Yes, make things worse to discourage driving

Image by pixaoppa from Pixabay

The Denver Post said in an editorial this morning it is “thrilled” the city remains committed to improving and adding to safer infrastructure for cyclists.

It spent the next several paragraphs with cautions, “questioning the wisdom” of plans for such improvements on Broadway, and saying the city shouldn’t be “spineless in this matter.” Then it wound up being spineless:

In short, we support the addition of bicycle lanes. Just don’t make things worse.

The Denver Post, January 26, 2020

That doesn’t sound like it came from an editorial board that is thrilled. Indeed, it is more akin to committed to the status quo. God forbid that anyone be inconvenienced by making the roads safer and encouraging more people to leave their cars at home.

Only a week ago, the same newspaper reported on how denizens of the Denver area are driving more when they should be driving less and on the unacceptable pollution of Colorado’s air.

The dangerous pollution that we breathe in every day inconveniences all of us while contributing to increasingly deadly changes in our atmosphere.

This is no time for weasel words and half-hearted measures that signal no real commitment to improving our lives. It is time to make people uncomfortable enough – to inconvenience them enough – to change their driving behavior.

Again, ask yourself why you drive and see if you can find another way to get around.

Pedal on.

B.J.

Thread: Why do you drive?

From @bjsmith on Twitter

~~~~~

Ever wonder why you can’t see the Flatirons when you know they’re just a few miles away?

If you drive when you could take a bus or train or ride a bicycle or walk, it’s partly because of you. denverpost.com/2020/01/17/den…

The Denver Post @denverpost
What’s polluting Colorado’s air? 125 million tons a year of heat-trapping and hazardous gases

No, you don’t personally generate much of the more than 125 million metric tons of hazardous and heat-trapping gases that pollute Colorado’s air every year. But you contribute to the toxic mess we inhale every day. denverpost.com/2020/01/19/col…

Image by susancycles from Pixabay 

I’ve heard all of the reasons people commute by themselves in a motor vehicle every day. If you’re one of those people, ask yourself if you have a good reason or a lame excuse.

Take me, for example. I could drive my fuel-efficient car every day and save myself a little time between Longmont and Boulder. But…

My employer provides an EcoPass for me and everyone I work with.

I can read or write or talk to people on the bus rather than worry about the many motorists on their phones or texting at 65+ miles per hour on the Diagonal Highway.

I can spend almost $0.00/day on gas.

Fortunately, I’m healthy enough to enjoy commuting by bicycle some of the time, or some combination of bicycle and bus.

I am surprised and disappointed some days to see few others on their bicycles. This is Boulder County and I expect better.

All things and privileges considered, I have no real, valid reason to drive myself to work and back every day.

So I don’t.

What’s your excuse?

Confession: I almost said I’d try an electric “bike”

When I heard that CU Boulder was looking for people who were willing to try riding an “electrically assisted bike” for a few weeks to get a chance at winning a free one, I almost threw my helmet in the ring.

Electric motor
Electric motor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story said the Exercise Science Lab is recruiting people who usually commute by car or bus for a study of the potential benefits of commuting with such a “bike.”

Then I asked myself:

  1. Is a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor really a bike?
  2. I usually commute by bus or by bicycle (without an electric motor), and will do almost anything to avoid driving a car to Boulder, so would I even be eligible?
  3. Didn’t I just spend too much for a new wheel and hub for the ass end of my commuter/MTB? Shouldn’t I start amortizing that?
  4. Can I commit to doing four weeks of anything?

Then I answered myself:

  1. Not really.
  2. Probably not.
  3. Yes. Yes.
  4. Um…

Don’t daydream on a bicycle?

…every cyclist must assume that every car driver could kill them. And you should never daydream.

Here at the Smith Compound (SC) we can’t say that Timothy Egan is wrong in this sad NYTimes piece about the death of a 31-year-old Seattle woman.

Indeed, while cycling we assume that every motorist, pedestrian and cyclist in the immediate vicinity is about to do something stupid, as they very often do.

But never daydream? It is surprisingly easy to become lost in thought while pedaling down the road or trail.

To never daydream is to deny one of the greatest pleasures of going about the countryside on two wheels.

Never is asking too much.

The SC prefers a more moderate approach: Be aware of your surroundings, and daydream when there’s no one else in sight.

empty road
Time to think, to dream

County closes damaged roads, but just to cyclists (again)

It could just be wishful thinking, but it looks like Boulder County’s transportation decider—or perhaps someone who writes the words for him—has modified his internal-combustion bias ever so slightly.

He was quoted as follows in a Longmont Times-Call story about why the damaged canyon roads are closed to cyclists:

While these conditions are experienced by both motorists and bicyclists, bicyclists are much more likely to have their safety compromised.

That’s an improvement, in that he acknowledges the roads are dangerous for motorists, but not much of an improvement.

The roads, he says, are more dangerous for cyclists than they are for motorists because of steep drop-offs and increased heavy equipment traffic. I’m going to hazard a guess that more motorists than cyclists go over those steep drop-offs on canyon roads and that there are more collisions between big trucks and other motor vehicles than there are between big trucks and people on bicycles.

The biggest hazards to cyclists are careless drivers, and maybe someday Boulder County and others will acknowledge that.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

More fuzzy thinking on Boulder County roads

There he goes again.

Boulder County Transportation Director George Gerstle is quoted in the Daily Camera as saying a canyon road will be closed to cyclists for several weeks, but open to motor vehicles.

Why is it closed to people who travel by bicycle?

View of Ward from below along Lefthand Canyon Road
View of Ward from below along Lefthand Canyon Road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His explanation:

“It’s not wide enough for big trucks and bikes at the same time.”

Apparently it is wide enough for big trucks and automobiles, though.

As I said before, we are all traffic. Either allow traffic on the road, or don’t.

Pedal on.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Do some traffic signs increase risk to road users?

Our community’s pernicious motor-centric bias is on display along U.S. Highway 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.

As we drove that route Monday to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking, I couldn’t help but notice the road signs that singled bicyclists out for special attention. Bicycling was “not recommended,” the signs said, and cyclists were advised that they did so “at their own risk.”

Some questions

  • When do cyclists ever not ride at their own risk?
  • Were we driving our car at someone else’s risk?
  • Are motorists less inclined to be careful and polite around cyclists when they see such warnings?

By telling the community that some roads are unsafe for non-motorized travel, and telling all road users who can read that cyclists really shouldn’t be around, our transportation officials reinforce the notion that roads are just for cars and trucks. They make the roads more dangerous for bicycling.

Tell them they need to stop doing that.

Boulder County Transportation

Colorado Citizen’s Advocate for Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation

Share the road

Having bicycled up Highway 36 to Estes Park a couple of summers ago, I’m not really eager to do it again, but that’s beside the point.

Whenever you see someone on a bicycle, people, pass with care.

That’s what “share the road” means.


Enhanced by Zemanta