Share the 'parking lane'

"Parking on a bike lane is kind of like doing this…"

Watch for the magic moment at 1:12—the bike hoop isn't quite close enough to the entrance, so don't use it and park closer. Priceless.


The ghost of streetscapes past

This is fascinating—Ghost Streets:

I love the idea that the buildings seen here take their form from a lost street—that an old throughway since scrubbed from the surface of Los Angeles has reappeared in the form of contemporary architectural space.

That is, someone's living room is actually shaped the way it is not because of something peculiar to architectural history, but because of a ghost street, or the wall of perhaps your very own bedroom takes its angle from a right of way that, for whatever reason, long ago disappeared.


Self-driving cars: it's all or nothing

I have a self-driving car. I drive it myself.Jared Spool using a self-hammering nail.

This ethical dilemma of self-driving cars has emerged in a few forms lately:


The October monthly report from the self-driving car project provides some insight into why Google pursued fully autonomous vehicles in the first place:

After drivers had got on the freeway, they could turn on the self-driving feature. Google's self-driving team told the volunteers to pay attention at all times because it was early-stage technology and they needed to be ready to take over at any moment.

That didn't exactly happen though. Volunteers trusted the technology quickly and were captured via video engaging in all sorts of distracted driving behavior, including turning around and searching for an item in the backseat.

Is that risk compensation going on there?


Also, CityLab offers three shortsighted fears about self-driving cars that miss the point:

And that's the real goal here—not a technology that never fails, but one that fails far less than human drivers do, with all the social benefits to boot. As Emilio Frazzoli of MIT's driverless car program recently told me, the fear that driverless cars will never work and the belief that they'll never err are both "clearly nonsense." The reality is somewhere in between: much better mobility for all, at a much lower cost of human lives.

And excellent thoughts from Don Norman on automatic cars or distracted drivers: we need automation sooner, not later:

I am fearful of the rapid rush toward full automation and have published numerous articles about the difficulties we will face because of the mismatch of the automation and human behavior. However, I am even more fearful of the rapid rise of distracting devices installed in automobiles, mounted on dashboards, worn on the wrist or body, or carried on seats, pockets, and laps of drivers.

While they're changing what 'car' means, along with the idea that "driverless cars will render everyone a passenger", I hope Google and the others will add bike-safe doors to the new paradigm. Perhaps something along these lines:

Distraction lingers

In The Washington Post:

Cars are increasingly equipped with technology to keep drivers connected while on the road, but a new study says it can take 27 seconds for a driver using a voice-activated entertainment system to regain full alertness after making a command from behind the wheel. That means a car going 25 mph can travel the length of three football fields before a driver's brain fully recovers from the act of dialing a phone number or changing music using increasingly popular in-car entertainment systems.

As @stevevance observed: "There is NO good time for a driver to use a cellphone or in-car voice-command system."

The fundamental problem with Volvo 'Lifepaint'

Volvo's hi-vis paint for cyclists is not such a bright idea:

My primary issue is that it's a publicity stunt designed for Instagram rather than roads. If it doesn't really show up in car headlights, it doesn't work. And to suggest it does – and can somehow prevent the 19,000 bicycle accidents the publicity material suggests happen in the UK each year – is not only rather misleading but also irresponsible.

The meedya and public perception

Rick Vosper is haunted by the ghosts of dead cyclists:

There is nothing the media likes better than a dead cyclist. Unless it's a dead cyclist who was not wearing a helmet. That salacious and often completely irrelevant bit is invariably tossed in as a lagniappe—a little (bloodstained) bonus—in every report involving the death of a cyclist.

Your take-home message:

The point is that diverting public conversation from road safety to an indictment of the dangers of cycling gives the anti-bike crowd a free pass on matters of driver responsibility and the necessity for maintaining safe riding infrastructure. More and more, the cycling = death mantra has become a literal get-out-of-jail-free card for drunk, distracted, and malicious drivers, as well as a convenient excuse for anti-advocacy groups to do nothing at all about it.  

Further comment by Philip Gomes:

A constant focus on how bad it can be on our roads (too often done by well meaning cycling advocates and organisations themselves) only serves to reinforce perceptions of danger to other cyclists, potential cyclists and the wider public, while breeding a siege mentality in the community.

More from Rick on how the ghosts of those dead cyclists directly — or not so directly — haunt the bike business.

Oh jeez, another helmet study…

The Cycling in Cities program at University of British Columbia recently studied hospitalisation rates vs. mode share and helmet laws:

Thus policymakers interested in reducing bicycling injury rates should focus on factors related to higher cycling mode shares and female cycling choices. Bicycling routes physically separated from traffic or along quiet streets are a promising fit for both and are associated with a lower risk of injury. This approach to safety is followed in Denmark and the Netherlands where cycling represents 20+% of trips, routes separated from traffic are common, helmet use is rare, and injury and fatality rates are low.

Melbourne can't go car-free because cars

ABC reported the Lord Mayor of Melbourne dismisses proposal for one-day CBD car ban as 'unworkable':

A proposal for a one-day ban of cars in Melbourne's CBD has been dismissed by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

But then again, Robert Doyle, agrees Melbourne should be a place where "you're five minutes from the services you need when you walk in any direction". Make up your mind, Bob.

Meanwhile, 6 big European cities have plans to go car-free. Oslo, Milan, Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Brussels—but don't worry, no really big or important towns.

Nerves of steel

Canada's new Minister of Transport commenting on riding a bike in Montreal

New South Wales welcomes cyclists. Not.

Cyclists forced to carry photo identification and face big fines under new rules:

Adult cyclists will be required to carry photo identification and fined 350 per cent more for not wearing a helmet under new rules and penalties to be introduced by the NSW government.


Clearly this is part of the (almost) global formula for dealing with cyclists. [twitterer]


How the 'lucky country' is blowing its luck:

We have built up one hell of an infrastructure deficit in the past 40 years – the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet estimates we've underinvested in things like public transport by $100 billion. The report reckons this will grow to $350 billion within 10 years on current trends.


Ride like a Dane

What gets Danes biking, anyway?

Even a Dane had to get on a bike for the first time.

Compared to the rest of the rich world, the difference is that people in Denmark are much more likely to start riding and keep it up.


Funded by the Danish National Cycling Fund and Danish Road Directorate, The Danish Cyclists' Federation's report, New Cyclists: Leads to Less Congestion on the Roads, seeks to understand what factors influence people when it comes to being a daily bike commuter.


Urban travel times

RTL asks bus, car, bicycle, what is the fastest means of transport in the city? In reality, there is virtually no difference.



Rare sporting gesture in cycling race:

Ismael Esteban suffers a punctured tyre as he races toward the finishing line at the Santa Barbara XV Grand Prix race in Spain but his fellow racer refuses to pass.

For all its flaws, the sport of cycling has its sweet moments.


Social media + cycling

Kath Bicknell wonders, do you really need that photograph?

Half way through the ride I found myself saying how glad I was that I'd forgotten my camera. Instead of pausing for images, we rode, we laughed, we tried new things. We met other riders and received a guided tour down a second, flowy descent.


I'm not saying 'no more'. Rather, as the New Year's resolution period hits, consider a less is more approach. Consider pulling out your phone once a ride, rather than several times. Pick the rides you want to document and the rides where you leave your phone tucked away.


Kids + bikes

I honestly didn't think this was a problem (certainly isn't at my place) but Momentum Mag has come up with six ways to get kids excited about bikes.

Enough with the 'new golf' thing

Cycling Weekly suggests four ways that cycling is better than golf:

The cycling boom is great, especially seeing more people on bikes. The sport going mainstream? That's great. There's just one thing that's not so great; that whole "cycling is the new golf" thing.

Fine but—only four ways that cycling is better?


Pinking it up ain't enough

Meaghen Brown and Axie Navas say no more Barbie gear:

We understand that the women's market is smaller than the men's, and that companies must allocate their R&D budgets accordingly. But as more women excel at their sports, it behooves manufacturers to make higher-level products available. Companies like DPS Skis and Santa Cruz do this by offering identical specs in their men's and women's equipment. "We all ride the same trails," says pro mountain biker and Juliana athlete Anka Martin. "Some of us are taller and some shorter. But I want the same geometry as the guys, the same bottom-bracket height, the same badass bike."

I don't get why outdoor equipment companies are missing this strong growth segment in their markets.


I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable about this…7 things your mechanic knows about you within 5 minutes of working on your bike. [twitterer]

Bike touring

Webinar: the Internet's worst advice for bike touring newbies + bicycle touring pro's best tips:


Karalee Katsambanis rants in WA Today about how cyclists hold Perth to ransom:

Every couple of months it seems that for a minority group of people who do not pay licence fees, registration fees or insurance fees, they are pretty good at holding the rest of us to ransom.

Trust me, I'm not the only one feeling marginalised and disconnected in my own city, but the difference is I am prepared to speak up on an issue that is growing out of control precisely because fear of being able to speak up is silencing so many.

It's pretty rare that you can fill out your bingo card in one article (without going to the comments section, at least), but here it is—including the all time classic:

Perhaps when cyclists contribute to the upkeep of the roads that we all pay our taxes to drive on, then they will deserve a seat at the decision making table.

Response by lawyer and cyclist Alex Fletcher.

Also pretty good for bingo hits is Linda Grant's anecdata-based distribe in The Guardian. Nothing new in this one either, in case you were wondering.