Sunday, April 25, 2010

Capital Coexist

Thanks to for the image

I came across this from a map link on People For Bikes, and initiative from Bikes Belong advocacy group. As a side note, please sign the petition on their website, if you believe, as I do, that bikes belong here in the US and deserve to be treated with respect in all decisions.

This new advocacy group went live on April 1st and is based in the Albany-Schenectady capital district of New York State, it is called Capital Coexist. It has developed out of the Albany bike master plan (caution large pdf!) and is designed to be a resource for best practices, education of cyclists and motorists, safety, advocacy, events coordination, and project links and connections across the state.

I did a brief read through of some of their safety bits, and I have to say, I am impressed. There is only one mention of helmets, and it is the NHTSA fitting guidelines. There is nothing about you must wear a helmet or anything, and its quite refreshing. For reference I always wear a helmet on roadways and when going at speeds of 13mph+. For off road paths I do not wear a helmet and feel no need to as I am perfectly safe, I do always wear riding gloves though, on or off road, I am more likely to break a fall with my hands if I have them on and know my hands will not get all bloody.

Let me quote some of the specifics on safety that the website advocates, both for motorists and cyclists:

For motorists,
  • Always expect to encounter bicyclists on the road, on all types of roads and in all types of weather.
  • Expect bicyclists to be riding out in the travel lane for their own safety due to narrow roads, obstacles or broken pavement.
  • When passing, allow 3 feet of clearance between your car and the bicyclist.
  • Look for cyclists when changing lanes, turning, opening car doors, and pulling out of parking spaces.
For cyclists,
  • Ride predictably, without weaving
  • Avoid provoking motorists regardless of who is at fault; antagonizing motorists can result in dangerous and aggressive driving.
  • Give adequate distance between you and parked cars to avoid doors that may open unexpectedly.
  • When the road is too narrow for a car to pass safely in your lane, take the lane to avoid being hit by a motorist.

While it is not perfect in some of what it says, its not the fault of this group, its the fault of the laws, preventing riding in more than single file, better turning options etc, treating cyclists as vehicles, instead of their own form of transportation (which should include roller-blades, skateboards, etc.)

I was just surprised and very impressed with what they did talk about on here so far. The website is still being designed and is not complete yet, but this should prove to be a valuable resource for many communities across NYS as well as the country.

check it out at

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