Category Archives: bicycle advocacy

Give me just a little more green :)

Okay, I’ve sort of got that in that today was “closing” on my refinance at much lower interest… but even better than that, yea!!  it really looks like my request for a few more seconds of green on the light cycle westbound at Church and Mattis was granted.   That’s twice this week  that I have been approaching as it changed to green and got *through* before it went yellow, without the walk light having been activated.

I did have a Yellow Checker Cab guy try to right hook me last week… guessing that company doesn’t realize that cyclists might just be a good market to try to be on good terms with.   I’m car free, but if I take a cab, it won’t be from youse guys.
snow in the forecast today so it’s folder time… but might just get home before it starts.

Youtube path ride (not mine, or anybody I know…)

So.   Just for fun I thought I would do a search for “how to ride on a path.” Of course “how to” are both words that Google pretty much ignores, so what I got was a whole lot of pages describing new paths being built — and this video of a guy doing a 20 mile ride on a sparsely-traveled path (who duly notes at the beginning that you aren’t supposed to drive on the path). I haven’t watched the whole thing but the rider’s thrill at being in nature as well as his complete shock and awe at the interaction with pedestrians provided an insight into the mind of the more normal person who doesn’t ride everywhere. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16qEesU6C40 

This was the most interesting site I found — but I don’t think it has tips in it… it does say the following;

2.2 Segregated versus non-segregated facilities
Direct comparison of the relative safety of bicycle facilities proves to be a difficult task.
Separate bicycle paths may appear to be “safer” than bicycle lanes but may result in
more conflicts at intersection and driveway locations, especially if the path is physically
removed from the roadway in such a way that motorists may not be expecting cyclists at
the junction of the path with the driveway or intersection.
Similarly, bicycle lanes may result in more orderly and predictable behavior between
motorists and cyclists along a road segment, but may lead to conflicts at intersections if
cycle lane traffic must re-integrate with motorized vehicles as they jointly traverse the
intersection and its influence area. Much of the safety performance seems to depend on
the design of bicycle facilities and the context of the road environment on which they are
applied. The New Zealand Land Transport Safety Authority makes note of this in their
Cycle Network and Route Planning Guide as a general consideration for providing either
roads or paths:
One choice is not inherently safer than another; both can be hazardous and both
require high-quality design to achieve safety.2
Research on this issue is far from conclusive. Findings can be contradictory and many
studies seem to exhibit shortcomings in data analysis, basic definitions, (i.e. what are
considered on-road and off-road facilities) statistical robustness, and often – a
preconceived bias that seemingly favors one type of facility over another. Further, much
of the research has been conducted outside of North America where the rules of the
road and the nature of transportation systems and policies are substantially different
than those experienced on this continent.
2.3

… and now, to change a few search terms to see if I can find something — add “safety” to the mix or something…

That gets me stuff about neighborhoods being no less safe where there are bike paths (despite the odd idea people get that bike paths will mean ne’er-do-wells will loiter and Do Bad Things), and Dave Moulton’s Oct 17 “Don’t be a Gutter Bunny” http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com/blog/2011/10/17/dont-be-a-gutter-bunny.html (tho’ that wasn’t a direct hit) and links to debates over whether separated cycle tracks are safer than riding on the road.

This seems to be a topic where the Internet commentary is almost certainly significantly different from what you’d get from the general public.   It makes sense — the person who is sort of almost thinking about riding a bike sometimes, and even the person who goes out riding with kids or on paths, is far less likely to have a biking blog or even be involved in the cycling community IRL or online.

I have often considered assorted gathering of my data — every word I type — as, rather than an invasion of my privacy, a chance for what I chose to express to be counted.  AFter all, why in the world should the Internet be considered “private?”

Still, regarding bicycles… it’s obviously a challenge for somebody considering getting started — ready for that 9 mph trip around a path — to find real tips on riding there.   Reckon I should be happy that most people aren’t like me and are brave enough to actually do new things without spending hours on the INternet researching :)

http://www.wikihow.com/Ride-a-Bike-Safely   is pretty nifty, tho’ almost exhaustive… but does not give tips on how to ride on a path safely; just says ‘be careful, the roads are usually better.”

I did find a reference about greenways that stated blithely: “For Safety
Designated bicycle paths are excellent places to learn how to ride! Riding on designated bicycle paths is safer than riding on unsigned streets and roads.”  It made me wonder when I had ever in my life, especially in New York of all places (which has regulations for just about everything), seen an unsigned road with a designated bicycle path within miles. http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/facilities/af_bike_paths.html

yahoos, yahoos…

Seems to be more of ‘em — so maybe I should monitor my riding style, but I reckon heat is a compounding variable too.  Got totally buzzed by a van on Kirby — should have been out even further, I suppose.

So I’m going South on Anderson and the guy stops at Fairlawn and then starts going, despite Frank and I being right there in front of him and having total and complete right of way.

I stated “You have the stop sign, after all!”  He hollers out taht he has a driver’s license.   I tell him that it is a public road and he didn’t pay for it personally, and then (tho’ I’m sure he was out of earshot then) that people lose their licenses for running stop signs.   Reckon my first rejoinder should have been “You have a license?  And you don’t know the stop sign rules?”

It’s about 80 out there… many many storms just North keepin’ the temp down, but I wish we’d get some of it.   115 miles needed to get to 1000 in July at the start of the day… got 24 of them and it’s time to go to the store… Krannert Outside is tonight and I want to bring the margarita maker ;)

drivers…

… so I’m cruising home via campus, on Pennsylvania, where it’s a tad skinny, and there’s a car coming and one behind me.  SO I control the lane because no, sir, there really isn’t room for you to get past me safely and yes, it’s another hundred yards before… oh, it doesn’t matter, you’re turning into that parking lot.

Well, no, it does, because really you are trying to scoot through the parking lot fast enough to pass me!   So my alerts are a blazing because that’s an aggressive move… but I was already going fast to try to keep you from getting too annoyed behind me, so um, I beat you to the exit.

You then pass me, leaving ample room, not gonig too fast… and you even stop at the stop sign.  I do, too, which means you do get to get ahead of me at that point… and you tootle away, not aggressively. Go figure?

 

 

Unintended consequences

… at least I fervently hope so!!!

There’s been some talk of a tandem ghost bike… out where the accident happened, or somewhere to make driver’s think.

Someone chained a ghost bike where Cindy and David used to park theirs at DSC.  I wish I couldn’t imagine the emotional punch-you-in-the-gut-’til-you-puke that was to the clients there.    I’m sure it wasn’t intended that way.

Was it good for you?

This morning a significant part of me did not want to get on the bike.  Sure, the ride in was going to be nice; it was 25 degrees.  Forecast, though, for “flurries.”  Same forecast as for Saturday when we got five inches. Low tonight: 6.

I steeled myself.  My option when confronted with challenge is to respect the voice that says “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t,” and thus create an option, so that it can’t win when it really shouldn’t. I decided I’d ride the Gazelle in… and if it got ugly, I’d take the folding bike home on the bus so that there wouldn’t be two bikes out at school. Then I could bus in in that frigid morning and take the bike home whne I was good and ready.

We did get a few flurries, but honest “flurries,” nothing sticking, not even a dusting.  The roads are really clear, at least my southern route home (some of campus was rock solid ice sheets – rumply as an unmade bed, but solid ice -  this morning and I walked ‘em, foolish as that is with the studs giving better traction than shoes, but as I said, I respect my avoidances ’cause hten they’d want me not to ride at all… in fact, it wasn’t that slippery to walk on.  THerefore, it wasn’t too slippery to stud on… but it’s my commute and I’ll whine if I want to — *and* I left early so I got to work on time anyway.)

So I had enough layers on to make singing tough (“your voices sound constricted!”  – um, oy, yea, there’s an awful lot of elastic around my middle…)  but it was 19 at the start and 20 at the end at leaving time, so I donned my lights and took the long way around, because the tailwind was strong enough to chill me if I didn’t warm up riding reasonably briskly first, and with only one gear that’s hard. (It’s gear 3 — pretty easy — of the 7.)

As I left, the Green bus approached.   I thought about racing it and sprinted parts of JOhn,  but realized that I’d have to go a different route to see if it passed me, and I”m not inclined to travel Vine, so I cruised after that.

Another reason for my reluctance to ride was that I’ve been getting by with just a red blinky on the back of my backpack, and yes, it’s different. I found a string of baby white LEDs and just clumped them back there, and added two of those finger lights.  Yes, cars gave me more time and space. Made me envision a poster:   “Legal’ vs. “good.’

Then I turned onto State STreet and grasped what the bus driver was referring to as a citizen was walkijng on the bike lane towards me.  It was mostly plowed, but the parking spaces werent, so it was actually a reasonably good sidewalk, with a few feet between the cars and the regular traffic lane.

I envisioned a second set of posters that I”m going to suggest, though it may be a solution in search of a problem.  Two pictuers on it:  one wiht a bike out in the car lane, and a driver pissed… the second zooming in on a legitimate reason for the bike to be there.  Specifically, makin’ a left turn, glass or potholes, or whatever.  Caption:   “If I’m not in the bike lane, there’s a reason.”  Then it occurred to me that the same could be done for bike paths, with a fast rider and then zooming in on the cute little children playing on the path, or that family with the kids with training wheels.

And yes, I was comfortably warm, head to toe.  It felt really good. TOmorrow’s six degrees? I’m up for it.

adventures in travel

Yesterday I drove Green Street in because it’s an early start day …. the 9:00 days make it easier to leave more time for easing my way down the less cleared roads and have lots more traffic to motivate me to do that instead of Green.

I got to experience the “bike lane, cars making right turns” conflict… we’re all merrily approaching the red traffic light, me in my bike lane… the cars slow and are stopping, and one of ‘em has that right signal on.   It turns green.   The driver does a major hesitate… I waved him forward.   It wasn’t even close to a right hook ’cause Sir Studly was goin’ about 8 mph (up hill, into the winds on the studs on a 50 pound bike… and I don’t want to arrive at work in a lather).   Would have been a different scenario if I were going 21 mph, though.

Then I worked over to make the left onto Church, fondly recalling when that was my regular route (before the interminable construction that says it’ll be done in December… think May…be)   and there was a queue of drivers turning into the Springer Cultural Center.

I got into the left lane to go around them… but, oops!  That guy in the red van X?2 1978 really didn’t want to be in the queue and proceeds to pull out at me.   I holler “HEY!”   in what may have been the first time I completely “reflexively” hollered; it was that close.  (I’m usually prone to freezing. Guess when it’s this cold I’ve already done that ;))  Close enough to hear; he stopped.   I pulled right past ‘em and caught up to him again at the light — no, he didn’t eevn deign to glance my way.  That unpredictable voice escaped and  hollered at the void between us “Not  looking now, either!  Hope you don’t kill anybody else this morning!”   He passed me widely before making his right turn… so I’m hoping he heard.

I’m pretty sure the yahoo who was compelled to pass me in the flogging UNDERPASS under the RR tracks on Stadium east of Neil was no more hostile… like most oppressors, he couldn’t comprehend my existence and the inconvenience of waiting a few seconds.

On the other hand, this morning I approached Bradley from Country Fair with a sinking heart… I was going to *make* the green… but only its tail end, and full double-lane traffic was crouched, ready to pounce, on Westbound Bradley… no doubt many of ‘em people as “almost late” as I was for an 8:00 arrival at Parkland.   I planted my self in the middle of the lane… then tried to figure out with my complete lack of ability to do so whether or not the lane was wide enough for a safe passing (it’s skinnier what with the snow…) which it might have been for the little car behind me, but not the bus behind it.   I heard a honk… but directed at said bus that was pulling around … and I attacked that downhill and got Sir STudly prob’ly up to … maybe 15 mph.  The car behind me was… still behind me.   Perhaps cruise control on 12 ’cause teh gap was widening.  One of the kindly protective folks I work with, perhaps?I pedaled strongly into the turn lane and… so did the car, well behind me… and didn’t recognize the driver at all, and she just proceeded on into school, as if she hadn’t done anything remarkable…. and perhaps that’s true, but I’m remarking anyway :)

The secret joys of the full stop.

So the last two times I sat with full stop at teh “no turn on red” at Fourth and Peabody, I was “busted” by public officials.  Ya know, even if they didn’t really notice, it’s all smuggifying to be blatantly obedient to the law right in front of them :P

I’d also pondered the “no turn on red when pedestrians or bicycles are present” at Kirby and Fourth. I wondered if bicyclists were being relegated to pedestrian status.  D’oh.  Coming back from Outside there was a bicycle… waiting at the red, on the far right side of the lane.  Sure *does* make sense that a driver get instructed not to do a right turn on red.  (Doesn’t necessarily mean the cyclists weren’t being relegated to pedestrian status, and yea, the guy prob’ly should have been more strategically located out in the lane, but the lane structure really didn’t lend itself to that.)

Invisible Gorilla

… so, remember that video with the moonwalking bear imploring us to look for bicycles? The book about the research that came from is coming out Tuesday…

http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/

Yes, it is spun ever so much like Malcolm Gladwell … I’m thinknig of trying to get a copy so’s I can have it on hand at teh RIde of Silence.  (No, bicycle safety is *not* a main theme of the book. However, unless I’m mistaken, the issues in it are a “main theme” of bicycle safety.)

New bike! (not quite)

Dropped the little Giant off for its 5000 mile checkup, knowing that the chain was hangin’ down and I was shifting three times to get up one gear or shifting up two and back one to get places, and the brakes occasionally made some strange sounds.  Hey, I *had* picked the string of Christmas lights out of where it had gotten wrapped up in various parts of the drive train.

New chains (it’s an Xtracycle, takes two), new cassette (same gears, but 11-28 should be OK even for blackjack hill, and I can walk if I have to), new tyres (wanted to go down to 28′s which with Hard Case tires can still handle the loads I’ll put on it), new disk brake stuff (‘never seen one worn like that!’)…  and it rides like a new bike.  Can’t tell if I”m moving faster, though, ’cause now the speedo doesn’t work.

Went to most of the Urbana “visioning downtown” meeting last night.  We got to do green for good, black for suggestions adn red for bad, and I forget to mention that yea, the IMC is where I go to hang out.  D’oh.  The Bike PRoject, the place to hang out and buy asparagus (which are doing fabulously), get my computer fixed… then I ducked back to do my Wednesday online chat and the Wednesday cookout was happening still.    There will be more chances for public input, tho’.