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The Monday Roundup: Beautiful bike parking, Magliozzi’s car freedom and more

Posted by on November 10th, 2014 at 5:00 pm

planphilly

Nice corral, Philadelphia.
(Photo: PlanPhilly)

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by North St Bags, celebrating their fifth anniversary of making great panniers and backpacks right here in Portland.

Here are the great bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Beautiful parking: When businesses pay for their own bike corrals, they tend to look really nice.

Car-free mechanic: Tom Magliozzi, the late “Car Talk” host, didn’t own a car and said he preferred bikes and public transit.

Deliberate speed: Maybe the fact that the U.S. is failing to reduce traffic fatalities as fast as other rich countries has something to do with our 20th century engineering practice of systematically designing roads to be driven at faster-than-legal speeds.

Courier renaissance: Wait, weren’t bike couriers supposed to go extinct? Nope. They’ve just switched from legal documents to sandwiches and coffee.

NYC, slower: “This is not about being a tough New Yorker,” CityLab’s Sarah Goodyear writes about the media’s weirdly nostalgic reactions to the city’s new 25 mph speed limit. “No one is tough enough to withstand being hit by a car going 35 miles an hour that jumps the curb.” This coverage is probably my favorite:

Anti-theft funding: San Francisco’s much-discussed police campaign against bike theft grew out of a $75,000 decision from City Hall.

Bike-friendly trucks: Boston is following London in requiring truck-side guards to be attached to large city-contracted vehicles.

Carless driver: “I’m a cyclist,” says industrial designer Jenny Arden, part of the small team behind Google’s driverless car technology. “I don’t like cars.”

Zombie freeway: The Columbia River Crossing consensus is gone, but the Washington Department of Transportation still has the exact same project on their list of plans.

A post-car Europe: EU car sales are down 25 percent and not expected to rebound as more families prioritize different purchases — even though car purchase costs keep falling relative to wages.

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Texting and driving: The problem isn’t that people don’t know it’s unsafe, the problem is that they do it anyway.

Sidewalk expansion: For one busy weekend this fall, Georgetown turned 47 street parking spaces into wider sidewalks. Guess what? People parked in nearby garages instead.

Sidewalk riding ban: A woman badly injured in a bike crash while walking on a Sacramento sidewalk is calling for a ban on all sidewalk biking.

Advocacy lawsuit: Willamette Week’s history issue tells the story of how the Bicycle Transportation Alliance won bike lanes through the Rose Quarter by suing the city in defiance of then-Transportation Commissioner Earl Blumenauer.

Drunk-driving ad: Nice one, Fiat:

“Transit last” loses: San Francisco’s Proposition L, which would have ended the city’s “transit first” policy to prioritize driving and cheap on-street parking, went down in flames.

Pothole narratives: A Mumbai entrepreneur is tapping public frustration with potholes by photographing action figures playing in them.

Stylebook update: The Minneapolis Star Tribune is considering amending its official rules about describing traffic crashes to avoid the word “accident,” which presumes that no one chose to drive unsafely.

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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John Lascurettes
Guest

Wish the BTA still had teeth like that.

John R.
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John R.

Yes, and much here to think about that goes counter to revisionist history. Earl was against it, the city (and Mia, presumably) was not supportive. Perhaps everyone is playing too nice these days.

Anne Hawley
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Anne Hawley

As clever and subtle as that Fiat ad is, I look at it and see beer swigging yahoos going, “Woohoo! Crack a cold one, get rid of a bicyclist.”

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

Looks like a kid on the bicycle to me. I don’t think anyone’s bike rage goes deep enough to wish harm upon a kid riding a bike.

Anne Hawley
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Anne Hawley

I hope not!

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

It is amazing that it is now 2014 and the City Council of Portland still has not adopted a City ordinance for mandatory truck-side guards for any large trucks fulfilling a City contract. I had assumed that this might have been the first big policy change from the City after the high number of truck driver collisions (hooking) of cyclists back in 2007-2008.

Congrats to Boston for being the first…I guess Portland will act when once it can be #2 in the Nation…more likely it will be #9 or #10 in the Nation, the way things seem to be going for national bicycle leadership here. (Or am I barking hop the wrong tree here and it was studied by PBoT and tossed out? Report?)

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

I guess banning plastic bags has a higher policy status than Vision Zero?!

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Jonathan – the link to the SF bike theft article takes me to the bike courier article.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

That is a pretty neat bike parking concept in Philly…though looking at the photos it seems that local cyclists may not know that it is a bike rack and that they can park at it…see the bike chained to the meter next to it.

[IMTO: Art bike racks always have this risk…try chaining a demo bike to it for the first week or so, so folks know they can back next to it. Cheers Philly!]

Nick Skaggs
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Nick Skaggs

One of the comments on San Francisco’s “Proposition L” article struck a chord with me.

“… I’ve seen the type at pretty much every hearing. They are “avid bikers” or have “lots of friends who ride” but the free car parking right in front of their house or business is critical for them, and couldn’t the city please put the bike lane somewhere else?”

Does that remind anyone of the bike lane fiasco on NE 28th?

Neeta
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Loved that ad about drinking ! And yes, the parking idea was very creative !

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Tom Magliozzi, what a neat guy. Bike Talk would have been fun with those two as well.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

DON’T RIDE LIKE MY BROTHER!

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Creak and Squeak, the Sprocket Brothers?

wsbob
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wsbob

Maybe someone reading here, knows something about what traffic conditions are, for riding bikes in Sacramento. This week’s roundup has a link to a story about a lady that was in a collision with someone riding their bike on the sidewalk.

The lady, 70 years old, walking down the sidewalk, is maybe not fleet of foot enough to be jumping out of the way of someone on their bike, on a collision path with her. She and her lawyer have drawn up a proposal to, among other things, presumably ban bikes from being ridden on city sidewalks (law enforcement, and people 13 yrs of age and younger, would be exempt.).

Really though, what’s the likelihood that Sacramento city council would eventually make the proposal into law. And even if the city did, I wonder what the likelihood would be that people subject to the law, would comply with it.

From the story: “…The leader of Sacramento Bicycle Advocates said the only reason riders are on sidewalks is because many streets have no bike lanes and are unsafe. …” Tom DuHain/KCRA.ccom

No mention in this brief story, of whether the street where the collision occurred, did or didn’t have bike lanes, or was “…unsafe…” for biking.

For some comparison, here in Oregon, in Central Beaverton, on a sometimes busy, but often not busy street that has good, wide, bike lanes, people that aren’t kids, quite often ride the sidewalk instead of the bike lane. Some at night, even with headlights, so it doesn’t seem as thought they’re riding there because their bike isn’t equipped legally. Not always, but usually riding too fast. With two direction traffic on the narrow width sidewalks tend to be, the headlight tends to blind the eyes of oncoming sidewalk users. Without the headlight, it’s often difficult to detect an oncoming bike at all.

Tough luck for the old lady walking, and getting busted up by someone riding on the sidewalk and smacking into her with their bike. If she wins the suit she and her lawyer filed, that’s for $3.5 mil. Very likely nevertheless, having long term repercussions from the collision. Of course, that amount of money could probably build a fair amount of bike lane in the city, which may have spared her the collision with the bike. Easier and cheaper, would be people feeling the need to ride on the sidewalk where people are present, just riding more carefully there, and not running over people on foot.

Paul Atkinson
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Paul Atkinson

Given how unsafely people are riding in Beaverton, as you describe, it’s no wonder the bodies are piling up and the emergency rooms have a revolving door crammed with bicycle-initiated sidewalk victims. We probably need to pull law enforcement from other places, like automotive enforcement. Think that’ll make us safer from the scary bikes?

wsbob
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wsbob

“… Think that’ll make us safer from the scary bikes?” Paul Atkinson

Paul, I don’t know. What reasonable means do you think could be put in place to have the use of sidewalks by people that bike, be safer for people walking on the sidewalk?

Unfortunately, the description of sidewalk bike riding I described in my comment which you responded to, is likely not uncommon to Beaverton, nor limited to that city. You can dismiss or make light of the situation, as you have in your remarks, though I don’t think they reflect that you’re aware of what conditions for walking on the sidewalk can be, and are.

Bike use on sidewalks relies heavily on people riding, using a strong sense of personal responsibility not to allow their riding be intimidating, threatening or a cause of harm to people walking there.

It’s not likely that police could really do a lot through enforcement, to have the sidewalks be safer for people walking, from people biking, skateboarding, etc,. No need to worry much about cities implementing laws making it illegal for adults and young adults to ride a bike on sidewalks, because such a law probably couldn’t be workable. The proposal in Sacramento was probably conceived for awareness raising, for the most part.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

One of the reasons so many people ride here in Beaverton is that the bike lane network is so incomplete. Some key roads lack them, and they often come and go on the same roadway, often disappearing at critically dangerous intersections.

Examples include southbound Murray between TV and Farmington, southbound Hall near Denney, various segments of Lombard, eastbound Canyon Road in front of the Honda dealership, Beaverton-Hillsdale on and off to the Portland boundary, Scholls Ferry approaching dysfunction junction, and there are dozens more.

So the prudent cyclist often makes the decision to choose the lesser of evils and use the sidewalk at least some of the time. Personally I get back in the bike lane whenever it magically reappears, but I can see why some riders (particularly the so-called “invisible cyclists”) don’t bother, and just stay on the sidewalk.

wsbob
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wsbob

GlowBoy…maybe you have no thoughts on this you want to offer, but the lady in Sacramento is proposing a law, and suing the city, not simply because people ride bikes on the sidewalks, but because she’s apparently found out the hard way, that too many people are riding on the sidewalks in ways that pose danger to people using the sidewalk for walking.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Quite aware of the context, thanks. I’m pointing out that people often ride on sidewalks in Beaverton (and many other places, possibly including Sac) for good reason. My point is that it us unreasonable to ban sidewalk cycling unless the streets are safe for riding. What’s your point, exactly?

wsbob
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wsbob

The points are multiple, but to start, one point, is that a lady walking on the sidewalk, was injured by someone riding a bike on the sidewalk.

Let’s hear more details of the collision before jumping to conclusions, but facts likely able to be agreed upon, are that it is possible for someone on a bike, riding on the sidewalk, to pass someone on foot without startling, or injuring them. It seems the person riding, that the lady in Sacramento met up with, for whatever reason, did not manage to pass her without injuring her.

Another point, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, is that from what I’ve observed in just one example, but probably a fair one, in Beaverton, is that frequently, people riding a bike on the sidewalk apparently aren’t doing so because the street isn’t safe to ride a bike, or because it doesn’t have a bike lane. They’re riding the sidewalk for some other, unexplained reason, frequently at too fast a speed for people walking on the sidewalk, and without lights at night.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

“…not simply because people ride bikes on the sidewalks, but because she’s apparently found out the hard way, that too many people are riding on the sidewalks in ways that pose danger to people using the sidewalk for walking.”

“Too many”. I’ll bet if you get hit by a bicyclist, “one” is “too many”. “Too many” is a relative term. I think “too many” drivers are failing to pay attention to what they are doing and driving dangerously. What do you think people would say if I called for a ban on driving on neighborhood streets? Stick to the freeways, motorists! As for complaints about being “nearly hit”, I’m “nearly hit” every single day I ride my bike. Drivers pass within two feet of me, fail to yield at driveways or when turning across a bike lane—if not for my own evasive action, regardless of how physically close a driver may get to me with their car, I’d get hit about every other day. Yet the papers don’t cover this outrage because I’m “taking my chances” by being out there with cars.

Even if we could determine how many was “too many”, is the proper solution a ban, or enforcement against unsafe riding? Either way, enforcement would be the key, so why punish the responsible for the sins of the reckless?

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

“No need to worry much about cities implementing laws making it illegal for adults and young adults to ride a bike on sidewalks, because such a law probably couldn’t be workable.”

What?

wsbob
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wsbob

El Bic, in future, for the convenience of everyone reading here, why not, in addition to links, offer a short summary of the correction, if you have one? Otherwise, thanks for the reminder about restriction of most bike use on the sidewalks of a specific area of Downtown Portland.

tacoma
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tacoma

“El Bic, in future, for the convenience of everyone reading here, why not, in addition to links, offer a short summary of the correction, if you have one? Otherwise, thanks for the reminder about restriction of most bike use on the sidewalks of a specific area of Downtown Portland.”

El Biciclero,
I agree with wsbob. It WOULD be convenient for everyone reading here for you to offer a short summary correction of wsbob’s posts. Well, certainly for me. Very often I give up on trying to understand his point because I cannot work through the puzzling syntax and punctuation. I do keep trying though and maybe I have this one worked out. Thank you for your future posts.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…It WOULD be convenient for everyone reading here for you to offer a short summary correction of wsbob’s posts. …” tacoma

Not too smart on your part, tacoma. I’m fairly sure you understand well enough what I’m saying in my writing, but perhaps you don’t like what you read, but aren’t able to resist reading it. If you prefer el bic or someone elses’ take on things, then you should go with that.

Neil
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Neil

“For some comparison, here in Oregon, in Central Beaverton, on a sometimes busy, but often not busy street that has good, wide, bike lanes”

Are the bike lanes physically separated from the cars by something more protective than a strip of paint? No? Then they’re not good bike lanes, they’re bad bike lanes. They may be better than having no bike lane at all, but that doesn’t make them good.

Why would you expect the cyclist to go onto the street where their physical safety is greatly compromised by the presence of vehicles that move twice as fast and weigh ten times as much? The danger from cyclists to pedestrians is much less than the danger from cars to cyclists.

Nick Falbo
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Nick Falbo

I want to chime in as the defender of the humble bike lane. Protected bike lanes are not the end-all be-all of bikeway design. Just like it is possible to have amazing bike boulevards, It is possible to have an amazing paint-only bike lane. A not busy road, with slow traffic and wide bike lanes, might be exactly that.

Neil
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Neil

If car traffic is VERY slow, maybe. But if you want even little kids and the elderly to feel safe around cars, I think that’s difficult without a physical barrier.

(Which doesn’t necessarily mean protected bike lanes; separate bike trails are also good 🙂 )

wsbob
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wsbob

Neil…as main lane adjoining bike lanes go, at least some of Beaverton’s are quite good. I need to check, but I think the width standard Beaverton uses, is 6′. The bike lane in Beaverton I described in my original comment, is 6′ wide, I think. Of course, main lane separated bike lanes, at least on some routes, would likely be regarded as far more safe and usable by some people that ride, or would like to ride.

The central issue though, raised by the news item from Sacramento, is people riding on sidewalks in ways that are dangerous to people traveling the sidewalk by foot. Does Vision Zero suggest guidelines for making sidewalks safe to be used together by people on foot and riding bikes? Much wider sidewalks than the typically four foot or six foot widths, would be great, but especially in already built up city districts, creating that additional width could be very hard.

paikiala
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paikiala

Shared space would imply at least 10-foot wide sidewalks, something not that difficult to achieve. Most rights of way include 10 feet from curb to property line in Portland, and many have 12 feet. It would necessitate finding other places for things like trees (behind the sidewalk?). Yes there will be short segments with constrictions, like where power poles are (though power poles should really be behind sidewalks in a Safe Systems design). Street signs could be next to the curb, if not on it, and flag mounted over the sidewalk. Without trees or poles nearby they would be much more visible, even it put at the back of walk.
Alternatively, repurpose parking lanes to provide separate space for cyclists. It’s the least cost ($), if not politically.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…10-foot wide sidewalks, something not that difficult to achieve. …” paikiala

With existing development and infrastructure: doable, but likely difficult. If you were reading bikeportland when stories about the Foster Rd improvements were published, in them was quite a lot of discussion about obstacles presented to ideas of widening the sidewalk sufficient for it to be a MUP, or for a true, separated cycle track paralleling Foster Rd, to be built there.

With new developments, 12 foot MUP’s for walking and biking together, could be much more easily built, if the interest there.

Better and conceivably easier, to solve the present problem of danger that some people biking on the sidewalk, pose to people walking, is for people riding, to slow down just enough to pass, upon approaching and passing people on foot. To be specific, likely between three and five miles per hour.

paikiala
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paikiala

Neil,
The Safe Systems approach to road design and operation begins with the premise that road users will always make mistakes. Also, that you cannot eliminate risk, but you can minimize risk.
Bike lanes, in combination with appropriate vehicle speeds can have very low risk, you might say, affordable risk. This is what it really boils down to. What can we afford to pay for. The payment is not just money, but also time. Sure we could post all roads for 20 mph and enforce the heck out of them, but would we want to live in such a place? And could such a place even survive economically?
Safe Systems typically shoots for 20% risk of fatal when considering road design and operation. Cyclist hit at 30 mph have over 75% chance of death, while if hit at 20 mph the risk is a little over 10% (Wramborg graph). So what do we do on streets where we want speeds over 20 mph? Separation is the first step (bike lanes at least get drivers to think about cyclists). Separation gives users time to recover from errors, or at least slow down. What about when we want 30 mph or 35 mph? Permeable barriers. Bike lane buffers with rumble strips, or put the bike lanes behind the parked cars, or maybe a small median island. Over 40 mph? Impermeable barriers and off-street facilties.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

Physically “protected”, on-street bike facilities are, IMO, severely restrictive to bicyclists. To require their use (as would be the case in Oregon), is to suck most of the efficiency out of using a bike for trips greater than about two miles. To me, a physically segregated bike lane is a bad bike lane. I find cause to leave a bike lane about once every two blocks: debris, potholes, storm drains, drivers approaching from the right, pedestrians walking in the bike lane, slow and very slow bike riders weaving…to cage me into a cattle chute that I cannot leave causes me more hardship than I experience with no physical barrier. There are very, very few places where an actual, barrier-separated bike lane is appropriate. Most (99%) of the time, if I have a choice between nothing, a paint-only bike lane, or a physically-separated bike lane, I will pick the paint-only bike lane, then ignore it when I need to.

I hear the concern for children and the less-experienced, but do we require all movies to be ‘G’-rated? Do we require bars to only serve ‘virgin’ drinks? Are all the toilets in public restrooms kiddie-sized? One size definitely does not fit all, especially in the diverse world populated by bicycle-using persons.

Now if we wanted to provide plain old bike lanes in addition to physically separated facilities for the timid, or provide only physically segregated facilities on a tamer street and make their use optional, I don’t have a single complaint. Build it. Off-street trail networks? Build ’em. As long as I can choose where I ride based on my needs at the time, I have no problem. Current Oregon law prevents me from choosing.

spare_wheel
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spare_wheel

imo, the mandatory sidepath law is one the biggest barriers to bike infrastructure advocacy in OR. if more mainstream groups/organizations advocated for repeal, i believe there would be much less resistance towards separation from vehicular/speedier types.

Emily
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Emily

I grew up in Saracmento and my (70-year-old) Mom still lives there. There are not many bike lanes. 15th Street is a majot N/S one-way, 3 lane arterial. With the speeds that people drive only the *bravest* take the lane. My Mom rides the sidewalk in her neighborhood to avoid intimidation by cars. So there is one flavor…

Emily
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Emily

*major

wsbob
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wsbob

Emily, thanks for relating your mom’s use of the sidewalks for riding in Sacramento.

Again, the issue the lady’s experience in that city raised, isn’t that people are riding bikes on sidewalks, but rather, the dangerous manner to people walking, in which, apparently significant numbers of people are riding on the sidewalks. With this in mind, something of how your mom handles her bike on the sidewalk when encountering people walking there, may be helpful to hear about.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

Since you brought up this story…

If Sacramento wants to ban sidewalk riding, fine—Portland does that, too within its downtown boundaries. But the rest of this law is typical draconian, “bikelash”-inspired overkill. Don’t just ban sidewalk riding—which ban would be enforceable by any exempt cop who wanted to cruise up and down the sidewalk on his cop bike and hand out tickets to anyone he or she saw riding there—but also require a $10 license (after passing a test), and registration with the city. Furthermore, if you are a “repeat” (once? twice? thrice?) offender, you could have your bicycle-riding privileges suspended.

This case is essentially about a cyclist’s failure to yield to a pedestrian. So if we focus just on failure to yield as an offense, what are the consequences if a driver fails to yield? Mostly nothing, unless they hit someone. The proposed law would prohibit even careful cyclists from exercising a sometimes safer option than riding in the street. Now in California, drivers are allowed to drive in the bike lane (they are required to make all turns from the right-most lane, even if that lane is a bike lane), and are only cited for failure to yield if they hit someone and the police see it. One (or even more than one) incident of a cyclist being right-merge-hooked by a driver attempting to use the bike lane does not result in proposals that all drivers be banned from using the bike lane. One incident of a pedestrian being hit due to irresponsible right turns on red does not result in calls for RTOR to be banned, even though it has been proven a huge danger to both cyclists and pedestrians due to the irresponsibility of drivers attempting it. Yet in this case, a cyclist failing to yield—which should definitely earn that cyclist a citation and a huge insurance/legal hassle—produces a proposed ban of all cycling on sidewalks. Just think what would happen if we started banning things that some drivers couldn’t do safely.

I can understand the emotional desire to impose mandatory training and licensing and fees and registration on cyclists because to those who only drive, it seems “fair” to make bicyclists “pay” to “use the road”. This is an irrational desire, and would be grossly unfair to many bicycle users, but at least it wouldn’t be completely out of line with what we rightly expect of drivers, who are operating a vastly more dangerous and complicated machine at much higher speeds and with greatly reduced environmental (visual and auditory) awareness.

The truly egregious part of this proposed law, however, is the last little bit mentioned in the article: that a person could have their bike riding privileges suspended for riding on the sidewalk. Not for failure to yield, just for being on the sidewalk, even if it was empty. But even before that, this attempt to classify bike riding as a privilege smacks of parental overreach into the realm of personal mobility. What if someone running on the sidewalk knocked someone else down? Should they lose their running privileges? If someone in an electric wheelchair ran over someone else’s toes? No more wheelchair privileges? Just what constitutes a “privilege”, and who grants it? How would such a suspension of riding “privileges” be enforced? Could it be? Would suspension of privilege result in seizure of a person’s bike? What would happen if someone suggested that drivers should have their licenses suspended for “repeat offenses” as trivial (to fellow drivers) as not stopping behind the crosswalk line, cutting it too close to crossing pedestrians when making a right turn, or cutting off cyclists in the bike lane?

This lady should be suing the cyclist for medical bills and pain and suffering, and Sac PD should perhaps conduct an “enforcement action” against dangerous sidewalk riding, but this law is a typical reactionary proposal for hugely asymmetric restrictions and punishments for cyclists that would be dismissed as laughable were they proposed for drivers.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

“No, Sacramento is NOT Seriously Considering a Bicycle License Law”

Note the sign in the picture: “Bike Route, Use Sidewalk.”

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

This serves to further highlight the irrational, emotion-driven, vengeful motivation for proposals like this one. Someone feels wronged by a bicyclist and (perhaps understandably) they want to bring the hammer down in disproportionate and sweepingly punitive ways. Thank goodness actual authorities in Sacramento are able to take a less emotional approach to solving the problem.

wsbob
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wsbob

“This serves to further highlight the irrational, emotion-driven, vengeful motivation for proposals like this one. …” El Biciclero

Possible, but doubtful that the proposal for a law regulating use of bikes on sidewalks in Sacramento, is what you characterize it as, in this comment, and in your longer, earlier comment. By way of the collision, it seems the lady good reason to feel far worse than simply “…wronged by a bicyclist…”.

According to the article, she was run over on the sidewalk, by someone riding a bike. Leaving her with serious injuries requiring surgery, with more surgery yet to come.

The brief article doesn’t have a text of the proposed law. As I wrote in earlier comments, the proposal seems to me, likely intended to be more of an awareness raising effort than one expected to actually become law.

Bottom line, this effort most likely came about, not simply because people are riding bikes on the sidewalk in Sacramento, but because some of them apparently are doing so in a manner that’s dangerous to people walking on the sidewalk.I don’t think anyone could know without looking at the particulars of the collision in Sacramento, but it’s possible that the city is liable for consequences of the collision. I believe cities do have a responsibility to provide sidewalks that are safe for walking. If the city allowing people to ride bikes on the sidewalk, endangers or creates conditions there that injure people walking on the sidewalk, the city could be liable.

El Biciclero
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El Biciclero

Regardless of how this woman felt—and I completely understand the desire for retribution when injuries such as hers are sustained as the result of someone else’s carelessness; she has every right to seek damages and punishment for the individual who caused her injuries. Had she been hit by a car, I doubt calls to ban driving on that street would have been made. The driver would have claimed not to have seen her, and the insurance companies would have fought it out. Yet when a bicyclist is the careless party in a collision that causes injury to someone else, calls to ban riding, impose fees, add registration requirements, and threaten to revoke riding privileges are readily made with no thought to the disproportionate nature of the restrictions and punishments for all bicyclists relative to how a driver or drivers in general would be treated or even thought of after such an incident with a car.

The fact that the actual governing body of the city regards this proposed law as ill-advised and harsh merely supports my assertion that its motivation is less than rational.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…I completely understand the desire for retribution when injuries such as hers are sustained as the result of someone else’s carelessness; …” El Biciclero

If, after reading the news about this collision, and thinking about the issues surrounding people riding bikes on sidewalks, you believe retribution is what the lady injured in Sacramento is after, you’d better think again.

The person that rode into her and injured her, stopped to help. From the two articles I’ve read about the collision (links to both of them on this page.): She’s not suing the person riding. She’s suing the city, and proposing a law to regulate riding bikes on the sidewalk: And not for retribution, but in hopes of correcting a situation that poses serious danger to people walking on the sidewalk, from some people riding on the sidewalk.

Read the newsreview story Emily posted the link to:

http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/where-the-sidewalk-ends-on/content?oid=15406457

As quoted in that story, yes, she sounds unequivocal in her feeling that danger to people walking on the sidewalk, from people riding on it, is so great that biking there should be prohibited. Though as the story reports, people besides her in Sacramento, apparently also feel that some people biking on the sidewalk, pose a danger to people walking, and that changes must be made to try reduce the danger.

It can work out for people to ride bikes in a safe manner with respect to people walking, on the sidewalk. If they’re not able to ride in a manner that allows people on foot on the sidewalk not to feel threatened or be run over, this means use of bikes on the sidewalk is out of control.

Bikes are vehicles. Allowing their use by adults on the sidewalk is a concession to people biking, on the part of everyone that needs use of the sidewalk for walking. People riding bikes on the sidewalk, absolutely must do so in a manner that doesn’t startle, threaten, or injure people using the sidewalk for walking. If that means they must slow the speed of their bikes down to minimum required passing speed of two, three, or five miles per hour, that’s what they need to do. If it means they must stop and dismount their bikes, they should do so.

9watts
Guest
9watts

FIFY
“People driving cars on the streets, absolutely must do so in a manner that doesn’t startle, threaten, or injure people using the street for bicycling. If that means they must slow the speed of their cars down to minimum required passing speed of ten, or fifteen miles per hour, that’s what they need to do. If it means they must stop and wait to pass until it is safe to do so, they should do so.”

9watts
Guest
9watts

Once again you are demonstrating a concern for the populations you imagine to be physically endangered by people riding bikes in a curious asymmetry that elides the dangers posed by people driving to everyone, that are not at all imagined.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

If a ban on riding, imposition of a new license fee, requiring registration, and threat of revocation of an imagined “privilege”—instead of just greater enforcement of sidewalk riding behavior—is not “retribution”, there is a huge blind spot somewhere.

Perhaps I should have said “restitution” in the specific context of the single incident, but going above and far beyond what would be necessary to make sidewalks safe indicates a punitive motivation, rather than a corrective or restorative one.

“People riding bikes on the sidewalk, absolutely must do so in a manner that doesn’t startle, threaten, or injure people using the sidewalk for walking. If that means they must slow the speed of their bikes down to minimum required passing speed of two, three, or five miles per hour, that’s what they need to do. If it means they must stop and dismount their bikes, they should do so.”

Hey, right on—but if we flip this, people driving cars on the street, absolutely must do so in a manner that doesn’t startle, threaten, or injure people using the street on a bicycle. If that means they must slow the speed of their cars down to minimum required passing speed of two, ten, or fifteen miles per hour, that’s what they need to do. If it means they must stop and wait, they should do so.

This behavior is far from universally practiced by drivers, so next time I get hit by a car (or as the other interviewees in the story complain, “nearly” hit by a car), should I sue the city and call for removal of all drivers from the road and an increase in license fees for every driver?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

So I read the linked article, which sounds like a different telling of the same story, but with more detail. One subtle but telling quote from the victim of this collision is

“I’ve been on bikes, too. But if I felt unsafe, I wouldn’t ride them in the urban core, period,”

—Hilary Abramson

“…I wouldn’t ride them in the urban core, period.”

This is a far too frequent sentiment expressed by those wanting to impose restrictions on bicyclists. They can’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to ride a bike in a certain place, therefore, no accommodation should be made for bicycling in that place, or worse, bicycling should be banned in such places “for their own safety”. The underlying assumption is that people on bikes are all out playing, and are not making any useful or necessary trips, you know, like drivers are. There is an implied categorization in which drivers are important, responsible, adults, and people on bikes are lazy, immature ne’er-do-wells who aren’t making any contribution to society.

With this unstated attitude, any accommodation—or even allowance—for bicycling is viewed as a net loss for the community, since all it does is presumably make traveling by car (you know, like a responsible adult with important business) more difficult or slower. The responsible bicyclist is caught in a no-man’s-land with drivers threatening and yelling for them to “get on the sidewalk!” while pedestrians and some local governments are telling them to “get off the sidewalk!” The legal place to be is the most threatening, and the least threatening place to be is illegal. If you ride on the sidewalk, you, the bicyclist must be the one to watch out for more vulnerable pedestrians, yet if in the street, you, the bicyclist must also be the one to watch out for the motorized menace that is irresponsible or uncaring drivers. No matter what, the onus is on the person who happens to be riding his bike that day. That is not a successful formula for encouraging increased use of bicycles to reduce congestion, emissions, danger, oil-dependence, medical costs, etc.

9watts
Guest
9watts

= comment of the week!

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“I’m a cyclist,” says industrial designer Jenny Arden, part of the small team behind Google’s driverless car technology. “I don’t like cars.”

I could not have said it better…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

As a pragmatic engineer you look at the yearly automotive death toll (still over 30,000/year) and America’s love affair with the car and realize that for many individual and synergistic reasons even the best public transportation system for free won’t stop a still dangerous number of people from driving.

Neurologically, driving in an urban environment is something the human brain is ill suited for. In the rural back waters your second to second brain farts affect no one. In even small towns cars, trucks, school children, shoppers and the improbable occur every minute all simultaneously. We aren’t wired to accurately and consistently track dozens of moving objects that can change trajectory at will.
In 20 years of bicycle commuting in many parts of the US I’ve always thought driver collisions with bicycles were at least in part due to reduced visibility of a small bicycle versus cars.
In 3 years of professionally driving a truck every day I’ve learned that driver inattention is entirely not connected to what they aren’t paying attention to. If tomorrow I saw someone drive up to a train crossing, STOP because of a lowered gate and train moving through THEN proceed to drive STRAIGHT IN TO the train I would not be surprised. Industrial grade distractibility is a key feature of American drivers.

Some people seem to think they are capable of “multi tasking” or are superior drivers based only on their chromosomes: automobile insurance payouts and rates do not support the supposition that anyone is better than anyone else.

So we are back to the self-driving car R&D situation. If you want to reduce road hazards for everyone but can’t rely on the government, driver education nor enforcement you’re left with the completely ridiculous but suddenly feasible step: remove the human from the driving equation because all fault leads back to us.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“in defiance of then-Transportation Commissioner Earl Blumenauer.”

also in defiance of pdot bike coordinator mia “get out of the way, cyclist” birk.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

GlowBoy…maybe you have no thoughts on this you want to offer, but the lady in Sacramento is proposing a law, and suing the city, not simply because people ride bikes on the sidewalks, but because she’s apparently found out the hard way, that too many people are riding on the sidewalks in ways that pose danger to people using the sidewalk for walking.

Cheif
Guest
Cheif

Using that logic all automobiles should be banned from streets due to the danger they pose for everyone using the streets.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Some more coverage on progress of the law proposed in Sacramento, is needed to be sure of exactly the issue it hopes to address. The story linked in the roundup was rather brief on details, but still informative. It’s dangerous riding, relative to people walking on the sidewalk, rather than riding in a safe manner relative to people walking on the sidewalk, that it seems the lady in Sacramento seeks to address.

Emily
Guest
Emily
wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Emily…thanks again, this time for posting the link to the SN&R story written by Nick Miller. Much more detailed and informative story than the one linked in this Roundup.

Among many things it reports, is that apparently it’s a widespread feeling among residents that the city is in need of addressing use of sidewalks for riding, that poses serious danger to people walking. Also, that at least some of the city’s bike rules are archaic and in need of updating.

9watts
Guest
9watts

significant number, many, frequently, quite often, dangerous, too fast, without lights
I had no idea this dangerous riding on sidewalks had become an epidemic, wsbob. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

wsbob November 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm
“people that aren’t kids, quite often ride the sidewalk instead of the bike lane. Some at night, even with headlights, so it doesn’t seem as thought they’re riding there because their bike isn’t equipped legally. Not always, but usually riding too fast.”

wsbob November 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm
“too many people are riding on the sidewalks in ways that pose danger to people using the sidewalk for walking.”

wsbob November 12, 2014 at 8:59 am
“the dangerous manner to people walking, in which, apparently significant numbers of people are riding on the sidewalks.”

wsbob November 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm
“frequently, people riding a bike on the sidewalk apparently aren’t doing so because the street isn’t safe to ride a bike, or because it doesn’t have a bike lane. They’re riding the sidewalk for some other, unexplained reason, frequently at too fast a speed for people walking on the sidewalk, and without lights at night.”

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I’m sorry you and some others reading bikeportland, are insensitive, even to the point of making light of the situation, to conditions for people legitimately using the sidewalk on foot, from some people riding bikes on the sidewalk.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Not at all.
It is just curious to me that you make such a fuss over this issue—which almost certainly includes fewer collisions, injuries, never mind fatalities than, say, backyard swimming pools or shoe laces—all the while you refuse to enter into conversations we have here about the very threats you enumerate for this situation that *do* exist every day for everyone on the streets, with much greater frequency and consequence.

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html
http://www.illinoisworkerscomplaw.com/2013/07/articles/tips-if-injured/tripping-over-shoe-laces-at-work-is-it-compensable/

9watts
Guest
9watts

Oh, and pens. I forgot pens.
“Ocular perforation sometimes occur from writing instruments that are thrown in the community, especially by children.”

“It is estimated that around 748 ocular pen injuries and 892 ocular pencil injuries of undetermined severity occurred annually in the UK during the database surveillance period 2000–2002. No eye injuries from swords, including toy swords and fencing foils, were reported.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259098/