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#1 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » The Scooter Thread » 2019-06-22 15:41:59

Austin Chronicle wrote:

A study commissioned by Austin Public Health in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control found that about 20 scooter riders were injured for every 100,000 trips taken during a there-month period lat fall in Downtown Austin.

That number seems pretty high, and not at all surprising. … -can-hurt/

#2 Justice Issues / Collisions » 12,000 hit and runs per year in Austin (30 per day) » 2019-06-22 15:22:41

Replies: 0

I know I made a post about this before, probably 2015 or 2016, but I can't find it.  Maybe it got erased somehow.  So I'll take another stab at it.

According to this article, there were 10,560 hit-and-runs from Jan. through Nov. 2015, which would be 11,520 a year, or 32 per day.

Of those, 424 (463/year, 1.3/day) were failure to stop and render aid.

Austin is such a nice place.

#3 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-06 02:04:44

Jack wrote:

For these messy intersections, why not direct right turning traffic to the right side of the road (where it belongs)  earlier and forward-traveling cyclists to the left of the right turning traffic (where they belong)?

Agreed.  I just took an aerial view of the area in Google Maps and there's indeed enough space for both a straight-through bike lane and a right-turning bike lane.

Seems like I recall that eastbound *used* to put the straight-through bike lane between the straight-through car lane and the right-turning car lane.  Is my memory correct, or did I do too many drugs in the 60s?

#4 Bike Lanes / Facilities » Surprising neighborhood support for white hockey-stick barriers » 2019-06-05 01:55:58

Replies: 1

On, a neighbor complained about the vertical white plastic barriers the City put in the street near some intersections, separating the car lane from the bike lane, saying they were an eyesore.  Surprisingly, most neighbors disagreed with him, saying they enhance cyclist safety.  Or maybe not so surprising:  while the *general public* has a disdain for cyclists and their safety, people on are more likely to be community-minded, by definition.

Here's the original complaint:

Ian McEnroe wrote:

New stupid street nonsense in your neighborhood
Let's put little white poles obstructing turns at the intersection! Come see what nonsense our idiot city planners have added to Threadgill and Zach Scott. Now it's impossible to turn onto Zach Scott from the side street. And it's an eyesore as well. Stay tuned as the city ruins our streets, one block at a time.NOTE***BICYCLE LANES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM HERE...we have had safe lanes on our street for many years.. this is about implementing A BAD SOLUTION TO A NON-EXISTENT  PROBLEM***

And selected, excerpted responses:

Brendan Wittstruck wrote:

Here's the nuance I think is lost here: another tragedy is the number of people who *aren't* riding bikes because they're too afraid for their safety.  I'm a grown adult competent rider comfortable on a street in traffic.  An elderly person on a bike might not be so comfortable; a person with a disability might not be so comfortable; a novice right might not, and so forth.  When we opine the aesthetics of bike lane hockey sticks, we should do so only after first considering what it is like to be a parent teaching their child to ride a bike in that lane.  What may seem a nuisance to you is a world of difference in opening up access to the city for so, so many.

The above comment got 21 Likes, while the OP's got only 5

Jonny Steets wrote:

This is a good addition.  I've witnessed plenty of cars driving in the buffer and in the bike lanes themselves!  If the drivers can't obey the lines, it's time for a gentle reminder.

I drive Zach Scott every morning and evening and haven't had any issues turning.  I'm assuming you are trying to turn at a speed higher than the turns are designed.

Allison Griffey wrote:

As someone who often bikes, walks, runs, whatever through Mueller, I gotta say, the number of cars who almost hit me every. single. time. is rather astounding.  And it is mostly because people in their cars will fly through right turns without looking to their left and will almost mow down anyone who might be coming and who assumes they are safe because they are in a neighborhood and have the right of way where they are.  Anything to make a neighborhood safer, and that might make a driver look around a little more than they might usually do... especially in a place with so many people out walking and bike riding, is a good thing.

Clay Olmstead wrote:

There are a lot of kids in Mueller; some of them may be riding for pretty close to their first time. Anything that makes it safer for them is a good thing. If it means the rest of us have to slow down a little - well, that's an even better thing.

John Nordstrom wrote:

I’d be willing to bet that the unfettered freedom to breed is worse for traffic control than the city....

Maroof Kahn wrote:

People who never ride bikes have no ground to comment on how bike safety measures are an "eyesore". I never ride much myself. But every person riding a bike to work, is 1 less car on the road. Given Austin's ridiculous traffic, that's a good thing. If you are in a car and get into a minor accident, it will most likely be harmless. Cyclists don't have that luxury. An accident for them is very likely to be fatal.

Star Salzman wrote:

Not all of the responses were anti-OP and pro-bike safety, but most of them were.  That's a far cry from what you'd see at, say, the end of a Statesman article.

#5 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-04 23:29:26

I'm a well-known pessimist, but I don't think the city put in the crossing as a CYA move, I think they were generally trying to improve the situation.  It does seem like an improvement over the nothing that was there before.  I think the fact that's not working is drivers' fault, not the City's.

Jack, to use your idea of riding to the left of the crossing, that means when going westbound I'd need to be in the car turning lane, which isn't wide enough for a car and a bike to share side by side.  When I'm *driving* in that lane going close to the speed limit, drivers tailgate me and show impatience/frustration that I'm not going fast enough.  I can't imagine how pissed off they'd be if a bike were blocking them, especially when there's a well-marked bike lane on the right side of the ride that I wouldn't be using.

At some point, a straight-bound cyclist is gonna have to cross the path of the right-turning cars.  I don't know how to do that in a way that drivers will actually respect, short of my idea of having a sensor notice bicyclists and trigger a railroad crossing-style arm to lower.

#6 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-03 21:29:29

That's quite a project, btrettel.  What do you plan to do with your data?

Those crossings are why my wife stopped biking.  After the umpteenth time that she tried to enter the crossing on her bike only to have a driver lay on their horn as they sped through it, forcing her to slam on her brakes, she gave up.  The last time she came home crying and shaking, almost catatonic, staring into space, just muttering over and over again, "He tried to kill me!"  She didn't move for hours.  Right after that I bought a car.

The irony would be if the drivers, as they're honking and speeding through the crossing, yelled out their windows, "Bicyclists have to follow the law if they want respect!"

My wife says if we win the lottery, she wants to fund a camera like the red-light cams that would automatically mail tickets to drivers.  My own fantasy is a sensor that lowers a railroad crossing-style arm when a bicyclist approaches.

In theory, the City did their part:  Only a few years ago there was nothing there (I biked through it for decades), but now they've marked the crossing with green paint, put in separator flags, and YIELD TO BIKES signage.  In a reasonable world that would be enough, but this is Austin, where drivers are more selfish even than average.

Your vest looked British to me, and then on closer inspection I see that the site selling it is indeed in England.  If that's working here, then maybe any safety vest would work (which I used to wear).  Whenever I'd bike to Home Depot and walked in with my vest, people would always start asking me which aisle products were on.  (I'd always just tell them, since I know the store well.)

#7 Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-01 02:59:05

Replies: 12

I don't bike much any more, but when I do, drivers fail to yield to me at the green bike crossings at Dean Keeton (where the signs instruct them, YIELD TO BIKES), 100% of the time.

Today when I was driving, I stopped at a crosswalk where a ped looked like he was about to enter it, and the driver behind me laid on his horn.  That's a pretty frequent occurrence.

A few years ago I biked through the marked crossing on the I-35 service road at 4th St., forcing the driver to stop who clearly didn't want to.  He and his wife/girlfriend simultaneously both flipped the bird with both hands (4 total).  I'll never forget the look of disgust on her face.

But, you know, cyclists have to follow the law if they want respect.  (Applies only to bicyclists.)

#8 Re: Other » Why no contiguous paved trails? » 2019-05-31 21:25:24

Jack, you're right that those kinds of facilities are expensive, but they're also not just for rec cyclists (depending on where they're located).

There *is* the Walnut Creek Trail.  That's pretty long.

#9 Re: Other » Why no contiguous paved trails? » 2019-05-30 19:42:46

Well, the short answer is that Austin really *isn't* a bike-friendly city.  See the "Austin NOT a Top 10 cycling city!" link in the sidebar.

#10 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Ignore your rights and they will go away » 2019-05-30 05:55:44

Thanks for posting this.  I think the original didn't make it to the email list when you first posted it on 5/23, so I just set it to post manually.

I've been meaning to buy a camera ever since you first turned me on to CVE, even though I don't bike so much any more, but this is the kick in the pants I need to finally do so.

Though it sure is disheartening though to see all the cases on CVE where police blow off the cyclists' video evidence.  We certainly need a revolution, somehow.

I hear you about Bike Austin.  Their website is never updated, and a while back a former director tried to pressure me to remove a bit on my website where I pointed out that a local attorney was also a DWI lawyer.  (The lawyer happened to be a major donor to Bike Austin.)  The lawyer actually threatened to sue me (for reporting the truth!), then backed down once she realized I wasn't an idiot.

#11 Cars / Gas / Energy » Texas law would let teens get licensed without a DMV road test » 2019-05-30 05:35:27

Replies: 0

The proposed bill would let parents give the test: … g-test.htm

So, bad drivers are going to award driver's licenses.  20% of drivers admit to drunk driving at least monthly.

When driver's licenses are given out like candy, the result is obvious.

#13 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » UT claims no liability for its driver hitting cyclist April Garner » 2019-05-20 15:38:41

Of course, if UT had simply accepted responsibility, there wouldn't *be* any pending litigation.

Also, it's interesting that the chief of staff at one of the best-known institutions of higher learning in the United States cannot spell "lawsuit".

#15 Re: Rides and Events » Ride of Silence Wednesday, May 15, 2019 » 2019-05-16 19:18:25

I'm sorry I was unable to make it.  How'd it go?

#16 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » UT claims no liability for its driver hitting cyclist April Garner » 2019-05-16 19:18:03

Thanks for trying to hold UT accountable on this.

It's funny, parents get upset when their children don't cop to some wrongdoing.  Well, when do adults ever do so?  My insurance company is always sending me newsletters telling me never to admit fault...even if I was at fault.

#17 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Austin Hit & Run suspect arrested in Louisiana by US Marshals » 2019-04-18 08:01:42

I saw that.  Because the victim was in a car (not a bicyclist or pedestrian), the penalty will probably be higher.

#18 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Govt. says wearing white to increase visibility is a MYTH! » 2019-04-14 10:57:15

Yeah, some of them aren't myths because they're actually true, and others aren't myths because nobody believes them anyway.  But yes, they did get one right.

#19 Justice Issues / Collisions » Govt. says wearing white to increase visibility is a MYTH! » 2019-04-13 07:39:47

Replies: 2

In the "WTF?!" department, the government of Clark County, Nevada offers a list of traffic "myths":

• "MYTH:  Crashes occur with a greater frequency as the speed limit is increased."

• "MYTH:  Marking crosswalks with lines and signs will improve safety."

• "MYTH:  Wearing white at night makes you more visible to drivers."

Huh. … ks2013.pdf

#20 Roadway hazards » "The Trees Have Hooks" » 2019-04-13 05:39:20

Replies: 0

Richard Guzman of Rosewood posted the following on Nextdoor circa 4/8:

Richard Guzman wrote:

I was biking to H.E.B. Mueller and caught a fish hook in my shoulder. It was hanging from a tree branch over the bike lane.  Near the old airport control tower.

Will never know if it was there by chance or by choice.  Keep an eye out if you want to keep an eye in!

He posted a gruesome picture of the injury to his shoulder.

For whatever reason, the post is no longer online.

#21 Re: Rides and Events » Memorial ride for Jessica Saathoff Wednesday 2019-04-10 » 2019-04-13 05:37:06

Thanks for posting this, I'm very sorry I was unable to make it.

#23 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » SUV hits, kills cyclist in East Austin, EMS says 2019-03-28 » 2019-03-29 19:51:52

This is one of the reasons to oppose mandatory helmet laws:  Blame is shifted to cyclists ALREADY, a law would just make it even worse.

Here's some reporting I did over twenty years ago:

Bicycle Austin wrote:

When Ben Clough was killed in 1998, the Statesman reported that a helmetless cyclist died in a collision at MLK and Lavaca, making it look as though a stupid, helmetless cyclist got what he deserved. What they DIDN'T mention was that the driver ran a red light to hit Ben. How could they omit such a crucial fact? Simple: The police didn't tell them.

The Statesman gets most (or all) of its information about car-bike collisions from the police. This immediately puts the paper in a position of reporting only what the police want to be reported. The extremely brief press release from the police department made no mention of the fact that the driver ran a red light to hit Ben. (That fact wouldn't become widely known until the police REPORT was available several days later.) But the police press release made damn certain to point out that Ben wasn't wearing a helmet, a fact the Statesman was only too happy to repeat.

But the fact that the Statesman was duped doesn't let them off the hook, because they're WILLING dupes. When the truth about the collision became known, the fact that the police had been less than forthcoming about the real nature of the collision, and had in fact shifted blame in their press release onto the cyclist, should have been a story in and of itself. But it wasn't. Not to the Statesman, anyway.

The more things change...

#24 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Shoal Creek, part trois (?) » 2019-03-27 12:13:47

Thanks for posting this, Darron!  I filled out the survey.  But I don't want to get my hopes up, because the last effort was heartbreaking.

#25 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Bus strikes, kills cyclist on UT campus 1/28/19 » 2019-03-13 16:23:05

Been there, done that.  From the page:

• Armando Reza intentionally rammed cyclists, while drunk, and without a license:  Got 10 days in jail
• Erik Fabian intentionally rammed cyclists, got probation (no fine, no jail)
• Melissa Graham killed two cyclists while drunk driving:  no penalty at all

etc. etc.

This case is not so special.

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