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.
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.
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.
(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
A friend admitted the other day that she was enjoying walking more than bicycling around Austin lately. That’s because she notices more things going slower on two feet than on two wheels. I agreed that’s mostly true, but also said you still see some pretty cool stuff biking that you’d never notice whizzing by in a car. Today was no exception, and a beautiful spring day to boot. Please continue reading where it says Continue Reading! (Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom — WordPress inserts extra white space I can’t get rid of sometimes.) Continue reading
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.
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
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 the world. 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