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Bikers Hit at Reynolds and S. Lexington

This topic contains 191 replies, has 52 voices, and was last updated by  bikeygirl 1 yr, 3 mos.

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buffalo buffalo

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Apr 23 2013 at 3:50pm #

Someone mentioned on twitter that there’s some sort of citywide public safety meeting tonight. (ed.–info here: http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/Citywide_PS_Mtg_April_2013_(1).pdf *—630pm at EL Presbyterian, Penn & Highland).

Hopefully someone can bring this up. if this isn’t “public safety” and “keep[ing] our youth safe”, well….

* ETA: apparently mb doesn’t like parentheses in urls. This might work: http://t.co/N6oOHnUV2V


katyfrey

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Apr 23 2013 at 7:56pm #

Nice turnout at the ride tonight. Thanks to everyone for taking time to come out, especially those of you from distant neighborhoods!


Mick

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Apr 23 2013 at 8:12pm #

@ Furchtbar,

We were all very sorry to hear what had happened.

I hope your son makes a rapid and complete recovery.

Thanks for following up with us.


stefb

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Apr 23 2013 at 8:40pm #

Glad to hear that it sounds like he is going to pull through.

To expand on stu’s
Point, it is sad that american has such a car culture. As discussed before, in European cities cyclists seem to be treated well, and the larger vehicle is always at fault in a collision. If only we could have this here. If only someone drivers who hurt pedestrians and cyclists would get more than a slap on the wrist..


StuInMcCandless

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Apr 23 2013 at 9:15pm #

Did anyone stick around long enough to see Bill Peduto? He stopped to talk to Scott Bricker (Exec Dir of Bike-Pgh for those who don’t know) and me for a few minutes. One of the points he made was that this is one of the least likely places this sort of thing was likely to happen. There are sharrows. There is a “share the road” sign every five telephone poles. It’s posted 25. It’s along a park. Why here? This was supposed to be one of the safe streets.


Marko82

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Apr 23 2013 at 9:33pm #

^ It’s not this street that is unsafe, it’s this driver. A good driver on a poorly designed street is probably safer than a bad driver on a well designed street. See “cars hitting buildings” thread for evidence.

According to the article referenced above, she yielded to the father and sister, then turned into the boy not seeing him. Really? Stand at that intersection and tell me how you would not see someone if in fact you were looking.


cburch

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Apr 23 2013 at 9:55pm #

See if she hadn’t yielded aggressively and had been driving defensively none of this would have happened. This is why you wait for the intersection to fully clear before you proceed when yielding.


Mick

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Apr 23 2013 at 10:59pm #

It’s hard to know what happened. Inattentive driving? 8 year-old suddenly weaving wildly? Anything could happen. This isn’t the place to judge.

It is critical that the police check for phone activity, though. IMO, that is where the “Did she or didn’t she?” lies.


Pierce

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Apr 23 2013 at 11:24pm #

“It’s posted 25.”

And if my riding experience on Hazelwood Ave, Chislett, Glenwood Bridge, etc, etc, etc is that the speed limits are never enforced. If driving laws were enforced with any regularity, these drivers could be identified before they run somebody over and behavior modification could be attempted

Why do we have to wait until a kid gets hit by a car or somebody else gets killed to do anything or get anything done? I got left hooked, what two months ago? Look on the BikePGH accident map and you’ll see hundreds of accidents that never made the news

How do we get beyond being reactive? I’m sorry for this kid’s family, but we’re all somebody’s kid. Remember how fucking sad it was when Ruihui Lin’s mom started crying on the anniversary of her son’s death at the ghost bike?

I don’t know what to do


Mick

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Apr 24 2013 at 12:18am #

On taht section of Reynolds, it’s actually not very common for car to greatly exceed the speed limit.


sarah_q

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Apr 24 2013 at 6:26am #

The fact that the driver is not being charged really bothers me. My husband pointed out last night that if she had hit another *car* and done serious damage she would have at least gotten a ticket/ points on her license.

This family is from a place where cyclists have the right away. Why can’t we have that here? When I was cycling in Europe I felt like I was in Shangri-La.


edmonds59

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Apr 24 2013 at 6:42am #

When the boy recovers and is ready to ride, I would be up for making this family the guests of honor at a special Flock ride. I would love to swoop this boy around town in the midst of dozens of cyclists.


bikeygirl

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Apr 24 2013 at 6:57am #

edmonds59 wrote:When the boy recovers and is ready to ride, I would be up for making this family the guests of honor at a special Flock ride. I would love to swoop this boy around town in the midst of dozens of cyclists.

That would be awesome!!!!!

Actually, while I attended yesterday’s family ride, there were a lot of kids on their bikes, and they were pretty excited to see all the people that came. A boy kept talking very loudly about how cool all the bigger bikes with gears looked like, and even after the ride asked when we were riding again. Also, one of the parents was very thankful of everyone that came, and mentioned that it would be nice if done thing like that could happen again.

In all, watching the scene really warmed my heart, and also made me think that maybe during the summer we could have a couple of special Flock Rides there. How it happens would need to actually be ironed out, but I think it would be great! Most of us start riding bikes when we were kids, so why not have kid & youth rides that show that as adults they could continue riding their bikes, not only for fun or entertainment, but as a way of commuting to work, saving on gas, helping the environment, and the health & community empowering benefits it brings?

:)


scott

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Apr 24 2013 at 7:03am #

@Mick, we’re hearing from neighbors there that motorists are constantly taking turns without paying attention and speeding down their nearly empty streets.

The answer is, sharrows aren’t good enough. They mark the street with extra signage that hopefully alerts most motorists that they should expect to see bicyclists on this route and help mark a route for bicyclists, but they don’t slow down cars. What MUST happen next is to upgrade Reynolds to a Bicycle Blvd (http://nacto.org/cities-for-cycling/design-guide/bicycle-boulevards/) and make sure the cross streets have traffic calming measures like speed humps. I also noticed last night that there aren’t any crosswalks to speak of in Point Breeze. That needs to change.


edmonds59

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Apr 24 2013 at 7:17am #

Yeah it’s the kids in that picture that stood out to me. One of their peers just got hit by a car and they’re just like – “let’s go”.
The bullshit must change.


jonawebb

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Apr 24 2013 at 7:29am #

I totally think this is the place for me to judge.
1) She was probably on that street bypassing heavy rush hour traffic on Penn. She should have stuck to Penn instead of diverting to a quiet suburban street to save a minute or two.
2) She, the sole occupant of the car, was driving an SUV, which not only was far too large a car for her needs (likely bought because of the “protection” it claims to offer to the driver), also made it hard to see Iain in front of her.
3) She was attentive enough to pause for the first two cyclists but in a hurry enough to proceed without carefully checking that the intersection was really clear.
In other words, this is a classic case of someone who put her convenience over concern for others. And a little boy ended up in critical condition because of her choices.


byogman

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Apr 24 2013 at 7:45am #

I like the bike boulevard idea and I don’t know reynolds, maybe it is quiet enough normally, but the fact that it’s used as an alternate for Penn makes me doubt that a bit.

Honestly I don’t know how many useful through streets you’re going to find that have few enough cars to satisfy the bike boulevard initial requirements.

But one idea to get there… periodically interrupt the road bottlenecking it to bike/ped trail so it CAN’T be a through-way for cars anymore… only bikes/joggers, etc.

The local residents going a couple blocks aren’t going to be running over kids like commuters trying to dodge traffic.


gg

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Apr 24 2013 at 7:52am #

jonawebb wrote:I totally think this is the place for me to judge.
1) She was probably on that street bypassing heavy rush hour traffic on Penn. She should have stuck to Penn instead of diverting to a quiet suburban street to save a minute or two.
2) She, the sole occupant of the car, was driving an SUV, which not only was far too large a car for her needs (likely bought because of the “protection” it claims to offer to the driver), also made it hard to see Iain in front of her.
3) She was attentive enough to pause for the first two cyclists but in a hurry enough to proceed without carefully checking that the intersection was really clear.
In other words, this is a classic case of someone who put her convenience over concern for others. And a little boy ended up in critical condition because of her choices.

Yep, she was most likely trying to make time through that residential street with no regard for anyone, but herself. SUV drivers buy them mostly for selfish reasons. Being a bully on the road in a vehicle that doesn’t stop well, doesn’t handle well and has poor visibility when keeping an eye out for neighborhood kids.

Yep, if she hit another car, she would be charged. Pedestrians and cyclists aren’t considered. I would hire an attorney and go big. These aggressive drivers need to be stopped.


edmonds59

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Apr 24 2013 at 8:02am #

Has the news recently mentioned whether or not the driver is still “distraught”? ‘Cause I hope she is.


Benzo

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Apr 24 2013 at 8:36am #

I drive an SUV. It’s great for taking 4 people and all their stuff somewhere with 4 bikes on the back.

It’s the person behind the wheel, not the vehicle.


jonawebb

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Apr 24 2013 at 9:06am #

@Benzo, I know. But I hope you’ll agree that SUV drivers have to be extra careful in some situations. And that they’re a tool that not everyone needs. And that many people who have them don’t need them. And, quite possibly you’ll also agree that if this lady hadn’t been driving one, Iain wouldn’t have ended up in critical condition.


byogman

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Apr 24 2013 at 9:26am #

It’s the driver, but… have you ever driven in a rush? Have you ever driven tired or distracted? I have. I’ve learned a little since starting biking in the fall and really try not to do it anymore. And I try to keep my speeds lower (drives my wife nuts). But this is a recent development in my life. Almost everyone who drives speeds along occasionally in those states, some primarily.

There’s just a total unconsciousness that’s society wide, about what piloting a two ton hunk of metal at 30mph really means. Until people are awakened to it, the harm they cause as motorists will always be disproportionately far worse than the harm they cause by any other actions in their life, and it will come as a shock if and when it does happen… they’ll tell themselves some rationalization about… well I was just trying to get to X when Y came out of nowhere. And over time, most will eventually be comforted by how common ~their~ plight is.

It seems so ordinary, but logically, when you’re driving you’re basically going through your city, your neighborhood with a loaded gun, drawn, with the safety off. That’s the level of seriousness it should be treated with, and that’s why it should be avoided whenever possible. Bad happen with dangerous setups. And that’s not an arbitrary comparison for effect, it’s the most rational comparison based on the number of deaths.

So my message is less to that particular driver than it is to just about all motorists. And I know you’re in a hurry, so go ahead and skip the first 5 minutes if you want. A rousing start to your day, no?


pbeaves

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Apr 24 2013 at 9:37am #

I for one second a Flock Of Munchkins ride.


ajbooth

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Apr 24 2013 at 9:45am #

+1 on the Flock of Munchkins. I love that idea, and I know several biking families who will participate.


Benzo

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Apr 24 2013 at 9:53am #

Baltimore does something like this regularly. Typically in a very family friendly place.

Baltimore Family Bike Party inspired by Kidikal Mass

http://baltimorefamilybikeparty.wordpress.com/


sprite

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Apr 24 2013 at 9:54am #

I’m heartbroken that this happened and hope he makes a full recovery.

If y’all are in the habit of making posts somewhere that normal humans read (facebook, etc), this is a good time to point out “This driver is just like you, the reader, and here are SPECIFIC things YOU should do differently so YOU don’t have to live with having hit someone” (yes, we should all actually be sympathizing with the *victim*, we can break that to them separately.) People brush off accidents because they think they are better drivers than “that guy” who was drunk, stoned, speeding, awake for 24hrs, texting (yes, we can break it to them later that driving is not graded on the curve and it doesn’t matter if they are doing better than x% of the class) and you might notice if you tell them about an accident they will *instantly* try to find something that the driver was “doing wrong” that they, personally, do not do, so that they can sigh with relief and say “can’t happen to me!” So this driver makes a pretty good wake-up call, because they can identify with her… don’t let them weasel out of it.

Goodness knows about 20% of the left-turning drivers I encounter in the evening *badly need* a wake-up call.

IME it won’t work to say “this could happen to your kids” because people’s “I am a better parent than ANYONE else EVER, plus I never let my kids bike because the streets are full of people who drive like me” reflex will kick in. So I’m working on the “this could happen to you and your car” angle. :/


jonawebb

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:13am #

@sprite and @byogman, yeah, I’ve been thinking about this since I used to ride with my kids. It’s a real problem, figuring out how to do it. If you ride ahead of them, on the sidewalk, one can lag behind (not saying this is what happened here); if you ride behind, one can get ahead and then you’re watching your child ride across driveways down the block without a care in the world. On the street, you can ride in a protective position (kids against the curb, adult behind, more to the center) but you have to have kids who are old enough to ride straight and who are at least a little aware of the traffic issues. Either way you’re depending on drivers looking out for your children, and if you think you’re safe, it only takes an accident like this one to show you that’s an illusion.. The only “safe” alternative is to load up the SUV or minivan with your bike and theirs and drive to the park or the trail. Which totally sucks, people should be able to ride safely in a neighborhood like Point Breeze.


rsprake

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:18am #

There were some kids rides in the Regent Square area last summer.


stefb

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:22am #

Separated bike lanes please. Miles of them. If only there was money


ErinK

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:25am #

Hey, so my friend just mentioned something that changes this up for me – said that the cyclists were riding on the sidewalk. Anyone hear that elsewhere? (I haven’t seen any of the followup coverage after Monday.) It is really, really dangerous to ride from the sidewalk into the street at a crosswalk or intersection, and I see young and less experienced riders do it all the time.

My friend also sent a letter to the local politician asking for a stop sign to be added on Reynolds, which I think is a great idea.


Drewbacca

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:25am #

1. I hate SUVs. No judgement against the person driving it other than to say “do you really make use of the vehicle?” Some people need/use an SUV for something other than to feel like they are driving a tank. The reason that I hate SUVs is simple, there are a lot of them on the road. SUVs on the road encourage others to drive SUVs thus making the problem worse. What’s the problem with an SUV, you may ask? Simple.. even when I’m in my car, I can’t see past the damn things to prepare for traffic up ahead. They are like moving walls on the highways and roads that reduce my reaction time.

Remember those posters encouraging people to write their representatives if you don’t want 18wheelers pulling three trailers at once? It’s a lot like that for me. Just change out a picture of an extra long tractor-trailer with a line of SUVs. But, I digress since it was a lone SUV responsible for this latest reminder of human stupidity.

My hope is that the events opened up this woman’s eyes. It’s easy to sit here and type about what a bad person she is and to say things like “I hope she is suffering.” What I’d really hope is that she would make amends for her crime. In an ideal world, such a person would go on the all of the local news stations and plead with other drivers to not be in a rush, look both ways, and remember that there are people out there who are vulnerable when we aren’t paying attention… yeah, in an ideal world. I doubt this woman has the balls to do what is right, she’ll just hide out and let the status quo remain. So, by some small chance that she ever finds and reads this thread… Dear Lady, Please own up to your mistake and actually try to make a difference in this world. You have move power than you know.


scott

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:30am #

I met with the mom and dad yesterday and they said nothing about riding on the sidewalk. That said, riding on the sidewalk there is completely legal.


byogman

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:37am #

Please, please let’s do the munchkin ride. Can we do them regularly? And since no date is set, can we do them Sunday not Saturday?

I would be there for sure with my 8 year old + 2 in a trailer and my neighbor who’s sabbath observant similarly bike crazy would try to come I’m sure and has quite a flock of munchkins (and preteens and teenagers) just by himself. There are a fair number of families in my community, some of them quite large, I could probably get in on this.

In terms of how to do the ride, I think if you’ve got numbers the best answer is to pick a very low traffic route, claim the lane, and have adults take the front and rear, teen riders ride in the driver position in lane in between, and munchkins, to the right.

In the case of a left turn, a spare adult rider from front or rear pull forward or drop back and box the turn or even dismount and act as a crossing guard.


jonawebb

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Apr 24 2013 at 10:57am #

@scott that is the only way the accident makes sense to me. They were on the way to the park and if they weren’t on the sidewalk then how was the boy hit when a driver turned left onto Lexington? Unless they were riding against traffic on Reynolds…


pbeaves

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Apr 24 2013 at 11:03am #

most def adult rolling vangaurd front & rear & the kiddos on the curb side.
and while corking intersections is not common practice for Flock, you bet your backside we’d be taking those intersections by force.


bikeygirl

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Apr 24 2013 at 11:04am #

Flock of Munchkins would be cool :)

I don’t have kids, BUT I like kids, plus feel like a kid myself :)

I’ll talk to the Flock’s BoD and see…. I don’t know what kind of liability would this require.


StuInMcCandless

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Apr 24 2013 at 11:43am #

On the ride: I can certainly make myself available to help escort, cork, run interference, whatever.

On the “accident”: My understanding is similar to Scott’s. The family’s riding habits are beyond reproach. They own a dozen-plus bikes. Both parents highly educated; they know how to ride down the street correctly.

The pavement on Reynolds is pretty rough. Lots of holes. In scheduling a paving job, let’s also hope for at least a couple of speed humps if not a redesign to make it a bike boulevard.

Slightly off-topic, but geographically close: The First Fridays at the Frick concerts run in June-Sept, and cause that whole area to be clogged with cars. (I park over on Thomas when I go.) One of my early long bike trips was to bike there from McCandless. I would surely like to figure out a way to reduce the number of cars trying to converge on the Frick Art Museum. Getting 50 fewer cars there, of probably 1,000 that show up, would be a show of support, and I’m sure the residents in that area would agree.


JaySherman5000

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Apr 24 2013 at 12:28pm #

+1 for running traffic control on the Flock of Munchkins ride. I’ll do what I can with my work schedule to be there for the kids.

On another note, did the news reports release the name of the perpetrator of this incident? If she really feels as shaken up and bad as she claims, she should voluntarily give up her license and stop driving until she’s had time to review what safe driving is and how to correct her behavior, or she should just voluntarily stop driving altogether.


StuInMcCandless

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Apr 24 2013 at 12:59pm #

…or she should just voluntarily stop driving altogether.

Easier said than done. I’m tired of hearing myself say it, and maybe some of you are tired of hearing me repeat it, but unless and until we get people to start using Anything But The Car to get around, we will keep having these incidents. (I will not call them accidents.)

Just how would you go from home to work, then to the doctor’s office, then to the store pick up some potatoes, then back home, using transit? For three, four, generations, the answer is, you don’t except with a car, and expect no traffic delays and ample parking the entire trip.

That problem is solvable, but not easily. Over time, I’ve figured it out, but I’m only one person. Absent a car, this woman would not have injured this kid. Yanking her license only forces the issue, but does not solve anything, not for her, not for the 50,000 other drivers on Penn Avenue, not for anyone trying to get around by bike.

THAT is the problem we need to solve, and the partial solution is to make transit truly usable, and the way to do that is with an order of magnitude easier to understand transit info.


ieverhart

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Apr 24 2013 at 2:40pm #

make transit truly usable, and the way to do that is with an order of magnitude easier to understand transit info.

Easier than transit directions on Google Maps?

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