Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Helmet-Cams: Got One?

I've been contacted by a major Columbus news outlet asking questions about helmet-cams and whether a lot of people use them while they ride in town.

And, to be frank, I have no clue!  I don't use one, and it's never really come up for me, but that doesn't mean that others aren't putting tech to work for them as they negotiate the Central Ohio roadways.

So...do you use one?  Has it come in handy?  How do you use it?  Are you interested in being interviewed?

Drop me a line either here in the comments, or via my email address.  Or feel free to get hold of me on Facebook or Twitter.

Hope to hear from you if you're rocking a helmet-cam!

People, not speed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ticketed for Riding Outside A Bike Lane? Not in Ohio.

Here's a humorous but poignant video from a New York rider who was ticketed for not riding in the bike lane when it was available.

First, I'm impressed at his mad stunt-man skills.


Still, it makes for a fun, though somewhat frustrating viewing. The problems we have with the few bike lanes here in Columbus (trash build-up, lack of knowledge about how to operate in or near them from both cyclists AND motorists) don't even compare to the problems they have in the Big Apple.



People, not speed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Accidents While Sidewalk Riding: Who's At Fault?

Riding on the sidewalk - never a good idea.
I got an interesting question from David today - unfortunately I was away from my computer when he asked the question so I couldn't respond to him personally. But it's a situation that I think deserves a post, so here goes.

David's question (and it was in Google Chat so it was informal):
Hey Jamie my names David, I had a bit of a situation about a month ago and now its coming back on me pretty hard, and I was wondering if you had any insight. I was getting off of the olentangy bike trail onto third ave up near grandview and stayed on the sidewalk for a block before I got out into the road (traffic was flowing at a solid pace) I know now that I'm not supposed to ride on the sidewalk ever, but as I was pulling into the road a woman pulled out of the OSU Cancer research center and COMPLETELY blocked the crosswalk. having now where to go i t-boned her, and now, long story short, I'm being pursued to pay some ludicrous amount to fix her door.   
Is there anything you can think of that might be of some help to me? they told me i was going to have to shell out $1000 and now it seems like they want me to pay the whole thing! (almost $2500!) I'm a college student and i'm already just getting by as it is. As far as everything else goes, i was following the law. i had reflectors and lights. it just seems like she was just as at fault, considering the fact that she was all the way out past where she was supposed to stop.
Interesting question, and I'm going to restate it as I understand what was going on here:

  1. David was on the sidewalk to begin with, but was pulling out onto the road.  
  2. A motorist pulled their car out too far, and blocked the crosswalk.  This leads me to understand that David was in the crosswalk and was trying to pull onto 3rd Avenue. 
As much as I hate to say it, David was in the wrong here for his part.  Although it's enforced about as much as texting while driving, sidewalk riding is illegal, and David admittedly was doing that.  

However, what I don't know is whether he should be held responsible for the entire amount as the driver in this case was blocking the crosswalk, which, if I understand correctly is legally considered an extension of the sidewalk.  It seems to me, as a strictly non-lawyer type, that both parties are at fault here.  I don't know how that applies to financial responsibility for a collision, though.  

If anyone with legal experience has an idea of how this should be handled, I'd love to hear it!  

Note: along with the comments here, we've got an interesting conversation going with this on Google+. 

People, not speed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yehuda Moon Added for Your Reading Pleasure

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Rick Smith and Brian Griggs of Yehuda Moon fame have created a widget that allows me to bring you their fantastic comic on a daily basis. Keep checking back for the latest episodes in the ongoing series about this hilariously passionate cycling advocate and his group of cycling friends.

People, not speed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What's the biggest misconception about transportation cycling?

In light of the Dispatch article today on bikes and cars mixing on the road, I thought that I'd open things up to a little different tact today. I already wrote up a critique of the article on Examiner, but over here we can get a bit more personal and less formal.

The article brought up a lot of great points about cyclists and motorists not knowing the traffic laws (and looking at the comments on the web version of the article, that condition is rampant from the motorists' side) and I agree wholeheartedly with all that.  And I was a bit distressed at some of the lack of detail given to certain points - like controlling the lane and getting the two-abreast law completely wrong.

But to bring up the notion of minimum speed limit was great.  That was a big plus - and hopefully it'll open the eyes of a few people.

So let's discuss it:  what are the biggest misconceptions YOU think both cyclists and motorists have about operating on the road?

People, not speed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Lazy Randonneur Won't Dress Like a Traffic Cone, But I Will

A new (to me) blogger called the Lazy Randonneur wrote an excellent article today (that was reposted by the People For Bikes Facebook page) about the author's refusal to "dress like a traffic cone" while he rides.  And it's an article that I totally agree with, but I will admit that I do dress like a traffic cone.

The standpoint is that the author, who we'll call LR for the purposes of the article, does not wear reflective clothing for his riding.  The standpoint is one that I've ranted about many times: that cycling is just transportation, and he wants to get where he's going with the absolute minimum of fuss.  And that's a standpoint that I agree with, wholeheartedly.  I make recommendations on bikes and equipment that will make your bike transportation easier and more convenient, in my opinion.  We're not going to get more people to ride unless we do that very thing - make it easy as (or easier than) driving a car.

That being said, I wear a fluorescent green jacket when I ride my commute each day.  Would wearing a dark jacket, which is what I do wear when I ride the bus or for most of my local rides when I'm not commuting, be sufficient?  Yes.  I am of the strong opinion that most problems cyclists encounter with traffic are alleviated when they ride properly - out in the middle of the lane, away from the curb, and controlling the traffic around them by taking up the space that they're legally allowed (at least in Ohio).  And if you're riding at night, using proper bike lighting on the front and back of your bike helps with nighttime visibility issues.

So why do I wear a fluorescent jacket when I'm riding, if I agree entirely with LR?

Because it's worked for me so far.  I've been riding regularly for around five years now, and I have yet to be involved in any sort of accident.  I rarely even have close calls (granted, after five years, my definition of a close call and a new rider's definition might be two different things) because I ride conspicuously and look conspicuous.

Other than that, I try to do as little as possible to change clothes from my riding clothes to my work clothes.  And I ride in such a way (slow!) that makes that easier since I'm not sweating as much.

But if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I have a lot riding on my regular daily safety.  And if I'm going to ride every day I should do what I can to remove as much of the risk as possible.  And though my riding style ensures that drivers are going to see me, wearing a fluorescent jacket or vest makes that even more clear.  That's not to say that people who don't partake in traffic cone chic are risking too much.  It's just my preference to do what's worked for me.

People, not speed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bike OSU Hosting Winter Bicycle Show

We've mentioned Bike OSU before, the great group of transportation cyclists that have organized at Ohio State to promote bicycling and work for bike acceptance and awareness.

The great folks over there are hosting a Winter Bicycle Show on Feb. 24th, with free safety checks, maintenance demonstrations, food, vendors such as :roll bicycle shop, and so much more!

If you've been thinking about getting out of the car, improving congestion around campus, giving your health a super boost, and save some money, then this is the chance for you to get on your bike and GO!

People, not speed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

League of American Bicyclists Wary of Bike Funding Cuts in Congress

The League of American Bicyclists sent out a post today warning people of the following.  If you're not a member of the League's Action List, you can join here:

Potential Attack on funding for bicycling could happen this week
We are on "Amendment Watch" 
Dear Friends: 
Working with our partners at America Bikes, we have been monitoring and preparing for possible federal budget cuts that could attack biking and walking. This is a “pre-alert” to give you the heads up that if biking and walking funding and programs are attacked, we will have a very short window in which to take action.

If an amendment attacking biking and walking is proposed we will let you know right away and ask that you do your part as a citizen to raise your voice for biking and walking. If such action is required we will provide specific information and directions.
There is no action to take at this moment – this is just a heads up that we need everyone to stand-by for action.
Thank you in advance.

People, not speed.