Meanwhile, SeattleLikesBikes notes how statistically, BikesDontLikeSUVs…
Archive for the ‘Bicycle Commuting’ Category
More motivation to attend today’s summit, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Seattle City Hall:
BikePortland: Good links and commentary on Texas tandem mowdown. Yes it was an unfortunate accident, but hey, it’s vehicular manslaughter any way you cut it.
SeattleLikesBikes is tracking bike deaths statistically. Even a casual glance shows that most bike deaths do not involve alcohol or drugs, just carelessness and the psychological belittlement of bikes as rightful sharers of the road. Thanks to Michael Snyder for compiling this.
Head on down to lend your presence to legislative relief for this most critical challenge for the cycling and pedestrian communities. Help make our streets safer for non-motorized transport!
SF Streetsblog: Bicycle beats chopper in Sao Paulo, Brazil … don’t you love it!
Cyclelicio.us: Bike guys are sexier than any other sports guys. And if anyone should know, it’s Yokota!
Get your tickets now online for the Race Across the Sky one-night movie event Oct. 22. The feature depicts this year’s Leadville 100, won by roadie Lance Armstrong over mtb legend Dave Wiens. Enter your zip code to find the showings nearest you. It’ll be a great place to meet other cyclists and share a cycling experience.
Be sure to catch the Marin Biketoberfest tomorrow in Fairfax. Lots going on, including celeb meetups and group rides.
Great detective work in Seattle on the trail of a hit-and-run suspect in a bike collision.
The Stranger: Analyzing how “Bikin’ Mike” McGinn, the mayoral candidate who actually commutes downtown by bike each day, might cope with a traditional mayoral schedule.
Interesting take, but in using existing mayor Greg Nickels’ car-biased schedule as a model, the article assumes McGinn would adopt a similar approach to his official calendar. Anyone who rides a bike for work knows and understands that cycling demands an entirely different mindset to daily travel. Not necessarily a more limited or truncated schedule, just a more efficient one.
A lot of the PR-type, ceremonial appearances Nickels makes are on his schedule simply because car transport allows them to be. Do you have to be in Georgetown and the University District over the noon hour? McGinn would choose one or the other, or neither, based on how necessary they really were. When it comes to the daily planner, the prospect of turning pedals to get places tends to focus the mind. Awards dinners? Going-away parties? Transportation seminars? Some would make the cut, others wouldn’t.
And the city would be better off for it. A mayor who acted more than he gabbed, who spent time on the job solving problems rather than running around trying to be liked, and who showed up at events based on an honest and efficient (and cheap!) transportation decision matrix, would mean a lot more to the city than a glad-hander who showed up just for show, mouthed a few platitudes and seldom delivered the goods.
Finally, what’s the big deal about 25 miles on a bike in a day? For experienced cyclists, that’s a piece o’ cake . . .
Are car drivers anti-cycling “terrorists”? SeattleLikesBikes says yes, sometimes:
“Personally, my car was killing me before I started bicycling. The lack of exercise had me on track for a heart attack. I’ve made great strides, from being unable to climb 3 flights of stairs without being out of breath over 5 years ago to bicycling over 900 miles in the last couple months. The irony is that, despite my health gains, with the way some people drive the car may kill me yet.”
BikingBis discusses the horrific hit-and-run-with-dying-cyclist-on-board tragedy in Dallas, where a driver ran over a cyclist and then tossed the stricken victim into the back seat of his car: “The 27-year-old driver crossed the centerline, struck the bicyclist head-on, stopped, dragged him off his car and stuffed him onto the floorboard in the back seat.”
Cyclelicio.us asks if a Minnesota driver who “tried to run over a bicyclist with his pickup truck and then came at the cyclist with an ax” was engaged in terroristic threats, a felony. Good comments queue on Richard’s post.
These and innumerable everyday attacks on cyclists are indeed inhuman, cruel and even murderous. But terrorist? Probably not. The term should be used judiciously for repeated, conspiratorial and planned acts against humanity. The car culture in America may terrorize us cyclists in a general psychological way, but specific acts of violence against cyclists are more appropriately described and dealt with legally: Manslaughter, vehicular homicide, hit-and-run and so on.
The legal arena, in fact, is where there actually is room for expanded description and treatment of acts against cyclists. Legislation does not have to involve incendiary terms like “terrorism,” which takes the discussion into the realm of 9/11 and Oklahoma City, to provide an effective flashpoint of defense for cyclists.
One example: We at BikeIntelligencer believe that cycling should be considered for hate-crime status along with racial-, gender-, and sexual-identity-based aggression. In cases where there is a pattern of action against cycling or cyclists in general, and where perpetrators can be shown to carry severe antipathy toward cyclists just because they are riding a bike, the legal system should reflect a higher degree of prosecution and penalization.
The primary rationale for treating cyclists as a persecuted class would be to address the issue of driver animosity and raise our society’s general consciousness on the discrimination and aggression that cyclists face on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis. David Hiller, advocacy director for Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club, may well be right that drivers who hate cyclists are “people who hate people.” And there are a lot of the latter out there, as evidenced by the whackos waving swastikas and Hitler-moustached images of Obama at Town Hall meetings on health-care reform.
But people who hate people are a big problem for cyclists as well as for America. Passing enhanced legislation, as Hiller and other tireless crusaders for the cause of cycling are working to do, is the most effective means we have to further understanding, and protection, of people who ride bikes.
Most efforts now are focusing on 3-feet-please, legislation to expand the clearance that vehicles give to cyclists, and vehicular assault, laws that permit prosecution of drivers who act carelessly or aggressively toward cyclists. Several states are making strides, and even in cases like Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a 3-feet-please law that had won an excruciatingly hard-fought victory in the state legislature, the seed has been sown. (A state legislator said she will reintroduce legislation after her cycling granddaughter was struck by a car.)
In Washington, vehicular assault and 3-feet-please legislation has been introduced in bills but never made it out of committee. As cycling continues to expand, both in recreational and transportation sectors, we need to continue to draw attention to anti-cycling behavior. Perhaps 2010 will mark the year when cycling makes encouraging inroads in the legislative arena to address the attitudes and hazards we all face on a daily basis.
With nearly half the ballots counted, “Mike Bikes” McGinn is the front-runner in the race for Seattle mayor, leading another challenger, Joe Mallahan, and incumbent Greg Nickels in a squeaky three-way dogfight separated by about 2 percentage points (and only around 1,000 votes) near the 25-percent mark.
Of the three, Mallhan is the most bike-unaware, although he seems teachable. In any case, Nickels is clearly finished as mayor of Seattle. Even if he makes it to the final, he stands to pull few voters from either Mallahan’s or McGinn’s camp to his side.
The cyclist dream final is Mike v. Greg. Both are strong cycling advocates, although McGinn wins on walking (riding?) the talk points. We at Bike Intelligencer have always felt that Nickels was in the game largely for political points and whatever extra funding comes with transportation projects featuring bike access as a strategic element.
Of course, if it is Mike v. Greg, then McGinn is in — for the statistical rationale expressed above.
At this point only Mike and his pollsters know the real reasons for his sudden surge in recent days, coming from a 9 percent margin to 16, then 18 and now near-27 front-running tally. A lot of it must have to do with McGinn’s people-to-people (word of mouth and word of Web) networking. The guy himself showed up at places like farmers’ markets, cycling festivals and civic events, doing the handshaking and button-holing thing. He had the social networking culture nailed.
When we posted fantasizing about having a mayor who actually commuted by bike, McGinn was quick to contact Bike Intelligencer for permission to link. I also volunteered to send a “Mike Bikes” message of endorsement out to around 1,500 names on various mailing lists I keep.
Over at SeattleLikesBikes, Michael Snyder did likewise, contacting around 2,600 folks by email. This isn’t easy stuff because ISPs limit the number of names you can include in an e-blast. But in the end, it has to be among the most effective ways to generate buzz and support for a candidate.
In any case, let’s hope the current trends stand through late absentee counts. If there is a big-city mayor who commutes by bike in the U.S., I’ve never heard of him or her. If McGinn’s a one and only, it can only mean good things for Seattle’s biking prospects and reputation.
A 26-year-old male cyclist hit a car which was turning left into a driveway on the south side of Northeast 45th Street in Wallingford (Google street view here). The cyclist was taken to Harborview with life-threatening injuries. The Seattle Police Department is investigating.
As someone who rides this route nearly every day, some thoughts:
The rider was eastbound on a section of N.E. 45th fraught with peril. At that particular point the rider would typically be traveling very fast. It’s at the end of a medium-length downhill which, although not particularly steep, will put speed on a bike fairly quickly.
There are numerous traffic hazards from cars doing all sorts of things, including pulling out from Dick’s Drive-In. There also are stoplights at the bottom which usually are green (for 45th St. traffic), but cars typically want to make free right turns on red. Finally, it’s just plain busy along here all the time.
The police report suggests the colliding driver was waved through on a left turn by a stopped vehicle. This is a real legal hornets’ nest. Drivers acting as traffic cops can be legally liable when their actions cause accidents. In Seattle, you see a lot of this, and it endangers other drivers as well as cyclists.
In any case, this is a tragedy that gives all cyclists pause as we consider how often we narrowly miss this kind of accident every day.
Until full details are in, it’s a bit sticky to blame the driver of the colliding car at this point. That driver was responding to the yielding driver’s actions and undoubtedly did not think about needing to yield to a bike as well.
Whether negligence is a factor here or not, though, Erica C. Barnett’s points on Publicola about vehicular assault are well-taken. Police need to take bike accidents far more seriously and issue tickets on the same basis as if a car were hit instead of a bike. It’s pure insanity that drivers are not prosecuted for hitting and/or killing cyclists simply because they didn’t mean to. By that logic, no traffic tickets would be issued.
David Hiller, Cascade Bicycle Club’s advocacy director quoted in Erica’s story, notes the club will try (I assume he means once again) for new legislation in Olympia that would force the legal system to take bicycling accidents more seriously. A Vehicular Assault bill failed to make it out of committee earlier this year.
To correct the comments queue in Erica’s piece, there are decidedly NO bike lanes on N.E. 45th St. There are fading sharrows, but at BikeIntelligencer we think sharrows are next to worthless, a sop to the cycling community that has no effect whatsoever on actual traffic conduct.
Cycling accidents are up this year. If the cyclist dies he will be the fifth killed already in Seattle; in 2007 only six cyclists were killed for the entire year in the four-county Puget Sound region (3 in King County). Undoubtedly the surge in cycling’s popularity contributes, with more trips and less experienced riders on the road adding to the mix. But the fatality statistic alone begs the need for stricter laws and better enforcement of the laws already on the books.
[Although not in response to this accident, Michael Snyder at SeattleLikesBikes makes a similar case.]
And at Cyclelicio.us, Richard notes there are enlightened drivers out there.
Meanwhile, the carnage continues nation-wide.
Stanford University law profession, 72, “family members have said the nature of his injuries may indicate a hit-and-run.”
Baltimore man, 67, “got tangled in the rear wheels of a truck.”
Pennsylvania woman, 68, RIP.
Calendar time: At City Hall this Friday a transportation summit will look at Puget Sound’s future transportation matrix, and how bike and other alternative forms will figure in. Here’s Cascade Bicycle Club’s take. Please come and share your views!
Town Hall: Visioning the Puget Sound Region’s Transportation Future. Part III – State and Federal Perspectives
Friday, Aug. 7, noon – 1:30 p.m.
City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room
5th Avenue between Cherry and James St.
Two months ago, Cascade Executive Director Chuck Ayers drew applause at the first of three town halls when he shared an uncomfortable truth: we will not see much progress on transportation in the next 30 years without dedicating far more resources to transit, bicycling and walking. Simply widening highways is the wrong path. Cascade has reached out to our representatives for a new federal transportation bill that will help meet our needs for more bikeable, walkable communities.
Join our legislators and policy staff for a discussion on what it will take at the federal and state level to address our transportation challenges. This is your chance to ask the tough questions to:
• Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, 10th Legislative District, Chair of the Washington State Senate Transportation Committee
• Representative Judy Clibborn, 41st Legislative District, Chair of the Washington State House Transportation Committee
• Sheila Babb, Deputy State Director, Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
• Jennifer Ziegler, Executive Policy Advisor on Transportation, Office of Governor Christine Gregoire
As always, feel free to bring your lunch.
This town hall series is brought to you by Transportation Choices Coalition, Futurewise, WashPIRG, Sierra Club Cascade Chapter, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Transit Blog, Feet First, Commute Seattle and Zipcar
The bike tax bogeyman has reared its senseless head in Portland. Bad place to raise that canard. BikePortland.org is on the case and has major media alerted.
Publicola: Bikes will be allowed on Seattle’s new light rail trains after all on opening weekend, after the Cascade Bicycle Club organized a huge protest. Erica C. Barnett has details.
Imo, Sound Transit, the benighted transportation authority behind the bike ban, has vastly underestimated the amount of bike traffic the trains will attract. In the Bay Area, Caltrain is in the midst of a virulent flap over “bumping” bike commuters. Only a certain number of bikes are allowed on the trains, and once the quota is reached, no more can board. The problem first surfaced big-time when gas prices shot up last year, but has remained residually troublesome to this day.
Good to have Cascade keeping an eye out, but Sound Transit needs some reality-based planning acumen as well. Dudes, the cycling era is upon you. How about being part of the solution instead of the problem.
We’ve painted the grim picture before of how proposed state park closures in California (to save money) would impact mountain bikers. Now there’s talk that six of the parks would revert to ownership by the federal government, which as we all know is just rolling in dough these days. Here‘s an insightful rundown from National Parks Traveler of the situation, with equally compelling comments. My only add: I’m visiting in NorCal and have heard talk that the feds might develop the parklands they take back over. Horror of horrors, and one hopes just babble.