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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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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Oct 02 by jason

Oaklavia highlights need for better bicycle infrastructure around Lake Merritt

Oakland recently hosted Oaklavia, an open streets event that invites people to walk, bike, dance, play, and socialize in the streets. It’s a terrific, if underappreciated event that both showcases the city’s vibrancy and the potential for stress-free (or low-stress) walking and biking on the city’s streets. At the same time, Oaklavia reinforces the juxtaposition…

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May 15 by jason

The hypocrisy of San Francisco’s selective traffic law enforcement

Street safety depends on the fair enforcement of traffic laws, but enforcement is not always fair. The juxtaposition of two stories over the past week illustrates the incongruent enforcement of traffic laws in San Francisco. On Bike to Work Day last Thursday, SFPD organized a sting to ticket bicyclists rolling through stop signs on the…

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May 05 by jason

Is Berkeley falling behind in the race for safe streets?

The City of Berkeley is a well-known leader in environmentalism, social justice, and public health. Given that active transportation plays an integral role in each of these fields, it’s no surprise that Berkeley has long been one of the most bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly cities in California. Berkeley was one of the early adopters of complete…

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Apr 14 by jason

What is a Cycle Track?

Recently we discussed the ongoing battle between California cities and Caltrans over street design, most notably cycle tracks. As it turns out, Caltrans just announced its official endorsement of the NACTO guide at last week’s Cities for Cycling event by NACTO, thereby paving the way for cycle tracks to be implemented across California. Let’s take…

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Apr 02 by jason

Cities battle Caltrans over street design

As cities across California seek to build safer, healthier, greener “complete streets,” many have come into conflict with Caltrans over what constitutes an acceptable (and legally defensible) design. This post will be the first of a series in the coming weeks that examines issues of street design and how it impacts safety, particularly for vulnerable…

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