The out-of-town news thread

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Jun 16 2014 at 9:40pm #

Weird-ass story from Vancouver… apparently the shooter was a former employee of the bike shop, and there were some other connections as well.

Vancouver bike shop owner, Paul Dragan, shot

On Tuesday, Paul Dragan, the owner of the Reckless Bike Stores chain was shot in the abdomen. The 52-year-old had left his Vancouver bike shop to run across the street for a coffee.

The shooter then fled by bike. When he arrived at Science World, there was an exchange of gun fire with police. One officer was injured, and so was the shooter.

The Globe and Mail reports that the shooter is a 61-year-old man, who is now in hospital. Dragan was also taken by paramedics after they administered CPR.


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Jun 17 2014 at 7:25am #

This is almost too sad a story to post. She wasn’t even riding at the time. She was off to the side of the road, fixing a flat tire.

Catholic University women’s basketball assistant killed in crash during charity bike trip

Is there *any* justice in the world?


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Jun 17 2014 at 8:18am #

It’s even worse Stu. Here’s local coverage of the crash – look at how long that skid mark is and listen to the police officer at the end of the clip.


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Jun 17 2014 at 10:36am #

The comments from Stu’s link are about everything you would expect from “Fox Sports”. Infuriating. Very nearly enough to cause me to go full on open carry whack job on drivers.


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Jun 18 2014 at 8:46am #

A happy story!

“Boy bikes to school every single day”


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Jul 9 2014 at 8:45pm #

Bicycle South Central PA strives for more bicycle and walker friendly community [organization centered in Harrisburg]

my comment there:
Wow, freeways cost 300 times more, per mile, than bike trails!? (And bicycling is good for health, economy, community, obesity prevention, economy, clean air, cooler planet, less noise …) Let’s build more trails! The next time a state legislator comes out for some boondoggle that would waste taxpayer money enriching the construction industry (e.g. extending the Route 219 freeway near Somerset), let’s instead spend the money to a) build a bunch of bike trails, b) fix some bridges, sidewalks, and sewers, and c) build some schools.


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Jul 15 2014 at 2:25pm #

Maybe soon you’ll be able to enjoy the comfort of a bicycle seat while you fly?


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Jul 15 2014 at 2:51pm #

Maybe soon you’ll be able to enjoy the comfort of a bicycle seat while you fly?

The graphic looks remarkably like an arrangement of galley slaves.


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Jul 15 2014 at 4:02pm #

Reminded me more of roller coaster type seating.

Of course the galley seating might make sense for the ultra-super-saver “flight” from Venice to Athens…

Stroke… Stroke…


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Jul 16 2014 at 2:23pm #

Story with a good ending:

buffalo buffalo

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Jul 21 2014 at 1:39pm #

Pro cyclist cheats death…. twice.

Racing for a Malaysian team, Maarten de Jonge evidently flies Malaysian Airlines often.

He was scheduled on MH370, the flight that disappeared in March, but decided to take a different flight an hour earlier that did not include a stopover in Beijing.

Last week, he was scheduled to be on MH17, but discovered a later flight with a different connection would be cheaper…


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Jul 21 2014 at 3:39pm #

Bicycle Anecdotes from Amsterdam video:

this brings a smile to my face


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Jul 22 2014 at 5:55pm #

“Major news agencies trolled by fake Twitter account that wasn’t even trying.”

The name of that account, the Bike Lobby!


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Jul 24 2014 at 9:47am #

Wish I could see this happen in our town


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Jul 24 2014 at 11:04am #

^ Awesome!

Seems to be in Skokie, Illinois – NW of Chicago


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Jul 30 2014 at 4:14pm #

Suburban St. Louis… Sunset Hills mayor accused of intentional hit and run against an apparently quite experienced cyclist.

St. Louis Post article

Naturally, it has turned into a battle of conflicting stories, as the mayor looks to protect himself.


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Aug 4 2014 at 2:19pm #

From England: Castleford residents have been left baffled by the width of the new cycle lanes along Wheldon Road, Castleford. … the width of the new cycle lane is nearly the same width given the motor vehicles.

Pic of ‘happy’ resident


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Aug 5 2014 at 9:39pm #

The first road hogs were horse-drawn carriages:

sources (thanks to Stu):

forthcoming book:


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Aug 7 2014 at 9:38am #

Milwaukee has announced the opening of their small (10 station) downtown bike share program.

This would cover a 3 sq. mile area focused on downtown. Suburban communities are looking to create their own “matching” system. Shorewood is a lakefront community about 4 miles north of downtown, just on the other side of the large University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus (my alma mater, similar in size to Pitt); Wauwatosa is a bit further from downtown, due west. Probably six miles from the eastern border to downtown, but then extends north and west from there for several miles in each direction. That was all part of my old stomping grounds as a kid.

It’s exciting to see this launch in Milwaukee.

And, for the curious, “bubbler” is a local term for a “drinking fountain.” Is it apparently used primarily (and perhaps exclusively) in Milwaukee and somewhere in New England. No good reasoning as to why. But, a Milwaukeean will be stymied by a request for directions to a water fountain (check the front of City Hall) or a drinking fountain. A request for a bubbler, on the other hand, will enable you to quench a thirst like a native.


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Aug 7 2014 at 9:41am #

Cleveland Pushes Bicycle Avenues (Cycle Tracks)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A big, bold way to connect Cleveland neighborhoods, pump up businesses and add tree-lined bikeways to miles and miles of city streets is hiding in plain sight.

The paved-over tracks of Cleveland’s once-extensive streetcar network left some of its main avenues far broader than needed for the traffic they’re handling.

Bike and community advocates say that buried transit system can be transformed into “the Midway” — a center-of-the-road, two-way bike lane protected on either side with boulevards, with a lane of traffic and a parking row on either side of that.

Members of Bike Cleveland, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Bialosky + Partners Architects have been working for two years on plans to reimagine some of the wide, low-traffic streets that branch to all corners of Cleveland and to the Emerald Necklace fringing the city.

As a start, the Midway team proposes a one-mile stretch of boulevard-buffered bikeway along St. Clair Avenue between East 55th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

That would put Cleveland in the ranks of a young but growing movement among U.S. cities to build protected lanes, also known as “green lanes” or “cycle tracks.” There are about 200 protected lane projects nationwide.

But the Cleveland design doesn’t stop there. Far from it. Planners see a bicycle expressway fanning out across 50, 80, even 100 miles of roads that once were streetcar routes. If accomplished, it would put Cleveland at the very forefront of urban areas with non-car connections.

“We would like to lead the country, not follow,” said Jacob VanSickle, Bike Cleveland executive director.

Protected lanes = bike-friendly routes

The mid-street path would be like a sidewalk for bikes — a zone that is a practical way for more people, not just brave urban bike messengers, to make trips of a few miles.

“There are all kinds of people who say, ‘I’d like to bike, but I don’t feel safe.’ When you put in protected facilities there is really an uptick in use, especially among women and children,” said Barb Clint, a board member at Bike Cleveland.

Wide streets that have more room than needed for their flow of traffic encourage cars to speed, and leave pedestrians scurrying across before getting a blinking Do Not Walk signal, she said.

Seventy-one percent of Americans have expressed interest in biking more often but find it too scary in busy traffic, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The bike advocacy group PeopleforBikes says 1 percent of U.S. trips are made by bike today, even though 50 percent of trips are a bikeable three miles or less, and 60 percent of all people say they’re interested in biking more.

The Midway proponents say cyclists wouldn’t be the only beneficiaries of a Cleveland network. At eight feet wide in each direction, bike lanes would have room for runners and walkers. The buffer medians could have benches, gardens, planters and trees to make alluring linear parks on streets down which winds and cars now barrel.

Some of the sections of the landscaped path would follow 19th and 20th century streetcar connections to the Cleveland Metroparks. Residents once rode streetcars out to the parks to escape smoggy city days.

Metroparks architect William Stinchcomb, “always talked about the need to provide sanctuary from the industrial core,” said the park system’s current chief executive, Brian Zimmerman. Using protected bike lanes to link the parks with more neighborhoods makes a lot of sense, he said.

To Clint, the Midway is about just such elements of “social equity” and health, in a city where half of households in some low-income neighborhoods don’t have a car.

The director of community health and advocacy at the YMCA of Greater Cleveland says the guiding question is “For whom are we designing our city? Currently we think the balance is tipped a little in favor of cars.”

Tapping broad streetcar routes

The bike network would be overlaid on streets like St. Clair, which is 72 feet wide along much of its length. Traffic counts show it has fewer than 15,000 vehicles a day while designed for triple that.

Conceptual drawings for the Midway show such streets with 8 feet of parking on both sides of the road, 12-foot-wide driving lanes, and then the central causeway: a 16-foot-wide path for bikes (eight feet in each direction) separated from traffic by 8-foot-wide boulevards.

Because of their middle vantage point and the slight crown in roads, bicyclists would be better able to see traffic, while being more visible themselves to motorists and to pedestrians using the Midway’s boulevards as a landing zone when crossing wide streets.

Traffic signals would safely separate cyclist and motorist turns. Preliminary plans by Bialosky’s Ted Ferringer — the designer of numerous maps and renderings to explain how the Midway would work — show the planted zones shrinking in size to allow left-turn slots for drivers.

Intersections would be carefully engineered and signaled to separate bicyclist and motorist turns.

The Midway has been given a soft launch in meetings with Zimmerman; Grace Gallucci, head of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency; University Circle Inc. President Chris Ronayne; Deb Janik, senior vice president, real estate and business development at the Greater Cleveland Partnership; and foundation officials.

“As a planning agency, particularly one interested in insuring that all residents have transportation choices, I think it’s a great idea,” Gallucci said.

Enthusiasm is spreading, and the Midway team sees its idea gaining traction.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is assigning a staff member to see how the boulevards could help filter and regulate storm water. Representatives of a national foundation visited Cleveland in July to gather Midway information.

“We are talking to funders about this and we have strong interest,” said Michael Fleming, executive director of St. Clair Superior Development Corporation.

Before a shovel goes into the ground there would be a lot of public input in the form of community meetings and focus groups.

“This is an important piece of infrastructure that you don’t just plop down somewhere,” Fleming said. “We’ve done outreach, but not at the massive community scale that you need.”

A spark for businesses

Cities with bike networks have discovered a curious feature about them. Protected lanes translate into more cyclists running errands on two wheels. And that in turn creates the ideal kind of retail customers: regulars.

‘They stop by often and spend as much or more per month as people who arrive in cars. Plus, 10 customers who arrive by bike fit in the parking space of one customer who arrives by car,” said a recent report from PeopleForBikes and the Alliance for Biking & Walking.

The study cites findings by the New York City Department of Transportation that Ninth Avenue in Manhattan had a 41 percent increase in business after protected bike lanes were installed. Nearby streets had a 3 percent increase. In Portland, people who traveled to a shopping area by bike spent 24 percent more per month than those who traveled by car. Studies found similar trends in Toronto and three cities in New Zealand.

“As city dwellers prioritize dog-walking and bike-riding over sitting in traffic, investment is flowing towards streets that are built for connectivity and comfort,” the study’s authors said.

The city of Cleveland has announced it add 70 miles of dedicated bike lanes, trails and pavement markings by the end of 2017, and other plans are also rolling to make the city more bike-friendly. Proponents of the Midway say adding in a network of protected lanes that put a physical buffer between cyclists and motorized traffic would be huge, making Cleveland one of the most livable cities in the country.
Search for dollars
The project would cost $1.2 million to $1.7 million per mile with planted boulevards. An intermediate option at about $350,000 to $400,000 a mile shows dedicated central lanes for cyclists but no protective barriers. Bike advocates say that version may not go far enough in providing the sense of safety needed to boost cycling.

It’s expensive, but nothing compared to other mid-street conversions: Light rail costs $15 million to $100 million a mile. Heavy rail, like RTA’s Red Line, can be $50 million to $250 million a mile.

The Midway team will apply this fall for a Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grant from NOACA, seeking about $250,000, Clint said. That would allow things to move from the conceptual stage to a further digested idea that starts to pin down routes and features, VanSickle said.

TLCI projects are supposed to blend transportation and land use in a way that strengthens community livability. The Midway not only fits the goals of the program. It pushes the envelope by offering a big-picture view of connectivity, Gallucci said.

Key to project finances would be a federal TIGER grant. The Department of Transportation grants go to projects based on their safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, livability and environmental sustainability.

“All five of which would be accomplished by the Midway,” said Clint, who has probably done more than anyone else to push the network forward. Since 2009, Congress has allocated more than $4 billion for TIGER grants, including $153 million for 12 bike and pedestrian projects.

TIGER funding has become well-known and cities compete fiercely for the money. But Clint figures Cleveland can make a compelling case to snag an award. All you have to do is stand on a corner of St. Clair to see why.

The Midway plan “ruins you for life,” she said, because you’ll never again be able to look down some of Cleveland’s big wide streets and not picture them being different.


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Aug 11 2014 at 11:21am #

Why we REALLY need protected bike lanes in the countryside?

The article makes the case for separated bike paths in rural areas, as an alternative to rural roads and highways.


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Aug 21 2014 at 11:18am #

Death by dooring :( Durham, N.H.!bHvquv


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Aug 21 2014 at 11:22am #

One Illinois community’s campaign against cycling and bike lanes.


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Aug 21 2014 at 12:21pm #

That dooring story is scary & maddening, especially the comment from the cop that ‘he doesnt know what either of them could have done differently.’ How about LOOKING before you open your car door?!

BTW, this bike lane is much nicer than some here in Pgh. like on Friendship headed west. Don’t ride next to parked cars!


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Aug 21 2014 at 2:11pm #

I was on Liberty between the Bloomfield Bridge and 40th St, going both directions, within the past week. Both are DZBLs. I rode about six inches to the left of the left edge of the bike lane.

If I have one beef with the new bike lanes, it’s that they exist at all. There’s a philosophical split here in some of the bike community. The “People For Bikes” folks, who are helping put these new lanes in place, promote bike lanes. Then there are those who say we don’t need bike lanes, we have bike lanes already, they’re called traffic lanes, and you should always just take the lane by default.

There’s something to be said on both sides, and there are likely additional ways to look at it. Right now, since I have to deal with a lot of roads that will never see a painted bike lane (that makes any sense), I tend to side with the latter camp.

The Durham incident would not have happened had the cyclist just gotten out into the lane. DZBLs are worse than no lane at all.


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Aug 21 2014 at 2:25pm #

“The Durham incident would not have happened had the cyclist just gotten out into the lane.”

I see many cyclists still riding in the door zone anyway when there is nothing to entice them there and pressure for them to ‘stay out of my way’ when a car is following them.

Liberty ave bike lanes are not the safest design, but they are way better than the situation the preceded them IMO, because if you take them out, a lot of cyclists wouldn’t even give a damn and just ride in the channel anyway (just like the good old days).

This is especially risky for new riders who don’t even know that they don’t know how to ride safe. It would also deter a lot of folks from even biking through here. It could be better, but I’m happy to have what we’ve got here based on the constraints that limit us.


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Aug 21 2014 at 2:44pm #

Of course, non door zone bike lanes are always much better but generally I have a very different feeling about DZBL’s uphill vs. flat and downhill. Liberty is a perfectly fine example. In the latter two cases I don’t like them and try to avoid riding in them except when riding quite such as when filtering up to a light or the first few pedal strokes after a stop. I’ll even take a different road (say, Penn) to avoid a DZBL. Uphill I’m not going fast enough that I feel it’s very likely I won’t have time to respond, and even if I do get doored it’s a very, very different thing at 5-10mph vs. 20-30.


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Aug 21 2014 at 3:04pm #

I believe I’ve read that in PA if someone opens a door and another car slams into it right a way then it’s this someone’s fault and someone’s insurance is going to cover all damages since this someone should observe traffic before opening door. If door has been opened for a while then driver of slamming vehicle is at fault. I think the same rules should be applied when bicyclist hit a opened vehicle door.


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Aug 21 2014 at 3:05pm #

I don’t worry about running into a door while I’m going slowly uphill. I do still worry that a door could open directly adjacent to me and push me into the traffic lane.

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