Monthly Archives: September 2022

Was it really an accident?

Media surrounds us and we constantly are informed by it. It has an impressive power to both educate and manipulate people, and we should demand seriousness and rigor. After all, narrating reality should not be so difficult.

Regarding biking, media makes mistakes with the word “accident” often. Take for example a rider runned over by a car. Usually, media expresses it as an “accident” in order to probably show a shocking word to attract reader’s attention. In reality, a reflection is needed to express what is behind the event since the complete piece of news is explained only after the striking headline. It also happens in the TV news.

The Associated Press style book, which is published since 2016, recommends the use of “crash” instead of “accident” in such cases. This way blaming the biker is avoided because “accident” implies the car has had nothing to cause the death while this it not true. Due to the fact that the rider is usually the weaker actor on the road, he typically suffers the injuries. The word “accident” seems to accept that the crash is unpredictable, whereas it could surely have been avoided and prevented. In the end, small changes in media contribute to modify public opinion about biking which in turn will provoke an increment in public pressure to reduce casualties on asphalt.

Dangerous by design: highway exists without visibility

What happens every day at this I-5 downtown Seattle highway exit?.
Mostly nothing since the highway gets clogged with cars trying to go to the office so they move slowly.

But outside the peak hours it turns into a trap: an almost empty highway gets you into a short tunnel with a 90 degree turn, no-visibility downtown exit, this is the result:

There are already plenty of signs telling drivers to slow down, but here are some possible solutions that may help: speed bumps to make sure distracted drivers lower their speed, a traffic light before entering the tunnel that stays red and only goes green when it detects the car has actually stopped, permanently closing the exit since it’s almost impossible to give more visibility.

Target: Garda

The Garda lake is located in the north of Italy. It connects the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino. Thousands of Italians enjoy it plus Germans, Swiss and Austrian thanks to its 368 squared kilometers every year. Why does it attract so many people every year? This marvelous lake is surrounded by perfect mountains to practice MTB, impressive landscapes and valleys with vineyards which go deep in history.

In the last years, a bike cycle path is being built by following more or less the Garda lake shore. However, the fact of contacting and coordinating three local administrations has made it difficult. Their promoters explain than it would be perfect if it was finished by 2025, although realistic people postpone it by 2030. Nevertheless, it is going to offer a 140 kilometers bike path which connect to EuroVelo and cost more than 100 million Euros. It could sound an excessive price for such a massive project, but economical studies from some years before determined that every bike tourist just in Trentino spent 77 Euros per day and the mean stay was nine nights. In other words, every bike tourist spent 700 Euros in the region. Considering only Trentino, 110,000 bike tourists enjoyed the area and it gave a yearly financial income of 77 million Euros. Summing up Lombardy and Veneto, the project could be amortized in few years. Moreover, more German bike tourists would visit the Garda lake when connected to the EuroVelo. Take for example that Munich is about four hours from the lake.

The project represents a giant challenge because on the one hand the Lombardy and Veneto zones follow a quite plain path in which building a bike line would not be difficult. On the other hand, there are 20 complicated kilometers which join Saló and Limone, in Veneto, which follows cliffs. In addition, crossing mountains and wider paths are necessary to fulfill the project targets.

In conclusion, we become aware of the defiance the Garda project is and hope it will be a reality soon.

Multi-tool facility

Over the last decades, a myriad of ideas has been proposed to increase the number of bikers in urban and rural areas, apart from building bike lines. Objects like the one in the photo are being installed in some places where orography plays an essential role. The picture was taken in a hilly zone in which bicycles moves on unsmooth roads and paths, and bikers range from families with small children to professionals.

Bellow you can see an intuitive, bike-oriented facility with all the necessary to solve problems when riding. It counts with tools in order to fix your bike, blow your wheels up or adjust screws. What is more, it is free thanks to visionary bike friends who worried about improving bikers comfort. Moreover, facts like this one attract bike tourists who contribute to the local economy.