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Bwnc OctNov 2017 newsletter


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Bwnc OctNov 2017 newsletter

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Bwnc OctNov 2017 newsletter

  1. 1. ON THE MOVE: The BikeWalk NC Newsletter October/November 2017 Issue: LAB Releases Bicycle Friendly State Rankings (p. 1, 3)  BikeWalk NC's Two Cents on Autonomous Vehicles (p. 1, 3) CARS Event Raises Awareness of Need for Bicycling Safety (p. 2) Spotlight: Julie White, New NCDOT Deputy Secretary MultiModal Transportation (p. 2) Upcoming events and donation and membership information (p. 4) ON THE MOVE / Page 1 LAB Releases Bicycle Friendly State Rankings A few days ago, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) released its bicycle report cards for all 50 states. The LAB is a non-profit organization that represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a bicycle-friendly America through information, advocacy and promotion. Their annual report card is a summary of how each state compares on a national level in areas that lead to a more bicycle-friendly nation. This year, North Carolina ranked 20th overall out of the 50. When this program first began in 2008, North Carolina was ranked #13. North Carolina was once a leader in bicycle travel, having bicycling laws since the 1970s, recognizing bicycles as vehicles of transportation, and having the first Bike/Ped division in the country. In recent years, however, walking and bicycling have not been supported by our state to the degree necessary for its citizens to actively pursue or safely use these modes of transportation. Indeed, the state currently allots only 0.7% of NCDOT’s appropriation funding for bicycle facilities even though they are an important part of the multimodal transportation system. In addition, because of the current scoring system that NCDOT uses to rank its projects, it is much harder for a bike project to score as high as, say, a highway project. A higher number of trips made by bike could actually alleviate some of the traffic congestion, but for that to happen, the ranking system needs to be re-evaluated so that better biking facilities can be built. (Continued on p. 3)
  2. 2. Tomorrow many of us will be getting together for the 6th Annual Bike/Walk Summit!  Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when we all gather in Wilmington:  I’m hoping the discussions among advocates can lead to strategies to strengthen BikeWalk NC as well as better support local advocacy BikeWalk NC’s two cents on autonomous cars With the progression of autonomous car technology, it’s important to consider this technology’s implications for the bicycling and pedestrian community. BikeWalk NC has a responsibility to do so, as an organization that advocates for the safety of and accessibility to these modes of transportation. BWNC board member Steve Goodridge believes that autonomous car technology has great potential under certain circumstances, particularly how these vehicles treat bicyclists and pedestrians. Goodridge outlines two necessary provisions to ensure that the bike/ped community is accounted for in autonomous car technology as discussed below: Increased government regulation According to Goodridge, automatic braking technology can greatly improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety by removing the human error factor. A March 2015 analysis of car-bike crashes conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that equipping traditional cars with automatic crash avoidance systems could prevent or mitigate up to 47 percent of car-bike crashes. Goodridge’s article “Defangling the Automobile” discusses the potential of radar, camera-based, laser radar and ultrasonic sensor technologies, as well as forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems.  (Continued on p. 3) ON THE MOVE / Page 2 Letter from the Executive  Director Capital Area Ride for Safety (CARS) Event Raises Awareness of Need for Bicycling Safety
  3. 3. organizations. We need a strong grass roots approach to improve the culture in our state towards bicyclists and pedestrians. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) just released its Bicycle-Friendly State Report Cards.  North Carolina did well in some areas, but what struck me the most is that we are 6th highest in the nation for bicyclist fatalities per bike commuter.  In my position I hear stories of conflict on the road from motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. I get videos of road rage with cyclists paying the price as the more vulnerable road user.  It seems crazy, but we also have a culture of not yielding to folks in cross walks!   We can and must do better.  Let’s work together to apply information shared at the summit on Complete Streets, Vision Zero (eliminating all traffic fatalities) and using crash data to support infrastructure improvements to make our roads safer for us all.   Cheers, Lisa Numerous N.C. bicycling clubs, teams and organizations gathered again this year for the CAPITAL AREA RIDE for SAFETY (CARS) in Raleigh on September 24th to raise bicycle safety awareness.  The event was created last year in response to a traffic crash in which a motorist struck and seriously injured four local cyclists.  Each year too many crashes and near misses occur and attention needs to be directed to this issue.  The key message of the ride is: when passing a cyclist, a motorist should slow down, look and wait for other traffic, then change lanes to pass. At the half-way point at Halifax Mall, after refreshments and music, we heard from the new NCDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Julie White, City Councilman Bonner Gaylord, Paul Neville with the BikePed Committee in Raleigh, BikeLaw attorney Ann Groninger, crash victim Julie Paddison, and Lisa Riegel with BikeWalkNC.   Six police officers donated their time to help escort the ride and support the goal of safety awareness.  We want to also give a special thanks to the organizing team of Joe Whitehouse, Tony Santalucia (Gyros), Andrew Chen and Randall Bennett. Thank you to all the sponsors that helped support this event:  LeChase Construction, Stewart. Choate, Aloft Hotel Hillsborough Street, Gonza, McAdams, Whiting-Turner, Alphagraphics, Morning Star Law Offices, Geotechnologis, Jdavis Construction, Kimley Horn and Courtney Bagels. Plans are already under way for the safety awareness ride in 2018 – tentatively scheduled for September 23rd with longer ride options, a greenway ride, and a bigger celebration at the end at Dix Park. Visit the website or CARS’s  page on Facebook for information as it becomes available for next year’s event. Spotlight: Julie White, Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation
  4. 4.   BikeWalk NC was excited to see that NCDOT named Julie White as the Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation.  During her nine years as Executive Director of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, Julie has seen that communities that invest and have an interconnected network that supports walking and bicycling are the most economically vibrant – both small towns and our cities.  We’ve worked with Julie on our Complete Streets Campaign and she has provided great insight on issues with the General Assembly.  Over the past two decades, Julie served in the N.C. Office of the Lt. Governor, and the N.C. House of Representatives Majority Leader's Office.  During her nine years with the Metro Mayors Coalition, Julie was the longest serving member of the Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) Workgroup, lobbied for the STI legislation, and served on the Board of NC GO, a transportation advocacy coalition. She was awarded the WTS Women in Transportation Community Advocate Award, the NCDOT Road Gang Award, and the Triangle Business Journal's Forty Under Forty Award.   We already see that Julie has brought great energy to the NCDOT.  Under her direction, NCDOT is looking to reinvigorate our state’s Complete Streets Policy, a critical policy for bicyclists and pedestrians.  In addition, she is looking nationally to find the right, dynamic, director for the Division of Bicycling and Pedestrian Transportation – so if you or you know of someone that would be good in this role – apply now as the posting closes November 6th! ON THE MOVE / Page 3 LAB Releases Bicycle Friendly State Rankings continued  A more troubling part of this report card is that North Carolina ranks 6th in the nation for number of bicycle fatalities per cycling commuter.  For a state that has adopted a Vision Zero philosophy, this ranking, along with a 10% increase in pedestrian deaths in our state from 2015 to 2016, should serve as a red alert that more needs to be done statewide to increase safety for people who walk or bike. In addition to safety, NCDOT and the Legislature now recognize that multi-modal transportation is key to economic development as witnessed recently by Amazon HQ's search specifying access to public transit (can't have public transit if you can't walk or bike to the transit).  North Carolina already has some of the necessary ingredients for safer roads —good planning initiatives and Vision Zero and Complete Streets policies but it is falling short in its implementation. In order to try to begin moving that implementation forward, BikeWalk NC and our partners hope to work with the NCDOT and the Legislature on several initiatives such as: 
  5. 5. Better implementation of our State's Complete Streets policy. This doesn’t mean sidewalks and bike lanes everywhere, but rather that planners and engineers look at each project for its intended or desired users and set speeds and road design accordingly to make the roads safe for everyone. Support for Funding for Bike/Ped Infrastructure.  State funding for stand-alone bike/ped projects were eliminated in the Strategic Transportation Investment Act of 2013.  Ways to address the funding might include changing the formula for TAP-funded (federal Transportation Alternative Program) local match requirements – lowering or eliminating a local match would especially help rural towns that cannot come up with matching local funds.  Highway improvements (lane additions) which lower a person's commute time briefly and for a short period of time often rank very high, while a project that adds a safe bike lane to connect a neighborhood to a school, or a bike and pedestrian bridge over a busy highway, does not score as well. Thus, even with a local match, bike/ped projects aren't ranking high enough to get funding.   Support for ongoing NCDOT/BikeWalk Education and Outreach Effort. One of the five "Es" that is part of Vision Zero—more education and outreach is needed to improve safety on the roads.  This effort will identify strategies to achieve this education and outreach and will need funding and enforcement.   Support Improved Enforcement.  Enforcement is another one of the Vision Zero "E"s. A change in current legislation is needed to allow towns and counties the right to use enforcement cameras. Lowering of speed limits when appropriate as well as enforcement cameras are proven safety improvement tools. Support Improved Crash Reporting.  Bicycle crashes are significantly under-reported.  Additional training of police (and perhaps better coding keys for reports) to better report crashes/collisions involving bicycles and pedestrians are needed. Bicycles are sometimes coded as "other" or as "bike" which can lead to inaccurate data.  Better crash data will help measure the success of the state's efforts. BikeWalk NC’s two cents on autonomous cars continued However, while autonomous car technology has the potential to very dramatically reduce motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists, government testing and regulation is necessary to ensure that automakers include these features in their products and that they work effectively. The current state of U.S. autonomous vehicle technology can detect pedestrians and bicyclists and brake for them. There is no government regulation that requires a vehicle to stop for both cars and bicyclists. The fact is, manufacturers such as Subaru are trying to make their cars stop for bicyclists and pedestrians out of genuine humanitarian concern. Increased government regulation can hold manufacturers accountable to equally prioritize the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists when developing their vehicles. Change lanes to pass technology In addition to increased government regulation, manufacturers must also adjust how the cars detect and react to bicyclists and pedestrians. Some vehicles treat bicyclists as a wheeled pedestrian, and
  6. 6. they use the same algorithms used to detect pedestrians running out from behind parked cars. For bicyclists who attempt to act like pedestrians, this could be a viable solution. However, for bicyclists riding along the edge of the road at a greater speed than pedestrians, this technology won’t suffice. Some autonomous car manufacturers treat such bicyclists as roadside clutter, like a mailbox, and ignore them. Other manufacturers’ vehicles that detect bicyclists will program the cars to perform a same-lane pass. Both situations result in an uncomfortably close passing on normal roads. Unless our society ends same-lane passing as a normal and reasonable passing maneuver, this problem will continue. Will the bicycle community demand that autonomous cars perform a lane change when passing a bicyclist? That is the question. According to Goodridge, autonomous car technology must be programmed to change lanes to pass bicyclists, as these vehicles would do for motorcycles or cars. Knowledgeable bicyclists can ride in the center of narrow lanes to further discourage same-lane passing. Autonomous cars with properly designed braking systems will then slow down and follow behind the bicyclist, and/or change lanes to pass. We need to make sure that it is legal for bicyclists to use the full lane, so they are not clipped by unsafe same-lane passing by either human or robot drivers. Different manufacturers, different technologies Google’s autonomous cars use laser radar (LIDAR) to detect bicyclists and other objects at high spatial resolution. In its Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report for June 2016, Google states “Our cars recognize cyclists as unique users of the road and are taught to drive conservatively around them.” This involves detecting bicyclists in any direction and recognizing bicyclists’ hand signals. The report also demonstrates an understanding of bicyclists using the full lane, as it claims: “We aim to give cyclists ample buffer room when we pass, and our cars won’t squeeze by when cyclists take the center of the lane, even if there’s technically enough space. Whether the road is too narrow or they’re making a turn, we respect this indication that cyclists want to claim their lane.” Tesla, in comparison, combines microwave radar sensors, computer vision algorithms and multiple cameras to detect traffic. Tesla recently purchased the computer vision collision avoidance company Mobileye and has installed Nvidia 512-core supercomputers in its cars to manage the video processing. However, it’s unclear whether the vision algorithms fused with radar will be able to compete with the reliability and spatial resolution of LIDAR. Another issue that’s arisen with Tesla is its auto pilot function, which is not a real autonomous vehicle control system. According to Goodridge, the manufacturer has been reckless and unethical in branding the auto pilot system. Its branding may cause customers to overestimate the system’s capabilities, increasing the risk of crashes. BikeWalk NC at the discussion table BikeWalk NC plays a vital role to ensure autonomous cars’ success for all transportation modes. BWNC and other bike/ped organizations must work with the state (N.C. DOT) then federal level (U.S. DOT) to implement government regulation of how autonomous cars detect and react to bicyclists and pedestrians. Our influence is crucial to maintain a prioritization of bike/ped safety and accessibility in the wake of new motor technology. 
  7. 7. ON THE MOVE / Page 4 Upcoming Events / Announcements November 3­4: Bike/Walk Summit How to Make a Difference As a 501(c)-3 nonprofit, we are your voice to improve and expand pedestrian and bicycle-friendly streets, trails and greenways. Walkable, bicycle-friendly communities provide a healthy environment and a growing economy for North Carolinians and our visitors. Your financial support is crucial toward making our mission a success. To make a donation, please fill out our donation form. Become a Member! Your membership at BikeWalk NC includes a monthly newsletter, updates on statewide cycling events and an opportunity to have your voice be heard regarding bike and pedestrian policy in N.C. Your contribution helps fund our annual summit, educational programs and staff leadership. To become a member, please visit our “Join Us” page.  Contact Us: Lisa Riegel (919)-830-4243 P.O. Box 531, Cary, N.C. 27512 We're Social! Copyright © 2017 BikeWalk NC. All rights reserved. Contact email: You are receiving this message because you opted in at BikeWalk NC. Unsubscribe