Groupon Supports Active Transportation Alliance to Honor Staffer’s Memory

Robert “Bobby” Cann was killed Wednesday, May 29th, as he was biking home from his job at Groupon in Chicago. Here’s what the Huffington Post reported (Posted: 05/31/2013  6:04 pm EDT  |  Updated: 06/01/2013  1:01 pm EDT) –

Cann was heading home from his job at Groupon around 6:35 p.m. Wednesday when he was apparently rear-ended by a silver Mercedes that had seconds earlier collided head-on with an Infiniti sedan…

… The driver, Ryne San Hamel, was charged with reckless homicide, felony aggravated driving under the influence involving a death and other charges in the crash on Friday, according to the Tribune…

…Streetsblog noted “the car-bike crash might have been avoided if this stretch of Clybourn had protected bike lanes.” Clybourn, however, is under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation; in February, IDOT blocked the City of Chicago from installing protected bike lines on such roads until it could gather data of safety…

Bobby Cann Facebook

Bobby Cann Facebook

Now, Groupon is offering subscribers the chance to help Active Transportation Alliance bring more protected bike lanes to Chicago through the purchase of a $10 Groupon benefiting the Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign. The campaign aims to equip Chicago and its residents with a 100-mile network of protected bike lanes by 2015.

The Groupon is available here.

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Posted in Bike Infrastructure, Bike Lane, Crashes, Cyclist Fatalities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

State-level Bicycle Helmet Laws Linked to Fewer Child Deaths

By Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters
The Saratogian
May 31, 2013

U.S. states that require children and teenagers to wear helmets report fewer deaths involving bicycles and cars, according to a new study.

HelmetcolorResearchers analyzed the number of U.S. bicycle deaths between 1999 and 2010 and found that states with bicycle helmet laws reported about 20 percent fewer bike-related fatalities among people younger than 16 years old.

“The impetus is that when you make it a law, parents realize it’s important and parents get their kids to do it,” said Dr. William Meehan, the study’s lead author from Boston Children’s Hospital.

About 900 people die as a result of bicycle crashes every year in the U.S. and about three quarters of those are from head injuries, according to Meehan and his colleagues.

Previous research has found that wearing a helmet may reduce a person’s risk of a head or brain injury by up to 88 percent, but few studies have looked at the effect of helmet laws on national injury and fatality rates.

Read more…

Posted in Bicycle Laws, Bicycle Safety, Cyclist Fatalities | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

5 Reasons We Need to Add More Bike Lanes

By Kevin Mathews
http://www.care2.com
May 18, 2013

With cycling advocacy at a particular high during National Bike Month, communities across the country are actively debating whether to add bicycle lanes to their roads. City councils ask, “Is it worth the money? Will it be too disruptive? Is it really any safer?” Thankfully, research has demonstrated a number of benefits to adopting bike lanes:

3017017.large1. It inspires more people to ride bicycles

If you build it, they will come. Time and time again, cycling studies have shown that adding bike lanes motivates more people to get out and bike. New Orleans saw a 57% increase just six months after bike lanes were marked. Los Angeles also saw a 52% jump in cyclists on their new lanes. Meanwhile, New York City found it was able to double the number of people commuting by bicycle in just a few years after introducing a few cycling initiatives including bike lanes. In a country plagued by obesity, the health benefits of a population that rides bicycles should not be mitigated.

2. It stimulates the local economy

That same increased use also results in a boost to commerce. While communities often fight bike lanes out of concern that it will discourage vehicular traffic from coming to the stores, recent studies have shown that bicycle lanes have the opposite effect on sales. In Manhattan, streets that had bike lanes put in saw their business increase by nearly 50%. A business boom, particularly one of that size, can probably be attributed to a number of factors, but surely an increase in people in the area plays a big role. Similar results were found for businesses by bike lanes in Portland.

3. It’s safer for cyclists

Accidents happen, but research illustrates that city streets with bike lanes reduce the rate of cyclist injury by 50%. For years, the conventional wisdom was that sharing the lane with vehicles made for safer cycling, but data supports that having a separate lanes significantly cuts down on the number of cyclist emergency room visits. In fact, protected bike lanes – those with barriers dividing cyclists from vehicles – cuts the injury rate by a whopping 90%.

4. It’s safer for motorists

When sharing the road with cyclists, drivers tend to have a difficult time gauging how much space to allow. Occasionally, motorists will get too close to bikers and cause accidents that way. However, almost 90% of the time drivers overcorrect when they see a cyclist and drift into the adjacent lane, putting themselves at risk for an auto collision. A study in three Texas cities showed that when bike space is clearly marked by paint, drivers knew how much space to allow and were less than half as likely to subconsciously swerve into another lane of traffic.

5. It has a real impact on the environment

As people feel safer and the number of cyclists grow, this conversely alters the number of vehicles on the road. As National Geographic discusses, cycling does seriously lower one’s carbon footprint by not emitting pollution or burning fossil fuels.

In fact, short car trips do the most damage. An engine releases the worst pollution as it “warms up,” so if more people were to bike instead of drive for their closest trips, this would be a boon for the environment. Since the average cyclist isn’t inclined to bike more than a few miles anyway, bike lanes would certainly help to facilitate the green choice.

Link to article here.

Posted in Bicycle Safety, Bike Lane, Environment | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Block The Bike Lane .com

We are very excited to announce that iblockthebikelane.com is now dontblockthebikelane.com!

Join PageOur campaign was started back in 2011 with the goal of educating motorists about the dangers of blocking bike lanes. At the time, stickers reading i block the bike lane .com made sense. However, over the past two years, many of the visitors to our website have been bicyclists, and our focus has broadened to include all issues and advancements related to bike lanes. The rebranding allows us to avoid confusion about our first and primary mission – keeping our bike lanes open and accessible.

If you are a member of the Bike Lane Sticker Team, thank you so much for your continued support! Our campaign would not have legs (or more appropriately, wheels!) without you. Please don’t worry if you have older stickers, as iblockthebikelane.com will redirect to the new website.  If you have any questions or concerns, you may reach us at dontblockthebikelane@gmail.com.

In addition to our new name, we have renewed energy and ambition. We will be posting more regularly, and encourage you to subscribe to the blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  Most importantly, please spread the word about our campaign to others. The new stickers are now available for purchase.

Happy biking, friends! Stay safe!

Posted in Bicycle Safety, Bike Lane, Stickers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Chicago Bicyclist Killed After Swerving to Avoid Car Door

This morning, a 32-year-old man was killed while riding south on Wells Street, just north of Oak Street, in Chicago. According to police, he swerved when the driver of a parked Nissan Altima swung open the door, and he fell underneath the wheels of a passing semi that was hauling a flat-bed trailer.

The man who opened the door was cited for a traffic violation, according to News Affairs Officer Robert Perez.

Read the Chicago Tribune article here.

Posted in Cyclist Fatalities, Dooring | Tagged , | Leave a comment

More Bicyclists Means Fewer Accidents, Philadelphia finds

By Paul Nussbaum
The Philadelphia Inquirer
September 17, 2012

As the number of bicyclists on Philadelphia streets has risen, cyclists and city officials have seen a counterintuitive result: The number of bike crashes and deaths has declined.

This “safety in numbers” phenomenon has been documented elsewhere, and safety experts believe it is because motorists become more alert to cyclists when there are more of them.

Since 2002, the number of cyclists on many Center City streets has more than doubled, according to tallies at key intersections, and the percentage of bike commuters has also doubled. In 2002, there were six bicyclists killed in accidents with motor vehicles; last year, there were two such deaths.

Traffic crashes involving bikes in Philadelphia have fallen from a high of 1,040 in 1998 to 553 in 2010.

“Where cars expect to find bicyclists and pedestrians, drivers are more cognizant of cyclists and pedestrians,” said Alex Doty, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. He cited a study in Portland, Ore., that found a doubling of the number of bicycles reduced the crash risk by one-third.

Read more…

Posted in Bicycle Safety, Crashes, Cyclist Fatalities, Sharing the Street | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Invisible Bike Helmet Keeps Riders Safe, Looking Cool

By Kate Freeman
Mashable
August 16, 2012

How often have you, or someone you know, eschewed a bicycle helmet to look cool at the expense of safety?

Well, gamble with a traumatic brain injury no more. Two Swedish inventors created an invisible helmet called Hövding, and it doesn’t involving using any Harry Potter invisibility cloak magic, or even plastic. The helmet is actually a thick collar — like one you might see on a heavy winter jacket — with an airbag hood underneath that deploys should you get in an accident.

It uses rechargeable battery-powered accelerometers and gyroscopes to detect movement that resembles being in a bike crash and launches airbags around the wearer’s head.

Weighing 1.5 lbs. without the shell, the airbags are powered by a cold helium inflator located in a holder in the collar. Though similar to motorcycle helmets with inflators, this helmet is only for bicycles — not skateboards, mopeds, or skates, either.

If you’re concerned with matching your helmet-collar to your outfit, you can buy coordinating shells that house the airbag.

Read more…

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Great American Cities for Cycling

By ShermansTravel.com
August 14, 2012

Courtesy City of Chicago/GRC — America’s third largest metropolis has 117 miles of on-street bike lanes, more than 30 miles of marked shared lanes and dozens of miles of off-street paths.

Pedaling through a major U.S. city is not just the province of daredevil bike messengers. With warmer weather and rising gas prices, there’s never been a better time to hop on a bicycle, especially while you’re on vacation. “It’s also a way to really be local,” suggests Nicole Freedman, director of bicycling programs for the City of Boston, “because when you bike you can stop wherever you want, you can talk to people.”

Urban areas across America are establishing dedicated bike lanes and trails at an unprecedented pace, and though U.S. cities may still be playing catch-up when it comes to bike-share programs (the Vélib’ system in Paris, launched in 2005, already includes 20,000 bikes at 1,800 stations), it may surprise you how many of the handy hop-on-hop-off systems are already functioning on this side of the pond: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. all have successful bike shares in place, while New York City, San Francisco and St. Petersburg are launching high-profile programs this year. Jeremy Rothschild, director of marketing for B-cycle, a bike-sharing outfit in Chicago, sums up the two-wheel appeal: “It’s magic…a bike that’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t.”

Along with established or in-the-works bike shares, our Top 10 Cities for Cycling, all with populations over 100,000, feature an abundance of great rental shops, municipal bike racks, exciting trails, and dedicated bike lanes.

Katie Adamson of Visit Denver says that the 300,000 rides logged during the two-year (and counting) lifespan of Denver’s bike-share program have translated into 13.5 million burned calories, a $990,000 savings on gas and parking, and 1.1 million pounds of greenhouse gases avoided. Yep, biking is good for our health, our pocketbooks and our planet. And as you’ll see, it actually looks like fun.

Read more…

Posted in Bike Lane, Bike Path, Bike Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Penalty for Rule-Breaking Bicyclists: A Remedial Class

By J. David Goodman
The New York Times
July 23, 2012

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times: Richard Conroy of Bike New York, center, recently led a class for bicyclists who were ordered to attend after receiving tickets.

The eight wrongdoers sat inside a windowless basement classroom, serving a court-ordered penance for their transgressions. For the next 90 minutes, they would learn about the proper rules of the road, how to use hand signals and when to change lanes safely — even if most did not believe they had done anything wrong.

“He said I wasn’t in the bike lane,” said Kenny McKissick, a 32-year-old messenger. “But I was on the line.”

This spring, the Midtown Community Court began sentencing cyclists who had been issued tickets for certain offenses in and around Midtown Manhattan to a class to learn about bicycles and traffic.

Think remedial driver’s education — for bike riders.

“You couldn’t possibly ticket all of the stuff you see irresponsible cyclists do,” said Judge Felicia Mennin, who worked with the nonprofit organization Bike New York to develop the new sentencing option.

But, she acknowledged, some riders may be honestly confused about what is allowed. “There are a lot of laws and not always clarity about abiding by the law,” she said.

The class, held below a sports store on the Upper West Side, is the first dedicated to cyclists but is a close cousin to other education programs at the court, which seeks to address quality of life offenses like prostitution and graffiti with alternatives to jail or fines.

It comes amid broad agreement among bike advocates and the Transportation Department that compelling riders to obey traffic signals, go with traffic and stay off the sidewalk is critical to improving the image of cycling and ensuring the long-term health of New York City’s expanding bicycle network. That mission will become even more important once the city’s bike-share program rolls out in the next month or so.

Read more…

Posted in Bicycle Laws, Bicycle Safety, Bike Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Motorists To Urban Planners: Stay In Your Lane

By Franklyn Cater
NPR
July 18, 2012

Becky Lettenberger/NPR – A cyclist rides in the the bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.

Cities and cars share a conflicted relationship these days. Environmental concerns, growing traffic congestion and an urban design philosophy that favors foot traffic are driving many cities to try to reduce the number of cars on the road. In cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Boston, some people go so far as to claim there is a “war on cars.”

That’s a phrase that has popped up around the country as cities spend more transportation dollars on transit; add streetcars, bus and bike lanes; raise parking rates; install “traffic calming” measures; and increase traffic enforcement with cameras. Advocates of these changes say they give people more options and make cities safer. But some motorists feel like they’re under attack.

Read more…

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