San Diego Bicycling – Will We Have Vision Zero or Zero Vision?

San Diego’s infrastructure funding gap grows by $310M
San Diego Union Tribune
January 28, 2018

An ambitious plan to build 77 miles of bicycle lanes throughout the San Diego region is behind schedule — with less than four miles open to the public and more than $60 million spent. Officials with the San Diego Association of Governments have said that much of that money has been for used for design and community outreach, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of an average project under the program.

Still, it is an ambitious plan and in the end, San Diego County will have an amazing network. But, the delays really are adding up.

But, on the other hand, incredibly projects are also breaking ground or close to opening.

SANDAG Budget Has More Delays For Priority Bike Projects
KPBS
2-8-2018

One project that would create separated bike and pedestrian paths along Pershing Drive through Balboa Park is facing a construction delay of about 10 months. The corridor is a key missing link in San Diego’s bike network that would connect densely populated Mid-City neighborhoods with downtown.

Meanwhile, with all the delays and already many years out from the beginning of Vision Zero push pedestrian traffic fatalities are happening too often in San Diego County, fatalities which could and should be prevented under the Vision Zero goals.

Pedestrian deaths in San Diego rack up as city drags on Vision Zero
San Diego Union Tribune
2-11-2018

While traffic-related fatalities in the city declined last year, the number of deaths still eclipsed homicides, including 17 pedestrian deaths on top of hundreds of often crippling injuries. Since January, nine people walking the streets of San Diego have been killed by motorists.

So, we’re behind schedule, and unlike New York City having the lowest pedestrian fatalities to an all time low, we’re still seeing pedestrian fatalities, and numerous crashes leaving people seriously injured with life long lasting consequences.

At the same time, more than 500 pedestrians a year are wounded or seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents, according to a City Auditor’s report from 2016.

‘Vision Zero’ brings traffic fatalities in New York to an all-time low
L.A. Times
2-1-2018

It appears to be working. Total traffic fatalities in the city, including those involving pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and motor vehicles, fell from 299 in 2013 to an all-time low of 214 last year.

Pedestrian deaths were down from 184 to 101, though deaths of bicyclists rose from 12 to 23.

A lot of challenges remain for San Diego County. We know that the idea and strategy of Vision Zero works, prioritize the most dangerous streets and intersections, make road design safer, and when this all happens, everyone has a place to move in traffic safely, cars, pedestrians, strollers, bicycles. And, studies show that these road improvements actually make shopping in cities better for businesses because people can walk around and people are drawn to shopping and restaurants where these improvements have happened.

But data points to priorities, and improvements take studies and money, and time. What are we going to do if we are running out of both money and time and the organization for collecting the data and prioritizing the projects is also lagging.

San Diego’s infrastructure funding gap grows by $310M
San Diego Union Tribune
2-13-18

On sidewalks, the projected need is $166 million and only $14 million is expected to be available.

There are similar gaps on streetlights, $204 million versus $1.4 million; traffic signals, $144 million versus $11 million; and bike lanes, $122 million versus $6 million.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting – Safer For Motorcyclists

California takes first step to establishing lane-splitting guidelines for motorcyclists
LA Times
September 1, 2016

While motorcyclists and car drivers still don’t agree.

Several motorcyclists’ groups objected to that language, finding the speed limit too low. Other groups and individuals, who believe that lane splitting is dangerous regardless of the speed, objected to the proposal on principle.

AMA: Study Finds
Lane-Splitting Increases Rider Safety

“Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators, and environmental conditions increase the risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “Reducing a motorcyclist’s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic.”

Differing Perspectives

The survey also found that a large majority of motorcyclists exceeded the speed of the surrounding traffic by 15 MPH or less while lane-splitting. When asked “How much faster than the rest of traffic do you go when lane-splitting?,” 30%, 47%, and 14% responded traveling 5MPH, 10 MPH, and 15 MPH faster than traffic, respectively.

Motorcyclists and their advocates need to educate auto drivers.

Their position is that lane-splitting is a safe and beneficial strategy for motorcyclists if done in areasonable manner, and that the success of legalized lane-splitting in any US state will bedependent upon high levels of knowledge among non-motorcycling road users.

Bikes May Have To Talk To Self-Driving Cars For Safety’s Sake

Anthony Rowe, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, wants bikes to feed information to nearby cars to avoid collisions. His bike is fitted with an array of precise instruments and a battery hidden in the water bottle.
NPR
All Things Considered
July 24, 2017

Proponents of self-driving cars say they’ll make the world safer, but autonomous vehicles need to predict what bicyclists are going to do. Now researchers say part of the answer is to have bikes feed information to cars.

Drivers: Share the Road

People on bicycles have the same rights as people behind the wheel of a car.  And the same responsibilities.

  • Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
  • In parking lots, at stop signs, when packing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
  • Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
  • Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.

Cars and Bikes Share the Road

Good article from Ohio about Ohio bicycle laws for cars and bicyclists to better understand how to better share the road and be aware of each other. One important point that is emphasized is reminding drivers that bicycle riders are vulnerable road users, this includes the new law about leaving a passing buffer space around a cyclist and your vehicle.

Although these are Ohio bicycle laws, many of them are very similar to California, and many of them are just good common sense reminders about how we all can share the road safely, and get to where we are going without incident, stress, and hopefully with some fun along the way.

Breaking down Ohio’s bicycle laws

But, even though drivers and bicyclists follow many of the same rules on the road, both need to remain aware of the vulnerability of those on bikes, he said.
“If you pass me too close in your car or if you’re errant in that way, you can do serious human bodily damage,” Kuhn said. “We’re not driving a 4,000-pound cage with 10 airbags.”

Don’t Say ‘Cyclists,’ Say ‘People on Bikes’

A group of Seattle-based safer streets advocates say they’ve been able to foster a much more civil debate by changing up the language they use.
City Lab 2/11/2017

“Now the city talks about safety. When you feel like what you are gaining is the ability to walk freely and safely around your neighborhood, rather than bike lanes for somebody else, that sounds a lot better.”

Cars with potentially deadly Takata air bags are still being made and sold

Cars with potentially deadly Takata air bags are still being made and sold
LA Times
6/1/16

[…] The carmakers – Toyota, Vokswagen, Fiat Chrysler and Mitsubishi – are selling some vehicles from the 2016 and 2017 model years that include inflators that have already been linked to at least 11 deaths around the world, according to the report released Wednesday.

“Consumers are buying new cars and not realizing they’re going to be recalled,” the report’s author, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), said in a statement. […]

GM says its Takata air bag inflators are safe; government disagrees

GM says its Takata air bag inflators are safe; government disagrees
LA Times
6/2/16

[…] GM said it would begin the recall process in cooperation with the NHTSA even though it doesn’t believe inflators in its trucks are unsafe. […] Recalls related to Takata in this round now total 16.4 million vehicles. […]