Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Accident Blame Game, Toilets in the Way, and Bike Share Sprawl.


Chicago's bike share is expanding yet again toward the suburbs.  That means it is expanding every week since this blog began, or faster than Ebola.

The New York Post claims that Citibike workers are about to unionize, raise costs, and send production to China.  Wait.  China?  They already have a bike share system about 100 times the size of Citibike.  The initial requests by the workers, now in the transit union, are for a $1.50 per hour wage increase, predictability in work hours, and a few other benefits like a 401k program.

Ever wonder how to install a bike share dock?  Here is a step-by-step guide from Capital Bike Share.  I hope that Lego will develop a game called "Install the Bike Share Dock Near Mommy's Office."


Construction work in cities often blocks bike lanes, but portable toilets for construction workers do too.  Call 311 and get DC's Mayor's Response Center.  Report the offending loo, and do your fellow cyclists a favor.  #prettyhighickfactor

Policy and Advocacy:

If a cyclist and car collide, DC law presently requires cyclists to show that the car was 100% at fault.  That is a very high bar, maybe impossible, maybe "proof beyond any doubt whether reasonable or not."  A new law being considered by the DC Council may change that.  Which would be good, because it may be hard to prove it was not your fault if you sustain a serious head injury that leaves you unconscious.

Are bike share systems serving only white gentrifiers?  An article in The Atlantic explores the causes and cures of the racial disparity in bike sharing, where just 3% of the users are African-American.  The article gives praise to advocacy groups like Black Women Bike DC, but fails to mention the growing number of docks in African-American neighborhoods.  It also raises the idea that African-Americans in Philadelphia do not have credit cards and therefore lack access to the very expensive bikes.  It leaves me wondering if the authors have ever been to a bike share dock east of the Anacostia River in DC, or realize that many of the people in African-American neighborhoods do have credit cards.  Those neighborhoods have other challenges, like few safe street routes to downtown and very steep hills that can turn a ride to work into a sweat-producing workout.  (Hint: You can take some of the bridges if you want to see Anacostia.  It's nice.  Try it.)

A reasonable voice emerges in Sacramento in the Bee newspaper.  In another sad story, a cyclist there hit a pedestrian while riding on the sidewalk.  The injuries were severe to say the least.  Seeing both sides of the issue, Breton notes that cyclists sometimes opt for the sidewalk because without bike lanes cyclists feel unsafe in the road.  However, Breton holds tight here, noting that cyclists should be accountable for riding on the sidewalk when they have a choice of a bike lane.

In London, cycling advocates are concerned that opposition to a planned bike super highway is actually coming from within the Department of Transportation itself.  Mayor Boris Johnson is the boss of London's transit agency so this would be a sort of mini revolt.  Further, there are reports in certain newspapers that businesses (translate taxis and truck drivers) are highly opposed to Johnson's plan.  Did transit officials undermine their boss by going to the press to claim widespread opposition to the plan?  Hmmm.  I doubt it will slow momentum in London.

Random notes:

Are bike repair co-ops the answer to reduce the cost of repairs and work?  I would be excluded/banned/forced to sign a no more entry agreement since I have no real bike repair talents, but I like the idea of a sharing marketplace.  In the abstract, of course.  For others.  But Bicycling Magazine offers four reasons why they should be fostered.

So, if I see you in the bike lanes, and you are not a portable toilet, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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