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!

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.

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.

Truck Underride Crashes Cause Death & Injury Every Year – Preventable #VisionZero

Truck and trailer underride or side-under-ride crashes are extremely dangerous to car occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists. The NTSB actually called for this as well as pointed out the inadequate crash data reporting on truck crashes. Every year people are killed on our roads from these types of crashes which are preventable using side guards or rear guards which are strong enough to take the force of vehicles at highway speeds.

This NBC article from February 2017 states, “Side Underride Crashes Kill 200 People a Year. Will Congress Act?

The federal agency in charge of highway safety requires guards on the back of trucks, but not along the sides. And key lawmakers who have together received millions of dollars in campaign donations from the transportation industry haven’t pushed for it, despite a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board.

But we do not really know the number of incidents of crashes and hence deaths as no state actually tracks this data in our National Reporting System. Worse, the USA rear guards are not actually strong enough to prevent cars at even lower city speeds from going under trailers. Our crash reporting system data does not track these types of crashes well. To confuse things even more, Canada has stronger requirements for the rear guards on trailers and without tracking model numbers, we don’t have any idea what is actually happening and why.

Yet, cities like New York, Boston, Portland, and Seattle are taking steps with city fleets to put side guards on trucks because they know that these can help reduce preventable pedestrian and cyclists death and injuries. February 2017: SDOT installs truck safety sideguards + What would it take to get them on every truck?

Seattle’s Department of Transportation is retrofitting all department trucks to include sideguards designed to reduce harm to people walking and biking in the case of a collision.

Sideguards to be made mandatory for all trucks doing business in Boston

2015: New York City made side guards on trucks mandatory

In New York City, Trucks make up just 3.6 percent of vehicles on New York City streets, according to U.S. DOT, but are involved in 12.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 32 percent of bicyclist deaths.

Side guards on trucks and trailers in cities just make sense. Another cyclist Gets The Right Hook: It’s Time For Sideguards On Trucks In North America

Every time an accident like this happens, cyclists have the same question: Why aren’t side guards legally required on trucks in the City? Europe has them. The UK has them. As of January 1, 2011, even Brazil has them!

A right hook is a common cyclist crash type.

And the DOT has been working on testing and improved side guards and rear guards, just not many trucks are actually getting them. Protecting Pedestrians and Bicyclists, One Safer Truck at a Time

In the coming years, the simultaneous rapid growth of urban freight and walking and bicycling in the U.S. threatens to increase truck-involved casualties, which are already overrepresented relative to trucks’ share of vehicles on the road today.

Volpe’s research into both proven and new crash avoidance and mitigation technologies for trucks is shaping a new pillar of cities’ Vision Zero programs, as well as advancing U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s bicycle-pedestrian safety priority. One specific safety technology—side underride guards—further extends to the tantalizing potential co-benefit of fuel efficiency, implying attractive payback and a pathway to accelerated adoption.

2014: NTSB Issues Recommendations to Correct Safety Vulnerabilities Involving Tractor-Trailers

Collisions with the sides of tractor-trailers resulted in about 500 deaths each year and that many of these deaths involved side underride. Researchers also found that current trailer rear underride guard standards are outdated.

The NTSB in the same press release discusses the known blind spots in single unit trucks as well as tractor trailers which cause death and injury every year to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and vehicle occupants.

#VisionZero these are preventable deaths and injuries caused by bad design that we know about and know how to improve. We know that data collection inadequate which is fixable. We have some technology which can improve things quickly. We still aren’t trying to implement recommendations from the NTSB in 2014 which seems like willful ignorance.

Finally, the NTSB asked NHTSA to address the issue of data collection on trailers. When a tractor-trailer gets into an accident, police officers routinely record basic information about the truck-tractor component of the tractor-trailer, including the model year and vehicle identification number. However, information about the trailer component is usually missing from federal and state databases. Having this information could help with evaluation of safety standards and determine whether certain trailer designs and equipment should be altered to reduce injury risks to passenger vehicle occupants.