Saturday, November 12, 2011

License to Bicycle?

From: Bicycle Blunders and Smarter Solutions,
http://www.labreform.org/blunders/b5.html

My sister and I were talking recently about the problems of mixed car/bicycle traffic.  She thought that all bicyclists should be required to take a safety course and be licensed, just like automobile drivers. Understandable.  She lives in Portland, OR, in a hilly area where it's not uncommon to come around a corner and find bicyclists blocking the road or balancing precariously on the shoulder on a dark, rainy day; not to mention the people who ride the wrong way on sidewalks or on the street. Heart stopping.

I'm not keen on licensing bicyclists.  It's hard enough getting people out of their cars, and hard to imagine enforcing such a law. Sorry officer, just wanted to run to the grocery store. Left my license at home, honest.


Here's something that does make a difference in bicycle safety:  separation.  Look at the statistics from Portland:  



"Facilities Reduce Risk"
http://www.bv.com.au/general/bike-futures/41306/

Adding bike lanes substantially increased the numbers of cyclers and decreased the number of crashes. In Eugene, where I live, a 1995 study showed similar results.

Is adding bike lanes enough?  Should we also take steps to make sure bicyclists follow the rules of the road?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bicycling in NYC

Slide show this morning in the NYT on bicycling in New York and attendant troubles from trying to make bicycling safer and easier (link below):

Biking in New York: bike path growing pains

This, from New York bloggers Cyrus Patell and Bryan Waterman:
http://ahistoryofnewyork.com/2008/08/that-gentle-post-apocalyptic-feeling/

Would love to hear from anyone who has been biking in New York lately, especially on any of the new 250 miles of bicycle paths.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Civic Activism -- Save me from this intersection!



These small and tree-shrouded signs:

...are the only indication that bicyclists are cutting at an angle right there across a busy on-ramp.  There is a wheel-chair style cut out in the curb across the street (hidden behind the car in the photo) which funnels bicyclists onto the sidewalk/bike route.

Anybody else have close calls here?  It's on the road off Oakway, heading toward I-105, going west.

It's an especially bad crossing because 1/2 a block back, there is a no-turn-on-red stop light, so drivers wait impatiently at the intersection for the light to turn green, and then take off, pedal to the metal, just about where the signs are.

Better signage would help.  How about this?



Or this?


We live in a bicycle-friendly city, and there is someone to call about safety suggestions:  bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, Lee Shoemaker at (541) 682-5471.
I have a call into Lee and hope to hear from him soon.