Big Ideas: Idaho stop is one hot potato

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Toronto Star: Big Ideas: ‘Idaho stop’ is one hot potato


A law to let cyclists treat stop signs as yields makes practical sense, cycling advocates say. But the idea has proven to be politically toxic.

Cyclists pass through an intersection on Beverley St., not necessarily coming to a full stop. In Idaho, cyclists are legally allowed to go through stop signs without stopping if it is safe to do so. The so-called Idaho stop has become something of a tourist attraction for out-of-state cyclists visiting the area.

Richard Lautens / Toronto Star File Photo

By: Tim Alamenciak, News reporter, Published on Fri Jun 13 2014

The rolling stop — it’s an idea that cycling advocates say could encourage more riders, ease bicycle commuting and make riding more efficient. Besides, many riders already do it, much to the outrage of the public.

Among cyclists it’s known as the “Idaho stop,” after the state that first legalized the practice in 1982. Since then, bike riders in the potato state have been told to treat stop signs as yields — allowing them to proceed without coming to a full stop if the way is clear. It’s a policy that cycling advocates across North America and in Toronto have been eyeing enviously.

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Why Roadies Should Train With A Mirror: 5 Tips for Competitive Riders

by Bob Mionske

Have you ever used a mirror? If you’re like most roadies, probably not.

Mirrors are not for everyone, but I’ve been using a mirror every day for years, and I think a significant percentage of competitive cyclists would be grateful if they gave one a try. Bicycle mirrors come in many forms, but the two basic types are those that mount to your head via your helmet or glasses, and those that are connected somewhere on your bike. On my bikes, I use a sleek and aerodynamic bar end type that no one even notices.

There is some disagreement about the usefulness of mirrors, but mostly I hear that from riders who have not even tried one, or who haven’t given it enough time. So I would suggest that if you fall into the majority of roadies who haven’t used one, try one out for yourself. I think for many, it’s going to be an eye-opening experience once it finally clicks. Using a mirror takes some getting used to, so I would suggest giving it a week or two before you decide whether they are for you.

There are many examples of why mirrors make riding safer, but here are 5 reasons a mirror helps a competitive rider (whether you officially race or just race other riders you encounter on your route). Of course, you might fear that using a mirror means you are now entering Fred-dom, but fear not. If you win the ride, you are no Fred!

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Do all Bicycles Weigh Fifty Pounds? Five Tips For Protecting Yourself From Bike Theft

by Bob Mionske

Have you heard that all bicycles weigh fifty pounds? It’s because a thirty-pound bicycle needs a twenty-pound lock, a forty-pound bicycle needs a ten-pound lock, and a fifty-pound bicycle doesn't need a lock at all. Well, maybe that was true before we had easy access to cargo bikes, e-bikes, and other heavy-duty bikes, but today?

And what about your sub-twenty pound bike? Do they even make a 30+ pound lock, or should you bring along a couple of 20 pounders, just to be safe? And doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of having, you know, a lighter bike?

Well, it is just a quip. But in the arms race against bike thieves, it can seem true, with the strongest locks getting really hefty.

And even then, we’ve probably all seen the videos of a “bike thief” cutting locks with power tools in broad daylight, in full view of indifferent big city passers-by. So even with a couple of the strongest locks you can buy, what’s the point? Should you just resign yourself to the inevitable?

No. It’s actually not as bad as it can seem. Sure, up to 2 million bikes are stolen every year, with the annual haul from bike theft in the $50 million neighborhood (making the take from bike theft higher than the take from bank robbery, according to the FBI). But that doesn’t mean that your bike has to get stolen, or that you can’t take steps to protect yourself. In fact, with these five tips, it’s actually easy to protect yourself from bike theft.

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New Orleans Bike Accident Lawyer Profiled in Local Press

New Orleans Bicycle Attorney Charlie Thomas joined the Bike Law Network last week and has already gotten some love from the press.

Here is the New Orleans City Business Article about his practice and the growth in cycling there.

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This article, New Orleans Bike Accident Lawyer Profiled in Local Press, was originally published on Bike Law on May 8, 2014.

Louisiana Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Let's (Not) Avoid The Real Issues


Let’s (Not) Avoid the Real Issues

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

By Editor on January 8, 2014 in News

Letter to the Editor, by Bob Mionske

RE: “Santa Barbara cyclists have gone collectively insane.

That was the conclusion readers of the Santa Barbara View were invited to reach, based on anecdotes involving exactly two cyclists. Do you see the logic? If two cyclists were doing something wrong, that must mean that all cyclists—at least in Santa Barbara—are collectively insane.

And since all cyclists have gone collectively insane, we can just ignore all of the cyclists who were riding lawfully on the same day that these two riders were behaving badly. If two cyclists were not riding lawfully. all cyclists are collectively guilty, all are “collectively insane.” Even the ones who were riding lawfully and courteously that day, and every day. Tar them all with the same brush, and let God sort them out.

By the same token, we can also ignore all of the drivers who were breaking the law that day. Speeding? Why that’s a driver’s sacred right, isn’t it? Sure, it’s the number one cause of traffic “accidents,” and virtually every driver does it, but why quibble over that, when we have far, far bigger fish to fry, like one irresponsible guy who was speeding on a bike?

Why point out that virtually every driver rolls through stop signs—the world-famous “California stop”—with a little “pretend-to-stop” tap on the brakes if they can be bothered, when we can look down our noses at a cyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet? Sure, helmets are not required, and aren’t even designed to provide protection for collisions with cars. But if we don’t blame cyclists for not wearing a helmet, we might have to look at the real cause of cyclist injuries and fatalities, and we wouldn’t want to open that Pandora’s box. Just like we wouldn’t want to require drivers to wear helmets, even though head injuries are much more common for drivers than they are for cyclists.

What about drivers violating a cyclist’s right of way? No, we don’t want to talk about that either, even though it’s the most common cause of bicycle collisions, and has happened to every cyclist out there. Instead, let’s complain about the “cycling hell” of somebody getting some exercise once a month. Let‘s complain that some cyclist was wearing—Shock! Horrors!—cycling clothes while riding his bike.

And while we’re studiously avoiding the real issues, why not make up some imaginary laws that victimize drivers while we’re at it? In all my years of handling bicycle injury cases, I have never once seen a driver cited for hitting an at-fault cyclist. Nor has anybody else ever seen such a preposterous injustice. In fact, in the real world, it is all-too-common for an at-fault driver to face no charges after injuring, or even killing a cyclist. And when drivers are cited for carelessly causing serious injury or death, it is almost always on a minor traffic violation, like “failure to yield.” If you were killed by a careless driver who got the kid glove treatment afterwards, would you feel like drivers are the victims here? Would your bereaved family feel that way?

But let’s ignore that reality, for the convenient fiction of a make-believe world where drivers are all scrupulously law-abiding victims of insane cyclists run amok, rather than the often careless law-breakers of the real world, who injure some 50,000 cyclists and kill some 700 cyclists annually.

That way, we won’t have to deal with the real issues.

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Bob Mionske is the author of Bicycling & the Law, and writes a monthly column on bicycle law for Bicycling magazine. A former U.S. Olympic and pro cyclist who was on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team with Dave Lettieri, owner of FasTrack Bicycles in Santa Barbara, Bob has since become a nationally-known cycling lawyer and advocate for the rights of cyclists at bikelaw.com
 

Cyclists say there's a pro-motorist bias when tragedy strikes

Bangor Daily News: Cyclists say there’s a pro-motorist bias when tragedy strikes

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff
Posted June 25, 2013
 

BELFAST, Maine — Two weeks ago on a stretch of U.S. Route 2 that runs through the tiny western Maine community of Hanover, tragedy struck.

A cyclist in the annual Trek Across Maine charity ride was killed when he lost control of his bike as a tractor-trailer passed him. So far, the driver of the truck has not been charged by police in connection with the accident. But other cyclists, many in Maine and others from as far away as Oregon, said they believe that the way Maine law enforcement officers handled the death of David LeClair shows a pro-motorist bias.

“Essentially, the police are motorists. They’re not cyclists. The motorists come up with a version of the events that put the blame on the cyclist who’s not there to defend themselves,” said Bob Mionske of Portland, Ore., a former professional cyclist and attorney specializing in bicycle law. “Who’s to say any different?”

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Are Portland bicyclists showing signs of an unfortunate new trend?

 This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Oregonian: Are Portland bicyclists showing signs of an unfortunate new trend?



This bicyclist pretty much had the eastbound walkway of the Hawthorne Bridge all to himself one night earlier this year. But a Portland attorney says that when things get crowded, bicyclists are beginning to lose patience with each other and fights sometimes erupt. (John Killen/The Oregonian)

Dana Tims, The Oregonian By Dana Tims, The Oregonian

June 13, 2013

As both a cyclist and an attorney who specializes in cycling-related cases, Portland's Bob Mionske knows a good deal about road rage incidents pitting motorists against bicycle riders.

But for whatever reason -- warmer weather? More people taking to two wheels to get around? -- Mionske is seeing an ugly new wrinkle this year, played out through what he says are increasing numbers of instances where two angry, fist-clenched bicyclists are facing off in the Rose City.

"I have so many friends who are suddenly regaling me with stories of fights on bikes," Mionske said. "Someone is riding along, someone else flies by them in an unfriendly way, words are exchanged and just like that, people are threatening each other with fisticuffs."

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Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

Treehugger: Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

A.K. Streeter
Transportation / Bikes
February 15, 2012

By now you must have read somewhere in the blogosphere that the Transportation Bill (officially The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, or H.R. 7) being shepherded by chair of the House Transportation Committee John Mica (R-FL), is considered a distaster for active transportation. The bill has been called a variety of bad names, including "horrible" by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "troubling" by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and "a bill only Big Oil could love," by Streetsblog.

Bob Mionske, the bicycle lawyer who writes frequently on cycling policy and legislation, details exactly why H.R. 7 is so horrible for cyclists, as well as for pedestrians and transit users.

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Drunk cycling: Is Denver's new bike DUI policy harsher than rules in other states?

This news article featuring Bob Mionske and Rick Bernardi has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Westword: Drunk cycling: Is Denver's new bike DUI policy harsher than rules in other states?

By Sam Levin Tue., Nov. 27 2012

 Yesterday, we reported that Denver Police are now enforcing state drunk-cycling laws -- meaning intoxicated cyclists can be charged with DUIs just like inebriated drivers. Some cycling advocates question whether this is good public policy -- and a look at parallel laws around the country shows that Denver's approach is harsher than some other states' enforcement rules.

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Stay Safe, Cyclists

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge:  Stay Safe, Cyclists

Story by Joe Silva

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few weeks with regards to cycling it’s that no one is immune to the dangers of riding out on the roads. Several recent high-profile wrecks have once again brought home the reality that even the most capable and experienced bike riders are subject to the hazards of traffic. In early November Team Sky rider Bradley Wiggins was toppled by a van during a training ride. The Olympic champ and 2012 Tour de France champion was described by witnesses at the scene to be in severe pain as he waited for an ambulance to whisk him off to a hospital. Not long after the team’s coach Shane Sutton was also the victim of a run in with a motorist that was far more serious. Wiggins suffered a rib fracture and a dislocated finger, but Sutton was treated for bleeding on the brain and memory loss. And proving the axiom that bad things come in threes, Wiggins former teammate Mark Cavendish “slammed” into the back of a car that hit its brakes suddenly while the Manx speedster was out training. Luckily, Cav sustained only a bruised arm in the incident.

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