Tag Archive for Transportation Enhancements

Fed bike funding — and your right to the road — in danger; an argument against mandatory helmet laws

Bend over.

The new Federal highway spending bill proposed by our own Sen. Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe is out. And if it passes, we’re all going to get screwed.

The new bill not only cuts the amount of funding available for bike and pedestrian projects, it forces bike projects to compete with Recreational Trails, Safe Routes to Schools, and other non-bike and pedestrian projects for funding. Which means the smaller pool will be cut even further before anything bike-related ever gets funded.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking offers a good comparison between the current and the proposed bill.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also includes a clause that will forbid you from using any Federally funded roadway if there is a bike path within 100 yards. It doesn’t matter if that bike path is a slow, winding recreational path in crumbling condition that meanders far from where you want to go, you’ll have to ride it.

And you’ll lose the right to the road you’re currently guaranteed under the law.  Evidently, because you could, conceivably, get in the way of what our elected leaders clearly seem to think are more important road users.

And this comes from our supposedly liberal junior senator, who has inexplicably decided to do the work of the radical right for them.

No one thought is would be easy to protect bike funding in the current environment.

But I don’t think we expected to be the victims of friendly fire.

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The owner of Santa Monica’s Bike Effect writes movingly, and heartbreakingly, about the death of Robert Hyndman on the Rapha ride they sponsored last Saturday.

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Dave Moulton, former maker of some of the best bikes built in my lifetime, offers a thoughtful argument against mandatory helmet laws, “saying mandatory helmet laws do not make cyclists wear helmets, they make some people stop riding bikes.”

I wear a helmet when I ride my bike, not because I believe it will save me from serious head injury, but because I believe the little protection it does give can’t hurt.

Another big incentive for me is, in the event I am hit by a car and injured; when I make a claim with the car driver’s auto insurance, they cannot say I was negligent and contributed to the seriousness of my injures by not wearing a helmet.

Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to pay less or not pay at all on a claim; why give them the opportunity to deny a claim by not wearing a helmet? Apart from that I believe this little piece of lightweight Styrofoam I wear on my head offers only a token amount of protection.

These are my personal views; I would not tell anyone they should or should not wear a helmet when riding a bike. I strongly believe that helmet use should be an individual choice.

It’s a good read, and makes the argument for helmet use — and against mandating them — in a clear, concise and rational manner.

And it should be noted that both of the SoCal cyclists who died this past weekend were wearing helmets.

I can’t stress enough that bike helmets are designed to offer full protection at impact speeds only up to 14 mph; they offer little or no protection in high speed falls, and none whatsoever to any other part of the body.

They’re designed to protect against slow speed falls, such as tumbling off your bike under normal riding conditions, or impacts at relatively slow speeds.

Mandating their use is more about making non-cyclists feel better about sharing the road with us than it is about protecting riders.

Evidently, Britain’s Parliament gets it.

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L.A. launches a virtual town hall to discuss mobility in the city. The York Street bike corral is back in action. Once again, Los Angeles considers ways to change the law that allows biking on sidewalks. Mayor Villaraigosa, Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch Englander decide that car dealers shouldn’t be taxed; no word on when bike shops will get a similar tax break. Meanwhile, Councilmember Rosendahl proposes a motion to keep Mandeville Canyon speed bump free; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. The Times’ George Skelton concludes bike trails are budget pork. Last weekend’s Free the Streets brings a dose of bike culture to South L.A. Streetsblog plans an end-of-the-year party on Thursday, December 8th. Santa Monica’s proposed Bike Action Plan gets a hearing before the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday night, while the new Bike Centers open on November 18th. Get a gift card when you make a purchase over $250 at Cynergy. A new Long Beach-based website celebrates the beauty and benefits of bicycling for women. Long Beach’s biking expat Russ Roca says losing his car saved his life.

A ghost bike has been installed for Mark Leones, killed last month is a solo bike wreck, while Claremont Cyclist catches up with the long, sad list of ghost bikes throughout Southern California, and looks at Sunday’s Long Beach Cyclocross. The Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Committee needs more time than their one year term to complete their work; the only question is why they thought they could solve all the city’s bike problems in a single year. Monterey riders will have a chance to bike the famed Laguna Seca racetrack. Palo Alto gets a new bike plan; the city calls it ambitious, but what do local cyclists think? Martha Stewart parks in a San Francisco bike lane. SF Gate asks if it’s safe to ride while pregnant. If you’re looking for a serious challenge, consider next April’s Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic, an epic timed challenge offering up to 101 miles with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain.

Bikes Belong and SRAM partner on a new campaign to fast-track separated bike lanes. How to bunny hop — and how not to. The Reno Rambler looks at bike lane pushback, and concludes the vehicular cycling model won’t broaden the spectrum of riders. A look at 12 bike calendars for 2012. Tribal justice means no justice for a cross-country cyclist killed on a New Mexico reservation. A Colorado cyclist steals her bike back from the person who stole it from her. Now that’s bike parking. A Boston cyclist “accidently” rides a local freeway. Boston businesses decry a loss of 71 parking spaces to make room for a bike lane; maybe someone should point out that cyclists spend money, too — and are more likely to stop and shop. What to do with abandoned bikes in Gotham bike rooms. The New York Times architecture critic gets back on his bike to review the city’s bike lanes. A New York woman confesses she was high when she ran down and killed a cyclist, and gets rewarded with a reduced sentence. Someone somehow manages to massively crush a street full of cars. New technology could soon help keep drunk drivers off the road. Louisiana cyclists ride to raise awareness after three cyclists are killed in one week. After a cyclist is killed, Mississippi decides it’s finally time to enforce their three-foot passing law. For the first time, a Florida judge permits punitive damages in the case of a cyclist killed by a texting driver.

Toronto proposes to ban bike parking over 24 hours anywhere except bike racks; I assume that means the city is saturated with safe and secure bike parking, right? Bike-friendly Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa loses his bid for re-election. The London Mail tours Pashley. David Hembrow argues that training riders rather than fixing the roads has failed UK cyclists. Campy unveils its new 11-speed electronic shifting system; it seems like this is an expensive solution in search of a problem, since the beauty of a bicycle has always been it’s simplicity. There will be no 2nd annual Tour of South Africa, after all.

Finally, from the Department of WFT, a driver corrects a cyclist for not riding in the non-existent bike lane, then tells him to break the law by riding on the sidewalk. And a bike riding child is injured in an apparent hit-and-run before being transported by ambulance.

On a Playmobil toy box. Seriously, what were they thinking?

Thanks to Dave Schneider for the Playmobil link.

Your Halloween weekend Linkapalooza, with extra scary GOP attacks on bike/ped funding

They just don’t get it.

Once again, Washington Republicans show their skill at thinking small by attempting to cut relative pennies in bike and pedestrian finding, absurdly declaring war on bike lanes in an apparent attempt to return the nation to the good old days of the car-centric past when men were men and drivers felt free to run riders off the road.

People for Bikes responds by saying we shouldn’t have to choose between safe bridges and safe streets, while cutting back on federal bike and pedestrian funding could leave our roads and bridges in worse shape.

On the other hand, I’m more than willing to trade the relatively paltry Transportation Enhancement set-asides for a federal commitment to a Complete Streets approach to every federally funded highway project.

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If you’re going to be attending next weekend’s California Bike Summit, Flying Pigeon has a bike for you, at just $30 for the full weekend.

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L.A. seeks TIGER funds to build out a 50-mile L.A. River bikeway. Buffered green bike lanes could soon be coming to Spring Street in Downtown L.A. Flying Pigeon offers a brilliant and amusing look at how we’ll survive a post-apocalyptic world without bikes; they seem to have given a lot of thought to the forthcoming Zombie apocalypse. Bikeside offers responses from two bike-friendly candidates for L.A.’s 15th council district. LACBC looks at last week’s 2nd annual City of Lights Awards dinner. The planned Village at USC wants your input on cycling at the new development. A Pomona cyclist is critically injured when a driver attempts to pass another car on the right. Hermosa Beach is the latest city to approve the proposed South Bay Bike Plan. Improvements to the El Segundo NRG power plant could mean detours on the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through next May. Primary Resources offers a look back at L.A.’s 1975 bike plan.

The Amgen Tour of California is invited to bypass the Santa Ynez Valley. Why does Newport Beach force cyclists and pedestrians to contend with right turn lanes that act as virtual freeway onramps? Critical Mass cyclists help Occupy San Diego. What to do if — or more likely, when — a traffic light doesn’t detect you. That’s Grey’s Anatomy’s Patrick Dempsey on that bike; he’s been a big supporter of cycling throughout the country. San Francisco cyclists could soon attend traffic school instead of paying traffic fines just like drivers do; I’m told a similar plan is under consideration here in L.A. Do busy separated bike lanes pose a danger to disabled people? Cyclelicious points out a couple of newspaper columnists who’ve discovered the joys of cycling in Toronto and New Orleans.

Mark your calendar for the National Bike Summit next March 20 – 22nd in Washington DC. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration teams with the Ad Council to say “Stop the texts. Stop the wrecks.” One-third of drivers killed in traffic collisions tested positive for drugs. You could go to work as usual next summer, or you could own your own bike rental on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. A Seattle bike cam shows what it’s really like to commute by bike. You can spend a fortune on high-tech rain gear, or just buy an umbrella. The Colorado Highway Patrol finally gets around to investigating the death of a cyclist — four months after his death; how scary is that? A Chicago alderman calls for licensing cyclists, which is exactly the right approach if you want to create barriers to keep people from riding. These days, even Superman rides a bike. New York’s Columbus Ave bike lanes have significantly improved safety and proven popular with cyclists and local residents alike. Evidently, killing a cyclist while speeding with a suspended license is perfectly legal in the Big Apple; then again, so is leaving the scene of a fatal collision. Ten years behind bars for a Mississippi driver who killed a Dutch bike tourist while high on morphine. A Mississippi letter writer calls for banning cyclists on roads with speed limits over 25 mph in order to protect motorists from hurting us; anyone see a problem with that logic?

Bike Biz asks if the bike industry is spending enough time and money on advocacy; short answer, no; long answer, still no. Three simple steps to do bike parking right. A brilliant idea — you learn to build bikes, and your first one goes to someone who needs it. Introducing the world’s first BMW bike dealership; another sign of peak car? Riding through Northumberland on some great and not so great bikeways. John Lennon slept with his bike. Bicycling’s Bill Strickland reminisces about a fallen rider he never met. Much still needs to be done to make the 2012 London Olympics safe for cyclists. UK police are seeking a bike-and-run cyclist who left a pedestrian paralyzed following a collision. Bremen gets a bicycle barometer to go with their shiny new 25% mode share. A breathtaking preview of next year’s Giro. The intersection of bikes and Burning Man; Amsterdamize calls it the video of the year.

Finally, how’s this for scary? An anti-bike terrorist attempts to decapitate Aussie cyclists by stringing wire across a bike path. And even pointing a gun at a cyclist evidently isn’t enough to make the Tucson police give a damn.

One quick parting thought.

Why is it that we all assume when the Zombie apocalypse comes, we’ll be the ones running from the brain suckers and not the other way around?

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