Juliette rides down Laguna Seca's "corkscrew"
If you're not having this much fun on a bike, maybe you're not doing it right.
Cyclists are pricks
We are all guilty of getting frustrated on the roads, be it at a car, a cyclist or another vehicle. I get frustrated when I see cyclists making dumb decisions; rolling through stop signs, pedestrian crossings or riding more than two abreast. This doesn’t mean I am any less careful when driving past them.
Could this video be more offensive?
Have we so normalised distracted driving that it's on the vulnerable road user to "take responsibility"?
Related, road.cc asks should we all be using lights in the daytime? (road.cc calls it "trend spotting". You may call it "click baiting".)
On the other hand, the State Government of Tasmania seems to be right on message in this CSA:
The association with being a close-passer and a urinal-crowder—priceless.
How we talk about collisions
I’ve come to believe there are a couple basic reasons for these linguistic evasions. First, cars shield and obscure the humanity of the people driving them, becoming, in effect, metal exoskeletons. When you are walking or riding your bike, an encounter with a speeding vehicle doesn’t feel like an encounter with a fellow person, it feels like an encounter with a machine, one that has the power to wipe you out in a second.
Imagine being hit by a vehicle so hard that you’re knocked unconscious for several minutes, and the driver flees the scene. Bystanders find the side-view mirror, and trace it back to the car. But the police won’t even question the car’s owner, saying they consider the whole thing an “accident.”
Want to make the most of your next ride? Avoid these rookie mistakes.
Chris Boardman quoted in Cycling Weekly:
“[Helmets] are being used to deflect from making real decisions and I won’t waste air time talking about them. The danger for me is being hit by a vehicle doing something it shouldn't. We should focus on how we stop accidents not what happens to people who have them.”
And from the vault: in 1978, public attitudes towards bike helmets were changing:
It is hoped that legislation will be introduced, as it was for motor cyclists making the wearing of approved helmets compulsory.
For the aware cyclist the wearing of a helmet is a must. Public attitude towards the cyclist as being somewhat eccentric and strange is changing. So must the public attitude towards the wearing of helmets change.
In my "happy place"
Forget bikes and buses, my car is a happy place. Sure, mate. Because everyone I see driving to work looks so-o happy to be there. Troll.
Compare and contrast: Why cyclists form stronger commuting habits than drivers: "One likely reason: They enjoy their trip more in the first place."
Sydney isn't Copenhagen
In the AFR, on your bike for the commuting future:
In the Sydney CBD, the bike lanes are relatively little used but still manage to squeeze and slow traffic to even more of a crawl. It is not possible to make the streets any wider. The cyclist's gain is very obviously the motorists' loss.
In Copenhagen, the experience is quite different. One-way bike lanes running alongside the traffic lanes are typically three meters wide and well signed, and often separated by a footpath or cement kerb. Across the other side of the street, the bikes travel in the other direction. It is all very orderly and co-ordinated.
So where does Jennifer Hewett think Copenhagen's bike lanes came from? There, as in any city, the cyclist's "gain" is the motorist's "loss".
I'm really quite sick of this being misrepresented as a zero-sum game. It's not.
Related: Compulsory insurance for cyclists: NSW government considers schemes. Seriously? Again? Still?
Melbourne isn't Copenhagen either
Justin Madden used an op-ed in The Age to argue that kerbside car parking should be banned in CBD:
The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, recently floated the concept that in some city streets, cyclists should be excluded. There's a stoush brewing and it's about who gets priority on our roads, particularly the arterial network.
Rather than banning cyclists, curb-side parked cars should be excluded on most of the city's main roads. These parked cars cost everyone, in time and money, and in environmental damage.
And yes, The Age reported Cyclists urged to avoid 'dangerous' Melbourne city streets:
Cyclists will be encouraged to avoid several inner-city streets as Melbourne City Council looks to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries.
But then The Herald Sun reckons there is a radical proposal to make city bike friendly
Motorists could be slowed down throughout major city thoroughfares including St Kilda Rd to make way for more bikes.
Can you say "monorail"?
These suspended, driverless pods could reduce traffic congestion in India (but probably won't):
"Every single major invention like this—whether they were cell phones or personal computers or airplanes or cars—were laughed at by their contemporaries in every case," says Mikosza.
Right. See also: "Everyone laughs at my paintings but Van Gogh wasn't appreciated in his lifetime, either."
Also, Honda explores the option of personal micro-vehicles with wander concepts, because apparently no one told them about bicycles.
Sometimes I do get a little bored of these 'solutions' in search of a problem.
"Braess is a tricky paradox"
Want less traffic? Build fewer roads! Get some mathematics.
The closing of 42nd street and the Cheonggyencheon stream restoration project are just reverse examples of the Braess paradox, where the removal of one or more roads improves the travel time along a road network.
From The Feed.
It found cycle paths were of varying quality and levels of maintenance, and did not always comply with Australian standards, creating "conflicting and less safe conditions for cycling".
Not complying with Australian standards—but pretty much standard for Australia. But then there are bicycle boulevards on the way for Perth:
The face of suburban cycling is about to change with the creation of Perth’s first bike boulevards — streets where bikes will have priority over cars.
If they can't do it right…
The council denies it has created safety issues by planting trees in the bike paths, but has suspended the installation on Queen St.
I'll just stop face-palming to engage in a little head-desking. Did they really need to field complaints about this to work out that it was a bad idea? [twitterer]
…maybe do it yourself
Given that the barrier only cost Fertig around $40, his actions prove a great point for city planners everywhere. Safe infrastructure does not need to be exorbitantly expensive! While more permanent installations would obviously be preferable, the success of the plants and plastic cone barrier displays just how easy and inexpensive it can be to make dramatic improvements to commuter safety.
And make it safer by design
World Resources Institute has ideas on cities safer by design:
Cities Safer by Design emphasizes two ways to improve traffic safety in cities. First, by building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips; and second, by reducing vehicle speeds in areas where cars, pedestrians and cyclists mix. The report focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycling, and mass transport.
And on ABC RN, a discussion about cycling cities:
Most Australian cities have been designed with the understanding that cars are the principal mode of transport. What, then, can European experts teach us about how to make our cities more bike friendly?
Related: The WHO says that despite progress, road traffic deaths remain too high
Some 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes, according to the WHO's Global status report on road safety 2015, despite improvements in road safety.
According to The Courier-Mail, more cyclists than motorists have been fined after new road rules came into effect last year:
It’s often said the truth is in the numbers and if that’s a fact then new data from Transport and Main Roads suggests cyclists may be the problem, not motorists…
Figures from Traffic and Main Roads (TMR) state over the nine month period stretching from the introduction of the new laws to the end of last year, 32 motorists were fined to going too close to a person on a bike…
In contrast 101 cyclists were fined $94 — by police — for riding in the middle of the road, over the same period.
That may be so but the consequences of both traffic offences are not equivalent, are they?
Driver passing too close: consequences include possible injury or death to cyclist.
Cyclist riding centre of lane: consequences include possible delay of a few seconds to motor vehicles following. Oh yeah, and also preventing an impatient driver from making a close pass and incurring the fine.
In any case, I call bullshit on this story. Everyone knows that you can't apprehend and fine cyclists if they aren't licensed, carry ID, and have their bikes registered. Or is this actually the end of that moronic argument? I doubt it.
The road menace
This is played out in the media, on television and radio and, most virulently, via social media and website comments. Under a Daily Mail story last week about Ying’s death, the most-recommended reader comment until it was deleted read: “Why not ban cyclists? They don’t pay road tax.”
“I feel like if you get caught in a (car) backup it is no big deal. But if bikes hold you up, call out the National Guard.”
"The best way to deal with this as a cyclist is not to bang on someone's window," she said. "It comes off as a threatening gesture."
Threatening? Sure. And getting cut-off by an SUV is just an expression of love and respect. [twitterer]
I get you, really I do
In The Australian, Stephen Barrett on why the new one-metre rule for overtaking cyclists will make SA’s roads more dangerous:
I get bicycles. They are great exercise for the middle-aged because they don’t have to work that hard.
Michael O'Reilly: "No, I don't think you do."
Related: Cyclopocalypse is coming to SA—here's the reality:
Yeah, this could work. [Snort!]
Bristol Post reports on a scheme aims to unite Bristol's motorists and cyclists
"One solution might be to station mediators on roads to calm people down, or perhaps to teach lollypop ladies conflict resolution skills.
Yeah. OK. Money well spent there. [twitterer]
Jaywalking: the fraud
Bastard rage: the real cause of road rage
The Institute for Studies found road rage sufferers became enraged in any environment, including libraries, the countryside and sitting quietly on a stool.
Not your average recumbent
For mild-mannered motorists, reaching 85 mph on a deserted highway is enough to to get the adrenaline pumping. Last Thursday, the rider of the Eta speedbike hit 85 using nothing but weight, aerodynamics, and human power.
Ah, that's more like it:
People living with hearing loss are not the worst drivers on the planet. A study found that the opposite is the case.
Car free, headache free
The Guardian reported that All-blue skies in Paris as city centre goes car-free for first time:
With the eight lanes of France’s most famous avenue cleared of all traffic on Paris’s first car-free day, the usual cacophony of car-revving and thundering motorbike engines had given way to the squeak of bicycle wheels, the clatter of skateboards, the laughter of children on rollerblades and even the gentle rustling of wind in the trees. It was, as one Parisian pensioner observed as she ambled up the centre of the road taking big gulps of air, “like a headache lifting”.
Slow Down GPS is a smartphone navigation app that aims to stop you from speeding near schools and playgrounds. But it doesn't just beep at you. Instead, it starts reading your turn-by-turn directions in a child's voice when you near a child-dense hot spot.
Bikemoji is a series of emotion portraits that are most common amongst cyclist. Created using various parts of a bicycle, each poster visually depicts a character in a simple, iconic and interesting way.
Because cycle paths tend to be terrible and, if you haven't ever ridden any, here's why. Let's imagine a car journey designed by a British cycle path designer.
Someone is eating my share
Wow, someone is eating and drinking my family's share…although does taking a shortcut through the McDonald's car park on my ride home from work count as a visit to a fast food restaurant?
[Orica-GreenEDGE] need to bring him “home” as soon as possible…Shop him to the mainstream press, generate magazine profiles and get him on breakfast television. Mel and Kochie would find him irresistible, huggable and kissable. Gerard Whateley would be singing his praises in a way reserved only for elite horseflesh.
A bunch of very 'borrowable' lines in this one from Phil Gomes.
In the director's chair
I've never been (and never will be) any kind of bike racer, and at a stretch no more than a casual observer of sports cycling. Even so, there are some interesting insights in Alison Powers' post on what was is like to be a sport director?
Won't somebody think of the children?!?
The Herald Sun reports on VicHealth research that found overprotective parents impacting independence and health of their children:
Widespread parental anxiety over the danger of strangers and a lack of confidence in their childrens’ abilities is driving a situation where only one in four meet Australian guidelines for physical activity…Others limit their childrens’ independence because they fear being judged by more protective families.
Ha! I don't fear being judged. I have nothing but scorn for overprotective parents who constantly underestimate what their children are capable of and actively impede the development of their kids' independence. In fact, I find it very, very sad.
As a society, we’ve largely lost our bearings on what it is we should be actually worrying about. We fear kidnapping or fatal playground accidents when childhood obesity is a far more pernicious and common danger. Our metal-detector society frets over terrorism and gun crime, when driving a car or suffering from heart disease are exponentially greater threats.
Sex sells (if you're a lazy marketer)
Christina Julian, Marketing Manager at Surly, in a good rant about sexism in cycling:
We need to work to create an environment where people understand body love comes from the person in the body. It is not the job of an outside individual or company to tell anyone that their body is good or bad. We need to take the focus off of telling people how products and services can help them love themselves or hate themselves and focus on educating people. Educate them about the product and service you offer.
Also, Katherine Fuller, Online Editor for Bicycle Times and Dirt Rag, says exclusionary, demeaning marketing moves (beyond this one instance) need to be called for the bullshit that they are.
And (for a link that I never thought I'd make on this blog) as reported on glamour.com, "the company's statement claims four women were in charge of designing the socks—and that Interbike attendees should still visit their booth. But, basically, #sorrynotsorry".
Leaving the final word with Amanda Batty: if you don't like It, leave.
The age of entitlement
Clearly there are motorists out there who are not mature enough to share the road without having the rules painted on the road to show who goes where. The road diet, by design, is meant to slow down cars because – motorists are the problem.
Even if there are zero bicyclists taking advantage of the bike lanes, it doesn't matter. The road diet effectively reduces collisions and the statistics prove this.
Stop bullying and victim-blaming the pedestrians and bicyclists as being the problem.
If motorists acted towards women, or another group of people, the way you act towards cyclists, people would be horrified by your hateful words and violent actions.
I don't understand why driving a car makes you think you're more important than someone else. You're not.
It's whiny entitled behavior you wouldn't tolerate from a kid, why should I tolerate it from adults?