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Two years apart, century's improved!
2012 -2014 Portugal:
- The country has adopted sweeping new bicycle safety laws, and the improvements are being felt. A motor vehicle must pass with 1.5 meter space. In a country where passing is a standard skill, expected, and road arrows show limits so safe passing space, the new law is not hard for motorist. In fact a calm interaction between bikes and cars now exists on most rural roads.
- Bikes may ride side by side, in groups. The passing distance is shorter when the bikes group side by side, thus less time for cars to be in a passing zone or accelerating to pass a group.
- Bicycles have finally fully gained the right to be on the roads. In the past decade changes from an old system where pedestrians and bikes were at fault for any accident with a motor vehicle (motor vehicles had priority - 1990s).
Riding in Portugal in 2013 and riding here in 2014 this editor can sense the safer road interactions. In 2013 and before many vehicles skillfully buzzed the bike rider at just inches clearance. The trucks would confidently hold there throttle in full action passing bicyclist. Some taxi and private cars would actually attempt ramming a bicyclist on the wrong side of a street, just to enforce road superiority in Lisbon.
Now, 2014, a calmer streets environment exists. Some passes are closer than the 1.5 meter law, but fewer and most skillfully done. More attempts by motorist are made to respect the other road users.
Another feature of the new passing requirements is a "zone of coexistisance" on the road. If the driver can not give the 1.5 meter passing space, they must slow to a speed within 20 km/ hr of the bike riders, and may pass closer when safe.
Riding in Portugal has now become a relaxed transportation activity. Just a little change in space has gone a long way in advancing bicycling.
All these features have been discussed for California law, a least we will have some of the European vibe!
2014 - Ideas from Europe!
Last year members of the European Cycling Federation (ECF, 2012) met with me; they said keep politically going - get a One Meter Safe Passing law passed in California. After two years of vetos from the Governor, the encouragement from the ECF helped, and we did go on, achieving a 3-Foot Safe Passing Law!
Now I am returning to Europe,,, with victory panels,,,and to pick up more inspiration.
Look here for European updates, stories of; Lisbon's bike-in restaurant,,,,,, riding on Brussels winter roads with studded tires,,, recycling quality 1980s road bikes at affordable prices,,, cell phones and high quality bike clothes that make riding in Europe easy,,, local food stops that expand your bike experience,,, riding with one wheel cargo trailers in Portugal and Belgium,,, trains that allow bikes onboard - some at 200mph do, some at 40mph do not,,,, Well, I'm looking forward to bringing you some Interesting pictures!
2013 - Success California!
Sept, 23, 2013
Governor Brown signed AB1371, the 3-Foot Safe Passing bill today!
From our Editor:
"I have needed this law for the past 40 years! The next generation of riders will enjoy a calmer interaction of motor vehicles and bikes as a decade of driver calming evolves. Maybe now I can enjoy the classicical music I hear-imagine as I ride,,, on safer streets,,, not needing to check over my shoulder for every sound from behind...."
Sept. 23, 2013
Governor Brown signed the 3-Foot Safe Passing bill today,,, a day after receiving the Portugal comparison letter below:
"Sept, 20, 2013
Dear Governor Brown,
Please recognize we are serious about deaths and accidents on California roadways, where motor vehicles hit bicyclists. Our legislature has three times passed a 3-Foot Passing law; that is not an easy endeavor! Please now celebrate a safer California...
My safety and the safety of my loved ones are at risk from unsafe passing. I urge you to sign YES on AB 1371...
California can change some basic ways and be better than Portugal...
22 Portugal ideas for California:
A 24 hour tele-nurse phone for everyone.
Public military instalations are open to all. Even castles are open to the public.
Libraries set open to be attractive for waiting transit times.
Favored installation of solar electric with incentive payback 6 times market rate.
Narrower streets require less infrastructure investment.
Free trash collection in central bin spots saves space and favors localized recycling, and cleans public spaces.
Install orange trees for public fruit.
Have Welcome Centers at airports. Ones that speak other languages, and can reserve low cost travel housing
Have high school students run the Welcome Centers; with internet access and music- performance allowed there.
Allow outdoor drying of laundry.
Low-head hydro power has small impact with large electric power gain.
Install Roman road, stone, with permeable space between rocks. Modern layout with lazer is smooth, lifespan in hundreds of years, these roads are a no carbon product.
Have home care attendants that help old folks clean their homes and other general assisted living support.
Install wind power for electricity.
Repair train tracks for public service.
Ancient traveled paths may not be
blocked by private land owners.
Houses may be rebuilt from ruins in remote rural areas without a permit.
Shepherds may move animals on public streets, with permits.
All people and modes may use roadways, including quad cycles, Vespa (slow/small) trucks, rotortiller vehicles, race vehicles, and all cyclists.
Bicycle loaning systems of the simplistic kind are supported.
Public water is available at every town center.
Public Internet and wi-fi is available in every town.
Bus service to every town at least once in the morning and once at night.
School children are allowed to use the public transit system.
Portugal approved a 4.5-foot safe passing law for cars passing bicycles (1.5 meters)(2013).
All laws can be bent a little without being bad or criminal.
Bill Wright Burton
p.s. Food, Music and Hats could be better in California too!
But why does California need to be better than Portugal?
Maybe we need California to act on some of the other 22 items listed;
Governor Brown approved one,,,,, the 1-meter safe passing,whoops,,, the 3-feet safe passing law!
Truckers that regularly give safe space to cyclist:
Many trucking firms have been observed using professional driving practices of exceeding 3-foot space for cyclists. Some noted firms in California that respect cyclists are noted here:
Altos Bros. Trucking
Sierra Pacific Industries
Eagle Rock Quarry
Redwood Crane Service, SF Bay Area
Los Robles Unified School District busses, Sacramento
Big Creek Lumber, Santa Cruz
Swift Trucking, Redding area
Sharing the Road, Passing, and Human Behavior:
The DMV states a bicyclist should use the center of the lane when roads are narrow. Their exact wording:
"If there is no shoulder or bicycle lane and the traffic lane is narrow, ride closer to the center of the lane. This will prevent motorists from passing you when there is not enough room. Bicyclists can travel at speeds of 20 mph, or faster. You should also use the traffic lane when you are traveling at the same speed as the traffic around you. This will keep you out of motorists’ blind spots and reduce conflicts with right-turning traffic."
Following the same logic, cars should move towards the center when conditions such as obstacles exist near the right side of the roadway (there is no logic in passing off the edge of roadway on the shoulder, where many times pavement is absent).
Thus the progress of faster motor vehicles approaching slower vehicles needs to be to the left of the slower vehicle, or to not pass the slower vehicle at all! Progress is the key concept here.
In Europe, on very narrow roads, the acceptance of quick safe passes has been mastered by human drivers. In England this is done regularly, on transposed road patterns (left hand drive), safely. So why is it imagined that Californians can not safely control their vehicles with passes over the center line?
Californians regularly pass over the center line to pass bicycles. Trucks regularly do a courteous maneuver of moving partially over the centerline to pass bicycles when safe to do so. This is already accepted progress behavior in California, yet against the law! Crossing the double solid lines for a pass is not allowed in this state. However crossing these lines is allowed for turns into driveways and other selected maneuvers. So Californians cross the double solid center line as standard behavior, albeit illegal.
Standard behaviors that are not allowed include speeding, rolling through stop signs (The 'California Stop'), driving while talking on cellphones, and others. Thus laws are made to curb these behaviors. But curbing passing a slower vehicle when there is safe roadway to use is just a law that limits progress. Progress is the key here.
Wider roads may be argued for here, to pave space for every possible user. Wide shoulders and/or separated bike lanes might be safer, but realistically the shared space model will be the ongoing norm, worldwide.
Streets just need to be wide enough for the behavior of its users. Calm drivers passing bicyclist safely will continue, no matter the width, regardless of the state or agency (Caltrans) that built the facility. Other states allow drivers over the solid lines to pass a bicycle. Safe human behavior, save driving, and respect for others can proceed left of the center line. Crossing the double solid lines to pass a bicycle will help transportation progress on key California roadways.
Today is May Day, and we have video of behavior of motorist who are unable to control their vehicle and pass with safe space:
United States 2008 Data, Bicycles:
In 2008, 716 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 52,000 were injured in traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities, and pedalcyclists made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.
NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590
Today is Earth Day, April 22, and the 3-Foot Safe Passing Bill passed!
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3-Foot-Passing Legislation Stats
|Date||Constituents||Gold Stars/Skid Marks (scale; +10 to -10)||For/Against/Neutral|
|March 31, 2011||California Highway Patrol (CHP)||Helped with Yellow Line wording||Neutral|
|April 26, 2011||Auto Club of Southern California||Speaker at Committee Hearing||Against|
|May 4, 2011||California Association Bicycle Organizations||Speaker at Committee Hearing||Against|
|April 26, 2011||Mayors Office, City of Los Angeles||Speaker at Committee Hearing||For|
|April 14, 2011||California Auto Association (CAAA)||supports some of the bill, Speaker at Committee Hearing||Against|
|April 26, 2011||Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition||For|
|April 26, 2011||Santa Cruz County Cycling Club||For|