Cities with mandatory bike helmet laws are trying to figure out how to do bike-sharing. Some cities have just removed the law. A Canadian company is looking at setting up a helmet sharing system with bike sharing to address their needs. A question worth asking is this "Is it needed." In 1 million trips+ in DC there's been very few crashes, only one of which is serious and it was a neck injury as I heard it. So if you put a helmet on all those riders who went without, it's likely you would have improved safety by something close to zero. Of course, we may just not have enough data yet.
DDOT is considering a two-way cycle track on the east side of 1st St, NE between K St and M St. This will serve as a connection to the M Street access of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The cycle track will end at M street because of parking and hotel drop-off issues north of M Street.
DDOT has not yet decided how to handle turns across the cycle track. They're analyzing the effects on traffic flow of protected turns and the decision may be influenced by the research they're conducting on the 15th St cycle track.
To get into the cycle-track, cyclists traveling south will either have to cue up in front of traffic on M St and turn right into the cycle-track, cross as a pedestrian using the crosswalks, or make a vehicular left turn (or and S turn, if you will) and enter the cycle track.
The cycle-track will be 8 feet wide with a 2 foot wide granite curb separating it from traffic. It will also feature colored asphalt or concrete.
There would be standard bike lanes south of K Street.
Did anyone go to the Montgomery Count bikesharing meeting last night? For craziness they should go with Capital Bikeshare on the west side and B-Cycle on the east.
A local bike builder wants to expand his company - District Bamboo Bikes - making bikes out of locally-grown bamboo. And, he's looking for small investors through Kickstarter. $750 gets you one of the first 10 bikes/conversation pieces.
The Brightwoodian gets the background on the Takoma apartment building that wanted to add CaBi but was turned down. [For the record, I totally understand why they turned it down, and as I suspected, the answer was more "not yet" than "no thanks." Despite yesterday's headline, I didn't actually think Takoma cyclists should get angry about it]. "Bruce Levin, one of the developers of the Spring Place building, confirms that DDOT is concerned about Spring Place's lack of visibility, at least at this time: "The location is less than ideal as compared to more visible locations at or around the (Metro) station. This could certainly change at a later date. The next and most important step will be to work with DDOT to complete the design of the trail between Spring Place and Cedar, secure funding and complete this section."" Eventually this will be very near the Met Branch Trail.
A man uses the Secret CaBi station and lives to tell the tale. Is he a hero? Not really, but it's cool anyway. "so I wheeled the bike over to the sidewalk, lifted it onto the curb and waited at the other side of the access point while a woman was talking to one of the attendants about some meeting that she had. The guard saw me standing there and suggested that she step out so I could wheel the bike past. I did. And then I was on the outside of the perimeter, just another schlub on a CaBi."
Bikesharing stations are becoming the must-have amenity and preferred way to spend mandatory mitigation funding. 'Paul DeMaio, Capital Bikeshare Program Manager for Arlington County, says discussions with developers are becoming “more and more commonplace as developers wake up to the possibilities.”' Also includes this tidbit "The builders of a planned apartment complex in D.C.’s Takoma neighborhood also say their offer to sponsor a station was rejected by officials who felt the location was too far off the beaten path"
There has been some debate in the past about how densely packed bike-share stations should be. For those arguing for tightly packed stations, Toronto is moving some stations farther out. The author notes that Minneapolis' system is smaller but more spread out, giving it a larger service area. "This allowed me to venture much farther using the bike share program than I am able in Toronto. Granted, I had to pay careful attention to station location and how long it was going to take me to get there, but I was grateful for these outlier stations in allowing me to explore more of the city."
The rest of Capital Bikeshare's October numbers are out. As mentioned before ridership is down a bit with tpbpd dropping to 4.6, the lowest since April. Membership is still growing, and is very near 100,000 members. Crashes were up too. 17 in October, the highest since November 2010 (earlier setting sun?).
Winter/Spring 2012 Bicycling Classes with Arlington Adult Education
Riverdale Park, MD officials commented on the proposed Whole Foods development along Route 1. The development straddles the streetcar ROW that further north is used for the College Park Trolley Trail. Plans are to extend it south along the development. In their draft letter to the Prince George's County Planning Board "Riverdale Park officials recommend approving the zoning change, but only if dozens of changes are made to the development plan, such as trimming large swaths of surface parking and leaving room for bike trails and other transportation to access the development in the future."
Not much new out there, so my only link today is from this Economist article that I failed to link to before and is nearly three months old. The article is about how America is unsafe for cyclists - when compared to certain European cities, and the reason is that safety is taken less seriously.
Had Mr Wang been commuting on a busy bike route in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin, his unprotected exposure to instruments of death—namely, any vehicle moving at 20mph or more—would be nearly nil. These cities have knitted together networks for everyday travel by bike. To start with, motor vehicles allowed near cyclists are subject to “traffic calming”. They must slow down to about 19mph, a speed that, in case of collision, kills less than 5%. Police strictly enforce these speed limits with hefty fines. Repeat offenders lose their licenses.
This is different than the situation in DC. The speed limit here is higher, especially outside the city. We have a less extensive bike network. The speed limit is not strictly enforced. And no one loses their license.
Recently Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells introduced a bill to lower the speed limit to 15mph on neighborhood streets in DC. AAA Mid-Atlantic's John Townsend called this speed "not humanly possible", which is ridiculous, but it is true that cars that have automatic transmission have difficulty managing that speed. Emissions go up and wear increases. And since most people in America drive automatic transmission, that is something to consider. I addition, speed limits are already ignored and mostly unenforced. In such an environment a lower limit will have little effect.
Perhaps a better solution can be found.
What if there were a law that allowed neighborhoods to formally request a livable street (aka road diet) - as they now do for speed humps. Once a request is approved, the road would be "re-zoned" as a "slow neighborhood street." The next time DDOT did a major repair or repainting it would include a combination of narrowed travel lanes, bike lanes, bumpouts, etc... that would make the design speed of the road less than 25mph.
Bowser and Wells should be credited for their proposal, but I think it can be made better - even if the changes will be slower.
Going back to the Economist article, the other thing we need are more cycletracks.
In much of northern Europe, cyclists commute on lanes that are protected from cars by concrete buffers, rows of trees or parked cars. At busy crossroads, bicycle-activated traffic lights let cyclists cross first. Traffic laws discriminate in favour of people on bikes.
I counted 11 supports going in for this bridge, along with 2 abutments. Work is underway on all of them and, according to my untrained eye, finished on two of them - including this one. This is on the north side of the railroad tracks, on the east side of the Anacostia. The "Osprey Bridge" will carry the Anacostia Riverwalk over the CSX railroad tracks, and close a gap that will allow one to bike from Firth Sterling Road and South Capitol Street in SW all the way to Benning Road in NE.
Around 11 a.m. on Friday, a FedEx van driver struck four bicyclists at the intersection of MacArthur Blvd and Goldsboro Road. One rider was seriously injured. A rider who came upon the scene said she thought the driver went through a yield or stop sign without looking. This is from a Channel 9 story Friday: