Bike lanes are for…?

I may not have time for well researched articles like I did a few years ago, but I do seem to have time to make videos!  Here is a compilation of bike lane blockers from a winter of commuting.

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Velo Posse Recovers Stolen Bike. Thieves Beware

Let me tell you a little story about my stolen bicycle. It’s rare to have good news about a bicycle theft but I’ll tell you from the outset this story ends happily. It all started on a typical night (Thursday January 16th). I had ridden my Surly Long Haul Trucker Xtracycle this day, even though for the past few weeks I’d been riding the new Bike Friday Haul-a-Day.  The brakes were rubbing a bit on the Haul-a-Day and I didn’t need to use the Hooptie to pick up the kids so I rode my classic steed. First a little background on the bike.  I’ve had this bike since I worked at Pedal Express in Berkeley, California. Originally the Xtracycle was on an aluminum cyclocross frame in 2002 but I broke that from all the hard work I put it through (like racing it in the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Seattle in 2003). In 2004 I upgraded to the Surly Long Haul Trucker and the first major trip with it was the day Missy proposed to me at Hawk Camp in the Marin Headlands. Since then I’ve ridden that bike on a trip in the Czech Republic, on our Honeymoon in the Yucatan Peninsula, on our “All Around US” circumnavigation of the country, on countless errands/commute trips, many camping trips and eventually carrying all three of our kids on it. Needless to say it’s a pretty damn important bike.   CMWCSEA2003Xtracycle Cargo Continue reading “Velo Posse Recovers Stolen Bike. Thieves Beware”

In Eugene, You Can Kill a Pedestrian While Driving Drunk and be Charged With a Misdemeanor

Sometimes you don’t even have to pay a $1,000 fine in order to kill a pedestrian with your car in Eugene.  Sometimes you will just be charged with a DUII misdemeanor, but not manslaughter or murder.  On July 24th Dallin Steward (19) was driving drunk and killed Nicholas Tendick (32) as he was crossing the Ferry Street Bridge near Club Rd.  It was dark (10 pm) and judging by the lack of criminal charges, it seems the police are blaming Tendick.

If this was the end of it I wouldn’t be bitching about it.  Sometimes people do jump in front of your car and it’s not 100% your fault for hitting them (although unless your job requires it, it is your fault that you chose to drive that day rather than take the bus or ride a bike. Hell, I had a guy on bike cut me off when I was riding 20mph near Willamette and 32nd and we collided, but we both were fine because I’d chosen to ride a bike and not drive that day. If I’d been in a car the biker would have been dead.  I saved his life with my choice to bike and not drive.)

However, Steward was drunk.  If he had been sober he could possibly have seen or avoided Tendick and saved his life.  However, he wasn’t.  He was drunk. Drunk drunk drunk drunk.  He killed a man while driving drunk, and all he is getting is a slap on the wrist.  Whatever happened to automatically being at fault when driving drunk?  If Steward had chosen to drive sober, or better yet ridden a bike, taken a taxi, called friend, or taken a bus home, Tendick could still be alive.

This is yet another example of the disgusting “it could happen to me” car culture BS that we have in this country.  When you choose to drive a car you put everyone around you at risk of death or grave injury.  This is a fact. If you, like me, feel that this is unacceptable, DRIVE LESS and when you have to drive, DRIVE BETTERCars are not healthy for children and other living things.

In Eugene, a human life is worth $1,000

Michael Devon Alston was driving carelessly on November 29th, 2012 when he made a right turn in broad daylight off 18th street onto Chambers and killed pedestrian Tamara Kay Glenn.  Alston’s only penalty after pleading guilty to careless driving that lead to the death of Tamara is paying a $1,000 fine.  This is the same proposed fine that you get for talking on a cell phone while driving, stripping in an airport, having a loud party on campus, or littering.

That’s right, driving carelessly and killing someone with your car is the same at littering in Eugene.  This is car culture at it worst.  How can we pretend to be a bike and pedestrian friendly town and let this slide?

This sentence is a result of the typical “oh, it could happen to me!” attitude of other car drivers (like the judge).  Well you’re right, IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, which is why when you drive a car you should drive with FEAR in your heart that you may kill someone. Treat cars like loaded guns.  They are not safe in any way.  Every time you drive you put the lives of everyone around you in danger, but rarely your own.  We need to change that. Screw up driving, and YOU GO TO JAIL, not pay a $1,000 fine.  Then everyone will drive better, or maybe even choose to drive less in the first place.

I’m tired of people outside of cars (bikers, pedestrians) being the only ones with skin in the game.  We risk our lives existing around cars, but all car drivers risk is a few dollars?  They are the drone pilots of the transportation world: free to kill, but with no risk themselves.  If we don’t increase the risk to them, we aren’t going to see better drivers and people won’t stop dying.

Maybe we should get rid of airbags and put a 2-foot long spike in the center of every steering wheel.  I bet we see some careful driving then! (Idea blatantly stolen from an Andy Singer cartoon that I can’t find online)

Eugene man pleads guilty to careless driving charge in connection with fatal crash | Local News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

Register-Guard focuses on helmets, again, when car driver hits a 14-year-old on a bike

A 14-year-old was hit by a turning car while riding on Hunsaker Road on Tuesday, and Register-Guard story implicitly blamed the victim:

The boy was not wearing a helmet when his bicycle was struck about 5:50 p.m. as he was pedaling along Hunsaker Drive near River Road in west Eugene, police Sgt. Kevin McCormick said at the scene.

The boy appeared to suffer only scrapes and bruises, but was taken by ambulance to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, McCormick said.

The boy apparently was riding his bike west on Hunsaker Lane when he was struck by a silver Volks­wagen Passat that was turning onto River Road from Hun­saker Lane.

It was not immediately known whether the woman driving the Passat would be cited in connection with the accident, McCormick said.

Shame on author Josephine Woolington for continuing in the media’s tradition of victim blaming whenever a person in a car fails to control their vehicle and runs someone over.  Helmets can’t stop a bad driver from running you over! It is irrelevant that the boy was not wearing a helmet!

Notably, this intersection is one of the top ten most dangerous in Eugene.

Source:

 

Separate accidents hurt bicyclist, pedestrian | Local News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

Bicyclists aren’t free riders | Opinion | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon

Heck yea R-G!  A great article that says what we already know. The comments offer some great insight into the opposition as well.  Things like “bikes cause more pollution because cars have to slow down and wait for them.”  Wowzers…

Bicyclists aren’t free riders | Opinion | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon.

Bicyclists Already Pay Their Fair Share, or: Idiotic Oregon Senator Larry George Fails to do Independent Research, Proposes Yet Another Bike Tax.

Here are the main reasons why I didn’t return to WBE after taking a hiatus for gradschool.

  1. Biking, juggling, and playing guitar is more fun and more fulfilling that writing for WBE.
  2. Being a teacher takes a lot of time.
  3. I think the rate of progress for bikes in this city, state, and country is embarrassingly and pitifully slow, and I can no longer be all “sun shiny” when reporting bike news.  The advocates who work tirelessly for things like bike lanes on Willamette are awesome, but I can no longer report on issues like that without making the obvious comment that if it weren’t for all the anti-bike assholes in this town this wouldn’t even be a debate, and those assholes can all go screw themselves.
  4. I’m tired of yelling into the damn wind about shit like this.  I’ve posted about how stupid a bike tax is before, and now I’m having to do it again, because apparently Senator George is too stupid to use Google.

Without further ado: Why people who think bikes don’t pay their fair share, and want to tax them, are stupid idiots.

Continue reading “Bicyclists Already Pay Their Fair Share, or: Idiotic Oregon Senator Larry George Fails to do Independent Research, Proposes Yet Another Bike Tax.”

Cars vs Bikes? Not Here…

I’d like to repost a recent Register-Guard letter to the editor that made me smile.  It’s all to easy to focus on conflict and differences, but Karen Lally’s letter illustrates well that we are all in this together.

Small kindness has big effect

I was biking hard to work recently when I noticed a driver had stopped ahead in the lane of traffic for no apparent reason. I wondered why, until I pulled abreast of the car and the man said, “You lost a glove in the intersection back there.”

I thought about how disappointed I’d have been to find it missing later in the day. A glove is a far too critical and expensive piece of winter riding gear to leave behind for inconvenience. Very grateful, I thanked him, dismounted and turned to recover it.

No need. The next car to approach me had an arm extended out the passenger side window, and it was waving a glove. Instead of handing it off as one would a baton in a relay, the car pulled over and the lady said, “This is your lucky day.”

She spoke the truth. I could hardly believe that not one but at least three people cared enough to help me.

Never underestimate the value of a small kindness. It’s the thing that moves us forward as humans, speaks to compassion and understanding and restores hope on a dark, rainy day.

Karen Lally

Eugene

Big Oil Threatens Adventure Cycling Routes

Would you want to bike with this? That tiny truck on the right is a logging truck.

If you’ve been reading the Eugene Weekly, you may already know that Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil is planning to ship hundreds of tons of oil equipment up the Columbia River, destined for the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada as part of the Kearl Module Transport Project (KMTP).  What you may not have realized is that once those shipments reach Lewiston on the Washington/Idaho border they will then be loaded on to gigantic, multi-lane wide trucks weighing upwards of 500,000 lbs and driven on the Adventure Cycling Trans America and Lewis & Clark Trails (Highway 12) through the Idaho panhandle into Missoula, Montana, and beyond. The route directly impacts 175 miles of Adventure Cycling Routes, including the above-mentioned trails, the Great Parks North Trail, and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail.

I understand that this has little to do with Eugene.  I’m writing about it because I’ve ridden the Highway 12 route over Lolo Pass and into Missoula (the location of the Adventure Cycling Headquarters) twice as part of two separate cross-country tours, and it is one of the most scenic and peaceful bike routes that I’ve ever seen.  In fact, I’d be tempted to say that it’s the best place I’ve ever ridden a bike.  Putting 500,000 lb trucks on this road will destroy the pavement (semi-trucks generally max out at 80,000 lbs), and the infrastructure changes they are planning to do to the roads will open this road up as a permanent mega-shipping route.  This is a French company shipping Korean-made products on Dutch trucks to a Canadian work-site, and it will destroy one of our country’s  most prestigious scenic byways and flagship bike routes.

Take the jump to learn more about the plan, route, and if we can do anything about it.  I highly recommend the video at the bottom of this post.

Continue reading “Big Oil Threatens Adventure Cycling Routes”

Editorial: Who Pays for the Roads? Funding Bicycle Infrastructure is a No-Brainer

Note: The following editorial was written for the Sept 29th issue of BANG! This version is slightly longer and annotated.  Elly Blue of Grist and BikePortland published a similar article recently, and I’ve added some of her perspective to mine.  You can read her incredible article here.

A Silly Question

One of the biggest debates that we see in the transportation world is whether we should spend money on car infrastructure or bike and pedestrian infrastructure. It’s a common debate, but it’s also silly.  It’s silly because those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive – good bike infrastructure benefits cars and vice-versa. It’s also silly because the debate compares apples to oranges, or more aptly: huge friggin’ GMO hydroponic tomatoes to tiny cherry tomatoes.  Car infrastructure is expensive, and bike infrastructure is cheap.  Ridiculously cheap.  Funding bike infrastructure is the best value per dollar for improving all types of transportation in Eugene.  It provides for safe and attractive bike and pedestrian facilities which remove cars from the road and relieve congestion.

If you don’t drive a car, even for some trips, you are subsidizing those who do — by a lot. … To balance the road budget, we need 12 people commuting by bicycle for each person who commutes by car.

Elly Blue @ Grist

Consider this: Portland’s entire 300 miles of bike infrastructure – including bike lanes, paths, and bike boulevards, costs the same as one mile of urban highway.  That’s 60 million dollars, if you want real dollar amounts.  60 million dollars for one mile!  For the cost of just two miles of urban freeway, Eugene could catch and pass Portland and become the most bike friendly city in the country. This is why any debate around whether or not to fund bike infrastructure is so ridiculous.  Cyclists want only pennies compared to what car infrastructure gets.

Continue reading “Editorial: Who Pays for the Roads? Funding Bicycle Infrastructure is a No-Brainer”