Urbification: Taking the sub out of Calif. suburbs

Walking. Bicycling. Alternatives to Driving Everywhere. Social justice. Alternatives to suburban boredom and waste. And the infrastructure and technology needed to get there.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Truthiness comes to bicycle advocacy

I start with this classic Stephen Colbert quote:
It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty. People love the President because he's certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don't seem to exist. It's the fact that he's certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?
Colbert said this in 2006, referring to conservative misinformation on a variety of issues during the administration of George W. Bush. But the core thought -- "Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything" -- has become the modus operandi and in fact a rallying cry of the organized bicycle advocacy movement, headed by the League of American Bicyclists and various state organizations such as the California Bicycle Coalition.

As a result, segrated bicycle facilities are being proposed and built whose design is based on perception of safety rather than actual empirical evidence.

Now there are some benefits of some of these new facilities, which greatly increase bicycle mode share -- and statistically speaking, bicyclists are safer on these facilities than on many ordinary streets.

However, the evidence suggests that the number and incidence of crashes between bicyclists and motorists actually increases at intersection conflict points.

Those bicyclists who wish to ride on the street rather than on the segregated (cycle track) facility face increased harassment by motorists or even citations by police due to their regarding the cycle track as a bike lane, which it is not, but if it were, cyclist use would be mandatory, at least in California.

Not all cycle tracks are bad, but some are now being proposed, such as on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, which are likely to be the most problematic, hidden behind rows of parked vehicles with entering and exiting pedestrians, and prohibiting mid-block left turning movements by bicyclists, among other things.

I will post other thoughts on this in the future, such as how truthiness came to bicycle advocacy, but meanwhile, I encourage readers to check out the Facebook group, Cyclists are Drivers, for more information.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Map reveals corporate bus routes for Silicon Valley workers

The Wall Street Journal reports on studies that visualize the private corporate bus network that transports the equivalent of one-third more Caltrain riders from San Francisco to Silicon Valley. I am certain that a smaller but similar network is growing in the East Bay as well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Podcast: Promoting Cycling and Walking for Sustainable Cities

John Pucher, professor in the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and editor of the new book City Cycling from MIT Press, speaks at UC Berkeley's Institute of Urban and Regional Development on November 16, 2012. Listen. (1:54:00 stereo recording, 105MB).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Increasing appeal

According to the Urban Land Institute: "Living smaller, closer to work, and preferably near mass transit holds increasing appeal as more people look to manage expenses wisely."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Podcast: A bike coalition plans for the future

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition's September member meeting let EBBC members give input on the EBBC's strategic plan. This recording captures the start and the end of the meeting, but not the middle which broke into small groups. The meeting took place at the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, California. Listen. (Stereo recording, 1:04:55, 119MB)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bicycle "streetscapes": Perception is not the same as real safety

Advocates of "streetscape improvements" for bicyclists are fond of saying that such things as dedicated spaces for bicycling will add to the perception that bicycling on the street is safe. But now they are going too far -- saying that such facilities are, in fact, safer. But the jury's still out -- and it may be that while you're less likely to be injured while in such side paths, the absolute number of injuries to bicyclists will go up. So let's have some restraint, streetscape advocates, or else cough up some hard data.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Road safety is a major health issue

The United Nations has declared 2011-2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The Association of Health Care Journalists recently held a panel discussion about road safety.