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Cyclists shouldn’t ‘share the road,’ they should have their own

A physically separated bike lane in Vancouver, B.C. Looks nice, right?Photo: Paul KruegerIt's long been the most controversial issue in bicycling: Should people on bikes ride in traffic with cars, using the same infrastructure and following the same procedures (a style of riding known as "Vehicular Cycling")? Should we ride on the sidewalks and off-road paths, with pedestrians? Or should we have our own place to ride that's designed specifically for bicycling? Like Goldilocks, we've tried all these options. Riding with faster, heavier cars is hard on us. Riding with slower, roaming pedestrians is hard on them. Only when we …

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Don't fear riding a bicycle, fear sitting in that chair

It's not always where you think it is.Photo: Jonathan WarnerAfraid to ride a bicycle? You're not alone. We know that bicycling is good for public health: More bicycling and less driving leads to improved air quality, noise reduction, fewer car crashes, and reduced carbon emissions.  But what about personal health -- that is, YOUR personal health and safety? Many people don't bike out of fear -- with the most significant terrifying factor, of course, being cars. As many as 60 percent of people in U.S. cities would like to ride a bicycle if it weren't for traffic-related concerns. But you …

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Don’t fear riding a bicycle, fear sitting in that chair

It's not always where you think it is.Photo: Jonathan WarnerAfraid to ride a bicycle? You're not alone. We know that bicycling is good for public health: More bicycling and less driving leads to improved air quality, noise reduction, fewer car crashes, and reduced carbon emissions.  But what about personal health -- that is, YOUR personal health and safety? Many people don't bike out of fear -- with the most significant terrifying factor, of course, being cars. As many as 60 percent of people in U.S. cities would like to ride a bicycle if it weren't for traffic-related concerns. But you …

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What does it mean to ride a bicycle responsibly?

Photo: Mike GiffordIs it a good idea to ride a bicycle responsibly? I doubt there are many out there who would say it isn't. But there is no consensus about what exactly constitutes responsible riding. The topic has generated intense debate since the bicycle was invented. There has never been a unified code of behavior for bicycling, and existing laws, infrastructure, and expectations range from contradictory to absent to downright hazardous. So people who ride -- as well as ones who don't -- are left to hash out their own street code. The conversation's most recent locus is on Greater …

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The year ahead in bikes

Photo: Steve RThere's been a bicycle movement brewing for years, and since 2008 it's been unstoppable. Things really ramped up in 2010, but it's looking like next year will be even better. Here's what I predict we'll see in 2011. Bike sharing comes into its own Bicycle-sharing programs -- systems that allow people to check bikes out for less than the price of a cup of coffee -- have been a big hit in Europe for years, but were little known in this country until last summer. Now, they're poised to become one of the most powerful tools for bringing …

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Helmet Wars: A gripping account of the great bicycle helmet campaigns

Which one of them is making the right choice?Photo: Ed YourdonThere's a burgeoning worldwide anti-bicycle helmet movement. Troops are mobilizing, talking points in hand. This movement recently reached a crescendo in a well-circulated video of a talk titled "Why We Shouldn't Bike With a Helmet." Equally fervent are the pro-helmet advocates around the world. In many places, they are backed up by laws mandating helmets either for children or for everyone who rides a bicycle -- most recently, and with amusing effects, in Dubai. As in the battles waged on the U.S. Senate floor, both sides claim rationality and cultural …

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Bicycle freight: thinking outside the box truck

London's mayor wants to ban semi trucks from the city's streets. Freight bikes should be part of the solution.Photo: Carlton ReidBoris Johnson, the mayor of London, is planning something that, at first glance, is unbelievable. He wants to ban semi trucks from the city. The plan is to establish depots at the outskirts of London where goods could be transferred from giant, rumbling trucks (or lorries, as they say over there) to smaller vehicles for more human-scale local deliveries. It's unlikely that Johnson is considering bicycles to replace London's freight fleet. But he should. Freight delivery is often invoked in …

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Bicycle safety by the numbers

Some bike crashes are easy to prevent.Photo: Mark StosbergOne dark night last summer, my front tire caught a rut in a bumpy back street. I went flying and landed on my hands and helmet. My bike flipped in the air and fell on top of me. I sat there in the road for several minutes taking inventory. Scraped hands. Bent glasses. Going to need some new bar tape, but everything else in one piece. I walked the last two blocks to my house and went to bed. The next morning I yanked my brake lever back into position and rode …

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We need real bike paths for real bike transportation

Shared-use paths result in inevitable conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.Photo: Bryan GoebelLast month, a young woman was jogging along the popular new Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas, wearing headphones. She turned left and was struck by a woman on a bicycle. The jogger's head hit the pavement. Several days later, she died. The Katy Trail is not a trail in the woods, but a multi-use path, or, in planning-speak, a "MUP." These paved byways are varyingly called trails, paths, rail trails, bike trails, or linear parks. The mix of terminology reflects the current confusion about what exactly they are for. …

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In New York's bike lanes, who are the real scofflaws?

A typical scene in a New York bike lane, one of hundreds documented in photos by a single rider.Photo: bitchcakes "Those scofflaw bicyclists!" You hear that phrase a lot, or a version of it. It's true that, at least in New York City, there's probably a scofflaw in any given bike lane at any given time. But chances are high it's not the person on the bicycle. So observed the staff of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer when he sent them out to 11 bike lanes in Manhattan to record every single traffic infraction occurring in the lanes. The unscientific …

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