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Videos Wanted: Make Your Own Bike Etiquette PSA

Biking Rules, the new campaign organized by Transportation Alternatives, is sponsoring a video and photo PSA competition. Submissions are now being accepted for two categories in the competition: "Why Biking Rules!" and "The Biking Rules Street Code."

The Biking Rules campaign outlines several ways to lead by example when riding your bicycle.  So, with a little inspiration from an old Bike Snob NYC post, I made this PSA addressing one of the street codes called "Ride Right" -- meaning, ride in the direction of traffic.  It is simply safer for everyone on the street.

Take a look and then go out and make an even fancier PSA. If watching mine is not inspiring enough, it looks like you can win up to $4000, a bike and some other goodies. For contest details and submission information, visit BikingRules.org/PSA.

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  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Green_Idea_Factory Todd Edelman

    Yes, Bike Snob's "Bike Salmon" thing is funny, but how about some discussion? As they want to save time, it is the natural tendency of cyclists to act this way on streets designed for cars and maximum throughput, and NYC and many other cities in the US and elsewhere have lots of wide, car-prioritized one-way streets... what if pedestrians also had to walk with traffic on the sidewalks? It would be absurd, but forcing cyclists to do it kills their efficiency.

    Contraflow Bicycle Lanes on Urban Streets - Cambridge, Massachusetts
    http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikesafe/case_studies/casestudy.cfm?CS_NUM=209

    Contra-flow Bike Lane – Boulder, CO (Streetfilms!)
    http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/contra-flow-bike-lane-boulder-co/

    From Cycling England: "Two-way cycling should be the default option where it is proposed to introduce one-way working for general traffic."
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/site/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/a06_contra-flow_cycling.pdf

    ... and many, many other examples you can Google.

    ***

    This Biking Rules thing is not so bad, but they make a huge mistake when they promote non-required helmets alongside actual traffic codes http://bikingrules.org/rules/streetcode (though I do like the pedestrian priority thing...).

    Pedestrian priority is widely-agreed upon by the most progressive and even quite moderate traffic experts, but helmets are as we know the subject of much contention. To mix this all up just to promote their organization opinion on helmets does no one a favor except for the helmet companies.

    Building up this "ride with traffic" thing - which really means "fall in line with car-ism" does not advance the cause of sustainable transport.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Green_Idea_Factory Todd Edelman

    Sorry, re: "fall in line with car-ism": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX7hghHyqZA

  • http://www.streetfilms.org/ Elizabeth Press

    I am all for counterflow bikelanes and pushing for infrastructure that breaks down having to follow streets designed for cars but...as things stand now I find it incredibly annoying/dangerous to ride down a busy street in NYC and be pushed out into speeding traffic because someone is too lazy to go to the next block.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Green_Idea_Factory Todd Edelman

    "Lazy"? Nice. Of course the problem is TA, and I hope someone can incorporate a question about alternatives to monoflow into their videos.

    Those "bike salmon" certainly do pass the buck of bad design onto more law-abiding people, but perhaps in the long run they are actually doing all of us a great service... kind of like a more individual Critical Mass?

  • http://msftandthefuture.spaces.live.com/ Quikboy

    I used to do salmon biking (before I realized it was wrong) as a matter of personal safety.

    I bike in suburban NW Harris County (outside of Houston), and it can be quite dangerous for bikers out here. Cars go super fast in some areas of the road, and there's no bike lane to rely on. If I had to bike WITH the traffic flow, it would mean I'd have to turn my head around a lot to check if a car is coming so I can veer more closer towards the curb. However, it's just as unsafe to have to keep twisting your head back instead of keeping your eyes forward. Thus, I felt the need to do salmon biking.

    Nowadays, I follow the traffic law and go WITH the traffic, however it is very daunting and unsafe. I'm campaigning for an extension of bike lanes around the area (much to the disgust of many car users here) but it looks like it will never pass.

  • Shrinkage

    Salmon put themselves in danger (and other riders) by doing what they do. Although there may be 1 or 2% of cases that being a salmon is an alright situation, there are times that I want to strangle wrong way riders, especially if there is a perfectly fine alternative provided by the city.

  • Dallas May

    OOh, My favorite annoyance is bikers who ride on super busy streets when there are plenty of neighborhood streets near by. I just want to scream out the window, "DUDE, IF DOZENS OF CARS ARE BUZZING PAST YOU EVERY MINUTE AT 55+ THEN YOU NEED TO FIND ANOTHER ROUTE!"

    *SHHHH Stop yelling!*
    Sorry, I didn't know this blog was a library, sheesh.

  • aa

    I think that the great thing about biking rules is that they are trying to create some order on the streets.
    All they are advocating for is following the law.
    The law is that you should only ride THE WAY OF TRAFFIC.
    If you want the law changed, LOBBY for it. Don't just be a maverick riding around ignoring the law to prove your point. That doesn't prove anything.

    The reason that there is a LAW to ride with the flow of traffic is because when you are riding the WRONG way down a one-way street and you come to an intersection, other cars, bikers, and pedestrians only look ONE-WAY before they cross. If you are riding the wrong way you will constantly startle people who start to cross without seeing you, and you may get hit by a car or bike, or you may hit a pedestrian who inadvertently steps in front of you. Just ride the right way. In most cases the one-way street going the way that you need it is only one block away.

    Also, when you ride the wrong way, you are forcing the biker who is riding the right way to go out of the bike lane, (or at least to the very edge of the bike lane), when they can't see what kind of traffic is behind them. It is simply so rude and inconsiderate.

  • Hrothrekr

    The "Ride Right" rule is silly and not really that safe.  There are many roads where you are much better off being able to see the traffic coming at you, than risk being clipped from the rear.  In addition, there are places in the city where we really have no choice but to counterflow in a bike lane or street.  For Instance, if you are heading from Morningside (UWS 100s) south and east, there are no bike lanes for you.  Your safest bet is to counterflow the CPW bike lane until you can enter Central Park at 110th street.  If you are uptown East Side and need to get to midtown, your safest route is to counterflow Central Park Drive East going downtown.

    The rule (and law) is impractical and therefor dumb.  Better would be to learn counterflow rules of the road:  a) in a bike lane, stay right if another bike is coming at you, and no one gets forced into traffic; b) on a road with no bike lane, counterflow bikers hug the side (left or right depending on street design) and with-flow bikers always pass to the inside and "Claim the Lane"; c) keep your speed in control, don't race, be alert, be ready to brake. d) Watch out for pedestrians and cars that may not be looking out for you.

    I notice that the bikers who object most to counterflow are usually either (a) racing recklessly or (b) lost in a haze and not paying attention.

    European cities embrace counterflow because it is practical and makes sense.  TA should get behind changing rules and laws to allow counterflow, and teach the counterflow rules of the road.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Fuller/621967625 Tom Fuller

    When you ride the wrong way you cause others, both cyclists and vehicle drivers, to break the law to avoid you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Fuller/621967625 Tom Fuller
  • Anonymous

    There is no excuse for salmon.