Iceland is for Brave Bicyclists

This is a super-highway in Iceland:

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There is no shoulder. Sometimes, ther is no pavement. Here is a bicyclist, bravely peddling and wearing a helmet even:

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I suspect that these bikes are part of a tour. Note the kickstands on mountain bikes.

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Truth be told, I’ve been driving a Suzuki mini 4×4. Iceland is full of mountains and glaciers and, in the summer, rain. Not ideal bicycling, but people still do it. I’ve been giving them lots of space. Here’s a bicyclist who is likely freezing. She’s not so cold that she wants to wear her helmet, however.

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More road. Lots of road before sunny Seattle.

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It’s an amazing place, Iceland. Complete with icebergs.

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Beautiful Bicycling Diversity

Last weekend was especially lovely in Seattle.  After a rainy Friday, the clouds parted and, for some of us, the Dead Baby Bike Club’s annual downhill race was a great experience.  I understand that this event is not for everyone.  In fact, only one of the three lawyers here (I, Bob– the one without kids) attended.  But we should all appreciate the diversity of those who love bikes.

There are commuters who would never race.  There are racers who would never ride to a store.   There are recumbent riders who can’t understand those who hunch over their bikes.  There are upright riders who think similarly to the recumbent riders, but then would never ride a recumbent.  There are BMX riders and tricycle people.  There are those who ride with everything all fluorescent and flashing and riders who wear all black and remove their reflectors.

This much is true: whenever we ride, we are not driving a car.  We are exercising.  We are seeing things and (hopefully) we are seen.  For the most part, it really is all good.  So let’s all get along…

I’ve never been injured in a Dead Baby event, but attorney John McHale has been injured multiple times in organized bike races.  Is the Downhill dangerous?  Sure.  It’s also dangerous just waiting at a red light on my ride to work.

On the other hand, it’s hard to view tall bike jousting as anything but dangerous… and fun.  I’ll remain a spectator, thank you very much… Here is a short video: jousting

On Sunday my wife and I rode our 1952 Schwinn tandem from West Seattle to Ballard for brunch and then around Magnolia and back to West Seattle.  That’s pretty much the Tour de France on that bike.  It was fun, but again, not without risk.  I noticed one of Seattle’s famous wheel-swallowing sewer grates inside a marked bike lane in Magnolia.

I was too busy avoiding it to take a photo, but here is one that my office played a part in getting replaced:

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In Ballard, we visited the Farmer’s Market and chatted with a nice Cascade Bicycle Ambassador.  He and I traded spoke cards:

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Cascade’s spoke cards address what to do in case of a collision, whereas Washington Bike Law’s spoke cards provide a summary of bike laws.  About 90% of our work is representing bicyclist who have been in crashes, so one might expect our cards to be more like Cascade’s.  Instead, ours provide citations to the actual laws that many people (including police) do not understand.  Both cards are free for the asking and, this being Washington, both are waterproof.

Like the diversity in people who love bikes, both are good!

On a Positive Note (with soundtrack)

Yesterday I grumbled about the West Seattle Bike Counter.  Today it counted me once as I rode over it once.

More importantly, I would like to acknowledge that, while I am often frustrated by Seattle’s bicycling infrastructure, occasionally we do get it right.  As the Seattle Bike Blog points out, city traffic engineer Dongho Chang seems to be making genuine improvements at SDOT.

Go Dongho… make SDOT change!

Here is the soundtrack

Bike Counter or Random Number Generator?

I understand that hard data can be helpful for planning.  Seattle has had a bike counter in Fremont for a while now and recently added one on the West Seattle Bridge.  I’ve noticed that, since the West Seattle Bike Counter was finally deemed operational, when I crossed it, it either didn’t count me or it counted me multiple times.

This morning I stopped to determine whether this was something unique to my big fat Dutch Bike, or if this thing is actually a random number generator.  Conclusion: It does seem to respond to bikes, but it only does so every now and then and adds another number or two.

I’m not sure that this counts as hard data.  In fact, seeing low numbers on this clunker may actually hurt the case for improving bicycling infrastructure.  We’ve got this counter now…  let’s make sure it actually counts.

Video: IMG_1802

Can Copenhagen’s Bicycling Ideas Work in Seattle?

I am starting to prepare for a trip to COPENHAGEN.  I plan to meet with some of the folks behind that city’s rolling to the top of the cycling world and hope to bring back ideas to use here.

One of the ideas I’ve been advocating for the last few years is a change in our laws so that motorists who hit bicyclists or pedestrians are PRESUMED to be at fault without evidence that, for instance, the bicyclist was riding at night without reflectors or lights.   My understanding is that this is the law in much of Western Europe, but it’s hard to get clear information about exactly what these laws are and how they came to be.  I hope to get a better handle on this during my visit.

Do you have other questions or concepts for me to research?  Please let me know.

If you haven’t heard about Copenhagen as bicycling Nirvana, WATCH THIS video celebrating Copenhagen bicycling.  Also, this blog is excellent.