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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-11-09, 07:50 AM   #1
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NYT: Men On Bicycles

We really should have a sticky 'LCF in the News', but here's a good editorial about poor immigrants using bikes to get to work and getting killed in the process.

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Bicyclists and suburbs are an uneasy fit. I donít mean the racing bikers who swarm like neon-colored beetles, hogging the middle of the road. Iím talking about the guys without helmets, on beat-up mountain bikes: restaurant workers wearing windbreakers over white dress shirts and ties; men in sweatshirts and baseball caps riding home from the store, plastic shopping bags hanging awkwardly off the handlebars.

Such sights are evidence of a valiant adaptation to a hostile environment. For immigrant workers, as with so many of us in the suburbs, life boils down to the job, the bed and the travel between. But when you live in a landscape designed for cars, and you are poor, and it is too far to walk to work, and thereís no bus to take you there, the only option is two wheels. This is what is cheap and effective. It can also be deadly.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/opinion/11sun3.html
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Old 01-11-09, 09:54 AM   #2
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It's just my experience, but as a concerned utility cyclist living and bicycle commuting in the Coachella Valley just north of the Mexican border, I tracked such stories in the local paper with interest.

I noted a few things. 1) The vast majority of cyclists hit in that area were immigrants. 2) Most of them were not obeying the laws when they were hit.

Most frequently, they were riding against traffic, riding without lights, cutting across intersections improperly or across traffic improperly.

There is a definite need to make immigrant workers aware of how to ride safely here. It could help a lot.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 01-11-09, 10:06 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gz_ View Post
We really should have a sticky 'LCF in the News', but here's a good editorial about poor immigrants using bikes to get to work and getting killed in the process.



http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/opinion/11sun3.html
For another view of NYC Car Free lifestyle: see
A Few of Their Favorite Things

By DEBORAH BALDWIN (NYT)

Leon I. Jacobsonís Upper West Side apartment holds many collections, but the main one you notice is his collection of bikes, scooters and unicycles.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/re...te/11habi.html
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Old 01-11-09, 11:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
It's just my experience, but as a concerned utility cyclist living and bicycle commuting in the Coachella Valley just north of the Mexican border, I tracked such stories in the local paper with interest.

I noted a few things. 1) The vast majority of cyclists hit in that area were immigrants. 2) Most of them were not obeying the laws when they were hit.

Most frequently, they were riding against traffic, riding without lights, cutting across intersections improperly or across traffic improperly.

There is a definite need to make immigrant workers aware of how to ride safely here. It could help a lot.
Most of the people I see here crossing busy suburban arterials on foot -- not even at intersections, either -- appear to be Mexican immigrants. Sounds like the ones on bikes are just doing the same thing.

(I hate saying things like that; I feel so racist when I do....)
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Old 01-11-09, 12:05 PM   #5
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Sounds like drivers who purposely struck immigrants on bikes. Horrible, just horrible.
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Old 01-11-09, 12:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
It's just my experience, but as a concerned utility cyclist living and bicycle commuting in the Coachella Valley just north of the Mexican border, I tracked such stories in the local paper with interest.

I noted a few things. 1) The vast majority of cyclists hit in that area were immigrants. 2) Most of them were not obeying the laws when they were hit.

Most frequently, they were riding against traffic, riding without lights, cutting across intersections improperly or across traffic improperly.

There is a definite need to make immigrant workers aware of how to ride safely here. It could help a lot.
This should extend to more than immigrants. Most newbie commuters I see heading out for the first time on city streets appear to not know even the most basic rules (like, "Don't ride in the gutter.." or "If you are on a sidewalk, look out for a right hook at an intersection").

The other side of the equation is the suburban nightmare where it is almost impossible to move around w/o a car. That needs to be addressed as well. Some of those makeovers you see at sites like Complete Streets would help a lot.

In fact, that would be a great place to sink a chunk of this new "rebuild the economy" federal money.
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Old 01-11-09, 01:28 PM   #7
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We really should have a sticky 'LCF in the News', but here's a good editorial about poor immigrants using bikes to get to work and getting killed in the process.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/opinion/11sun3.html
I did a little research into the men mentioned in the article.

Hector Rapalo, 39, hit in Islip. Hit from behind at 10:45pm. I could not tell if he had lights. It was a hit and run.

Santos Javier Ramos, 21, Selden. He was riding across Route 25 at 1:45 a.m.

Enrique Aguilar-Gamez, 26, Copiague; He came across the traffic lanes, just west of Straight Path 11:57 p.m. Driver was not faulted
.
Adolfo Reyes, 42, I don't know why he was included. The incident was dreadful. He was standing at job pickup site in Holtsville and a motorist pulled onto the sidewalk, drove 70 feet on the sidewalk and hit him. But he was not bicycling.

One article I read mentioned that there had been 7 fatal bike accidents on Long Island in 2008.

It also quoted Randy Swart, director of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a consumer group based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., who said day laborers and others with low incomes are most in danger of fatal crashes.

"If you are a low-income person, not only do you not have a helmet, but you don't have a light on your bike," he said.

It is sad indeed.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 01-11-09, 01:42 PM   #8
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This should extend to more than immigrants. Most newbie commuters I see heading out for the first time on city streets appear to not know even the most basic rules (like, "Don't ride in the gutter.." or "If you are on a sidewalk, look out for a right hook at an intersection").

The other side of the equation is the suburban nightmare where it is almost impossible to move around w/o a car. That needs to be addressed as well. Some of those makeovers you see at sites like Complete Streets would help a lot.

In fact, that would be a great place to sink a chunk of this new "rebuild the economy" federal money
.
Most of these new commuters in Lansing are not immigrants, just regular Americans who have decided on cycling. And this predates the economic crisis, and even predates the high gas prices of 2008. I've noticed a lot of new commuters in the last few years.

I agree on the need for better streets in suburban areas as a long term solution. I hope some of this new stimulus money will address this problem.

In the short run, I think it would be better to initiate better safety education for cyclists. They should be taught vehicular cycling because riding in the streets is usually safer than riding on the sidewalks.
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Old 01-11-09, 01:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I did a little research into the men mentioned in the article.

Hector Rapalo, 39, hit in Islip. Hit from behind at 10:45pm. I could not tell if he had lights. It was a hit and run.

Santos Javier Ramos, 21, Selden. He was riding across Route 25 at 1:45 a.m.

Enrique Aguilar-Gamez, 26, Copiague; He came across the traffic lanes, just west of Straight Path 11:57 p.m. Driver was not faulted
.
Adolfo Reyes, 42, I don't know why he was included. The incident was dreadful. He was standing at job pickup site in Holtsville and a motorist pulled onto the sidewalk, drove 70 feet on the sidewalk and hit him. But he was not bicycling.

One article I read mentioned that there had been 7 fatal bike accidents on Long Island in 2008.

It also quoted Randy Swart, director of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a consumer group based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., who said day laborers and others with low incomes are most in danger of fatal crashes.

"If you are a low-income person, not only do you not have a helmet, but you don't have a light on your bike," he said.

It is sad indeed
.
Good research. Lights and helmets could be provided by employers, using the $20/month tax credits available to them from the bailout legislation. A helmet probably won't save a cyclist who is struck by a car, but decent lights might have prevented these nighttime accidents.
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Old 01-11-09, 02:53 PM   #10
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I agree that cycling education is important but after hearing what some of my car driver friends had to say the other day about cyclists i think drivers need a LOT of education too!
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Old 01-11-09, 03:54 PM   #11
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from what it sounds like some of these "accidents" are more like murder. nothing can protect you from a driver who's intent is to hit you and kill you. having said that, economic factors clearly determine how one rides their bike. in the city where i live the poorest people clearly ride in the bike lanes going the wrong way. or if there is no bike lanes they are still riding against traffic. In general the poorest residents of the city don't really abide by the traffic laws. its more like what ever they feel like doing. even motorists skip through red lights often and rarely stop at stop signs.
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Old 01-11-09, 08:54 PM   #12
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Good research. Lights and helmets could be provided by employers, using the $20/month tax credits available to them from the bailout legislation. A helmet probably won't save a cyclist who is struck by a car, but decent lights might have prevented these nighttime accidents.
Problem is a lot of these people are possibly illegal and being paid under the table...

I have come close to hitting more than one of these riders when heading to work before dawn in the mornings, both driving and riding. Lack of any form of cycling education is the elephant in the room. Years ago it was a part of the grade school curriculum. In the Netherlands they have actually started classes for immigrants to teach them how to assimilate into the Dutch way of doing things, including how to ride a bicycle safely.

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Old 01-11-09, 08:54 PM   #13
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From what the article says, it's pretty obvious that two of the riders were hit on purpose (the one hit by the 80 mph car and the one hit while just standing on a sidewalk). I'd call them victims of hate crimes. It's utterly disgusting. I am also quite willing to believe that the victims' ethnicity was even a factor in the other, probably hit-and-run cases; it's not likely that a driver who hit a WASP wearing Lycra, riding a $10,000 bicycle, would just ride off without a word.

That said, I do think that recent Latin American immigrants to the US bring customs with them that are potentially dangerous in their new environment. One of them is the habit of riding bikes on the left, against car traffic. I agree with an earlier poster who said that outreach/education is necessary.
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Old 01-11-09, 10:19 PM   #14
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From what the article says, it's pretty obvious that two of the riders were hit on purpose (the one hit by the 80 mph car and the one hit while just standing on a sidewalk). I'd call them victims of hate crimes. It's utterly disgusting. I am also quite willing to believe that the victims' ethnicity was even a factor in the other, probably hit-and-run cases; it's not likely that a driver who hit a WASP wearing Lycra, riding a $10,000 bicycle, would just ride off without a word.
The fellow standing at the job site was obviously a killed as part of a hate crime. The driver was way off the beaten track.

However, assuming that a driver in a tuner car driving at 80 mph on Christmas night was committing a hate crime and intentionally did it is a much bigger leap. Yes it was a hit and run, but at that hour with a car like that there could be a multitude of reasons that the driver fled including drinking, drugs, prior tickets to name only a few. Clearly the driver is a menace and needs to be caught, but to extend that to a hate crime is without base.

I also disagree that a lycra-wearing rider on a $10,000 bicycle would necessarily receive better care from the driver. Sadly, there are too many incidents that say otherwise like this one.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 01-12-09, 08:07 AM   #15
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I agree that cycling education is important but after hearing what some of my car driver friends had to say the other day about cyclists i think drivers need a LOT of education too!
AMEN! I have long contended that the allowing a 16 year old to drive with only about 40 hours of total driver training is insane!

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Old 01-13-09, 10:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I did a little research into the men mentioned in the article.

Hector Rapalo, 39, hit in Islip. Hit from behind at 10:45pm. I could not tell if he had lights. It was a hit and run.

Santos Javier Ramos, 21, Selden. He was riding across Route 25 at 1:45 a.m.

Enrique Aguilar-Gamez, 26, Copiague; He came across the traffic lanes, just west of Straight Path 11:57 p.m. Driver was not faulted
.
Adolfo Reyes, 42, I don't know why he was included. The incident was dreadful. He was standing at job pickup site in Holtsville and a motorist pulled onto the sidewalk, drove 70 feet on the sidewalk and hit him. But he was not bicycling.

One article I read mentioned that there had been 7 fatal bike accidents on Long Island in 2008.

It also quoted Randy Swart, director of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a consumer group based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., who said day laborers and others with low incomes are most in danger of fatal crashes.
.
How sad!

This is the reason I don't like riding in Long Island. It's horrible! The subdivisions go two or three blocks and dump you right onto the expressway! This is designed so the motorist cannot ride through the subdivisions at high speed. However, it also forces the cyclist to ride on roads where the cars are going 60 mph or more!

I have to spend quality time making routes through Long Island while avoiding the expressway using my GPS but it's a jungle. It's not only horrible for cyclist but the motorist also! Loads of car accidents and deaths on the Long Island Expressway.

I think a less expensive alternative to lights and a helmet would be to hand out reflective safty vests. But honestly, there really is no solution for the cyclist in Long Island. The infrastructure was designed for the motorist.
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Old 01-14-09, 02:57 PM   #17
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I agree that cycling education is important but after hearing what some of my car driver friends had to say the other day about cyclists i think drivers need a LOT of education too!
Where do drivers learn to speed just to speed? Actual conversation doing 10mph over the speed limit going to a Christmas party in the far suburbs.

me: "Why are you following that car so closely?"
driver:"I'm not following closely, she's going too slow. Its not my fault she isn't going fast enough."
me: "Are we late for the party?"
driver:"No, we have plenty of time."

I'll never get in a car with that guy driving again. Years ago when I had a car there seemed to be this unwritten rule in the DC suburbs that if you aren't going at least 15mph over the speed limit you're "Blocking traffic.". Even in a rainstorm in a construction zone I'd had people flip me off and honk for doing just 10mph over. It seems that drivers still have that attitude. Its another reason I'm glad I'm car free but scares me when I bike out to the suburbs.
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Old 01-14-09, 03:45 PM   #18
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"Blocking traffic" means that you're going slower than everyone else.

It really doesn't matter what the speed limit is -- if you're going slower, people are going to try to get around you.

Just don't be a clot. Go with the rest of them and save the hassle for someplace else. To go slower than everyone else on purpose is like saying, "It's not my fault they're driving too fast" -- which isn't any more considerate than your acquaintance who said "It's not my fault she isn't going fast enough."
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Old 01-14-09, 05:50 PM   #19
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"Blocking traffic" means that you're going slower than everyone else.

It really doesn't matter what the speed limit is -- if you're going slower, people are going to try to get around you.

Just don't be a clot. Go with the rest of them and save the hassle for someplace else. To go slower than everyone else on purpose is like saying, "It's not my fault they're driving too fast" -- which isn't any more considerate than your acquaintance who said "It's not my fault she isn't going fast enough."
Okay...I will run my big heavy truck with a fully loaded trailer at 70mph+ down the Fairfax Parkway...NOT! Running at the speed of traffic is not always safe...they wreck...I don't

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Old 01-14-09, 06:00 PM   #20
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Snide remarks about TTs aside, I fail to see why it's such a good idea to be a rolling road hazard. It's just as selfish to trundle along 20 mph slower than everyone else as it is to be zooming along 20 mph faster.

Get off of your damned moral high horse and just go with the flow for once. Maybe the daily rush hour accidents will start to subside around here.
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Old 01-14-09, 07:05 PM   #21
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Lack of any form of cycling education is the elephant in the room.
Aaron
Yes, but clearly not only for those guys. I see lots of commuters, even with helmets and lights, riding on the sidewalk. Which is fine by me, except that they really don't understand the danger of the sidewalk [or the alley or the parking lot...for that matter].

I recall my own first trips out into the street and being amazed at some of the observations I made through my own experience. Finally, I did some research on the Internet [like BF] and got some better ideas.

I'm hoping to be able to turn some of those new riders to web sites like : http://bicyclesafe.com/ . Even this brief web page could save a life.
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Old 01-14-09, 07:47 PM   #22
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Snide remarks about TTs aside, I fail to see why it's such a good idea to be a rolling road hazard. It's just as selfish to trundle along 20 mph slower than everyone else as it is to be zooming along 20 mph faster.

Get off of your damned moral high horse and just go with the flow for once. Maybe the daily rush hour accidents will start to subside around here.
Speed limits are set for a variety of reasons, regardless of the "need to raise local revenue" conspiracy theory. I typically drive the posted speed limit, slower if conditions deteriorate or warrant. I have averaged over 30,000 miles a year for 35 years with no accidents and only 2 tickets. I contend that the bulk of the drivers on the road are incompetent, and under trained; I drive accordingly.

BTW I was on the Fairfax Parkway on Tuesday evening and the trailer was loaded with equipment from our job site at Northrup Grumman in the area...not my idea of fun.

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Old 01-14-09, 07:54 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Speed limits are set for a variety of reasons, regardless of the "need to raise local revenue" conspiracy theory.
I don't care. I don't f'ing CARE. I never said anything about some revenue conspiracy.

If everyone's going 80, don't risk causing an accident by sticking with the 50 mph speed limit. If everyone's going 30 on that same road, don't try going 50 just because "it's the speed limit".

Frankly, it's a good thing that there are enough drivers who pay attention or else you would've gotten rear-ended a few times already.
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Old 01-14-09, 08:10 PM   #24
wahoonc
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
I don't care. I don't f'ing CARE. I never said anything about some revenue conspiracy.

If everyone's going 80, don't risk causing an accident by sticking with the 50 mph speed limit. If everyone's going 30 on that same road, don't try going 50 just because "it's the speed limit".

Frankly, it's a good thing that there are enough drivers who pay attention or else you would've gotten rear-ended a few times already.
And whose fault would that be? Not mine, it is the overtaking vehicle's responsibility to avoid things in front of it. Exceeding safe speeds is one of the major contributing causes of accidents.

FWIW I have been rear ended...while sitting stopped at a red light, bimbo was texting and didn't see me How you can miss a large RED dually pickup with a huge chrome bumper is beyond me.

Aaron
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Old 01-14-09, 08:19 PM   #25
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Sorry, but this isn't the way the roads work. We have laws and rules, and all road users are expected to abide by them. If people are driving 80, they're breaking the law. If they hit somebody who was driving the posted speed limit of 50, it makes no sense to blame the law abiding driver. The fault lies with the speeding driver, who is (by definition) a criminal. Period. The speeder will be found at fault at any court in the world, and will get a fine or even a jail sentence.
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