Micromobility devices, such as scooters and bicycles are sometimes portrayed as scattered about in the public right- of-way, impeding everyone. Looking at the entire right-of-way, how much are bicycles and scooters actually culpable for obstruction? A new paper examines improperly parked scooters, bicycles, and motor vehicles, finding that the biggest offenders are actually motor vehicle drivers.
Not everyone hates their commute, according to recent research. While drivers and transit riders would prefer to teleport to work if they had the option, the majority of cyclists and pedestrians surveyed would keep their current commute. The researchers noted that “people seem to value the exercise they get from using active transportation modes for their commutes,” adding that cyclists and pedestrians also report higher levels of mental health associated with their commutes. Pedestrian and cyclist commuters also had more positive responses to questions about confidence, and freedom, independence, and control.
Since 2010, a new design for accommodating active transportation has been slowly growing in popularity in North America. The “advisory bike lane” or “advisory shoulder” design, also known as “edge lane roads,” provides bike and/or pedestrian space on each side of the roadway. Unlike roads with standard bike lanes, ABLs direct motorists to a single lane in the center. When they need to pass an oncoming motorist, both move to the edge temporarily, occupying the bike lanes.
Although cars are getting safer, saving drivers and passengers from dying on our roads and highways, the number of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are increasing dramatically. The latest numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts show that while overall 2018 traffic fatalities decreased about one percent compared to 2017, pedestrian and bicyclist deaths increased four and ten percent, respectively.
Cambridge has become the first city in the U.S. to require protected bike lanes on reconstructed streets, if those streets are part of the city’s 20-mile bicycle network plan. This is not just an internal policy, but is included in municipal ordinance. And being legally required—instead of just part of transportation planning documents—makes future bike lanes “bikelash-proof.”
As suburban and urban areas infill, more bicyclists and pedestrians may use arterial corridors, and conflict with motor vehicles and resulting crashes can increase. When residents demand protection from traffic dangers to create more walkable, livable neighborhoods, state DOTs are increasingly called on to shift their focus from exclusively measuring the level of service provided to drivers, to designing for the safety and accessibility of pedestrians and cyclists.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are becoming more popular as more options become available. So far, ten states have updated their laws to reflect this trend and accommodate the technology. An additional 20 states have defined e-bikes but have not fully defined their operation under law. The remaining states have no e-bike laws at all. So far, the technology and its adoption have been outpacing legislation. It is now up to states and localities to determine how to best regulate them.
Many transportation models assume that people choose the shortest (or least cost) path connecting them from point A to point B. But this isn’t how individuals actually behave—or so confirms one recent study based on bikeshare trip data. This affects how we model travel behavior, but also our understanding of people’s travel preferences and the ways in which we accommodate them.
In the United States, bicycling mode share hovers in the single-digits, while many European countries enjoy double-digit cycling mode share. The difference may be due to the attention European planners and engineers pay to cycling infrastructure. In Portland, OR, a recently-previewed bicycle lane design guide will become the go-to resource for Portland’s planners and traffic engineers when designing protected bike lanes.
Hit-and–run fatal crashes are increasing in the United States, and most victims are pedestrians and bicyclists. We don’t entirely know why these crashes are increasing, because studies are limited, and data regarding the characteristics of drivers and victims is not extensive. Many hit-and-run drivers get away. Witnesses may not be present. But after analyzing federal data, however, researchers at the AAA Foundation have identified a trend and searched the literature for some potential contributing factors.