Bike to Work Day - and Safety for Bikers and Pedestrians as well

Bike to work day

Today was bike to work day throughout the United States. Unfortunately, my computer was down most of the day, but I'm going to put this up anyway because there are safety problems with riding bicycles in Lawrence. It doesn't matter what time of day or month it is. I don't think that children, especially, should ride their bikes on most city streets until more work is completed which makes the streets easier and safer to ride.

And nothing is better than to get outside, walking or riding, for a person's health.

The ideas below are some steps in that direction.

Don't get me wrong - Lawrence is better than many cities its size. But there is a way to go before biking becomes really safe.

First, let me share with you a ditty from San Francisco cyclists for today:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2012/05/ldo_the_wiggle_bike_to_work_day.php

Notice the signs as well. The signs help alert motorists that bicycles are on this route.

There would be a perfect ride, with signs, around the perimeter of KU. With all the songwriters and talent in Lawrence, there must be people who could write songs for this town about the joy of bike riding here. I will await the first one to be posted here.

But now to more serious things. There are two things which I think could really improve bicycle riding in Lawrence. The first is green-painted bike lanes. The larger cities are starting to have them, and it really makes a difference.

Note the signs for bike routes:

This would get everyone out on bikes, and people would feel much safer at the same time.

LEDs buried in streets which the pedestrian (and in some cases the bicyclist) turns on when he or she wants to cross the street

Equally important - and perhaps I have missed them - but to my knowledge I have not seen any of the LEDs buried into the streets, which turn on with flashing lights when a person wishes to cross. They are more and more common in cities.

I think these two concepts, if made a part of the Lawrence biking (and walking) scene, would make a great difference.

Car drivers in particular, will have to be more careful. But in this day and age, bicyclists and pedestrians have as much a right of way as cars. For many car drivers, it is more than ever before "share the road" time.

Please see my previous blog on road sharing - scooters, bikes, pedestrians and cars:

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/kansas-150th-birthday-is-almost-over/2012/mar/24/a-new-vision-for-lawrence-scooters-pedes/

and the RideLawrence.com web site:

http://ridelawrence.com

Enjoy... but also call the Lawrence City Council to start having separate bike lanes painted in green, and flashing LED lights buried in the sidewalk. I can tell you from personal experience that these work.

It would mean far safer riding and walking, and many less accidents!

Comments

jjinks 1 year, 11 months ago

tvc, you're kinda jumping to conclusions there aren't you? I don't remember yelling at anyone, did you see me yelling at someone? I don't think so because it never happened. Do you feel like yelling at someone? I thought so, it won't help you any, you just need a little therapy for that anger management and you will be just fine. Remember the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Now don't you feel better already?

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jjinks 1 year, 11 months ago

tvc, you're kinda jumping to conclusions there aren't you? I don't remember yelling at anyone, did you see me yelling at someone? I don't think so because it never happened. Do you feel like yelling at someone? I thought so, it won't help you any, you just need a little therapy for that anger management and you will be just fine. Remember the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Now don't you feel better already?

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jjinks 1 year, 11 months ago

tvc, you're kinda jumping to conclusions there aren't you? I don't remember yelling at anyone, did you see me yelling at someone? I don't think so because it never happened. Do you feel like yelling at someone? I thought so, it won't help you any, you just need a little therapy for that anger management and you will be just fine. Remember the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Now don't you feel better already?

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tvc 1 year, 11 months ago

Read this guy’s comments! He is the one I’m talking about. He is the one that will yell at you if you dare leave the bike lane!

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jjinks 1 year, 11 months ago

I don't see where the money comes from. Is there a fund that bicyclist contribute to or is it that the rest of us must pay for what a few want to do? I'm just curious

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 11 months ago

Today (May 13) there was an article in the San Jose paper about what was involved in putting down the first green bike lane in San Jose, and how they have made it not slippery.

Lawrence should be able to contact them and learn from them.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow/ci_20605419/roadshow-rules-road-same-green-bike-lanes?source=most_emailed

I have also included an article on how cars and bikes should ride when their are bike lanes:

http://www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow/ci_20574012/roadshow-rules-road-motorists-pedestrians-and-bicyclist-city

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pyersqr 1 year, 11 months ago

It is great to see a discussion of biking appear on these pages. As Marilyn observes, the city has initiated a Complete Streets policy, which should be supported by everyone who bikes in Lawrence. More information on complete streets and bicycle friendly communities can be found at the League of American Bicyclists:

www.bikeleague.org

The bicycle friendly community page provides information to rate the bicycle conditions in our community.

Jeff Mapes’ book ‘Pedaling Revolution’ (Oregon State University Press) is another place to look for inspiration.

Mapes suggests that the best way to increase bicycle safety is to put more cyclists on the streets. Cyclists have a calming effect on traffic and demonstrate that the roads support multiple transportation modes.

Lawrence can support cycling by posting more share the road signs. These signs make bicycle routes more visible to cyclists and motorists alike.

Another simple step the city could take would be to post a 20 mph speed limit on all bicycle routes, especially on bike to school routes. Lowering speed limits is the most cost effective measure cities can take to support walkers and bikers.

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Marilyn Hull 1 year, 11 months ago

Hi Lawrence:

Thanks for your great post. It has stimulated some very interesting discussion on the design and merits of bike lanes.

Keep it coming! We need to educate our community about what is possible and what is already going mainstream in other communities.

The Complete Streets policy that was adopted recently was one step in the right direction. http://wellcommons.com/groups/livewel...

We just need to keep the momentum going.

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tvc 1 year, 11 months ago

It is one thing to see them and think it is a great idea. It is another thing to actually use them. Like the information in your link states, it isn’t safe to ride in the door zone. When a bike rider does the safe, responsible thing and rides outside of the door zone (which is outside of the bike lane), the motorist behind him can get angry because he is not riding on his side of the road.

I believe bike lanes make inexperienced riders feel safer, but a more experienced rider would rather not have them. I think they increase animosity between driver and rider. The driver incorrectly assumes the rider must be in the bike lane. The driver doesn’t understand the point of view of the rider. The rider may be riding outside of the lane because they see someone sitting in the car and worry they are going to catch a door. The rider maybe avoiding lots of rocks, gravel, and glass and has determined it is safer to ride outside of the lane. The rider may also be preparing to make a turn. However, a driver only sees a rider that is riding on HIS side of the road. I think it is better and safer to not divide the road into his and her sections. Let’s each operate our vehicles in the safest way possible.

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Tomato 1 year, 11 months ago

Heck, they don't have to be green - I'd be satisfied with regular bike lanes. I think it would be nice if the city made it a policy to add bike lanes to streets every time they do construction. There is clearly room on most main streets in Lawrence.

Bike lanes help both bicyclists and cars visualize how they are able to share the road.

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 11 months ago

Two last things-

Here is the excellent article on car doors and bike lanes:

http://bostonbiker.org/2012/05/08/on-how-being-annoying-saved-my-life/

And, tvc, the green paint for the bicycle lanes doesn't get nearly as wet as the normal street paving when it rains.

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 11 months ago

Thank you, mepard. Many communities celebrated Bike to Work Week this Thursday, but many others celebrate it next week. I'm so glad you found this!

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/schools-added-2012-bike-month-week-day-fans-095900899--highschool.html

So there is still time for creative songs for local writers for Bike to Work week. Send them in!

I respect your point of view tvc, but I have seen the new green painted bike lanes and they make a big difference. I do think, however, that signs for bike lanes and doors should be at the side of the road.

A look at Google shows a variety of sign possibilities. Maybe the Lawrence club should be in the forefront of choosing designs for Kansas.

And there should definitely be bike lane signs with destinations - for example, in California there is a 49 mile ride in San Francisco, around the entire city. This would be great for KU. Another possibility would be Lawrence to Baldwin, as well as specific parts of Lawrence itself.

And how about our first wiggly bike lane around KU? This would be great for bicyclists and tourists!

It should be named, I think, after Amos Lawrence, the founder of the town!

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tvc 1 year, 11 months ago

I don’t think the solution is to slather our roads with (slick when wet) green paint. Bikes need to be thought of as slow moving vehicles…that is all. We don’t need a separate lane. Separate lanes cause turning confusion and drivers pass at unsafe distances when there is a magical safety line painted on the road. Bike lanes can be full of road debris. Also, they have painted those green bike lanes right in the door zone!

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mepard 1 year, 11 months ago

The national Bike To Work Week and Day are next week. http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/. Looks like some communities did it a week earlier.

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