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Thread: Is Road Riding Worth the Risk?

  1. #11
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    This article nailed it.

    It’s SO easy (and frankly a whole lot more fun) to be “comfortable among cars.” Until one hits you, erasing the very convenient illusion that drivers value your life and will avoid a crash.

    I see it as a change of perception more than a hurdle to overcome. You can do everything safely and defensively, but the reality is many drivers are distracted, impatient, angry and sometimes violent. It’s hard to unsee that inhumanity, and perfectly reasonable to stay clear of them. This week has been a tough reminder.

    You can tweak the variables in the algebra — systematic enforcement and driver liability, protected bike infrastructure, etc — but ultimately the risk calculation has to reflect what you think your life is worth.


    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    WABA has made a deliberate decision to not focus on enforcement versus advocating for infrastructure changes.
    If so, that's a mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    none of the bike advocacy orgs in the region that I know of is focusing only on PBLs and ignoring the range of enforcement, legal, and other policy issues.
    I think that an objective examination of local bike advocacy organizations' activities would show that they are mostly focused on promoting bicycle-specific physical infrastructure. Look at the projects they focus on, the items on their meeting agendas, and what they advocate the cycling community to engage in.
    Also, by institutional infrastructure, I don't just mean law enforcement agencies. This would also include changing the agencies that conduct and oversee roadwork to always ensure that a safe and reasonable accommodation is made for cyclists and pedestrians. Another institutional infrastructure change would behaving an ombuds-person who has authority to advocate for vulnerable road users with the local government. This would be different from agencies like BikeArlington that have a limited mission of promoting cycling (which they do very well).

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  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    I think that an objective examination of local bike advocacy organizations' activities would show that they are mostly focused on promoting bicycle-specific physical infrastructure. Look at the projects they focus on, the items on their meeting agendas, and what they advocate the cycling community to engage in.
    Also, by institutional infrastructure, I don't just mean law enforcement agencies. This would also include changing the agencies that conduct and oversee roadwork to always ensure that a safe and reasonable accommodation is made for cyclists and pedestrians. Another institutional infrastructure change would behaving an ombuds-person who has authority to advocate for vulnerable road users with the local government. This would be different from agencies like BikeArlington that have a limited mission of promoting cycling (which they do very well).
    We have to start somewhere though, right? Physical infrastructure is not easy to obtain -- but changes in institutional infrastructure are much harder. To get changes in institutional infrastructure, "the public" or "the voters" will need to consistently push for changes over very long time-lines. To get a critical mass of people that push for that, infrastructure is an crucial first step.
    Last edited by Guus; 04-24-2019 at 08:20 AM.

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  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post

    If so, that's a mistake.
    It's mostly based around equity issues, but it's a conversation that's best left for in person (which I hope to have with you cause I don't see you enough these days).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    I think that an objective examination of local bike advocacy organizations' activities would show that they are mostly focused on promoting bicycle-specific physical infrastructure. Look at the projects they focus on, the items on their meeting agendas, and what they advocate the cycling community to engage in.
    I attend meetings of Alexandria BPAC every month, and I can state with certainty that you are incorrect. We spend time on the police report, on discussing city policy issues, Vision Zero (which includes enforcement, education, and culture change in city agencies). We discuss speed limits, no right on red, etc. We even spend time on data and data collection efforts, how police record crashes in their database, etc. Our infrastructure discussions include sidewalks, curb cuts, traffic calming where it mostly is for pedestrians, etc, etc. We have at least three members now who never or rarely ride bikes.

    We DO ask the bike community to get involved on behalf of complete streets projects that often include bike lanes as ONE ELEMENT. We also asked people to get involved to support the adoption of VZ, which as I noted, as plenty of non infra components, and is oriented towards peds as much as riders.

    Aside from lobbying, we spend time on education and encouragement efforts, such as supporting bike education in Alexandria schools, and holding bike rodeos for kids.

    If you don't like what Arlington BAC spends it time on, I suggest attending meetings, and volunteering your own time on other activities. I would be surprised if they turn you down.

    This generalization about the regional bike advocacy community is not helpful, IMO.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 04-24-2019 at 11:22 AM.

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    On WABA's advocacy page


    3. Enacting laws and policies that protect bicyclists

    ◾Holding DC accountable to enforcing its Safe Accommodations Policy
    ◾Vision Zero implementing regulations
    ◾Recent victories: ◾Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Act of 2016
    ◾Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016 (Contributory Negligence reform law) – in effect as of December 2016



    They also mention pushing for accountability on VZ in DC, MoCo and Alexandria, and supporting adoption of it elsewhere. VZ includes many things other than infra.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    On WABA's advocacy page


    3. Enacting laws and policies that protect bicyclists

    ◾Holding DC accountable to enforcing its Safe Accommodations Policy
    ◾Vision Zero implementing regulations
    ◾Recent victories: ◾Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Act of 2016
    ◾Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016 (Contributory Negligence reform law) – in effect as of December 2016



    They also mention pushing for accountability on VZ in DC, MoCo and Alexandria, and supporting adoption of it elsewhere. VZ includes many things other than infra.
    I think the point Judd and others are trying to make is yes, each of the local groups SAY they are working for these things and put it in their strategic plan, but their actual resource allocation is not split evenly across all of the activities included in these plans. So WABA may have in all its plans that enforcement is key and important, BUT they are not dedicating much staff time and funding towards working towards those goals, and are instead using those resources on infrastructure and other (important) issues.

    As someone who does ALOT of strategic planning as part of their day job, I can tell you from experience putting something in your strategic plan is meaningless unless you then follow it up with actual work. And honestly, many organizations put things in their strategic plan to pay lip service to certain constituencies or issues, while knowing full well they do not plan to dedicate many resources to that specific section of their plan.

    Side note--I think when it comes to WABA issues, you need to trust Judd, who holds a position on their Board and therefor has a good amount of insider knowledge. Not sure any of us can really claim to more more than him about WABA's current activities... (unless you too are also as involved as he is with the organization)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    I think that an objective examination of local bike advocacy organizations' activities would show that they are mostly focused on promoting bicycle-specific physical infrastructure. Look at the projects they focus on, the items on their meeting agendas, and what they advocate the cycling community to engage in.
    Also, by institutional infrastructure, I don't just mean law enforcement agencies. This would also include changing the agencies that conduct and oversee roadwork to always ensure that a safe and reasonable accommodation is made for cyclists and pedestrians. Another institutional infrastructure change would behaving an ombuds-person who has authority to advocate for vulnerable road users with the local government. This would be different from agencies like BikeArlington that have a limited mission of promoting cycling (which they do very well).
    We're bike advisory, not bike advocacy, but Arlington's Bike Advisory Committee has identified 3 priorities for the year. You'll see that our agendas follow these priorities. The last is infrastructure focused, but includes non-bike specific infra, like signals.

    - Trails: Behavior and Design
    - Safe Accomodation (providing safe routes when construction or maintenance takes bike facilities out of service)
    - Network Priorities: Columbia Pike, Lee Highway, quick fixes and problem intersections.

    Also, you'll see a lot of non-infrastructure stuff in the Bike Element adopted at last night's County Board meeting.

    As mentioned, you are welcome to come to our meetings, participate and help shape our work. We work with ACPD, but are dependent on what they are willing to do.

    And in Arlington, if you want to get involved specifically on the enforcement side, look in to getting on the Emergency Preparedness Advisory commission
    Last edited by dasgeh; 04-24-2019 at 11:08 AM.

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  13. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emm View Post
    I think the point Judd and others are trying to make is yes, each of the local groups SAY they are working for these things and put it in their strategic plan, but their actual resource allocation is not split evenly across all of the activities included in these plans. So WABA may have in all its plans that enforcement is key and important, BUT they are not dedicating much staff time and funding towards working towards those goals, and are instead using those resources on infrastructure and other (important) issues.

    As someone who does ALOT of strategic planning as part of their day job, I can tell you from experience putting something in your strategic plan is meaningless unless you then follow it up with actual work. And honestly, many organizations put things in their strategic plan to pay lip service to certain constituencies or issues, while knowing full well they do not plan to dedicate many resources to that specific section of their plan.

    Side note--I think when it comes to WABA issues, you need to trust Judd, who holds a position on their Board and therefor has a good amount of insider knowledge. Not sure any of us can really claim to more more than him about WABA's current activities... (unless you too are also as involved as he is with the organization)
    I definitely trust Judd, but I think (help me here Judd) he was speaking specifically of enforcement - there are legal and policy issues that are not enforcement but also not infrastructure. For example changing contributory negligence was a big win (not absolutely sure how much of a role WABA played) but its not "enforcement". Similarly allowing bikes to proceed legally through an LPI. In Virginia a lot of that is done statewide, and VBF is the lead advocacy org.

    I am not sure what all of SteveC's issues with Arlington BAC are - but I know his characterization is incorrect about Alexandria BPAC, I suspect Judd would agree its not fully correct regarding WABA, and Dasgeh has pointed out on a different thread that the Arlington Bike Plan update is about more than infrastructure. Certainly regarding DC my twitter is full of people talking about enforcement, about safe accommodation, etc - and they are mostly people involved in bike advocacy in the District.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 04-24-2019 at 11:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    Certainly regarding DC my twitter is full of people talking about enforcement, about safe accommodation, etc - and they are mostly people involved in bike advocacy in the District.
    It's also important to note that infrastructure changes often go through a public process, so the bike advocacy piece of it is a very public push to get people to write in, take surveys, go to meetings, speak up.

    But the institutional changes are a lot about building relationships, changing hearts and minds, finding where the weak link is, crafting policies to address those issues. That doesn't usually look like a twitter campaign or a rally or a call to action. You don't see all the coffees and emails, and individuals who go to other meetings and catch a leaders ear as they're walking out. It's a LOT of work that you don't see, but it doesn't mean it's not happening.

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