My bike was stolen from my car last night. It's a cream colored Binachi Brava with green bar tape, an Arlington themed bike bell and a bike lock attached to the center stem. If you see it please let me know. Thanks. I can't seem to find a photo of it.
The BP Oil Spill inspired one local resident to start biking everywhere."You know, I never anticipated the payoff in, like, mood regulation," Wohler says. "I'm so happy all the time. You know, the thinking like, 'It's 4 o'clock, I'm going to be stuck in traffic, I wanted to go to the gym...' I don't have any of that."
Cyclist sets up sting to catch bike theif. Not sure if he did. But he did recover his stolen bike. [While I'm not sure this guy stole the bike, even if you believe his story he HAD to strongly suspect it was stolen - or how did the crackhead get a $4000 bike? That's only one rung below stealing. Feeding the beast.] Also, beagels.
Good morning. Too busy to read this. But if you want to summarize it for others, the comments are open.
According to DDOT, there will be no hooks or racks on DC streetcars, but cyclists will be able to bring their bikes onboard. Unfortunately their policy will mirror WMATA’s for bikes on the Metrorail, which will probably mean a rush hour ban.
InTowner wonders about the Council's desire to ban smoking near trails (sorry smoking bicyclists). Also asks "Having voted to penalize operators of motor vehicles for failing to yield to cyclists, why was there no provision for penalizing cyclists for failing to yield to pedestrians both on sidewalks and in crosswalks in the streets?" The answer is a bit of what they say later - this isn't a very big problem - but also that they have the law wrong. Both failures to yield are already illegal and carry penalties. DC is increasing the fine for hitting a cyclist with a car and adding points. Maybe the fine for cyclists hitting pedestrians needs to be increased, but we don't give points on a driver's license for non-driving activity.
"A boy riding a bicycle was hit by a car and critically injured Sunday evening in the Bowie area of Prince George’s County....Preliminary investigation indicated that the driver was unaware of the boy who was trying to cross the street,"
"A fan on her way to a Dave Matthews concert pulled over to help a stranded bicyclist, who turned out to be none other than the singer himself."
"A few years ago, What Would You Do?, an ABC-TV hidden-camera show, set up a situation where two actors posed as bike thieves in a public park, using bolt cutters and hack saws to cut a bike chain. The results were instructive. Over the course of an hour, a hundred people passed the white “thief” by with barely a glance. The black one had hardly gotten to work before a crowd of whites gathered around him, interrogating him, lecturing him, calling 911, even shooting cell phone video." [OT: Listening to Zimmerman's brother yesterday morning fret that someone might take the law into their own hands and behave like a vigilante - without a hint of irony - was a bit surreal]
Why Metro wants to encourage more users to bike "64% of parking customers come from less than five miles away, and 47% come from less than three miles away." At stations where parking is tight, perhaps performance parking could help with that.
I've been doing a lot more night biking now that the weather is nice. On Saturday I rode U Street and up to Adams Morgan. It's been so long since I went out there on a Saturday night that I felt like I was visiting a city I used to live in.
More buildings in DC will come with no parking, and they're relying on cycling to make it work. "Douglas Development is planning to set every resident up with a one-year subscription to Capital Bikeshare, a one-year subscription to Zipcar, and a $50 Metro card."
I think bike sharing will truly arrive when I hear it mentioned in a Country song.
"Two bikes were taken from two people Friday evening in two robberies on the edge of Capitol Hill. But it appeared that at least two of the robbers did not get far."
Yes, delivery companies do view parking in bike lanes as just part of the job. "Downtown delivery drivers say that new bike lanes, some of which eliminated parking spaces, have added to their challenge. “I get maybe two tickets a day,” said a UPS driver as he unloaded his van beside a bike lane on 15th Street near M Street. “It’s been worse since they put in the bike lanes.”" I support larger tickets, but perhaps we also need more loading zones and/or performance parking. This is a little like immigration, we need to make doing it legally cheaper and easier than doing it illegally.
The warm weather is causing something to emerge and it's not cicadas according to ABC7, it's bike thieves.
Shout it from the rooftops: "People who walk or bike to work are likely to influence their co-workers and partners to do the same, according to health researchers....married people were more likely to participate in AC than non-married people, men actively commuted (AC) more often than women and mothers were even less likely to actively commute....People who were comfortable with their bicycling skills were more likely to actively commute, as were those who believed they had a shorter biking or walking time to work. Believing that an employer supports active commuting and working for an employer who supports AC, living in a community that supports AC and believing that the community is supportive of pedestrians and bicyclists were all positively significantly related to active commuting. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the researchers found that lack of on-street bike lanes, off-street bike and walking paths, and sidewalks all negatively influenced active commuting. Difficult terrain, bad weather and the speed and volume of traffic along the commuting route were also significantly related to people deciding to not actively commute."
"the researchers concluded that head injuries were decreasing across the country at a rate that wasn't "appreciably altered" by the new helmet laws. Other rider health initiatives — namely, public safety campaigns and the introduction of better bike infrastructure — rendered the contribution of helmet laws "minimal"
Yesterday I reported that a cyclist was hit and killed at 11th and U, NW, but as of last night, only one outlet was reporting that, so let's all hope that WJLA is wrong (I'm sure they'd be happy to retract).
City Paper has an article on a bike theft vigilante encouter gone wrong. This follows the two-part series that the Hill Rag had earlier this year. [I don't think I ever highlighted the second one - it's here] The two articles do not make the police look good.
The FBI reported that 4.4 percent of all larceny-thefts in the northeast U.S. were bicycle thefts, much higher than pick-pocketing.
"I gave a full report to a disgruntled police officer when he showed up an hour later. He chided me for not using a U-Lock"
"After a futile phone call to the police to hatch a plan..."
" I called the police immediately, but they were only concerned that I wasn’t chasing my bike thief."
"The police never showed up."
"I contacted the police. They said they were going to try to send someone to the shop to put a hold on the bike, but they had to talk to their lawyers,” remembered Schafer. “But that took more than a month.”
It turned out that the shop’s owner had bought the bike for $100 at Brumwell’s Flea Market in Pasadena, Maryland, not far from Severna Park. Brumwell’s is a massive market covered by few regulations; vendors set up on a first come, first served basis, no paperwork required. In this case the bicycle sellers apparently showed up for two consecutive weekends with a big rented truck packed with cycles. “There were hundreds of bikes under a huge tent, ten guys [working], selling for cash,” Schafer said the store owner told him. Then they disappeared.
On Wednesday morning, Metropolitan AME Church issued a “call to action” on its Facebook page. It read, in part: “The city is proposing to install bike lanes on M Street from 14th Street to 28th Street. This action will affect parking for church services, especially funerals and Sunday angle parking. We (as a church body) need to submit testimony during the public response period.”
It appeared that most people believed that the bike lanes would pass directly in front of the church, creating a danger for the elderly, according to some speakers
DC-native Paul French knew that his first day of classes at MIT would be a memorable one and that it would change his life forever, he was just wrong about the event that he would remember.
"When I walked out of my first class, the bike my grandmother bought me as a high shcool graduation gift had been stolen" he said. "It was an awful feeling."
Later that day, one of his teachers would tell his class that if they wanted to make a mark, they should try to solve a problem that was being ignored. "I decided, then and there, that I would end bike theft."
French spent the next four years getting a Mechanical Engineering degree, but really he was working on the bike theft problem. "I looked at dozens of technologies and went down a lot of blind alleys, mostly looking at how to make better locks." But then his girlfriend dragged him to a symposium on facial recognition systems and he had a breakthrough. "It was all about how casinos were using FRS to identify card counters and keep them away from the blackjack table, but I realized if we can train computers to identify one face out of millions chosen at random, we could teach them to pick out a single bike."
He went to work at In-Q-Tel, a high-tech venture capital firm associated with the CIA located in Arlington, VA. There he was assigned to consult with A4Vision, a facial imaging subsidiary. There he learned the limits and capabilities of FRS while working alongside experts in the field. "Identifying an object is both easier and harder than identifying a face" he says. Easier, because objects don't change moment to moment the way faces do. Harder because objects have less variability. "It's very difficult for a computer to tell the difference between two different i-phones, for example." Nonetheless, in a couple of years he was ready to spin off his own company called Bicognize, with support from In-Q-Tel. "That was the deal all along. They like to see new technology being developed, and so they've been willing to help incubate this idea."
And French now thinks Bicognize has the technology to make bike theft a thing of the past. "Basically, we're hoping to destroy the secondary market for stolen bikes."
Bicognize uses two strategies to do that.
"First of all, you can become a member. That's free. We ask you to upload 8 photos of the bike from specific angles, which our website makes easy and with that we create a 3-D image of your bike. Now you might think your bike looks like a lot of other bikes, but we can use paint nicks, dents and customization to individualize your bike. If it's particularly new, we'll send you small stickers to attach at random places to make your bike unique."
Don't worry if you get new rims or a new handlebar, the system can account for that - though best practice is to upload new photos, and members will be asked to do so periodically.
If your bike is stolen, contact Bicognize and that's when the real work starts - and when the fee kicks in. Bicognize is constantly searching thousands of new photos on many sites including Flickr, photobucket, ebay and, of course, Craigslist for photos of bikes. It then compares those photos to ones in their stolen bike database. When a match is found, the member is immediately contacted. "We've been testing this on our own. Once a photo of a "stolen" bike is put on Craigslist, the longest it's taken Bicognize to find it has been 20 minutes." That gives the owner a chance to contact the police and recover the bike.
But you don't have to be a member to use Bicognize. "You just need a photo of your bike. Then if your bike is stolen, you can upload a photo to Bicognize and we can do the same search." But, French warns, depending on the quality and quantity of the photos - and the uniqueness of your bike, there could be more false hits and fewer positives.
Unwilling to settle for photos that come their way organically, Bicognize will cast their net wider by asking the public to help. They're going to pay people to be bicycle bounty hunters. "Our Bicycle Bounty Hunter app let's anyone take a photo of any bike and upload it to our site. If we get a hit and a recovery thanks to a photo you take, then we'll pay you $1000," French says. People shopping for a used bike will be asked to take photos, or request them from the seller, to submit before buying. "And if it results in a stolen bike recovery, then again, we'll cut you a $1000 check."
The DC-based company has 5 employees right now, but plans to ramp up once the system goes live in May or June. "We're working on deals with insurance companies which will allow their customers to use our service for free - with the insurance company payring a flat fee, and once those are all inked, we'll be ready to go."
And once they do, French hopes, so will the bike thieves. "The funny thing is, if this really works, I might put myself out of business" he says with a grin.
Bicognize is starting a pilot program in the DC area, and you can sign up to be one of the charter members here.