Adult bicycle helmet laws draw no end of passion on both sides. We don’t call them the “bicycle helmet wars” for nothing. But until recently I was under the mistaken belief that there were few – if any – jurisdictions in the United States that actually had laws regarding adult usage of bicycle helmets. This belief was shattered on a recent trip to Washington state where, coincidentally, two totally different people completely unconnected made comments about King County Washington having a helmet requirement for adults.
Type 1 diabetes sucks. Cycling, however, doesn’t suck. So how do we put the two together? With hard work, diligence, knowledge and a sprinkling of modern technology. At least – that is my approach.
Training for cycling events at even the moderately-serious recreational level takes a lot of fine-tuning. In a sport where a few watts can make a huge difference, things like diet, sleep patterns, and training scheduling can separate the mediocre from the truly awesome. Throw in a metabolic disorder like diabetes and it can feel like 10 times the number of variables to try and manage. Keep reading →
The city of Sacramento, CA has a long and rich baseball history. And a big part of that history has traditionally been embodied by a dark yet friendly little corner of the world known as Joe Marty’s bar. The walls of the bar were lined with historic portraits of baseball players and pictures of the old baseball diamond that used to sit right around the corner where the Target is today.
Unfortunately the landmark establishment was hit with a kitchen fire in 2005 and sat vacant for a decade. Then two local businessmen decided to resurrect the name at the same location. And that brings us to why I’m talking about this on a cycling blog… Keep reading →
I love riding my bike. I feel quite comfortable riding on the streets of San Francisco, or the country roads of California’s central valley. From my perspective, what negative interactions I’ve had with cars have generally been due to simple mistakes – misjudging speed, not looking in the right rear view mirror when turning right, etc etc. I’m the guy that spend a lot of time complaining about how dangerous others make cycling out to be. I’m the guy urging everyone to stop the fear mongering.
But then someone has to be an asshole. And that can be just flat out scary.
One of my coworkers recently came back from Amsterdam. I just happened to pass him when he was talking to another coworker. He was showing him what I assume was a picture on his phone and stated
“See, ” said coworker 1, “they ride in a separate place. The bikes don’t even ride where the cars go.”
Coworker 2 replied “Why can’t we learn that here?”
I don’t think either of them are cyclists.
Changing one mind at a time…
After spending my night watching TED Talks on Netflix, I felt compelled to start today with a little preaching to the choir. Presenting Mark Martin.
To continue to explore the potential links (or perceived links) between cycling and gentrification, I thought it would be important to solicit unbiased opinions from outside of the cycling community. For this, I reached out to Rashawn, long-time resident of the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco (and the neighborhood inhabited by yours truly.) Below is a series of questions and answers via an email conversation. Rashawn’s perspective provides an extremely valuable outside perspective that all of us interested in bicycle advocacy and advancement need to consider. It can become quite common for advocates of any cause to find themselves constantly “preaching to the chior.” Only by actively soliciting, and taking the time to understand, the opinions of those that are outside our group can we truly find ways to expand the cause we are advocating for.
Note: Any links included in the below transcript were added by me (after the fact) to help provide context for those unfamiliar with the Bayview community, or items referencing what can reasonable be considered “local knowledge.”
JustAnotherCyclist: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Can you tell us who you are, and a bit about yourself?
Rashawn: I am a Black woman who has deep roots in Arkansas and Louisiana. My family began migrating to the Bay Area during WWII, drawn by the promise of opportunities in the shipyards and looking for a better life. My grandmother came here in 1945, and sent for her children (including my 10 year old mother) a few years later. My parents settled here following my father’s stint in the Army. I was born and raised in San Francisco, and have never lived anywhere else.
Let’s be clear what I’m talking about first. I’m not talking about a special license for people that would be required to operate a bicycle on the roads. As as been stated over and over, most cyclists are actually already licensed drivers. What I’m talking about is a license (or registration) on the bicycle itself. Yup. I’m actually 100% in favor of this. This will probably surprise some of the motorists that like to bring this up as a requirement or them to feel like they need to share the road with me.
And I will undoubtedly piss off some of my fellow cyclists. But let me tell you why… Keep reading →
In San Francisco, an ordinance co-sponsored by city supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar appears poised to pass. This ordinance will change stop sign violations by cyclists to the the lowest priority of the police department. Functionally, this will create a similar situation to the Idaho Stop law, but within the city boundaries only. In the state of California (unlike some other states) an actual change in the law would have to take place at the state level.
At this time, 6 of the 11 supervisors support the ordinance. Those currently in favor are Avalos, Breed, Campos, Kim, Mar and Wiener. According to KQED, supervisors Christensen, Cohen and Farrell are currently undecided
Supervisor Malia Cohen has not yet taken a position on the issue, said aide Yoyo Chan. “We are still continuing to hear from all perspectives,” Chan said in an email.
— “Majority of S.F. Supervisors Back ‘Idaho Stop’ Proposal for Cyclists” KQED.
That is the majority required to move the ordinance along to the mayor. However, support of Mayor Ed Lee is still unclear, and it would take a vote of 9 supervisors to override his veto should it occur.
This shift has come about in no small part due to a recent “stop in” demonstration on the famous Wiggle of San Francisco.
At the state level, there was another change. Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law creating a means to allow cyclists and pedestrians that have received a traffic citation to have their fines reduced by attending traffic school. These diversion programs would be set up and run by the local jurisdictions. This is similar to the system already in place for motor vehicle moving violations. As the BikingInLA blog points out, the provides more than just a reduction in fines. Instead, it creates a unique opportunity to educate. And there are certainly enough folks out there that could do with a little bit of that.
Ed Lee photo credit: By Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg: Nancy Pelosi derivative work: Tktru (Mayor_Ed_Lee.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons