Providentially, the Times Union chose Sunday, May 5, the day of Albany’s 3rd Annual Bicycle EXPO 2013 to run an AP story on NYC’s long awaited (and Sandy delayed) bike share program. Scheduled to begin this month, the scheme will feature 6,000 3-speed bicycles and 330 docking stations. Planned growth will be to 10,000 cycles with 600 stations.
According to the report, there are 534 bike share programs worldwide. Follow the link to red more . . .
On the home front at the Bicycle EXPO, Albany’s own Kate Lawrence from the Mayor’s Office of Energy and Sustainability appeared in a Times Union (5/6/13) photo story. Cyclists are shown being briefed on Albany’s Bicycle Master Plan (see Map 1, pg. 5).
The Mayor’s Office of Energy and Sustainability was responsible for applying for and receiving designation in 2012 of Albany as a bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists. While Albany, with an honorable mention, does not appear in LAB’s current bronze-silver-gold-platinum listings, it is still in an elite group as there are only two cities, NYC and Rochester, in the rankings. This leaves NYS as a dismal 43 out of 50 states with only one way to go – up.
The Washington Ave. Flyover and Related work is complete. Two cyclists gave their opposing thoughts on the results. What are yours?
From a Daily Washington Ave. Extension Commuter – I am VERY deeply concerned. I suspect it is going to force me to change my route entirely to avoid it. I go west on Washington. If I take the flyover, I have cars and garbage trucks coming onto Washington westbound at 55 mph on my right on the on-ramp from Fuller while I am stuck between them and the other traffic doing 55 mph on my left. This is almost certain death. If I get off Washington before the flyover and go down the ramp, around the circle, and back up the ramp, I have to assert my right-of-way over the commuters coming south on Fuller Rd. and into the circle while I’m there. This also strikes me as a death-defying experience. I cannot say for sure because I have not tried it yet, but I expect this whole thing is going to be a HUGE disaster for my commute. I think the design is terrible for cyclists and sets us back instead of moving us forward. It makes one more place no normal cyclist will ever dare go.
From an Experienced Road Cyclist – I took a ride . . . through the university and along Washington Ave. Extension. I do like the new configuration at Fuller Road. It was easy to do the traffic circle and then the flyover. The condition of the road surface at that intersection is much improved, needless to say. And I do like traffic circles. I think they are fun and despite what others think, I say safer. Traffic certainly does need to slow down in order to negotiate and this seems to give equal advantage to the cyclist. [The result] could be cumulative as numbers of cyclists increase.
You can’t get anything past me. Okay so maybe you can, but as soon as traffic cones it the pavement I am on it.
Check out this video and then come back.
I know right! They are finally starting construction on the pothole filled, broken pavement riddled, flip your bike over monster that is Fuller Rd. Also did you notice in the video that the words “bike lane” came up. I can’t confirm any of this, and I put a call into the Department of Public Works and the news organization that ran the story for more info since I checked their website and it has not been updated in a while. In fact it says that construction was not to begin until November. So keep your fingers crossed that we come out on top with this one. If anything I am glad that they are going to fix the potholes.
Written by Chris Belsole
I wish I had better news. On this blog we bring you bicycle related news about events that happen around Albany. There is not a whole lot of it so we try to supplement those days with fun facts or interesting stories. Now I finally get something to share and it’s bad news. Charles F. Kettering once said, “Problems are the price of progress. Don’t bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me.” So in the name of “progress” here it is:
“Section 9B.06 Bicycles May Use Full Lane Sign (R4-11)
DELETE entire section; the R4-11 sign shall not be used in New York, as its message is not an accurate reflection of Section 1234 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, and could mislead inexperienced bicyclists into occupying inappropriate, and unsafe, positions within a roadway. On roadways where space is limited and interactions between motorists and bicyclists have proven problematic, it is preferable to either provide positive guidance to bicyclists in the form of Shared Lane Markings (see Section 9C.07) and/or warning to motorists in the form of the SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque (see Section 2B.19).”
Basically they are taking down the “Bicyclists may use full lane” signs because “interactions between motorists and bicyclists have proven problematic.” Okay fine, take the signs down, but what are you going to replace them with? What is the better solution? Oh wait, you don’t have one? WELL THEN LEAVE THE SIGNS UP! You don’t change something unless you have an alternative ready to go! What, you think the “share the road” signs are helpful? Tell me, what part of the road are we supposed to be sharing, and how much space does each vehicle get? Can cars pass me at 1 foot or 3 feet? Can I take the entire lane if I need too? Do I have to pull over for cars if they want to pass me?
You can see where “share the road” is a lot more confusing then “bicyclist may use full lane.” At least the latter gives you a definite amount of space you may occupy and tells drivers to take a chill pill because we belong here too. It leaves no room for debate on how much you should share. Full lane can only mean full lane. Shared lane is ambiguous and dangerous if a novice cyclist and driver are sharing the same lane.
I hear all the time that “bicycling is so dangerous” and “I don’t ride because I don’t want to get hit by cars.” You know why public opinion is so anti-bike? It is because of things like this. Share the road. You might as well be saying, “Cars, the road is yours to share so give a little of it to the lowly cyclists.”
Angrily Written by Chris Belsole
There is a reason people refer to cities as concrete jungles. They are crazy, hectic, and people are animals especially on the road. What is the answer? Are we supposed to join in the insanity and act like we are taking our lives in our own hands and do whatever it takes to come out ahead?
Sorry for all the dramatics, but I just got through reading the article 10 Rules For Urban Commuting by Josh King over at Commute By Bike, and I can not as a responsible cyclist, although don’t ask me how my bike is doing right now, agree with a lot of these rules that he is putting forward. City riding has always been a little troublesome and, dare I say it, dangerous, but the answer to this cannot be to not signal and not obey traffic rules. Granted he has a few rules in there that are good like wear a helmet and don’t be to close behind other bikes, but we can’t be advocating breaking the law. Running red lights and rolling through stop signs is fine in certain circumstances, I would never claim to be the perfect cyclist, but I would never tell someone to do this. Nor would I try to do this on an official ABC ride where we are trying to set the example for cyclists in Albany.
Heated, yes I am. We can not write things like this as a guide for people to follow because people will, and when they get hit by a car because they were being aggressive who going to get hurt, the writer or the cyclist? I understand that Albany and cities like New York and Seattle are different. In my opinion a rider needs to judge his or her own comfort level on the road. Are you okay with blowing through a red light? Fine. This should not be the standard though.
As always read the comments after the article. They make some good points.
Written by Chris Belsole