This is my fifth annual post about being car-free since 1/25/2005. Technically I’m car-light, since I drove borrowed cars for a job for part of last summer also visited relatives over the holidays. On the other hand, I managed my best year ever combined and walking and biking – 5,633 miles.
I did that while on a bike that has 67% fewer gears and is 25% heavier steel (Sophie) than my old aluminum steed (Sookie). I’m no Greta Thunberg, but I do think reducing car use is a good thing. Not everyone can do it, but some people might be able to try it. That’s all I’m saying. Well, in this paragraph at least.
We humans are always looking to improve, make progress, get ahead. If we can find a short cut, a hack, a trick, we’ll more often than not take it. The path of least resistance isn’t necessarily laziness either. There’s a fine line between sloth and smart. When it comes to cycling, whether you ride 5,000 miles a year (as I did in 2019) or 500, the easier the better. Mindfulness is all the rage now, although meditation has been around for thousands of years. So, can meditation improve your bicycling?
Vision zero is the simple idea that every death and serious injury in traffic is preventable. People will make mistakes, but those mistakes should not lead to anyone losing their life or being severely hurt.
Simple, but not easy. So far this year (as of August 1st), 40 people have died on roads in Austin, Texas — the US’s 11th biggest city. Most are vehicles versus other vehicles. More than a few involve pedestrians. Just a few involve bicyclists. Compared to many cities, that’s not alot, but according to Vision Zero ATX, we can do better.
Who knew that the Texas Department of Transportation, the highway and toll road people sponsored classes for bicyclists? They’re also for car drivers to learn how to respect the rules of the road and vulnerable road users, i.e., dudes and dudettes on bikes. So on Saturday I saddled up and sauntered slowly downtown despite my ongoing allergies or whatever they are to get a little knowledge dropped into my mountain cedar-induced feverish brain. And I may have learned a thing or two. It turns out that you can teach an old dude new tricks. Not like, magic, or BMX, but you know, tricks. Continue reading →
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 →
People on Bikes and Lanes for Them Are Here to Stay
Today I was going to post about a Safe City Cycling Class, but due to cedar fever, my body was devoid of most energy. So I posted up in my bed to take an extended siesta. I’m still feeling as if I were run over by a truck, so bear with me. I hope to attend the next class on Saturday and report on that then. Looking around for a topic, I realized the Next Door War on Cyclists going on today would be a “fun” one. Not being sure about permissions and copyrights, I will just quote from there instead of put whole posts. When someone brings out the word “douche” and they’re not French or talking about a shower or feminine hygiene, let’s just say it gets pretty heated.
Volunteering to Make Austin’s Streets Safer for All
Today A Dude visited the downtown Austin, Texas office of Central Texas’s leading bicycling and pedestrian advocacy and education non-profit organization, Bike Austin. My goal? To get trained by amazing Community Development Planner Shavone Otero on how to engage Austin businesses to become members to keep the group alive. That’s her pointing at me in the photograph. Together with the Bike Austin Education Fund, their mission is to:
“…improve quality of life for all of Austin and Central Texas by growing bicycling as a form of transportation, exercise, and recreation.”
Pretty simple, but not so easy to implement. Austin traffic continues to worsen, with projected population growth. Amazon is considering us for another headquarters, which would add 50,000 employees and their families to the roadways. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, Austin ranked 42nd worst traffic in theworld. Drivers spent almost two full days per year in their car. That’s up 24 slots from 66th worst in 2016. So bicycling is going to play a vital role in that whole… let’s just call it a mess. Continue reading →