Tag Archive for reducing traffic

The upside of coronavirus, no cars; the downside, no April CicLAvia; and wear a bike helmet if you’re getting married

Let’s start with a quick note, because I’m as tired of writing about coronavirus as you probably are reading it.

Let alone sheltering at home worrying about it.

Or whether we’ll be able to keep our jobs and pay our bills because of it.

I won’t give you advice. We’ve all gotten as much as we can handle already, and you’ll find still more below.

So let me just wish you good health and good luck as we try to weather this the best we can.

And let’s all remember to be kind to everyone we encounter, online and in real life.

Because we’re all afraid right now, however we express it.

Photo by Pexels from Pixabay.

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On the other hand, there is one upside to our not so brave new world, as David Drexler discovered yesterday.

Decided to take the beach cruiser out around Santa Monica today between rain days and discovered that our nation’s virus tragedy we are in right now is really a boon for cyclists.

With all the closures and people staying home it was like riding around on Xmas Day. Extremely light and polite traffic all over SM. You could take the entire right lane and no one would bother you. Ride in the green bike lanes and few worries about cars opening doors or pulling out.

What is usually danger at every turn and a stressful ride around was a relaxing day around the city.

And judging by the numbers of cyclists on the beach path today — I hope they still have their jobs and are just taking advantage of the clear weather.

It wasn’t just Santa Monica, either. And the air’s better, too.

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No real surprise here, as CicLAvia has pulled the plug on next month’s planned Mid-City meets Venice open streets event.

The first one was even popular with drivers.

Or one, anyway.

As of now, June’s return to Glendale is still on. And hopefully will stay that way.

………

Maybe wait a few days to unbox that new bike.

https://twitter.com/MikeyCycling/status/1240301510887645184?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1240301510887645184&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Froad.cc%2Fcontent%2Fnews%2F272011-pro-team-body-orders-members-riders-stop-training-outdoors-mason-cycles-says

………

Now this is how you self-isolate.

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

Oxnard police are on the lookout for a bike-riding serial butt grabber; the suspect is also accused of approaching women while masturbating. Seriously, this ain’t funny. Keep an eye out if you ride in the area.

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Local

LAist offers a “no panic” guide to the coronavirus. Tell that to the people who ravaged my corner market.

LA County health officials say it’s safe to get out to run, hike or bike right now. Safer than usual, in fact, since most of the cars and their drivers are off the roads.

A British tabloid is worried about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health, after he got the sniffles while riding his ebike in Los Angeles. Then again, I get that anytime I ride on a cool day. And yes, bike sniffles is a recognized medical condition. 

 

State

Lime says it’s just pausing e-scooter service in the Golden State because of the coronavirus crisis, rather than pulling out permanently.

Good news for bike riders, as Orange County blocks vehicle access to regional parks in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus. After all, everyone knows cars are carriers.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss calls bikes the ultimate pandemic contingency plan, while Bicycling’s Selene Yeager offers a guide to maintaining your physical and mental health in these stressful times.

A Colorado bike advocacy group says wash your hands and ride a bike to fight the virus.

Officials in Colorado are throwing the book at an 18-year old alleged intoxicated hit-and-run driver, who’s accused of killing a man on a bike while passing another car on the right; he’s charged with 1) vehicular homicide, 2) hit-and-run, 3) careless driving causing death, 4) DUI, 5) weaving, 6) passing on the right, 7) underage consumption of alcohol and 8) possession of marijuana.

An Iowa bike shop owner says go for a bike ride, not despite it being slower than a car, but because it’s slower than a car.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a $1,200 three-wheeled bike from an 87-year old Arkansas man, which he credits with helping him recover from a stroke he suffered 24 years ago. But thanks to an anonymous Good Samaritan, he’ll be able to keep riding.

Pittsburgh is preparing to release its first bike plan of the millennium, making their current plan the oldest of America’s 60 largest cities. But as any LA bike rider can attest, it doesn’t matter how recent a bike plan is if the city refuses to implement it.

The coronavirus bike surge is calling attention to the lack of quality bike infrastructure in Philadelphia.

A Minnesota website offers basic tips on overnight bikepacking, while a Pennsylvania paper says grab a multi-piece rod and ride to your favorite fishing hole.

Despite calls to stay home, bike shops are booming in the Big Easy, as people turn to their bikes to commute, and enjoy family time now that schools are closed.

 

International

Bike industry insiders say it’s not time to panic yet.

Cycling Weekly offers tips on how to stay sane while you self-isolate.

A British Columbia man was acquitted in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, after prosecutors were unable to prove he was behind the wheel of his truck; he was convicted in the death of another bike rider less than a decade earlier.

By the time you read this, a pair of British women should have shattered the record for riding around the world on a tandem, beating the existing record — set by a couple men — by over two weeks.

Spain tells 25,000 tourists on Mallorca to go home from the popular bicycling destination.

The Pyrenean principality of Andorra joins neighboring Spain in banning outdoor bike riding.

Not even Copenhagen gets it right all the time, as the city promises to fix Denmark’s widest bike path in response to complaints.

An Aussie newspaper reminds us that bicycling is the perfect form of social distancing, as well as commuting.

Chinese dockless bikeshare provider Mobike reports losing over 205,000 bikes to theft and vandalism last year alone.

 

Competitive Cycling

San Diego’s Belgian Waffle Ride is the latest domino to fall, after the popular event was pushed to November.

It could be a very busy fall cycling calendar, as UCI president David Lappartient hopes the Giro d’Italia and spring classics can all be rescheduled for this autumn, after all races were cancelled through the end of April. However, the Giro might have to trim itself to fit into a reduced window.

 

Finally…

At long last, an ebike for baby makers. If you’re going to steal a bike off someone’s front porch, at least smile for the camera.

And if you’re getting married at city hall, be sure to wear a helmet.

 

Selling bike safety, culture and infrastructure to a suspicious public

The single most powerful political manifesto I’ve ever read was written by Dale Carnegie.

I don’t think he intended to write a revolutionary treatise. But over the years, I’ve found the suggestions contained in his 70-year old book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, are more effective in creating political and societal change than any sit-in, march or demonstration.

One in particular has been proven over and over to be a brilliant political tool: “Always talk in terms of the other man’s interest.” That is, look at it from their perspective, and think about they’re interested in, rather than what’s in it for you.

I been thinking about that since I attended a session on advanced bike traffic planning tools, hosted by Ryan Snyder of Ryan Snyder Associates, at the L.A. Bike Summit on Saturday. He talked about a number of innovative bike traffic solutions, from sharrows and bike boxes, to painted bike lanes and improved signage.

But what really caught my attention were two things:

First was the concept of Road Diets. Simply put, it’s the idea that traffic flow and neighborhoods can both be improved by reducing the number of lanes.

For instance, a typical four-lane street that carries 20,000 vehicles or less a day can often be reconfigured into two through lanes, with a center left turn lane so that turning cars don’t block traffic, while leaving room for bike lanes on either side. This reduction can actually improve vehicle flow, while calming traffic speeds and permitting a dramatic increase in bike usage — and improve safety for both drivers and riders, while revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood.

The other one was the idea of Bike Boulevards — something a number of local riders have advocated lately.

At its most basic, a bike boulevard is a street, often parallel to a major thoroughfare, that has been optimized to encourage bike traffic. At the same time, it employs various barriers, roundabouts and signal changes to discourage vehicle through traffic.

You don’t have to sell cyclists on the concept of a bike boulevard. Build it, and we will come.

But as Ryan pointed out, the problem for both of these ideas — especially bike boulevards — comes when it’s time to sell local residents and business owners on the idea. With today’s over-congested traffic, very few people are open to the idea of actually reducing traffic lanes.

And no one wants to live on a bike boulevard.

People who live there tend to envision a thundering horde of two-wheeled thugs invading their street, reducing their property values and making them second-class citizens in their own neighborhoods.

Yet the reality is just the opposite. By eliminating through traffic, a bike boulevard will dramatically reduce vehicle traffic, making their street quieter, more peaceful and significantly safer, while local traffic is still able move in and out with ease.

Streets become more walkable, as well as bike-able, encouraging residents to get out and meet their neighbors. And the enhanced landscaping and beautification projects that often are part of a bike boulevard project — in part to get buy-in from the locals — results in a more attractive streetscape.

All that adds up to a better, more livable neighborhood. And means that property values could actually go up, not down.

The same holds true for a business district. Reduced traffic flow means less through traffic, resulting in quieter streets less congestion and easier access for drivers who do want to stop and shop. Parking can be improved and streets beautified, creating a neighborhood ideal for strolling or sidewalk cafes, while the extra bike traffic could actually bring more customers to the area.

Everyone wins.

So we have to do a much better job of marketing — whatever we’re selling. Because the key to getting bike boulevards and the other biking infrastructure, safety improvements, better educated, less biased and more effective police, and acceptance of bike culture, is not to demand our rights, but to look at it from their perspective.

We have to show local authorities, as well as home and business owners, exactly how and why it works to their benefit.

And let them demand it, instead.

***

Streetsblog offers some great biking links this morning, as well as a good overview of the keynote speakers at the Bike Summit. Gary, Brayj and Drew also offer reviews, though in the latter case, I fear I have once again failed to make a good impression. Will offers links to photos, as well as photos and video of his close encounter with Lance following the Summit. Los Angeles Rides quotes from a New York Times article about riding in the city, and how we make ourselves look bad — and not just by wearing spandex. Bicycle Fixation demonstrates that once again, cycling offers better stress relief than any prescription drug. The Biking Lawyer relates the history of the Stop As Yield Law. And Los Angeles Cyclist offers parts 3, 4 & 5 in his five part story of the Ridiculous Pink Fixie.

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