Bike News Roundup: Via RecreActiva

It’s the Thursday bike news roundup (on Friday)! As always, this is an open thread. What’s on your mind?

First up, Via RecreActiva in Guadalajara is amazing:

Guadalajara’s Via RecreActiva – The World’s Most Transformative Ciclovia from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Finally, I think this is the first time Seattle Bike Blog has been translated into Italian (it’s about time!):

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28 Responses to Bike News Roundup: Via RecreActiva

  1. DrGeoduck says:

    Soapbox time.

    Fellow cyclists: if it is dark, TURN ON YOUR DAMN LIGHTS. And if you don’t have lights, BUY SOME and don’t cycle in the dark until you do.

    Especially on unlit shared-used paths. I personally won’t run into you, because I have many lights: I’ll see you, and you’ll see me *very* easily, but what about pedestrians? What if there is another unlit cyclist coming the opposite direction from you? What about *deer*? I don’t think you’d want to run into a deer.

    Thank you.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      We need to have more light giveaways! A great use of public safety campaign or non-profit org money, in my opinion.

      Here’s an old post about that: http://seattlebikeblog.com/2010/12/10/why-giving-away-bike-lights-makes-sense/

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        I forgot about this idea:

        “I would love to see this idea go even further. Imagine if SPD’s stock response to an unlit cyclist were to provide them with lights (or batteries, if the cyclist’s are dead). Hell, maybe they could offer cyclists a choice to either buy them from the officer or get a ticket… (I’m in dream world, I realize, but it’s fun to imagine)”

      • ScottBikeCommuter says:

        I always grab a few extra free ones at various give aways and store them in my backpack to give to people I see without lights. I just wish they handed out free front (white) lights too.

      • Mondoman says:

        I carry a few sheets of stick-on flexible reflective material that I hand out to “ninja” peds and cyclists I see on the trails after dark without lights or reflectors.

        I like the buy-a-light-on-the-spot idea — maybe just boost the ticket cost and include a free front or back bike light in the mail when the ticket gets paid.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Also, buy a jacket that’s bright yellow, or at least not black.

      • eric.br says:

        blah. i’ll start wearing day-glo when cars do the same… safety vests and the like only give motorists another reason not to look for cyclists, and show potential cyclists that there is additional specialty gear that they’ll “need” to have before hopping on a bike.

        most of the world rides in normal clothes. don’t buy into a car mentality that we’re at fault for their inattention. a good set of lights and reflectors on your bike should be all that is needed.

      • Gary says:

        No reflective clothing,ok… well be sure to fill out your organ donor form on your drivers license.

      • Lisa says:

        I’m terrible at this- my favorite jacket and my raincoat are both black because, well, it always matches my wardrobe when I’m not on my bike, and I’m too cheap to buy a separate raincoat for biking. Hopefully I make up for it with my multiple lights. . .

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        I admit it: I also have a black coat. And I love it!

        In reality, having a brightly-colored coat does little in comparison to reflective material and lights (I saw a good post highlighting this point once, but I don’t know where the link went).

        I have been working on a project to stitch a sharrow on the back of my coat in a gray reflective material that will hopefully look good in light and dark. If it looks cool, I’ll definitely post about it.

    • Andres says:

      In general, I’d like to see more affordable lights that don’t require replacing batteries (either USB-rechargable lights, or dynamo powered). Seems like the most common failure mode amongst my friends’ lights is the battery casing falling/breaking off, or batteries going dead and people not noticing (especially rear lights).

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        I wish dynamo lights were simply standard on bike in America (performance wheels without charging should be the exception, not the other way around). As that technology gets better, I have been seeing more and more of them. I just wish the industry would speed things up.

        People will forget batteries, forget to charge light, leave their lights in a different bag, etc, etc. Bikes should simply come with always-on lights standard unless it’s for racing.

      • Al Dimond says:

        In a city with short, steep hills like Seattle it would be really cool to have a dynamo capable of charging a battery, that would automatically choose when to charge based on the battery’s charge level, wheel speed, and grade. Flying down Highland Park Drive toward the First Ave Bridge? Charge that sucker! Slogging up the Counterbalance? Time to use the stored charge! And that way the rider could choose when the light is on, so it stays on when stopped and at slow speeds, and doesn’t wastefully stay on in daylight.

      • doug p says:

        Charging dynamo:

        Why not just use a dynamo light? Modern hubs & LED lights have very little drag. Not enough to matter for anyone other than someone counting on that five second reduction is their commute time.

    • Anthony says:

      Light won’t help with deer, I have to deal with ’em every morning.

      Yes, I agree that everyone should have a light, but please don’t be one of those with either the to0-bright version that’s pointed in other cyclists eyes, or worse yet use those road-hazard strobe lights.

      I’ve been repeatedly blinded by these “uber-ultra” wanna-be safety cyclists, and the funny thing is they are the road hazard. Just do the right thing and get a simple, effective light that shows you care, don’t go overboard like those guys.

      • Mondoman says:

        Anthony, you’re right about the hazard if those lights are aimed straight ahead rather than at the ground.
        I need a ridiculously bright light (300 lumens or so) to clearly see the path/trail when it’s dark, as there usually aren’t many lights around, but I aim it so the bright spot hits the ground about 5 bike lengths ahead of me and a touch to the right. It’s saved me from running into some ninja walkers and stealth leashes attached to ninja dogs.

  2. Jeremy says:

    “L.A. can claim the nation’s first LEED-certified parking garage (Santa Monica Civic Center)”

    What? Does it eat the cars as they enter, removing them from the equation? Or is this like having a LEED-certified coal plant fly ash retaining pool?

  3. dhubbz says:

    My personal soapbox: lights yes, but I think people really need to lay off the blinking LEDs. It can be so disorienting approaching someone with bright, blinking LED lights. Guaging people’s distance becomes more difficult, and it’s harder to see as you pass them. As a sidenote I heard it’s illegal in Germany to have blinking tail lights because they’re harder for drivers to track.

    • DrGeoduck says:

      I hadn’t heard that about Germany before. Certainly food for thought.

      I did a quick search but didn’t find any studies on the subject. It would be very enlightening (HA!) to see some numbers related to blinking versus steady lights. Gauging distance is obviously a very important matter, but so is just plain being noticed, and I suspect that’s where flashing lights are superior to steady ones.

      And hopefully, any comprehensive study would also determine if having both a steady and a flashing light would represent the best of both worlds, or no difference whatever from just a flashing light.

    • Al Dimond says:

      Does anyone know if having one blinking light and one solid one makes tracking easier? I usually run a blinking light on the back of my helmet and a solid one pretty low (my bag usually obscures a seat tube-mounted light, and my best mounting point on the bag rack is below the bag), and I think that should work. But I’m not sure.

      Up front I run a solid light at night, aimed to illuminate the road in front of me as well as possible (which means it’s hopefully not aimed up at people’s eyes). Sometimes in dusk I flash it — I’ll stop doing that when I stop reading about left-turning drivers hitting cyclists.

      • RTK says:

        No data here but that is also my standard on the back of the bike. Blinking for visibility, solid for ability to track. Just makes sense to me. I don’t like the blinking only lights people use on the front (except day time dark cloudy / rainy). I think if it is dark people should be required to have a solid white on the front.

    • doug p says:

      Front blinkers are also illegal in Germany.

      In fact, they require special optics that reduce the amount of light shining into others’ eyes, sending it most of it to the ground. Busch & Muller make a battery powered one, the IXON IQ, that you can order through a couple online shops.

      I have one and it is amazing. It sends a square of bright light forty feet out in front of me. It’s about twenty feet wide. It’s bright enough for me to ride down Interlaken in the middle of the night without slowing down at all. And all while not blinding others on the Burke-Gilman. Certainly one of the best battery lights out there. If not THE BEST.

  4. Biliruben says:

    Need some help. There was this very cool vid posted about 6 months ago, where this biker hops around this abandoned industrial area, doing some remarkable/crazy things. Anyone know where I can find it?

    I need to respond to a link to to a chase scene from “gone in 60 seconds” with the caption “try this on a bicycle”

  5. Anthony says:

    Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShbC5yVqOdI

    Hopefully this is what you were thinking of.

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