Archive for category traffic

but officer…

Diaz told investigators that he thought he hit a cyclist but he “didn’t want to get in trouble again” so he didn’t stop.

via Andrew

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More bike lanes for downtown Sac

Sacramento city council has approved plans for an increase in the number of downtown bicycle lanes over the next 18 months. The Department of Transportation has been given the green light to develop two phases of bicycle lane construction; projects which will introduce dedicated cycle lanes on some of the city’s busiest streets.

The cash-strapped city managed to find $629,000 to allocate to the project, which will proceed this summer in conjunction with scheduled maintenance on the city’s streets. The first phase of the project will add painted bicycle lanes to J Street, I Street, 9th Street, 5th Street, 10th Street and Capitol Mall, where the roads are typically wide enough already to accommodate a dedicated cycle lane. In many cases, substantial bikeways can be added with little or no impact on existing traffic lanes or parking.

The second phase will oversee the removal of existing traffic lanes from several major one-way streets. A single lane of traffic can be split to provide a dedicated cycle lane on each side of the road. Streets scheduled for the second phase of development include stretches of 5th Street, 9th Street, 10th Street, G Street and H Street.

The plans aim to create an environment downtown which resembles the bike-friendly portions of midtown, where cycling is popular and bikeways are more common.

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CHP announces new fines for cyclists

The California Highway Patrol has announced plans to introduce penalties for cyclists who use a cellphone while riding. The fine – $20 (before additional fees) is for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders would face fines of $50 for each incident.

The new penalties were outlined in a bill that was approved by the state Senate on Monday, April 25th. The bill also increases penalties for drivers who use a cellphone while driving. They could face fines of more than $500 for repeat offenses, once fees have been tacked on to the basic fine. The bill was introduced during April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

As cellphones become ubiquitous, it is not unusual to see cyclists pausing to retrieve a ringing phone from a pocket while they cruise along city streets. Motorists have been doing the same for many years, often with tragic results.

But the bill has its opponents among cycling advocates, who maintain that cyclists need greater protection, not more restrictions, when riding on the road.

“This is only going to be one more obstacle for someone who uses their bicycle for transportation.” Said Tani Walling, a bike shop owner from southern California. “Everything about how our streets and sidewalks are set up favors cars.”

Every year, law enforcement hands out tens of thousands of citations in California for drivers using cellphones to talk or text while driving. Over 18s are required to use hands-free devices, while under-18s are prohibited from using any kind of phone while driving a car.


Riderless bike serves as poignant memorial

A solitary white bicycle has appeared chained to a traffic post outside CSUS, the scene of an accident earlier this month which killed one of the university students. The bike, spray-painted a stark, ghostly white, was left anonymously leaning against the post on a traffic island immediately in front of the entrance to the university campus on J Street. Beside the bike, flowers and ribbons add color, while a photograph of the victim, Arlene Sasse, reminds pedestrians how risky the city’s streets are for cyclists.

Sasse was crossing J Street on her bike shortly before 2am on April 1st when she was hit. She died at the scene. The driver of the car claims she did not see Sasse, whose bike reportedly did not have lights or reflectors.

Arlene Sasse was due to to graduate from CSUS in May with a psychology degree. She had hoped the qualification would help her find work as an occupational psychologist. Before transferring to Sac State, she had previously attended American River and Sacramento City junior colleges.

The Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) responded to the tragedy by issuing free bicycle lights to Sac State students, in an effort to encourage safer riding practices. Sacramento’s roads – already unfriendly and often deadly for cyclists in the daylight – can be lethal after dark. Though the city claims to be cycling-friendly, many major routes are effectively off-limits to bikes. Cars frequently abuse cyclists by parking illegally in designated cycle lanes or behaving aggressively towards law-abiding bicycle traffic.

“Ghost bikes” are a sad but common sight in metropolitan areas, appearing in more than 35 US states, and more than 20 countries worldwide. They almost always offer the same sombre, elegant memorial: a white bicycle beside a small photograph of the victim. Sacramento residents have noted at least half a dozen of the bikes, which are eventually removed by municipal workers.

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Watch Out!

Seen a number of places with no attribution. If you know where the image originated, let me know and I’ll update with a source.


Treating bikes like cars: will California follow New Jersey?

A proposed bill making its way through the legislature in New Jersey would require all bicycles in the state to be officially registered through the DMV. Could a similar law be passed in California?

Assembly Bill 3657, introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, creates a legal obligation for bicycle owners to file paperwork with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Registration is renewed every two years, or when a bike changes ownership through sale or otherwise. Owners who fail to register their bike will be subject to a fine, as is currently the case for owners of motor vehicles.

In California, where cycling is popular, no such regulations exist, and cyclists are free to use the public highways in accordance with local restrictions (most freeways are off-limits to bicycles).

Whether or not the New Jersey bill is passed, it raises interesting questions about the rights of cyclists on the nation’s roads. In California, while cyclists theoretically enjoy the same rights as drivers of motor vehicles, the reality is that bicycle-users are second-class citizens on the roadways, and law-enforcement does little to protect riders or prevent abuse by drivers. Indeed, a great many roads do not have adequate cycle-lanes. Where lanes exist, they are frequently used as on-street parking spaces by ignorant drivers who unfortunately enjoy the legal freedom to do so.

If California introduces such a bill, perhaps it would include new protections for cyclists, such as enforcable rights to occupy the roadway without fear of harm, intimidation or assault by drivers. Perhaps the license fee will generate adequate revenues to fund protected cycle paths, alternate routes and secure bicycle-parking. Would the passage of such a bill exclude bicycles used exclusively on cycle-paths such as the American River Parkway?

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Broadway Bombing

It might be possible that this is the kind of thing that makes drivers and pedestrians dislike cyclists.

Broadway Bombing is racing the length of Manhattan down, you guessed it, Broadway.



5 reasons cyclists hate you

I could probably add a few more items to the list.

1. Passing too closely
Hey buddy, there’s a reason why there’s a state law that every vehicle must leave three feet of space between their car and a passing cyclist. Would you want to inhale a lung-full of exhaust while an 8,000-pound machine whizzes two inches away from your vulnerable flesh so they can get home in time to indulge in a Full House marathon and binge on Sun Chips? We think not.

2. The right hook

This is when you speed up to pass a cyclist and then make an abrupt right turn in their path. You usually underestimate your speed, which means the cyclists has to stop abruptly so that don’t crash into you. For those who haven’t experienced it firsthand, peacefully riding a bike and then, all of a sudden, having your bike fly up and over your head is more terrifying than thrilling.

3. Honking
Uh, yeah, driver, we kind of already know that you’re there. You’re hard to miss. You’re in a giant sedan. So, there’s really no need to honk. Unless you have one of those custom musical horns, it just makes you look angry and obnoxious.

4. The door prize
Kudos on your awesome parallel parking skills and all but please, oh please don’t open your door without checking the bike lane first. Otherwise, there’ll be flesh crashing into metal and asphalt when the cyclist flies off their bike and lands in traffic.

5. Cyclists who ride against traffic in the bike lane
For one, it’s against the law, and creates a dilemma for fellow riders who are obeying the rules. It’s not fun to problem solve under three seconds. Besides, if the unfortunate happens, and you do get hit by a car on the wrong side, it’s your fault. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.


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warning lights

I can think of more than a few places I’d like to see these here in the Sacramento region.

The flashing light is activated by cyclists riding over a sensor buried in the pavement. The light turns on for a span of four minutes, which is presumably the time it takes the rider to make it 1.5 miles to Jackson Street.

via cyclelicious
photo: Beth Schlanker / Press Democrat

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101 Wankers | my new favorite blog

Our first wanker was angry that a bicycle was on the road. He hit his horn whilst behind me, whilst I was waiting in the cycle box at the traffic lights. As he turned at the junction alongside me, he continued to use his horn. At the next traffic lights, he rolled his window down to shout “You stupid fucking slut, get off the road and onto the pavement, you stupid bitch”. He was in his company vehicle, so rather than rise to his bait, I took my iPhone out and openly took a photo of his registration plate. For some reason this shut him up.

The company in question is Cannon Hygiene. I’ve written to them to tell them about their driver, and will update if they get back to me.

hat tip andrew

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