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Archive for the ‘bicycling’ Category

Civil engineers in the US have a blind spot for any work done in foreign countries (especially non-English speaking ones). One example comes from a recent bike safety study done by Georgia Tech.

Researchers in the Ga Tech Civil Engineering Dept. tried to analyze which bike facility provides the most effective safety benefit:

Shared lane markings. Bike lanes painted a bright color. Bike boxes at intersections. Cycle tracks that provide physical barriers between bikes and cars.

Communities have built these and other flavors of infrastructure to try to make it safer for people to ride their bikes along roadways or through neighborhoods. But which ones work best?

The short answer is, we really aren’t sure yet.

That conclusion comes from a group of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering transportation researchers who analyzed studies on the effectiveness of bicycle safety infrastructure. Their work appears in the June issue of the Journal of Safety Research.

“There’s just so little research that we really have no idea how well most of these pieces of infrastructure are working in terms of keeping people safer,” said Kari Watkins, Frederick Law Olmsted associate professor and one of the study’s co-authors.

In fact, we have very good data as to what kind of bike infrastructure works because the Dutch (and Germans and Danes) figured this stuff out decades ago. They have published numerous papers, not to mention design manuals.

So why don’t researchers look at any of the results from Netherlands? Because…

Watkins said researchers may have missed relevant and insightful studies from other countries where much more bicycling infrastructure exists, like Germany and the Netherlands, simply because the work has not been translated into English.

 

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As a bicyclist, this makes me extremely nervous. The Tesla Model X has a convenience “feature” whereby the car door opens itself. It is very gee whiz, until this happens:

cardoor

And here is a video taken by a Tesla enthusiast as he discovers this feature:

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Slide-BIKE-SHARE_t180The timing is hilarious.

On June 1st, Baltimore Mayor Pugh announced that the Potomic street cycletrack would be ripped out, and downgraded to a dysfunctional and unprotected bike lane. This was done to placate residents upset over the loss of a couple parking spaces.  The Mayor also wants to “evaluate” other bike projects, which means this could be a precursor to other removals.

A mere 48 hours later, Mayor Pugh released a statement expressing support for the Paris climate accords:

My endorsement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including goal thirteen which specifically addresses climate action related to greenhouse gas reduction, recognizes the complexity of these challenges. As a city we cannot ignore the urgency of these issues.

It is true we have grown accustomed to politicians who lie and say one thing but do another. But even so, you have to wonder what the Mayor and her staff were thinking when they drafted this statement while working to remove a major bike project.

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Today marks the anniversary of Italy’s liberation from Nazi occupation. There were many heroes in the resistance. One you may not have heard of is Gino Bartali, two-time winner of the Tour de France:

Twice winner of the Tour de France and three times champion of the Giro d’Italia, the Italian cyclist’s greatest achievement was the part he played in the resistance. In fact, he used his skills on two wheels to save the lives of Jews, by transporting false identity papers between cities – hidden in the seat of his bicycle.

Later, Bartali moved on to physically transporting Jewish people to the safety of the Swiss Alps in a wagon pulled along by the bike. His fame proved to be a valuable asset, as he was able to tell patrols that his various journeys were simply part of his training – though he aroused suspicion, as a national hero, police likely didn’t want to risk upset by arresting the cyclist.

It is unknown exactly how many people Bartali saved, as the humble cyclist refused to be interviewed about his rescue activities.

Bartali was featured in the 2014 documentary My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes:

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A proposed bill would tax visitors who wish to bicycle in Montana:

Bozeman, Montana Republican State Senator Scott Sales thinks cyclists are an invasive species in his home state.

Involved in stopping bicycle safety legislation recently as well, he now wants to tax each visiting cyclist $25 to ride in Montana. This fee is an amendment that’s been added to senate bill 363, which relates to invasive species management and more specifically the spreading of mussel larvae in reservoirs.

The amendment proposed by Sales and tacked on to the unrelated SB 363 would require a $25 decal for each bicycle, which would supposedly help to fund the state’s battle against invasive mussels.

All Democratic State senators voted against the amendment, while 29 out of 32 Republicans voted for.

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A Colorado Senate Committee voted down an “Idaho Stop” bill. Under the proposed law, cyclists would have been permitted to treat stop signs as yield, legalizing a common behavior:

About a dozen cyclists spoke at the hearing, most of them in favor of Senate Bill 93, saying it’s simply safer — and less of a hassle for motorists — for them to roll through an intersection rather than stopping if they can do so safely.

“The longer it takes us to merge into traffic or cross an intersection, the greater the risk of a collision,” said Richard Handler, a cyclist with Team Evergreen Cycling.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, is commonly known as the “Idaho stop,” and backers credit it with reducing cycling-related injuries by 14.5 percent in that state the year after it was implemented, according to a 2010 study by Jason Meggs, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health.

 

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