Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bike Whisperers, Pro-Cycling Law Firms, and How Bikes Save Governments Money


Capital Bike Share is now four years old.  It has 200 stations in D.C. and 140 in the 'burbs.  Riders burned more than 186 million calories riding bike share in D.C. over the last four years.  There have been no fatal crashes on bike share in D.C..  Mean people and trolls do not use bike share according to hard science.  And people who use bike share are more attractive and earn points toward heaven.  Okay, at least some of this is true.  Happy Birthday to one of the best things to happen to D.C. since the National Gallery opened.  And it's safe too. #capitalbikeshare


Heard about the Intersection of Doom, where cyclists go to get killed, where tumble weeds blow past and the stink of death is in the air . . . Except no one got killed there in the last 16 years. #bikehysteria

Do drivers pay attention to bike lanes?  Well certainly drivers of box trucks do because they love to park in them.  But apparently cars do not pass cyclists at safer distances because of a painted line on the road.  They do give a wider berth if the road is wider. #bikelanes


Want people to stop cycling on the sidewalk?  They mostly do it to be safe, it turns out.  As soon as you install bike lanes, they stop using the sidewalk.  Where are there the fewest lanes?  Minority neighborhoods, which is why most tickets issued for sidewalk cycling are given to blacks and latinos.  Bummer.  #totallyfixable

Policy and Advocacy:

Gosh bike lanes seem like such a waste of public money.  Right?  Wrong.  Check out this analysis of Copenhagen's lanes and infrastructure:

It’s not all one big eco-hippy love-fest, though – it’s simple financial common sense. The cost of 1km of cycle track is paid off in five years by the health benefits of users getting more exercise. Car traffic drops by 10% on these stretches and cycling increases by 20%. The 41% of the population who arrive at work or school by bike contribute a whopping €235m (£185m) a year to the public coffers. Re-allocating space from less cost-efficient transport forms like cars to modern, cost-effective bicycles makes sense.
#saving taxpayer dollars  #infrastructureinvestment #bikelanes  #oh just put the darn things in already

And studies in the U.K. say that investments in cycling infrastructure could actually save millions. Savings are projected at over 30 billion dollars for England's public health system over the next 20 years. #stating obvious stuff here

Law firms in the U.K. have joined the movement to get better #cycling infrastructure.  It would be fantastic to see major law firms in the United States take a stand for cycling.  But respectable law firms only, please.  Not the people who advertise on late night television for victims of medical malpractice, or bring class actions suits against pharmaceutical companies.  August, serious, intellectual law firms with obscene amounts of legislative influence.  Here are some of the British firms on the right side of history:

Could it be true that no city with widespread cycling has improved safety by having a mandatory helmet law?  Yup.  And Mayor Bill de Blasio is not backing a helmet law for NYC either.  #helmetlaw

In NYC, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg takes pride in her city's transition to a cycling mecca:

New York has—against all odds—embraced and has been transformed by a mode of transportation which is inexpensive, burns no fuel, emits no carbon, helps tackle obesity, connects people to their communities and let’s face it, brings joy.

See this nice piece in The Examiner.  I especially agree with the joy part.   #PollyTrottenberg

China, which is presently facing an environmental crisis over its air pollution, is trying to reverse its transition to a car culture.  The growing Chinese middle class has come to see cars as the spoils of wealth, not unlike Americans have done for 50 years.  Over 100 more cars come into Beijing every single day.  Staggering.  But in China, the government simply orders people to ride bikes instead of driving some days.  I guess I am against that.  Right?  That's a violation of civil liberties.  Right?  It's just wrong.  Right?  And bossy.  Right?  Hesitating . . . hesitating.  Hmmmm.  Testing my civil rights resolve here . . .

I have to confess the steady drumbeat of stories about how women do not bike is depressing.  Yesterday I noticed myself in a pack of seven male cyclists at a traffic light and could not see another female for several blocks.  This morning, it seemed like there were only women in the lanes.  But I accept the statistics that say more men cycle to work than women.  So I am thrilled to see this positive piece about how to get women cycling.  It's very easy to identify what is not working in society.  It's a greater achievement to identify workable solutions.  Thanks to #Amy George  #womencyclists

Interested in becoming a female bike mechanic?  Bicycling Magazine has this scholarship announcement.

Random notes:

There are plenty of self-proclaimed bike fitters.  Then there are people for whom it is a labor of love.  Bike whisperers.  Meet a Smiley al-Abd, Washington's fixer of all things bikes.  El-Abd works from his suburban Maryland garage helping cyclists from the U.A.E. to Washington, D.C. figure out how to ride more comfortably.  And not surprisingly, this Egyptian-born wizard is a mechanical engineer who knows how to make things run smoothly using plumb bobs, protractors and levels.  What else?  #smiley el-abd  #bikefitter #bikewhisperer  #giants among us

It's hard not to smile at this little film about Project Upcycle.  Fun guys convert a damaged grocery cart into a magic tricycle. #projectupcycle

So if I see you in the bike lanes, on a Capital Bikeshare three-speed, or a high-end Cannondale adjusted by none other than the bike whisperer, let's be smug.

Elisa P.

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