Yet another criminal

I was assaulted by a vehicle driver today on J Street. Assault includes intent to harm with a deadly weapon, which is a motor vehicle, and does not require actual battery. Having learned my lesson from the last incident, I got the license number and vehicle description right. I did not get enough of a driver ID to press charges, but it will at least go on their record.

The details:
3VFM067 CA
White Toyota 4-runner, not new
White male young
J St eastbound at 10th St
Occurred about 6:25pm, 2012-05-29

A white Toyota 4-runner driven by a young white male attempted to intimidate me off the roadway by using his vehicle as a weapon. The driver gunned their engine at me for a block, and then passed within 3 inches, I felt the mirror touch my arm. I was traveling in the rightmost lane at about 20 mph. There is no bike lane in this area, and the lane is not wide enough to share. The other two eastbound travel lanes were open, at a time of light traffic, so the driver could have easily passed but chose to intimidate me. I caught up to the person and asked why he would use his vehicle to kill another person, and he flipped me off. Another vehicle immediately following did the same thing, passing too closely, so I suspect the two drivers were traveling together.

Incident 12-146316
Responding officer R. Cabrera, Sacramento Police Department

Bike Score

Bike Score for Minneapolis, with “heat map”

The next stage from the folks at Walk Score, Bike Score, is now available, for a select 10 cities. There aren’t any big surprises, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Madison are at the top.

Sacramento is not on the list of 10. If you’d like to see it there, you can go to the Bike Score page and tweet a vote for it. Please do!

Walk Score also recently released Transit Score, where Sacramento is listed, as 22 out of the 25 largest cities with accessible transit data, at a score of 32. Both the Bike Score and Transit Score are created at a city-wide level, unlike the address-specific Walk Score. So these rankings are just first steps, but nevertheless interesting and useful.

You may have seen articles in the media recently about the high correlation between walkability and housing prices, with walkable communities in high demand and unworkable suburbs in the doldrums. This is good news for all of us. Walk Score was in fact designed as a tool for helping people find real estate and apartments in places that fit their desired lifestyle. As the correlation between walkable, bikeable, transit-dense communities and livability becomes more clear, resources (societal and personal) will be shifted away from the suburbs to urban areas.

Utility pole in the bike lane

Note: I have moved this post here from my personal blog, since it fits better here, and it is the post that got me started on this blog.

The photos are of a bike lane with a utility pole in the middle of it. This is Fair Oaks Blvd westbound, just west of New York Ave, in the Carmichael area of Sacramento County. The first photo is from a distance, showing the clear bike lane markings. The second photo is closer, showing the pole dead (yes, DEAD) center in the bike lane.

I can think of a million irate things I’d like to say about this situation, but perhaps I’ll restrain myself and let the photos speak for themselves. I will say that, though this is the most egregious bike facility hazard I’ve seen in Sacramento County, it is far from the only.


Vigilante drivers

I’ve been thinking about a post on vigilante drivers even before starting this blog, but my experience yesterday means this is the topic for today.

vigilante: any person who takes the law into his or her hands, as by avenging a crime

Yesterday afternoon is was riding home from Howe Avenue Elementary School, there to provide lessons in pedestrian safety. Southbound on Howe Ave, there are no bike lanes, but there are three traffic lanes and traffic was light. As I rode in the middle of the right-most lane, 11 or 12 feet wide, not wide enough to share with a motor vehicle, vehicles changed lanes to pass, in a smooth flow of traffic, and I had gone quite some distance with no issues. One vehicle behind me decided to do otherwise. The driver started honking and yelling, and when I did not move out of the lane, accelerated hard past me, coming close enough that I felt some part of the vehicle brush my sleeve. It is hard to say whether she intended to kill me or to intimidate me, but in either case she was acting as what I call a vigilante driver. These are people who are sure that it is illegal for you to be riding your bike on the road, and since no law enforcement is present, decide to take the law into their own hands and become judge, jury and executioner, using their vehicle to carry out the punishment. Continue reading “Vigilante drivers”