The Chainlink

I noticed this on Grist this morning:

Coronavirus has caused a bicycling boom in New York City

I'm in Portland for several weeks (at least), so can't check myself. Is the biking scene in downtown Chicago changing as companies and individuals adapt to the coronavirus outbreak?

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Please, take a breath CLP. Please form kinder thoughts. Please form more compassionate thoughts. I read her words and am easily able to understand what Sabrina is saying. It's not an English essay class, it's a community of cyclists. And if Sabrina would prefer an approach closer to Virginia Woolf stream of consciousness, I'm here for it. 

Let's prioritize human life and compassion right now rather than trying to find fault in our fellow cyclists please. Also, please avoid group rides, contact with others, group runs, and basically anything that will spread the virus. Illinois was in the top ten yesterday for the number of cases per state in the U.S. Let's flatten the curve. 

Hope everyone is well. I am a little stir-crazy with a heavy workload and a demanding small dog (she thinks WFH means hourly snacks, cuddles while phone conferencing, and the sharing of my morning yogurt). How's everyone else weathering the introverted storm?

Hi -- When you say, "per kilometer per unit of speed" is the "unit of speed" the speed of travel of the bicyclist or of the (surrounding) motor vehicles?  I'm not sure how either of those data (total travel distances of all bicyclists in, say, a city; or the speed of travel of bicyclists involved in crashes) can be known...

Both: Traveling for a kilometer at speed of 30km per hour in an auto (~18.6mph) is safer for the driver than traveling for a kilometer at 30km/hr (or 18mph) for the cyclist.  This holds true both in the aggregate and as replicated in crash testing as well.   

Elsewhere, the "speed kills" axiom comes into play for almost every mode of transit except for possibly airplanes.  Fast commercial jetliners are safer than slow propeller-driven Cessnas, for instance.

As I think you are pointing out, the increased collision speed of the surrounding automobiles with a bike is correlated with mortality, and rural road bike/auto collisions with higher auto speeds carry a higher mortality rate per collision than slower dense urban areas.  

Spain and Italy - and now France - are thereby making their policy decisions accordingly.  In addition, there is a social type of objection in Europe, where differences include the societal pooled risk of their funding of health care delivery.  There a view of sports and racing cycling, including the training for it during a time of health crisis, as frivolous.  

Streetsblog NY had a nice take on how we could all spare hospitals some business by decreasing (motor vehicle) speed limits throughout... My take is that it’s a good time to take it a bit slower and enjoy the ride. No data, but it feels to me like most folks who are out and about are making an effort to be more cautious; hope so!

Not a bad idea.

I'm not convinced this is a very useful metric when it comes to evaluating the effects of an activity on the health system in a crisis where bed space could be critical. What matters is how many people are likely to go to the hospital, rather than statistical risk, and on that measure driving a car is hands-down leads to more hospital visits.

That statistical risk is (those statistical risks are) what actually what tells us </> how many people are likely to go experience an injury requiring hospitalization or ambulance transport via travel of one mode versus the other.  Spain was not alone in observing those relative risks, which is why the temporary bike ban policy was rolled out there and elsewhere.  It will be interesting to see how long it lasts, and when the ban is lifted.

I'm not clear on how detailed Spain's calculations were on the ambulance transport frequency (versus just hospitalization) that had been cited in that article, although I suspect they inferred it quia sequitor illud from their other data.     

On Monday it seems a  lot safer. There were less motorized vehicles coming to and from the loop.  It was a bit post apocalyptic riding in the early evening with most  bars and restaurants already closed and fewer people milling about on the streets.  I drove today and the  commute was about a 1/3 of the  time normally taken.

I've been using the bike to shop at grocery stores in the city that don't have a lot of car parking.  They're better stocked, suffering less from SUV-driving hoarders.  And riding is therapeutic.  But the reduced car traffic has encouraged drivers to speed ridiculously, and there is no enforcement to stop it.

Because traffic tickets and revenue streams asymmetrically affect lower-income car drivers

https://www.chicagoreporter.com/chicagos-predatory-tickets-and-fine...

the City of Chicago is standing down on some parking and traffic tickets.  Grace periods for city stickers, parking and other traffic tickets and fines, etc. are being implemented so as to bring some relief to poor people who drive cars. 

https://www.propublica.org/article/chicago-temporary-halt-some-debt...

https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/chicago-stops-issuing-parking-ti...

People have long complained that there is a disparity between enforcement of the rules of the road for cyclists and automobiles.  I can imagine that some people will see this as restoring parity, although probably not the way everyone would have wanted.  

Others are likely to observe that when "work from home" practices are enacted, the reduction of vehicles on the roadway demonstrates the large contribution that car drivers make to society and tax revenues, from not only their incomes and income taxes, but then also vehicle sales taxes, gas taxes, vehicle registrations, title fees, city sticker fees, traffic ticket revenue, parking tickets, and so forth. 

This is in part why a war on cars and those who operate them may be a less viable strategy when it comes to cycling advocacy versus pro-cycling stances instead of anti-car stances.  

As for viable alternatives, others have also observed, maintaining social distancing of 6 feet for non-family members using public transportation is still challenging.  Metra and CTA are trying to address this. 

I was enjoying this thread until I go to this paragraph...

"Others are likely to observe that when "work from home" practices are enacted, the reduction of vehicles on the roadway demonstrates the large contribution that car drivers make to society and tax revenues, from not only their incomes and income taxes, but then also vehicle sales taxes, gas taxes, vehicle registrations, title fees, city sticker fees, traffic ticket revenue, parking tickets, and so forth."

Really?  

And I've noticed, that with the reduced traffic on the freeways, people are speeding like never bofore.

Yes, I communicate regularly with DC-area (VA/DC/MD) bike and transportation people and there are some troubling issues. 

- Pedestrian deaths continue to happen with reckless driving - crosswalks, up on sidewalks

- I've seen with my own eyes motorists blowing off stops, running reds, speeding with no patience. I'm walking my dog on longer walks and have to be extra careful due to the increase. 

- I'm not alone - I'm reading other posts from others in my area about more dangerous driver behavior too. 

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