Monday, June 23, 2014

The Arc of History Bends Towards Bicycle Safety

NYC mayor Bill De Blasio today signed a collection of traffic-safety bills into law, most notably increasing the penalties for cars hitting bicycles with the right of way:
Intro 238-A makes failing to yield to pedestrians or cyclists with the right of way a criminal misdemeanor, not just a traffic violation, punishable with fines and jail time. If the driver injures a pedestrian or cyclist with the right of way, penalties increase to a $250 fine and 30 days in jail.
This is great news, but there still exist a number of wicked problems related to bike safety. For one, many bicycle lanes are painted in the 'door zones' of parked cars, forcing safety-conscious cyclists to disregard them and ride farther out in front of motorists, antagonizing them. In general, many bicycle lanes face upkeep issues, with metal plates, gutters, or other debris partially or completely offsetting their safety benefit. More conceptually, nobody has yet discovered a solution to the 'right hook' situation where turning motorists cut-off cyclists proceeding straight forward.

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