New York's Cyclists Are Getting Better at Following the Rules
More New Yorkers are riding bicycles than ever before, on an ever-expanding
network of bike lanes. The city's new bike-share system has had phenomenal
early success, logging 40,000 trips daily on peak days in good weather, and
even averaging nearly 9,600 in the cold and snowy month of January
iti-bikes-die-hards.html> . But it's not just the number of riders that is
different from the past. A new study suggests that the way New Yorkers ride
is changing - for the better.
According to the research, conducted by Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski
of Hunter College at the City University of New York, New Yorkers on bikes
are measurably more law-abiding than they were just four years ago. They are
also proportionally more female.
The study, "Bike Lanes + Bike Share = Bike Safety" [PDF
/Cycling_Study_January_2014.pdf> ], looked at the behavior of 4,316
bicyclists at 98 different locations in central and lower Manhattan. The
researchers compared the resulting data to what they found in a similar,
although not identical, survey in 2009. Since that year, the city has
installed more than 200 more miles of bike lanes, for a total of 537 miles;
launched a bike-share system with 6,000 bikes (in May 2013); and seen a
pronounced increase in general ridership
Cyclists have a legitimate right to the street.
What has changed, with so many more people on two wheels? "There has been a
significant improvement in bike safety," says Tuckel. More riders are
stopping, or at least pausing, at red lights; riding in bike lanes; and
wearing helmets. Fewer riders are pedaling against traffic.
This, despite predictions
-bring-total-carnage/186972> that the launch of the city's bike-share
program last May would mean chaos, as inexperienced riders hit the city's
notoriously contested streets. "Everybody had predicted with the Citi Bike
riders that there would be a spike in the number of accidents," says Tuckel.
"I think it was the same people that predicted that the Broncos were going
to win the Super Bowl. It didn't materialize." In fact, the study found that
Citi Bike riders were exceptionally law-abiding, and there have been
relatively few, mostly minor injuries
hs-of-new-york-city-bike-share-program.html?_r=0> in the first few months
of the program.
Here are a few of the findings that Tuckel and Milczarski gleaned from their
* The proportion of women pedaling on the city's streets is still low,
just 21.1 percent. But compared to the 2009 study, the proportion of female
riders to male has doubled. Women made up 31.1 percent of Citi Bike riders
* Women tend to be much more law-abiding than men in every way, but
male bike-share riders stop fully at red lights at a rate significantly
higher than male general cyclists or male delivery cyclists.
* In the recent study, 34 percent of riders were observed going
through red lights without pausing or stopping, down about 10 percentage
points from 2009.
* Just 4.2 percent of cyclists were observed riding against traffic in
the street and 3.2 percent were riding against traffic in the bike lane, for
a combined total of 7.4 percent - well below the 13.2 percent recorded in
* Helmet use rose from 29.9 percent to 49.8 percent, with much of that
being driven by an increase in use by male commercial cyclists (the city
passed a law in 2007 that requires businesses to provide their delivery
riders with helmets), who wore them at a rate of 72.7 percent. Among general
male cyclists, helmet use also went up dramatically, from 32.2 percent to
* Citi Bike riders in general are more compliant with traffic laws and
ride in bike lanes at a higher rate than other riders. As for helmets, 31.1
percent of male Citi Bike riders and 36.2 percent of female Citi Bike riders
were wearing them.
"They're taking advantage of the infrastructure," says Tuckel of the
bike-share user. "That's important from a policy standpoint." Not only did
the presence of more bike infrastructure literally pave the way for the
bike-share program in New York, he says, the lanes have made a place for a
more diversified ridership. Women and Citi Bike riders of both sexes are
more likely to use bike lanes when they are available.
Tuckel says that the most recent data reflects an evolving street culture in
New York, one in which drivers no longer have a monopoly on the roadway and
all users are adjusting to new infrastructure.
"I think what is happening now in New York City is that drivers realize that
even though they have had a dominant position on the road, the roads now
have to be shared," says Tuckel. "Drivers are becoming more aware of
cyclists, and cyclists are becoming more aware of drivers. It's going to
result in safer habits for drivers and cyclists."
Green Action Centre has some free upcoming Creative Commuting Ambassador
that may be of interest to many of you. Also, just a friendly
reminded to strap on your skates, skis, snowshoes or otherwise for the Jack
[image: Inline image 3]
*Creative Commuting Ambassador Training*
Want to support your co-workers to bike, bus, walk or carpool? Does
employee health and wellness or benefits fall under your responsibilities?
Perhaps you simply want to improve green commuting options at your
workplace. Sign up for one of our FREE workshops to increase your
knowledge, answer questions and grow your toolkit of resources.
*I: Tools and hands-on training*
*Wednesday, February 26, 1:00 - 4:30pm*
Become a Creative Commuting Ambassador at your workplace! Get the tools and
guidance to support your co-workers to get the most out of their commutes.
>From a basic primer on different types of bike infrastructure to transit
tools, such as Navigo, BUStxt and transit apps, to understanding carpooling
*II: Baseline commuting surveys*
*Wednesday, March 12, 12:00 - 1:30pm*
Understanding how your co-workers currently get around will help inform
your next steps. This 1-1/2 hour workshop will help you plan and create a
basic online survey to determine existing commuting habits and what
programs, policies or incentives could have the biggest impact on commuting
choices at your workplace.
*III: Creating change over time*
*Wednesday, March 26, 1:00 - 4:30pm*
Do you want to sing the praises of creative commuting with your co-workers
but no one seems to be listening? Explore the many facets of behaviour
change from a social marketing, transitions and systems perspective. Walk
away with some strategies you can apply to create a more commuter friendly
and active workplace.
*Location: *All workshops are held in the EcoCentre boardroom (3rd floor,
303 Portage Ave).
*Register today: *Email beth(a)greenactioncentre.ca or
jessie(a)greenactioncentre.ca today or call us at (204) 925-3772.
*Jessie Klassen* | Workplace Commuter Options
3rd floor, 303 Portage Avenue* | *(204) 925-3772
Green Action Centre is your non-profit hub for greener living.
Support our work by becoming a
|OPINION When Pedestrians Get Mixed Signals
By TOM VANDERBILTFEB. 1, 2014
A FEW years ago, I was waiting to cross the street in Los Angeles.
And kept waiting.
I watched several cycles of traffic go through the intersection. I checked
my iPhone. I admired the distant Hollywood Hills.
But the indication to walk never came. I was contemplating a four-lane dash
when a man appeared who told me I had to press the "Walk" button. I did,
and at the next signal change for cars, my signal appeared as well.
At first, I applauded this municipal beneficence, which I encountered
during a visit while researching my book. Los Angeles is looking after its
pedestrians! In New York City, by contrast, the once-functioning "Walk"
buttons were left to go dormant, then largely removed. But in my subsequent
visits to Los Angeles, my feelings have shifted.
The reason the buttons were rendered obsolete in New York is that there was
no need for them. There were always pedestrians waiting to cross. In Los
Angeles, the working button came to seem a rare and feeble plea: May I
*please* cross the street?
Let's put aside the tired trope that no one walks in Los Angeles -- Ray
Bradbury nailed that one with his 1951 short story "The Pedestrian," about
a man picked up by the police for the suspicious activity of walking. In
fact, Los Angeles has many places that are quite pleasant for walking.
Take the Silver Lake neighborhood: It does not even rank among the city's
top 20 "most walkable" areas, according to the website Walk
yet still wins 75 points ("most errands can be accomplished on foot") -- a
number that puts many American cities to shame. In 2012, the city hired its
first "pedestrian coordinators."
But then came the surest indication of a walking resurgence in Los Angeles:
It suddenly had a pedestrian problem. As The Los Angeles Times
the Police Department was targeting people for a variety of pedestrian
violations in downtown Los Angeles -- an area that once featured as an
emptied post-apocalyptic wasteland in the 1971 science fiction movie "The
Omega Man," but has of late enjoyed a renaissance of life, much of it
occasioned by foot traffic.
"We're heavily enforcing pedestrian violations because they're impeding
traffic and causing too many accidents and deaths," said Lt. Lydia
the Los Angeles Police Department.
Thus a familiar pattern reasserts itself: The best way to reduce pedestrian
deaths is to issue tickets to pedestrians. A similar dynamic can be
recent weeks after a spate of pedestrian deaths in New York City, where
Mayor Bill de Blasio has endorsed more aggressive enforcement by the New
York Police Department against jaywalkers.
Enforcement against jaywalking varies between states, but it is an
infraction in most, even a misdemeanor in some. The international picture
is mixed: Crossing the road at other than a designated spot is also an
offense in Canada, Spain, Poland and Australia, among other countries.
Singapore is especially harsh -- jaywalking can earn a three-month prison
sentence. As you might expect, Scandinavian countries are less punitive. In
Britain, the term is rare, and the presumption is that crossing the road
safely is a matter of personal responsibility.
But neither enforcement nor education has the effect we like to think it
does on safety. Decades of graphic teenage driving safety films did not
bring down teenage driving deaths; what did was limiting the age and
conditions under which teenagers could begin to drive. Similarly, all the
"awareness campaigns" on seatbelt usage have had a fraction of the impact
of simply installing that annoying chime that impels drivers to buckle up.
If tough love will not make pedestrians safer, what will? The answer is:
better walking infrastructure, slower car speeds and more pedestrians. But
it's easier to write off the problem as one of jaywalkers.
Nowadays, the word connotes an amorphous urban nuisance. In fact, the term
once referred to country bumpkins ("jays"), who came to the city and
perambulated in a way that amused and exasperated savvy urban bipeds. As
the historian Peter Norton <http://virginia.academia.edu/PeterNorton> has
documented, the word was then overhauled in the early part of the 20th
century. A coalition of pro-automobile interests Mr. Norton calls
"motordom" succeeded in shifting the focus of street safety from curbing
the actions of rogue drivers to curbing rogue walkers. The pedestrian
pushback was shortlived: An attempt to popularize the term "jay driver" was
left behind in a cloud of exhaust.
Sure, we may call an errant driver, per the comedian George Carlin, an
"idiot" or a "maniac," but there is no word to tar an entire class of
negligent motorists. This is because of the extent to which driving has
been normalized for most Americans: We constantly see the world through
what has been called the "windshield view."
Those humans in Los Angeles who began walking a second or two after the
light was blinking were, after all, violating the "Vehicle Code." Note that
cars, apparently, do not violate a "Human Code."
As for pedestrian safety, which is the typical stated purpose of jaywalking
crackdowns, more pedestrians generally are killed in urban areas by cars
violating their right of way than are rogue pedestrians violating vehicles'
right of way. Then there are those people struck on sidewalks, even inside
restaurants. What do we call that? Jay-living?
I routinely jaywalk across one-way streets with my young daughter in our
Brooklyn neighborhood. I do this not as an act of vigilante pedestrianism,
but simply because the times we came closest to being hit by cars were when
we had the "Walk" signal and a driver attempted to make a turn.
Pedestrians, who lack air bags and side-impact crash protection, are
largely rational creatures. Studies have shown that when you shorten the
wait to cross a street, fewer people will cross against the light. When you
tell people how long they must wait to cross, fewer people will cross
against the signal.
When you actually give people a signal, more will cross with it. As the
field of behavioral economics has been discovering, rather than penalizing
people for opting out of the system, a more effective approach is to make
it easier to *opt in*.
The Los Angeles Police Department may be patrolling on foot in downtown Los
Angeles, but it is still looking through the windshield.
Tom Vanderbilt is the author of "Traffic" and a visiting scholar at New
York University's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.
These 15 stories show exactly how great bikeways help local economies
January 15, 2014
Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer
It's time for American bicycling advocates, government leaders and the
public at large to permanently retire an idea that's been hurting our
economy, preventing equitable development and generally holding our country
Here's the destructive, mistaken idea: that great biking is something a city
pays for if it can afford it.
The truth is just the opposite. In the modern United States, creating
protected bike lanes and other great bikeways are something a city does to
help create prosperity. Great bikeways are things people make so they and
their governments can afford to do all the other important things they want
Great biking, in other words, is wonderful. But for cities, it's not the end
goal. Great biking is the means.
The reason that not everyone already thinks this way - even many of us who
passionately support bicycling - is that until recently, it wasn't nearly as
true. In a major report being released today
n%20Business.pdf> , the national research and advocacy groups PeopleForBikes
<http://peopleforbikes.org> and the Alliance for Biking and Walking
<http://peoplepoweredmovement.org> consider four megatrends that are
transforming the U.S. economy in ways that are only now being widely
understood, only now being integrated into the conventional wisdom of
American communities and businesses. Here they are:
* Skills are scarcer: Companies are scrambling to attract the most
skilled Millennials and Gen X-ers, who increasingly prefer downtown jobs and
commutes that don't involve a car.
* Cities are more popular: Americans are flocking to urban areas,
creating demand for solutions that increase traffic flow without adding
* Unhealthy lifestyles are more expensive: With health care costs near
an all-time high, employers are scrambling to encourage active living.
* We are literally running out of room for all our cars: In the
country's newly thriving urban shopping districts, physical space is at a
higher premium than ever before.
In today's report, we use 15 stories from thriving businesses in Texas,
Illinois, Oregon, California and Washington DC, backed with up-to-the-minute
research from academic and government studies, to show with concrete
examples and personal stories how bicycles, and the protected bike lanes
that are proven to put more people on bicycles, are solving each of these
problems and creating economic growth for the cities that are using them.
We'll also be covering these issues over the next week here on the blog. But
you can start by checking out the full report
n%20Business.pdf> , and maybe sharing it with someone else who might be
interested. Neither of you may think about better biking the same way again.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ian Hall <Ian.Hall(a)umanitoba.ca>
Date: Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM
Subject: Cold Campus Cycling - FREE Winter Cycling Congress Panel &
Workshop at University of Manitoba - February 14, 2014
You're invited to join us for Cold Campus
University of Manitoba - a free, open-to-all panel discussion and
facilitated workshop focused on winter cycling in a campus environment.
Four experts from around the world will share their perspectives on the
planning, design, culture, and engineering keys to great cold campus
cycling. Join us for the panel (1 p.m.), a coffee break (2 p.m.), the
workshop (2:30 p.m.), or all three. For those attending the main Winter
Cycling Congress at The Forks, a group ride option from downtown to the
university on a bike route is planned (alternatively, the University is
well served by Transit <http://winnipegtransit.com/en/navigo>).
I'd be grateful if you could share this invitation with your networks.