The Next Door App Bike Haters Are at It Again

Every so often someone — always a car driver — gets on the neighborhood app called Next Door to bitch about bicyclists or biking infrastructure the City of Austin has installed. The latest is about some plastic bollards that make a semi-protected bike lane, narrower car lanes and additional concrete that is meant to be traffic-calming. It’s in what was designed to be a high-density, pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhood. Named Mueller, after the former airport upon which it sits, it’s generally a safe area to bike. Except when you read what the aggressively bike-hating people are posting in Next Door. I wrote a previous post on this in January 2018. Now the haters are back, so of course I have a few choice words. (Of love – tough love.)

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Study Says Painted Bike Lanes Aren’t Enough; Two Close Calls in Two Days Confirm It

The study, done by Monash University of cyclists in Victoria, Australia, found that painted bike lanes do not deter car drivers from coming too close to bicycles. And people ride their bikes less when they do not feel safe. The answer is clear: bike lanes must be protected in order to create true safety for bike riders.

Here in Austin, Texas, as in many places around the United States, we’re lucky if we even get those white lines. Which we now know do not work well enough. Nearly getting hit by cars while I was in the bike lane twice in the last two makes this a hot topic for me, one that I’m hot under the collar about. Why? Because I spoke to both drivers, and they’re responses were infuriating. Come on inside this post and I’ll tell you about it.

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Five Bike News Stories from Around Texas

One of the blogs I follow is one I find hard to read. That’s because it seems like most days BikingInLA usually has coverage of a bicyclist fatality . It’s a major downer for me, and I’m sure everyone. But it’s important to hold the City of Angels and car drivers’ feet to the fire. Also, the author has a ton of other good stuff in there. If you can get past the gloom and doom, it’s worth a read. Here are a few Texas stories I found and thought I’d share with y’all. Thanks, BikingInLA! Keep fighting the good fight.

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Austin Bicyclist 2019 Death #2: Jessica Saathoff, 28, Hit by a Car

Please see my post on 12/19/19 about Cyclist Death #4 at https://wp.me/p75hY4-2NT.

This sad news came across my screen, and I just sat and stared at it. She was 28 years old, hit by a car Thursday night. Now, gone. The details are scant and will trickle in. Here’s an updated story from the NBC affiliate, KXAN: “Cyclists push for change after fatal MLK Blvd crash.” The story says she wasn’t wearing a helmet and the car driver stayed on the scene. Despite this tragedy, riding a bike in Austin is still very safe compared to driving and walking. That won’t help Jessica, but maybe it will help others of us who do still bike.

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Austin Bicyclist Death 2019 #1: Anthony John Diaz, Run Over by a City Bus

I’m sitting outside a 7-11 late on a Wednesday, just down the street from the huge football stadium on the University of Texas campus. It’s where a cyclist, aged 39, with a helmet and lights on both the front and back of his bike, was hit, dragged under and trapped by a Capital Metro bus Monday night. It was there that he died. I just learned about this horrible tragedy tonight, and so I biked over here – a place I ride by regularly. I’m mad and sad, yet relieved it was not me. Because it could have been me. That doesn’t help Anthony, his friends, family and others who knew him. Continue reading

The Austin Mobility Plan: Sounds Nice, but Will It Fly?

Today’s main local paper Austin American-Statesman had an article titled Austin’s strategic mobility plan hits home stretch.”  It looks at ways to improve bike lanes, sidewalks, public transit and even roads so that people can move about the city better.  The deadline for answering a poll about the plan is Sunday, January 13th, so the update is welcome.  It also reveals some cracks in the fuselage.  planes, trains and automobiles

(Is anyone getting my Planes, Trains and Automobiles reference?  Hello, anyone?  We miss you, John Candy.)  Minor things like how will it be paid for, and will people agree to give up car lanes.  A Dude has some thoughts, so let’s take off, eh, hosers? Continue reading

News Flash: People of Color and Women Ride Bicycles, Too, Dammit!

Bikes Are Colorblind, They Just Want to Be Ridden

It’s Black History Month in the United States of America, so it would be bad form for a progressive to not pay homage to that (which I did earlier when mentioning the impact of the Black Panther movie) Some people have the mistaken belief that only rich white men in Spandex ride bicycles. They are wrong.

Where I live, I frequently see people of color riding bicycles, usually at night, apparently commuting home from work. They usually don’t have lights or helmets or fancy bikes. But they are cyclists just the same, risking their lives to go about their lives, which includes transporting themselves with their own people power. Leonel Hernandez, who died last month, was one of them.

Today, within the space of 10 minutes, I met a black dude named Ivory and a couple from Thailand named Nukul and Rung, each on a bike. You really meet the coolest people on bikes — of whatever color, status or nationality. You never would probably barely even see them from your motorized steel pollution cage.

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Another Austin Bicyclist is Killed by a Vehicle. Who Will Stop the Car-nage?

Cyclist Dies, No One Goes to Jail.  Again.

The local newspaper reported yesterday, February 15, 2018, that “Bicyclist found lying injured in Southeast Austin yard was likely hit by car, police say.”  The piece quoted heavily from a statement by the Austin Police Department:

“A bicyclist who died last month was likely struck by a hit-and-run driver.”

The article in the Austin American-Statesman is by breaking news reporter Katie Hall.katie hall  It goes on to say: Continue reading

City of Austin Transportation Department Community Conversation: Data Doesn’t Lie

Bikes Came Before Cars & Will Be Here After Them, Too

Today’s post is about a meeting I attended put on by the City of Austin Active Transportation Department.  They were reporting back on improvements to two streets in East Austin.  The headline for me was that adding bike lanes and reducing car lanes from four to three did not increase travel time. In fact, travel time was decreased, because traffic signals were synchronized and optimized. This was measured with Bluetooth technology so it is not subjective.

Still, naysayers and disbelievers will convince themselves or anything to reinforce their narrow paradigm that only cars deserve to be on the roads.  To me that’s just illegal, wrong and backwards.  Such is politics.  It didn’t matter to me when I just tooled around for short periods.  Now that I’ve been out there biking over 13,000 in three years, saving my life and the lives of other people on bikes is more important. Continue reading

Glassholes! Bike Lane Parkers! Disappearing Sidewalks! Oh My!

Cycling Is Great for Your Health but Hazardous to Bikes

The sun is shining, there’s little wind on a crisp but warming winter’s day.  I mount up my bike and my feet start pushing the pedals like a thousand times before.  The legs are pumping as if through jello.  My lungs are lit on fire; every breath burns.  I’m going as fast as I can, but it feels like I’m barely moving.  Looking around, none of my fellow riders are with me.  But this time is different.   I’m not in a race, leading or last place.  I just have cedar fever.  And I’m only on my way to a community clinic to sign up for health care, since Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health insurance is prohibitively costly.  And as if today’s natural air pollution wasn’t hard enough, I encountered another of bicyclists’ worst enemies:  people who throw their glass bottles on the ground.  A Dude Abikes calls them “glassholes.” Continue reading