Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bicycle news stories round-up - Late July 2012

I haven't been blogging much, but I've been writing a lot at work. Instead of something profound (as if my stuff is ever "profound"...), maybe I can just share a few things I run across. I'll also try to write more, but in the meantime...

I'm going to try to post a few interesting stories about bicycling each week or two. Few comments, but mostly links to the articles.

Madison PD expands bike-cop program. New bikes, more cops on bikes. The program as been very popular with both the officers and the public.

The Atlantic Cities examines how bicyclists can sometimes be the bad guys. Although some pedestrians are quick to complain about bicyclists being rude, generally pedestrians and bicyclists are allies.

Walking and Biking Pay Off. The final reports are in, and an article for Federal Highways looks at the four Non-Motorized Pilot Transportation projects - one in Sheboygan.

Have you ever been accused of hating cars? Or heard people say the city is waging a war on cars? NPR examines this claim. And unless you think that this is a new argument, they look at the history of the American relationship with the car, one that has not always been loving.

Bike sharing helps transit systems bridge the "last mile." A good article in Mass Transit magazine explains that bike sharing can enhance a transit system by allowing customers to get from the bus or rail stop to their final destination quickly and easily. Chicago received money to get a bike sharing program off the ground from TIGER III funding by pointing out that the program will complement and improve access to the transit system. But as the Mass Transit article points out, the Federal Transit Administration won't fund the infrastructure for bike sharing, although the Federal Highway Administration will. And both the physical and political environment in a city must be friendly for bike sharing to work.

New York's huge bike share program is still on hold, and people are wondering what is holding it up. Even elected officials say the silence about the delay is disconcerting.

From Boston comes this blog post about why we should pay people to bike to work. What the post really argues is that "parking cash-out" should be more common.

A study from Florida shows that using "sharrows" on roads without bike lanes, but which have on-street parking, decreases the percentage of bicyclists riding in the "door zone," that is the area where they could be hit by a car door if someone opens it into traffic. Unfortunately, the percentage decrease only went from 71 percent to 55 percent, meaning that more than half the bicyclists still are at risk. Maybe they need more bicycle education. Florida isn't known as the safest place to ride or walk, and bicyclists are probably not all that confident that they won't get hit anyway.

Madison installed a HAWK signal - otherwise known as a pedestrian beacon at Blair St on the E. Mifflin bike boulevard. This signal is supposed to help bicyclists and pedestrians cross Blair while not encouraging additional motor vehicle traffic on Mifflin. Some recent research shows that these types of signals are effective in reducing pedestrian crashes.