Posts Tagged ‘Long Bike Back’

Bicycle Advocacy Progress in New York State

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Pearson on a ride in Albany, NY after the Legislative Breakfast

Last Wednesday Pearson and I attended the New York Bicycle Coalition‘s Legislative Breakfast in Albany.  At this annual event, a variety of people speak about ongoing bicycle advocacy in New York State and about what should be worked on to make bicycling more accessible and safe.

Pearson spoke last year about his recovery from the hit-and-run and the need for more legislative protection for bikes, including the ‘Complete Streets’ bill and a 3-foot passing law.  This year our Assemblywoman Amy Paulin closed the breakfast by introducing the 3 foot passing bill that she is co-sponsoring.  The bill was introduced in the assembly and senate on Friday and will be known as “Merill’s Law”.  This law will require drivers to stay at least 3 feet away from cyclists at all times.  I personally don’t like the caveat that reads “This buffer zone will only be enforceable when circumstances are practicable.” But this is still a great step to protect bicyclists on our roads.  Many other states have already passed similar laws.

Robert Zerillo, the director of the NYSDOT policy and planning division, also spoke and gave us a sneak preview of the updated Bicycle and Pedestrian policy.  This is the first update of the policy since 1996 and it is much more comprehensive than the original document.  It opens: “The New York State Department of Transportation will promote pedestrian and bicycle travel for all persons on the state transportation system.”  The entire two page document is below, along with the original 1996 policy.  And the full Bicycling and Pedestrian Plan from 1997 is available here.

NYSDOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Policy Page1

2010 NYSDOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Policy Page1

1996 Bicycle & Pedestrian Policy

Excitement for cycling continues to build in New York and around the country, so let’s take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and ride!

Spring in Bloom


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Last week was a busy week for those of us who discuss cycling. On Wednesday the founder of Road ID used Twitter to gather attention to an aging, balding, grey Van Dyke sporting, AM radio host named Tony Kornheiser, who stated on air that cyclists need to be “run down.”

The twitterverse acted quickly making Kornheiser it’s most popular twat.  In another spineless move Kornheiser used his ESPN weight and called on Lance Armstrong to set the stage for an apology.  Lance accepted Kornheiser’s impotent, “I’m sorry,” for condoning vehicular manslaughter over the airwaves to the ears of millions of people with bumper stickers like this. (Suckin Gas And Hauling Ass!!!)

According to Lance’s twitter feed, Tony didn’t mean what he said he was only joking, but both cyclists and car’s need to exhibit mutual respect for each other.  Respect I agree with; if there is going to be any successful road sharing, the duty falls equally on cyclists and motorists to share.  But instead of creating a wider national conversation about “mutual respect” or road sharing or the fact that in the United States more cyclists are killed on the roads than in any other country on the planet- nothing happened.

Click on the Graph we found this weekend from Twitter pal @Amsterdamized

Kornheisergate ended with hardly a ripple in the media.  I’d love to see Tony Kornheiser have to commute to work via bicycle, perhaps then he’d get a perspective of what its like riding a 20 pound machine next to a two-thousand pound truck with tinted windows as the driver talks on the phone and sips a big gulp.

Kornheiser’s transcript and comments, a quick and infuriating read.

Taker easy,


Maryland Crab Cars

Friday, February 12th, 2010

One year ago, 21 year old Tressa Russell ran over 66 year old Stanly Brown (February 11, 2009) when she drove away from a pizzeria.  Last week she was sentenced to 3 years of probation, 240 hours of community service and a fine of $5,400.00.  What bothers me is not the lack of incarceration but her utter deficient humanity, oh yeah I didn’t mention, she thought she hit a pothole so she kept on driving.  She only returned to the scene after she called a friend who told her there were police and ambulances where she said she hit that pothole.

Link to the story from the Albany Times Union :

In an exact quote from her statement printed by the Albany Times Union, she plead guilty primarily, “so I could get my car back and to make the victim’s sisters happy for the loss of their brother.”

The article continued, “The defendant (Tressa Russell) appears to be more upset about the loss of her car and license than the loss of the life of the victim, Stanley Brown.”

In court, Russell’s attorney, Joseph McCoy, said his client was remorseful. He said his client’s decision to leave the scene in no way contributed to the victim’s death.

Just hitting Stanley with her car contributed to him dying.

I hope that our cultural apathy takes a break when hearing story’s like this, until that happens I’m going to continue talking about it.

At least Mercedes Benz is working on an affordable car that senses when the operator is getting drowsy through a complicated system of behavior monitoring, a feature they call ATTENTION ASSIST (An article if you dig reading propaganda like I do or you could just check the videos below).

Cooler feature  :

Volvo has also developed a slick safety system where the car automatically brakes in the event an obstacle pops up.  If the car senses the driver is not braking hard enough the system will engage more power to the brakes to avoid a collision.

*please note this video is almost 4 years old, these features are currently available now in 2010.

These are amazing advances to keep people safe, except the focus remains on protecting the driver from himself.

Since saving drivers is crucial to car companies, how about developing a sensor (similar to those high frequency warnings used to steer deer away from our precious grills) that alerts the driver they are in a populated zone and to: “Be careful, there are humans around, walking and cycling, watch out! They may hurt us!”  Of course the effort being to spare car buyers from 240 hours of community service or the nuisance of losing their car after committing manslaughter.

Yesterday the Maryland State Senate passed SB 51 requiring motorists to yield right-of-way at intersections when a cyclist is in a designated bike lane or lawfully riding on the shoulder.  The article on the Baltimore Sun’s website has some colorful comments, getting angry reading them is pointless, consider the source and then hope they lose their license .  My eternal favs though are anyone who equates riding a bike and legislation for cycling as socialism.

Some light reading at the end of this dark post, here is the bill’s published pdf.

Happy Valentine’s Day.