Bike Shaped Objects

Funky bikes and news
Baltimore councilman seeks increased penalties for parking in bike lanes

Motorists continue to park in the bike lanes

bike lanesAfter hearing an outpouring of complaints from residents, a Baltimore city councilman is pushing a bill to crack down on motorists who park in bike lanes.

In recent years, government agencies have spent millions trying to boost the city’s bicycling infrastructure. Miles of lanes have been installed, including a 2.6-mile stretch of Maryland Avenue. It is called a “cycle track,” in which bicyclists are protected from traffic by a buffer of parked cars.

But motorists continue to park in the lanes. Making it dangerous for bicyclists, who are forced to dart out into traffic, advocates say.


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Bike lanes reduce congestion
PGH bike lanes

Studies show bike lanes can reduce congestion, contrary to Pittsburgh residents’ criticism

Pushing back against new bike lanes is becoming a Pittsburgh tradition. When Mayor Bill Peduto installed the lanes there was outcry worrying about parking. There was also support from hundreds of bikers and advocates, but media outlets downplayed that support.

Now, two years after setting up protected bike lanes Downtown on Penn Avenue and the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the city is still facing strong push-back on an extension to that system along Fort Pitt Boulevard. In response, Pittsburgh City Councilor Theresa Kail-Smith (District 2) proposed the creation of a bike-lane committee to field complaints and suggestions for new bike lanes.

Source: Pittsburgh City Paper

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Residents pedal towards a greener Islamabad

Cyclists are taking to the streets of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad

Islamabad authorities hope the 5 km (3.11 miles) of cycle track, costing around $20,000, will help reduce public reliance on fuel-guzzling vehicles that have degraded the sprawling city’s air quality.

The cycle paths were conceived more than half a century ago under a master plan for the city’s development when it was designated as the capital, but were never inaugurated and fell into disrepair. They have now been restored to fulfill their original purpose.

Source: Reuters

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Not all cities have green lines

Green Lines are our friend

green linesAs a spoiled cyclist I expect the green lines to be there when I look at a map. In preparation for a family visit I arranged to borrow a bike. I looked at the city on Google maps and found no green lines.

At first I thought my settings were messed up but no, there really are almost no bike lanes in Worcester Mass.. This is how spoiled I am. I just assume that all cities are as bike-friendly as San Francisco.

I must admit that Worcester isn’t a cyclist’s dream anyway. It has hills. We’re talking San Francisco would proud to have these hills. And for half the year those hills are covered in ice and snow.

However, in researching this rant I discovered that in the late 1800’s Worcester was a center of cycling activity. There were several bike factories there and hundreds of people pedaling up and down Main street. Major Taylor even moved to Worcester to escape the discrimination of the mid-west.

So what happened? Well, cars of course., and trucks and trains ans so-on. But that happened in San Francisco as well. And look at Minneapolis, it’s a frozen wasteland yet they are very bike-friendly.

So it seems there are two factors at work. The first is that Worcester appears to have had a decent bus system and a lack of wealthy close suburbs whose residents seem to be the most successful bike advocates. These are of course huge generalizations.

So how does one prepare to ride in an urban environment were bikes are not usually welcome? First, the bright yellow vest is definitely coming with me. It’s a vacation so I plan to sleep through the morning rush hour.The rest of the day I’ll just have to risk it.

The other problem is that instead of a road bike I’ll be on a mountain bike which isn’t as likely to keep up with the traffic. Though its ruggedness does make it more likely to take a hit without breaking.


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Bike lanes in the news

bike lanes in the newsLots of bike lanes in the news this week.

Fort Collins Colorado is one of THE bicycling cities in America but as this article in The Coloradoan shows, it’s not always easy to maintain that idea.

The city, or at least some people in the city, are trying to convert existing lanes into protected lanes. Us greedy little cyclists aren’t satisfied with a place to ride. Now we want a safe place to ride.

Fort Collins isn’t alone. As The Gothamist points out, the same argument is happening in Astoria, Queens. Here the arguments against are all driver-driven. Some complain about the potential for slower traffic and others complain about having to drive on another block, a whole 10th of a mile away.

The irony of this case is that the plan was created in part to make it safer for pedestrians who currently share a path with cyclists. Remember fellow cyclists; bike is to pedestrian is as car is to bike.

Over in Brooklyn a similar thing is happening, only this time the motorists are losing some parking and travel space. Currently the bikes here are sharing the roads with cars but apparently not everyone plays nice.

Out west in the Twin Cities, new bike lanes and car parking are costing the city a quarter million dollars. Actually that’s $50,000 for the bike lanes and $200,000 to create parking for the whiny motorists.

One of the things that amaze me that anti-cyclists won’t learn that cycling infrastructure costs a whole lot less than motorist infrastructure.

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