TagBicycling

Google Maps’s lies are why I made my own bike map

http://goo.gl/maps/BlIZF

Bright green lines indicate trails while darker green lines indicate bike lanes.

Because Google Maps lies about where bike facilities are. Check out the bicycling layer at 16th Street and Wood Street in Pilsen, Chicago, Illinois.

Google Maps bicycling layer legend

Google Maps bicycling layer legend

The bright green lines represent trails, but the ones in this part of Pilsen are not trails. All of the north-south “trails” you see are actually sidewalks underneath railroad viaducts. The east-west trails…well, I’m not sure what they are but they are on elevated railroad property. Don’t go up there.

I created my own bike map to deal with the inaccuracies across Google Maps. I used my local knowledge (“ground truth”) and high-quality bike facility data from the Chicago Department of Transportation.

I also used contributions to OpenStreetMap, mainly for trails. I’ve been correcting and adding new bike lane data to OSM as CDOT installs them. View this area with OpenCycleMap’s tiles, which shows only bike lanes on 18th Street.

If you’re an editor on Google’s Map Maker data editing platform, please correct these errors. I would do it except that Google doesn’t allow others to benefit from my data contributions like OpenStreetMap does, where anyone can give and take. (I also had a negative experience on Map Maker, getting myself into a tiff with an unnamed user who disagreed with my changes, based on a personal visit to the location, that were not visible on the satellite imagery because that location had outdated imagery.)

 

I’ve biked on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive three times

I don’t recommend it.

2012

2010

2008

I guess I have some sort of two-year anniversary for doing it.

Urban Street Window Works

Urban Street Window Works

Read about the new Bucktown bike based business Urban Street Window Works on Grid Chicago. They wash windows, remove graffiti, and apply film to protect from acid etching.

Illinois licenses the dumbest drivers

I took this photo to capture the sign, which I think has design problems. I didn’t know when taking it that it’d help me illustrate this story. The issue is this: From the left lane, one can make a left turn at an obtuse angle or an acute angle, but not two obtuse left turns. The same is true for the right lane: you can make an acute or obtuse right turn, but not two obtuse right turns.

On my ride home from Pequod’s Pizza tonight, I stopped at a red light in the left-most lane (there are two lanes, see photo) at Clybourn Avenue and Belmont Avenue, getting ready to turn left from northwest-bound Clybourn onto westbound Belmont.

A guy in a car behind me peaks his head out the window and asks, “Buddy could you move right a little bit?”

“I’m turning onto Belmont”, I explain, while pointing in the direction of Belmont Avenue and my specific left turn.

“So am I”, he says.

“Then according to that sign [to which I pointed], we’re both in the correct lane!”, I reply. (See photo of the sign.) I don’t remember if he said anything beyond that. I made the left turn, with he behind me, and when he passed me in the left lane (while I was cycling in the right lane) he honked.

Illinois licenses the dumbest drivers.

It snowed in Amsterdam

And as we like to say in Chicago, Amsterdammers also said “it was no big deal”.

I love what you see happening in this photo. A person cycling across the intersection is looking back at a white van and a streetcar that seem like they’re going to collide. But no one will hit each other. The Netherlands has the lowest crash rate in the world.

What is Conversation Cycling?

Mikael Colville-Anderson posted a link to this photo set called Conversation Cycling (his photo above). The concept of Conversation Cycling is simple:

Build a bikeway so two people can cycle side-by-side to have a pleasant chat. 

I want this for Chicago. When you ride with friends, how would you prefer to ride: yelling ahead in our narrow bike lanes or conversing to the side? This is sometimes possible on the Lakefront Trail, but not always: the Lakefront Trail’s maximum width is the same as the standard with for cycle tracks in Europe!

Bike lanes in the United States, when they’re available and not being parked in, are not even wide enough for one person to ride without danger of being doored. It’s not surprising this is the case. In addition to how we prioritize the movement of automobiles and the placement of parking before pedaling, the national minimum width for a bike lane is 4 feet (without gutter), or 5 feet when next to parked cars or with a gutter.

I gathered some hard evidence: My handlebars are 28 inches wide. The door of my roommate’s car is 32 inches wide. 28+32 = 60 inches, or 5 feet. And that’s without a buffer. Essentially, bike lanes as we’ve built them are not compatible with the rest of the street.

Two Department of Revenue workers cycle side by side, meeting the edges of the bike lane, on Armitage Avenue in Lincoln Park. Photo by Mike Travis. 

Door zone bike lanes are not unique to any American city. Illustration by Gary Kavanagh. 

A group cycles on Damen Avenue in and out of the bike lane. Photo by Eric Rogers. 

Cycle mapping

A screenshot of Critical Map: Milano. 

What are the sites that will let you either draw or upload a bike route to share with others?

And what are the sites or mobile apps that give you cycle routing?

A screenshot of Bike Share Map: London, UK.

And other bike-related maps?

I’m just simply researching and collecting links to cycling-related map mashups and apps.

Rambling about automobile crash data and cellphone distraction

How often do bicyclists get involved with crashes because of cellphone distraction? See the table below. And how many crashes are caused by the bicyclist being distracted by a cellphone? We won’t and don’t know. 

The Chicago City Council will vote tomorrow on ordinance 02011-7146 to add a new section in Chapter 9 of the Municipal Code of Chicago: “9-52-110 Use of communication devices while operating a bicycle.”

In a Chicago Sun-Times article today, Matthew Tobias, the Chicago Police Department’s deputy chief of Area 3 patrol, reported on the number of citations that the department has issued to drivers in violation of the cellphone ban: “from 2,577 administrative violations in 2008 to 10,920 in 2009 and 19,701 last year” (known as “citations issued” in the table below).

I looked at the crash data to see how many crashes were coded as having been caused by “Distraction – operating an electronic communication device (cell phone, texting, etc)”.

Out of 274,488 recorded crashes in 2008, 2009, and 2010, there were 331 crashes which had a Cause 1 or Cause 2 of “Distraction – operating an electronic communication device (cell phone, texting, etc)”. The table below compares the rates of crashes to the rates of citations issued and the number of crashes that the police noted were caused by cellphone distraction. It also shows the number of these “cellphone distraction” crashes that involved bicyclists and pedestrians.

Year Citations issued Automobile crashes Cellphone distraction crashes % of cellphone distraction crashes Involved with bicyclists? Involved with pedestrians? National VMT (billions)*
2008 2577 111,701 91 0.081 3 10 2973.47
2009 10920 81,982 130 0.159 1 7 2979.39
2010 19701 80,805 110 0.136 6 8 2999.97

Maybe this data shows that the increased enforcement is causing fewer crashes?
However data for cyclists’ involvement in crashes and their cellphone use WON’T BE recorded unless there’s a rule change as the cause is only recorded for the vehicle involved in the crash, and bicycles are devices, not vehicles.

None involved fatalities.

*Yep, that’s 2 thousand billion. Read it like this, 2 trillion 973 billion and 470 million. VMT data from Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Are protected bike lanes going in the right places?

Bike crash map of Ogden, Milwaukee, Chicago

Common bike-car crash locations in West Town. The bottom blue circle identifies Ogden/Milwaukee, where there is a yellow trap for northbound, left-turning motorists (from Milwaukee to Ogden) that makes them run into southbound bicyclists who have a green light.

My contribution to a discussion on The Chainlink, Are protected bike lanes going in the right places?

Kelvin, Milwaukee/Ogden/Chicago is the intersection along Milwaukee Avenue with the highest number of bicycle crashes. I created this table and map to show them, using data from 2007-2009.

The blue rings on the map are called, in GIS parlance, “buffers” and are circles used to select things (in this case, bike crashes) within a certain distance of the circle center. In this map I used 50 feet radius buffers (100 feet diameter). While this distance encompasses the intersection from center to all four curbs, it doesn’t encompass the crashes that happened just outside the buffer that were still most likely influenced by the intersection (like drivers’ turning movements).

I am working on a project with three friends to create a better map and “crash browser”. I mentioned it in the last story on Grid Chicago in this post. For this project, we are using 200 feet radius (400 feet diameter) buffers to ensure we encompass the entire intersection and the area in which it still has an effect. This also grabs the bike lane “pinch points”, places where a bike lane doesn’t start until 100-200 feet beyond the intersection.

I am also concerned with the strategy and approach CDOT is using to choose locations. It’s not transparent; at MBAC, CDOT said they were choosing locations “without controversy and that could be implemented quickly”.

Read more about Kinzie Street, Chicago’s first protected bike lane, and my other thoughts on protected bike lanes

Cycling in Milwaukee

I visited Milwaukee on the Sunday before Labor Day this year. I haven’t uploaded any photos or written about the trip. My friend Brandon and I brought our fixed-gear bicycles and rode around town for several hours. Here’s a video of some of their streets and trails.

© 2017 Steven Can Plan

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