Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Comments submitted to the B.C.S.T.F.

The following are comments I submitted to the Boise Cycling Safety Task Force, regarding their recommendations.

- Previously mentioned HERE.
- The recommendations I'm commenting on can be seen HERE (PDF).

I encourage all interested parties to submit comments, either in person or via email (SafeCycling@cityofboise.org).

Hello.

I'm taking the opportunity to comment on the "Boise Cycling Safety Task Force Recommendations," and about the topic of safe on-street cycling in general. Your attention to the topic is appreciated by this transportation cyclist.

A) ENGINEERING

I fully support all the recommendations of the Task Force.

In my opinion, ACHD has done a commendable job of including bike-friendly facilities in all new projects, and have retrofitted existing roadways and intersections everywhere feasible. I've got confidence in their direction, as a general rule.

Now and then I see a bike-lane striping job that makes me scratch my head... for instance, when a turn-only lane crosses over a bike lane. But ACHD seems to be getting better all the time.

One additional suggestion - regarding "ground loops" that trigger traffic signals. I'd like EVERY triggered intersection to be sensitive enough to detect a bicycle. If it isn't - FIX IT! And when the road is chip-sealed, resurfaced, re-striped, etc., the stripe crew should ALWAYS put a stripe down to indicate where the loop is located. (They try to respond when a problem intersection is reported... but how nice it be if they tried to eliminate those "problem intersections" without a citizen requesting it!)

B) ENFORCEMENT

I'd support the committee recommendations.

However, to me it seems futile and meaningless to pass a bunch of new bicycle-related laws, when the laws already on the books aren't enforced!

Unless things have changed since the recent spate of bicycle fatalities, the STATED position of the Boise Police Department has been, "Bike violations are NOT a priority for the Department." (I've called numerous times over the years, to complain about cyclists who ride against traffic - putting my life at risk - and have consistently told that by people who responded.)

Currently, we are anxiously waiting to see if motorists who killed (!) cyclists will be charged with a crime. Months have passed since those accidents, and each day adds to the skepticism about whether Boise is serious about protecting cyclists and maximizing their safety. (Pedestrians, too, since a couple weeks ago.)

Will "bike violations" become a priority for the Department? Or at least on equal footing with motor-traffic violations? Will the mayor and city council direct the BPD to enforce (and learn!) the laws regarding bicycles, even if a traffic accident isn't involved? THAT, in my opinion, is the single most significant thing that you could do to improve bicycle safety in Boise. PLEASE!!

C) EDUCATION

I fully support all recommendations of the Task Force. Particularly #7, "Bicycle law training for police." And I hope it would include an increased prioritization of bike violations (see Enforcement, above).

D) ENCOURAGEMENT

It's all good. As gas prices continue to fluctuate generally upward, that will probably be more "encouragement" than any city-sponsored campaign.

How about a "CARS ARE FOR THE WEAK!" campaign? hahaha

E) EQUALITY

It's all good. (To my way of thinking, this is an extension of "education.")

F) EVALUATION

Yep. Come back in six months or a year and see if enforcement has improved. Check the number of citations for against-traffic riding, for example.

Good luck with your efforts! I'll be out there riding even if things don't get any better. But it would be comforting to feel like the city - particularly Law Enforcement - "has my back."

4 comments:

db said...

Well stated. Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'll be submitting something similar.

Ed W said...

Be aware that most public works departments are moving away from ground loop detectors in favor of video detectors. They're lower maintenance items and the can be programmed for detecting cyclists, generally with multiple detection zones in one camera.

Anonymous said...

On a somewhat related note, it didn't take long for the Twin Falls prosecutor to figure things out:

Vehicular manslaughter charges were filed yesterday against the 22 year old driver who struck and killed David Webster east of Twin Falls back on June 25th of this year. To learn more you can go to the Times-News article at http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2009/08/27/news/local_state/169516.txt

david said...

Do yall see the irony in Boise police wanting to crack down on bicyclists, while they won't even charge the drivers who KILL cyclists who are obeying the law? talk about blaming the victim!
Someone told me they havent even released the name of the driver who killed the pedestrians in a crosswalk.
What can we productively do with our outrage?