Oct 14 jmp commented on Bike Activists! I Have Seen the Future! You're Going To Hate It!.
@50 - So what happens if the driver simply stops? The car explodes like the bus in Speed?

I can't see how a bicycle can possibly force you to abandon a right turn unless your brakes don't work.
Oct 13 jmp commented on Bike Activists! I Have Seen the Future! You're Going To Hate It!.
@45 Seattle PD makes zero effort to enforce safe right turns by drivers, so it's no wonder they don't turn safely.

The law is clear, both the approach to a right turn, and the right turn itself, must be made from as close to the right curb as practicable.

To make a right turn on a street with a bike lane, the driver is supposed to signal well before the turn, merge safely to the right, yielding to anyone already in the bike lane, and then make the right turn, from a position where there simply *cant* be a bike hidden in their blind spot. (As long as the bike lane isn't physically separated, of course -- then drivers do have to watch out for bikes overtaking on the right. It's a tradeoff, more separation mid-block, but more hazardous at intersections, especially for faster cyclists.)
Oct 13 jmp commented on Bike Activists! I Have Seen the Future! You're Going To Hate It!.
Your mistake is in assuming all cyclists will be confined to those sidepaths. That's true in some places, but Washington is not a segregated state -- even when there are bike lanes, cycletracks, or entirely separate paths, people on bikes are still free to choose the street if it's safer, more pleasant, or goes where they need to go.

The Dutch are working to get faster cyclists off of cycletracks and into the street. The Dutch Cyclists Union says fast cyclists make sidepaths hazardous and unwelcoming for their intended audience, those slower, more vulnerable users who aren't comfortable riding in the street -- children, the elderly, casual riders on upright roadsters, etc.

Germany, too, has softened its mandatory sidepath law -- faster riders are free to ride in the street except where specifically signed to require them to use the sidepath. That's why you see the sidepaths full of slower riders, they're comfortable riding there, avoiding conflicts with faster vehicles.

You can already see this in Seattle, with our limited collection of bicycle facilities -- many riders choose the street over the sidepath on 2nd Ave, for example, because the path isn't safe at the speed many riders can simply coast southbound on 2nd. Broadway's cycletrack provides last-mile access to locations right on Broadway itself, but faster riders use safer routes for long-distance trips, diverting over to 12th, for example.

Supporting bicycling by people of all ages and abilities doesn't mean corralling everyone onto some one-size-fits-all path. Separated facilities provide comfort for slower and more vulnerable users over a limited selection of routes, while streets continue to provide access throughout the city.
Aug 12 jmp commented on Making the Ballard Bridge Safe for Cyclists: One of Us Has to Die or All of Us Have to Act.
When the Ballard Bridge was first built, the intent was that bicycles would use the travel lanes. (Sidebar: they're not "car lanes" and never have been. They're travel lanes, open to all legal vehicles, including bicycles.) The sidewalks really were just for walking.

But the travel lanes had lower speed limits then, and the drawspan didn't have hazardous steel grate decking.

The sidewalks are wide enough on the drawspan, where the decking makes the travel lanes hazardous for skinny-tired bicycles. It's the long approaches that have sidewalks only suitable for walking, and those lanes are paved well enough for bicycle use, as they were when the bridge was first built. The real hazard isn't the bridge, it's the drivers.

1. Reopen sidewalk access from the travel lanes to the sidewalks at the drawspan.

2. Lower the speed limit on the bridge approaches to 20 mph, and *enforce* it.

3. Use shared lane markings to encourage faster bicyclists to use the travel lanes where they're paved, and use the sidewalks on the drawspan if their tires are too narrow for safety on the steel grate.

4. If enough motorists are upset by driving at the safe speed of the existing bridge, let them find ways to fund a replacement bridge.
Feb 24 jmp commented on City Fails to Protect Cyclists from Broadway Smurf Turds, Again.
@9 just because the city made things worse for drivers on Broadway doesn't mean they made things better for bicyclists. The street is now awful for both. Most people on bikes now take other routes, 12th is safer, faster, and calmer.
Feb 24 jmp commented on City Fails to Protect Cyclists from Broadway Smurf Turds, Again.
1. They aren't really "bollards" -- a bollard is a vertical post strong enough to stop a vehicle.

2. They don't belong next to traffic, they aren't reflectorized or brightly-colored as standards would normally require for obstructions in the roadway, that's part of why drivers constantly run into them.

3. They're hazardous to people driving and people bicycling when they get shoved into traffic. Standard traffic delineators are tested for crashworthiness, there's a national standard for testing to make sure they aren't a hazard. Can SDOT produce crashworthiness testing documentation for the smurf turds?
Feb 3 jmp commented on I, Anonymous.
Cars must yield while merging into the bike lane, which they're supposed to do *before* beginning their turn.

As you approach the intersection, check for bikes, yield, merge into the bike lane when it's safe to do so, before beginning your turn. Once you've merged right, turn your attention back to the intersection so you can avoid running over pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Once a car has properly merged into the bike lane and is signaling a right turn, bicyclists should not attempt to squeeze through to the right. That's not just illegal, it's suicidal. Pass on the left or wait your turn behind the vehicle in front of you.
Feb 3 jmp commented on I, Anonymous.
Most drivers, and most bicyclists, have no idea what the law is for drivers making a right turn on a street with a bike lane.

Having through traffic overtaking on the right side of a vehicle that is turning right is extraordinarily dangerous. Blind spots make it physically impossible to see the entire length of many vehicles, the turning driver simply can't yield to a vehicle that can't be seen. "Right-hook" crashes are extremely serious. Even Copenhagen, with all its specialized bicycle infrastructure, kills many bicyclists every year because of bicycles passing in the blind spots of trucks.

For that reason, motorists turning right on a street with a bike lane are supposed to merge *into* the bike lane before turning, making sure to yield to any bicycles already within the bike lane. This is supposed to make it obvious that the vehicle is turning, and physically prevent cyclists from putting themselves in the "suicide slot" to the right of the vehicle.

This assumption, that cars will merge into the bike lane before making a right turn, is fundamental to the standard design of bike lanes in the U.S.

Washington law is rather vague on this, using only outdated language from an obsolete UVC. Other states go into more detail, e.g., California code says

"Turning Across Bicycle Lanes
21717. Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane that is adjacent to his lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall drive the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn and shall make the turn pursuant to Section 22100 [general turning regulations]"

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has a good infographic for educating motorists to merge into bike lanes before turning, but of course it's annotated with the CVC instead of the RCW.

Jan 28 jmp commented on Watch Seattle Police Pepper Spray Teacher Jesse Hagopian on MLK Day.
Is this a different view of the incident here?


If so, see again one officer, seemingly out of control, repeatedly spray a man who is clearly already incapacitated by pepper spray -- he's attempting to leave the area, stumbling along blind, before an officer pulls him back into the street and sprays him again.
Jan 15 jmp commented on Broadway Cycle Track Bollards: Still Broken.
@12 - If your goal is to move people on bikes through the area safely, Broadway isn't the place to do it any more. The streetcar tracks saw to that.

The Broadway sidepath is a tolerable alternative to riding over the tracks for the last few blocks to a destination on Broadway itself, but if you're trying to get through the area, 12th is faster and safer on a bike than Broadway.