Category Archives: Please fix it

How not to make a bike line

One of the strategies to improve the use of bicycles is to build bike infrastructures like buildings, bike lines, bike parks and so on. Bike lines should flow on roads and avoid sidewalks. It is better to put barriers between bike lines and car lines like bollards, bushes or cement or plastic objects. In some cases, only paint is used giving pictures such as the bellow photograph as a result. Interestingly as you can see, the bike line goes opposite way the car line which is also a one-way bike road. As a result, bicycles can ride the two sides. The problem that I see is that allowing cars to park so close to the bike line could provoke a clash between a distracted car driver and a biker (take into account that this picture was taken in Spain in which left-hand driving is official). Moreover, I feel there is little room in the street and some bad car drivers, like the one of the red car, take advantage of it by invading the car line. It would be better to transform the left parallel parking into a segregated bike line. This way the potential crashes would not take place.

Dangerous by design: Paintless crosswalks

Seattle, and most US cities, are full of paintless crosswalks.
You know they are crosswalks because there are ramps installed on the sidewalks with the typical dotted/yellow covers to help blind people.
However, drivers have a hard time seeing the ramp, not to mentioned if there are parked cars before the crosswalk, so painting that zebra crossing is vital if you intend drivers to stop when there are people crossing.
I have personally seen drivers honking the horn at pedestrians using paintless crosswalks, and a couple of almost accidents.
So please, US departments of transportation and urban planners, could we make sure pedestrians won’t be run over by cars by actually making crosswalks visible to drivers?, please.

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.