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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on January 7th, 2013 at 10:14 am

Good thing that barrier was there!

After a few weeks off for the holidays, it’s time to get back into rounding up the best bike news and stories around the web…

— Has Chicago taken two steps forward and one step back? Grid Chicago reports that the Chicago Department of Transportation plans to convert a stretch of protected bike lanes on Independence Blvd to buffered bike lanes after receiving complaints from neighborhood leaders.

— Speaking of protected bike lanes, this photo of a van on the Flushing Ave lanes in Brooklyn, NY pretty much sums up their safety benefits.

— Reader Jessica Roberts has a new favorite celebrity biking family: Actor Liev Schreiber and his kids grace the pages of People Magazine on his Workcycles bike.

— When the founder of Public Bikes posts on their blog with the headline, Cars. Freedom. Sex. Thanks., it’s almost a sure bet for the Monday Roundup. Check out Rob Forbes’ take on America’s changing relationship with cars.

— When it comes to understanding relationship between cars, bikes, and traffic culture in general, few are more interesting than author and pundit Tom Vanderbilt. Embrocation Magazine shared a great Q & A with Vanderbilt about biking and bike advocacy.

— A big argument against road diets and bike-friendly streets are that they impede emergency vehicles. Streetsblog busted that myth.

— As the 113th Congress gets settled in, transportation watchers have their eyes on members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The new leader of that committee is Bill Shuster (R-PA). The Hill reported that Shuster is open to the idea of a vehicle-miles-traveld (VMT) tax which is an idea Oregon is is already moving forward with.

— Here’s a feel good story: A young boy’s quick thinking during a mountain bike ride might have saved his stepfather’s life.

— How much change can one bike activist bring? Buenos Aires is finding out.

— Florida is now the latest state to enact a mandatory sidepath law. From a local news report, it sounds very similar to Oregon’s law — which is something many advocates here are hoping to repeal.

— It seems the idea that biking and bike-friendly infrastructure is good for business is finally taking hold with a broader swath of America. Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project blog has had some great examples of this recently. There was Jay Walljasper’s article back in October, and just today, Portland blogger Michael Andersen tells the business story of the NE Multnomah project. Both are worth bookmarking.

— Mikael Colville-Anderson’s latest idea is to require cars to have reflective material on them in order to increase safety.

— Oregon’s regional planning agency, Metro asks “Could bikes be the key to reaching climate goals?“. Umm yeah!

— We’ve all heard of the cardboard bike, so why not a cardboard helmet?

— You might have joked with friends about how blinking lights can cause seizures in those with epilepsy. Well, as local rider Halley Weaver explains in great detail, it’s not a joking matter.

— And on the book news front, have you heard of the latest project from Elly Blue? The Culinary Cyclist book, naturally.

— Bike-on-bike collisions that result in a fatality are very rare; but it happened in Orange County, California on New Year’s Eve.

— You can never have too much advice on how to properly lock up your bike. Check out this rundown of tips from SF Weekly.

— How is the bike revolution going in San Diego, California? The president of BikeSD shared her thoughts in a Q & A with her local newspaper.

— An opinion piece in the Washington Times argues that making cities more bike-friendly is just a, “quaint urban trend” and that, “such policies are out of sync with the real regional world.”

If you come across stories worth sharing and want to see them in the Monday Roundup, get in touch.

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  • daisy January 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    From the article about blinking lights:

    “Flashing lights kill night vision visibility. Eyes are unable to adjust to the constantly changing level of light – making it a hazard to you and anyone traveling with you. ”

    Yes! I hate riding behind folks with the brightest blinking lights. It can be blinding. It’s also really hard to identify where a blinking light is in relation to you, unlike a steady light.

    I have two rear lights, and I have the brighter one on solid (that’s the light that tells you where I am). The less bright, lower-placed light is blinking. That gets folks’ attention but I hope won’t blind anyone.

    I just don’t get cyclists’ love affair with blinky lights.

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    • Indy January 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Make me more visible during daylight hours. I use blinking during daylight, solid during nighttime.

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    • Jonathan Gordon January 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      I just don’t get cyclists’ love affair with blinky lights.

      For me, it’s about fear of being hit by person driving a car. Perhaps it’s confirmation bias, but I’ve noticed cars are more likely to stop on cross streets when I have my light blinking vs. when it’s set to steady. I’ve had people in cars thank me for it (e.g., “Great light! I can really see you!”) and when I’ve had the opportunity to drive I notice how much less I can see in a car than when I’m out on my bike, and I’m grateful for those with lights that blink. They stand out more.

      I agree with Halley that during a group ride, riding with blinking lights is distracting and is overkill as the multiple solid beams make the group noticeable. When I’m riding solo on streets at night or in low-visibility situations, I ride with my front and rear blinking. I’ll turn it on steady if I’m on a multi-use path and don’t expect side traffic (e.g., east bank esplanade). I always point my front light downward so it’s not directly aiming into oncoming cyclists eyes. It’s a balancing act: my safety vs. my fellow cyclists’ comfort. When I ride by a fellow blinking light user, it’s not pleasant but I recognize it as the cost of biking in a city in which drivers are not yet fully attuned to look out for cyclists. Until that changes or some less-offensive but equally effective technology develops, you’ll likely see a contingent of us blinking away.

      Hope that illuminates our perspective for you.

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      • daisy January 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        Blinking during daylight I totally get (and do as well).

        I’m not convinced blinking during nighttime makes us more visible to cars. Are you at all persuaded by the article Jon linked?

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        • Jonathan Gordon January 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

          I read the bikeleptic article but didn’t find anything to convince me that I’m not more visible using flashing lights at night. Neither the flash lag illusion or the moth effect seemed to be backed up by strong evidence w/r/t bicycles and their lights. The most compelling argument, that Randonneurs “are not allowed to use flashing lights during official brevets for safety reasons” doesn’t actually appear to be true. From the link she provided, “At least one of the rear lights must be in a steady (rather than flashing) mode.” I read that as saying you must have at least one solid light, but may have flashing lights as well.

          I’m certainly open to changing my position on using my flashing lights for safety at night. While I think the bikeleptic article puts forth some decent reasons why they’re not ideal (e.g., causes discomfort to others, is less useful for seeing road hazards, is counterproductive during group rides, etc.) my primary concern is being seen. I’m not completely at ease trading my safety for others’ comfort but feel like currently it’s the best compromise available to me.

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      • BIKELEPTIC January 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to read the article, “All Lit Up” – I just hit reply at the bottom column in hopes that all that replied to the article would be able to see this! I realize that it was a lot of abbreviated information with a few links. I could have taken a lot more time on it and put in statistics and all sorts of tids and tats but it had already been sitting in my unpublished queue for so long that I just wanted to get it finished and get it out in the world.

        Above all, I am for advocating riding safely for the conditions. I sometimes do a lot of pretty stupid things. But I do try to ride safely for the conditions. I have been known to leave a red “blinkie” on my trailer when it is parked to mark it as a hazard at night so that it doesn’t get hit or knocked into when I am inside a building. I’ve even left it on to designate that I am running a really long load and then had my regular rear light on my back pack or bike. Sometimes in the dark it’s confusing what’s going on.

        If there are low visibility due to snow, rain or fog, perhaps you should consider lights with more lumens. One of the things that I have been hearing about over the past couple of days, that I forgot to mention in my initial post is that one of the reasons for blinking lights is battery conservation – well. . . here’s food for though – dynamo lights. The newer ones don’t have that terrible flicker that the old ones did and the great new capacitators lets the light to continue to run even when you are stopped at the stop light. Also dynamo lights generally don’t have a blinkie mode.

        The newer USB charged lights actually have a really great run time, depending on the ones you get.) Saves you on batteries, at least.

        I can’t make anyone change their behavior. I can give them options and tell them pros and cons for studies. Sure I have a little confirmation bias, but everyone has confirmation bias about everything. I like bikes. I like vegan gluten-free waffles. Statistically, what do you think, the best performance training food for cyclocross is?

        Waffles, duh.

        I swear I scienced that with a control group of 400 drunk lycra clad muddy cyclocross racers and everything.

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  • Alan 1.0 January 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Welcome back and Happy New Year, Jonathan! It’s probably already on your ‘to-do’ list, but I’ll put in a ping for getting the Forums back up. :)

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      turned them back on this morning Alan. Thanks.

      I turned them off due to some server issues we were having. sorry about that.

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      • Alan 1.0 January 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm

        Thanks!

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  • wsbob January 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Re; Florida’s bike lane use law: here’s a link to text revisions to ‘HB 1223 Relating to Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ section 6(#21 and 22 of the pdf thumbnails) of which contains revisions to Bicycle Regulations:

    http://static.lobbytools.com/bills/2012/pdf/AH1223Z11340.pdf

    This text doesn’t seem to be contain the complete text of the revised law. Maybe I can track that down later. The above text does though, does give some idea of cyclists rights to the road that Florida’s bike lane use law supports by acknowledgement.

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  • Skwirl January 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Ha. I <3 y'all who went over to the Washington Times op-Ed and piled on. The Washington Times is a crazy conservative novelty newspaper founded by Sun Myung Moon and is funded by the Unification Church to the tune of several billion dollars since 1982. I saved this great headline from a few months ago, "Motorists fuming as bicyclists pack roads — Everyone angry at clueless Bikeshare riders." Comedy gold!
    Don't worry, you'll get the joke when Portland's Bikeshare does its first hipster Groupon sale and the noobs take the streets.

    (PS – Capital Bikeshare is awesome and is totally worth It just for the multi-modal single trip options.)

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  • Pete January 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I don’t agree that Streetsblog adequately busted that myth in the article, but the reality is that cars (and drivers) impede emergency responders, not bike-friendly streets. If anything I’d think that an adjacent bicycle lane gives drivers additional room to move out of the way (hopefully looking for bicyclists first!). This has been my experience on the road – and on narrow roads where there’s no space for a bike lane I’m biking in traffic and can pull way out of the way anyway.

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  • Kris January 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Wow. That article on Florida’s mandatory sidepath law is complete and utter FUD. Florida has had a mandatory sidepath law for years. The law in question actually make it easier to legally *avoid* using a mandatory sidepath when doing so would be unsafe, and were the result of a lot of hard work by bicycle lobbyists. See http://flbikelaw.org/2012/05/fbas-legislative-agenda/

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    • wsbob January 8, 2013 at 12:11 am

      Kris…the link you posted to the FBA (Florida Bicycling Association) report, does help some to explain updates to the states existing bike use regulations.

      Here also, is…as I mentioned in the earlier post I would try find…a link to the full text of Florida statute ’316.2065 Bicycle regulations’:

      http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.2065.html

      The format Florida has chosen to present their bike specific laws makes them more difficult to read than that chosen by Oregon. There are some similarities in the laws of each state, but some differences also. Florida’s laws are wordier.

      316.2065 (5) (a) (3) contains the text relating to bike lane and far right of the road use.

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  • 9watts January 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Three cheers for rhetorical questions!
    could-bikes-be-the-key-to-reaching-climate-goals?

    is-the-pope-catholic?

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    • q`Tzal January 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      What-is-SIX-times-NINE?

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  • just joe January 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    That SUV astride the Jersey barrier… Philistine!
    One of the things I enjoyed during your extended NYC coverage was the street art in the back of a lot of your shots. The stenciled barriers were something I would love to see emulated here.. if we could find any separated bikeways with barriers!

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  • Maren January 9, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I wasn’t able to get the link to work for the Bike San Diego story. I’d really like to read it!

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