Tag Archives: safety

Biking woman thwarts child kidnap attempt

map showing where a woman riding a bike thwarted the kidnap attempt of a child

Saturday’s DRC police blotter reports that a biking woman riding thwarted a man’s attempt to kidnap a child on Cooper Creek Rd. I don’t know the details, but that is a popular route to ride up towards Lake Ray Roberts, the Greenbelt, and the Clear Creek Nature Preserve.

2700 block of Cooper Creek Road — A woman riding her bike Friday helped a teenage girl in distress, according to a Denton police report.

The woman said she helped the girl escape the driver of a pickup, who appeared to be trying to kidnap her, and took her to a nearby house to call police.

The girl told police that the bus drops her off at the corner and her brother usually picks her up from there, but he was running late so she decided to walk home.

The girl reported that as she was walking home a man exited the passenger door of the pickup and told her to stop. She said she then began to run away and the man chased her until the woman intervened.

 

It’s hard to say if riding a bike made a difference here, versus driving a car, but there’s no debating that you are more aware and connected to the immediate environment while riding bike. You’re usually traveling much slower and have more time to notice things. I’ve asked the Denton Police for more details, and if anyone knows the cyclist who protected the child, feel free to contact me at info@bikedenton.org.

 

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Strategies for Getting Around Without Bike Lights (or Pants)

Here’s an brief lunch break post (as to not detract from the amazing 73 degree weather outside):

From the BTA via Bikeportland, I love this pro-light video they just released, with just the right doses of truth and humor:

Strategies for Getting Around Without Bike Lights (or Pants) from BICYCLE TRANSPORTATION ALLIANCE on Vimeo.

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Querencia Bikes-To-Kids Awards

As seen over on the qcbs.org site, Querencia concluded its first ever Bikes-To-Kids program last week on Thursday, and they have some pictures of the excellent artwork made by the 4th and 5th grade Art Club students.

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Cyclist Injury Trend Shows Infrastructure Need

wreckage from hit and run in Denton

From a MedIndia article, Dr. Jeffry Kashuk:

Look at all the safety factors that have been incorporated in automobiles and streets and highways. If even a percentage of that kind of investment went into safety vis-a-vis bike paths and community infrastructure, we would protect people from major injury.

Anthony Brown, MD, writes a very interesting article about a growing trend in cyclist abdominal injuries in the US.

Bicycle injuries in the US have become more severe and there has been a marked increase in chest and stomach injuries.

Moreover, despite greater public awareness, helmet use has not increased and head injury rates have not fallen.

“There is a paucity of studies looking specifically at bicycle injuries,” lead researcher Dr. Jeffry Kashuk, from the University of Colorado, Denver, told Reuters Health. In the last several years, greater environmental awareness, economic downturns, an emphasis on fitness, and other factors have fueled greater bicycle use in the US.

The study indicated that 1/3 of all bicycle injuries (at least those which make it to the ER) had a significant head injury.  While they don’t explicitly say that the other 2/3 are all abdominal injuries, it seems implied.

The severity of injuries and time spent in hospitalized for bicycle injuries tended to increase in the past decade, according to the findings he presented Tuesday at the American College of Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago. The number of chest injuries rose by 15 percent, while abdominal injuries increased threefold over the last 5 years.

Dr. Jeffry Kashuk points out that cycling injuries are trending toward older age, and he notes that injuries are affecting commuters more, as opposed to recreational riders.  On one hand, it’s great that more people of all age groups are commuting.  On the other hand, doesn’t this indicate a need for increased cycling infrastructure?

Kashuk:

“Although the public is very enthusiastic about bicycle use as a means of transportation, we think that infrastructure has lagged behind in the US,” he explained. “The government is pushing bike days, and rebates for bike use. Communities are putting in bicycle kiosks.” However, there is only limited data to show that “we have bikeways to support this increase in bike use.”

 

 

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Who Causes Cyclists’ Deaths?

Via Freakonomics:

When it comes to sharing the road with cars, many people seem to assume that such accidents are usually the cyclist’s fault — a result of reckless or aggressive riding. But an analysis of police reports on 2,752 bike-car accidents in Toronto found that clumsy or inattentive driving by motorists was the cause of 90 percent of these crashes. Among the leading causes: running a stop sign or traffic light, turning into a cyclist’s path, or opening a door on a biker. This shouldn’t come as too big a surprise: motorists cause roughly 75 percent of motorcycle crashes too.

This data, from David Tomlinson in Toronto, analyzed 2,572 cyclist/motorist collisions from 1997-1998 and found that cyclists were at fault less than 10% of the time.

The Project Freeride site also shows data that illustrates cyclists safety in numbers.  This figure depicting cycling ridership in the Netherlands from 1980-1998 shows a huge correlation between increased ridership and fewer fatal accidents.

A 30% increase in cycle traffic is associated with a two- third reduction in risk, e.g. a decrease of the total number of fatal cycling accidents


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Hinkle Bike Lane Threatened

proposedsite

Denton has four bike lanes, and the one on Hinkle faces possible removal to accommodate a left-turn lane for a proposed townhome development.  Over the last several years, bicycle lanes on Shady Oaks and Wind River have been quietly removed.  In that time, no new lanes have been striped, despite repaving of numerous streets.

  1. Hickory (lacks “no parking” signs)
  2. Hinkle (disrepair, endangered)
  3. Stuart (disrepair)
  4. Hercules (disrepair)
  5. Wind River
  6. Shady Oaks

Last night, City Council discussed a controversial “Special Use Permit” proposal regarding a 100 home development at the southwest corner of Hinkle and Windsor.  One slide of the developer’s proposal recommended removal of the Hinkle bicycle to accommodate a left turn lane for northbound drivers. 

From the developer presenation:

Improvements:

  • Construct an 8′ wide bicycle and pedestrian trail along west side of Hinkle
  • Work with city to re-stripe Hinkle street to remove bicycle path and put in a left turn lane

The developer did not indicate a length for the proposed shared path, nor did they indicate whether it would be privately or publicly owned and maintained, and nobody spoke to whether the proposed shared path would traverse the full length of Hinkle like the current on-road bike lane.  City planning engineer, Frank Payne, responded:

Neither Mr. Vokoun nor myself are familiar with the specifics of this development or what was discussed at City Council on Tuesday night in this regard.

Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods spoke out vociferously against the proposal, citing concerns over insufficient traffic control, unsightly appearance of multi-family homes, increased flood risk from storm runoff, and removal of the bicycle lane.

Two cyclists in attendance spoke in favor of bike lane preservation, and they pointed out that UNT recommends Hinkle as a designated safe route to UNT Discovery Park on Hwy 77.  One cyclist mentioned that if the Hinkle bike lane is removed, that constitutes removal of 1/3 of all bicycle lanes in Denton.  The other cyclist pointed out that UNT designates Hinkle as a safe route to ride to UNT Discovery Park, on Hwy 77, and the cyclist read a quote from the Denton 1999-2020 plan:

“Maintain direct, continuous bicycle routes, and make all appropriate streets bicycle-friendly. Reduce use of cars over time, particularly for commuter trips.” -Denton Plan, 1999-2020

City Council voted 5-2 in favor of tabling the proposal until the following meeting, on August 4.  Council members Jim Engelbrecht and Charlye Heggins voted against tabling.  Because Planning and Zoning denied this Special Use Permit 5-0, a supermajority vote of council is required to approve the SUP.

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Gov Rick Perry Vetoes Safe Passing Bill

RIPSB488

In a move that shocked cyclists statewide, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed the Safe Passing bill, which added legal protection for cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, construction workers, etc, by requiring a minimum passing distance by other larger vehicles.

Via KVUE in Austin:

The measure, SB 488, would have required drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing them on most highways. Other ‘vulnerable road users’ included in the bill were pedestrians, construction workers, tow truck operators, stranded motorists, motorcyclists and moped riders.

In his veto statement, Perry said many restrictions on motorists already exist in state law.

“While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users,” Perry said in a statement.

“In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a ‘vulnerable user’ or not.”

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