The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

The Monday Roundup

Posted by on March 11th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

From The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in London (PDF).
(Or could it be Naito Parkway in Portland?)

Sorry for the delay in getting this out. I got back from Washington DC last night and had a crazy morning. So without further ado, here are the best bike stories and other stuff we came across last week…

— The story everyone’s talking about is the big — and I mean Big — bike plan announced by London mayor Boris Johnson last week. It calls for a complete retrofit of the city’s existing roads to create a network of separated bicycle highways with a goal to double bicycling rates in 10 years. Johnson wants to put £913 million into the plan. But before you pack up and move to London, sources say there’s a lot of politics going on and the funding is far from a sure thing. That being said, this is a major development from one of the most admired cities in the world. Stay tuned.

— Another huge story that just happened today: The NYPD has announced a major change in protocol that active transportation advocates have been clamoring for for years. They will investigate a greater number of collisions and they will stop using the term “accident”.

— I never tire of looking at photos of celebrities riding bikes for transportation.

“An accident is when a meteor falls through your house and hits you in the head. Collisions can be prevented.”
— Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives in the NY Times

— In Baltimore someone has booby trapped a popular mountain bike trail by sticking razor knives through pieces of wood to cause flats (and who knows what else).

— Here’s some bike advocacy in action. Remember how Cascade Bicycle Club posted that email from Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt that claimed people polluted the air while bicycling? Now the advocacy group has met with Orcutt and according to this blog post they had “A great conversation.”

— In the, don’t-say-it-never-happens department comes a tragic story from the UK where a man died in a bike crash caused by a pothole. Now friends of the deceased man are pointing the finger at the city for failing to maintain the road.

— In another odd bicycling story, that guy in San Francisco who rode into a crosswalk and struck and killed someone will face charges of manslaughter.

— Volvo, a carmaker known safety, has announced, “the world’s first cyclist detection system that detects and automatically brakes for cyclists swerving in front of the vehicle.

— Coming off the ‘Bikes Mean Business’ theme of the National Bike Summit, this post on the Green Lane Project blog reminds us how bike-oriented development is the future of urban planning.

— A new documentary about high school racing programs dubbed “Singletrack High”? Sounds good to me.

— And since we can’t go a week without a bike theft story, did you hear about the teacher from Abu Dhabi who’s ramping up a search for his bike that was stolen 20 years ago?

— If you’re intrigued by Google Glass, you might be interested in these Recon sunglasses for cycling that put your ride data right at the top of the lens.

— Via Copenhagenize, learn more about the success of Nørrebrogade, the “busiest bike street in the world.”

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • 9watts March 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Gascon said he is not aware of any other felony manslaughter charge being filed in the state against a bicyclist in a collision. He said the judge upholding the charge this morning shows “there are real consequences for bad behavior and not following the traffic rules.”

    Hm. Haven’t heard those rules applied to too many people driving cars and veering off the road into people on bikes. Hm. Wanda Cortese?

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    • Alan 1.0 March 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      I hear you, 9watts, but the prosecutor Talai’s allegations about Bucchere’s negligence leading up to the collision make other crashes less comparable.

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    • Alan 1.0 March 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      I hear you, 9watts, but prosecutor Talai’s allegations about Bucchere’s negligence leading up to the collision make other crashes less comparable.

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      • 9watts March 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

        I read that too. But the defense attorney disputed each of those allegations and pointed to surveillance camera footage. I of course have no way of knowing which attorney is lying. But you are correct, if the prosecutor’s allegations are correct, then this situation would be more like Neil Lawson running over Essya Nabbali and Martha McCLean on Hwy 101, since his driving behavior prior to the crash was observed to have been erratic.

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      • dan March 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

        I don’t know. Doesn’t that mean he gets a moving violation for every light he ran, and then he had an accident that was not legally his responsibility because he had the right of way?

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    • wsbob March 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      The judicial system can’t charge, try and convict people of something for which there’s no evidence to prove someone committed a crime, or lesser offense. With this SF cyclist, apparently, evidence does exist. Apparently, no evidence that Wanda Cortese committed manslaughter exists, yet here you are, once again as you have in past posts to other bikeportland articles, irresponsibly using her name to make snide, inflammatory assumptions.

      For some of the other people reading, my take on this from referring to wikpedia articles on murder and manslaughter: manslaughter is not murder. Murder originates from premeditated intent. Manslaughter can originate from intent, but may be due in part to negligence, as may have been the case with the SF cyclist.

      The SF cyclist apparently was aware that he was blowing multiple red lights and a stop sign. Extraordinary circumstances excluded, it would be reasonable to expect he was aware that he on his bike, colliding with a someone on foot, could injure that person, and that vehicular traffic must yield to pedestrians.

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      • 9watts March 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm

        I see that our honeymoon didn’t last, wsbob. Too bad. I really liked your comment this morning.

        But now I am glad I mentioned Wanda Cortese. It is curious that you specifically reserved judgment about her lapses while running over Christeen Osborn in light of what you have to say about Bucchere.

        wsbob on Cortese:
        “The driver was behind the wheel; this alone doesn’t mean the driver abandoned care to have the vehicle move there. The driver may very well have been exercising great care in the operation of the vehicle, when something unexpected, unknown at this point…happened. If something like that happened, it should factor into considering whether the driver is due a citation according to the intent and language of the vulnerable road user law.”
        “That’s right; for some brief seconds, she may not have been operating the vehicle, and if so, why? That question is central to the question of whether or not the vehicle was being driven carelessly.”
        “All that’s known to the public, is that the vehicle went off the road, and someone was behind the wheel. It’s not known that carelessness on the part of the driver was the reason the vehicle went off the road. Without at least some details from an investigation of the collision and also, interviewing and testing of the driver, I don’t particularly see a lot of merit in speculating about what may have caused the collision.”

        wsbob on Bucchere:
        “it would be reasonable to expect he was aware that he on his bike, colliding with a someone on foot, could injure that person, and that vehicular traffic must yield to pedestrians.”

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        • wsbob March 12, 2013 at 1:08 am

          Thanks for citing some of my remarks in response to previous bikeportland articles. Those remarks weren’t however, as you seem to assume they are, reflecting or concluding about any of Cortese’s actions or state of mind, but were made to emphasize that nothing was, or even yet seems to be publicly yet known about what her actions or state of mind was; therefore, no conclusions as to exactly why her car left the road and hit someone on a bike could be reliably made. The point of my remarks was to try dissuade people from making assumptions without reported details and facts to support them.

          The situation surrounding the collision SF cyclist Bucchere was involved in, events leading up to the collision, and events following it, is a whole lot different than the situation surrounding the collision Cortese was involved in. In Brucchere’s case, much, much more is known.

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          • 9watts March 12, 2013 at 8:24 am

            “In Brucchere’s case, much, much more is known.”

            I wonder if this could be a reflection of El Biciclero’s observations here about the asymmetric manner in which fault is found in these two kinds of situations:
            “It is my perception that cyclists are more often deemed at fault on the scene (it seems to take longer to determine that a motorist bears any blame), and are issued citations on the spot more often (it seems to take the police a long time to decide whether a motorist deserves one or not).”

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            • wsbob March 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

              I doubt that El Biciclero’s theory is much if at all relevant to indications as to Brucchere’s responsibility for the collision Brucchere was involved in. Over at bikeforums ‘advocacy and safety’ forum, on more than one thread, this collision and a wide range of information and details about it have been considered, discussed, argued and debated for months.

              Like here at bikeportland, it seems various people at the other forum, almost instinctively would rather not have to acknowledge a cyclist may have been responsible for a collision, particularly one where the cyclists’ poor riding road use may have been responsible for injuring, or as in the SF case, actually taking a person’s life.

              Countering this inclination in the SF collision, is that a lot of info about Brucchere and what he did, turned up. As some of those details and info came to light, many people in those discussions seemed to, if reluctantly, find themselves having to acknowledge the immense harm that an apparently irresponsible person on a bike could bring against a fellow vulnerable road user.

              Anyone interested in learning more about the collision Brucchere was involved in, and related issues, might do well to locate and browse discussion threads on the incident over at bikeforums.

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            • 9watts March 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

              I’m less concerned with the degree to which Brucchere is ultimately found guilty than in our judicial system’s and media’s approaches to making this determination where someone on a bike is the cause or someone in a car. I have no doubt that a cyclist can be as guilty as anyone else of running over someone else, of riding carelessly. But your privileging of certain kinds of ‘information’ that leads you to conclude that Brucchere is much more likely culpable than you found in the Cortese case to me highlights the larger difference we see played out in how cases like this are presented, discussed, and how and when fault is assigned or not assigned.

              Just for the sake of comparison one could note that in the Brucchere situation the two parties to the crash were crossing each others’ paths. Analyzing this would, in principle, lead us to an understanding of who had the right of way and the extent to which Brucchere was at fault, etc.

              But in the Cortese crash, there seems to be no question that she had to leave her lane, the one she was supposed to stay within, to hit Osborn. She was even cited for this, but apparently only for that, and if we were to compare what I’d consider the most basic facts of the two crashes, your studied propensity to withhold all judgment in the one case still seems perplexing.
              And I make no claim to know as much as you perhaps do about the Brucchere case since I don’t frequent the forums you mentioned.

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              • wsbob March 13, 2013 at 12:27 am

                There’s nothing privileged about the discussions over at bikeforums. Doesn’t cost anything to navigate to the site and read them. Registration is free for anyone wishing to post comments there. If that’s what you’re alluding to.

                It’s the law that finds Brucchere possibly culpable, not me. There does seem to be much evidence that he did something wrong. In Cortese’s case, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of what she did or didn’t do. I forget the county Cortese’s collsion occurred, but the police there aren’t going to have the budget to follow up investigations the way they could in SF. Not fair, but that’s the reality.

                You seem to be interested in Brucchere…go look those threads up over at bikeforums, and browse them. Comment after comment, after comment. Many thoughtful.

                Everything considered, I think the right of way question may be a minor point, given that the person possibly having violated it, was a pedestrian, whom vehicle road users are always obliged to yield to. And minor also, relative to details of what Brucchere was doing leading up to, and after the collision.

                I clicked on the link, read the article discussing the collision in Boston, and the theory that people for some reason don’t fairly consider people on bikes involved in collisions with motor vehicles. There isn’t much of a description of the collision, or a text of the charges the grand jury had to consider. That makes it very difficult to consider the jury’s decision.

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              • El Biciclero March 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

                here is another, earlier story about the same Boston crash involving Dana Coombs and Alexander Motsenigos. Charges apparently were ” motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, unsafe overtaking of a bicyclist and failing to take precautions for the safety of other travelers”. Note that “the Norfolk County Grand Jury declined to indict him on any of the charges.” Any of the charges. Don’t even try to tell me that sideswiping and running over a cyclist while passing them isn’t what we call prima facie evidence of “unsafe overtaking of a bicyclist”. If you are indeed referring to this story when you mention “read[ing] the article discussing the collision in Boston”, I don’t quite know what you mean by “not much of a description”. Is there more of a description of Bucchere’s crash? Even if there is not a detailed enough description for you in the articles, is it not enough that video footage, witness statements, the results of police crash reconstruction, and even past history (which is essentially what is being considered in Bucchere’s case, in constantly referencing his behavior long before the actual collision) all indicated that charges against the truck driver were warranted?

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              • wsbob March 13, 2013 at 6:47 pm

                El Biciclero March 13, 2013 at 9:41 am:

                If you’re interested in getting a little further towards understanding part of how members of the jury may have come to decide what it did, from what was presented to the them, look up the elements of the law the Boston guy was charged with. The specific language used in a given law can make the critical difference in whether the jury is going to be able to find ‘true bill’ or ‘no true bill’.

                by the way…you’re link isn’t working.

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              • El Biciclero March 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

                Yeah, don’t know why reg’lar ol’ hrefs quit working here, although my original one started to after 9watts re-posted the tinyurl. I’ll try again:

                Regardless of that, though, I don’t see anyone citing chapter and verse of CA Vehicle Code to reach the conclusion that Mr. Bucchere ought to be prosecuted–even though there is some question about whether the pedestrian he hit and killed truly had the right of way. Yet in cases like Wanda Cortese’s in Oregon, or Dana Coombs’ in Massachusetts, you seem to be insisting that there are nuances of phrasing in the relevant laws, or some key piece of evidence that might be missing, or some other tiny subtlety that would exonerate the apparently guilty perpetrators of vehicular violence against a cyclist. Why is Mr. Bucchere more obviously guilty than motor vehicle operators in similar circumstances? You seem to conclude that since the police didn’t say so, there must not have been evidence of negligent operation in Wanda Cortese’s case–does that really mean there was no evidence? What if some detail about how she was operating her vehicle was overlooked and not reported because “everybody does that”, or “she couldn’t help it”? Are people that wonder about some unknown nuance that might have indicated greater culpability in that case somehow less rational than those who wonder whether some unknown nuance might have cleared Dana Coombs in a case with at least as much evidence available as in the Bucchere case?

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              • wsbob March 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

                El Biciclero March 14, 2013 at 11:03 am: You, and some others reading here at bikeportland, I suppose, really seem inclined to jump to conclusions to support what you think ought to be.

                The SF cyclist Brucchere hasn’t been fouind guilty…yet. He’s just a suspect at present. There’s apparently lots of evidence that he consciously did something wrong leading up to and after the collision with a pedestrian. Related to lots of collisions, it would seem there often is a lack of evidence to the effect that a road user has done something wrong. For various reasons. As it seems has been the situation with some recent collisions in Oregon, having been referred to in comments to bikeportland stories.

                I did some reading last night about grand juries. People interested in how cases are brought to trial, ought to do some reading on this subject. Here’s a couple links that may be helpful (I hope the links work.).



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              • wsbob March 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

                I read the article you provided the correct link to. It’s not very informative; names the charges made against the driver, but doesn’t list their individual elements ( a search of Massachusetts laws should bring them up). The article also doesn’t explain that state’s law for grand jurists.

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              • El Biciclero March 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm

                I know how grand juries work. This entire discussion was started by the observation that in the one or two cases every few years where a cyclist injures or kills someone, great pains are taken to scrutinize the evidence and find any way possible to throw the book at the cyclist for careless or negligent riding that resulted in someone’s injury or death. Inversely, in the hundreds of cases per year where a cyclist is injured or killed by a motorist driving a car, great pains are taken to find any way possible to exonerate the driver and, if possible, blame the injured or dead cyclist for their own injuries and deaths.

                Whether this apparent discrepancy is the result of sloppy investigation, lack of evidence, nuanced phrasing of laws, or bias on the part of grand jury members, jury members, or judges (disappearing bike lanes at intersections, anyone?), who knows?

                Has Chris Bucchere been convicted? No, but he has been indicted and will stand trial–which is much more than can be said for Dana Coombs, who seemingly had just as much evidence against him, but apparently got a more sympathetic grand jury.

                As far as jumping to conclusions, which conclusions are being “jumped to”? Regarding “how things ought to be”, if you mean that motor vehicle drivers ought to be held to the same standards and pursued as vigorously as cyclists when they appear to be at fault in injury crashes with pedestrians or cyclists, then do you disagree that that is how things ought to be?

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              • wsbob March 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm

                Your comments suggest you don’t know about grand juries and what their responsibilities are, or at least, not enough.

                This bit:

                “…great pains are taken to scrutinize the evidence and find any way possible to throw the book at the cyclist for careless or negligent riding that resulted in someone’s injury or death. Inversely, in the hundreds of cases per year where a cyclist is injured or killed by a motorist driving a car, great pains are taken to find any way possible to exonerate the driver and, if possible, blame the injured or dead cyclist for their own injuries and deaths. …” El Biciclero

                …I think you’re wrong about that. Maybe completely wrong.

                In saying:

                “…You, and some others reading here at bikeportland, I suppose, really seem inclined to jump to conclusions to support what you think ought to be. …” wsbob

                What I mean to say, is that you seem very inclined to jump to conclusions to support what you think ought to be, despite lack of evidence to support conclusions you’ve drawn. In the U.S., proof of guilt is required before someone can be convicted. We don’t just convict people on a whim.

                My apologies, but I’m done commenting on this subject in the comments section of this Monday Roundup. Start a thread in bikeportland’s insufficiently used forum area, and I may be willing to talk about it further there, using that sections format which is better suited to this kind of discussion. Be safe!

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            • 9watts March 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

              Let me put it another way.
              A year on, prosecution and defense are still arguing (at least in the papers) about which of the two had the right of way; yet Bucchere faces manslaughter charges.
              In the Hwy 101 case there never was to my knowledge any argument about who had the right of way, and yet in the past nine months we’ve heard exactly nothing from the DA or law enforcement or anyone else as to how Wanda Cortese will be charged in this case (beyond the failure to maintain charge and fine).

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            • El Biciclero March 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

              here is an interesting case I just now happened to stumble upon. Apparently lots of evidence against the driver (of a large truck), including video footage, witness statements, and a history of dangerous driving–yet no indictment, let alone conviction, for vehicular manslaughter.

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    • Pete March 11, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Having lived in Oregon for over a decade before California, I get the impression that police in CA hold more people accountable for their actions. I don’t have solid data to back this up, but I’ve read about many instances of drivers being held accountable for negligence that has resulted in crashes, both with cars and with bicycles. I’ve been reading BP since its inception, and I’m frequently appalled to hear about situations like the examples you cite, where there is evidence of negligence (even witnesses) and no prosecution. Not that the system here is perfect, but again, I have more often than not encountered stories of cyclists that are hit or killed and the drivers being prosecuted ‘properly’. That a cyclist is being charged in this situation (not convicted yet, to my knowledge) doesn’t surprise me (hate to say it, but I see plenty of people cycling here with some pretty reckless behavior – just reinforces that people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, whether in cars or on bikes).

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  • Top Scientist March 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Re: London — next step for American city cyclists, let’s find out what it took to get this to happen!

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  • Chainwhipped March 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Anybody care to start making a list of drivers who have killed people, but weren’t charged as severely as Buccherre, if they were charged at all?

    Not that he shouldn’t answer for killing someone – he definitely should. I watched exactly this type of d***head cross Broadway against a red light the other day – complete disregard for anybody but himself. But nobody ever seems to pay for hurting people with their cars. In fact, WE ALLOW THEM ACCESS TO THE MURDER WEAPON, even after they’ve proved that they’re deadly with it!

    Clearly, manslaughter is legal, as long as you use your car and use terms like “accident”, “helmet”, and “Hi Vis” to shift the blame onto the victim.

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  • dan March 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Yeah, this is a tough one. Buccherre is clearly an ass (can I say that here?), but if he had a green light or even a stale yellow and the pedestrian was crossing against the light, I don’t see how he’s legally liable. Wouldn’t the DA have to then prove intent? And given that he’s already said something online about not being able to stop / swerve, I don’t see how anyone could argue it was intentional.

    I agree with everyone else that the disparity in how bike fatalities and car fatalities is handled reeks of hypocrisy.

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  • patrickz March 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    “So without further adieu, here are…” (your words)
    The word you want here is “ado”. And keep up that fine work of yours. Thanks for a great website.

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  • Jeff Bernards March 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I guess celebrities don’t need helmets? none of them had one on. (please don’t start a anti-helmet thread)

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    • Dan March 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Well played. Doubtful any of them are moving faster than 8mph or so….

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    • El Biciclero March 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Oh, come on–Ferris Buell…I mean Matthew Broderick was wearing a helmet…

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    • My Magic Hat March 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      Oh my God! They’re all gonna die!

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  • Opus the Poet March 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    The DA in SF is 100% in charging and prosecuting cyclists that killed pedestrians this century, all 2 of them. For the hundreds of drivers of motor vehicles that have killed pedestrians in SF barely 9% have even gotten so much as a ticket with less than 1% getting criminal charges, and AFAIK no felony charges (the several online searches I made for felony charges after a pedestrian was killed only found Buccherre).

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    • 9watts March 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Those are amazing and troubling statistics, Opus. News out of NYC seems to suggest a similarly asymmetric situation there, at least w/r/t the extent to which drivers running over and killing people walking or biking often barely result in a ticket.

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  • just joe March 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    London..note the visual..separated roadway. Whether its pretty or not, separation. A Jersey barrier will suffice ..repurpose roads now and get the fine details figured out later.

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  • Al from PA March 14, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I am currently living in London. A lot of bike advocates here don’t take the Johnson plan all that seriously–there are bike “superhighways” already in place (blue marked lanes) that are not that heavily used and provide little protection.

    Riding here is strictly for the fearless, the already committed 2% in Roger Geller’s breakdown. I’m doing it, but feel I’ve risked my life any number of times. To get anywhere you have to ride around busses that cut you off, skinny between cars waiting at lights, hop onto the sidewalk, etc. etc. That, and the 2-3 times per ride a taxi cuts you off, forces you to the curb, forces you to brake, etc. Anyone who moves here for the cycling is really laboring under an illusion. As far as separated roadways go, many of the roads here are just too narrow. I ride the Hackney Rd. /Old Street/ Clerkenwell axis and the only road where you don’t feel really crammed is Old Street. Hackney Rd. is the worst–raging drivers and trucks, broken pavement, etc. The only high note was a fox–yay urban ecology!!–who ran in front of me one night on Hackney Rd.

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