Safety

Tips for Sharing the Road with People in Motor Vehicles

From bike.lacity.org

 

  1. Obey all traffic regulations
    Riding predictably and following the law are the keys to safe bicycling on Los Angeles streets.
    Knowing and following the rules helps all road users properly anticipate and react to each other.
  2. Never ride against traffic
    Riding against traffic is DANGEROUS and illegal. ALWAYS ride in the same direction as motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic. People driving and walking are not looking for people on bicycles riding the wrong way down a street.
  3. Avoid riding on the sidewalk
    People walking have the right of way on walkways. If you must ride on sidewalks, please do so at a walking pace. Slow down and look very carefully for traffic at driveways or intersections.
  4. Ride in a straight line
    Avoid weaving between parked cars. Ride in a straight line at least 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid opening car doors.
  5. When necessary, use the entire lane
    Move toward the center, if the lane is too narrow for people driving to pass safely or when you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
  6. There are 2 ways to safely turn left
    Use the left turn lane or ride across the intersection, cross the street walking next to your bike, and align yourself with traffic.
  7. Beware of Right Hook
    If you are turning right, wait in the designated right turn lane. Move to the left of a right turning vehicle or bus. Watch for people driving rushing into the intersection and turn right in front of you.
  8. Avoid the “Door Zone”
    Ride 4 feet away from parked cars to avoid the “door zone.” Look for drivers inside of parked cars who might open the car’s door and pass safely.
  9. Use bicycle lanes, when available
    When riding in a bike lane, ride to the left side of the lane, at least 3 to 4 feet from parked cars.
  10. Be aware
    Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones in both ears (it’s illegal and dangerous). Remember to signal and make eye contact with other people using the road.

 

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Deputies cite 45 motorists during bike, pedestrian operation

From SignalSCV.com

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station gave out citations to 45 motorists for various Vehicle Code violations during its Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation Wednesday.

Deputies involved with the operation patrolled intersections in the Santa Clarita Valley that included:  Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country and McBean Parkway and Town Center Drive in Valencia, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Facebook.

The locations were selected based on mapped out locations where pedestrian and bike collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes during the past three years, according to an earlier press release from the station.

Citations from Wednesday’s operation ranged from $160 to more than $450, depending on the violation.

Of the 45 citations, 28 were for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, seven were for cellphone violations, seven were for speed violations, two were for failing to stop for a red light and one was for a turn violation.

Another motorist was cited for using a suspended driver’s license.

Although the operation included enforcement on pedestrians and bicycles, no violations were issued for the two.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station said it conducted the operation to reduce collision-causing factors and lower deaths and injuries.

 

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5 Myths About Bicycling

From the ChicagoTribune.com

 

Each year, 100 million Americans jump on a bicycle at least once, especially when the weather gets warm. Some of these pedalers are recreational riders; others rely on their bikes for transportation to and from work. In the past few years, cities have rushed to accommodate such travelers: Scores of bike lanes and bike-share programs have popped up. But there are still a lot of misconceptions about getting around on two wheels. As the number of cyclists rises, it’s important to keep in mind some truths about who they are, how they behave and what impact they have on the space around us.

 

1. Mandating helmet use is the best way to keep riders safe.

There’s no doubt about it: Helmets save lives. Studies show they reduce the risk of cyclist head injury by 85 percent. Recently, bike advocates such as Greg Kaplan have argued that riding without a helmet should be illegal. “Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is analogous to wearing a seatbelt while driving,” he wrote in Bicycling magazine.

In truth, there are better ways to keep cyclists safe. And legislating helmet use can distract from the many policy interventions that would actually help more. Helmets don’t prevent crashes, and people can be badly hurt in a collision with a moving vehicle, whether or not their heads are protected. Building dedicated infrastructure to keep bikes away from cars is a more effective way to save lives.

Here’s proof: Most European cities don’t require riders to wear helmets. Yet in those cities, there are fewer cyclist deaths and injuries per capita than in the United States. Experts say that’s because of their infrastructure. And studies show that when drivers see cyclists in helmets, they behave more recklessly, driving closer to pedalers and increasing the possibility of accidents.

Mandating helmet use also tends to reduce overall ridership, since some people would rather skip bicycling altogether than risk punishment for not wearing a helmet. When that happens, bike density decreases and the presence of cyclists is less apparent, which leaves those who remain more vulnerable.

 

2. Cyclists break more traffic laws than drivers do.

When confronted with cycling safety proposals, lawmakers across the country have claimed that bicyclists don’t deserve new laws until they follow existing ones. When the Virginia Bicycling Federation was trying to get a new passing law enacted, it said it was told that “bicyclists are often lawbreakers, unworthy of any added protection under the law.” Others echo this claim: The Spectator, a British magazine, called cyclists “a menace to society.”

Most cyclists do say they’ve rolled through a red light once in a while, if the street was clear of oncoming cars, or have hopped on a sidewalk to avoid a crowded road. These acts are illegal in many cities. And occasionally, bikers act unpredictably and irresponsibly, putting themselves and drivers in danger.

But let’s put those bad acts in perspective: According to Wesley Marshall, a University of Colorado engineering professor who surveyed more than 17,000 cyclists and drivers, drivers copped to breaking the rules at a slightly higher rate than bikers. It’s the rare driver who never speeds, after all. And sometimes, drivers think cyclists are breaking the law when they’re really not – it’s usually legal to take up a whole lane, for example, rather than staying on the right side of the road.

 

3. If more people rode bikes, there’d be noticeably less traffic and pollution.

A lot of bicycle evangelists see cycling as the fix for all kinds of urban problems, from congestion to smog. Forbes wondered whether bringing back bicycles could fix Beijing’s traffic woes. Bicycling magazine says cyclists could be a “huge part” of combating global warming. “How much can bicycling help fight climate change?” Streetsblog asks. “A lot, if cities try.”

Sure, if everyone gave up their cars tomorrow, the health of our cities and our climate would improve. But this is wishful thinking. Just 1 percent of Americans regularly commute by bicycle. Even if that number doubled, cycling wouldn’t significantly cut smog and congestion. And for many people — families with small children, the millions who live 10 miles or more from their jobs, the elderly and the infirm — biking just isn’t a realistic possibility.

Even if significantly more people rode bikes, it probably wouldn’t make a serious dent in our traffic problems. Studies have shown that congestion increases in cities where there are more bike riders but no new bike lanes. As city planners have long realized, the only thing powerful enough to lure drivers out of their cars is a combination of robust bike infrastructure and a comprehensive transit system. Just look at the cities where the most people get to work using biking and transit: High shares of one mode tend to correspond with high shares of the other. Many cities simply don’t have anything like what it would take to meaningfully reduce car use.

 

4. Bicycling is mostly for the wealthy.

You probably know the stereotype of city cyclists: spandex-clad guys tooling around on bikes that cost more than your car. “Twenty-five years ago, they might have gone out to buy a Porsche or a supersport motorbike, now it’s a $5,100 carbon fiber bike,” marketing specialist Michael Oliver told Business Insider. Anthropologist Adonia Lugo explains that bicycling is often promoted as “an urban lifestyle. You don’t do it because it’s cheap and you need to get somewhere. It’s presented as an opportunity to be part of urban chic fashion.”

But in truth, the majority of cyclists are not the rich but the poor. Statistics consistently show that bicycling is equally prevalent among people of all income levels and may even be more common in the lowest-earning quartile. One PeopleForBikes study found that 40 percent of American adults who ride have incomes of less than $20,000. That makes sense. For distances slightly too far to walk, biking is often the fastest, cheapest way to get around, especially for people who can’t afford to buy and maintain cars. Unfortunately, the infrastructure has yet to catch up. People who make less than $20,000 a year say they’re less satisfied than others with the bike paths, lanes and trails in their neighborhoods.

 

5. Bike-sharing programs make roads less safe.

Whenever a U.S. city considers installing a bike-sharing program, people worry. When New York proposed its Citi Bike system, the Daily News warned of “hell on wheels” and suggested that it would be nearly impossible to keep pedalers safe. The city’s comptroller warned that the program would lead to more accident lawsuits against the city. This fear seems to make sense. People rent big, clunky bikes and ride them slowly around town, often without helmets, probably careening into stationary objects and causing pile-ups behind them. Right?

After a few years of collecting data on the systems that have sprouted in cities across the country, researchers have found this not to be true. According to a report released in March by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, there have been zero fatalities from bike-sharing programs in the United States since the first systems were established in 2010. They also have a lower non-fatal injury rate than bicycling generally, and researchers think that’s precisely because the bikes are so large and visible, and riders can’t pilot them as aggressively as conventional bikes.

In European cities, these systems make the rest of the cycling population safer as well, as they increase driver awareness, slow down traffic and increase pressure for safety-enhancing street infrastructure, such as protected bike lanes, for everyone to use.

From the ChicagoTribune.com

New Plan Seeks to Improve Bike and Pedestrian Safety in Downtown Los Angeles DTLA

In an effort to make the downtown Los Angeles area more suited for bicycles and pedestrians, city officials are putting into place a new plan called DTLA Forward that will make bike lanes protected and separate from traffic.
On Wednesday morning, Councilman Jose Huizar was joined by a group of pedestrian, bike, greenway and downtown advocates to announce the plans for a revamping of downtown streets. The plan aims to use street configuration to better suit pedestrians and bikers in a car-heavy city.

The city has already installed “head start” crosswalks, which give pedestrians four seconds of green light to walk before drivers get a green light themselves.

The biggest change, however, could come with these protected bike lanes that would give bikers an exclusive lane that prioritizes their safety by keeping them away from both moving and parked cars.

“The majority of people who are scared to commute to work, it’s only because there’s not a bugger,” said Rodney Masjedi, of DTLA Bikes.

Biker and San Francisco transplant Sara Shortt applauded the plan.

“I want to ride my bike everywhere and I know a lot of friends who actually prefer to do that but they feel too unsafe,” she said.

The initiative’s main improvements will be on Main and Spring streets in the downtown area.

Huizar believes some drivers will be skeptical, but he is sure they will realize the benefit of making downtown LA more biker friendly.

“The more people get out of their cars to bicycles the less traffic we have,” said Huizar. “That person that was first complaining about that bicycle lane in a couple of years may say, ‘Hey, hey, this is a lot smoother here.'”
According to a city spokesman, Los Angeles currently has $11 billion worth in ongoing developments and expects an influx of over 80,000 new residents in the next five years.

From NBC

Operation Firefly shines a light on night-time bicycle safety

From the LAtimes.com

Rebecca Damodaran was riding her bicycle on her commute home from work at Providence High School Tuesday night. Christopher Black was riding his bike for exercise and to enjoy the nice weather.

As the sun set and the sky was streaked pink and blue, car lights shined on Verdugo Avenue and Buena Vista Street, but neither Damodaran nor Black had headlights of their own when they stopped at the entrance to Lincoln Park, near the bust of the 16th president.

Damodaran had a light, but it was dead. Black said he’s never had a light on his bike since he reached adulthood, and while he thought the law might require him to wear a helmet — it doesn’t for adults — he had no idea it requires cyclists to have lights and reflectors.

“It makes sense, though,” Black said. “I just never thought to get any.”

Both Damodaran and Black were in luck, though, as they happened across volunteers with Walk Bike Burbank, a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, who were stationed near Honest Abe, handing out bike lights and packets with information about state laws and safety tips for night-time riding.

The unannounced pop-up event is part of an education and bike-light-distribution program called Operation Firefly that runs November through March each year, said Mike Hollis, chairman of Walk Bike Burbank. The program is sponsored by the Laemmle Charitable Foundation, he said, and the lights are donated by Burbank-based Pure Fix Cycles.

The goal is to promote bike safety. The roughly two-hour operation was Walk Bike Burbank’s second Firefly event this year, Hollis said — the group handed out about 30 sets of front and rear lights in January — and it’s the last one until the next “season” begins in November, Hollis said.

Volunteers distributed the sets of white and red (front and rear) bike lights, plus stickers and information cards with tips on how to change a flat tire and how to be safer riding at night, such as wearing white or light-colored clothing and extra reflectors on helmets or shoes.

The safety tip card also warns that riders can be cited at night for riding without a white front light and reflectors on the bike’s rear, side and pedals. Red rear lights are optional, but recommended.

Have your tunes—and still be polite—with these tips

5 Rules for Listening to Music on a Ride (Without Being a Jerk)

If you enjoy listening to music while riding, get this: Research shows that tuning in to your favorite jams can make you ride happier, harder, and faster. Music is scientifically proven to reduce perceived exertion, boost your energy levels, and increase your endurance by as much as 15 percent.

The world’s most prolific researcher on music and exercise, Costas Karageorghis, PhD, from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, boils it down to this: “Music is like a legal performance-enhancing drug for athletes.”

If, however, you have “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring so high that you can’t hear cars approaching behind you, another rider trying to pass you, or a barking dog coming straight for you, it can wreck your ride—and someone else’s—in a second.

Read more here

Fancy New Bike Tech: The Recon Jet

The future is now. Check out the latest feature-packed eyewear from Recon.

INTELLIGENT DISPLAY
Jet’s display is equivalent to a 30” screen viewed from 7 feet (2 m) away. It’s crisp and vibrant in all lighting conditions—and thanks to our patented Glance Detection technology, it wakes up instantly when you glance down, then turns off again when you look away, minimizing distractions and maximizing power efficiency.

POINT-OF-VIEW CAMERA
Jet’s camera captures photos and video instantly with a double tap. And because Jet’s display doubles as a viewfinder, you’ll always frame your shot perfectly.

COMPUTING, SENSORS, AND CONNECTIVITY
Jet’s smartphone-class processor backs an onboard GPS and a comprehensive sensor suite: accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, barometer, and magnetometer. Need more? Jet features ANT+, Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth 4.0), and Wi-Fi connectivity. And it even pairs with your smartphone to get caller ID, SMS notifications, and access to social media.

SWAPPABLE LITHIUM-ION BATTERY
Jet’s battery snaps on opposite the engine for optimal weight balance. It’s also swappable, so Jet can always go as far as you can.

OPTICAL TOUCHPAD AND TWO-BUTTON ROCKER
No matter the weather, interacting with Jet is a breeze. Just swipe and click. Wearing gloves? No problem.

PERFORMANCE EYEWEAR AND LENSES
More than just groundbreaking technology, Jet is also true performance eyewear. Highly adjustable ear stems and nosepieces help Jet conform to any user, and four interchangeable lens options have been impact-tested and provide full UVA and UVB protection. Jet’s polarized lenses also cut out glare for maximum visual clarity.

Read a review here

California Bicycle Laws: Safety Starts with the Rules

Some basic rules of the road:

Ride on the Street:

You have a right to ride on the street.  You are not required to ride on the sidewalk.  Exception:  Freeways and some bridges may have signs posted forbidding bicyclists.

 

Obey All Signs, Street Markings and Signals:

Bicycle riders must obey the same rules as drivers.  This includes stopping at red lights and stop signs.

 

Ride With Traffic, Not Against It:
You must ride on the right half of the roadway, with the flow of traffic.  Exception: you can ride on wither the left or right side of one-way streets.

 

Look and Yield Before You Go:
You must yield to traffic before entering the roadway.

 

Ride Outside the Door Zone:
It’s the responsibility of motor vehicle drivers to make sure it;s clear before opening a door.  Despite this, a practical guide is to ride at least 3 feet from parked cars.

 

Signal and Yield When Moving Left or Right:
Use hand signals to indicate  when you are turning, changing lanes, or stopping.  Move left or right only when it’s clear to do so.

 

Download the the ‘Rules of The Road’ courtesy of Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

 

 

1.5 Million Bikes Recalled; Faulty Quick Releases Blamed

Seventeen bike brands announce recall of affected disc brake bikes.

Last April, bikemaker Trek announced a gigantic recall of almost one million disc brake-equipped bikes due to a problem with quick release skewers that attached wheels to its bikes. Since the quick release in question was broadly used by a number of bike companies, the question was whether—and when—additional recalls would be announced.

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What Road Position Should You Maintain When You Ride Slower Than The Traffic?

It seems like a great idea to examine some different parts of the bicycle law in California to make sure that cyclists understand exactly what they should be doing when they ride.

The more educated we all are (car and truck drivers included) the less chance there is that you’ll need to use our Bicycle Accident Assistance app.

The California Department Of Motor Vehicles (DMV) lists all the current road rules on their website.  Each different section is a separate page and it makes it really easy to look up any information you need.  Occasionally what riders and drivers believe to be the law as actually not true or has become confused over time.  It helps to go to the source and get the facts direct.

We are going to talk about the road position you should maintain as a cyclist, specifically when you are moving slower than other traffic.  Obviously you are often going to be slower than other traffic, so you should be aware of your rights and also what is safe for you to do.

When you’re riding your bicycle on a roadway with the traffic, here’s some things to remember.

You need to keep to the right, as close as practicable, to the kerb or the edge of the roadway.  Sounds simple enough and fairly obvious too.  But you should note that the active word here is practicable.  It does not say possible.  This means that you only have to ride as far right as is safe for you to do so.  You don’t have to be as far right as it is possible for you to ride.

Here are the exclusions to keeping right as listed by the California DMV:

  • When you are overtaking another bicycle or a moving vehicle you may do so on the left.
  • In preparation for a left turn, whether that is into a street or a private driveway or private road.
  • When there is good reason to avoid an obstacle.  Road conditions such as loose gravel or uneven surfaces and even holes are all best avoided and you should move left.  Stationary items on your path, animals, broken glass or a parked vehicle are all great reasons to move left before you injure yourself.
  • Should there be a chance of another bicycle or a vehicle crossing your path as they exit left or right, then you have the option to move left.

Don’t forget that you should always signal before you move left or change your road position.

Some cyclists believe that they have the right to use an entire lane no matter the speed of the traffic.  This is not the case.  Should there be a single lane in one direction and it is too narrow for a a cyclist and a motor vehicle to share the lane then you may ride in the center.  If there is no area where legal and safe overtaking can occur, a cyclist must pull over in a safe place to let cars pass when 5 or more cars have built up behind them.  This rule actually applies to all slow vehicles using the roadway, not just to those riding a bicycle.

Remember we reword some of the actual law to make it easy to understand.  If you would like to see the exact wording you can check CVC21202 here.  Keep reading the blog to learn more about California bicycle law and keep yourself safe!

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