Bicycle Law – “Idaho Stop”

California is considering legalizing the Idaho Stop for bicyclists.

Many transportation safety experts say that the Idaho Stop is actually safer for bicyclists.

The change would be to the part 21200 California Vehicle Code to read:

[…] a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way to any vehicle or pedestrian in the intersection or approaching from another highway or street so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping. However, if required for safety, the person shall stop before entering the intersection, and may proceed after yielding the right-of-way.

The California Bicycle Coalition has a petition and is looking for signatures in support of this Assembly Bill and they explain the issue succinctly:

Almost all street intersections in California pose as a safety threat to people on bikes. The longer it takes for a person on a bike to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle. […] When people on bikes cross more safely at intersections and traffic flows more smoothly, it is a win-win for everyone.

The Vision Zero Department of Transportation push to end all deaths on our roads for all road users, is a great ideal to strive for and while improvements have been made, we’re still falling behind:

The year 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966 and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 show an alarming uptick in fatalities – an increase of about 10.4 percent as compared to the number of fatalities in the first half of 2015.

Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco all have the unfortunate claim to being in the top ten most dangerous cities for cyclists in the USA, per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2015 data. sadly, and Bicycle Advocacy at @BIKELA pointedly calls this out as Zero Vision.

Bicycle Pedestrian Skate Boards etc. Open Streets

Should be a blast and spectacular route to see on Sunday

2017 Rankings of Bicycle Friendly States

2017 BICYCLE FRIENDLY STATE℠ RANKING

The Bicycle Friendly State ranking provides a ranking for all 50 states based on four public data sources and a Bicycle Friendly State survey that is answered by each state’s Department of Transportation and/or a statewide bicycle advocacy organization.

Very useful categories are tracked also so that states and people can learn from what other state’s are doing.

Like this exciting project in California’s own Santa Monica.

Or the progress of San Gabriel Valley for bicycling and walking – Love these Greenways!

The fact is, we can and are doing more.

But we aren’t getting it done fast enough, and we are falling behind.

America Is Now an Outlier on Driving Deaths
New York Times
November 19, 2017

As a result, this country has turned into a disturbing outlier. Our vehicle fatality rate is about 40 percent higher than Canada’s or Australia’s. The comparison with Slovenia is embarrassing. In 1990, its death rate was more than five times as high as ours. Today, the Slovenians have safer roads.

#VisionZero San Diego has big plans, big improvements are coming our way.

Thanks to our hardworking Bicycle, Walking, and Transportation Advocates like San Diego Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Diego, Safe Routes to School, don’t want to leave anyone off the list here! Changes for safer streets and healthy ways to getting around are happening.

If you need more to get excited about, this AARP article hits the spot, “10 Ways Bicycle-Friendly Streets Are Good for People Who Don’t Ride Bicycles

“One of the things we’ve found with bike infrastructure is that it makes streets safer for everyone, not just bicyclists,” explains Barbara McCann, director of Safety, Energy & Environment for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). “It reduces the frequency of crashes. It calms traffic, which makes streets less chaotic and safer for everyone.”

Bicycle Fun Time This Weekend

Two great Bicycle Events

Bike the Pacific Coast, starting in Oceanside, you can choose the miles you want to ride. Continue through Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach …. Visit their website to learn more and to Register: Bike The Coast

Event #2 Benefits San Diego Mountain Biking Association too!

Go on a fun mountain bike ride, enjoy Green Flash Beer, Brats, swag, and your friends!

Bicycle Helmets

Buckle Up a Helmet to Save a Life
October 23, 2017
New York Times

Even a careful cyclist is likely to crash about once every 4,500 miles and, based on personal observation, many city cyclists are anything but careful. Although reliable details are lacking on bike share accidents in New York or elsewhere, one shattering statistic reported by New York City for cyclists in general stands out: 97 percent of cycling deaths and 87 percent of serious injuries occurred to people who were not wearing helmets.

“A very low-speed fall can be just as dangerous as a fall at higher speeds,” said Randy Swart, director of the consumer-funded Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. “All it takes is gravity – the distance to the ground – to cause a head injury.”

If you are traveling the USA, here is a handy link, map of USA states by bicycle helmet mandatory law

Bicyclists learn from bicyclists to break traffic laws. But perhaps the law should learn from them, researcher says.

Bicyclists learn from bicyclists to break traffic laws. But perhaps the law should learn from them, researcher says.
Washington Post
September 8, 2017

The study — which was conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska and published online in March in the Journal of Transport and Land Use — found that the reason most bicyclists (71 percent) violate traffic rules is a bid for self-preservation. Other reasons include saving energy (56 percent) or saving time (50 percent) or attempting to increase one’s visibility (47 percent). In other words, the study found that a large number of bicyclists tend to break the law because they think it will keep them safer.

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.

How to Choose the right Bike for you

How to Choose a Bike, According to Science – 10 Factors to Consider

You might want a bike for training, touring, commuting, or for day rides around town. Some people require more rugged bikes to handle difficult terrain and the bumps, dirt, roots, and grass that comes with it.

Choosing the right bike and getting it set up is often more work than expected. This is a handy guide that lays out a lot of variations of what is available in bikes so that when you are thinking it is time to get a new bike, you can view a huge array of choices side by side….brakes? You may not have considered brakes as something you would have to think about but you may want to. Electric assisted bike? If you live in a hilly area e-bikes can be pretty awesome to help get you going on longer rides especially if say your commute to work is downhill which means your return home is all uphill.

In California, at least around San Diego, you probably have a pretty good option of going with a used bike verses a new bike. Do be careful as older bikes may have been through a serious crash and could have a bent frame, etc.

Then there is the question what size frame do you need? What if you are pretty comfortable but you really don’t like the handle bars or the neck stem?

Fixie bikes are certainly cool but are you up for the challenge or capable of changing the gears you are running per your ride and your training?

This handy guide lays it all out, more than first probably comes to mind about your options. It will get you a good head start before you visit your local friendly bike shop, you’ll have a little bit of an idea of what you want to see and try or hear their opinions on.

Of course if you are able, you might want to start out with bike share, a great option and you don’t have to maintain your own wheels.

Or if you are interested in some form of bike racing of some sort, there are plenty of great folks in San Diego and S. California who can help you out. Connecting with folks in the type of riding you are interested can also open up possibilities of finding excellent quality and condition used bicycles or components.

Out of Long Beach, this is a world class pro cyclist “bike fit” to make sure your bike is fitted correctly for you.