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Ah, memories. I can't believe Alta-NYC can learn anything from the Lincoln Park debate besides to make the best plan it can, and damn the torpedoes. The Lincoln Park debate was a soap bubble of concern fueled by a tiny band who almost strangled one of the top destinations in the whole DC system in the crib. And NOTHING the hysterics forecast came to fruition. Anonymity was the weapon of the opponents so "insist on transparency" is probably another takeaway.

So, have you converted WashingtonDame yet? Will I see her atop a stylish cruiser bike or CaBi?

What the hell is "wireless solar power"?

Yeah foo - I'm with you on that one. Do people even read what they write before publishing it? I know the Atlantic author probably isn't an energy writer, but the BS meter should have at least bumped on hearing that one.

Have you heard of the wireless solar chargers for your cell phone? No? Exactly, because they don't exist. So they sure don't exist for a load the size of a bike sharing station.


foo, I think it's what we have - solar powered without being plugged into the grid - but that they have panels that can be powered in the shade. I've read about shade capable solar power panels - some buildings are putting them inside I think - and this must be what they're talking about.

Either that, or it's a panel that can be placed in the sun and transmit power wirelessly to the dock in the shade.

Either way, DC has to put its in the sun, so their's is step up.

Funny, how Alta here makes a big deal on station placement saying "the building will kill the sunlight." Have fun in NYC.

WABA is courting real danger with the biking hate crimes bill. It is nothing but plantiff attorney full employment. And not including pedestrians as a protected class?*

Had the joy of seeing some idiot ride down salmon style on L st during rush hour. Stay classy.

* I'm old enough to remember when bike messengers were a real meannce. It is nowhere as bad today -- but the problems are growing. Playing to cyclists sense of community and greivances isn't going to help. Better bike parking, less theft, more bikelanes, and more bikeshare -- yes -- that will help.

I don't think Alta makes the decisions on station placement.

It's not a hate crimes bill. It doesn't create a new crime. It does not create a protected class. Pedestrians do not deal with the same kind of intimidation that cyclists do. Have you ever had someone throw things at you or yell at you because you were walking?

And since this bill isn't the solution in your opinion, what is your recommended remedy for people who have an experience similar to the cyclist in the video that WABA has been sending around?

@Washcycle; you're right, it is the local goverment, not Alta. Got confused.

It's funny. I moved to Washington in 1995 and have been biking ever since. Not as much as most people reading this blog, but enough. In terms of negative experiences:

1) 1 crash, cut up my hands
2) getting yelled at once "get in the bike lane" on the non-bike lane part of Pennslyvania Avenue. That was this year
3) Three bike thefts
4) about 30 instances where as a pedestrian a biker almost hit me, did hit me (about 8 times), yelled at me, spit at me, or pushed me.

Now, I grant you -- I walk a lot. And it is all ancetodote. Clearly people are yelling at bikers. But that a problem that needs a new cause of action?

In terms of the video, if he has a case -- sue in civil court. He can't prove damages, but might be some amount for an intentional tort. I don't know. I suspect it isn't worth it to him, and increase the damages side isn't going to change that*

* Old rule of thumb: never sue for less than 100K.

An anti-harassment measure would be a moot point if education, enforcement, and adjudication were adequate. They are not.

Even casually, in the recent incident, we have incontrovertible video evidence that education of that particular driver could be improved. I record most of my rides too, though now I'm not sure that video would be of any use.

From the video, at least to some observers, several traffic violations were likely committed - but none were enforced. This mirrors my observation that despite our increased police and security presence around the city in the last ten years there has been very little emphasis placed on everyday quality of life matters.

Based on recent conversations with area officers, even if citations were issued the likelihood of conviction would be very low and the penalty would be minor - "it would be a waste of my time, your time, and [the driver's] time do do this - you don't want to do that, do you?" was the exact quote.

Personally I doubt that an even stronger law would be used frequently, or that it would have much effect on driver behavior, but the way thing are now even that would be an improvement.


You are getting hit by cyclists, on average, every two years? That's not normal. Where are you walking?

Had the joy of seeing some idiot ride down salmon style on L st during rush hour. Stay classy.

Classic trolling, there @charlie. I saw a guy on a rollerblades wearing headphones (and no helmet!) the other day.

Perhaps you could elaborate on what this has to do with the price of tea in China.

I almost hit a pedestrian jaywalking midblock between stopped cars as she entered the bike lane on 4th street yesterday. She was texting and had earbuds in -- couldn't hear me yell when I saw her step in front of me. There was another pedestrian struggling to carry two live roosters on the NE branch trail the other week. He could have created a hazard. These observations prove something about pedestrians in general, don't they?

I stopped at a bad accident Monday night and helped the people until the policy and EMS I'd called showed up. No driver stopped.

There, I've balanced the karmic equation back toward cyclists.

charlie, your experience is very different from mine. I've been yelled at several times while on my bike. I've had drivers lay on the horn behind me at least as often. Thankfully, I've never been intentionally hit, but many others have.

As a pedestrian I've never had any of the experiences you've described. Spit on? Really? Hit by cyclists 8 times? That's off the charts. That is incredibly uncharacteristic.

Now the law is not designed to help with near misses and actual collisions. It is about assault and intimidation. So only the yelling, spitting and pushing would qualify.

In all the complaining I've read about from peds about cyclists - this is the first I've heard of any sort of sustained harassment of peds by cyclists. So, I remain skeptical that it is a problem.

But the point is mostly moot. If you're arguing that the law should also include peds, then you're arguing that the law is a good idea. If it should cover A and B then it should cover A.

So which is it? Is this a good law that should be expanded or is it a bad law that should not be passed? It can't really be both.

Oh my gosh, a cyclist salmoning during rush hour!?! How will DC survive?

On almost every longer ride, I see unsafe/bad behavior from all groups, including drivers, pedestrians and yes, cyclists. What's the purpose of pointing out a single unsafe cyclist? I could point out the drivers texting or websurfing on their phones as they pull into traffic. Or the guy who was speeding in his car at close to 30 mph in a cramped parking lot yesterday. Or the young woman who nearly knocked into my bike as she tried to run across the street (and not at a crosswalk). She could clearly see me coming from at least 40 feet away. And on and on and on.

I'm confused about the wireless solar power too. CaBi was just built out last year. Has there really been that much technological advancement in just 12 months? I suspect that the writer is confusing the wireless stations with the solar power set-up. It sounds like NYC will use the same bikes and stations that we have in DC. So I would think that tall buildings would still be a problem.

The only truly "wireless" solar power device I've heard about are the reflector/heater units. Concave reflectors focus sunlight onto a container or pipe containing a liquid. The liquid gets heated up and transfers heat to a generator. But those units are very large, far too big for a small bikeshare station.

@Oboe; I figured that was you.

@Washcycle; I don't think my experience is atypical. As I said, I walk far far more often than I bike.

In terms of the law, it isn't whether it is a good law/bad law. It is whether WABA is risking a bike-lash. The people who have the most negative views of bikers aren't drivers -- they are pedestrians who have to deal with these jackasses walk.

Theere are a lot of assholes out there -- but the way to get to good behavor isn't threatning lawsuits. It is gettign you into another mode share and understanding what that means.

@charlie, @Oboe:

Columbus tubing...? That figures....

It is whether WABA is risking a bike-lash.

No it's, at worst, whether the risk of a bike-lash is larger than the benefit of the law. I strongly doubt there will be a bike-lash.

but the way to get to good behavor isn't threatning lawsuits. It is gettign you into another mode share and understanding what that means.

We're not talking about threatening lawsuits. We're talking about actually suing the crap out of people. Everyone is already trying to get people to try biking. Until that happens and everyone's heart is changed like the Grinch on Christmas morning, I'm fine with whacking the worst offenders upside the head with a few $1000 lawsuits.

A bike-lash over a law so minor in the grand scheme of things that no one will even know that it exists? Hardly. Maybe 13 people are even thinking about this bill today.

Yesterday I got yelled at by a walker (whom I was at no risk of hitting unless she dived in front of me)for being on the sidewalk not in the CBD as I was headed to park my bicycle and also by a driver for being in the road. I also rode behind a cyclist by the Jefferson Memorial who yelled at some tourists for doing the equally spaced "let's take up the whole sidewalk" thing. Now that is annoying.

Wireless *[comma]* solar

*NOT* wireless solar

The docks might rely on wireless signlas for data transfer (ie. WiMAX). And they might be powered by solar PV panels -either connected to ConEd's wires or not - but to be clear: there is no such thing as "wireless solar"

You cannot transmit electric power without wires over any distance at the power levels required for something like a CaBi station. And don't bring up induction chargers for your cell phone cause I don't wanna hear it.

PV panels require sunlight- and if the bike docks aren't getting their electrons from the PV panels, then they're either getting them from a) batteries charged by the PV panels (expensive) or b) from the Utility's wires.

Someone was telling me that the Bixi stations dont generate enough solar power on their own, and that each station has a battery thats replaced every 2-4 days and charged in the warehouse. He said the solar panel simply extends the battery charge but isnt enough on its own.

Any truth to this?

They're wireless in that they're not plugged into outlets. They use solar instead. That's the way I read it.

That sounds reasonable. The little canopy on top of the map and kiosk isn't very big so can't really accomodate much of a panel. So it might offset some of the electricity required during the day - the rest of which either comes from the battery pack or it comes from Pepco.

I haven't looked at a CaBi station close enough to see if there's a utility feed or not. But its entirely possible that they're completely islanded. The electric requirements for the kiosk computer & transmitter and tags isn't much more than that of a couple laptop computers - which could be covered with enough battery packs assuming they're picked up for charging every couple of days.

Either way, I'd be curious to know just what the setup is.

But no, they're not "wireless"; that's not the correct term. 'Grid-islanded' or 'grid-independent', perhaps, but 'wireless' implies no physical wires - which is not the case here.

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