Category Archives: safety

Danger and Difficulty

I gave a luncheon talk at the Midtown Library today about bicycling in traffic as traffic for basic transportation. The big sound-bite: If it were difficult or dangerous, I wouldn’t be doing it. That happens to be entirely true. I’m interested in neither difficulty nor danger. The talk consisted mostly of explaining the rules of […]

Do Not Stop In The Blind Spot

Too many urban bicyclists die each year in entirely preventable right-hook crashes with trucks. How do you prevent it? Proper lane positioning. You should never position yourself to the right of right-turning traffic — even if a bicycle lane channels you into such a position (e.g. such as some lanes in Portland, Oregon do). Here’s […]

The Heart of the Matter

Note: Nothing new to read here — just thinking out loud and boiling things down. The rules of safe movement are these: First come, first served. Drive on the right. Pass on the left. Everything should follow from these rules. Everything includes (but is not limited to): Traffic laws Traffic controls Engineering of streets and […]

Flip-side of the Amsterdam Coin

The damned thing is done. Sort of. It’s not what I had originally intended. Last year, when I published a tongue-n-cheek trailer for this video, I was planning a documentary about bicycling in Springfield, Missouri with comparisons to Amsterdam (realizing, obviously, that such comparisons are difficult at best given the radically different contexts). The comparison […]

On Paying Attention

So there I am this morning stopped at the light at Elm and Kimbrough heading east toward MSU. I’m first in line. The switch at this intersection often doesn’t trip for bicycles. There was very little traffic. A guy in a minivan pulls behind me — and we wait. After a bit, I decide to […]

Lane Position and the Sun

Hit from behind is the rarest of car-bicycle collisions in urban areas. The general rule of thumb is: The danger is in front of you at intersections. This picture, however, illustrates, a situation where the danger is behind, and the proper choice of lane positioning is not intuitive for many people. Another general rule of […]

Laugh? Cry? … Cry

Check out this recent press release from Trek re: their “Game Changer” program for bicycle advocacy. Here’s a screen shot of the picture on the press release. Yes. What you see there is likely a door-zone bicycle lane. In other words, a lane where the bicyclist is encouraged by the paint to ride next to […]

The Rules and What That Means

I have used the term “rules of safe movement” many times in discussing bicycle infrastructure. My usual link for it is this excellent essay by Chip Seal: The Steps of the Dance. I will continue to refer to this essay. I have secured permission to reproduce it for Carbon Trace readers — something I plan […]

Where Can (Should) You Ride?

Here’s what Missouri law states (307.190): Every person operating a bicycle or motorized bicycle at less than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic upon a street or highway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one […]

Of Advocacy and Stasis

To follow up on yesterday’s post, I want to address the whole discussion thing. I concluded my post with a short list suggesting that there are certain types of bicyclists that I’m willing to discuss advocacy with and certain types that, well, not so much. Now’s a good time to discuss stasis theory. Before one […]

Of Perception, Reality, and Desire

Here are two things you should go read right now: If you want to stop having this debate… Cyclists Aren’t ‘Special,’ And They Shouldn’t Play By their Own Rules I’m not going to comment directly on these except to say that each is important in its own way. Instead, I want to use these as […]

Perhaps Helmets Would Help

It seems pedestrians — especially older people and racial minorities — get regularly plowed by motor vehicles. Pedestrian trips make of 10 percent of total U.S. mode share, yet pedestrians suffer 13 percent of traffic deaths. The reasons for all of this are complex and complicated. But one thing I’ve experienced in my daily crossings of National […]

I Like To Watch And Listen

Every now and then I like to go to YouTube and watch traffic crash videos. You’ll find plenty of them because many people in Russia (and a few other countries out that way) run dash cams — I assume for insurance reasons. The following video is typical: You can also find many videos showing pedestrians […]

Enjoy The Death Zone

Bicycle infrastructure that violates the rules of safe movement is unsafe by definition. It doesn’t matter how much pretty green paint or fancy yellow reflectors you use. Take a look this from Boston University: Never mind for a moment that what we see here is a door-zone bicycle lane. Take a look at that green […]

The Bizzaro World of Courtesy

Yes, you do live in an episode of the Twilight Zone. Submitted for your approval, a world where the people who operate large, dangerous machines — automobiles — are given every courtesy, and,  in their mishaps with people who prefer to walk or ride a bicycle, are given the benefit of the “doubt.” The street […]