Washington Ranks as Most Bike Friendly State in the Nation

By Emanuella Grinberg
CNN
May 24, 2012

A man rides his bike in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The state ranked as third most bicycle-friendly in the nation.

For the fifth year straight, Washington ranked as the country’s most bicycle-friendly state, thanks to policies designed to create alternatives to driving, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

The advocacy group’s Bicycle Friendly State Program ranks the states each year under a series of criteria, from laws and regulations that govern bicycling to policies for accommodating cyclists and infrastructure funding.

In each of the top five states — Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado and Oregon — the focus of the respective Departments of Transportation is not only on highways but on accommodating pedestrians, cyclists and transportation on ferries and trains, said Matt Wempe, the league’s state and local advocacy coordinator.

Arkansas, considered one of the least safe places for cyclists based on fatalities, was at the bottom of the list. The league’s top recommendation was to adopt a statewide bicycle plan and to establish an advisory committee to oversee its implementation.

Read more…

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Drivers, Cyclists Square Off on Sharing the Road

By Emanuella Grinberg
CNN
May 18, 2012

Shanna Kurth’s 25-mile bike commute to work takes two hours, requiring extensive planning on her part several times a month.

Shanna Kurth began biking to work three years ago to improve her health. Several times a month, she loaded her bike onto her car, drove most of the way and biked the last three miles to her office.

Bit by bit, she shortened her time in the car and extended the bike ride. Now, the 50-year-old Illinois woman says she bikes all the way to work several times a month from her home in Metamora to Peoria: 25 miles each way, amounting to about two hours of travel time.

It’s no easy feat, and not something most Americans are willing or able to do, especially in suburban and rural communities, where bike paths are scant and cars are the only way to get around. The rate of workers commuting by bicycle doubled between 2001 and 2009, according to National Household Travel Survey data. But that still amounted to less than 1% of Americans reporting in 2009 that they used bicycles as their primary mode of transportation to work, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

In honor of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week, CNN asked its Facebook fans what it would take to get them to bike to work more often. A shorter commute and more bike lanes were by far the most common responses.

Read more…

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California Hit-and-Run Caught on Bike Camera | Video – ABC News

ABC News
April 30, 2012

Police say a driver in Berkeley hit two bicyclists and fled the scene.

California Hit-and-Run Caught on Bike Camera | Video – ABC News.

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Mannequins Help Kick Off Pedestrian Safety Blitz

By John Hilkevitch
The Chicago Tribune
October 26, 2011

32 figures on Wacker represent pedestrians killed last year in city crashes

(Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune / October 25, 2011)

Chicago officials appear willing to try whatever tricks it may take to eliminate pedestrian deaths — even as they push a bill in the state Legislature that would allow cameras across much of the city to catch speeders.

City officials kicked off an effort Tuesday to reduce vehicle-pedestrian crashes, which includes safety messages stenciled on sidewalks, stickers inside taxis urging passengers to report reckless cabdrivers and flags for people to carry to boost their visibility while crossing streets.

The combined education and police-enforcement effort, involving about 15 initiatives, began with placing 32 mannequins — representing pedestrians killed in 2010 crashes across the city — on Wacker Drive downtown from Michigan Avenue to Wells Street.

“You’ll notice that some of it is sort of hard-hitting, some of it may even be a little bit shocking,” Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said. He stood at Wacker and Wabash Avenue near mannequins wearing T-shirts reading, “One of 32 pedestrians killed last year in Chicago.”

The city announced a goal to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by 2020. In addition to the 32 deaths last year, about 3,000 pedestrians were injured in vehicle-related accidents citywide, records show.

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4,300 Bikers Take Part in 10th Annual Tour de Troit

By Megha Satyanarayana
The Detroit Free Press
September 25, 2011

About 4,300 people took part in the tour, riding either a challenging 62 miles through the city, or a more leisurely 20-something miles.

What’s that you saw on Saturday morning? Thousands of bicycles on the streets of Detroit?

About 4,300 people took part in the 10th annual Tour de Troit, riding either a challenging 62 miles through the city, or a more leisurely 20-something miles from Roosevelt Park near the Michigan Central Station off Michigan Avenue toward New Center and parts of east Detroit and Belle Isle before looping back to the park through downtown.

“It started to promote biking, but it’s an opportunity to see how ridable Detroit is on a bike,” said Vittoria Katanski of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, which sponsored the event.

In its 10 years, the ride has raised more than $100,000 from entry fees for the Southwest Detroit Greenlink — a series of bike lanes and paths that aim to connect the various neighborhoods and districts of southwest Detroit. The money raised will be used to improve existing paths and build new ones.

Read more…

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Cyclist in Crash: ‘I Was Getting Dragged Along’

By Layla Halabian, The Boston Herald – Lisha Brooks survived a biking nightmare…

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With a Very Few Exceptions, America is No Place for Cyclists

The Economist
September 3, 2011

Dying while cycling is three to five times more likely in America than in Denmark, Germany or the Netherlands. To understand why, consider the death of Michael Wang. He was pedalling home from work in Seattle on a sunny weekday afternoon in late July when, witnesses say, a brown SUV made a left turn, crunched into Wang and sped away.

The road where the 44-year-old father of two was hit is the busiest cycling corridor in Seattle, and it has clearly marked bicycle lanes. But the lanes are protected from motor vehicles by a line of white paint—a largely metaphorical barrier that many drivers ignore and police do not vigorously enforce. A few feet from the cycling lane traffic moves at speeds of between 30 miles per hour, the speed limit for arterials in Seattle, and 40 miles per hour, the speed at which many cars actually travel. This kind of speed kills. A pedestrian hit by a car moving at 30mph has a 45% chance of dying; at 40mph, the chance of death is 85%, according to Britain’s Department of Transport.

Had Mr Wang been commuting on a busy bike route in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin, his unprotected exposure to instruments of death—namely, any vehicle moving at 20mph or more—would be nearly nil. These cities have knitted together networks for everyday travel by bike. To start with, motor vehicles allowed near cyclists are subject to “traffic calming”. They must slow down to about 19mph, a speed that, in case of collision, kills less than 5%. Police strictly enforce these speed limits with hefty fines. Repeat offenders lose their licences.

Calmer traffic is just the beginning. In much of northern Europe, cyclists commute on lanes that are protected from cars by concrete buffers, rows of trees or parked cars. At busy crossroads, bicycle-activated traffic lights let cyclists cross first. Traffic laws discriminate in favour of people on bikes. A few American cities have taken European-style steps to make streets safer for cycling, most notably Portland, Oregon, which has used most of the above ideas. The result: more bikes and fewer deaths. Nearly 6% of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion in America. But in five out of the past ten years there have been no cycling deaths there. In the nearby Seattle area, where cycling is popular but traffic calming is not, three cyclists, have been killed in the past few weeks.

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Green Boxes New Tool for Bike Safety

By Tom Adams
KVAL News
August 31, 2011

They’re starting to pop up at intersections around town.

And hardly anyone knows what they’re for.

The green bike boxes puzzled every passerby KVAL News queried on Tuesday.

“I assume it’s for the bike lanes,” was the closest answer.

The green paint is an extension of the bike lane intended to create a safe area for bicyclists to reduce conflicts with motor vehicles.

“It’s a staging place for bicyclists,” explained Lee Shoemaker, Eugene Bicycle Program Manager. “When they have a green light, they would cross the intersection as they normally do, but when there’s a yellow or red light and the cars are going to stop, they can stage right there.”

If you’re a driver, Shoemaker said you’re supposed to stop behind the fat white line and let bikes queue up ahead. The idea is to prevent crashes with bikes when cars want to turn right.

The green box is in place at 11th and Alder, and a second safety box is planned for East 13th.

Other potential conflict areas, like the bike lane at 11th near Mill Street, got the green treatment, too.

“This is a new type of feature that’s sanctioned by federal highways now, and so I would expect in future projects that we would see more of these,” Shoemaker said.

He said the City of Portland has used these same green boxes and that they’ve made a difference for safety. Shoemaker hopes the same can happen in Eugene.

Watch the video here…

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Brooklyn Bike Lane Argument In the Spotlight

By James Allenby
Gowanus Lounge
August 22, 2011

The city’s hotly discussed bicycle lane built by the city on Prospect Park West has gone through another round of court decisions. Last week, a judge dismissed the efforts of concerned Brooklyn citizens to remove the lane. The plaintiffs, two civic groups in Brooklyn with ties to former city transportation commissioner Iris Weinshall, have accused the Transportation Department of misleading residents.

The judge’s decision, this time, did not address the plaintiffs’ claims. Rather, Judge Bert A. Bunyan of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, found that the lawsuit the residents brought wasn’t valid because it had been filed after the statute of limitations had expired for legal challenge to the land to be considered legitimate.

While most people would assume that a bike lane is a healthy addition to a progressive city, as does the city and its supporters, opponents have accused the city on different grounds. They say that the bike lane does not take into consideration the needs of the car drivers and that the lanes pose a potential danger for pedestrians.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said, after the decision that “This decision results in a hands-down victory for communities across the city.”

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People Are Awesome: European Mayor Uses Tank to Crush Car Blocking Bike Lane

By Cord Jefferson
GOOD
August 3, 2011

Any urban bicyclist can share with you the frustration of having to avoid people and cars blocking what should be clear bicycle lanes. Sometimes it can make you want to destroy all the impediments with a tank. Today, in Vilnius, Lithuania, mayor Arturas Zuokas lived out the fantasy of every bike messenger forced to dodge a Dodge (or BMW or Toyota) on their daily route.

“I’ve had enough of these drivers parking their luxury cars on bike lanes and pedestrian crossings,” said Zuokas, a former war reporter. “This tank is a good tool to solve the problem of parking in the wrong place.” With that, the 43-year-old mayor rolled over a blue Mercedes that was parked in a bike lane.

The UK’s Daily Telegraph reports the tank smash was probably an elaborate stunt—one that wasted a perfectly good car, we might add—but it’s nice to see a mayor taking a real interest in the safety and wellbeing of his city’s cyclists.

Article Here

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