A study released Tuesday night to the City of Austin’s Urban Transportation Commission suggests that experimental traffic devices installed on a few Austin streets last year appear to be keeping cyclists safer.
The Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas worked with city employees in Austin’s Transportation Department to study and collect video data at a number of intersections where a variation of four experimental traffic devices were installed.
The devices were sharrows, or shared lanes between bicycles and cars, signs which say “Bicycles May Use The Full Intersection," colored bicycle lanes and bicycle boxes.
Data collected shows that the sharrows created a five-and-a-half foot cushion between cyclists and parked cars. Research shows it was one foot before the sharrows were installed.
The “Bicycles May Use The Full Lane” signs tested at two locations proved that space between cars and bicycles expanded from two feet to five feet.
Colored bicycle lanes prompted 74-percent of drivers to yield to bicycles. Thirty-eight percent yielded before the lanes were installed.
While bicycle boxes showed positive changes, research also showed that only one out of five cyclists figured out how to use them correctly.
Comments are due today on the 14th Street Transportation and Streetscape Improvements plan, but the options they're considering have nothing to do with biking. Stephen Miller at GGW does a fantastic job of summarizing the presentation, so I won't try to repeat that (Made easier by the fact that I didn't go, and that all that is online is a semi-useless powerpoint presentation and info from the 2008 study. Sigh). Has GGW gotten too powerful when DDOT sends you there to look at their presenations?
Miller notes that there will be bike boxes at U and P Streets, but they won't be colorized, they'll use a stamped faux brick pattern. Also, because there are bulb outs at the bus stops, the bike lane will shift to the left to leave space for buses to the right similar to how a bike lane can shift to the left to avoid a right turn lane.
The design for shifting bike lanes on 14th Street could be problematic because the bike lane would shift to the left side of a general travel lane, instead of a right-turn only lane or bus-only lane. With heavy traffic, cyclists may find it difficult and dangerous to cross to and from the left-hand lane when instructed. This aspect of the plan may require more thought.
It might be better to end the bike lane before the switch and have cyclists merge to take the lane before moving into the left side bike lane. Add signs that read "Cyclists: Take the Lane."
In addition to this, it appears it will extend the bike lane the last couple of blocks north to Florida Ave, and it will likely include more bike parking.
Last weekend I went to check out the contra-flow bike lanes on New Hampshire. I like them a lot. A friend of mine was telling me about them (My wife has informed me that I have to pretend to not know about these things when people try to tell me about them) and she was very excited since she already rode the wrong way on New Hampshire anyway. Now there was space for her.
I did find the bike signal hard to see when going north, and it wasn't entirely apparent that I could continue into a bike lane where it became one way, but my biggest problem was that I don't think the sensor sensed me. Maybe I wasn't in the exact right spot, or maybe it was the wet pavement, but I really thought I was doing it right.
Some people have complained about the "Get Behind It, The Bike Box" sign. The sign is becoming standard nationwide where cities are installing bike boxes. As I recall, DDOT had to modify the original design that Portland uses to address the unique diagonal entry point for this bike box. And the signs are smaller than Portland's because Portland mounts these on overhead mast arms but DC’s use of mast arms is limited by the overhead wire/viewshed protection issues, and so DDOT had to mount them on vertical poles adjacent to the intersection (they are 22” x 34”).
And it's important to note that this is an official FHWA experiment. DDOT is phasing in changes, such as green paint in the lanes and in the bike boxes. This is being done so that DDOT can measure and record behavior with each design element. Drivers are encroaching into the bike boxes now, but DDOT needs to document it over a period of weeks prior to adding new elements to the intersection. For FHWA’s purposes, it’s very important to understand the incremental effect on behavior of each element.
As an FHWA experiment, it means DDOT has to work with FHWA and sometimes design things the way FHWA wants them. FHWA insisted on the double yellow divider line, for example. DDOT wanted to do a single 6” white or double 4” white line. FHWA sees it as a lane of opposite moving traffic, and thus the MUTCD calls for double yellow. DDOT was concerned about the drivers having to cross a double yellow to park. It's FHWA's experiment and so they won that one.
DDOT's been busy lately. It looks, from these photos, like they've finished the installation of the contraflow bike lanes at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave, 16th St. and U St NW.
New contraflow bike lane with yellow line and plastic bollards for separation
This has been in the works since November, 2008 when the intersection design was rapidly changed to include bike facilities. The design back then included colorizing the facilities, but since that was not included in designs last year and it doesn't show up in any of the DDOT photos, I'm guessing that is either not happening or is in a later phase.
Have you been on it yet? Does it work for you? Is it too confusing? Other thoughts?
Coincidentally Jonathan Maus was just writing about changes to federal law that will make it easier for cities to fund these kinds of innovative facilities.
Currently, due to outdated federal standards, many bikeway designs that
are common in Europe and Canada -- like bike boxes, colored pavement
markings, bike-only signals, and buffered bike lanes -- are still
considered "experimental" in the U.S.. This lack of official
endorsement by the FHWA means city planners cannot use federal funds to
install them and they encounter a host of significant barriers when
trying to implement them....[but] the US DOT may soon give "interim approval" to the designs which would expedite their use across the country.
The only real "news" was the announcement that DDOT will be rolling out a new program in August that will allow businesses to pick out a designer bike rack that matches their business such as a martini glass, a book or a pizza slice. The business will have to pay for part of the cost (as opposed to a free inverted U).
Klein stated early that he rides to work two times a week.
Capital Bikeshare is the "most exciting program" (04:00). It will make biking a primary mode of transportation. Talked about how Montreal's program has resulted in people biking everywhere. Website starts next week. Program launches in early September. Glad to partner with Arlington and hopes to partner with other jurisdictions. [Capital Bikeshare is coming to Near SE and a station at Nationals Park may be on deck for spring 2011, which leads me to wonder if DDOT already has plans for another expansion with or without TIGER].
Still tweaking where the stations will go. Chris Zimmerman and Klein have talked about expanding the program and the region is planning a TIGER grant for up to another 1000 stations bikes. The system gets easier to run as more bikes and stations are added.
People need bike facilities (17:23) ranging from bike parking to showers. DDOT's installed 1000 bike racks this year.
Callers were concerned about scofflaws at (19:00) and again at (45:50). Klein believes that in addition to enforcement, we need bike boxes and "lead pedestrian intervals" that allow cyclists to get a head start at intersections to make them more visible and safer. And we need to give cyclists separated cycletracks. TCO's do write tickets to cyclists and DDOT will continue to work on education and has plans for a marketing campaign called The Share Campaign that will be rolling out later this year.
Caller was happy about all the Bike lanes in DC(27:00). DDOT has a great bike team that has put in 40-50 bike lanes, and they want to get to 80 with 5 miles of cycletracks. Klein wants them to go faster and works to remove obstructions to that.
Shared bike and walkways are something DC should look at and DDOT just opened the Met Branch Trail (36:00)
Email: When parking meters disappear, so does bike parking because the poles serve as both (42:00). DDOT is now looking at replacing single space meters with better single space meters - so that will retain parking, but they are sensitive to the issue when they install multi-space meters.
Caller thinks we need Protected Bike lanes and laws that don't require cyclists to act like a car (47:25). Klein thinks the two issues are tied together. They hope to have the 15th Street protected bike lane done by the end of August/early September. Other cycletracks are planned for L and M.
Caller: How do we convince people to ride bikes year round? (49:00). Klein thinks bike sharing will change the way people will think about bikes - especially when another 1000 bikes are dropped in.
Email: Bicyclists can make the roads and sidewalks just as dangerous as motorists. What about limiting cycling to only those who are fit enough and smart enough to ride. Should we have a bicycle license? (50:00). Klein replies that DDOT has talked about plates to counter bike theft but they probably don't want to handle bike licenses. They plan to educate drivers about how to drive around cyclists. Will continue to study how other cities handle bicyclist education.
Included in the platform are plans to expand the
number of prosecutors in the Vehicular Crimes Unit, promises to support
speed cameras throughout the city, and a pledge to host a training
summit this fall for law enforcement from across the state.
Admittedly, it was a bit unnerving how few people use this two-mile
stretch of the path set off by concrete barriers from Harlem River
Drive. There is no exit until the end at Dyckman Street. Alone at high
noon, the sun gleaming off the water, I could have sworn I saw things
bobbing in the Harlem River. Car tires? Logs? I pedaled faster on the
path littered with pieces of gravel and glass.
But a “confrontational” Ikea Manager Mike Baker said that a
southbound bike lane along Beard and Halleck streets would put cars,
buses and bikers on a collision course to the entrance of the big box on
“It seems dangerous to officially encourage bikes to the front of
Ikea,” Baker told Community Board 6 on Thursday night.
Even worse are the cyclists.
Pushy or what? Now they want their own
lanes on Jarvis St and University Ave. Who do they think they are? Don’t
they understand these are major arterials, places for cars, not bikes?
Good thing city council vetoed a proposal that would have put bike lanes
on University for a three-month trial period.
Bikes are for
kids. They belong on the sidewalk, with all those
A 19-year-old cyclist, riding cross country to raise money for breast cancer research, was hit from behind by an SUV and killed.
He suffered serious head trauma and was taken to University of New
Mexico hospital, where he was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon.
"The friends who saw the horrific crash said they are angry at the
driver who they said caused it and want the public to learn from what
they're calling a careless mistake," reports local Albuquerque ABC
affiliate KOAT 7.
“I was standing still on the side of the road and John was riding
toward me when I saw the car come riding off the road, onto the apron
area, and then he struck John,” Bereskie said.
Bereskie said Anczarski fell from his bike and onto the windshield of
the car. The helmet Anczarski was wearing appeared to be pushed back,
exposing his head, Bereskie said, and Anczarski seemed to strike his
head when he landed on the roadway.
According to Bereskie, “The driver said that he was looking off the side
of the road for something involving his granddaughter, and I guess when
he was doing that he continued and was off the road and almost hit me
and struck John.”
Yet the identity and fate of that driver remain, for now, a mystery. It
is unknown whether he has been picked up or charged with any crimes.
Bereskie, said the driver was an
older man who lived on the Laguna reservation land, which belongs to the
Pueblo Indians. Bereskie also said the driver did not stop immediately
after he realized Anczarski had been hit, according
to the Standard Speaker.
Friends said they question how that driver didn't see him.
were wearing yellow jerseys. We had blinking LED lights on our bikes,"
The crash occurred at 1pm
Originally, the accident was being investigated by the Laguna Pueblo
Police Department, but because it occurred on tribal lands, it was
handed over to the Bureau of Indian affairs. A press release from the
bureau was promised on Wednesday but remains forthcoming, according
to the Republican Herald.
Two cyclists were temporarily detained by police for infringement of
decency but released when their friends circled the police vehicle.
And relatedly, THIS is how you protest the oil spill in the Gulf
I am pledging to replace at least seven short trips each week that I
would ordinarily take via car, with a bicycle, and I'm planning to lose
weight while I'm at it. I will bike two miles to the train station in
the morning to catch my commuter rail to the office. I will bike to meet
friends in the park on weekends. I will bike to my local coffee shop. I
will equip my bicycle with a basket, so that I can bike to the deli for
my gallon of milk and loaf of bread. Seven is a small number, but I
have to start somewhere -- no one can go from bench-pressing 45 pounds
to 245 overnight.
GGW beat me to the punch yesterday, twice, which is why these two completely unrelated stories are being posted together.
First, in an attack similar to recent ones along the NE Branch Trail, a group of young men attacked a cyclist on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. And similar to that one, when the victim tried to call 911, dispatch had no idea where the trail was.
DDOT's Heather Deutsch said that DDOT is looking into ways to get the
trail into the 911 database, perhaps even by coding it as a "street" not
open to motor vehicles.
They're also hoping to install a traffic camera on the trail for security. Lamar Greene with MPD responded:
The Fifth District officers are aware of the trail and have begun
patrolling the trail as a part of our normal duties, unfortunately the
trail is secluded and I recommend utilizing a buddy system when
traveling through the area. Unfortunately, we have made several arrests
on the trail already for various disorderly issues that have been
The second story is about changes to 16th and New Hampshire Ave NW that DDOT recently started work on. They're adding contraflow bike lanes to New Hampshire, bike boxes to 16th and induction loops to the roadbed that will trigger lights to allow cyclists to cross from the bike lanes to the boxes.
Although the diagram indicates the lanes will be striped green, this
will not be the case at first. The lanes may be striped with color at a
later date. The first signs of project implementation are now sprouting
at the intersection, including new signals and induction loops.
Many commenters note that bicycle induction loops used elsewhere work well. I'm glad to see DDOT using bike boxes more often, and more excited that they're creating more printed educational material. I still think there are people who have no idea what a sharrow means, so getting people to understand the bike box may take some time. Here is a photo of an educational sign used in Boston.
The best thing about bike boxes is that by pushing drivers a little from the intersection, it represents another victory in the war on drivers.
28 House members, including four Republicans (Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Michael McCaul (TX), Jack Kingston (GA), and Steven LaTourette (OH)), signed a letter supporting Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his public support of federal bicycling and pedestrian investment.
LaTourette's endorsement of that federal embrace of bicycling and
pedestrian access is particularly notable. He initially echoed the
National Association of Manufacturers and the American Trucking
Association in chiding LaHood for the non-binding bike-ped statement, wondering "what job is going to be created" by bike lanes before later walking back his remarks.
The Tour of Missouri bike race was canceled this year after the state declined to help fund it. Maybe the hotels were just making too much money.
The race, which started in 2007, was considered one of the world's top five cycling events outside Europe and attracted riders including Alberto Contador, George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer. The 2008 race attracted 434,000 spectators and the state estimated a return of just under $30 million in economic impact for its $1.5 million investment that year.
After a poorly designed turn in Santa Barbara, CA contributed to a head-on crash between a cyclist and a van (which the cyclist survived), the cyclist sued the county. But the case was dismissed because the county had "design immunity".
Appellants sued County based on the theory that Greenwell Avenue was "a
trap" for motorists and cyclists due to the radius of the curve,
overgrown shrubs, the absence of warning signs, and because a "K-rail"
barrier allegedly forced on-coming traffic onto the wrong side of the
The trial court granted summary judgment, ruling that the road reopening
project was a construction of public property within the meaning of
section 830.6 - the design immunity statute.
London also plans to install a Bixi bike-sharing program (or hire scheme). Theirs will have 6,000 bikes at 400 docking stations
across Zone One.
Montreal users were positive about its impact. Francoise, a 44-year-old
businessman, told The Times: “It has made it very easy to get
and you can use it regularly because the first half hour is free. I live
far to cycle into Montreal but this means I can cycle between meetings
out at night.”
Charges have been dropped against Ontario's former Attorney General, in the case that arose from a traffic altercation last summer in Toronto in which a
bicycle messenger died.
The prosecutor, Richard Peck, a lawyer from British Columbia, told the
court that the messenger, Darcy Allan Sheppard, had previously harassed
and frightened motorists and that his blood alcohol level on the night
he died was double that permitted for anyone driving a motor vehicle. He
also outlined what he said was Mr. Sheppard’s history of alcohol and
drug addiction as well as prior legal skirmishes.
James, the NBA's back-to-back league MVP, will again lead some of his NBA friends and local cyclists on an eight-mile journey through Akron while recognizing and rewarding a special group of 350 children. Those children who will ride alongside James have been chosen based on academic success, improvement of physical fitness and/or important contributions to their community.
People for Bikes, a group started by BikesBelong is giving away four bikes as part of a National Bike Month promotion.
After a driver used a loud speaker to call out several things to a cyclist, including threatening to get him "off the road", the Ohio cyclist tapped on his mirror and asked him what was going on. Further up the road, he was then "tapped" by the driver (or his van, however you think of it). The cyclists called 911 and followed the driver. Initially the driver was found guilty of felonious assault, but the charges were dropped on appeal.
a review of the record and evidence demonstrates that there is insufficient evidence to convict Copley of felonious assault. A review of the record fails to show that Copley knowingly attempted to cause physical harm or knew of the risk of physical harm to McLaughlin. Additional review demonstrates that it is unclear if Copley had knowledge of the circumstances such that he was aware of where McLaughlin was in the road at the time.
Although it is not dispositive of this case, it is still important to note the fact that thorough review of the pictures and additional evidence does not demonstrate any injury to McLaughlin's ankle beyond a slight redness in color; no lacerations, no bleeding, no bruising, no swelling. It is also worth noting that although McLaughlin sprained his ankle, the injury was minor enough that he was able to have the strength and stamina to stay on his bike and give chase to the van.
The dissenting judge wrote
Copley used his van as a weapon and attempted to remove Mr. McLaughlin from the road by force. The act of ramming a large van into a cyclist at 10 to 15 miles per hour is a sufficient overt act to constitute an assault with a deadly weapon.
Copley, using his van's PA system, yelled that he would get Mr. McLaughlin off the road. In pedestrian accident cases such as this, it is often difficult to divine the intent of a defendant. However, appellant's threats, made just before the incident, provide sufficient evidence that appellant knowingly attempted to cause physical harm to Mr. McLaughlin. Copley's own statements provide clear evidence of intent. The threat, along with Copley's van colliding with Mr. McLaughlin's bike, constitutes a substantial overt act directed at accomplishing an assault with a deadly weapon.
“It’s basically about liberal extremists in Madison who hate
cars and think everyone should bike to work,” Nass said. “It is
basically making it difficult to use an automobile.”
Nass said the boxes will cause bikes to cluster and get in
the way of motor vehicles when the light turns green.
That is kind of the point.
the installations are costly in a time when government budgets are
pinched, he said.
McCormick said the first roll-out is being underwritten as a
pilot by Flint Trading, a North Carolina company that manufactures
the materials, with the city paying about $3,000 out of the $16,000
That sounds like a deal to me.
The bike boxes are an extension of bias against motorists, Nass
“If you’re in a vehicle, you will get tickets for many things,”
he said. “There’s no question that there is a difference in who
they are ticketing, and bicyclists are not obeying traffic laws,
Bias against motorists? I guess he's right. I heard about this case in Ohio where just because a driver threatened to hit a cyclist right before hitting him, an obviously anti-car biased jury decided he did it with intent. Luckily an unbiased group of judges decided that was ridiculous. I mean the cyclist was barely even injured.
A response to the law of unintended consequences: an amendment to the Auto Safey Bill, that just made it out of committee, will deal with the 'quiet car' problem.
the amendment would require makers of hybrid and electric cars, which
often produce little to no sound when traveling at low speeds, to
include an alert noise as a precaution for nearby pedestrians and
A September study [PDF]
conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found
that the crash risk to pedestrians from cars traveling at low speeds was
twice as high for hybrids as for combustion-engine models. The study
also concluded that the likelihood of crashes at road intersections
involving cyclists were "significantly higher" for hybrids than for
conventionally powered cars