Tag Archive for bicycling for transportation

Socially responsible transportation in the age of coronavirus, Los Angeles NC meetings on hold, and Woon prelim Tues

The good news is — maybe the only good news right now — that riding a bike is perhaps the most socially responsible form of transportation in these depressingly Covid-19, coronavirus shaded days.

Unlike public transportation, ride sharing or even walking, riding on your own provides automatic social distancing, with virtually no risk of catching or transmitting the virus. And at the same time, strengthening your immune system, respiratory system and overall health.

Even riding with a friend, it’s very easy to keep your distance from one another.

The only time it becomes difficult is on a large group ride, where you’re likely to find yourself far less than six feet from others.

As for driving a car, it’s automatically self-isolating as long as you’re the only one in it.

But it’s hard to describe it as socially responsible, even in better times.

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels.

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Speaking of which, the New York Times examines the surge in bicycling as New Yorkers turn away from transit; Salon says bikeshare use is up 67% compared to last year.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton has good advice — and a reading list — for riding in the age of Covid-19, including wiping the bike down with antibacterial wipes if you use bikeshare. Which goes for scooters, too.

Good advice from Bicycling on how to ride safely amid coronavirus concerns, including that you’re better off doing your riding outside right now. And keep those damn loogies and snot rockets to yourself.

Portland bike shops face the difficult question of whether to stay open or close, while Seattle alternative paper The Stranger, which is facing its own existential crisis, says at least bicycling is less stressful now.

A new study in the Lancet suggests that if you have both diabetes and high blood pressure, you’re pretty well screwed. Thanks to Mike Cane for the link.

On the other hand, the 79-year old publisher of Outside says the coronavirus is overblown to pump up media sales, and says it’s only “scary to a degree” because there’s no vaccine for it. Tell that to the 6,500 people who’ve already died from it worldwide. And their loved ones. Schmuck. 

And a writer for Psychology Today says there’s an upside to the virus going viral, because old people like him are the most likely to die, and have had good, long lives. So he looks forward to going out “listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on my iPod,” after polishing off a Napa Cabernet. Maybe someone could point out that viruses are, by definition, viral. Which is pretty much the kindest thing I’d want to say to him right now. 

Meanwhile, Calgary provides an easy to understand yardstick for what’s a safe distance.

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Forget making your case for bicycling at your local neighborhood council anytime soon.

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The rescheduled prelim for the woman charged with the hit-and-run death of bike rider Frederick “Woon” Frazier is supposed to take place tomorrow.

But don’t be surprised if it’s rescheduled once again because of the coronavirus.

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Thanks to Robert Leone, who’s been so busy forwarding San Diego-area news this weekend that he gets his own little section.

First up is an update on road closures for Camp Pendleton riders, courtesy of the Camp Pendleton community liaison.

  1. Basilone Road and Anglim Court between commissary and San Onofre 2 and 3, housing is flooded, traffic can still go through for now.
  2. Beach Club Road closed:  People can access through state side gate per MCCS.
  3. Vandegrift Blvd, vicinity Box Canyon East bound lane closest to shoulder is closed due to falling debris. One lane is still open for travel East bound and Two lanes open for West Bound travel.
  4. Stuart Mesa Road is open.
  5. Beach club Road is closed.
  6. Las Pulgas Gate closed – Only open to emergency vehicles. Cyclists may use the I-5 shoulder to ride if access to the bike path is closed.
  7. De-Luz Road at Sequoia Road closed. De-Luz Road closed all the way before the training area by O’Neil Heights.
  8. Lake O’Neil housing can be accessed by from both direction on Santa Margarita Road and De-Luz Road.

Please check Facebook for updates.

Next comes notice that San Diego’s Bike to Work Day has at least temporarily bitten the dust due to — you guessed it — our friend Covid-19.

And the San Diego Bike Coalition has pulled the plug on many of their activities for now.

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Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly. 

A bike-riding London man was convicted of murder for stabbing a 14-year old boy to death for his Nikes.

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Local

Kate Hudson is one of us. Though someone might tell her bike helmets work better if you actually wear them.

The planned U.S. Bicycle Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica will likely run right through the campus of Pomona College.

 

State

Kendall Jenner is one of us, too, as she takes to an ebike in Palm Springs. And looks like she actually knows how to ride it, although her take on Covid-19 got panned.

A pair of bike lovers are opening a new brewery and taproom in Thousand Oaks tomorrow. Assuming they actually get to, under the circumstances.

This year’s edition of the Eroica California scheduled for next month in Cambria finds itself sacrificed on the Covid-19 altar.

 

National

My brother ran Alaska’s famed Iditarod sled dog race four times, finishing three. But he never rode a fat tire bike in the Iditarod Trail Invitational along the same frozen trail.

He gets it. A Minnesota columnist says drivers “learning bike-passing and road-sharing best practices” may be the best way to improve safety and encourage bike riding. Or maybe second best, after providing safe, protected and effective bikeway network.

A Providence RI site films a busy street post-road diet, and is shocked! shocked! to discover drivers outnumber bike riders in the middle of winter 191 to 1. Never mind that most road diets are conducted to improve safety and reinvigorate communities by reducing road capacity, and bike lanes are merely a very beneficial tool to do it.

Owners of a Delaware funeral home complain that a new post-protected bike lane is affecting their business by blocking them from parking in front of the funeral parlor. Or maybe they just want to force bikes back into the street to drum up more business.

He gets it. A Pasadena letter writer says don’t blame the victim in a bicycling fatality, because bicyclists have a legal right to the road. No, the Maryland Pasadena. And no, I didn’t know there was one, either.

A North Carolina columnist complains about “the elitist scourge known as ‘road diet,'” which he claims it intended to force a healthy lifestyle down their throats for the sake of a tiny minority.” So evidently, people who ride bikes — like students and the soon-to-be laid off busboys who work in the local bars and restaurants — are elitists. Good to know.

 

International

How Sidi got its swirly.

The BBC offers a detailed overview of what they call the world’s most flexible form of transport — the bicycle.

A British columnist experiences what many of us have, as a well-worn article of bikewear gets him reminiscing about his favorite rides.

A Welsh website suggests five cheap and easy bike upgrades you can do yourself while you self-isolate, including building your bike a house.

It takes a major schmuck to steal an Irish doctor’s bike while he’s covering a 13-hour shift for a colleague forced into coronavirus isolation. Or just steal someone’s bike, period.

Yes, please. The city of Utrecht in the Netherlands is building a high-density residential district for 12,000 people, where cars will be banned and bikes will rule.

Bike riders get to see a lot of things most motorists miss. Like the pope taking a walk through Rome, for instance.

Rideable bikes are down 90% for a New Zealand dockless bikeshare provider since they launched three years ago, which appear to be prone to wheels collapsing; an expert says the bikes are unsafe, while the company blames their own customers.

A Kiwi website remembers the 1930s world traveling bike-rider and performer the Woman in Red.

Aussie drivers complain about bike riders on the streets. Which may be why they’re driving on the bike paths, too.

A 66-year old Singaporean secondhand bike seller was busted for his sideline of giving free massages and exorcism rituals to women, as an excuse to molest and film them.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Paris-Nice stage race came to an end on Saturday, as Germany’s Maximilian Schachmann claimed the individual title after Sunday’s final stage was cancelled.

European pros won’t be allowed to even train in Spain for the next two weeks, as the country cracks down on all activity to battle the coronavirus. Although the sport’s governing body doesn’t seem to be taking it all that seriously yet.

Speaking of UCI, they plan to backdate Olympic qualifying, which will screw anyone who hadn’t qualified for the cycling events by March 3rd.

Dutch pro Mathieu Van der Poel gets it, saying cancellation of the early cycling season is a disappointment, but there are much bigger problems in the world right now.

The organizers of next month’s Redlands Classic followed the Tour of the Gila in pulling the plug on this year’s 36th annual edition.

 

Finally

Your next Mecedes-AMG could have just two wheels — if you can afford to drop around five figures on one. The sex shops may be closing, but at least the bike shops will stay open.

And one worth repeating, as a young Frank Zappa plays a bike instead of riding it.

Guest Post: A detailed look at commuting mode share in Los Angeles, and how bikes lanes fit in

Not many people have the ability, or patience, to dig deep into various data sources to paint a detailed picture of just how people get to work in the City of Angeles.

And how bicycles fit into that portrait.

Dennis Hindman does.

He’s written a number of detailed analyses for this site, including a look at the causes of bike-involved collisions, and how the economy and bike lanes affect them.

Today he offers a look at the influence of bike lanes on LA commuting rates in the context of the overall commuting picture.

It’s fascinating stuff, and worth a few minutes to read. And maybe bookmark for future reference.

I’ll be back tomorrow with our usual Morning Links.

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In 2008, there were 147 centerline miles of bike lanes in the city of Los Angeles, according to League of American Bicyclists survey results from 90 of the largest U.S. cities.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation substantially increased the centerline miles of bike lanes installed per calendar year after the 2010 bike plan was approved by the LA city council in 2011. The centerline miles of bike lanes is now at least 375, according to the bikeways inventory listed on the website ladotbikeblog. Which is 2.55 times more than in 2008.

Chart-1

There have been two periods of time since 2005, using Census Bureau household survey results (ACS), where the bicycle commuting percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles has increased. One was 2008 through 2009 after there was a sharp increase in the price of gasoline in 2008. Interestingly, the bicycle commuting share increased further in 2009 after the price of gasoline dropped, then dropped by 10% in 2010 (within the margin of error) and increased back to 1% in 2011 and 2012. According to the margin of error for the ACS results, it’s possible that the 2009 percent could be .9% as it is for 2010 and 2008, and then rose to 1% in 2011. Although if you look at the LAPD collision reports during that time, the bicycle collisions sharply increased in 2009 compared to 2008.

The number of bicycle commuters increased by an estimated 46% from 2007 through 2010.

Compare that to 2011 through 2014, when there was a 41% increase in the number of bicycle commuters and nearly 200 miles of bike lanes were installed.

There was a 143% increase in the ACS estimated number of bicycle commuters in the city of Los Angeles from 2005 through 2014 and a 9% increase in the amount of workers commuting by car, truck or van. Commuting by transit increased 15%.

Chart-2

Chart-3

When the number of bicycle commuters increased by 46% from 2007 through 2010 in the ACS results, the motor vehicle involved bicycle collisions reported by the LAPD increased by 61%.

If the installation of almost 200 miles of bike lanes from 2011 through 2014 had either decreased, or had no effect on the overall level of safety for bicycle riding on streets, then the number of motor vehicle involved bicycle collisions reported by the LAPD should have substantially increased based on the greater number of bicycle commuters — as happened from 2007 through 2010 when much fewer additional miles of bike lanes were installed.

It turns out that the LAPD reported motor vehicle involved bicycle collisions went from an increase of 7% in 2012, to less than a 1% increase in 2013 and a 6% decrease in 2014.

Chart-4

Traffic collisions and fatalities reported by the LAPD are given to the California Highway Patrol and these results can be obtained through their SWITRS data, as I have done for the chart above and below. These data collection results are about 7 months behind from when the collisions took place. Even given the incomplete data for 2015, the number of bicycling fatalities reported by the LAPD is already the second highest since 2001.

Chart-5

For comparison, here is my estimated number of car, truck and van commuters derived from ACS survey results on percentage chart S0801.

Chart-6

Also, the estimated percentage of workers who primarily commuted by car, truck or van and resided in the city of Los Angeles. Notice how the percentage has remained relatively stable from 2008 through 2014.

Chart-7

The ACS estimated number of transit commuters has not yet increased to the amount that it was in 2008, even though the estimated number of workers has increased by 3%. Metro’s transit boarding’s throughout the county decreased by 2.8% in calendar year 2014 and continued to fall through August of 2015.

Chart-8

The percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles who primarily use transit to commute. Metro transit rail boarding’s, along with bus boarding’s, fell in Los Angeles County in calendar year 2014. It might seem that increased bicycle commuting took away from rail ridership, but the average bicycle trip tends to be a shorter distance than an average transit rail trip. These two forms of transportation would tend to be more complementary, rather than competitive with each other.

Chart-9

The percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles who primarily work from home has increased from 2005 to 2014, probably due to greater use of the internet.

Chart-10

The last category of journey to work on the ACS data is primarily commuting by motorcycle, taxi or other means.

Chart-11

Adding together the ACS estimated percent of workers residing in the city of Los Angeles who primarily commuted by walking, bicycling or transit has, except for 2011, remained fairly stable from 2007 through 2014. I didn’t calculate the margin of error for this category.

Chart-12

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Dennis adds a few final notes on how he compiled the data and graphs.

I’ve tried to simply give data available from SWITRS, ladotbikeblog and ACS in the form of graphs. This is so that anyone can check the accuracy of this information quickly on-line. Unfortunately, to make it as unbiased and the changes between years as clear as I can, I created separate charts for each category. Combing categories made each category more of a straight line.
I used the Census Bureau American Community Survey chart S0801 which gives results in percent of workers and converted that into the number of workers using each type of transportation for journey to work. There are two other charts that give the estimated number of workers for each type of transportation, but they do not include the year 2005–which S0801 does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: The Benefits of a Bicycle for Urban Transport

Every now and then — okay, nearly every day — I get a request to write a guest post for this site.

Most turn out to be from marketers hoping to slip in a link to their client’s website. Which are promptly ignored.

But this week, we’ll feature three new guest posts; two from a long-time contributor, and one from a new one.

The first comes from Nik Donovic, who describes himself as a lifelong, if casual, cyclist and new-found fixie enthusiast with a passion for road safety — especially after a driver hit his dad a few months ago.

And yes, before you ask, his father is okay, though it was scary for both of them.

This may be preaching to the choir on here. But it’s worth reading.

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Remember your first bike and how exhilarated you felt when you were finally freed from the confines of the wobbly training wheels? Your first bike is memorable. The polished chrome that was almost blinding in the sun, the smooth curve of the banana seat, and the streamers that whipped around from the end of your handlebars as you rode fast and without a care in the world. Your bike was your main source of transportation from trips to the park, to school, and to your best friend’s house. Jump ahead 20 years and you consider yourself lucky if you’re able to hop on your bicycle to ride to the neighborhood coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Part-time bicycle riders are full of excuses as to why they “don’t have time” to ride: I’ve got groceries to pick up. I don’t have proper riding gear. I’m too tired. I can’t ride THAT far. It’s not safe. I would, but…

 

Are There Any Valid Excuses Not to Ride?

The reasons seems endless, but what’s the point of owning a bicycle if you aren’t going to ride? Sure, bicycling requires a time commitment, but so does sitting in your car while commuting to and from work. While a substantial amount of bicyclists are hitting the streets, more than a decade ago, the majority remains to be strictly recreational riders.

In a 2014 U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmarking Report, commissioned by PeopleForBikes, 16,193 adults were surveyed on their bicycle usage. The results revealed that 54% of adults believe that bicycling is a convenient form of transportation, but 48% of adults don’t have access to a bicycle at home and 52% of adults fear being struck by vehicles. 46% of surveyed adults would ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated. Finally, 70% of bicyclists only ride for recreation or leisure while 46% ride to travel to and from school or work.

Although the concerns are reasonable, bicycling is safer and more accessible than people may think. While it’s true that sharing the road with motorists can be dangerous (and a little scary), bicycling is often safer than driving. The National Safety Council reports that for every million cyclists in the US, about 16.5 die each year in comparison to the 19.9 motorist deaths each year.

In regards to the not having access to a bicycle at home, there are several great public bike sharing systems throughout the U.S. in cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and San Francisco. Don’t have a bike share system in your town? Check out a local bike shop. You don’t need a top of the line, multiple geared bicycle to get from place to place. So, no more excuses. Just ride.

 

Urban Cycling Leads to Better Health

Maybe you’re only a “weekend rider” because you feel too tired or out of shape to ride a bicycle on a regular basis and maybe the “out of practice” aches and pains keep you from riding more regularly. However, like other forms of exercise, your body gets stronger and healthier with consistent movement. Sure, a sore rear end and tired legs may persist after your first few rides, but over time, you will forget that riding was ever a struggle. Unlike running and other sports, bicycling is a gentle form of exercise, putting less stress on your body and making it accessible to people of all ages and abilities. All the times that you ride, remember how good it feels after you hop off your bike? Your blood is pumping, your endorphins are high, and you might even say, “I can’t wait to ride again.” Don’t make bicycling an “every now and then”, but rather remember how good it feels to ride and use that as your motivation. From heart to lungs, there are so many health benefits related to bicycling.

In addition to all the physical and mental health benefits, a 2012 study conducted in Iowa revealed that bicycling can save a significant amount of money typically allocated to health care. When looking at statistics surrounding the cost of diabetes, breast/colorectal cancers, heart disease and stroke related treatments, recreational and commuter cyclists saved money by simply being more healthy. For instance, in Des Moines, savings from commuter cyclists includes $254,797 and in Johnson County, cyclists are estimated to save $1,018,347 in health care costs each year.

 

Don’t Add to the Urban Congestion

As a recreational bicyclist, you may stick to areas within your cities that have trails and other areas designated for bicyclists. While such areas provide a great opportunity to be “one with nature”, get exercise, and keep cyclists off the road, they aren’t as practical for commuting cyclists. As a commuter, you often need to ride side by side with other vehicles which can feel overwhelming, a little dangerous, and far from “taking your mind off of stress”.

Still, being a commuter cyclist doesn’t need to be stressful. A lot depends on space allocated for cyclists. As a commuter cyclist, you’re doing your part to reduce urban congestion, but you’re only really making a difference if there are bike lanes in place. In “bicycle friendly” cities like Minneapolis, traffic volume increased but was less congested when bicycles had separate lanes.

Here’s an example of bike lanes working correctly: in San Francisco, on busy Valencia Street, vehicle lanes were reduced from four to two and a center lane and two bike lanes were added. As a result, pedestrians were not only 36% safer, but there was a significant increase of bicycle riders by 140%. In the same report released by Smart Growth America, pedestrians and bicyclists combined (about half and half) have reduced congestion by about 30% in the nation’s 100 most congested cities. If bicycle lanes continue to pop up, we can expect the congestion to keep dropping.

 

Human and Physical Infrastructure for Cyclists

From Minneapolis, MN to Austin, TX, big cities are becoming more bicycle friendly, recognizing the importance of less traffic and better health, but most cities can’t be truly bicycle friendly without infrastructures.

 

Physical Infrastructure for Safety and Economic Gain

Biking trails, bicycle lanes, and non-motorized vehicle overpasses are essential for bicycle safety and ease of travel; they make up the physical infrastructure. This infrastructure can help avoid drivers hitting cyclists as opposed to urban roads with no infrastructure. Many cyclists may not realize that the presence of physical infrastructures benefit the economy as well. In cities like Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., home values increased the closer they were located to infrastructures like bike pathways. Additionally, businesses located in an area with physical infrastructures for cyclists (such as bike pathways and widened sidewalks) typically see a boost in business. In the study of Valencia Street in San Francisco (as mentioned earlier), businesses on the street saw a significant increase (about 66%) of patronage due to better physical infrastructure for cyclists.

 

No Physical Infrastructure Without Human Infrastructure

Despite the overwhelming need for physical infrastructure, it wouldn’t exist without human infrastructure. Such infrastructure can include biking advocates, bike shop owners, and bicycle riding groups. Without bike shops, to purchase and repair bicycles, the future of the “urban bicyclist” would be limited. By supporting a local bike shop, not only are you supporting the local economy, but you are supporting some of your biggest advocates. Bicycle shop owners and employees have a passion for bicycling. They commute by bicycle, they encourage others to ride, and they have valuable feedback when it comes to planning physical infrastructure. If you want to see an increase of physical infrastructure for cyclists, find a group of bicycle advocates and enthusiasts to join.

In cities across America, we’ve witnessed the increase of urban bicyclists who can ride the city streets more safely thanks to the passions of fellow riders who fought for a better riding environment.

 

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