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FCBC Newsletter

October 2019 

Riding at Dusk

Fall is here, and the weather is cooler, which makes for pleasant bike-riding weather.  However, with the days getting shorter, make sure that your bike lights are working and that your lights and reflectors are clean.  Be especially careful when riding your bike around dusk, as the sun may be in drivers’ eyes or your own.  Even if you are riding away from the sun, drivers of oncoming traffic may be blinded by the sun, so watch out for oncoming vehicles making left turns or drivers pulling out from driveways and side streets.  Also, when you look over your shoulder to scan for approaching traffic behind you, you may be blinded by the sun as well.  It's a good idea to use your bike lights in dawn and dusk conditions to help others see you.  If you can, adjust your schedule to avoid riding your bike in these conditions.

Wrong Way Bike Riding or “Salmoning”

Riding a bike the wrong way, against traffic, is sometimes referred to as salmoning, as salmon travel upstream to their place of birth to spawn.  Many people are under the false impression that it is safer to ride facing traffic based on the premise that you can see approaching vehicles and theoretically would be able to react, as opposed to not being able to see vehicles approaching from behind.  However, many vehicle versus bicycle crashes are the result of wrong-way bicyclists being struck from vehicles entering the roadway from driveways or side streets, as drivers typically look only to their left when entering traffic.  Many drivers are also in the habit of not coming to a complete stop when entering the street, and this allows very little reaction time for the wrong-way bicyclist.  Wrong-way bicyclists are also a threat to bicyclists traveling in the correct direction.

Also worth noting is that the closing speed between a bicycle and a vehicle is increased while riding the wrong way.  The closing speed is the sum of the speeds rather than the difference. For instance, for a bicycle traveling 15 mph and a vehicle traveling 25 mph, the closing speed is 40 mph rather than 10 mph.  With the significantly increased probability of getting struck while riding the wrong way, the potential for injuries or worse is much greater.

A bicyclist riding the wrong way will pass many more vehicles than riding the right way because when you travel the right way, you are traveling with traffic, and fewer vehicles will be passing you,  More passing vehicles make for more potential conflicts.

Finally, riding the wrong way is illegal, and assignment of blame for a crash with a vehicle will generally be to the wrong-way bicyclist.  It is a violation of California Vehicle Code 21650, which requires traveling on the right half of the roadway.  Therefore wrong-way riding will not only increase the probability of a bicyclist getting hurt, but that bicyclist could also be responsible for damages resulting from a crash.

Family Bike Rodeo at Steven’s Bicycles Scheduled for October 27

The postponed bike rodeo at Steven’s Bicycles in Clovis will take place on Sunday, October 27 between noon and 3:00 pm.  The event will be open to both children and adults. The last bike rodeo that FCBC held at Steven’s Bicycles was on June 8, and it focused on kid safety, as shown below.  

For the upcoming bike rodeo, bicyclists not owning a helmet will be fitted with one to keep, and those bringing their bikes can also have lights fitted on them if they don’t already have lights.  All participants will receive a safety talk then go through a course to practice turns, stops, and accident avoidance maneuvers.  Come out to brush up on your cycling skills or just to hang out with fellow FCBC members.

Legislative Update

On October 12 the Governor vetoed Senate Bill 127, the Complete Streets for Active Living Bill, which would have required Caltrans to consider installing complete streets elements when a State highway that serves as a surface street is rehabilitated.  Caltrans' current policies already requires consideration of such complete streets elements, but the proponents of the bill feel that additional community input and transparency are needed.  In his veto message, Governor Newsom noted that it would be a prescriptive and costly approach to increase walking, biking, and accessing public transportation.  He also noted the new leadership he is putting in place at Caltrans.  This includes a new Director, Toks Omishakin, beginning later this month.  The new Director previously served in the Tennessee Department of Transportation and has a long track record of supporting complete streets.

Last month Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1266, which directs Caltrans to develop lane striping, pavement markings, and regulatory signs to allow bicyclists to proceed straight through a left or right-turn lane.  A proposal will be presented to the California Traffic Control Devices Committee, which has representatives from local agencies and other stakeholders, next month for comment. 

Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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