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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

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