[Pretty much anything on Seth's Bike Hacks YouTube channel looks good, BTW.]
PPE vs separation
High helmet use in places like the U.K. and U.S. isn't a public safety victory—it's a policy failure.
Cities making the most progress on protected bike lanes are seeing bicycling rates go up. But at the scale of a specific street with a new protected lane, it’s hard to know how much of the increase in bike counts is due to cyclists moving over from nearby streets, and how much is due to people biking the route for the first time thanks to safer conditions.
But wait, we need some scare tactics when teaching young bike riders why helmets matter:
A popular experiment with elementary students is to place an egg in a plastic bag and drop it on the floor, demonstrating what could happen if you don’t wear a helmet and fall off your bike.
“We try not to let it get too dark with the kids,” says Colleen Stalter, also a second-year RWJMS student and founding Brain Team member. “But it’s very visual and you’re like WOW!”
In contrast Nick Hussey explains why his cycling clothing company photographs models without helmets:
The big problem is cycling is considered unsafe by thousands who might otherwise have taken it up. Pushing a black and white agenda that helmets and hi-viz are vital says, “BE CAREFUL OUT THERE! CYCLING IS DANGEROUS!” For the most part it isn’t. But a sedentary lifestyle? Now that’s dangerous…
Every single death of a cyclist is a terrible tragedy. But so is every single death of a person who never became a cyclist and might have lived a longer, healthier life if they had. Let’s not make cycling seem unsafe and intimidating, let alone abuse each other because we disagree.
Taking decisive action for cycling safety. Or not.
SBS Comedy on new laws to punish cyclists for being struck by cars:
“We don’t want to be a Government that ignores cyclists. We want to be one that openly treats them with contempt because it plays well to talkback radio stations and comment sections of news articles where someone can recount the one time they’ve seen a cyclist do a bad thing and take that as an indicative statement on anyone who dares touch a pedal.”
Is it still funny if it's true?
Meanwhile Michael O'Reilly outlines exactly why the NSW cycling safety launch missed the mark:
So it was all about "complaints about cyclists openly flouting the law", "higher fines for dodgy cyclists" and "cyclists put on notice".
Sadly, with cyclist behaviour being identified as "the problem", the safety message to those who need to hear it most was being severely diluted.
Or more succinctly from Bike Snob NYC, "Sounds like a pretty shitty deal to me. Yet incredibly the New South Wales bicycle advocacy group is behind it."
Basically, Australia is now the land of cycling hatred:
For everyday cyclists, the 1 metre law is a sell out, achieving little for real safety, because everyday cyclists are not interested in fighting with cars and trucks, preferring separate lanes, and lower speed limits in local residential streets. Like the helmet law, the 1 metre law will also be another reason for governments to do nothing about real cycling improvements of better infrastructure.
Or is there hope for us yet? Apparently Albo reckons that better facilities for cyclists will help in the fight against congestion:
Of course, not everybody in Australia wants to ride a bike to work. But many do.
And smart governments should be doing everything they can to identify impediments to greater use of bicycles and sweep them away in the interests of economic efficiency.
Putting aside what he could've done and didn't while in Government, the point here is one that's lost on most people: you don't need to get too many cars off the road before you have a significant effect on congestion.
Never mind though, we have IDs to protect us against SMIDSY! ABC reports on Sydney protest against new fines and ID laws for bike riders:
Donald Semken, the organiser of the protest ride, told the rally that "we are here because compulsory ID does not stop us hearing these damn words: 'Sorry I did not see you mate'".
Finally, it's interesting to note that laws on minimum safe passing distance are already making a huge difference in South Australia:
More than 400 cyclists were fined or cautioned for failing to wear a helmet during South Australia police's Operation Safe Cycling, while only three drivers were cautioned for failing to keep a safe distance from cyclists.
Sticks and carrots
My commuting choices—just like everyone’s—are the sum of the advantages of one transportation mode weighed against the downsides of all other options. Or, more succinctly: my feelings about the bus are mediated by what I’m thinking about my car.
At a macro level, this decision-process implies that there are two ways to shift more commuters out of single-occupancy vehicles and into other modes of transportation, whether that’s biking, carpooling, walking, or transit. We can incentivize transit by making all of those other options more attractive. Or we can disincentivize driving by making it less so. What’s become increasingly apparent in the United States is that we’ll only get so far playing to the first strategy without incorporating the second.
So true here is Australia as well. [twitterer]
Active transport turns out to be healthy! Who knew?
When many people consider the health impacts of cycling, they think of the sport-oriented form of cycling that involves long-distance, fast rides and lycra, or at the very least a pair of sneakers and a workout shirt. Casual commuter cycling is better for you than sitting in a car or on the bus, sure, but it can’t be that much better, can it?
The privilege of driving
Yet the tragedy of many criminal justice systems worldwide lies less in how they treat people like Marlon Sewell once they’ve killed someone than in their readiness to let matters get that far. New York City’s authorities essentially believe it more important that people should be free to drive around the city as they please than that the unlicensed or uninsured should face regular checks to prevent them from doing so. The authorities view it as more important that traffic should flow freely and drivers’ privacy be respected than that 30-year-old Ms Nicodemus should be able to walk down a sidewalk unmolested by speeding vehicles. It is at this stage – where a tendency to dangerous behaviour can be detected, challenged and corrected – that the criminal justice system should be working, in Rabi’s words, to “fix” things.
Meanwhile, in Western Australia:
Western Australia's most dangerous drivers will receive personal text messages and letters from the police commissioner, urging them to change their behaviour on the roads.
I can't help thinking that a personal text from the Commissioner is unlikely to be a significant catalyst for behaviour change.
Speaking truth about traffic delay
Cyclists causing delay is a myth that must die. This pernicious stereotype oppresses us. It simply is not true. As cyclists traveling solo, with one other person or even in a small group, we are incapable of causing significant delay to other road users…
Motorists delay motorists. The sheer number of motorists is what causes the most delay on our roads. Many things cause momentary delay, such as traffic signals, railroad crossings, and vehicles that make routine stops, like delivery trucks–and city buses.
Vision zero or zero vision?
People are far more stupid than they think, he says: “Just having your eyes open isn’t enough to see a dangerous situation; your brain has to be engaged.”
Such “me-first” behaviour—disregard for traffic signs, failing to signal, lane-hogging, crowding intersections, sailing through red lights—has led to a culture of driving entitlement squarely at odds with the spirit of co-operation needed to navigate the impromptu societies that occur when motor vehicles share space. That has made driving, the most dangerous and behaviourally complex activity most people engage in on a daily basis, a cultural menace that affects not only drivers but pedestrians and neighbourhoods as the spillover effects puts cyclists on sidewalks and pedestrians at peril.
A little uncertainty goes a long way
White lines on roads could become a thing of the past in an attempt to slow drivers down because blank roads cause uncertainty and motorists slow down as a result.
In a complete switch from received wisdom on congestion and road crashes, research suggests doing so, can cut the average speed on a road by 13 per cent.
Bikes vs Cars
In Momentum Mag: Bikes vs. Cars - Is This a City or a Battlefield?
While the documentary is highly political, Gertten insists that the bicycle movement itself is not a leftist movement. He recounts receiving praise from right-wing commentators in big newspapers in Sweden, simply because they themselves ride bikes and understand the vulnerability that accompanies cycling or walking in a city designed for cars. “There is something like a power hierarchy in traffic,” he explains. “And when you are on a bike you’re low down. So even people who are in powerful positions in their workplace or in society, when they’re on a bike in the street, in traffic, they have a totally different perspective on power.”
The value of parking
Do we care about parking any more? Short answer, yes:
So it seems that for Australians feeling the pressure of rising living costs, ditching both the car and the parking space that goes with it may be a wise financial decision…That said, there’s still real value in a parking space. Why else would every real estate agent list parking spaces alongside bedrooms and bathrooms as one of the three standard criteria for judging the value of a home?
The saddle-crotch interface
Total Women's Cycling considers the saddle comfort question: are you an 'innie' or an 'outie'?
Saddle comfort for women is something we’ve explored a lot at TWC – for the simple reason that we know it’s an area many women struggle with, and one that few are keen to be that vocal about, especially in bike shops largely staffed by men. The good news is that with research and experimentation it’s a problem that can be completely eradicated – it just takes more trial and error for some than others. Finding the right saddle for you is a journey, but it ends in some very happy bike rides.
Wallets on wheels
Momentum Mag reports that cycle tourism is great for the economy:
Studies have been proving for years that bicyclists are good for business. Cycling customers are more likely to linger, make spur-of-the-moment decisions and purchases, and overall spend more money at bars, restaurants, cafés, and convenience stores in comparison with their car-driving counterparts. However, it is only now that cities and states are recognizing pedal power’s economic potential in tourism.
A term is coming into play a lot more these days: “Wallets on Wheels.” Similar to the business model of bicyclists spending more money, tourism officials are finding that cycling tourists stay longer in a state and spend more per day than other tourists. Tourists on bikes spend more money, to put it simply.
Family on wheels
Alice Goffart and Andoni Rodelgo biked around the world for 7 years. They started shortly after their first child Maïa was born, kept going through their second pregnancy and gave birth to Unai on the road!
Talk about living the dream!
Upon arrival in a new city, a cursory glance at the types of people choosing to cycle there will tell you a great deal about its bike-friendliness. The places with the widest variety of ages and abilities can be considered – without exception – the most successful, with a greater number of women, children, and seniors on bikes a surefire sign you’re doing something right. That diversity brings with it a slower-paced, more relaxed environment, that is far more welcoming to the “interested but concerned” crowd.
I'm sure I'm not the first or only person to observe the apparent oxymoron term "bike autobahn" but nevertheless, So song, autobahn: Germany is building a superhighway for bikes:
Now Germany, the country that invented the modern highway for motor vehicles, is taking on the challenge of keeping bikers safe and enabling them to easily commute long distances. It opened a three-mile-long leg of the Radschnellweg, a new autobahn for bikes, just before the New Year.
According to BikeBiz, makers of driverless cars want cyclists and pedestrians off the roads:
Marjan Hagenzieker, professor of road safety at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, told a Dutch news site in December last year that the unpredictability of cyclists "throws a spanner in the work of technology optimists" because "robots are not good at dealing with inconsistent behaviour."
Unspeakably hilarious (as if drivers display consistent behaviour) but the resemblance to how automakers invented the crime of "jaywalking" is uncanny, no?
How many times before it's a pattern?
When someone's dead, maybe…?
Related, Michael O'Reilly on why he (and many other riders) run cameras when cycling:
Whenever I go sports cycling, on a ride where I'll be predominantly sharing space with motor vehicles, I attach HD sports cameras to the front and back of my racing bike…
Road rage incidents aside, video can also be great for clearing up liability disputes in a collision, and not just for cyclists – dashboard cameras are also becoming increasingly popular with motorists, as any number of Facebook pages will attest.
But here's the key point:
It's also good to remind oneself that such events are rare enough to be newsworthy, while tens of thousands ride bikes without incident every day.
Cherokee see's no reason to "be nice":
The burden isn’t on me to be friendly or polite. When I hear other cyclists talk about how “You should smile, wave, or blow them a kiss.” it reminds me of men who go around telling women “You should smile more.” It’s sexist, demeaning, and rude. Stop telling other cyclists how to behave. How they behave in any given moment is based on their personal experience. An experience which you yourself are not experiencing because it is personal. So fuck all with your politeness campaign. When people driving cars are waging a “be friendly to cyclists” campaign then I’ll get on board. Until then, fuck them and their arrogance. The roads are public and the public has the right to use them.
I don't know much about sportsing but I know what I like
CyclingTips (among many others) says that technological fraud in cycling should bring automatic lifetime ban:
Once a motor is introduced into this scenario, it’s no longer a competition between man and machine; the very essence of the sport has been compromised, robbing fans and competitors of their faith, and therefore, their passion.
And Craig Fry observes:
The sport of cycling may be fast approaching a moment where it is beyond repair on the issue of doping and other cheating. Some might say that the recent alleged case of mechanical doping proves that cycling has already arrived at that terrible place.
Sport depends for its existence on a willing suspension of disbelief. It doesn’t work unless you set aside your knowledge that it is an entirely trivial pursuit. You have to believe it matters, at least until the final whistle. You have to believe the athletes dedicate every moment of their lives to bring us the joys of partisanship, drama and the wild pursuit of excellence, You have to believe it’s real — and that’s a matter of trust…
And it’s beginning to happen to sport. Every week there’s another blow: another story that tells the world that sport is not to be trusted, that sport is full of phonies who don’t make the slightest attempt to live by the principles they preach and don’t even care much about sport.