May 01 by jason

Mandatory helmet law gutted. Now what?

Good news out of Sacramento: S.B. 192, Senator Liu’s disastrous law mandating helmets and reflective gear for bicyclists, was gutted thanks to strong backlash from bicycle advocates across the state. In its place, Senator Liu has proposed a study of the effectiveness of helmet use: “The Bill would require the Office of Traffic Study (OTS),…

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Apr 20 by jason

Grand Avenue repaving ignores safety, reinforces status quo

Street repavings in Oakland don’t come along often. The City is presently facing an 85 year repaving cycle, meaning that streets that are repaved now may be with us until 2100 (the industry standard is 15-25 years). When a street is repaved, however, it presents a rare opportunity to examine how well it functions based…

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Apr 08 by jason

Vote ‘No’ on S.B. 192

At GJEL, we’re very supportive of wearing bicycle helmets. We’ve seen countless victims hit by drivers while bicycling whose lives were saved by helmets, and others not wearing helmets who’ve experienced significant injuries or lost their lives. We’ve sponsored free helmets for kids and rarely ride without them. However, we’re writing today to explain why…

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Mar 05 by jason

Uptown Oakland bike station opens: when will infrastructure catch up?

At long last, the Uptown Bike Station opened this week adjacent to BART’s 19th Street Station. The Bike Station offers free, secure bike parking between the hours of 7 am and 9 pm and a range of bicycle-related services – similar to bike stations at Fruitvale, Ashby, Embarcadero, and Downtown Berkeley. 19th Street Station has…

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Feb 20 by jason

Is it legal to ride my bike in a crosswalk?

Technically, you are supposed to walk your bike in a crosswalk. But even if you are riding your bike in the crosswalk, that is no excuse for a negligent driver to hit you in the crosswalk. And, even if the police officer notes that you were riding your bicycle in the crosswalk that does not…

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Jan 30 by jason

Illegally parked cars clogging new Oakland bike lanes

A striking video was posted to the Bike East Bay Facebook page on Tuesday depicting illegally parked cars clogging Oakland’s new buffered bike lane along Broadway. The video, submitted by Volvap Egroeg, shows parents at Oakland Technical High School using the entire block of the bike lane as a pick up zone. Cyclists, displaced from…

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Nov 07 by jason

Signal timing: a critical element of safe, livable streets

For the vast majority of people, signal timing is not an exciting subject. Apart from traffic engineers and a select group of superwonks, few people pay attention to or advocate for better signal timing. Whereas the physical designs (and deficiencies) of streets are tangible, signal timing is less discernible. It’s not uncommon for communities to…

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Oct 30 by jason

The perils of through-double-right turns for bicyclists

Biking on most urban streets may not always be a stress-free experience, but an individual with basic bicycle safety knowledge can usually navigate through streets without incident if everyone behaves safely (albeit a big “if”). However, today we want to talk about one street configuration that even the safest drivers and bicyclists have difficulty navigating:…

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Oct 15 by jason

12-foot lanes don’t improve safety. So why do we keep building them?

Lane widths might seem like a boring, esoteric aspect of traffic engineering, but they really matter for creating safe, livable streets. Noted city planner and urban designer Jeff Speck recently published a convincing piece on CityLab against a transportation feature that nearly all of us confront on a daily basis: 12-foot travel lanes. Over the…

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