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M II A II R II K Aug 24, 2010 4:18 PM

How a Summer Bike Ride Makes Serious Joy

August 23, 2010

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I learned over the past year that granting public space to bicyclists is a piece of policy. And as policy goes, it’s a ton of fun. A year ago, I grumbled about seeing grim faces and rampant headphones while I ran up Lafayette Street during Summer Streets, the thrice-annual city-sponsored shutdown of car traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge two big Manhattan avenues. If this was a celebration of car-free living, I carped, why did everyone look so solitary? Why did I see so few smiles?

- The fact of people sharing an urban artery on pollution-free contraptions is celebration in itself: people can see each other, hear each other, notice details of the built environment and appreciate changes in speed. They don’t need to be dancing or prancing, though they did plenty of that: just living without horns and carbon monoxide elevates us to a sharper awareness.

- The lesson I learned is that urban biking is not an escape but a confrontation. A friend and I rode, with our daughters riding on child seats and telling each other silly poems, and talked about our cycling history. He had joined Critical Mass, the monthly civil-disobedience ride, in San Francisco where he said it had neutralized car traffic on Friday afternoons.

- And I, a recent convert to bike commuting, had found police officers snarling at me about “blocking the street” and found passersby calling me a criminal and worse, and found myself more alert to the infuriating harassment that rains every day in the city on people who were born poorer than I, or with darker skin. We kept riding, often quiet, with the sense that we were in a more civilized and negotiable space because there were no cars to prowl behind us or bump us.

M II A II R II K Aug 26, 2010 9:54 PM

Rent a Bike With Your iPhone


Ryan Rzepecki's Social Bicycles System might be the most affordable way for cities to implement bike sharing networks, Shareable reports.

The Social Bicycles System, or SoBi, allows commuters to "use their smartphones to locate, check out, and lock bikes," doing away with costly docking stations. Instead, a lock box connected to the rear wheel would keep the bike immobile until a commuter calls in or uses an app to get the unlock code.

The System will be tested in New York City next month with a starter fleet of 20 bicycles. From the looks of it, you're out of bike commuting luck if you still have that cool Razr phone from five years ago. Or if someone hacks into the system and locks up your rear wheel on a downhill.

JHoward88 Aug 26, 2010 10:03 PM

For some the bike is a vital transportation device. For some it is a recreation device. For some it is both. When I was a teenager, my family didn't have a car. We lived on the rural outskirts of Buckley, a small town on the fringe of the greater Seattle Metro area. I relied heavily on my bicycle to get to work, sometimes to get groceries, and to explore. It was a 45 minute bicycle trip to the nearest bus route. For me, it was - without any doubt - a transportation device. If I didn't have my bike, I wouldn't have gotten anywhere.

As an adult living in suburban Tacoma with a vehicle, the concept of bicycling to work or bicycling to the store is nolonger practical. I bicycle only for the exercise and recreation, when I want to explore the streets in a way that wouldn't be possible driving. Over the course of the last few years, the bicycle has played an important role in my life. My usage started off being entirely utilitarian, and eventually became entirely recreational.

As pertaining to bicycle lanes, cyclists are lucky. They have the right to use the road much like a motor vehicle (whereas a pedestrian does not) as well as the right to use the sidewalk/shoulder like a pedestrian (whereas a motor vehicle does not). I have bicycled many miles throughout cities and rural areas in my region, and I have never encountered a part of the city which I regarded as unfriendly to cycling.

I think that bicycle lanes are nice, but possibly over-rated. The places where I have found that it is actually dangerous to bicycle are usually rural arterials/state routes without proper shoulders; but ultimately, nobody has proposed installing bike lanes in those obscure places anyway.

fflint Aug 26, 2010 10:10 PM

^Adult cyclists cannot legally use sidewalks in many cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

JHoward88 Aug 27, 2010 6:24 AM


Originally Posted by fflint (Post 4961154)
^Adult cyclists cannot legally use sidewalks in many cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

^ I didn't know that, fflint.

I would never ride my bicycle on a sidewalk if there were pedestrians also present. I usually either dismount and walk or move into the street if there are any people on the sidewalk whatsoever. For example, I would never bicycle on the sidwalk downtown Seattle. On most non-downtown city streets though, you can go for a long time without encountering any pedestrians.

Downtown Seattle, most or all cyclists ride in the street, but that works fine, as the traffic doesn't go very fast anyway. What I don't like is when I'm bicycling at the edge of a road with a 35-40 MPH speed limit, there is a ditch on the side of the road, and no shoulder at all. In that case you're bicycling right on the white line and cars pretty much have to see and navigate around you. It is risky.

In any case, don't get me wrong - I certainly appreciate bicycle lanes when they are available. One reason why I never have a problem personally is that I use a mountain bike, so bouncing up into some dirt, grass, or gravel on the side of the road doesn't bother me. Cyclists who use street bikes really need smooth pavement, so they naturally rely much more heavily on bicycle lanes more than mountain bikers.

vid Aug 27, 2010 10:28 AM

In my city, it is illegal for large bikes to be on sidewalks, and illegal for small bikes to be on roads, which means if you're riding with your kids, someone is gonna have to break the law.

M II A II R II K Aug 27, 2010 3:18 PM

Running bike-sharing networks through smartphones


Instead of relying on kiosks and docking stations to connect users to bikes, cyclists use their smartphones to locate, check out, and lock bikes -- everything is portable, wireless, decentralized, and self-contained. The tech is stored in a small "lock box" attached to the rear wheel, which connects the bike to a central server. Users create an account with SoBi, find a bike through a call or smartphone app, and receive a code which they can use to unlock the bicycle from an ordinary rack. They can just enter their account info directly into the lock box; they use the same pin code every time, "just like with a bank card."

Lyly Aug 31, 2010 2:26 PM


Originally Posted by fflint (Post 4961154)
^Adult cyclists cannot legally use sidewalks in many cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

I don't have the option any way, there are no sidewalks where I live. Meanwhile, you're not supposed to bicycle on highways, which we do have plenty of. It's very hard to be a cyclist in most of Texas.

M II A II R II K Aug 31, 2010 5:27 PM

The Truth About London's Cycle Superhighways

09 August, 2010

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Launched to much fanfare last month, London’s two new cycle superhighways are being touted as safe, fast and more direct journeys into the city centre. However, my recent trip down the CS3 - which links Barking in the east to London’s famous Tower Bridge - raised some questions over the ‘super’ status of these lanes. As the above image shows, the CS3 begins in an understated manner, with its 9 mile route offering moments of perfection and incredible frustration in equal doses.

Dotted along the route are these guides telling you your location and the time required to get to key points along the superhighway. The timescales provided are realistic - I was able to cycle the entire route in 45 minutes, compared to their projected time of 55 minutes.

At its most eastern point, the CS3 runs alongside a motorway, raised at a similar level to the pavement and about 1.5 metres wide. Not the best views or source of fresh air, but much better than sharing the road with cars and lorries.

At points, the CS3 veers away from the motorway, running alongside fields and passing underneath junctions.

Unfortunately, not all junctions can be passed underneath, increasing journey times by leaving cyclists to cross at pedestrian crossings.

Whilst the minimum width of 1.5 metres is adequate for most of the route, on corners such as this it is not enough, with the risk of collision between turning cyclists being high.

As the route gets closer to London’s city centre, it becomes sporadic. This pavement, for example, is also the CS3, despite there being no signage illustrating this to either pedestrians or cyclists.

This shared road then takes a turn into a gated area, where cyclists have to wait for an attendant to raise a barrier before they can continue with their journey.

Rizzo Aug 31, 2010 5:54 PM


Originally Posted by fflint (Post 4961154)
^Adult cyclists cannot legally use sidewalks in many cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

It's not enforced in Chicago, unless explicitly stated by signage. By not enforced, I mean if you are clearly being a danger and knocking over pedestrians they can issue a ticket. Most officers will say nothing, even if you slowly ride past them on a sidewalk. It's just not in the city's interests to make a deal out of it, unless they really have to.

I rarely ride on the sidewalk except on my own street because of all the double parked cars and people doing U-Turns. But I always yield to pedestrians and when a stroller or elderly person comes by, come to a complete stop and wait for them to pass.

fflint Aug 31, 2010 6:20 PM


Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 4966023)
It's not enforced in Chicago, unless explicitly stated by signage. By not enforced, I mean if you are clearly being a danger and knocking over pedestrians they can issue a ticket. Most officers will say nothing, even if you slowly ride past them on a sidewalk. It's just not in the city's interests to make a deal out of it, unless they really have to.

I rarely ride on the sidewalk except on my own street because of all the double parked cars and people doing U-Turns. But I always yield to pedestrians and when a stroller or elderly person comes by, come to a complete stop and wait for them to pass.

I noted it's not legal in certain places to correct a misconception, rather than saying it never happens.

Sidewalk riding is beyond rude in a place like SF, and thankfully it's pretty rare around here. The most recent SFMTA citywide survey showed only 3-4% of observed cyclists were riding on sidewalks. That's too high in a crowded city, but it's a good start. Personally, I only ride on the sidewalk for a few feet in front of my apartment building when I'm entering or leaving home. The rest of the time I'm getting rattled by the potholed, rutted moonscape that passes for 'pavement' in San Francisco. Only two broken axles in two years!

Steely Dan Aug 31, 2010 6:54 PM


Originally Posted by fflint (Post 4966048)
The rest of the time I'm getting rattled by the potholed, rutted moonscape that passes for 'pavement' in San Francisco. Only two broken axles in two years!

jesus, you've actually broken axles? holy crap! i always assumed that spokes would pop long before an axle would break; that's just nuts.

i vow to never complain about chicago's streets ever again (and they're still pretty fucking bad, but not axle-breaking bad).

fflint Aug 31, 2010 7:20 PM


Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 4966094)
jesus, you've actually broken axles? holy crap! i always assumed that spokes would pop long before an axle would break; that's just nuts.

i vow to never complain about chicago's streets ever again (and they're still pretty fucking bad, but not axle-breaking bad).

I must confess I'm worried the bad road conditions here will damage any new roadbike I buy, and when I say 'worried' I'm really talking about my wallet.

Steely Dan Aug 31, 2010 7:36 PM

^ i wonder why roads are so bad in san francisco? it's not like you guys have to contend with freeze-thaw, which is absolute murder to any paved surfaces. i would have guessed that chicago's streets would be thousands of times worse than san francisco's (or those of any other city with a warm climate) due to freeze-thaw, but i've never broken an axle riding on chicago's mean streets. i've popped many a spoke going over pot holes and such, but never a broken axle. is it possible that your bike simply has weak wheel sets?

fflint Aug 31, 2010 7:43 PM

Deferred maintenance during the decline years ('70s, '80s) is a big part of SF's road problems. Plus repaving is political--no need to go into details, just typical machine politics crap. That said, this past year has seen more repaving (thanks to stimulus money) than the prior 20 combined, IMO.

Rizzo Sep 1, 2010 5:05 AM


Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 4966094)
jesus, you've actually broken axles? holy crap! i always assumed that spokes would pop long before an axle would break; that's just nuts.

i vow to never complain about chicago's streets ever again (and they're still pretty fucking bad, but not axle-breaking bad).

Well, Im beginning to get a bit nervous. I've spent more money repairing my bike than I spent repairing my truck that had 200,000 miles on it.

I spend on average $100/month to keep up with repairs. I destroy a rim about every other month on Chicago's horrible streets (I do my best to avoid potholes). Currently both my rims are damaged, but just enough so that it's not too noticeable. There's a weld joint that has a hairline crack on my frame, and one of the brake cables snapped last weekend. It's a $600 bike so I expected it wouldn't hold up forever. Also I've always gone through bikes fast, particularly because I like to accelerate and brake with speeds of traffic resulting in bent sprocket teeth and a chain that needs to be completely replaced every 4 months.

I need to probably get a more rugged bike that also has the speed. It gets almost 800 hours of use per year, including winters.

Steely Dan Sep 1, 2010 1:43 PM

^ well, i ride those same chicago streets and put MAJOR mileage on my bikes every year as well. the only rim i have destroyed in 3 years of bike commuting was on my folding bike, that bike also developed hairline frame cracks that eventually necessitated a frame replacement (under warranty thank god). but other than the problems on my folding bike (a bike not really designed to take 5,000 miles of urban street riding punishment a year), my 15 year old raleigh keeps on trucking along, and the high end Mavic wheel sets on my road bike still run as absolutely true today after nearly 2,000 miles as they did the day i got the bike back in may.

it sounds like you might need to buy a better bike, especially one with some good quality bomb-proof wheel sets. yes, a good wheel set will set you back several hundreds of dollars alone, but it's worth every penny if you're really going through rims every other month

M II A II R II K Sep 1, 2010 4:30 PM

Check out maps of America's national adventure routes, a certain few major cities are not connected to it.

M II A II R II K Sep 1, 2010 6:04 PM

Capital Bikeshare Is On The Way


While we sit back and wait for the streetcars to arrive, another form of inter-neighborhood transport will be coming sooner. Sooner as in a few weeks from now. Capital Bikeshare will launch in September with 100 locations and over 1000 bikes in DC and Arlington. The first bikeshare stations were installed today in Arlington. Mid-September is the goal for all stations to be installed and programmed. ReadysetDC will be documenting this progress. We received a tour, led by Alison Cohen, of the assembly warehouse of Alta Bicycle Share, the company that is assembling and installing Capital Bikeshare, located near the riverfront in Southwest.

M II A II R II K Sep 4, 2010 2:42 PM

Hornby bike lane will get more people “spending more money” downtown, VACC says

September 2, 2010

By Matthew Burrows

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With a second open house on Wednesday (September 8) looming large, the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition has issued a feel-good news release congratulating the city on the proposed Hornby Street separated bike lane. The VACC is suggesting that the bike lane would come with economic benefits, whereas much of the public debate has so far focused more on safety and the inconvenience for downtown businesses. Its release declares that the bike lane will “increase cyclist traffic, bringing more people downtown spending more money, using less roadspace and parking space, and producing zero emissions”.

“The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition and city cyclists welcome the idea of a Hornby Street separated lane connector to complete a cross-downtown separated bike lane corridor as part of city efforts to achieve higher cycling mode shares,” VACC president Arno Schortinghuis said in the release. “Since cyclists use less road space than other modes, Vancouver should be breathing easier at the prospect of encouraging more cyclists.” The VACC does acknowledge the concerns raised by some downtown businesses, but argues the “opportunities and potential upside outweigh any potential risks”.

In the release, the group puts forward the following points:

• Studies have shown that pedestrians and cyclists stay longer and spend more money at local shops than drivers do.

• According to a study by Mintel, regular cyclists - those who cycle at least once a week - are disproportionately likely to be well educated, have a household income of at least $75,000 per year.

• One on-street car parking space can fit a dozen bicycles- consider the number of cycling customers who could park near a business.

• Vancouver Bike to Work week statistics show over 7,000 cycling commuters with an average income of over $50,000 and 27% making over $75,000.

The city's map of the proposed separated bike lane on Hornby Street.

M II A II R II K Sep 14, 2010 3:59 PM

Bike module: Encouraging cycling while upholding urbanism

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Bike Module Download:


How can communities get more people onto bicycles, and yet make sure that the space for biking doesn’t undercut good urban design? Helping communities answer that question is one of the aims of the SmartCode Bicycle Module recently produced by Mike Lydon, principal of The Street Plans Collaborative in New York, with assistance from Tony Garcia of The Street Plans Collaborative and urban designer Zachary Adelson.

The bike module provides a guide to bicycle planning within the overall framework of New Urbanism. It offers advice on where and how to use 18 types of bikeways, bike parking facilities, and other elements that are beneficial to cyclists. Bike planning is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, Lydon emphasizes. It requires balancing a number of considerations, some of which are in conflict. Bike lanes, for example, are a good idea in some circumstances but a bad idea in others.

The bicycle box helps improve visibility of cyclists at intersections, where most crashes occur. Courtesy of Mike Lydon.

The 8th Avenue cycle track uses parking lanes and pedestrian median safe havens to buffer the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic. Courtesy of Mike Lydon.

This bicycle inductor loop, a coil of wire embedded in the thoroughfare to detect a bicycle and prioritize the intersection signal, was installed in Boulder, Colorado. Courtesy of Mike Lydon.

The "bicycle shed" maintains the same five-minute outlay of time as the pedestian shed. However, due to the efficiency of the bicycle, a five-minute bike ride affords the cyclist a range of a mile, as opposed to a quarter mile. These bicycle sheds were drawn by urban designer Bill Dennis for Dennis Port, Massachusetts.

fflint Sep 14, 2010 7:37 PM

^Holy crap, Dennis Port! I know a bunch of guys who grew up there...

M II A II R II K Sep 16, 2010 3:10 PM

Public Bikes Hit West Seattle


Say you're stranded at a West Seattle bus stop and it's late or your bus is late or both. Then you notice a neon green bike parked nearby. On the bike is written something to the effect of, "For public use. Please return to any bus stop when done. For maintenance, contact Guy" and then lists contact information.

That bike is part of West Seattle's humble green bikes project (not to be confused with this Green Bike Project), which commenced without a mission statement or fanfare—just one man and five hideously green bikes—less than a month ago at the Admiral/California street junction.

"In West Seattle, the bus service sucks—especially at nights and on weekends," says Guy Olson, the man behind the bikes. Olson, a regular cyclist, says he co-opted the idea from Portland's Yellow Bike Project (which thrived briefly in the 90's). The idea is to give people a free alternative to buses and taxis in the area, whether from the store or from bars, so they can get home. "Just grab a bike, ride it until you're done, and try to return it."

M II A II R II K Sep 16, 2010 6:05 PM

A Week of Biking Joyously


On a fact-finding mission to the Netherlands, a delegation of California public officials marvel at the promise of bicycles for 21st Century transportation. Jay Walljasper gives this personal account of the trip. I joined a team of latter-day explorers in the Netherlands this month on a quest to discover what American communities can learn from the Dutch about transforming bicycling in the U.S. from a largely recreational pastime to an integral part of our transportation system. Patrick Seidler, vice-chairman of the Bikes Belong Foundation, sponsor of this fact-finding mission for key decisionmakers from the San Francisco Bay Area, announced we were in search of the "twenty-seven percent solution" — the health, environmental, economic and community benefits gained in a nation where more than a quarter of all daily trips are made on bicycle.

Of course, the bicycle enjoys certain advantages in the Netherlands, notably a flat landscape and a long cycling tradition. But the idea of learning from the success of the Dutch is not far-fetched. The Netherlands resembles the United States as a prosperous, technologically advanced nation where a huge share of the population owns automobiles. They simply don’t drive them each and every time they leave home, thanks to common sense transportation policies where biking and transit are promoted as an attractive alternative to the car. Indeed, millions of Dutch commuters combine bike and train trips, which offers the point-to-point convenience of the automobile and the speed of transit. Seidler noted that a delegation of public officials from Madison, Wisconsin returned home from a similar tour of the Netherlands last spring, and within three weeks was implementing what they learned on the streets of the city. Bikes Belong, a non-profit group dedicated to getting more people on bikes more often, regularly takes public officials on tours of cities where biking is popular.

The trip started in Utrecht, where our group marveled at the parade of bicyclists whizzing past us all over town. This raised an immediate question: why is biking a way of life in the Netherlands and only a tiny portion of the traA commitment to biking is not uniquely imprinted in the Dutch DNA. It is the result of a conscious push to promote biking that has resulted in a surge of cycle use since the 1970s. A large part of that success can be attributed to what happens in school. Kids learn how to bike safely as part of their education said Ronald Tamse, a Utrecht city planner who led our group on a two-wheel tour of the city and its suburbs. A municipal program sends special teachers into the schools to conduct bike classes, and students go to Trafficgarden, a miniature city complete city with roads, sidewalks and busy intersections where students hone their pedestrian, biking and driving skills in non-motorized pedal cars. At age 11, most kids in town are tested on their cycling skills on a course throughout the city, winning a certificate of accomplishment that ends up framed on many bedroom walls. "To make safer roads, we focus on the children," Tamse explained. "Because it not only helps them bike and walk more safely, but it helps them to become safer drivers who will look out for pedestrians and bicyclists in the future."

A busy bikeway in Rotterdam, a Dutch city that feels American with wide streets and heavy automobile traffic. (Photo by Zach Vanderkooy)

San Francisco board of supervisors president David Chiu looks out on a new neighborhood in Amsterdam, where bikes and pedestrians (and boats) take priority over cars.

Video Link

M II A II R II K Sep 20, 2010 2:39 AM

Spokes | The Cyclist-Pedestrian Wars


For as long as there have been cyclists in the city, there have been pedestrians who have viewed them as a dangerous menace. First, there were the “scorchers,” a breed of fast riders from the turn of the last century, decried by carriage drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists.

Much more recently, there have been the delivery guys — they are almost all guys — who ride on the sidewalk, the commuters who run red lights and the two-wheeled “salmon” who roll against the flow of traffic, all fueling the perception that there is a dangerous culture of lawlessness among at least some of the city’s bike riders.

“Right now, the bikes are running amok,” said Jack Brown of the Coalition Against Rogue Riding, a group formed last year. “It’s a flesh-and-bone-versus-metal issue, a too-many-close-calls-to-mention issue.”

Mr. Brown, who owned the Hi Ho Cyclery, a now-defunct bike shop on Avenue A, in the 1980s, acknowledges that “a bike does have a certain romantic quality to it,” but he sees scofflaw riders as “maniacal” and “narcissistic.”

Conflicts between riders and pedestrians have flared up across the city, but the most sustained objections to bad bike behavior have been in Manhattan. Cyclists who disobey traffic laws are the No. 1 complaint among residents of the Upper East Side, according to the police.
“It’s gotten worse,” said Bette Dewing, a local newspaper columnist. “I have a strong feeling that there’s too many bicycles.”

Nobody seems to keep reliable data on bicycle-pedestrian crashes, though two researchers at Hunter College analyzed data from 100 hospital emergency rooms across the nation and found evidence of at least 38,000 such collisions between 1980 and 2009 (about 38,000 people die in car accidents each year). The researchers, Peter Tuckel and William Milezarski, found no discernible change over the nearly 30-year period studied.

M II A II R II K Sep 25, 2010 6:48 PM

New Bikeshare program provides wheels to casual cyclists in D.C., Arlington


Like bees tumbling from the nest, scores of riders on identical ruby-red bicycles swarmed from a lot near Nationals Park on Monday, fanning out across the District and Arlington to establish a new bike-sharing network that will grow to a fleet of 1,100.

The dramatic deployment, with D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on hand, was engineered to draw attention to the new program, which couples modern electronic gadgetry with 19th-century invention to create a system that encourages casual cyclists to pedal around town.

The batch of bikes dispatched on Monday headed for almost 50 bike stations in the District and Arlington, where they will be locked to racks until a Capital Bikeshare member comes along to use one.

Anyone can become a member, for 24 hours ($5); 30 days ($25); or a full year ($75, currently discounted to $50). Members who sign up for longer than a day receive palm-size cards that have bar codes and slip into a slot to release a bike.

The first 30 minutes of each ride are free. Then the meter starts running -- $1.50 for the next 30 minutes; $3 for the third half-hour; and $6 for each 30-minute period after that. The pricing is geared to encourage short hops from place to place rather than leisurely Saturday afternoon cruising on the C&O Canal towpath.

M II A II R II K Sep 27, 2010 6:16 PM

In London, Bike Sharing Just Got Even More Efficient

September 27, 2010

By Jonna McKone

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City University London’s School of Informatics uses Geographic Information System (GIS) to map in real-time the city’s new shared bike system, Barclays Cycle Hire, to help predict and document bike usage and availability at each of the system’s 400 planned docking stations that are designed to house more than 6,000 bikes. Currently, the map includes data for more than 300 docking stations throughout London, showing when bikes are in high use and other general patterns at each station.

- Researchers developed an application that includes graphs of London’s bike availability over the past 24 hours (orange line) compared to average bike usage from the week before (gray line.) Data are updated in real time, showing the actual status of each station, revealing the dynamics of biking and travel at specific sites in the city over the span of a typical day.

- The students also used an information visualization system, known as treemaps, that uses hierarchical categories of rectangles within sub-branches to show the information in context around the city. The size of the rectangles are proportional to the capacity of bikes at the station.

The usage at the different stations varies widely.

* The availability of bikes at nearly all stations dips between noon and 5:00 p.m.

* Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, in downtown central London, had almost no available bikes between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.

* A number of stations experience peak usage between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. — and others experience very little usage (or none at all) during that same time period.

* A few stations experienced very high usage as late as 8:00 p.m.

* For the most part, the graphs showing data from the past 24 hours are similar to the averages gathered from the past week, but there were some anomalies.

Graphs show Barclays bike usage at different docking stations. Photo by City University of London giCentre.

Cycle map created by Simon Parker. Image via Cycle Lifestyle magazine.

Screenshot of the Barclay Cycle Hire iPhone app.

pdxtex Sep 28, 2010 8:25 PM

bikes are an awesome transportation device and often do not require alot of money to add effective infrastructure. for cities with stable inner ring neighborhoods still in tact, bike blvds are a great way to get around. essentially low traffic streets already with minor traffic calming measures to ensure even greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists. portland has a great neighborhood system of back neighborhood routes that can get you to almost any neighborhood in the city without even traveling on major thoroughfares. awesome.

M II A II R II K Sep 29, 2010 6:31 PM

Bikes vs. cars: Who pays their fair share?


Bike riders or car drivers? Who are the free riders who fail to pay their fair share of the cost of building and maintaining the city's roadways?

In Vancouver's raging bike-car debate, where most people stand tends to depend on where they sit -- whether perched on a saddle or ensconced in a car.

But, while you can make a case that neither group pays its freight in a direct way, the facts are clear: People who don't drive much -- including most true bike zealots -- significantly subsidize those who drive a lot. And in any kilometre-by-kilometre comparison of city residents who travel exclusively by one mode or the other, drivers tend to pay less than their real costs, while riders pay more.

Given how drivers are incessantly dinged for things like licences, parking and fuel tax -- and how cyclists aren't -- you may wonder how can this be.

Well, the first point is that car-related government revenue in general doesn't cover the costs car use imposes on the Canadian public. The second is that if you look at just municipal balance sheets -- who is paying whose costs in Vancouver or other cities -- the subsidy for cars is far, far higher than the Canada-wide average.

A fair analysis of car-related costs and revenues should not include general sales taxes. These apply to almost everything you spend money on, so there's no reason for the revenue senior governments get when you buy a car to be treated differently than if you bought a boat, or granite counter tops, or a diamond tiara.

And a fair analysis of the municipal equation should exclude not only sales taxes like PST or GST, which city councils get no share of, but also licence fees and most of the fuel taxes.

What's left for cities to fund their extensive road networks?

"The short answer is: They're paid for by property taxes," says Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver's director of transportation.

A longer answer qualifies this slightly. TransLink's 15-cent-a-litre gas tax goes to transit, not roads, although the regional transportation agency does contribute to a small portion of Vancouver's road-building.

M II A II R II K Oct 4, 2010 3:53 PM

New York’s Next Generation of Vehicular Cyclists


This video critique of the new bike lane on First Avenue has been making the rounds, and it must give some comfort to John Forester and the vehicular cycling school. Vehicular cyclists reject all forms of bicycle-specific infrastructure and believe all cycling should be done in traffic. In this vid they can see a young cyclist claim that a bike lane protected from traffic has made the street “slower and more dangerous” than it was before.

The age range of the complainers here seems a little limited — I’m not sure anyone is younger than 18 or older than 30. New Yorkers whose knees might be a little creaky, or who are worried about getting sideswiped by a speeding cabbie, probably don’t mind dodging wayward pedestrians so much. I know I don’t.

Video Link

Rizzo Oct 4, 2010 5:41 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 4986707)

Kind of goes both ways. I see alot pedestrians not paying attention and dashing out between cars or crossing the street when they aren't supposed to. That seems to be the number 1 opportunity where collisions occur as opposed to general recklessness of cyclists which I do see more often than not. I'm a safe cyclist and obey traffic signals and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. I have nearly hit people on busy avenues who ran into traffic mid-block. One of those times, a cop was on the opposite side of the street and gave the person a talking to for nearly causing an accident.

M II A II R II K Oct 5, 2010 3:18 PM

The London-Paris cycle route that keeps getting you lost

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I've cycled in the Alps and the Pyrenees, Provence and the Auvergne, but I never thought of cycling to Paris until I heard of the Avenue Verte. The Avenue Verte is an idea - perhaps a dream - for a traffic-free cycle path, safe enough for a child, linking London and the French capital. So far only the outline of the route has been decided. I cycled it two weeks ago, and it's easy and surprisingly enjoyable.

If you tell someone you are doing London to Paris by bike, they're likely to start backing away before you ask for sponsorship. There are so many charity rides that the journey is now automatically associated with self-sacrificial misery - the kind of thing you put yourself through for a good cause, like running a marathon.

The private companies that have sprung up to organise many of these rides often add to the pain by steering their victims through the grim windswept plains of the Nord Pas de Calais. Could the lush Avenue Verte reclaim London-Paris for the pleasure-seeking cyclist? I think it could.

But if it's to become pure escapism, a lot of work needs to be done. The original hope was that the route would be given a fanfare launch in 2012 - but council spending cuts mean that's unlikely on this side of the Channel at least.

M II A II R II K Oct 6, 2010 4:28 PM

From Periphery to Center: Does Bike Redistribution Work?

October 5, 2010

By Jonna McKone

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Bikesharing systems have opened in cities, such as Denver, Co.; Minneappolis, Minn.; London, England; Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. Boston, Mass., New York City, and Budapest, Hungary are also planning, seeking funding or studying the potential for bikeshare systems. As bikeshare systems gain in popularity, so do logistical concerns. Bike availability at stations and open spots for depositing bikes has become an issue for a number of cities.

- Still, cities with bikeshare schemes are experiencing too many or too few bikes in certain areas. Freemark says London’s system, Barclays Cycle Hire, is not working in specific locales due to the directional flow of commuters. Job centers and residential areas are isolated from one another. According to Freemark, “this may put a strain on bike sharing, since to work, the concept requires a relatively even pattern of bike pick-ups and drop-offs at every station.”

- Stations like King’s Cross and Waterloo Stations experience peak usage when dozens of extra bicycles are left undocked by users. To anticipate high usage the system is also leaving dozens of extra bikes available for users.

- For Washington, D.C., the bikesharing system Capital Bikeshare has been in place for only a few weeks. The bikes span the city and Arlington County – 114 stations and more than 1,000 bikes. There are plans to expand it.

The charts demonstrate the fundamental difference between Washington’s proposed system and those in Montréal and Paris. In the center-cities, the French-speaking cities have roughly three times the densities of bike stations as the District proposes; in areas far from downtown, the difference is even more pronounced. Indeed, the minimum density of stations anywhere in the Paris or Montréal bike-sharing zones is higher than the maximum density promoted for Washington.

Downtown D.C. bike availability on October 5, 2010. A few stations are empty or close to being empty. Image via iPhone screenshot.

SFUVancouver Oct 6, 2010 4:32 PM

Vancouver's Hornby bike lane gets green light
(Mark Forsythe/CBC)

Vancouver's Hornby bike lane gets green light
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 8:02 AM PT
CBC News | Source

Vancouver city councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday night to build a second downtown bike lane along Hornby Street, after a marathon public hearing.

The vote came late in the evening after the council spent much of the day hearing from dozens of residents, riders, and business owners about the plan. Just before midnight, the councillors voted to spend $3.2 million to build the two-way separated bike lane.

The plan calls for barriers to divide the lane from vehicles, new traffic and bike signals, and more passenger and loading zones for vehicles. It is the final phase of a plan to connect the Burrard Bridge bike lane with the Dunsmuir Viaduct bike lane with a separated route through the downtown core.

“The fact is Vancouver has just 0.5 per cent of its roadway dedicated exclusively for cyclists,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement released after the vote.

“We don’t have the capacity to accommodate more car traffic in our city. We don’t have room for new roads. The shift we’ve seen over the past decade is towards transit, cycling and walking, and this new bike lane reflects that,” he said.

Councillors also said opinion polls show the majority of residents support the plan, and most shoppers already either walk or take public transit to reach Hornby Street.


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M II A II R II K Oct 11, 2010 5:41 PM

On the Road Conveniences for Bike Riders


About a year ago, AAA, announced that it’s long-time car-only roadside assistance plan will now feature services for roadside bicycles in Oregon and Idaho. AAA, a 50 million member n0n-profit auto lobbying group founded in 1902, is a federation of 51 independently operated motor clubs throughout North America. The organization provides services to its members like travel, automotive, insurance, financial and discounts. AAA serves one-sixth of the U.S. population.

AAA’s new program works as such:

* Bicycle transportation service is provided to the rider whose bicycle is disabled.

* Service extends to any point of safety within a 25-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown.

* Service applies to all bicycles including rentals.

Mother Jones thinks AAA’s service was launched to compete with Better World Club, which offers a carbon offset service, eco-travel services, discounts on hybrid car rental, and “what was, until last week, the nation’s only bicycle roadside assistance program,” says Mother Jones.

A year ago, when AAA rolled out the program, it marked a crucial step in public awareness of the importance of biking. Despite this program, AAA is still known for supporting anti-bike and anti-transit policy, like increased highway funding, lower gasoline taxes, and reduced vehicle regulations. The organization recently defended itself, arguing that federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) money should be exclusively for highway funding and not include trails for walking, hiking and biking. AAA later split hairs on this issue, arguing that they were adv0cating only for this specific pot of money to go to Highways:

We will not call on Congress to de-fund trail, walking and bicycling programs. We are simply calling for a change of accounting, not actually the elimination of any programs.

Steely Dan Oct 11, 2010 5:48 PM

^ AAA can still go fuck themselves from my perspective. they can pay all the lip service they want to the idea that they're not anti-bike and anti-transit, but the truth is the truth, and you can't change that with a press release.

M II A II R II K Oct 11, 2010 10:34 PM

I would have thought AAA would only be obligated to service vehicles anyway, which is it's function, and that another organization would oversee cyclists.

M II A II R II K Oct 12, 2010 3:55 PM

There’s safety in numbers for cyclists

11 Oct 2010

By Elly Blue

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In U.S. cities, there are a lot more people out bicycling than just a few years ago. You might reasonably think that the bicycle crash rate would skyrocket as more people, from wobbly new riders to the outright safety-averse, take to the streets on two wheels. It's a fine, common-sense assumption -- that happens to be wrong. Research has been steadily showing, actually, that the more people are out there riding bicycles, the safer bicycling becomes. As ridership goes up, crash rates stay flat.

- Much of the ridership increase is due to cities' investments in bicycle-specific infrastructure. But the efficacy of that infrastructure for safety is often questioned. And there's one theory -- based on a growing body of data -- that suggests that a few painted lines on the road, bike racks, and traffic lights form only part of the safety equation. And maybe a smaller part than we tend to assume.

- After being asked by officials in Pasadena, Calif., if their city "was a dangerous place to bicycle," Jacobsen began looking at crash data from various communities where bicycle ridership had fluctuated over time. What he found surprised him: The number of crashes involving bikes correlated with the number of riders in a community. As ridership fluctuated, so did the crash rate. More riders, fewer crashes; fewer riders, more crashes.

- This happened too abruptly, Jacobsen decided, to be caused by slow-moving factors like infrastructure development and cultural change. Bicycling becomes safer when the number of riders increases, he concluded, at least in part because the number of riders increases.

During last year’s transit strike in Philadelphia, bike ridership boomed. That likely made streets safer for cyclists.

jamesinclair Oct 13, 2010 5:57 AM


Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 5011960)
^ AAA can still go fuck themselves from my perspective. they can pay all the lip service they want to the idea that they're not anti-bike and anti-transit, but the truth is the truth, and you can't change that with a press release.

From what I understand, each AAA office (statewide) operates pretty independently.

M II A II R II K Oct 14, 2010 3:49 PM

Tell town planners where cycle parking is most needed


Something wonderful is happening in London every weekday: something that should be indicating to politicians and civil servants that they'd be mad to cut cycling expenditure now.

Each morning, thousands of commuters pick up what's been dubbed a "Boris bike" from the outskirts of zone one, to ride into the city centre. Within walking distance of Euston, Waterloo, or King's Cross, and the racks are empty.

During the evening rush hour, the signature flashing lights of hire bikes head back the other way, emptying the docking stations in commercial districts such as Mayfair, Soho and Farringdon and filling those near mainline stations.

To cope with demand, Transport for London is even shuttling trailer-fulls of hire bikes in the opposite direction.

We at the London Cycling Campaign think it's fabulous that thousands of people have chosen to add cycling to their commute, demonstrating the vast latent demand for cycling in London and, dare we suggest, in many other British cities and towns.

staff Oct 14, 2010 9:54 PM

When a bicycle is a transportation device:

northbay Oct 15, 2010 5:39 PM

someone please enlighten me: washington dc has two bikeshare programs right? capital bikeshare and smartbike. any chance they will be consolidated or that they may work together? seems a little redundant or that their energy could be put to better use under one umbrella.

Muji Oct 16, 2010 6:07 AM

Cool video, staff! Cycling advocacy groups in the US tend to focus all of their energy on making life easier for existing cyclists, which is certainly important. But we don't seem to do very much in the way of outreach to motorists, encouraging them to give bikes a shot. It's a challenge for sure, but it looks like Malmö's setting a great example.

M II A II R II K Oct 27, 2010 8:03 PM

Bike Sharing: The Newest Mode of Public Transport


With bike sharing systems popping up all over the world, it’s about time we look critically at the role these systems can play in a city’s urban fabric and transportation system. While bikes have been an integral part of the modal mix in many cities for years, they served a similar purpose to automobiles: exclusively personal mobility. Bike sharing has altered that paradigm, essentially creating a new mode of public transit.

- “By being yoked to the rack system, the bicycle, this ultimate symbol of mobility and freedom for the masses, effectively becomes public transport: it doesn’t leave from precisely where you are and doesn’t arrive at exactly where you want to be. Unless you work as a bicycle rack attendant, the very point of the bicycle is somewhat defeated.”

- The key part of his statement is the first sentence. May says that under a bike sharing scheme “the bicycle…effectively becomes public transport.” But to frame this negatively, as he does, is a mistake. This is precisely the greatest characteristic of these growing programs: they are a new part of the public transit portfolio.

- Personal bicycles suffer from the same downfall that personal automobiles do: they spend most of their time parked, unoccupied and unused. Cities around the world have recognized this as bike racks, sign posts, fences and every other imaginable object narrow enough to accommodate a lock are overwhelmed with bikes, many of which have been abandoned by their owners and subsequently stripped of any utility by thieves and scavengers.

- An abundance of vehicles languishing unused results in a massive loss of efficiency, both in wasted resources and income, and is precisely the problem that bike sharing seeks to address. If I only need a bike for 20 minutes, why shouldn’t anyone else be able to use it after that time, as long as I have access to one when I need it again?

- Yes, there are some inconveniences to bike sharing vis-à-vis using your personal bike, but with a large, dense, and well-distributed system, these are minor. Instead, residents get most of the benefits of cycling along with many of the benefits of the public transit, meanwhile avoiding several downsides to both. Users can forgo the cost of bike ownership and responsibilities and concerns that go with it but eliminate the time loss that comes with waiting for a bus or train.

M II A II R II K Oct 31, 2010 10:16 PM

Bike-sharing project expected to begin next year


A thousand communal bicycles would be available for use in San Francisco and along the Peninsula in what Bay Area transportation officials are trumpeting as the nation's first regional bike-sharing program. The $7.9 million pilot project would provide bikes in San Francisco and along the Caltrain corridor in San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Redwood City for use by registered subscribers, much like car-sharing programs.

The goal is to get people out of their cars, particularly drivers who live and work within a mile or so of major transit hubs who would use the bikes for short trips. "Bike sharing is an innovative way to improve our community's health and air quality by replacing car trips with zero-emission bikes," said Kristine Roselius, a spokeswoman with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which would oversee the pilot project that would run a year or two.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional funding and planning agency, is expected to approve the bulk of funding today.

Bikes like these from Bixi of Montreal would be available in the Bay Area under the pilot bike-sharing program.

M II A II R II K Nov 1, 2010 5:59 PM

‘Bikestations’ proliferate as motorists switch to two wheels

November 1st, 2010

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Lockers and other facilities for bicyclists are making it more convenient for bicyclists to pedal to and from transit stations. The latest in a series of facilities linking bicycling to mass transit will open this fall in Hillsboro, Oregon. Mobis Transportation, a consulting, development, and management firm based in Long Beach, California, has worked with public agencies and other entities since 1995 to establish facilities where cyclists can store their bikes prior to catching a train, bus, streetcar, or shuttle.

The first of the company’s Bikestations — a trademarked name for its facilities offering secure bike storage, repair facilities, and often rest rooms and showers — opened in 1996 in Long Beach. It’s now on the city’s First Street Transit Mall. For about a decade, the network of Bikestations, modeled after facilities in Europe and Japan, grew slowly, expanding to Palo Alto and Berkeley, California, in 1999 and in Seattle in 2003. The company also helped organizations plan bike facilities under other names in countries such as Mexico and China.

Bikestation at a transit stop in Claremont, California. Photo courtesy of Mobis/Bikestation

Bikestation showers

M II A II R II K Nov 2, 2010 4:18 PM

Politics, friction reshape influential Cascade Bicycle Club


An April fundraising breakfast for bicycling advocates could have been a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, with all the business leaders and elected officials eating eggs and waiting for the keynote speaker.

The sixth annual Cascade Bicycle Club breakfast was proof, if you needed any, that a once-fringe activist group has landed squarely in the mainstream of Seattle politics. Sponsors included Vulcan and Starbucks, and the breakfast was attended by every member of the City Council, as well as the mayor, county executive, County Council members and state legislators.

The success of the bike lobby, represented mostly by the one-time weekend-riding club, is well documented. Over the past decade, Cascade has tripled its membership to more than 13,000 and pushed successfully for sweeping city policies that promise 118 miles of new bike lanes and safety improvements to encourage cycling.

Last year, the club helped elect bike-commuting Mayor Mike McGinn, who joined a host of pro-bike elected leaders. Cascade members meet once a month behind closed doors with a newly formed caucus of City Council members to discuss cycle-friendly projects.

But the lobby's political success has brought with it a backlash from drivers and freight advocates who perceive a "war on cars" being waged with shrinking car lanes and rising parking rates.

Within Cascade, internal disputes about how confrontational the club should be in its lobbying efforts have led to a leadership upheaval. This month, the board fired Chuck Ayers, its executive director for 13 years, then hired him back on a temporary basis.

A group of members is petitioning to recall the board.

M II A II R II K Nov 10, 2010 10:57 PM

Cyclists Paving the Way for Ungrateful Drivers


Sitting at a red light, a car driver yells out his window “Excuse me, is this the bicycle lane?”. The cyclist passively shrugs and slowly rolls his bike closer to the curb. The light turns green and the driver stomps on the gas pedal flying past the cyclist with less than a foot in between.

Many drivers feel that cyclists have no right to use the roads because drivers pay for the roads through fuel taxes and license fees. This couldn’t be further from the truth and reminds me of a modern-era tobacco industry-like outright fabrication.

Last week a National Post bigot columnist wrote a grossly ignorant and irresponsible article suggesting that cyclists should be licensed and taxed.

“But bike riders pay nothing, even though the cost of urban bicycle infrastructure, operating risks and potential liabilities are mounting. Bikers are getting a free ride that all non-bikers are paying for.”

I find it extremely sad that a journalist working for a national newspaper with 200,000+ daily circulation would make such a claim. At best it’s sheer ignorance; at worst it’s a contrived lie - both leaving Terence Corcoran absent of any sort of journalistic conduct.

The truth is, cyclists pay more than their fair share for roads. In fact, in many cases cyclists are actually subsidizing the cost of roads for drivers. Imagine that Terence, cyclists are subsidizing the cost of the roads for you – not to mention cyclists take up less space, reduce gridlock and don’t pollute.

But telling this to Terence would be fruitless. This is the same writer who made the outrageous claim that cyclists should be held accountable for the carbon emissions that they output from their breath while cycling. If this was an attempt at humour, Mr. Corcoran failed miserably.

“And then there's the carbon footprint. When car drivers cruise Yonge Street on Saturday night, their metabolisms are more or less flat-lined. They just sit there, burning up little energy personally but paying for the cost of their automobile's carbon footprint via taxes and fees. Bike riders grinding up the same route burn up a lot more carbohydrates, which their bodies convert into carbon dioxide and exhale, adding to their carbon footprint. The volumes are small, but it all adds up, and bicyclists don't pay.”

M II A II R II K Nov 12, 2010 7:04 PM

We need real bike paths for real bike transportation

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Last month, a young woman was jogging along the popular new Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas, wearing headphones. She turned left and was struck by a woman on a bicycle. The jogger's head hit the pavement. Several days later, she died.

The Katy Trail is not a trail in the woods, but a multi-use path, or, in planning-speak, a "MUP." These paved byways are varyingly called trails, paths, rail trails, bike trails, or linear parks. The mix of terminology reflects the current confusion about what exactly they are for.

The original concept is that of the linear park -- a destination in the city or suburbs where locals of all ages can go get fresh air and exercise in a natural setting. Mellow recreation was the idea. The bicycle has always been part of this mix. But MUPs aren't always simply about recreation. The use of these paths as transportation corridors, rather than parks, is being pushed increasingly at a local level, and even promoted by the feds, including in a recent interview with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on this site.

But there's a disconnect between the speedy reality of bicycle transportation and the slow, recreational uses these trails are designed for. Multi-use paths are only required to be eight feet wide. That's fine for a stroll in the park, but when you factor in two lanes for bikes as well as joggers, skaters, and roving families, it's alarmingly narrow.

Most planning guidelines acknowledge that a 10-foot trail width is better, and recommend 12 for areas with heavy bicycle traffic. Even that -- as we learned on the Katy Trail, which is still being built to these state-of-the-art standards and even includes a narrower, supplemental trail for walking -- isn't enough when bikes are in the mix.

It should be no surprise that these paths see a high collision and injury rate. A 2009 literature review of traffic safety studies looked at bicycle crashes and discovered that multi-use paths are more dangerous to ride on than even major roads.

Most attempts to address the danger focus on educating users to "share the path." This has been the gist of the most levelheaded responses to the tragic incident on the Katy Trail.

In effect, this is a way to blame the users. This becomes more clear when you brave the comment section on any story about the tragedy. The vitriolic finger-pointing starts immediately. Some blame bicyclists who ride fast and don't use their bells when passing. Others blame walkers and joggers who stop suddenly, don't hold their line, and let their kids and dogs run freely. Everyone blames people wearing headphones. Some simply blame everyone.

Meanwhile, few are looking to the real culprit: the increasingly common practice of building transportation facilities that cannot safely or comfortably carry the planned types of traffic, promoting them heavily, and then accepting easy credit for providing bike routes without having to take the political risks of encroaching on the vast amounts of roadways reserved for cars.

SFUVancouver Nov 16, 2010 8:59 PM

Our first bike coral in Vancouver was installed earlier this year on a trial basis and it continues to be be popular even as we reach mid November. Taken by SFUVancouver, November 16th, 2010.

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