Saturday, May 29, 2010
Adapted for use by Cycle*Dallas.
Recently, San Antonio's bicycle coordinator demonstrated to the San Antonio Express News ("The Express-News: If it bleeds, it leads") how difficult and dangerous it was to ride a bicycle on Hildebrand Avenue, as an example of why the city needed more bike lanes (top photo).
In the photo directly above of "two" cyclists on Hildebrand, which cyclist is the one riding safely, and which is the frustrated cyclist putting herself at risk of injury and confrontation?
If I cycled in the roadway gutter, on broken pavement between cars-and-curb (like the cyclist pictured being cut off by a right-turning pickup truck), I would find this a scary roadway for a bicyclist. If I rode like the cyclist pictured behind the Volvo (same cyclist now digitally transported to the proper lane position), I would have no difficulties on this stretch of road.
Notice that the addition of a 3' bike lane on this road (max possible without spending $5+ million a mile for right-of-way and reconstruction) would not change the cyclist's experience. She would still have bad pavement, cars squeezing her against the curb, and motor vehicles turning right across her path.
Which would you choose? Proper lane positioning, or unnecessary and dangerous lane subservience?
SOAP BOX DERBY
You really can't blame her for the poor cycling technique demonstrated. All her life, she has been told by the motor-centric authorities that she is supposed to ride her bicycle "as far right as practicable" (get out of the way of cars), which she thinks means "as far right as possible". But that's not what the law says, and in Texas (and therefore in San Antonio, our Queen City), she can control the entire lane if it is less than 14' wide (99% of all Texas roads are built and maintained with lanes less than 14' wide).
So who will tell her? Sadly, the organizations you would expect to tell her (organizations like the Texas Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Bicyclists) have instead adopted a policy of promoting segregated facilities for cyclists over cyclist and motorist education. Even though the LAB continues to offer League Cycling Instruction (a development of the previous Effective Cycling course the League once offered), the official position is now "bike lanes first", complain about the lack of bike lanes second, trails third, and education last (with any number of things placed before it in order of importance). TBC seems to simply lobby for money to pay its staff, while waving the "bloody red jersey" whenever the coffers are low. BikeDFW is not much better, continually using fear of traffic as its public appeal, although the dedicated efforts of Gail Spann and Richard Wharton (and others) to educate cyclists is beginning to gain some traction.
But there is hope on the horizon. In the meantime, I recommend that San Antonio's bicycle coordinator contact a local LCI (League Cycling Instructor) in order to learn how to ride safely and confidently. She'll be glad she did, and it will make her better at her taxpayer-funded job.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Bike lanes now in fast lane for S.A.
The initial plan had sidewalks and bike lanes, she said. The county estimated the total cost at more than $8 million — she had $6.6 million to work with.
“That’s why we made the decision to remove the bicycle lanes and sidewalks,” (Renee) Green (Bexar County Public Works engineer) said. “The first priority of a roadway is getting the vehicles through.”
In San Antonio, it is legal and common to park vehicles on most bike lanes, rendering them useless for bicycles. But Al-Ghafry said that if he removes parking from streets to make room for bikes, his office would be flooded with complaints. There simply are a lot more drivers than bicyclists, he points out.
“I want to create bicycle facilities,” he said. “I don’t want to create controversy.”
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
My First Commute
May 24th, 2010
by Darlyn Finch.
In May, three circumstances converged in a perfect storm that convinced me to travel eleven miles on busy streets for National Ride Your Bike to Work Day...
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Saw this very smart looking gentleman (persimmon sportcoat, pegged khaki trousers, sky blue shirt with pink tie, and a designer messenger bag) riding down the sidewalk in front of the Neiman Marcus flagship store this afternoon. It all made sense.
Cycle-tracks would make great fashion accessories.
P.S. The ambient air temp was 76F.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I tell people to ride their bikes like the vehicle it is by obeying the laws and taking their place in traffic. Their response is usually something along the lines of "I'm an experienced cyclist, and automobile drivers are mean to me. They honk at me, they crowd me off the road. It's too dangerous. I need my special space."
But my friends (and I) who ride in the way I describe seldom (if ever) have those experiences. Sure, we get honked at every now and then, but then so do the drivers of other vehicles. Life.
But for Bike To Work Month, I have a new suggestion. Drive your car on the streets the same way you ride your bike.
For me, that wouldn't be too different, but for the guy who recently complained "Dallas is bicycle-unfriendly because I got a ticket for running a stop sign at White Rock Lake" (true story), his trip to work "riding" his car the way he rides his bicycle might be something altogether different.
"Riding" your car the way you "drive" your bike, you could:
- Drive as close to the curb as possible,
- Stay out of the way of overtaking vehicles,
- Drive in the parking lane and on the shoulder of the roadway,
- Move in and out of traffic and parked cars,
- Make turns without signaling,
- Run stop signs and red lights if the intersection looks clear of on-coming traffic to you,
- Drive as if the laws that apply to other vehicles operators don't apply to you,
- Drive on the sidewalk at times, taking advantage of the ADA ramps at street crossings,
- Drive on the wrong side of the street when it suits you,
- Drive without lights at night.
So there's your dichotomy. Cyclists who drive their bicycles like vehicles have a far better (and safer) experience on the roadways than do people who ride their cars like their bicycles. You get what you ask for, but asking people to change their behavior is perhaps asking too much.
Especially when there is so much MagickPaint™ available.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Texas Transportation Code
Sec. 551.101. Rights and Duties.
(a) A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle under this subtitle, unless:
(1) a provision of this chapter alters a right or duty; or
(2) a right or duty applicable to a driver operating a vehicle cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle.
(b) A parent of a child or a guardian of a ward may not knowingly permit the child or ward to violate this subtitle.
Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:
(1) the person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction;
(2) the person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway; or
(3) a condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway.
(4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:
(b) A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or
(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.
(c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.
I am a big fan of Minimalism, and minimalist art, music and design (you'd never know it to see my work spaces... Chaos Theory you might think). The phrase "less is more" holds great meaning for me.
Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto "Less is more" to describe his aesthetic tactic of arranging the numerous necessary components of a building to create an impression of extreme simplicity, by enlisting every element and detail to serve multiple visual and functional purposes (such as designing a floor to also serve as the radiator, or a massive fireplace to also house the bathroom). Designer Buckminster Fuller adopted the engineer's goal of "Doing more with less", but his concerns were oriented towards technology and engineering rather than aesthetics. A similar sentiment was industrial designer Dieter Rams' motto, "Less but better" adapted from van der Rohe.
For Bike To Work Month, Dallas City Hall has added four new inverted-U bike racks (total capacity: 8 bicycles), while removing two inverted-U racks and two spiral racks (total capacity: 20 bicycles), including removing the rack at the primary public entrance, thereby reducing secure City Hall bicycle parking by 60%.
Perhaps this will change. The spiral rack in the employee parking garage near the shower/locker facility was one of the racks removed. A temporary "bike corral" with old school-yard style wheel bender racks has been set up for next week's bike plan hoopla. It's in an out-of-the-way area of the parking garage with no foot-traffic or video observation.
So for now, more equals less.
Monday, May 17, 2010
3:11 PM Mon, May 17, 2010 | Permalink | Yahoo! Buzz
Rodger Jones/Editorial Writer Bio | E-mail | News tips
A reporter on the Metro staff, my friend Joe Simnacher, is doing a news story in advance of the bike plan meeting in Dallas City Hall next week.
Joe is looking to hear from cyclists about what they are interested in seeing in the next bike plan. He'd also like to talk about their experiences in negotiating Dallas roadways and bike-to-train or bike-to-bus commuting.
Email Joe at email@example.com. He would like to interview and possibly quote people who know what they're talking about. If you're not interested, please pass this link to someone who is.
NOTE: Joe is an avid cyclist. His wife, Betsy, works in my department and calls him a "rabid cyclist."
Going where the Google Bike Map fears to tread.
A private party, working with the NCTCOG public files, developed this. Click on the lines for the route number. Wishing to protect the innocent, I'll let him/her take the credit (or not). I'm merely passing it along for your enjoyment.
P.S. Bookmark it on your iPhone (or similar device) for easy portable reference.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
photos by P.M. Summer
LOCATION: Richardson, Texas.
CROSS-SECTION: 21' curbface to curbface, with a 10' inside automobile lane, and an 11' outside automobile parking/right turn/bike lane.
USAGE FOR BICYCLISTS: Mandatory... according to the Texas Vehicle Code, Sec. 551.103, (a)(4)(A), Operation on Roadway.
INTENT: Neighborhood traffic calming... and keeping bicycles out of the way of the newly calmed neighborhood traffic.
COMPLIANCE WITH TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING GUIDES: Zero.
POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICTS RESULTING IN SERIOUS INJURY: High.
BIKE FRIENDLINESS: Considered high as well, by those more interested in symbolic gestures than in actual results.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Urbie \'ur-bee\ noun: A transport cyclist who is keenly aware of their surroundings as they confidently share the road with motorists. Originally limited to urban cyclists, the term has expanded to include safe, savvy transport cyclists in a variety of environments.
Inflected Form(s):plural Urbies
Doubtful, as I don't trust classifications, and I'm not really in need of a peer/support group.
But I am a big fan of the music of trombonist/band leader Urbie Green.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This took TWO tubs of sidewalk chalk.
This is what happens when you give the rainbow pony riders what they want. The next thing that happens too often is a 911 call. "But what's a few grisly deaths? We're 'Bike Friendly'!"
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
My younger son, James, has started riding to work (hurrah for him!!--5 miles each way). A large part of his travel is on a "bike path." Hurrah!! He's safe from cars!!
Uhhh--well, no...In fact, my reaction was "Oh, no!" The supposedly safe "bike path" is merely a widened sidewalk, right beside the street...and he reports that EVERY DAY he nearly has a collision with a car at an intersection....!!!! Did that frighten his poor old dad? You betcha!!
Of course, the same thing would be true if he were riding in a bike lane. He'd have the danger of motorists turning right or left and never seeing him until they collided.
He lives out in the city edge, not on a grid street pattern, and there are no quiet residential streets where he could ride, parallel to the big, fast-paced streets (45-50 mph). In addition to the real danger of collisions, there is the belief (NOT held by James!) that since the cyclist is on a "bike path," s/he is safe--!!!!
All of a sudden, my concerns about bicycle safety are ratcheted up to a higher level...
Tool kit and credentials available here.
Does Tarrant County's transit agency, "The T", get it when it comes to multi-modal transportation involving bicycles? Certainly looks promising.
When another area transit agency unveiled their bike racks on buses, the agency's president went on television proclaiming how you could now use a bus to take your bicycle to the park. He didn't get it, even though many of his employees do.
Using a bicycle as part of a bus trip extends the capture basin for bus lines 200 to 400%. People will walk 1/4 mile to a bus stop, or from a bus stop to their work place. Using a bicycle, people will extend that distance up to a mile. In a low population density region like DFW, extending the capture basin for riders effectively increase the available population density, and helps to eliminate the automobile cold-starts that create much of the air pollution we experience in our area.
I encourage you to try the racks on both DART and The T buses.
Friday, May 07, 2010
THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
-- Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
by John Forester
I have used the term "cyclist-inferiority" in several applications, but these application all serve to describe aspects of the false concept that cyclists are inferior to motorists.
The political application is that it serves the motoring organizations, and therefore the highway organizations that they control, and in addition many politicians, to consider cyclists as inferior to motorists. By considering cyclists inferior to motorists, government can deny to cyclists some of the important rights that apply, in legal terms, to drivers of vehicles, but which are commonly supposed to apply to motorists, because cyclists and motorists are the only significant users of the nation's roadways. The rights denied are denied purely for the convenience of motorists. The most important of these are the right to use most of the width of the roadway, and the right to use roadways at all when bike lanes or bike paths have been produced, or those roadways which cannot be reached by driveways. The only reason for these restriction s that stands up to scientific analysis is the belief, on the part of motorists, that cyclists delay motorists.
The social application is the extension of the above political excuse to characterize cyclists. The official view is that 95% of cyclists are unable to learn how to obey the traffic laws. Of course, they conceal this behind propagandistic jargon, terming the ability to obey the traffic laws "expert skill" and those with it the "elite." Since cyclists are very little different from the population at large, that means that, supposedly, 95% of motorists must be incapable of driving properly. However, the meanness of that attitude is demonstrated immediately by the obvious reluctance of the same motoring organizations and motorists to restrict motor-vehicle driving privilege to those who demonstrate an expert, elite, level of skill. No, as long as you drive a car, only considerably below average skill is required to receive a driving license. It is absurd to consider that most adult cyclists are incapable of knowing how to obey the traffic laws when most adult cyclists, in the USA at least, have been certified by the government as having that knowledge and skill. The only excuse for this absurdity has to be the false idea that riding a bicycle makes you temporarily incompetent, an incompetence from which you recover the moment you get behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle.
The superstitious application of the phrase cyclist-inferiority refers to the feelings induced in people by the propaganda which has been used to promote motorists' interests. These feelings include the ones that cars own the roads, that cars don't look out for me, that I, when on a bicycle, am an intruder onto their range, from which they will eject me by either threats or death. One pervasive and effective form of that propaganda has been the traditional bike-safety propaganda program (it never was safe cycling instruction and cannot be called that), which taught cyclist-inferiority superstition, no matter how dangerous that was for cyclists. Thirty percent of car-bike collisions in the Cross study (mid 1970s) are caused by the cyclist obeying the precepts of bike-safety education.
The psychological application of the phrase cyclist inferiority refers to the cyclist-inferiority phobia, complex, or superstition, depending on severity of the case. This is the sense that:
- "I, the cyclist, don't really belong on the road, which is owned by the cars, and that I am unable to follow the traffic laws for drivers of vehicles, or that if I did I would quickly be smashed.
- "The roads are very dangerous places where everybody is against me, and where I have no place that I can call my own to which I could retreat as a place of safety. Since the greatest danger is from cars, which operate to my danger, obviously the greatest danger to me is the same-direction traffic that comes from behind. To protect myself from this great danger, I must do all that I can to avoid same-direction motor traffic, to defer to it when it is present, to always give it the right of way, etc., including promoting bike lanes and bike paths to protect myself from this danger."
It suits motorists, which means most people in the USA, and therefore the various governments of the USA, to have cyclists considered inferior to motorists. That provides the excuse for doing things that clear the roads of cyclists for motorists' convenience. And it assists them a whole lot if cyclists cooperate by considering themselves to be inferior to motorists.
For all of these reasons (and there are probably more), it is accurate to apply the name of "cyclist inferiority" to the type of cycling and the associated feelings, superstitions, and political urges that carry out this program of motorist superiority.
726 Madrone Avenue
If you open your ears and read the statement above, you'll see exactly why Ennis arrested (and jailed) Reed Bates. People have accused Forester of exaggerating. He isn't.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
This is a follow-up reminder to the notice sent earlier in April regarding Thursday's open-house meeting in Farmers Branch.
As previously noted, we at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are updating our Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan, and are asking for your help in developing this blueprint for how Texas addresses its future transportation needs.
This plan will provide a framework for developing and implementing a multi-modal transportation system through 2035, including highways, rail, water ports, airports, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, pipelines and Intelligent Transportation Systems. The Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan is the foundation for many planning efforts underway at TxDOT.
Because transportation is important to all Texans, we are holding two rounds of open-house meetings to encourage comments and questions about the plan. Following the public meetings, the feedback we receive will be analyzed for development of the plan. We anticipate submitting a plan for final public comment and adoption by the Texas Transportation Commission later this fall.
Again, we hope you will be able to participate in this important planning process. Your input is vital for TxDOT to fulfill its mission of providing safe, effective and efficient movement of people and goods throughout Texas.
The attached newsletter provides times, locations and other details regarding all the scheduled meetings.
The Thursday, May 6th meeting is scheduled from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Farmers Branch City Hall located at 13000 William Dodson Parkway.
If this is the first you've heard of this, you aren't alone. I wonder if anybody will mention that bicycles are vehicles, and that bicycle operators have all the rights and duties as the operators of other vehicles? I somehow doubt it.