OCBC adds safety to Build-a-Bike

Pete van Nuys, Exec. Dir., safety-checks bikes at Golden State Foods’ Build-a-Bike event last Sunday.

Dan from Trail’s End bike shop lent his expertise to bikes assembled by kids, parents, and volunteers from GSF.

OCBC Sec’y, Jim Freibert wrenches

Kids helping kids, kids helping adults. It’s all fair at CFS’ Build-a-Bike.

Golden State Foods’ emploees donate time and money to make it happen.

The Result: 50 smilin’ kids roll back to Boys and Girls club on new bikes.

Saturday, Nov. 25 saw Golden State Foods’ Build-a-Bike for deserving Boys and Girls, hosted by Chick-Fil-A in Tustin. GFA employee volunteers helped parent and kids assemble 50 bikes. OCBC and Trail’s End bike shop provided expert turn up and safety checks before the finished bikes rolled out. Thanks GFA for a great start to the Holidays!

Safe Holiday Wishes on PCH

According to AAA, more than 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles from home or farther during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. About 90 percent of those travelers–39 million people–plan to travel by automobile.

In a related note, Doug  Irving of the OC Register reports on results of a study that found more drugged than drunk drivers on California roadways like the drivers that killed Donald Murphy and Candace Tift; killed while riding their bikes in Newport by drivers impaired by prescription drugs.

In the most medicated nation on the planet, this study should really come as no surprise, but it’s encouraging to see the recognition, and quantification of the issue.

When drugged drivers are combined with poor road design, construction zones, lax local enforcement, and lenient courts, it is people riding their bikes on the same roadways that pay the highest price.

One such roadway is the Pacific Coast Highway which also goes by various other names depending which city or county it happens to pass through. Sadly bikes riders are typically an afterthought in the consideration of construction, road maintenance, or even public transportation along this roadway.

To illustrate; in Huntington Beach a short section of the northbound roadway’s shoulder was closed to accomplish the construction of a guardrail which forces riders into the high speed traffic lane. After the work was completed, the obstructions remain without making allowances for safe cycle travel between the k-rail and guardrail.

In Seal Beach; a public transit bus parks in the bike lane causing risky merges and poor sight lines for bike riders and drivers alike.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the k-rails on PCH will be removed this coming Sunday morning, a week ahead of when Caltrans emphatically said they wouldn’t be removed until 12/1. While we also requested the a temporary path for safe travel through the construction zone, at this time we don’t know if the maintenance crew was able to get that done. Your report is welcomed!

With the holiday traffic and condition of drivers as noted above, please exercise greater care when traveling this roadway, especially through Newport Beach as seen below:

Pacific Coast Highway Injuries

Pacific Coast Highway Injuries

We’ll have an update on the Seal Beach bus parking issue when we receive an update from the responsible agency.

Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday weekend!

Safety never sleeps.

Danger Roads

Quick, can you name the most dangerous roads in the OC?

To qualify, the road must have at least 1 bike related collision in the last 11 years.

Thanks to the blocked bike lane last month (surprise!) on northbound PCH before Warner, and the fact that the k-rails were still there this week after work was completed, we thought we’d take a look at roads and bike collisions in the OC. to see if perception matched reality.

Since CalTrans failed to notify the cycling community before the lane closure, and failed to remove the barriers in a timely fashion, we could wail about the injustice of it all, but we won’t.

We also wonder what else is going on about the county putting bike riders at risk. If you see something, send us a short note (anonymous if you’d like), and we’ll follow up on your tip. Thanks!

The Candidates:

The current contenders in the Danger Road category are:

Danger Road Contenders

Danger Road Contenders

As seen, RT 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway leads the contenders so far at 331 bike related collisions.

We are only counting collisions without regard to death or injury at this point; an aggregate total count if you will.

The road travelers among you know some of these roads go through many cities, and some might even change names as they do.

What you might not know is spelling prowess is lacking in some of the records reported to the CHP, and some roads have various derivations. For example; BROOKHURST ST is #7 on the contender list, yet in the database there’s also BROOKHURST, BROOKHURST RD, SOUTH BROOKHURST ST, N BROOKHURST ST, SOUTH BROOKHURST S, NORTH BROOKHURST, NORTH BROOKHURST ST, S BROOKHURST, S BROOKHURST AV, and let’s not forget BROOK HURST (space between). I’m sure you get the point, so might Brookhurst move up to earn the title of “Danger Road”?

Care to guess? Have a favorite? Let us know your choice for top “Danger Road”, winner gets to ride it at their own risk. When we open the envelope with the winner, we’ll either update this post or create a new one.

updated 11/18/12

The “Winners”:

Danger Road Winners

Danger Road Winners

A tie for 10th place at 121 collisions as 17th street moves up to equal the number of collisions on Newport Blvd.

The overall “winner” at 425 collisions is RT 1, aka Coast Hwy, PCH, W Coast Hwy, E Coast Hwy, Pac Cst, and all the other names for this road in the database.

Yes, we went through line by line for all the roads including Brkhrst, Brookherst, and all the others to arrive at this list.

With 150 more collisions than any other road, PCH (or RT 1) travels the length of the county, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise given ridership, traffic, and the probabilities inherent in the mixing the two.

What’s interesting is the distribution of collisions along the road as seen here:

City by City

City by City

Newport Beach is clearly above all others and not in a good way which is one of the reasons we support local efforts to improve cyclist safety in this city.

We’ve documented (and mapped) plenty of Newport related items and issues which you may find here.

 

We also thank all those that turned out for the NPB Memorial Ride and Fundraiser last October.

With 9 riders killed and 442 injured from the above 425 collisions, the chart below attempts to discern any seasonal effect in collisions.

Collisions by Month

One would expect greater numbers of riders in the summer months, and the chart shows the highest injuries happening in July and decreasing into the winter. The high count in March may be weather related due to unexpected rain and road conditions.

Collisions and injuries are not a 1:1 proposition. Sometimes there are more than one person injured in a collision and sometimes no injury is reported from a collision, hence the difference in numbers between collision and injury counts.

The complete breakdown looks like: 462 total injuries from 425 collisions involving people on bikes.

442 bike riders, 6 motorcyclists, 3 pedestrians, and 11 drivers were  injured during this reporting period ending the 3rd quarter of 2012 with the most recent entry to the CHP database dated 7/28/12.

Nine bike riders are dead as a result of collisions with no other fatalities recorded for other road users.

With your continued support, we aim to identify, notify, and assist in reducing ridership collisions.

Paris Imports Idaho Bike Law

Cycling on the Place Concorde Photo: ALAMY

A while back we wrote about the Idaho Stop Law in our post about Why Cyclists Run Red Lights and are pleased to discover that an American export has taken hold in Europe.

Paris (France) is the latest city to experiment with allowing people on bikes to proceed through red traffic lights after first making sure it is safe to do so, and holding cyclists responsible in case of a collision.

Signage posted on the traffic poles will inform riders of their options, and is considered safer than having dedicated cycling lights installed.

Bike riding has soared in Paris since hundreds of new cycle lanes have been added and the availability of the ‘Vélib’ rental bikes encourages commutes, errands, and even city tours by bike.

Infrastructure encourages participation

Thanks to the increased availability of safe cycling lanes (sometimes against traffic) and the availability of cycles to ride on them by tourists and locals alike, problems arise at intersections with masses of bike riders crowding around cars and filtering up to the light.

When the light changes, cars must re-navigate their way around the riders until the next light and so on, until tempers flare and frustrations boil over to confrontations.

According to the municipal authorities, “It makes cycle traffic more fluid and avoids bunching up cyclists when the traffic lights go green for motorists.”

Outside the capital, the law has been tested in the cities of Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Nantes where, “these experiments have led to no rise in the number of accidents,” according to Paris’ town hall.

Commuters love the idea as it saves time in their commute and is less stressful.

Courtesy and Consideration go a long way

France is the latest country bringing a piece of their own “private Idaho” into their borders.

The law has already been adopted and is in force in Belgium, Germany and Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, and Norway).

Even as we continue to add cycling infrastructure and bike rentals around the south-land, (with 23 funded projects set to begin), the atmosphere of mutual respect for users of our roadways is lagging the countries mentioned above, not to mention several other states!

With appropriate planning and consideration for Complete Streets, perhaps the current entitlement attitude expressed by the few, will bloom into the realization that roads are for people, and with the expected increase in density on our roadways, we may experience a private Idaho of our own.