Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act

Your support is essential to the success of a major new roadway safety campaign. Even if you do not ride a bicycle and do not walk except to and from your car, roadway safety still has to be a concern. Please take a few minutes to sign on to the campaign here – http://nysafestreets.org.  and select TAKE ACTION.

As motor vehicles have grown larger, with increases in distracted driving and speeding, more cyclists and pedestrians are being seriously injured and killed. While we have seen some minor improvements to pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, our roads are still largely designed and built to carry motor vehicles and are unsafe for all other users.

Nicholas Richichi, age 53, 10/29/07

For these reasons, the Albany Bicycle Coalition has joined Walkable Albany and a statewide coalition of bicycling and other road safety advocates in our common effort to pass the NY Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act (CVRSA). The seven bills in the CVRSA will permit municipalities the option to lower their speed limits, mandate 3-foot clearance when passing cyclists, support Complete Streets initiatives that improve road safety for all users, better educate drivers to protect vulnerable road users, and provide support to those personally impacted.

As part of The New York Safe Streets Coalition’s launch of the campaign for the CVRSA, Albany Bicycle Coalition released the following short video:  https://youtu.be/2qpVRHWNd1A.

For further CVRSA information, see http://nysafestreets.org.

The complete set of bills in the CVRSA are as follows:

Speed Limit Authorizes cities, villages and towns (outside NYC) to reduce the speed limit to twenty-five miles per hour.S02021 (May)A01007 (Paulin)
Sammy’s Law Allows lower life-saving speed limits in NYCS524 (Hoylman)A4655 (Gottfried)
Complete StreetsIncreases state funding where the municipality agrees to fund a complete street design feature. S3897 (Kennedy)A8936 (Fahy)
Complete Streets MaintenanceIncludes, when possible, complete street design features in resurfacing, maintenance, and pavement recycling projects and further enable safe access to public roads for all users.S5130 (Kennedy)A7782 (Rivera)
Safe PassageRequire drivers pass bicyclists at a safe distance of min. 3 feet.S4529 (Harckham)A547 (Steck)
DMV Pre- Licensing CourseEducates NY drivers about safely interacting with vulnerable road usersS1078A (Gounardes)A5084/7032 (Gallagher)
Crash Victim Bill of RightsGuarantee rights & a voice for crash victims and their loved ones in legal proceedingsS8152 (Hoylman)Glick

Join the Push for Safer Streets for All – To do your part in pushing for safe roads, you need to contact both of your state legislators to express your support for the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act.

Since many organizations that are not primarily involved with cycling, walking, or roadway safety should still have an interest in this initiative, you may want to sign your organization on to the campaign. You can complete this form.

Diva De Loayza, age 40, 6/6/07

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Filed under Activisim, Death on the Road, safety, Support the Cause

Edge Lane Roads – Good or Bad?

Edge Lane Roads clarify positioning and priority on roads too narrow to provide a reserved travel space for people on bicycles or pedestrians. When pedestrians or bicyclists are present, motorists must yield to those in the Edge Lane before passing.

Terminology – Edge Lane Roads are known also as Advisory Bike Lanes, Dash Bike Lanes, Bicycle Advisory Shoulders, or Shoulder Lanes. As is not infrequently the case, transportation terminology can be confusing and less than informative. (Try “Sharrow” or “Slip Lane” for examples.) The Edge Lane Road is a shared street roughly (but not exactly) similar to the Dutch “bicycle priority” street. It has some similarity to the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ Bicycle Boulevard or Neighborhood Greenway. In both these cases, the road or street design is to suggest that those on bicycles or foot have priority and motor vehicles are “invited guests.”

Edge Lane Roads use a dotted white line to delimit the “bicycle-pedestrian priority” area. Motor vehicles can cross a dotted line – and thus briefly use the edge lane to allow another on-coming motor vehicle to pass. Motor vehicles cannot cross a solid line, so for example, a road shoulder or conventional bike lane is “off limits” to motor vehicles except in emergencies and for entry to parking areas or, say, driveways.

HOW IT WORKS – The basic configuration is a road that does not have room for two-way motor vehicle travel lanes and conventional bicycle lanes. Instead, dashed lines on the pavement identify the Edge Lanes. People on bicycles have priority use of this lane. People in cars have to yield to the cyclists. If a car is coming in each direction, the drivers visually (or otherwise) negotiate which car will pull into the unoccupied Edge Lane to let the other vehicle pass. The passing vehicle may also (have to) use the unoccupied Edge Lane on its side of the road.

Features – Here are the desired Edge Lane Road characteristics:

  • Open to motor vehicles, people on bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • Low speed – even as low as 20 mph (30 kph).
  • Main motor vehicle travel lane is too narrow (under 20-22 feet) to allow motor vehicles to pass by each other.
  • No centerline in the main motor vehicle travel lane.
  • Low motor vehicle traffic volume.
  • Low bicycle traffic volume.

Traffic Volume – If there are “too many” bicycles or “too many” motor vehicles on a road, it is not a good candidate for Edge Lanes. If the bicycle lane has a steady stream of cyclists, there will be no break into which a car can pull. If there a many cars coming from both directions, they will create their own “bottleneck.”

AN APPLICATION IN ALBANY – An Edge Lane Road candidate in the City of Albany would be Berkshire Blvd. that is already a favored bicycle route, connects parts of the city, and has low motor vehicle traffic volumes. Success of this application would involve treating selected residential connecting streets in a similar fashion so that the street becomes part of a bike-safe network. Wayfinding signage would also be needed.

FEDERAL RECOGNITION – Edge Lane Roads have federal recognition as shown in this edited extract from the Federal Highway Administration’s “FHWA Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks Guide – 2016:”  Edge Lane Roads provide usable shoulders for bicyclists on a roadway that is otherwise too narrow for a shoulder (thus the terminology “advisory shoulder”). Pavement marking and pavement color delineate the edge lane. Motorists may only enter the shoulder when no bicyclists are present and must overtake these users with caution due to potential oncoming traffic. Motorists must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians if present when vehicles traveling in opposite directions meet. The “Advisory Shoulder” prioritizes shared space for bicyclists and occasional pedestrian travel. Contrasting paving materials will visually differentiate the shoulder from the roadway and discourage encroachment. Motorists can travel in both directions and share a center lane, encroaching into the Edge Lane as needed to facilitate passing movements.

FHWA Diagram

Benefits – Benefits include the following:

  • Provides a delineated but nonexclusive space available for cycling.
  • May reduce some types of crashes due to reduced motor vehicle travel speeds.
  • Minimizes potential impact on visual or natural resources through efficient use of existing space.
  • Functions well within a rural and small town traffic and land use context.
  • Increases predictability and clarifies desired lateral positioning between people bicycling or walking and people driving in a narrow roadway.
  • May function as an interim measure where plans include shoulder widening in the future.
  • Supports the natural environment through reduced paved surface requirements.

ADVANTAGES – One of the advantages of an Edge Lane Road is low cost as opposed to exclusive on-road bicycle facilities. In some cases, especially where there is on-street, curbside car parking, the design may actually provide a safer environment for cyclists. Since the width of the Edge Lane can exceed that of a standard bicycle lane, riders can stay out of the door zone of the parked cars but also have more (shy) space between them and cars passing by them in the travel lane. On narrow city streets where motor vehicle speeds are low, Edge Lanes provide a “shared road” option for street designers.

DISADVANTAGES – Similar to shared lanes (where people on bicycles are merely guests in a motor vehicle travel lane), safety for people on bicycles is solely dependent on the alertness and consideration of motor vehicle operators. As is frequently the case, people in cars will pull out and around a cyclist if there is no opposing motor vehicle traffic but will try to squeeze through – rather than yield – when the lanes are too narrow. This puts the cyclist – who is now alongside the car and out of view – at great risk. Traffic planners with modest awareness of the safety needs of cyclists may be tempted to install Edge Lanes where conditions are unsuitable.

CAVEATS – As with any new traffic directional, there will be long learning curve for both people in cars and on bicycles. Signage is barely adequate. Witness “IN LANE,” “SHARE THE ROAD,” and “BICYCLE MAY USE FULL LANE” as well as crosswalk “zebra strips” which have not been universally understood or accepted even after many, many years of use. Here is one case of an Edge Lane Road installation is Edna, MN, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis (one of the US’s “bicycle capitals”): “The drivers of Edina are not happy. ‘ Ridiculous,’ ‘odd,’ ‘absurd’ and ‘confusing and dangerous’ are just a few of the descriptions irate drivers have used . . . [with] city officials about the weird bike lanes that have popped up around the city this fall.” As the FHWA states, “Unlike a conventional shoulder, an advisory shoulder is a part of the traveled way, and it is expected that vehicles will regularly encounter meeting or passing situations where driving in the advisory shoulder is necessary and safe.”

CONCLUSIONS – This analysis suggests that traffic-wary cyclists will not feel safe on Edge Lane Roads. As with the shared lanes concept, those who are comfortable riding deeply engaged with motor vehicle traffic will continue do so with our without one of these quasi bicycle facilities. Several resources rely extensively on Danish and Netherlander applications. While these are excellent case studies of where New York State and the country should be headed, these successes also reflect a deep-seated and long-standing cultural appreciation of bicycle travel in a shared road environment. In certain instances, assuming “Dutch style driving practice,” Edge Lane Roads would be a poor choice. Implementing Edge Lane Roads should be done with great caution so that early applications will be successful.

RESOURCES –

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Forward Motion into 2022 on Bicycles

TO: Friends of Cycling and Good Living in the Capital Region:

The salutation “Friends of Cycling and Good Living in the Capital Region” expands our collective focus beyond just bicycles. We all need to engage in the larger issue of livable cities. This movement benefits all – residents and visitors – whether they be walking, riding, bussing, jogging, skateboarding, or just sitting.

This focus addresses the broader issues of street safety, air and sound pollution, environmental degradation, affordable (and accessible) housing, and access to food, services and facilities. Aside from the goal of safe connections for people on bicycles, we operate on the unarguable principle that anything done to benefit cyclists will benefit all road users.

Our overarching intent is to update on the bicycle-related scene in our area or to provide information that will stimulate thinking about bicycling as a major component in “livability for all.”

Whenever possible, the entries have a link or a contract (name, email, phone) or a bibliographic citation. Occasionally, the link will be to graphics offered by the source or on this Albany Bicycle Coalition blog.

We also try to encourage your patronizing our several local bike shops. We all know that it is sometimes easier and occasionally cheaper to buy on the internet but always remember – Amazon or some bike shop in South Carolina will not be available to help you with a maintenance problem or to guide you in the purchase of accessories tailored to you and your specific bicycle. (See https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/local-bike-shops/ )

See you on the road and in the streets this year.

Ride On!
Little girl with face mask riding a bike in the street during the coronavirus pandemic

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How the Grinch Stole [Christmas] Safety

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Safety

[Choir of pedestrians and bicyclists]

“I’m dreaming of a safe Christmas just like the ones I used to . . . (gulp) . . .  (gasp)  . . . YIKES!“

[Grinch]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is grinch.jpg

Hey, you bicyclists cut the din,

Can’t you see the mood I’m in?

Bicycles, bicycles everywhere.

Riding around without a care.

I’ll tell you right off the bat,

We’ll soon put a stop to that!

No delay for cars is what I say,

So get your two wheels out of the way.

E-bikes what a curse,

If I see one more. I’ll need a nurse!

Complain, complain – Oh my head

So what if a few of you are dead?

If it’s too unsafe for you to ride,

Then just go over to the side and hide

Oh, you’re such an infernal pain

But I’ll throw in one more shared lane.

Buffered Lanes? Not so fast,

How will cars zip past?

Traffic circles they’re all the rage,

As you ride through, you’ll certainly age.

Traffic circles and (Glenmont) roundabouts, they’re the best

Try to ride through them – be my guest.

We design ‘em, you can bet,

I haven’t seen one that’s bikeable yet.

Four-lane highways they’re the pip

Too bad if you get hit.

No bike lanes? That’s tough,

Good old sharrows are more than enough.

Buffered lanes now that’s a riot,

Don’t hold your breath until I try it.

Complete streets that’s my scam

I’ll “consider your needs” and then I’ll scram!

Vision zero that’s a joke,

Don’t you realize we’re broke?

Broke that is until a new car way

Causes our minds to sway!

I’ve got my engineering manuals at hand

And they don’t cover your rowdy band.

Gotta problem with Central Ave.?

Why that’s the safest road we have!

About livable streets you’re free to dream,

But rest assured that’s not my scheme. 

A ped-bike master plan will calm your fears,

Don’t get excited – it’s smoke and mirrors.

On our plan from two thousand nine

We’re been doing just fine.

Added bike lanes for five miles

Doesn’t that bring you smiles?

Bicycle planning, we do a lot

But our action is mostly “not.”

Many plans on the shelf

Guarded by my elf.

Eco freaks with hearts of Fire?

Well guess what, I’m a denier.

Dying from pollution?

Bicycles are not my solution.

SUVs now that’s my Style,

I think I’ll go out and cruise a while.

Miles per gallon – not my issue,

If you don’t agree, here’s a tissue.

Move all those cars, that’s the need,

We let them go at any speed.

Lower the speed limit 

Sure… in just a minute.

Bike Lanes with no buffer?

Well that’s too bad – you’ll have to suffer

You got doored

Oh so sorry, but I’m just floored. 

Bike lane symbols faded away?
We’ll re-do them . . .  someday.

Can’t safely ride to work?

Well take the bus – what a jerk.

Hit a cyclist they’ll throw the book

Say you didn’t and you’re off the hook.

New Scotland Ave now that’s for parking 

St. Peter’s got the key so hearken.

Safe passing distance I’ll fight that one

Fight so hard it’ll never get done.

Buffered lanes, now that’s a riot

Don’t hold your breath until I try it.

Are cycle tracks what you want to see?

That’s a good laugh for my friends at dee oh tee. 

Reduce the speed,

What’s the need?

Car lane, parking lane, turn lane, more

But for cyclist anything at all is all chore.

You pay your taxes, and we’re glad 

But how we spend them will make you mad.

Roads, streets, turns galore

All I say is more, more, more.

Got hit by a car, slammed by a door

Well that’s too bad – I hope you’re sore. 

Albany, Schenectady, Guilderland too,

Sorry but we don’t have time for you. 

Colonie, Troy, Bethlehem are a riot,

Plenty of cars and trucks but no road diet.

But that’s too bad if you want peace,

Our disdain for you will never cease

I hope this tale doesn’t make you sad

But after all, it’s not that bad. 

Want to cycle safely on a trip?

Well go to Holland on a ship.

Separated Lanes they’re the best

But not in my plan like all the rest.

We can’t cater to just a hobby

We have to kowtow to the car Lobby.

Traffic’s dangerous, that’s a shame

There’s plenty of us to share the blame.

Hey, you guys are really nuts,

Get outta here before I kick your butts.

++++++

To end on a brighter note of what COULD BE, please go here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzyIFqXps_A

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Filed under Editorial, Riding in Albany, safety

Albany Bicycle Coalition 2021 and Our Goals for 2022

Dear Friends of Albany Bicycle Coalition,

We hope this finds you well and able to be out on your bike. We wanted to give you a quick update on what our activities have been during 2021 and ask for your support to assist us in 2022.

After having to cancel our rides in 2020, this year we bounced back to again sponsor a number of rides and in 2022, we aim to bring back our popular Earth Day ride! This year we were able to gather for our annual Ride of Silence, where we remember and honor cyclists who were killed or injured in collisions with motorists. In August, we instituted the first of our “Slow Roll” rides, through the Arbor Hill/West Hill neighborhoods of Albany. Starting at the Stephen and Harriet Meyers Residence/Underground Railroad House, the ride explored the neighborhood at a leisurely pace, highlighting historic places, the Tivoli Lake Preserve, and the Arbor Hill branch of the Albany Public Library. We then enjoyed ice cream sundaes in the beautiful, shady backyard of the Meyers Residence.

Our second “Slow Roll” was a “Bike the Branches” ride where we explored select branches of the Albany Public Library. We hope to make these “Slow Roll” rides regular events. We will explore different neighborhoods in the City of Albany in a leisurely manner that emphasizes the life of the neighborhood rather than the motor traffic infrastructure. They will be community oriented and open to all levels of riders with families welcome.  

We also brought back our popular Albany-Troy Daily Grind ride and capped our riding season with another popular Halloween ride through the Albany Rural Cemetery. Future rides we hope to sponsor in 2022 include a demonstration ride on New Scotland Avenue, a ride focusing on area churches that is part of the annual Hudson Valley Ramble, and a Patroon Creek-Hudson River ride which is a continuation of ABC’s efforts to make the proposed Patroon Greenway Trail a reality.

ABC also continues to take a broader approach to bicycling across the Capital Region by networking with other local bicycle groups to implement a region-wide bicycle infrastructure. As part of this endeavor, we are excited to propose a series of intercity rides in 2022. These will be a series of rides involving ABC, Cycle Schenectady, Transport Troy, and Bikeatoga. This will be one of the biggest projects that ABC has ever undertaken and will require coordination with the other bike groups, non-cycling not-for-profits, as well as private sponsors for each ride.

In addition to sponsoring rides, ABC continues to monitor existing bike infrastructure in the region and make sure it remains safe and useful for bicyclists. This includes the South End Connector, the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail (MHBHT), and the Empire State Trail. In fact, our treasurer, David Pisaneschi, practically single-handedly, through years of dogged perseverance, finally got the State DOT to repave unrideable parts of the MHBHT, making for a smooth ride over miles of formerly root damaged trail.

In addition to this work, we’ve also kept a focus on developments on Rapp Road, and Albany’s 2021 Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. We have greatly expanded our renamed CapitalNYBikeMap to include many more routes in Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties, thus encompassing the entire Capital Region. By attending public meetings, meeting with and communicating with local elected and appointed officials, and keeping abreast of transportation issues, we will continue to advocate for safe streets for all users and safe trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. As evidenced by the recent defeat of the proposed Delaware Ave. Complete Streets project in the Town of Bethlehem, organizations like ABC are needed more than ever.

In order to continue this important work, we are asking for your support by contributing what you can at this moment. A voting membership is $25, but any amount is appreciated. As a reminder, ABC is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. This year we are excited to introduce new levels of membership: $Free: Basic Member, $25: Voting Member, $100: Century Member, and $250: Long Haul Member.

To assist organizations, such as ABC, in 2020 Congress passed the CARES Act. A provision of that Act allows individuals, who do not itemize their tax deductions, an above-the-line credit up to $300 for charitable contributions. This was extended into 2021 through the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The Consolidated Act also expanded the deduction to $600 for married couples who do not itemize their tax deductions and file jointly.

You can donate through our https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/about/donate/ website via PayPal or send a check to Albany Bicycle Coalition, Inc., ATTN: Treasurer, 180 South Main Ave., Albany, NY 12208. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can reach us at albanybicyclecoalition@yahoo.com.

We greatly appreciate any support you can provide and hope to see you soon on a trail and/or street. In the meantime, safe riding.

From your fellow riders at the Albany Bicycle Coalition.

Ed Brennan

President, Albany Bicycle Coalition

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