Today’s Go-Read-It-Nows

Things you should be reading today:

State of the Art Bikeway Design, Or Is It? David Hembrow demonstrates that some U.S. bikeway designs are inferior to Dutch designs even though the designers claim to be following “best” European practices.

The biggest problems with these guidelines lie in the intersection designs. For instance, NACTO states “typical international best practice is a two-stage turn”. We couldn’t disagree more! The shown queuing boxes are a terrible solution. They not only slow cyclists down but put them in a very dangerous position in the middle of the junction where cyclists have to wait while motorised traffic passes on all sides. This is something that you will never see implemented in the Netherlands!

In A Split Second. Why momentary inattention while driving a car is no excuse for causing deadly wrecks.

Increased penalties are a means of retribution after-the-fact. But, unless one is a sociopath, the horror of killing someone through negligence should overshadow the fear of legal penalties. Therein lies the problem. Fear of consequences only affects behavior if there is a reasonable belief the behavior will result in consequences. People engage in distracting behaviors while driving because they don’t believe anything bad will happen.

$4 Per Gallon Gas — Are We Ready? Kinda sez it all…

The current rapid increase in gas prices has prompted talk of opening the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but this will at best buy us a couple of months nationally, with no assurance of relief here. The best long-term response to rising gas prices is to reduce demand for gas. President Obama spoke about reducing demand in a press conference last week and the need for more fuel-efficient cars. Increasing the energy efficiency of our cars is important, but equally important is the need to reduce the number of miles we drive.

Rugrats in the Stats. Robert Hurst discovers something interesting in the numbers.

The greatest danger to the adult bicyclist is not his or her own scofflaw behavior, as one might mistakenly conclude from looking at the whole cycling population, including little kids. The greatest danger facing the adult bicyclist is being overlooked by a driver while riding lawfully.

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Comments 5

  1. Mighk Wilson wrote:

    Re: Hurst’s claim:

    I can’t speak for other cities and studies, but in my study of cyclist/motorist crashes in metro Orlando the characteristics of adult crashes and child crashes were much the same.

    That said, even if motorists are at fault most of the time, that doesn’t mean cyclists can’t learn how to mitigate motorist mistakes. Which is more likely to be successful: learning how to deal with the mistakes of others, or getting everybody else to change their behaviors?

    Posted 08 Apr 2011 at 11:23 am
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Mighk… Bicyclists can learn to deal with the mistakes of drivers, which I take as part of the lesson of Keri’s “dance” video.

    Posted 08 Apr 2011 at 11:46 am
  3. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Do I understand that video correctly? For a Dutch cyclist to turn left, he/she has to circumnavigate the intersection 270 degrees? That seems cumbersome, unless you have your own 270 degree light cycle.

    Posted 08 Apr 2011 at 12:29 pm
  4. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal… I’m not sure. I think what’s being demonstrated is that a left can be designed that doesn’t require the bicyclist to first go right, cross traffic, then proceed straight — which is how some folks are suggesting it be done. David Hembrow has published a lot of video from the Netherlands. You’ll see all kinds of infrastructure.

    Posted 08 Apr 2011 at 12:47 pm
  5. Khal Spencer wrote:

    The Dutch seem good at engineering these things to make complexity seem a thing of beauty. Seems the opposite of Occam’s Razor.

    I do admire those European nations who design bicycling infrastructure to be first rate rather than something grudgingly put in around the Car is King paradigm.

    Posted 08 Apr 2011 at 1:03 pm