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August 30, 2004

Critical Mass Pedals Dissent at Republican Bash

Regular readers of this Blog will recall my description of a Critical Mass Protest Ride at a previous Democratic Convention and how they led their fellow riders to disaster and arrest,

You will also recall my previous thoughts, and reports, on Critical Mass ( born in 1992 ), and how the actions of a few give non-cyclists a negative opinion of cycling, and bicyclists.

These pieces can be found in my new Critical Mass archive.

Well, it has happened yet again.

This time 264 riders were arrested, and I wonder how many participants, like me back then, went into this ride unaware of what they were letting themselves in for?

How many, like me, got away, and are now asking questions of those who led the protest.

From CNN: 264 arrested in NYC bicycle protest.

In the first major clampdown on protesters before the Republican National Convention, New York police arrested 264 people Friday night during a mass demonstration.

About 5,000 cyclists gathered in Union Square Park at 6 p.m. for "Critical Mass," a monthly bike ride around Manhattan, sponsored by environmental group "Time's Up!"

[ That's considerably more folks than showed up at the DNC event I attended. And what's this about this monthly ride being "SPONSORED"? I have gotten so sick of reading, and being told, that Critical Mass "is not an organization, it's an unorganized coincidence. It's a movement ... of bicycles, in the streets", and everyone is encouraged to show up, and just start riding, blah, blah, blah.

Can we stop with that BS for good now?

Time's Up is an activist organiztion, with a major focus on bicycling issues, openly promoting monthly Critical Mass rides. CM may be leaderless, but unorganized it surely isn't, especially when organizations set up and publicize a CM event. ]

Police started making arrests at around 8:30 p.m. in several locations along the bike route, including Madison Square Garden -- the venue for the Republican National Convention.

[ This many folks never even had a chance to get near the Boston venue, fellow political travelers be damned :-) ]

The cyclists caused "massive disruptions including of people trying to get to the hospital and so we took appropriate action," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, Paul Browne.

[ 5,000 bicyclists would be hard to keep under control under the best of circumstances, unlike folks on foot, and when you have some anarchists ( I'll be generous and say they may not even have been supported by the organizers ) in the group acting unruly, the Cops will not necessarily be able to distinguish who is who when the panic sets in as they try to take charge. ]

Cyclists said the bike ride was peaceful and the police acted unreasonably.

"It was a very peaceful, friendly occasion, like a parade," said one of the cyclists, Ellie Maxwell.

"Everyone was riding along when police suddenly penned us in and started picking people off," Maxwell said.

"The police actually caused more disruptions than the cyclists because they blocked off roads -- at one point for as long as an hour and a half -- whereas the cyclists were always moving."

Most of those arrested were taken for processing to Pier 57 and will be charged with disorderly conduct, an NYPD spokesman said.

[ The DNC ride was peaceful, and orderly, too, even as we chanted slogans, and followed the agreed to route. But there was an early warning signal I didn't catch at first as we gathered together, and then the ride was steered down the wrong direction by riders in the lead, and so the Cops had no choice but to react. ]

Police distributed flyers at the start of the ride in Union Square warning that anyone breaking traffic laws could be subject to arrest.

[ That courtesy was not done our small band, and I'm sure most participants of this ride tried to follow its instructions, if they even saw a copy of the flyer. One would hope that the organizers of this ride did what they could to make sure everyone behaved. It is interesting that the bigger, more publized, walk of 120,000 people had similar arrest numbers as this miniscule ( by comparison ) event. ]

The monthly bike ride drew thousands more than usual due to the number of people who wanted to protest against the convention.

"Critical Mass" takes place on the last Friday of every month to promote the interests of bicyclists.

[ 4600 Anti-Bush, Anti-Republican, Anti- War Against Terror riders + 400 Bicycle Activists is my, generous, rough estimate of the probable make-up. So much for promoting the "interests of Bicyclists". :-) ]

According to its Web site, "Critical Mass's aim is to make people take notice of cyclists as road users."

[ All this event did was add to non-cyclists negative impressions of bicyclists as having no business sharing the road with even the lowly snail. ]

"Although some obstruction of 'normal' traffic occurs," says the Web site, "we are only seeking to raise the profile of cycling, and put cycling and transport issues on the agenda so that they will not be ignored."

[ There is nothing "normal" about thousands of riders, many of whom obviously will get out of hand, taking over city streets, especially during rush hour, or in a city where the streets are a traffic jam all day long. ]

There are better, more constructive ways, I believe, to spread the word about bicycling, and one such way is what I'm trying to attempt with this site in my own small way.

However, I realize, now, that I should keep an eye on the goings on of the CM Movement, and others in similar activism efforts.

A couple of months ago several folks, in the movement, e-mailed me their thoughts, and suggested I find a way to read up more on Critical Mass, and proceed with my reporting on the movement from there.

I agree.

While my experience with CM, and a few other CM events I've read about and reported on, have given me, and the general public, a negative impression, I HAVE read of, and been advised of, a few positive CM related stories.

CM is not a movement without leaders, and organization.

While there may not be a single National, or World Leadership, there are folks, at the local level, in cities all across America, and the world, promoting CM in their communities, and doing some good things for Cycling as well.

I'm not averse to publicizing those groups, and stories, or adding a collection of CM related links to this site.

CM is used to being reported on by the mainstream media, used to being reported on by those who don't ride bikes and so, very slowly, I'll begin to join those few others in the mainstream cycling world who DO report on CM.

As I become more informed readers of this site will also.

So let's start with this, from the WorldWide Critical Mass Hub, concerning "Police vs Critical Mass":

Since its inception in 1992 police in cities all over the world have cracked down on Critical Mass. Sometimes these crackdowns have been outrageous, with police assaulting and injuring peaceful cyclists, and arresting and ticketing cyclists who were breaking no laws.

It's true that CM riders often do break the law, and we're not complaining about appropriate police response when that happens. We're complaining about the unreasonable police response: (1) ticketing and/or arresting the cyclists who weren't breaking the law, and (2) using excessive force to deal with peaceful bicyclists.

Documenting all the cases in which the police responded inappropriately to Critical Mass would be a big task, so here are just a few examples. [ Here you will find a view of the RNC event, along with links to 4 news reports, PLUS there is a report by a person arrested in the 2000 DNC event. If I hadn't been so alert to what was happening I would have been one of them. ]

Most folks, even my fellow Cyclists, don't realize it, but there are a ton of interesting, informative, and opinionated Bicycling websites on the Net, and while I will never get to all of them, I can have fun in making the attempt.

I can't guarantee I'll change my opinion of CM, or just how much I will if I do, but, hop on your bike, and come along with me for the ride.

Oh, and be patient. :-)

It's been a struggle to find time to post every day, these days, but the frequency WILL increase I promise. :-)

***UPDATE --8/31/04***

I have just received an e-mail from Michael, of Worldwide Critical Mass Hub, that sheds a little light on how CM supporters see the movement:

You must realize that just because
an organization promotes a pre-existing ride doesn't mean that they're
the organizers, or the sponsors, or that the riders are members of said organization. CM isn't any kind of coincidence, but that doesn't mean
it's not a leaderless, unorganized event. To wit, Critical Mass
existed in NYC before Time's Up took notice, and Critical Mass would
happen in NYC even if Time's Up didn't exist.

My site is just a clearinghouse, a directory of rides all over the world.
I'm the only one who runs it. It's hardly an "activist organization".


I, as an outsider, with a negative experience of CM, and my own views of what Cycling Activism should be all about, have one view.

Those who are active supporters of CM have another view.

Both can be seen as valid.

I hope that by exploring the CM Movement as best I can I can understand it better, and help non-participants do so as well.

***UPDATE -- 9/1/04***

I have written a response to a comment posted to this piece:

Thoughts on Reporting Critical Mass.

August 30, 2004 in Critical Mass | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2004

Take the Cycle-Analysis Personality Quiz

Safe Cycling is a serious subject, yet even a humorous online quiz can still be instructive about the practice.

The good folks at c.i.c.l.e. ( Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange ) have created a great, not to be taken too seriously, 21 question Quiz for the curious Bicyclist to take.

This group describes its purpose this way:

C.I.C.L.E. is a Los Angeles based, ongoing and experimental project. Our primary objective is the promotion of the bicycle as a viable and responsible alternative mode of transportation. Sure this is L.A., land of the gas guzzlin', pollutin' machine, but it doesn't have to stay that way.

Anyway, I took the Quiz, and here are my results

DOMINANT 76%: Type 2: At least this bit of your cycling personality is Effective Cyclist. Forester would enjoy tailing you if you behaved like this all the time and making notes into his dictaphone. Keep it up and don't forget that even Ken Kifer was killed by a DUI. He was struck from behind by a guy who'd been out of jail for 4 hours for previous DUI convictions. At least you know that you're reducing your odds of danger and doing the Right Thing(TM).

SECONDARY 14%: Type 3: Whooo! Steady on hotshot! You'll either live to tell an exciting tale or else have a horrible death. This chunk of your cycling behaviour is Speeding Messenger! The thing is that you're increasing your risk by being just a bit too impatient. Still at least you're having fun and if you do get schmucked at least it won't be by mistake!.

TERTIARY 9%: Type 4: Zo, I zink you have ze personality disorder of ze Cycling Inferiority Complex. At least in zis corner of your brain. Ve haff statistics vot shows zat you are livingk in danger as a result of ziss self-effacing behavior. Get a real cyclist to show you ze safe vay to ride..

QUATERNARY 0%: Type 1: What a complete loon! This part of your id is probably very happy, but is also probably also going to end up squashed under someone's super-ego of a car. Seriously, if this is a major component of your personality then you shouldn't let it control a piece of toast let alone a bicycle. Well, perhaps that's a bit harsh: stay indoors and ride an exercise bike!.

Breakdown of your answers by cyclist type:

Type two -- The Effective Cyclist
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q9 Q11 Q12 Q13 Q15 Q18 Q19 Q20 Q21
Type three -- The Messenger
Q8 Q16 Q17
Type four -- The Sidewalk Scurrier
Q10 Q14
Type one -- The Loon

I'm quite proud of myself. :-)

As the intro to the Quiz says:

Think you're a good cyclist? Think you're worthy of the name cyclist at all? Take our self-incriminating test and see whether you'd have John Forrester trying to run you off the road or bike-messengers telling you to be careful!

Take the Quiz. :-)

August 18, 2004 in Bicycling Humor | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

British Cyclist Preaches Safe Cycling

John, the Confessing Evangelical, has written a couple of excellent posts on cycling, which is an activity he apparently writes about regularly on his blog.

Being a Cyclist, and all, that makes sense. :-)

The first post spreads the word about Effective Cycling to his fellow British Cyclists by extensively discussing the writings of John Forester.

As he writes:

The basic, core, positive principle - the paradigm, if you will - that can reduce your risk of collision on the roads by a factor of four, is this: WHEN YOU'RE ON A BIKE, ACT LIKE A MOTORIST

He links to an interesting online Cycling Test as well which I'll get into in my next post. :-)

I own a copy of the 1993 6th edition ( 1999 4th printing ) of John Foresters outstanding book, and highly recommend it.

I belong to a couple of message boards for Cyclists where Mr. Forester frequently contributes, and find him always interesting and informative.

In another post John writes about his thoughts after reading a review of a book by the art critic, and biographer, Tim Hilton called "One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers".

He begins this way:

The book is a history of cycling in the "golden age" of the 1950s and 1960s. Hilton is about the same age as my father, who was a keen club cyclist from the late 1950s onwards, and still goes riding each Sunday for distances that are terrifying to a man half his age (i.e. me). I therefore found the reviewer's description of British cycling enthusiasts in that era rather moving.

Here are the 2 posts:

Are you cycling, or just "un-riding"?

From bicycles to bucket exhausts

August 18, 2004 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2004

City of Toronto Negligent in Cycling Case

In more dooring related news is this news story out of Toronto, Canada:

In what is believed to be a precedent-setting ruling, the city has been found partly to blame after a cyclist was "doored," or struck by the opening door of a parked car.

Cycling activist Hannah Evans won $1,125 in damages plus a portion of her legal costs from the city yesterday in small-claims court, in a decision her lawyers labelled a test case.

In an oral ruling, Deputy Judge Morris Winer said the city was negligent in failing to make the road in question -- Queen Street West -- safer for cyclists, said Tim Gleason, a lawyer for the plaintiff....

Mr. Gleason said the court apportioned 50 per cent of the liability to the motorist, 25 per cent to Ms. Evans because she wasn't wearing a helmet, and 25 per cent to the city.

The lawyer said the deputy judge cited the fact that cycling activists had warned the city that Queen Street's right lanes were too narrow for cyclists to avoid the opening doors of parked cars.

According to a city study, winning the "door prize," as some cyclists call it, is the most common accident between cars and bikes on downtown streets, especially along major east-west routes.

The full piece by Jeff Gray, in the Toronto Globe & Mail, can be read here:

Cyclist hurt, city is found partly at fault.

Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, the Toronto advocacy group mentioned in the story, issued a lengthy, but very informative Press Release that tell much more of the story of the case & trial, & I reprint it here:

Judge Winer ruled today that the City of Toronto was negligent for not providing safe conditions for cyclists on Queen St. W. The judge found the City liable in a 2002 incident where a cyclist was struck by the opened door of a parked car. The judge found that Queen St. W. is one of the busiest streets in Toronto for bicycles and is also one of the worst for bicycle accidents. The City of Toronto had designated Queen St. as a bike route, presumably because it had some advantages to cyclists. This designation should mean that it’s safer yet Queen St. is not. Tim Gleason, one of the lawyers for the plaintiff, calls this ruling "an unequivocal win for cyclists in the City of Toronto. The decision imposes liability for failing to provide safe infrastructure for cyclists." In his comments Judge Winer said that the City of Toronto should have done something more positive for cycling in this location. The City knew that many cyclists would converge here. Expert witnesses for the City of Toronto testified that cyclists are expected to ride in the middle of the streetcar tracks on Queen St. to avoid hazards from parked cars. Judge Winer ruled that this was not a reasonable argument. In 2001, Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists notified the City of Toronto of unsafe conditions on Queen St. and several other east-west corridor routes downtown. Thus the City of Toronto was aware that these east/west streets are dangerous for cyclists. The expert witness for the City testified that if parked cars were removed it might be of no benefit because it could increase the likelihood of overtaking accidents. He also said it was not feasible to remove parked cars because merchants would complain. Judge Winer preferred the evidence of the plaintiff’s expert on this point. He found that the removal of parked cars would reduce cycling accidents and would increase safety for cyclists. The judge pointed to case law, which states that the character of the traffic changes so must the character of the highway itself. People using the highway have the right to use it in safety. Queen St. has changed in character. It was designed at a time when there were very few bikes. Now bikes account for 14-17% of vehicles on Queen St. W. but the City has not changed the character of the street in response. The City of Toronto has 30 days in which to appeal Judge Winer’s decision. ARC's 2001 notice to the City of Toronto of unsafe road conditions laid the groundwork for this case ( PDF ).
Thanks go to Rick Nelson for originally posting this on the CABO LIST.

August 15, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Riding to Fight AIDS

On Friday, September 10, 2004, 100 riders will begin riding from Maryland's Chesapeake Bay to New York City.

This is a 3 day, 275 mile, ride with the mission to honor and support
those living with HIV/AIDS, and to remember those who have died. Each
rider will raise a minimum of $3,500 that will pay for critical HIV/AIDS
services of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

This is a worthy cause by any measure, and more power to them, I say!

Check out Braking the Cycle

August 15, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Dooring Story

A story was recently posted on the Yahoo Meesage Board for the San Francisco Bay Area Transportation News that was quite interesting.

It is a story about some folks who got "doored" while on a Bike Ride.

A fellow Cabo Forum member, Michael Graff, sent this story to the list with this note, which I will pass along:

See how many misconceptions, and other errors, you can spot in this article. Try not to cringe too many times while reading it. If you tend to loud outbursts, be sure to close your door first.

Cyclists endangered by "dooring" by oblivious drivers-- Published Monday, June 28, 2004, in the Sacramento Bee byTony Bizjak.

Mr. Graff took it upon himself to write a letter to the articles author, and he shared it with the CABO LIST:

Since what he writes answers the challenge he posed earlier, & raises important issues, here it is in its entirety:

Hi Tony, I saw this article online and noticed many unfortunate, but
common, misconceptions. I hope you will publish a followup that shows
how cyclists can take responsibility for their own safety.

>> Published Monday, June 28, 2004, in the Sacramento Bee
>> Back-seat driver: For urban bicyclists, car doors a scary road hazard
>> By Tony Bizjak

For cyclists who know to never ride in the door zone, car doors are not
an issue at all. Sadly, few cyclists recognize the danger of riding in
the door zone, nor their legal right (and legal responsibility) to avoid

>> Going about 19 mph, they were riding with traffic -- as they are
>> supposed to -- over to the right, out of traffic's way, past parked
>> cars.

No, this is wrong. All the exceptions to CVC 21202 say you are NOT
supposed to ride over to the right if conditions make it unsafe to do

>> Scott Clark, who works in midtown, got doored on the first day he
>> commuted via bike to work. It was on H Street at 22nd Street.
>> Clark was riding in the bike lane.
>> He saw the door open and tried to veer away, but the door caught his
>> right handlebar. It took his bike out from under him in an instant,
>> and he landed on his butt.

Two things: No bike lane should ever be designed in such a way that
makes dooring possible. This is a serious breach of traffic engineering

And "veering" out of a bike lane is a violation of CVC 21208(b).

>> He tries to stay about a door's distance from parked cars, but with
>> traffic speeding past on his left, he can't afford to drift too far in
>> that direction.

Wrong, you must merge (not drift) into the travel lane (and stay there)
if that's what it takes to get out of the door zone.

>> He uses the typical cyclist trick of peering into the windows of cars
>> parked ahead to see if anyone is sitting there, but with tinted
>> windows, headrests and the cyclist's own speed, it's far from a
>> foolproof tactic.

Indeed, this is fundamentally reckless behavior.

>> The state vehicle code, by the way, says you are not allowed to open
>> the door on the side available to moving traffic unless it is safe and
>> doesn't interfere with traffic.

The flip side is that the CVC 21202 requires cyclists to avoid hazards:

"21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed
less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction
at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand
curb or edge of the roadway except ...
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but
not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, ...)
that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge ..."

If you follow the logic, cyclists are specifically required NOT to ride
close to the edge when there are conditions that make such riding
unsafe. When unsafe conditions exist, cyclists shall NOT ride as close
as practicable to the edge of the roadway.

So a cyclist riding in the door zone, at a speed that makes them unable
to stop for a suddenly open car door, is violating 21202.

I learned long ago, that riding too close to parked cars is dangerous, and that I have the right to ride more than an open car doors length to the right of parked cars when neccessary for my safety.

Angry Car drivers can kiss my pedalling ass!

As long as I safely transition into taking over the traffic lane, then it is their responsibility to also watch out for me, stop with the freaking angry honking, & for both our safety, don't try to go around me in their impatience.

August 15, 2004 in The Well Read Cyclist | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Indiana Bikefest 2004

Does checking out these sights, on a bike ride, sound like fun to you?

Ferdinand Monastery

Huntingburg League Stadium (where A League of Their Own was filmed)

Taste National award winning wines from Winzerwald Winery

Patoka Lake: spend a day bicycling and swimming at the beach

Explore Jasper’s RiverWalk

French Lick Scenic Railway

Ride by basketball legend Larry Bird’s summer home

Tour West Baden Springs National Historic Landmark Friday

Well, then, the Annual Indiana BikeFest is for you!

Especially if you live in the surrounding 16 states, and Canada, ( CT, DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, VA ), and can come on over for the fun.

Indiana BikeFest 2004-- Sept. 3 thru Sept. 6

August 15, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2004

Bicycle and Beach Moves off Blogger to Good Effect

Gary Green has moved his uniquely formated, & excellent, Bicycle & Beach off Blogger, to its own domain &, without ads, it looks more streamlined & visitor friendly.

He has made a few additions, and adjustments, one of which is a section he has called MY LATEST BIKE RIDE.

Based on the 1st entry this section has great potential, as I am an advocate for sharing ones bike riding experiences, with a wider audience, so as to encourage folks to get off the couch and on the road.

The ride is along empty stretches of road in the scenic Lucerne Valley.

While Gary includes this description [ Has some very nice roads for riding. Cheap land. Remote. Close to all amenities. Beautiful area. Good Weather (can be very windy!). But no shoulder on most of the roads. ] in a link to an Official Lucerne Website, further down on his site, it hardly does justice as an accompanying encouragement to his ride description.

The best feature of this first effort are the photographs illustrating the route directions.

The last photo, in the group is spectacular, and reminds me of the sights I loved best about the trip to Las Vegas I took several years ago with family.

Mother Nature always provides something to marvel over, even in the seemingly most empty places.

The route description is incomplete not just because there is no ending picture, but because there is no EXACT Route Sheet ( or description ) for a rider to utilize on a future visit to the area.

Disappointment over conditions seems to have kept Gary from truly enjoying himself, and his surroundings, and sharing that enjoyment, and all the interesting things he saw, or encountered on his ride through this community.

To me, the wind would have been a challenge to take on, and made this a grand adventure, with some no doubt humorous incidents, and the scenery, though seemingly spare in spots would have made for some interesting descriptions.

Communicating nothing but disappointment doesn't make prospects of taking the ride very promising to readers of this piece.

I have taken 2 difficult, & challenging, rides ( for me ) in the mountains of Southern California, [ and have hopes of riding out in the Lancaster/Palmdale/Victorville area, which I understand is rather remote in stretches ], and didn't let the conditions [ in this case no shoulders, and
frequent hills, which were a tough row to hoe for someone not used to it ] detract from my enjoyment of the adventure.

I don't want to discourage folks from getting out on their bikes, but encourage them instead. :-)

As I've said.....

Cycling is NOT just about speed and exercise, but about taking the time to stop and see the deer & Harleyholics....... :-)

Re-reading my rides here, and thinking about the rides I've written about ( including a recent ride I'll be posting about soon ) since taking those, I've noticed a difference, and realize that, while a couple of those ride descriptions come close to capturing the style and spirit of those beautifully written early pieces, I have need to get back to doing what made those pieces so special.

One thing I've regretted not being able to do is include photos I've taken on rides on this site.

Part of the reason is I don't yet have a Digtal Camera, and part is that my old scanner, & old photo delux program, are currently having issues I have a hard time understanding.

I plan on retaking BOTH rides, and bringing along my camera this time. :-)

You can read both my mountain rides here ( feel free to leave comments to each! ):

Pedaling the San Gabriels

Slow Pokes DO Have All the Fun!

Read my original review of Gary's excellent site HERE, and visit the place HERE.

You will find much useful info, and provide encouragement to an interesting contributor to the Bicycle Infoverse to improve a fine new feature on his site.

August 14, 2004 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2004

Stupid Bicyclist Tricks

I saw something REALLY stupid last night.

Something I never thought I'd see a bicyclist ever do.

ESPECIALLY at night.

As I wait to cross the street, while walking to the bus stop, at 10 pm last night, on a not very well lighted street in Huntington Beach, I witness a young lady on a bicycle riding toward me at about 10 miles an hour.

She has no helmet, and no headlight, but does have flashing red lights on front and back.

That didn't concern me as much as the startling sight of her steering the bike with one hand while holding a CELL PHONE up to her ear, and talking, with the other.

4 cars passed her in the block I watch her approach the intersection.

Luckily, by the time she reached the intersection the light was turning red, or who knows what could have happened.

I would have pointed out to her the stupidity of her actions, but I was in a hurry to catch the last bus home.

I am embarrassed, and more than a bit angered, to think that this should even be considered anything LESS than an absolute NO BRAINER for bicyclists.

Do NOT drive while yakking on your cell phone!

And , no, she wasn't a BLONDE. :-)

August 12, 2004 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 06, 2004

Is UK Cycle Network Lightly Traveled?

In 2005 The National Cycle Network will be completed in Great Britain, but efforts at promoting the network have apparently not been met with enthusiastic response.

Ken Worpole, of The Guardian, has written about this issue, and his experience riding the network.

A dictum: "Build it and they will come." It was first expounded by Roman grandees establishing retreats in the Italian campagna, only to find the emperor and his court unwilling to travel the distance. It was disproved again recently by the Millennium Dome project.

Other lottery projects, adopting the same principle, have likewise failed to achieve the numbers of visitors predicted. So while the National Cycle Network (NCN) - 10,000 miles of routes through the UK by 2005 - nears completion, the breakthrough in turning Britain into a cycling country simply has not happened.

10,000 miles in such a small country? This caught my attention.

Although Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, has so far met or exceeded most of its targets - the total use of the network doubled between 2000 and 2003, to 126m trips including walkers - cycling statistics are in contraflow. The number of cycle journeys in Britain has fallen since 2001, despite government strategies intended to increase bike use nationally fourfold by 2012. Fewer people in Britain, it seems, are prepared to get on their bike, even though more than 25 million live within two miles of where the network passes.

Rather than do anything to stimulate demand, the government, in its new transport strategy announced last week, has simply abandoned all targets for increasing cycling, leaving cyclist organisations "dismayed".

I wouldn't fret too much.

The riders will come, over time, just as they have, and continue to do, on routes, and Event Rides, all over the United States.

The full story is here:

Chain Reaction

A hat tip goes to Andrea, of Velorution for the heads up on this story.

August 6, 2004 in The Well Read Cyclist | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack