Ride or walk carefully today.
The day after the time change usually sees a spike in traffic collisions, so ride defensively for the next few days.
And don’t forget your lights.
Apparently, narrow traffic lanes save lives.
According to a new study of seven US cities sponsored by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, 12-foot-wide traffic lanes, which remain the norm in too many places, resulted in significantly more crashes than narrower lanes.
Not to mention encouraging drivers to speed, which increases both the risk and severity of crashes, as we’ve learned from other studies.
Narrowing traffic lanes also provides more room for other road uses, like wider sidewalks and bike lanes.
The key findings from the study include —
- Narrower lanes did not increase the risk of accidents. When comparing 9- and 11-foot lanes, we found no evidence of increased car crashes. Yet, increasing to 12-foot lanes did increase the risk of crashes, most likely due to drivers increasing their speed and driving more carelessly when they have room to make mistakes.
- Speed limit plays a key role in travel width safety. In lanes at 20-25 mph speeds, lane width did not affect safety. However, in lanes at 30-35 mph speeds, wider lanes resulted in significantly higher number of crashes than 9-foot lanes.
- Narrower lanes help address critical environmental issues. They accommodate more users in less space, use less asphalt pavement, with less land consumption and smaller impervious surface areas.
- Narrowing travel lanes could positively impact the economy. This includes raising property values, boosting business operation along streets and developing new design projects.
Meanwhile, another study of Los Angeles-area road diets confirmed that removing traffic lanes improves safety.
Even on high-traffic corridors that exceed Federal Highway Administration recommendations that road diets should be applied to roadways with fewer than 20,000 average daily trips.
According to the authors —
We found that collisions, injuries, and deaths were lower by 31.2% to 100%, depending on the measure, whereas traffic speeds were lower by about 6.7% (peak) to 7.9% (off-peak). We concluded that in Los Angeles higher-traffic-volume road diets appeared to significantly increase safety with only minor effects on traffic speeds.
Let that sink in.
Road diets on high-traffic corridors — even right here in the automotive capital of the world, where driving is considered a God-given right and obligation — dropped traffic deaths and serious injuries by anywhere from a third, to complete elimination.
And all with a minimal impact on driver speeds, taking a typical 40 mph driving speed down to a more reasonable 36.
Which isn’t going to make anyone late for dinner or to pick up the kids, while helping to ensure they’ll actually get there in one piece.
So what the hell are we waiting for?
This is who we share the road with.
In an example of just how desperately those street changes are needed, Los Angeles County saw an explosion of traffic violence over the weekend, including the apparent hit-and-run that took the life of yet another person riding a bicycle.
An off-duty LAPD officer was killed, along with another person, when their car was struck by a speeding, allegedly drunk BMW driver in Northridge early Saturday; three other people were injured, including the driver, who is accused of blowing through a red light at over 100 mph.
Two people were killed when a minivan driver being chased by police slammed into a Metro bus in DTLA early Sunday morning, after police reportedly saw someone toss a gun out the window of the minivan. Two people in the backseat, who weren’t wearing seatbelts, were killed while the two people up front survived with non-life threatening injuries; three people on the bus suffered minor injuries, including the driver.
Several people suffered minor injuries, and a number of others were lucky to escape injury, when an alleged drunk driver doing donuts lost control of her car, and slammed into a large group of people standing outside a Valencia bar. And almost needless to say, she fled the scene before she and her passenger were arrested — after reportedly changing seats to hide who was driving.
Video of the crash is appalling.
Sad to think we need to pass this on to a new generation.
— Zachary Rynew (@Ciclavalley) November 5, 2023
Austrian stunt cyclist Fabio Wibmer goes for a ride through my Hollywood neighborhood, among other Los Angeles area sites.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.
Apparently, hell hath no fury like a London van driver confronted by a bike rider for playing a video game behind the wheel.
Police in Scotland are looking for a driver and passenger who reached out of a passing van to punch a man and woman who were riding their bikes; no word on whether they were injured.
But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.
A Fresno woman was collateral damage in an apparent political dispute between a 60-year old pickup driver and a bike rider participating in a Pro-Palestinian demonstration, after the driver, who was allegedly under the influence, tried to speed off when the bike rider began punching him through the open window; the victim was lucky to escape with just a broken ankle, while the driver faces possible hit-and-run and DUI charges, while the bike rider could be charged with assault.
LAist talks with new LADOT General Manager Laura Rubio-Cornejo, who swears her priority is to make every Angeleno and visitor feel safe on the streets, while revisiting the city’s nearly moribund Vision Zero program — but without making a commitment to the wholesale changes to our streets required to do that.
SoCal speed cams took a step closer to becoming reality in Los Angeles on Wednesday, when City Council Transportation Committee unanimously approved a motion to create an automated Speed Camera Safety Program when a new state law approving a pilot program in Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach goes into effect next year.
No surprise here. The bike-riding woman who was struck by Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this year has filed a lawsuit against the former governator, alleging he was driving “with excessive speed and failed to keep a proper lookout,” despite reports she swerved in front of his SUV.
A Streetsblog op-ed by Jeanie Ward-Waller, former deputy director for planning and modal programs at Caltrans, relates how she was fired for doing her job, and speaking out when Caltrans officials tried to skirt the law to widen Sacramento highways. Maybe Newsom should just fire the people running Caltrans, and give her the damn job.
A pair of 15-year old Los Banos boys were hospitalized after they were both struck by a 17-year old girl driving a pickup as they rode their bicycles to school.
A Marin columnist calls the “bike lane experiment” on the Richmond-San Raphael Bridge a “fiasco” that has to be ripped out, since it only sees an average of 118 bike trips and 19 pedestrians on weekdays.
WaPo examines the current nationwide movement to ban right turns on red lights, in the face of rising pedestrian — and bicyclist — deaths.
Bike Portland relates the strange saga of the “accidental” bike lane that city officials are in the process of ripping out, swearing it was unintentionally installed, even though local residents had requested it six years earlier.
An Oregon craft brewer now combines beer, coffee and bicycles. Or as I used to call that, Monday.
Someone suspended a bicycle from a Spokane bridge pylon, complete with rider.
A Utah man gets screwed when someone stole a pair of ebikes from his garage, and his homeowner’s insurance refused to pay the claim, stating his policy doesn’t cover “motor vehicles” — even though the state classifies ebikes as bicycles.
A new mural along a Jackson, Wyoming bike path honors the Northern Arapaho heritage of many local residents.
Planetizen says Chicago had a banner year for bike infrastructure, installing more than this year than any previous year. Of course, that might not be saying much.
A Cambridge, Massachusetts doctor says he’d love to recommend bicycling to his patients, without “putting them at risk of injury or worse,” but he can’t unless the city completes its bicycle network.
A New Orleans website offers inspiring photos from the city’s second-annual Big Easy Bicycle Fest.
Momentum offers advice on how to navigate the urban door zone, which is a leading cause of bicycling injuries.
Now you, too, can own the “Porsche of bike trailers” for the low, low price of just $526. Wake me when someone has the McLaren of bike trailers.
A Canadian website says dozens of bike riders turned out to support a contentious Toronto Complete Street and bike lanes, after the provincial premier said he would rip them out. Although judging by the photo, “dozens” would seem to be a dramatic underestimate.
A Montreal man argues that ebike crashes should be covered by the rider’s auto insurance, after he was hospitalized following a crash with an ebike rider.
The UK’s Daily Mail accuses London’s mayor of losing the battle with the city’s e-bikeshare program, insisting the “two-wheeled gadgets” litter the streets and sidewalks, and are too often “hijacked by yobs.”
An English driver asks how to be nicer to bicyclists, despite sometimes finding them very annoying. Short answer, don’t be an asshole. Longer answer, don’t be an asshole, please.
Cycling Weekly says Italy’s Dolomites are still the best place to ride your bike.
A doctor in Gaza once again demonstrates the value of a bicycle in a disaster, using his bike to ride over rubble to treat patients, after his car was destroyed by Israeli bombs.
An African business site says Kenyans are increasingly enjoying long-distance bicycling, with rides of 111 miles or more.
Danish pro Jonas Vingegaard, two-time winner of the Tour de France, was awarded the prestigious Velo d’Or trophy for the year’s best cyclist, and was apparently so unimpressed he didn’t bother to show up for the ceremony; Dutch Tour de France Femmes winner Demi Vollering won the women’s Velo d’Or.
GCN talks with Slovenian cyclist Matej Mohorič, who popularized the now-banned super-tuck position, about his upbringing and his quest to give a ‘higher purpose’ to his racing.
Remembering the good old days of the Tour de France, when doping meant raiding the local cafe to steal a little mid-stage booze.
Who needs a $2 million a year anti-aging program when you can just buy a bike? Now you, too, can own a vintage steel-frame Colnago tandem for the equivalent of just $330 — although you may have to stand up to ride it.
And we may have to deal with feral LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about leapfrogging deer.
Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.
Oh, and fuck Putin