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.

Bike Blvds in Anaheim?

The City of Anaheim is proposing Bicycle Boulevards on Lemon and Santa Ana Streets and want your feedback at an OPEN HOUSE Saturday, September 22, 2012  from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Pearson Park Amphitheatre Patio 401 Lemon Street, Anaheim, CA 92805.

The proposal includes removing the north bound traffic lane on Lemon St. between North St. and Cypress St. to accommodate bike paths. The rest of Lemon and Santa Ana will have sharrows– where cars and bikes share a single lane.

Anaheim Plan

Anaheim Plan

It isn’t really clear, but it appears that there is a runner in the bike lane running against traffic, and if so the position of the rider and runner should be reversed, or the runner could use the sidewalk without putting either at risk.  But this is a great graphic to depict the proposal and initiate comment.

September Cycling Workshop

The OCBC, JAX Bicycles, and the Bicycle Club of Irvine present an Urban Cycling Workshop September 12 & 16. The 9 hour course is $35, and includes materials, insurance, a written exam and (usually) a diploma.JAX Got Class

The classroom portion will be at JAX Bicycles 14210 Culver Dr. #6h, (949) 733-1212, starting at 6pm and ending around “nine-ish”. The class is a necessary prerequisite for the road portion which will be at Deerfield Park starting at 8am on the 16th. Full details and registration on our page.

Did you know:…
Irvine, while having one of the most extensive and expansive bike trail networks of all OC cities, still is in the top 10 cities for high cyclist injuries and fatalities in the county? Irvine tied with Westminster as #6 in cyclist fatalities, and #9 for cyclist injuries from 2001-2012.

Skills PresentationMost cyclist collisions during the same time-frame are due to riding on the wrong side of the road (don’t do that!), failing to yield right of way at intersections, speeding (!), failure to stop at signs and signals (always do that!), and failure to move left or right in a safe manner, or failure to signal.





Making a Point

These are basic skills taught in the class and practiced in the park. You can help make any city you ride in that much safer by attending and successfully completing this course.




You will also make yourself less likely to become a statistic on our scorecard!

IRVScorecardThis scorecard is compiled from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) and is subject to revision by the administrating authority, the California Highway Patrol.

Pictures of an on-road portion of the class are here.

Talking Traffic

Talking cars of the future – today!

On the Highways:

Happy Highways

Accidents not waiting to happen 0n the highway

In the city:Talking Traffic

This illustration is interesting in that there are no people outside of the vehicles; were they vaporized by the technology?  Also absent are any road markings or infrastructure for bicycles.

Notice the crosswalk on the left (in front of the “safety island”) worn almost to oblivion from the motorized traffic? On the right it appears that there is no crosswalk for pedestrians due to the absence of walkway stripping, meaning that pedestrians get to cross the adjacent street twice (or 3 light cycles).

You might think for $25 million we would be treated to better visuals extolling the virtues of a future vision of talking pavement and cars talking to each other to avoid hitting each other or the pavement or other motorized infrastructure. Is this the US DOT ideal version of Complete Streets?

What are talking cars?

The short hand is V2V for vehicle to vehicle, and V2I for vehicle to infrastructure wireless communications. The Department of Transportation recently completed a pilot study from August 2011 with wireless equipped vehicles and is expanding the study in a year long effort to identify and resolve challenges and issues with the new tech. Ultimately the goal is increased roadway safety.

From the DOT fact-sheet, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 3 through 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control”. Building on the initial study of around 300 cars, the DOT formed a joint project with the University of Michigan with 2,800 vehicles, and is part of a $25 million federal effort to reduce motor vehicle crashes. The sample size is about the minimum needed to statistically quantify results from the study, and some might argue that it should be larger.

How do they work?

From the fact sheet, ” Safety-related systems for connected vehicle technology will likely be based on Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), a technology similar to WiFi. DSRC is fast, secure, reliable and operates on a dedicated spectrum. Non-safety applications may be based on different types of wireless technology. Cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles will be able to “talk” to each other with in-vehicle or after market devices that continuously share important safety and mobility information with each other. Connected vehicles can also use wireless communication to “talk” to traffic signals, work zones, toll booths, school zones, and other types of infrastructure. The vehicle information communicated is anonymous, so vehicles cannot be tracked and the system is secure against tampering.”

Wireless communication devices that audibly and visually alert drivers when safety threats approach are installed in volunteer vehicles and dozens of local roadside and intersection locations.

This pilot offers researchers opportunities to understand how effective visual and audio safety warnings are and the reliability of the various wireless technology devices. Systems will be researched and their use refined, and data on prevention and vehicle communications will be presented to the U.S. Department of Transportation in the fall of 2013.

The DOT plans to work with researchers and industry leaders to see if a possible mandate requiring vehicle-to-vehicle communication is feasible, in terms of both technology and cost.

Secretary Ray LaHood said, “No decision has been made about making a rule; we are announcing a research project that will deliver data… and then we’ll see where it takes us.” See more about the talking cars project here. The test will be conducted in Michigan so don’t expect talking cars and streets here before 2014 unless you happen to be standing next to one of the new security light poles with their cameras, microphone, and loudspeaker.

According to the DOT, this technology has the potential to reduce or prevent 80% of all crash scenarios involving non-impaired drivers and that’s good. Will the technology interfere with pacemakers, gps devices, wireless speedometers, and satellite? These are just a few of many issues to be worked out over the next 12 months.

Will future bicycles be equipped with transponders or wireless beacons to alert motor vehicles so they can be seen and talked about?