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#1 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-06 12:05:32

MichaelBluejay wrote:

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?

Whether you did too many drugs or not, I *think* you are right.  If you can remember that decade, you weren't there, they say.  Maybe the one who designed the current mess there was tripping at the time.  It would help explain why a bike lane tells newbies to follow a confusing and dangerous route instead of an easy and safer one.   

Someone wanting to go east on Dean Keeton/Manor starting from a point west of I-35 but south of Dean Keeton is better off crossing under I-35 at Manor Rd. (Clyde Littlefield when on campus) to avoid that mess while climbing slowly.  It's flatter there and has signals and nothing confusing.  Incidentally, tho' Google Maps satellite view doesn't show it yet, the city has changed the bicycle facility on Manor Rd. btwn I-35 and where it merges near French Pl. to eliminate the configuration of sharrows painted in the door zone of parallel parked cars (stupid!), took out the parking (!), and put up  instead a buffered bike lane with unsightly, unnecessary, and inconvenient plastic pylons.  Net gain for safety, IMO, but it would be better still without the pylons there to make it hard for cyclists to move left when they want to and impossible for motorists to merge to the curb before turning right, which is what we want them to do when cyclists are around.  At least the city didn't put up those dangerous giant concrete dot barriers like they have other places.

#2 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-05 14:06:55

MichaelBluejay wrote:

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.

I'm quite sure that the city program put the crossing in that way with good intentions to improve the situation! 

The city's way to cross follows what some US bicycle safety experts would have recommended in the 1980s for a cyclist (without a bike lane)--stay far right, get farther to the right like you might be turning off right, then shoot across the road for a shorter distance crossing.  I have seen illustrated instructions.*  But that method tricks drivers into thinking the line of travel is along the curve and the dash across is a surprise.  It takes more skill and more situational awareness to use that route safely than it does to take the lane and stay left so drivers know what you are doing (and the painted route requires more situational awareness from the motorists too, which is a big part of the problem--yes the motorists often are at fault, but the striped route makes it harder for a driver to figure out, and the city made that happen).  My experience tells me that staying left of the mess--without even trying to share side by side--allows drivers to decide whether they have time and space to pass me before turning right or whether they would rather stay behind me before turning right.  It's never a long time for any of us; it's only a few dozen yards.  It's far easier westbound, actually, because it's easier to make good speed west than east.  I don't have to imagine motorists being pissed off about it; it might happen someday but it's really not very likely.  The further right I stay, the more I invite a motorist to think I don't mind being passed closely or cut off. 

The city could take a clue from its own installments other places.  For some intersections, a right turn only lane will put the bike lane to the left of that.  Right practice.  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)?   

*safety tip there would be for the cyclist to stop at the point of crossing, wait for no oncoming traffic, then sprint across, but that's not very convenient and it would take, what, signs to tell cyclists that's what to do?  I've tried the method at faster-speed, busier on-ramp intersections and it almost always feels more hazardous than getting out to the left and continuing forward in the rightmost lane that goes in my direction of travel.  This is a better way:  http://bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter4a.htm

#3 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-05 13:16:50

btrettel wrote:
Jack wrote:

When I ride Dean Keeton under I-35, and I do it fairly often, I hold my line in the traffic lane far to the left of the paint and have never had any sort of conflict with another vehicle while doing so.


I'm surprised that you never had any sort of conflict, as even taking the lane I can recall eastbound drivers trying to get onto I-35 turning directly into my path as I'm riding west.

Maybe my sample size is smaller than yours!  Maybe just luck.  Even given that predictable conflict, you'd be worse off following the city's "facility" route--it essentially tells a cyclist to surprise drivers about their direction of travel.

#5 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Drivers never yield at bike and ped crossings » 2019-06-04 13:05:46

You might find that part of the problem--maybe most of the problem--with those Dean Keeton/I-35 crossings are that they are placed inappropriately.
When I ride Dean Keeton under I-35, and I do it fairly often, I hold my line in the traffic lane far to the left of the paint and have never had any sort of conflict with another vehicle while doing so.  I suggest the paint should be moved to that part of the roadway instead. The current paint is telling cyclists to ride where they are more likely to be hit.

#6 Re: Other » Why no contiguous paved trails? » 2019-06-04 13:00:47

Of course!  Walnut Creek facility is nice and pretty long.   Incidentally, it can be used for a few A to B points and in the future even more.  A YMCA branch for example.  Don't forget the terribly-named LAB.  But since Mr. Miller seemed to be asking about where he can ride a road bike fast for some distance without feeling crammed by other users, that influenced my answer.  Large segments of it are inappropriate for fast riding on a Kestral Talon--sight lines are often too short. The Veloway is a great facility for someone wanting to train safely for as lone as s/he wants to, but you can't call it long.

#7 Re: Other » Why no contiguous paved trails? » 2019-05-31 17:12:45

Another short answer:  paved trails for cycling that are separate from the regular streets and don't have dangerous intersections with regular streets are extraordinarily expensive to build and maintain and to the extent the city might want to spend that kind of money, there is a lot more bang for the buck if it is something that can help  people who want to get from A to B by bicycle rather than construct something simply for recreational/fitness use.  Now, there is the Veloway for those who want to ride a loop fast for fitness/recreation and there is the big effort with the Violet Crown Trail for a 30-mile route, though not to be paved.  Safe riding on pavement for great distances is not hard to find.  See for example https://bicycleaustin.info/getaround/ro … tonio.html

#8 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Recall on some rental bikes--brakes issue » 2019-05-05 17:03:26

And more.  Perhaps it's a lack of a recommended power modulator for the Shimano drum brakes, not a wear/maintenance issue. 

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a2728786 … re-recall/

#9 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Recall on some rental bikes--brakes issue » 2019-04-18 18:15:18

More on that from Streetsblog:
NEW YORK, NY: ENTIRE CITI BIKE E-BIKE FLEET GROUNDED
-> Streetsblog NYC reported Citi Bike announced early Sunday that it would pull all its popular pedal-assist bikes off the road after reports that some riders had experienced "stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel." The bikes started disappearing off the Citi Bike map earlier this weekend, but the Lyft-owned company issued a "service update" to its 150,000 members on Sunday at 5 a.m. after Streetsblog inquired about the missing electric-assist bikes late Saturday night. Citi Bike was expected to deploy 4,000 of the speedsters by June, but said only about 1,000 of the bikes had made it to the streets. Those bikes will be replaced by non-pedal assist bikes, which Citi Bike refers to as the "classic" model. http://bit.ly/2GjOASS

#10 Bike Lanes / Facilities » Recall on some rental bikes--brakes issue » 2019-04-17 11:56:40

Jack
Replies: 2

See https://www.autoblog.com/2019/04/15/ele … wg1bWzNUp4    and http://john-s-allen.com/blog/?p=7743

The blog post suggests the recall comes from brakes that are "too strong" which is certainly not a reasonable description of a problem with brakes.  The John Allen post seems to show the real problem--maintenance.

#11 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Pardon the Scooter? » 2019-03-04 20:15:30

Jack wrote:

More on scooters:

... Injuries Associated With Standing Electric Scooter Use: http://bit.ly/2Sr3IpN) The study, published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, ... http://bit.ly/2Svjekd

That small LA study is noted in this article about the CDC using Austin data for a study on scooter injuries.  https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/04/health/s … index.html

#12 Re: Commuting/Routes » Routes from Austin for road bike » 2019-02-13 17:42:16

This may help a bit too, maupertius:  https://austin.maps.arcgis.com/apps/web … 9%2C102739 (City of Austin bicycle route map)

#13 Re: Commuting/Routes » Routes from Austin for road bike » 2019-02-13 17:39:28

maupertius wrote:

Thanks for your reply Jack. I'll definitely consider looking at the club rides you suggested (assuming I can just turn up and join them for a ride).

The route you suggested looks good, I like the idea of riding to a different town. Another question: is it safe to ride to the countryside from downtown Austin? By this I mean not being forced to ride on main roads where bikes are not allowed. I'll likely be hiring a bike from a downtown shop, so I'll need a safe way to get out (will have a gps with me).

The route is fine--as I mentioned it was laid out in 1976 for this portion of a cross-continental bike ride event.  The roads remain more than good enough.  And as dougmc notes, all roadways are legal for bicycles as for other vehicles except for some limited access highways. 

As for the Bike Austin and Violet Crown group rides, you can go just for the showing up and going and I believe their websites also include route maps (but I must say I can't be sure of that since I haven't looked at the sites in quite some time).
https://bikeaustin.org/rides/
https://violetcrown.org/  -- their Sunday "recovery pace" ride I find enjoyable.  I'm fast enough to hang on, usually, when they are keeping it cool.

#14 Re: Commuting/Routes » Routes from Austin for road bike » 2019-02-12 18:34:34

This route I have been using as a regular weekend ride for over a decade.  https://bicycleaustin.info/getaround/ro … tonio.html  It corresponds to the local part of the route "Bikecentennial" charted for the 1976 American Bicentennial celebration riding coast to coast.  I ride from south Austin to San Marcos that way most weekends unless I have an itch to ride some other route.  And that runs me 100 km. 

Bike Austin (you can find online), formerly the Austin Cycling Association, has regular weekend rides with varying routes. 

The Violet Crown cycling club also does regular weekend rides of several different routes -- if you are faster than I am, they are a great group to ride with.  Find them online too. 

We call the area "the hill country" but the many hills here tend not to go so high.  Some are steep, though.

#15 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Pardon the Scooter? » 2019-02-06 22:29:04

More on scooters:

NewsOK reported over a one-year period in two Los Angeles, CA emergency departments, more people were injured while riding standing electric scooters than by riding bicycles or traveling on foot, according to the results of a groundbreaking new study. (Injuries Associated With Standing Electric Scooter Use: http://bit.ly/2Sr3IpN) The study, published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, found that many of those injuries were serious in nature, if not severe. Some health professionals have referred to the wave of injuries as a "public health crisis." http://bit.ly/2Svjekd

#16 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Bus strikes, kills cyclist on UT campus 1/28/19 » 2019-01-29 12:22:33

According to Austin-Travis County EMS, the crash occurred at San Jacinto Boulevard and 23rd Street, which is near Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium, at 10:33 p.m. Details are sparse so far.  Cap Metro tweeted about it this a.m.  The radio report this morning I believe noted both were going north.

This report confirms the radio report partly, by saying they were headed in the same direction
https://news4sanantonio.com/news/nation … -ut-campus

#17 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » W 5th Street: Bye bye buffered bike lane, hello bus lane :-/ » 2019-01-16 21:33:27

"One day we had a bike lane.  And then the next day we have to share that lane with buses.  And there is no universe in which it is safer to share a lane with a 25,000 pound vehicle than not."  I believe a cyclist is safer on Guadalupe in the shared bus/bike/RTO lane than a cyclist is on Guadalupe in the bike lane next to the non-shared bus lane.  A cyclist will find that out when someone turns right across her path or when the bike lane is pinched off for a bus stop or other reason.  This is not one for which I have stats (I doubt we have enough of these shared bus lanes to have a good sample), but it follows from the traffic dyanmics of the arrangement--note how vulnerable the bike lanes' road position is when turning traffic is overtaking or when a cyclist ill-advisedly passes on the right slow moving buses or cars that may be turning right. 

I do take your point that it seems like a loss of a bike lane with no benefit to the cyclists.  I think that I'd rather ride a 5th St. bus/bike/RTO lane than the bike lane we have, and it is my safety and comfort I have in mind; I think it would be a net gain.  Your assessment may vary.  So might mine when I see what actually gets put in place.

#18 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » W 5th Street: Bye bye buffered bike lane, hello bus lane :-/ » 2019-01-15 21:01:25

MichaelBluejay wrote:
dougmc wrote:

...if there's ever a collision between a bus and a bicycle, I can guarantee that this sign will be pointed at as the pointer uses it as evidence that the cyclist was at fault, no matter what the circumstances were.

You got that right.

No quibble from me.  That sign seems to be saying "yield to the bus even if you'd normally have the right of way."  Exceptions to the usual rules of the road lead to confusion mostly.  Confusion leads to dangerous actions.  Instead, bus drivers should be trained to be wary of cyclists in a bike lane and to be sure they mind who has the right of way when.   

But the bus lanes that bikes can use too (along with drivers turning right) (and which are a different sort of arrangement than that segment of Guadalupe pictured) work well and don't lead to much confusion.

As I've noted before, part of the Guadalupe transit priority lanes scheme puts bike lanes to the right of the bus lanes which makes things problematic for cyclists when the street later chokes the bike lane off and one has to maneuver into the bus lane and when the bike lane puts riders to the right of right-turning traffic.  In other places on Guad, the transit priority lane shared with bikes works great.  Overall, that makes riding south from MLK to the river pretty attractive despite the flaws. 

If the plan for 5th is like the good portions of Guad, shared with buses and right turning traffic, I'm all for it.  If it's like the other places, with a bike lane to the right of the bus until the bike lane gets choked off, I'm not.

#19 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » W 5th Street: Bye bye buffered bike lane, hello bus lane :-/ » 2019-01-15 17:17:25

owlman wrote:

The new lane on 5th Street west of MoPac is similar to the bus-priority lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets. Working with Cap Metro, the Austin Transportation Department is converting a bike lane that ran all the way to Lamar Blvd into a dedicated bus & bike lane for a half-mile section between West Lynn and Baylor Streets.

That seems pretty nice.  Bus/Bike/RTO lanes work well and are pretty comfortable to ride in.  Few bicycling "facilities" change my usual ways to get to and fro, but I started riding Guadalupe instead of Congress to go south from downtown and have been glad for the way that is laid out mostly. 

I noted this bonus from one of the links you provided -- "while all other traffic is stopped at a red light, buses and bicycles will be allowed through the intersection" because of special signals.  Nice.

#20 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » DWI driver Zachary Davis hit & runs cyclist on S 1st, 10/6/17 » 2018-12-20 18:53:01

owlman wrote:

Davis charged with 3rd degree felony intoxication assault w/ vehicle, next court date 1/27 for "APR" whatever that is.

I believe that would be "application for probation revocation"

#21 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Shoal Creek, part trois (?) » 2018-12-14 13:21:29

Thanks for posting the survey link, RF.  In terms of false "bike friendliness" the proposed two-way lane hits a lot of notes for those who don't understand what bicycle riders really need to be safe, but the reality of it is that implementing the proposal would make Shoal Creek riding far worse for riders of all skill levels than it is today.

#22 Re: Other » Austin no longer bike-friendly according to LAB?! » 2018-12-12 17:02:31

The new LAB BFC announcement:  https://bikeleague.org/content/league-a … ommunities

Note also:  "Submissions for the 2019 Bicycle Friendly Community awards are now open. Deadline is Feb. 5, 2019."
  https://bicyclefriendly.secure-platform … /main/home

#24 Getting started with biking » Bike Houston Does Training in Response to High Accident Year » 2018-11-20 13:34:22

Jack
Replies: 0

A recent article from the Houston Chron:  http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas … 362338.php
goes over their increased emphasis on training cyclists for real-world riding.

I find a lot of new cyclists, even the enthusiastic ones, stymied by traffic situations a little training helps to overcome.

#25 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » Right Hooks and Situational Awareness Studies » 2018-09-28 11:47:44

Revisiting the Oltorf/S. Congress intersection, after reading about the signalization part of the scheme, I've taken the facility route instead of the road many times.  I've softened my view of it. I've only used the north-bound half.

Right turns are prohibited* while bikes are cleared for going north over next to the crosswalk. That is how it should be for this kind of thing.  Trying to place myself in the pedals of a new rider, navigating the intersection is pretty easy to understand and better than trying to creep by slow motorists on their right--a danger new riders rarely appreciate.  On the sidewalk part, I've already had minor conflicts with pedestrians/scooter riders (touch the brakes, steer around, ring the bell) and though I'm aware of the problems with the curb cuts that cross the sidewalk-bound lead-up to the intersection, so far I haven't experienced any conflict there.  So long as I slow down to a sidewalk speed instead of proceeding along the street at a normal speed (I'm not terribly fast, but, still, I have to slow down for this little detour to the crosswalk), it's not a big problem.  The signalization + markings make it safer than the too-often installed set up of painting a bike lane all the way to the intersection where motorists may be turning right across the bike lane, because the new set up doesn't lure cyclists into an unsafe road position.  I've seen scooter riders and cyclists ignore the stop signal and run the intersection anyway, but that's the same problem as a regular intersection.  It delays some right-turning motorists and it delays some cyclists, of course, but that's not a huge deal .

To mitigate the potential trouble with conflicts with motorists at the curb cuts, I think the curb cuts across the sidewalk part should be closed -- put curbs there.  That wouldn't be a problem for most businesses--Compass Bank on the south side of the street would be the one with the most legit complaint (it would limit bank access to Oltorf only).  As it is, it's not really a "protected" facility. 

Pretty expensive as compared to putting cyclists over to the left of a turn lane, but from a standpoint of being well thought out, it's as good as Austin has done, AFAIK.

*Edit: I now note that motorists who want to turn right from west-bound Oltorf to Congress cross the bike-crosswalk without warning while cyclists have the green to cross Oltorf.

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