BAD NEWS SHARROWS some infrastructure worse than none

From a study out of University of Colorado sharrows may actually do more harm for bicycle riders than good.

Some Bike Infrastructure Is Worse Than None at All

But far from giving cyclists a safer ride, or even doing nothing at all, sharrows might actually be doing some harm by tugging bikes into moving traffic. Some research has found they do reduce dooring (when the door of a parked car hits a cyclist). But only one study to date looked at whether or not sharrows had any impact on overall car-bike collisions—and that study found they could be increasing the risk of injury.

Door Zone Bike Lanes

Not all bike lanes are good bike lanes.

Many bike lanes are just squeezed in on roads and in the gutter or door zones of parked vehicles.

Often, this only makes it more challenging to ride a bike because car drivers get incensed that the ungrateful bicycle riders are riding in a lane and not using the space designated to them.

Like Sharrows, not all bike lanes are improvements to roads for bicycle rider safety.

The intersection pictured above is a road on the border between Del Mar and Solana Beach and it made a recent list of the 50 worst roads in San Diego County. It seems to be even worse than reported as accidents are reported at this intersection for both Del Mar and Solana Beach, but not combined. The intersection is Highway 101 and Via De La Valle – when going South from Solana Beach. If one is traveling North from Del Mar, the intersection is Camino Del Mar and Via De La Valle. It is no wonder that this made the list of most dangerous roads in San Diego County, and we wonder if this intersection is even more dangerous than the data suggests.

The road and intersection are the border of fDel Mar and Solana Beach in san Diego County
This intersection in Solana Beach made a list of the 50 most dangerous roads for bicyclists in San Diego County. It might even be worse if the exact location of accidents was better known as we identified the same intersection reported both from Del Mar and from Solana Beach.

Pedestrian deaths highest level in 28 years

The latest traffic crash data is being crunched and the trends are not good. Hit and Run incidents are steadily increasing, bicyclists and pedestrians are especially vulnerable to this problem. The IIHS has recently released another study as reported in the Washington Post, Pedestrian deaths soar 46 percent, insurance group finds.

Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016, up 46 percent from 2009, when such deaths were at a low point, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said in a report issued Tuesday. That’s the most pedestrian deaths since 1990, and at a much faster rate than for overall traffic fatalities, which rose 11 percent over the same period.

San Diego has an ambitious Vision Zero plan to reduce all traffic related fatalities by improving design infrastructure for all users.

San Diego Bike Lane Network – Progress (?)

It’s more important than ever to stay tuned to the news about the fate and progress of San Diego’s bike lane improvements, and complete street projects. So far, large amounts of money has been spent, with little bike lanes to show for it. Planning is expensive and highly important, so, while it is hard to be patient, this is an important ingredient in great engineering.

Faulconer calls for premium bike lanes downtown, likely delaying marquee project by years

However, the more than 9-mile network of protected bike lanes — which would use physical barriers to separate riders from traffic — may not be completed while Mayor Kevin Faulconer is in office, as first promised.

While the mayor said more than a year ago that he would build the lanes by 2019, the project, expected to serve as a model for the region, is now looking at a years-long delay, according to city staff.

The reason: Faulconer, inspired by a recent trip to Vancouver, has called for building some of the most elaborate bike lanes in the country — increasing the price tag from $10.5 million to $25 million, according to the city’s most recent projections.

Follow our bicycle advocate friends for action and news alerts.
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Bike San Diego

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

San Diego Bike Mobility Plan

The City of San Diego City Council adopted a plan in June, 2016 targeted toward increasing the routes available to cyclists and improving safety on the road.
Part of the city’s 2035 Climate Action Plan, the Downtown Mobility Plan is supported by local businesses and will cost $62.5 million over the next 30 years. Its goal is to transform many vehicle lanes and on-street parking spaces into protected cycling lanes and pedestrian walkways.
With a limited number of bicycle paths in the downtown area, cyclists ride streets with relatively high traffic volumes and moderate vehicle speeds. Under these conditions, cyclists don’t feel safe navigating the road or have to weave their way through pedestrians on the sidewalks if they want to avoid proximity to automobiles.
This plan aims to correct oversights by city planners that years ago designed downtown streets without including safe, designated paths for bicycles. The new bicycle tracks will be their own lanes physically marked and separated from the rest of the street. Cycle tracks are typically located directly adjacent to a roadway but have a vertical barrier to exclude motor traffic, further segregating and protecting cyclists.
The new north-south tracks are planned to be on Pacific Highway, State Street, Sixth Avenue, and Park Boulevard. The east-west tracks will be on Beech Street, Broadway, J Street, and small sections of B and C Streets. The locations of these new tracks were placed in order to connect routes through the city to bicycle paths in surrounding cities and communities.

San Diego Bike Mobility Plan
San Diego Bike Mobility Plan

Cyclists will still need to be wary of traffic and share lane space on roads such as Harbor Drive, Market Street, and Park Boulevard that divert traffic flow from Interstate 5, Route 163, and Route 94. These roads will not have the new tracks installed and will still pose a danger to cyclists.
If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a bicycle accident due to the fault of another party, call the Goetz Law Firm now at 858-481-8844 as you may file a claim against the negligent party and obtain compensation for injuries incurred and resultant property damages.