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.

Treehugger: Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

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.

As Mionske puts it on his blog, H.R. 7:
- Reverses 20 years of bicycle and pedestrian-friendly federal transportation policy.
- Elminates dedicated funding for the Transportation Enhancements program (funding cycling and walking projects).
- Allows states to build bridges without safe access for cyclists and pedestrians, as previously required.
- Eliminates Bicycle and Pedestrian and Safe Routes to Schools coordinators in state transportation departments.
- Repeals Safe Routes to Schools.
- Eliminates language that ensures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.”

The bill also attacks dedicated transit funding, eliminating gas tax revenue for transit (not such a bad idea) but not replacing it with anything else (definitely bad).

That is plenty enough to turn active transportation advocates against the bill. What is interesting is all the support in the bill for the oil industry, including the stunning idea of linking funding for transportation infrastructure to oil production. If transportation was solely about driving internal combustion vehicles on huge highways, never mind peak oil, sustainability concerns, conservation, or pollution, this idea would have some logic.

In the real world, it seems like an attempt to make us all more addicted to the very oil said to be running out.

Mionske puts it like this:

I think it’s pretty easy to connect the dots here and draw the conclusion that Big Oil—which spends millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions every year, but reaps billions of dollars in record profits—is afraid. Very afraid. It’s kind of funny when you think about it—the oil industry, which is enjoying the largest profits in human history, is afraid of a child on a bike. So afraid, that Representatives in Washington who are beholden to Big Oil will do whatever they can to make it less safe for children to get to school. Cycling has been steadily increasing in popularity among all age groups, and particularly so with young adults. We are a massive wave representing a fundamental shift in attitudes, and that is what frightens Big Oil.

Since Mionske first wrote his piece, a group of congressmen (and woman) proposed the Petri/Johnson amendment to restore some of the cuts, and though Petri/Johnson failed when put to its first vote, it has since been offered again as H.R. 7 gets closer to vote. On the Senate side with the MAP-21 Transport bill, the Cardin/Cochran amendment is also attempting to restore local jurisdictions' control over bike and pedestrian program funding.

Coexisting With Bicyclists: 10 Rules for Drivers

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

Edmunds: Coexisting With Bicyclists: 10 Rules for Drivers

Love Them or Hate Them, Cyclists Have Road Rights

Published: 02/14/2012 - by Kathleen Doheny, Contributor

Horrific accidents involving bicyclists and drivers have made headlines recently, including a 2010 collision between an SUV and a bicycle in Largo, Maryland. On the bike was 30-year-old law student and Green Party candidate Natasha Pettigrew. The driver thought she had struck a deer and kept driving, according to news reports. Pettigrew later died from the injuries.

Traffic accidents involving bicyclists and vehicles killed 630 people in the U.S. in 2009, the latest available figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another 51,000 bicyclists were injured, sometimes critically.

Bicycling advocates say drivers can play a big role in reducing those grim statistics, paving the way for peaceful coexistence. It's a two-way street, of course. Bicyclists have responsibilities, just as drivers do.

For this story, Edmunds.com asked bicycling advocates, bicycling-accident attorneys and other experts to give their recommendations on how drivers can coexist more peacefully with bicyclists. In a companion story, we'll outline bicyclists' responsibilities. But for you drivers, here are our 10 rules of the road for driving near bicyclists.

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Jury Applies No Penalty to Speeding Driver For Killing Cyclist Jake McDonaugh

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

Streetsblog New York City: Jury Applies No Penalty to Speeding Driver For Killing Cyclist Jake McDonaugh

by Ben Fried on October 28, 2011

A Brooklyn jury has found defendant Michael Oxley not guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the 2010 death of Jake McDonaugh, the Post reports.

Oxley was speeding behind the wheel of a Dodge Caravan when he ran down cyclist McDonaugh at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Duryea Place last April. The investigation and prosecution were unusual for a vehicular violence case — police followed up with witnesses, and the Brooklyn District Attorney applied a felony charge. But the jury cleared Oxley of homicide as well as reckless driving, a misdemeanor. A closer look at the case is in order.

At 9:20 a.m. on the morning of April 14, Oxley was driving on Flatbush when he struck and killed McDonaugh, who was bicycling eastbound on Duryea. Oxley, 28 at the time, was observed traveling at an excessive speed, and a witness saw him run a red before killing McDonaugh, according to court documents [PDF]. He was driving with a suspended license and according to the Daily News had racked up three license suspensions for failing to pay fines for speeding and improper turns.

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A New Breed of Lawyers Focuses on Bicyclists' Rights

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

The New York Times: A New Breed of Lawyers Focuses on Bicyclists’ Rights

By J. DAVID GOODMAN
Published: August 19, 2011

AT the law firm Rankin & Taylor, everybody’s a cyclist.

Scott Charnas, a personal-injury lawyer, has handled many cases involving New York cyclists.
One recent day, the lawyers there parsed bike-law issues, like “dooring zones” and when is it legally acceptable to ride outside a designated lane, while downstairs, each of their bikes were expertly locked to a scaffold along Broadway in TriBeCa.

The small firm is preparing to bring a class-action suit against New York City on behalf of cyclists over summons handed out for what it contends are phantom violations — bike behavior that it says is not illegal in the city. It is another sign that New York’s bike fights are moving from the streets to the courtroom.

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Curing Car Vs. Cyclist Road Wars With A New Rule: "Just Don't Steal The Right-Of-Way"

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

Treehugger: Curing Car Vs. Cyclist Road Wars With A New Rule: "Just Don't Steal The Right-Of-Way"
by A.K. Streeter, Portland, Oregon on 08.18.11
CARS & TRANSPORTATION (bikes)

Though a world-class cycling city, Portland lacks a bike share system similar to those in other great cycling cities such as Minneapolis, Montreal, Paris, Barcelona. Though bike sharing is considered to be important to attract new cyclists onto the lanes, lack of funds has hampered planning efforts. At first, 2011 seemed to be the year the city of Portland would fund bike sharing. But then, as a vote neared, opposition arose from Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who claimed she couldn't support funding bike sharing due to...bad bicyclist behavior.

"I may support a bike sharing program downtown when I see bike riders using downtown streets and sidewalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see cyclists in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see cyclists riding on the sidewalks, endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see cyclists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced cyclists. I believe a bike rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors." - Amanda Fritz, via Bike Portland

Though the idea of withholding funding to a system until all users agree to strictly follow the rules is a new line of logic (imagine canceling road improvements until car drivers were caught speeding), bashing scofflaw cyclists, or course, isn't unique to Portland or Commissioner Fritz.

In fact, holding cyclists to a "different standard" is rampant, says bicycle attorney Bob Mionske, author of the book Bicycling and the Law.

"It is hypocritical, but cyclists are held to a different standard," Mionske said. "Meanwhile, 7 out of 10 motorists admit to breaking the law."

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Staying safe while biking in traffic

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

The Chicago Tribune: Staying safe while biking in traffic

By Julie Deardorff
Tribune Newspapers
1:06 p.m. CDT, July 27, 2011

Biking in traffic isn't as treacherous as it might seem. Cyclists rarely get mowed down by motorists from behind — a common fear — and in fact, most accidents don't involve motor vehicles at all.

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The Chicago Tribune: Bike safety: My 6-year-old was 'doored'

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

The Chicago Tribune: Bike safety: My 6-year-old was 'doored'

By Julie Deardorff, Tribune Newspapers
July 7, 2011

Last weekend, my 6-year-old was doored — the driver of a parked car flung open the door in his path -- while riding his two-wheeler with me in a designated bike lane in downtown Evanston. My son wasn’t hurt, but the driver took no responsibility for the incident and said, “I hope you learned a lesson, young man.”

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Cyberpresse: Cyclist hit by a door: Stiffer penalties sought

This English-language translation of a French-language news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our media archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Cyberpresse: Cyclist hit by a door: Stiffer penalties sought

Gabriel Béland
Press

The doors open car in a careless manner represent a major cause of injury among cyclists, says Velo Quebec, which requires that steps be taken to educate drivers.

Last Sunday, a cyclist was seriously injured on Van Horne Avenue when it collided with a car door opened unexpectedly. The man is 56 years since in a critical condition in hospital.

According to the organization, such accidents are a real scourge in Montreal. "Motorists do not seem to understand how it can be dangerous, told The Press Director of Vélo Québec, Suzanne Lareau. When we cycled, we know. The door is the bane of cyclists. "

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NBC New York: The Latest Salvo in the Bicycling Wars

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

NBC New York: The Latest Salvo in the Bicycling Wars

It's well-treaded territory, and the issue of bicycling in New York City remains a hot topic. Just take a look at the NYPD ticket blitz targeting bicyclists who run red lights in Central Park.

Bicycling Magazine blogger Bob Mionske joins the fray, dissecting the arguments -- from politicians, drivers, pedestrians -- made against dedicating road space for cyclists in New York City. He asks:

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Outside Magazine: Rage Against Your Machine

Tom Vanderbilt takes a look at the conflict between motorists and cyclists in the latest issue of Outside Magazine-- and interviews Bob Mionske for his perspective.

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

Outside Magazine: Rage Against Your Machine

By Tom Vanderbilt

THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU DEFINES AN "EXTREME COMMUTER" AS SOMEONE WHO SPENDS MORE THAN THREE HOURS GETTING TO AND FROM WORK.

This is usually understood to be by car. It's not clear, then, how the Census would categorize Joe Simonetti, a 57-year-old psychotherapist who lives with his wife in Pound Ridge, New York. His commute takes him from the northern reaches of exurban Westchester County to his office just south of Central Park.

It's about three and a half hours each way.

By bike.

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