Monday, March 7, 2011

Standing room only at Arlington BAC-sponsored film viewing

I estimate there were over 200 people at the film viewing sponsored by the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee and BikeArlington this evening. The short documentary on bicycling in several European cities highlighted many innovative bicycle facilities being used there. The documentary was filmed during a tour of Europe by transportation professionals from the U.S. documented in Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility in Europe and in Handy Lessons From Overseas on Walking and Bicycling.

Cycletracks, bus/bike lanes, painted bike lanes, bike boxes, bicycle-specific signals were among the facilities shown. Right on red is prohibited in some locations which helps reduce conflicts and seems to lead to better compliance by motorists and cyclists. Right on red in the U.S. has probably contributed greatly to the aggressive nature of many motorists here. We think we have a right to basically disregard traffic signals if we're turning right.

Speed limits are also much lower in most European cities. Convex mirrors (known as trixi mirrors) were used in some locations to allow motorists to see cyclists approaching on their right. These are especially useful for drivers of large vehicles that may have obstructed views. Zig-zag pavement markings similar to those on Sterling Blvd and Belmont Ridge Rd where the W&OD Trail crosses, were shown.

Traffic Garden in Winterthur, Switzerland
I especially liked the traffic garden in the town of Winterthur. School children learn how to navigate traffic in this reduced scale neighborhood of streets that includes "traffic signals, roundabouts, bike lanes at intersections, sidewalks, work zones, public benches, and other common traffic situations."

Many of the facilities shown in the film cannot be used in the U.S. Cities for Cycling, a project of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, is hoping to change that by cataloging, promoting and implementing the world's best bicycle transportation practices in American municipalities.

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