Morning Links: Reminder to expect the unexpected on bike trails; Feds decide bike/ped safety matters, too

People are unpredictable.

Mike Wilkinson sends a video reminder of that, as he barely avoided a pedestrian who turned into him without warning on the San Gabriel River Trail.

I’ve been there countless times myself; I still carry a scar from a piece of Velcro that got embedded in my hip when someone turned into me on the beach bike path.

The obvious solution is to give pedestrians and slower cyclists as much room as possible when you ride by. Mike was able to avoid the woman only because he was riding the center line on the trail, which was as far left as he could go with riders coming in the opposite direction; I usually cross over to the other side when it’s safe to do so.

And using a bike bell or calling it out when you’re about to pass usually helps, though even that can confuse or startle some people. Which is why I usually save it for when I can’t give the person I’m passing at least the same three-foot distance I’d expect from a driver.

The best answer is to always ride defensively and expect the unexpected, even when you’re in a supposedly safe environment.

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The Feds finally recognize that the lives of people on bikes and on foot matter, too, by issuing their first safety performance standards for bicyclists and pedestrians.

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Not bike related, but still worth checking out, as great artworks are reworked by a Minneapolis Group to show how they’d look in the age of the automobile.

Including a typical Sunday in the Park.

Sunday in the PArk

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Local

A man in his 30s survived being shot multiple times while riding his bike South LA Sunday night; police say the victim of the drive-by was not a gang member.  On the other hand, that doesn’t mean the people who shot him weren’t.

Robert Gottlieb, founder and former director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, discusses the possibilities of a post-car, or at least car lite, Los Angeles.

Flying Pigeon captures a shot of the new bollard-protected bike lane on Venice Blvd.

CiclaValley offers video evidence of why the southbound Magnolia ramp off the 170 Freeway is dangerous by design.

KPCC looks at the new bikeshare system in Long Beach, and discusses the lack of compatibility with the coming system planned for Los Angeles. Maybe the operators of both systems should attend the Better Bike Share Conference to work out their differences.

 

State

Palm Desert residents will get a chance to try out a planned road diet, including bike lanes and wider sidewalks, with a pop-up event in May.

A Santa Barbara paper provides tips on where to ride your bike on your next trip to town.

Sacramento is the latest California city to consider adopting a Vision Zero plan. As the story notes, education and engineering are important. But we’ll never come close to eliminating traffic deaths until we change the culture that places the convenience of drivers over the safety of humans and the livability of our cities.

 

National

A writer for Next City says it’s time for American cities to ban right turns on red lights if we’re going to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians.

The great Seattle bikeshare battle is over, and the good guys won. The city council voted Monday to buy and expand the troubled bikeshare system.

A London cyclist only made it three days into a planned 5,500 mile ride from Vancouver to Panama before he was hit by a Washington driver.

A new study finds a third of all Boston cyclists ride distracted — if you consider earbuds and headphones distractions, that is; otherwise it drops to just 12.5%. And none of them pose anywhere near the danger to others that a single distracted driver does.

A Maryland website says bicyclists and motorists must learn to share the road safely, because people seem determined to ride their bikes despite the risks. Although it’s entirely possible that bicycling is actually safer than other modes of travel, since they failed to put it in context with the risk to people walking or driving.

There is a special place in hell — and hopefully, prison, and for a very long time — for whoever walked up and shot a six-year old Georgia boy as he rode his bike; fortunately, he’s expected to survive.

 

International

Calgary university students now have their own bikeshare system. Which is really more of a bike library, but why be picky?

New children’s bike maker and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins says bike riders need to mind their Ps and Qs on the streets; his comments raise the question of who exactly is a cyclist? As far as I’m concerned, a cyclist is anyone who rides a bike, just as a driver is anyone who operates a motor vehicle.

The Belgian cyclocross rider at the heart of cycling’s first confirmed motor doping scandal has decided to retire at age 19 rather than defend herself.

Let’s all go fat tire biking down the snow-covered Italian Dolomites.

After an 86-year old man plowed through a group of cyclists, a Spanish news site feels obligated to point out that some cyclists break the law sometimes. Which has absolutely nothing to do with what happened.

Just three drivers have been held accountable for violating the equivalent of a three-foot passing law in the six weeks since it went into effect in Australia’s New South Wales. But they don’t seem to have any problem citing cyclists.

Australia’s NSW government isn’t the only ones who appear to hate bikes Down Under, as a Gran Fondo is halted when a saboteur strews tacks and nails across the roadway.

Not surprisingly, a Kiwi driver appears to have taken down an expletive-laden video showing her swearing a blue streak as she was stuck following a group of cyclists for a whole 53 seconds. The only question is why the hell would she have posted it in the first place.

 

Finally…

Forget doping, motor or otherwise; the latest cycling scandal is hairy legs. Your next Brompton could do a lot more than fold, while your next bike pedals could be made of rice.

And if you still haven’t gotten enough bike news for one day, check out the massive list of links in this week’s Sadik-Khan — with and without the hyphen — themed bike blog roundup from the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.

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A special thanks to Margaret W. and Todd Rowell for their generous contributions to support this site. Margaret considers it her annual subscription to BikinginLA, while Boston-based Todd says it should be the start of a Rides of March fundraiser.

 

3 comments

  1. Reminder to expect the unexpected on bike trails

    I’ve done a lot of thinking about this incident since it happened two days ago. After all, if the timing had been a tenth of a second different, two people (one of them me!) could have had a very painful trip to the hospital. That thought has led me to ponder what I could have done differently.

    First, being able to foresee what might be coming next has saved me from countless crashes on my bike, motorcycle and car. My foresight didn’t work this time. If there had been a child on one side of the path and a parent on the other, I certainly would have foreseen that one might unexpectedly cross to the other side. In this case it was a woman walking on one side and her boyfriend or husband on the other. Next time I will try to foresee that one might unexpectly cross the path in order to walk along with the other.

    Second, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth my driver’s training instructor used to tell the class, “Always leave an out!”. In this case there were pedestrians on both sides and bikes coming from the other direction. I had absolutely no where to go if something went wrong. I should have hit the brakes. Even if nothing had happened, slowing down would have only delayed my arrival in Seal Beach by a few seconds.

    Live and learn (I hope!).

    • Rick says:

      I just watched your two video’s and note the missing frames along with the very high quality. I have actually ridden this path, or at least walked it, most likely.

      For those who do not watch this video I will try to put it in words.

      A walking person veers to the left without looking back to see if a higher speed user of that lane has dibs on the space she assumes to be clear because she assumes that as she is marching forward, and can see ahead of her, without using a blinker even, it is her’s. The speed of cars far between intersections varies very little compared to you two.

      I do not agree that had you been going slow enough you could of been safer. I’m not suggesting your having the right of way mattered, nor do you.

      I do think she should be cited like someone caught on camera breaking any civil ordinance can in some instances. I do think this path maybe inherently dangerous and that groups specifically maybe should be required to not bleed across both sides of this two way narrow strip.

      I hope to study the first few seconds of the video though because it seems that there only luck prevented a large number of user’s from piling up on each other.

      I do agree that at your speed mechanical failure makes going slower a good idea, as well as enforcing good operation laws even mandating bells etc. beyond what is presently on the books.

      I would probably support a law that required walker’s to signal well in advance lane changes as well as look back not just forwards.

      With popularity though additional real estate is the real solution. I think intelligent municipal camera systems could require reduced speeds during congested sections and also provide warnings of near miss situations.

      I do not recommend walking inches from high speed bicycles. The human body is all terrain when not disabled, and most who walk are not commuting but are better served by getting to a path still beat downable as opposed to solid asphalt or worse.

      A pedestrian can when exercising be expected to swing there arms back at any time. The path must be mandated as wide enough so we can give them sufficient clearance- more then the outspread arms!, regardless of our speed or the time of day.

      Here that would mean making it bike only, or walker only, for 20 minute periods during rush times. A quarter mile optically declared train for high speed bikes even hourly would be no imposition. Blinking lights would inform other user’s to be extra cautious or wait the few minutes (45 seconds is all it takes a moving quarter mile zone going 20 mph to pass) before beginning there trip to avoid conflict.

      I.E.

      Don’t blame yourself or her, or merely take responsibility. Change the road, make it smart, not just more ‘complete.’

  2. Rick says:

    Alas I have to leave studying your video Mike further without having heard the audio, but since my first reply I have watched it at quarter speed.

    The “missing frames” I referred to likely do not exist, I was aware of that a moment ago. But she regardless of attention is crossing a road to travel against traffic direction on the wrong side right?

    He beckons her because he can see the vehicles, and does not have to assume they won’t rear end him. But I doubt it is proper, even if legal, to be able to choose which side you walk on.

    Although head on collisions between walkers do not require unidirectional use, the high speed lanes do. Nor is there so many that they did not need to travel single file.

    So to such couples let me suggest that the person in front, on the right side, walk backwards, and that they trade off as often as there hearts content, having whoever be the dominant reverse walker, peloton style, rather then talk across two other highspeed opposing flow traffic lanes.

    Like you have two camera’s, couples should face each other, and provide each other 360 coverage. [She may have been using his eye’s, but needlessly from across traffic. Sorry, no, not what happened… ]

    what happened [It seems lol] is she was waiting for the other direction traffic to pass- entire [near] seconds, so like the elementary kids on bikes who get hit by trains after the closer to them train passes before they can see the till just then obscurred train, she got impatient. She may have felt that the space she was taking had been taken by the approaching and just passed bikes.

    Like a fly’s eye though the biker divides time & space into many many more frames. Was she also so close to center that she chose to release it not by going right, but going left? Again she needed to have her left turn blinker on, if she wanted you to know she was crossing as soon as the ‘median’ opened/cleared.

    A pedestrian could believe they have the right, during busy times, to require unrelenting traffic slow behind them so as to allow them to cross. SUch a belief would also have one signal.

    I now know I have not been on this section of ‘trail’ ever. I do though stand behind my initial claim that there is room to hike far from this path, and that during such sections it might make sense to close it for multiuse and allow only wheeled ultra flat lane dependent user’s exclusive access.

    I do not recognize any reasonable accommodation right of unwheeled people. If they can get ‘wheels’, or go offroad, safety suggests they must be required to when possible. Road bikes are what need to be accommodated, not these shoe user’s.

    Again for those who don’t have over an hour to study this short video, the rear view especially suggests that other then on bridges or whatever either side has ample open space to hike in. These people want to listen to music, to sleep, in broad daylight, instead of get some shade closer to the power lines or whatever.

    Yes you have to watch your feet if you go onto dirt, for bumps, rocks, etc. So what? Learn to walk I say. Stay off the road whenever possible if you are only on foot! After a few hundred miles of actually walking it becomes less of a challenge I assure you.

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