City Streets Are Not Bicycle Race Tracks

There are times when city officials consent to closing city streets to traffic for the purpose of allowing a sanctioned bicycle race to take place. The purpose of closing the streets to traffic is to protect the safety of pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.

Most people can understand the need for this action. You really can’t have bicycles flying down city streets, going 25 miles per hour or more, with pedestrians and slower cyclists on the same roads. A crash would be inevitable. For this reason, most people comply with restrictions on who can use the roads when bicycles are being raced.    Continue reading ….

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Visibility When The Sun Is Low In The Sky In Autumn

Visibility is often a problem when driving a car. Many things can reduce visibility. Some of them are man-made and others are caused by nature.

Driving in autumn is an example of the latter. Late in the day, the sun is so low in the sky that it can be blinding. While it is most dangerous for drivers, it can be a problem for cyclists, as well.

Cyclists can be blinded to the extent that they cannot see oncoming traffic. Knowing what to do under such circumstances is not always easy.

Continue reading ….

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Bicycles As Part Of A Business Model

Over the summer, I read a series of articles written by a member of bicycle advocacy group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was surprised to see how different Philadelphia was in terms of their approach to incorporating cycling into everyday life, especially with respect to the business model side of things.

I am familiar with Philadelphia since I have relatives who live there. At one point in my life, I lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where I rode a bicycle on a regular basis.

The only time I rode a bicycle in Center City Philadelphia — Philadelphia’s equivalent to Boston’s downtown area — was in the early ‘90s. I was visiting relatives and I rented a bicycle from a shop which ordinarily rented bikes to tourists.    Continue reading ….

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Vehicle Operators Salmoning By Car

The term “salmoning” has become quite popular for describing the act of bicycling the wrong way down a one-way street. Salmon are known for swimming against the tide. They do this because fresh water is required for them to lay their eggs, and this is how they locate it.

Interestingly, although it has nothing to do with bicycling, salmon change colors when they swim against the tide. According to experts on the subject, to whom I will defer, the change in color from bright red to pale pink is the result of using up their energy stores by swimming against the tide.    Continue reading ….

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Active Versus Inactive Transportation

Until I started a bicycling blog, I had never really heard of the term “active transportation.” The first time I heard this term, I thought it was rather odd. I didn’t know whether it referred to the fact that one was being active by using this form of transportation or whether it meant that the transportation itself was active in some way.

Although I assumed that transportation modes such as bicycling were forms of active transportation, I was surprised to learn that most advocates of “active” transportation consider public transportation to be a type of active transportation. For instance, after checking a few U.S. state government websites, I found the following on Oregon’s website:  Continue reading ….

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The Role Of Bicycle Tourism In A Community’s Acceptance Of Bicycling

Bicycle tourism, although growing in leaps and bounds, is not something we think about when advocating for bicycling or bicycle infrastructure. Bicycling is generally seen as a recreational activity or a mode of transportation. Consequently, arguments for its acceptance are often based on these themes primarily because this is how bicycling has historically fit into our society.

The problem with traditional methods of bicycling advocacy is that non-cyclists often see bicycle infrastructure investments as only benefiting a small number of people. They perceive “their tax dollars” as going to things they will not use themselves.    Continue reading ….

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Cyclists Taking Risks When No Cars Are In Sight

Cyclists vary considerably in what they consider to be a risk and how much risk they are willing to take. Risk averse riders take virtually no chances. Average riders pick and choose what they are willing to risk. And bold riders are willing to risk it all for either a chance to get ahead of the traffic or for the thrill of overcoming the odds associated with failure.

Not long ago, I was watching traffic on a street in a busy area of Boston. This area is filled with hospitals and research facilities. Consequently, most of the people there are either medical or research personnel or patients.    Continue reading ….

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Cycling Weather Around The Globe

The title of this post is slightly misleading because I have been unable to review this issue around the globe. But, an article I saw about riding in the rain in The Netherlands made me wonder about how cyclists react to weather in different cultures.

Unlike the U.S., where rainfall frequency varies from very dry to frequently rainy, in The Netherlands it only rains approximately 6.5% of the time. For comparison, in Seattle, Washington it rains approximately 40% of the time.

Continue reading ….

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Bicycle Repair And Liability

Some tragic accidents are the result of a freak accident. Others are the result of negligence on the part of some party.

The former is sad, but understandable. The latter is not.

An example of a cycling death that is tragic and preventable is the story of a 14-year-old boy who was struck by a van when he lost control of his bike after the brakes failed. This is quite different from the many stories we hear about drivers striking and killing a rider because the boy could not stop and rode into the path of the van.    Continue reading …. 

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When A Bicycle Becomes A Lock

Those of us who are active in the cycling world are accustomed to regarding bicycles as vehicles. We see them as a means of transportation. We see them as a form of recreation. And, we see them as an integral part of daily life.

While bicycles have a lot of pluses, namely, low operating and maintenance costs (in comparison to cars), health benefits and a means of avoiding traffic congestion, there are a few downsides. One of the negatives associated with owning and riding a bicycle is the problem of theft.    Continue reading ….

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