimental to bicycling.

Unfortunately, many people who capture crashes and road rage incidents want the shock value of showing the world about the horrible conditions they have to face. This form of victim advocacy is so damaging because, as the article says, it comes completely out of context. Road ragers represent one in hundreds, or thousands, of uneventful encounters. They are abhorrent and should not be normalized with “see, see, I told you these streets were mean” framing. Likewise, when a crash is shown in the media you can guarantee there will be no analysis of what actually happened to cause the crash or how it could have been easily prevented by smarter cycling.

See Road rage videos do more harm than good on Bike Biz.

No Safety in Numbers

A new comprehensive interactive map shows all reported crashes in San Fransisco. That in itself is interesting to play with. But it also shows that bike crashes have grown 8% in the past two years. Ridership has grown only 3%. Oh and, keep in mind that reported crashes are typically the tip of the iceberg. For every reported crash, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of minor crashes and close calls.

Here’s another thing to ponder:

But [San Fransisco cycling] also rife with “anger, misunderstanding, and mistrust between motorists and cyclists,” according to a report issued last year by a San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, which investigated the implementation of the city’s bike plan.

Us v them tears the community apart and reduces the quality and safety of cycling. It doesn’t have to be that way. This is a product of modern American bike advocacy.

Also worth noting are the top three crash causes: #1 speed (hello, steep hills); #2 turning conflicts; #3 dooring. Yet in a recent article (including a video so misguided it could warrant a post of its own), the ED for the bike coalition called for more segregated bike lanes for safety. Splain me how segregated bike lanes fix those crash causes.

See San Francisco Bike Accidents Rise Faster than the Rate of Cycling; Bay Citizen Maps Crash Data on Transportation Nation

Educating Motorists

Mighk and I were invited by John Alexander to speak to the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers about the CyclingSavvy curriculum design, teaching methodology and the unique challenges we faced in creating it. In the process, we inadvertently educated a room full of motorists. The result was very positive. The Q&A included a lot of discussion about how we could get this information into driver’s ed programs. This is from motorists, mind you, not cyclists. But the best quote ever came from a woman who raised her hand and said:

“First, I want to apologize because I think I’ve seen you on Maguire and yelled at you for being in the road. Now I understand!”

Effective education is good advocacy. There was no us v them in that discussion.

Hat tip to Brian DeSousa and Dan Gutierrez for the news stories.

17 Comments

  1. Your “Best quote ever” was, indeed, a powerful statement! Thank you for posting it!

  2. Re: No safety in numbers.

    Turning conflicts and dooring can both be engineered out by proper road design. See, for example:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/markenlei#p/c/B271D0D935C03800/4/rBwMRGxtZ9k

    Note the cyclist making a right turn in the 20-25 second piece of the video. Right-hook crashes have been completely eliminated by providing a protective barrier between bicycle traffic and cars throughout the entire turn.

    What I found most interesting is that the first 20 seconds of the video looks a lot like Southern Florida. Canal next to the ROW, suburban-style street – I’ve cycled down a gazillion roads in Florida that look just like this.

    Then we get to the superior intersection design. Toto, we’re not in Orlando anymore.

    • yawn

    • “Note the cyclist making a right turn in the 20-25 second piece of the video. Right-hook crashes have been completely eliminated by providing a protective barrier between bicycle traffic and cars throughout the entire turn.”

      A right hook usually refers to a motorist turning right while the cyclist (on the right) is going straight.

      • How true! Whenever I see this video I’m always reminded of an intersection where I’m turning right – and right-turning motor vehicles used to be a serious problem. The solution here was to ban motor vehicles from turning right on red lights. But the Dutch solution is far better.

        • But what if you’re going straight?

          • Watch the video.

          • Well either they kept the turning conflict, or you have to wait for the separate light. Doesn’t sound convenient to me.

            Kevin, how hard is it to learn dutch?

          • Like at 3:00 in the video where the driver and the cyclist get a green at the same time and the car has to pause for the bike. Right hook NOT eliminated.

            The video claims the bike and car signal are on separate phases, but clearly that is not always the case from that particular segment. Cycle tracks research in Denmark has shown huge increases in collisions from turning vehicles.

          • Dutch is not very hard to lear. It has many similarities to both English and German.

            For example, if you were to listen to me counting from 12 to 20 in Dutch, it would sound like I was speaking English with a very strange accent. Those words are very similar.

            Frisian (a minority language in The Netherlands) is even closer to English.

          • Dutch it is. Figure it should be easier then learning canadian, eh?

            At least it’ll be nice not having to worry about my own safety when I can put that directly in the hands of those wonderful dutch engineers.

        • Why would right-turning motor vehicles be a problem for right-turning cyclists? Just be in front or behind them, not beside them.

          Same thing if we’re talking about any two right-turning drivers (e.g. motorcycle, 18-wheeler).

          Right turns are easy. Going straight from the wrong side of turning traffic is hard.

    • This video shows cyclists not as operators of vehicles but pedestrians
      with wheels. Does every road have a path? If not, then people must
      learn two set of rules. Then, if there is a bike lane, just add some
      more rules. What about bike boxes? Wouldn’t it be better to just treat
      every vehicle the same?

      • No. That idea has a proven track record of failure. The reasons why are largely common sense. Would you cycle in the conditions shown in the first photo at:

        http://crapwalthamforest.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-integrationist-became.html

        Yikes!!

        Neither would I.

        Still, I have an open mind. I’ll reconsider if I can be shown anywhere in the entire world where a reasonable cycle mode share has been achieved by a policy of “just treat every vehicle the same.”

        A list of OECD cities (ie excludes Bejing and other 3rd world cities) with cycle rates over 10% can be found at:

        http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/07/worlds-most-bicycle-friendly-cities.html

        • You fail to visit the links you post. The first photo clearly shows a segregated bike lane.

          Yawn.

  3. “First, I want to apologize because I think I’ve seen you on Maguire and yelled at you for being in the road. Now I understand!”

    Awesome!