Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Camille Savoy's Killer Gets off Scot-Free

Benepe's Bicycle Blog is reporting that the killer of NYC cyclist, Camille Savoy got off scot-free in a New Jersey court even though the evidnece indicated that the driver was a foot and a half over the fog line when she hit him in the shoulder of Rt 9 in Alpine.

Even a pathetic careless driving ticket couldn't stick to this killer!

Would the results have been the same if she killed the driver of another car?!?!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Giro Comes to Jersey!

Not THAT Giro! The Giro Di Jersey. Maybe a little more "Bada Bing" than la dolche vita but it does claim to be the biggest stage race on the East Coast with 5 stages and $20,000 in prize money.

Unfortunately the weather has hampered a few of the stages including the Sourland Mountain Road Race which would have had racers riding some of the best and most scenic roads for biking in all of New Jersey.

The Giro ends this weekend but there is still an opportunity to see a stage with the Rock Hill Cycling Classic (with the great climb up Copper Mine Rd ) on Saturday and the Corner House Grand Prix in Princeton Township on Sunday.

Cool New Jersey Bike Biz

I wouldn't normally post about business but this is too cool not to share. Best of all it comes straight out of Jersey and NOT Portland!

The Hopewell Valley News ran a report recently about Anthony Corrado of Trenton and his new business BicycleBanner.com. According to the Hopewell Valley News, Anthony says, "I’m not sure how far I want to take it. I have no employees. It’s just me. I think I’ll keep it that way for now. I enjoy it. I love to ride a bicycle."

We love to ride bikes too Anthony and we wish you the best with your new business.

PS - He also sells the trailers too!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jersey City Hit-&-Run Driver Caught on Video!

NJ.com has traffic cam video of a hit-&-run driver running a red light and hitting a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk with the walk signal.

Hit-run driver injures Jersey City man

The crash happens right at 1 min into the video, at the bottom of the screen. The pedestrian is wearing dark clothing. However this crash happened at 1:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, June 13th. If you look closely the man starts to cross about 1/2 second after he gets the "Walk" signal. All of a sudden this black pickup truck slams into the poor fellow. The crash happened at the corner of Marin Blvd and 6th Street in Jersey City. Another newspaper reports that the police estimating the driver's speed at 35 to 40 mph in a 25 zone.

The victim is 51-year-old Ricardo Torres who was listed in critical condition at Jersey City Medical Center according to the AP report.

The Hudson County Prosecutor should throw the book at this guy!

Oh yeah. One more very important thing. This is a good (bad) example of roadway design standards originally developed for freeways causing havoc on city streets with a large number of pedestrians. A quick look at the Google Maps shows a large residential neighborhood just to the west of this intersection with the Newport Center Mall and the waterfront just to the east. The video itself shows the constant pedestrian traffic at this site. So with engineering designs that allow drivers to greatly exceed the speed limit is it no surprise that drivers do?

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Revised language of the "Quick Release Bill"

Here are the links to the revised draft language of the "Quick Release Bill" thanks to the NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian News Digest.

Revised draft language of the “Quick Release Bill”
State of New Jersey 213th Legislature • Thursday, June 4, 2009
http://tinyurl.com/lypjfy & http://tinyurl.com/nqf5qj

The key to the language is in this sentence:
It shall be an unlawful practice for any person to sell a bicycle with a front wheel diameter of 20 inches or less, which is equipped with a quick release wheel, exclusive of specialty adult bicycles.
While on the surface it sounds a lot less draconian than the first couple of drafts, I'm still somewhat leery of the term "specialty adult bicycle." I can see some civil litigation attorney trying to twist the meaning of this to include adult bicycles with small wheels (folders and recumbents come to mind) since it is possible for a child to ride one of these. Still the language is much better than before.

Also there is nothing in this draft that exempts the sale of used bicycles from private party sales as requested by one of the assemblymen who sit on the committee. This needs to be addressed!

Finally the fines of "not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense" are exceedingly high and have the potential to put most bike shops out of business the first time around (but could put a noticeable dent into a Big Box retailer). Particularly when you consider that drivers of cars are routinely given just a ticket for "Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian" (2 points, $120) after they kill pedestrians crossing legally in a crosswalk.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pedestrian Safety Bill Moves Forward - Meanwhile Pedestrian Deaths Go Through The Roof

A1329/S2480 a pedestrian safety bill has passed the Assembly (76-0) and has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Under the bill, motorists would be required to stop and remain stopped at a crosswalk while pedestrians pass through the driver’s lane of traffic, even if a light changes to give the motorist the right of way.

A1329's Primary Sponsor - Assemblywoman Linda Stender has been a champion of pedestrian safety over the years. “The number of pedestrian deaths in our state has been increasing instead of decreasing despite our best efforts in recent years,” said Stender (D-Union), vice chairwoman of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. “This measure will clearly give pedestrians the right of way so that school children and people on foot can safely walk to their destinations.”

The legislation (A-1329) – a result of the transportation panel’s 2006 hearings on New Jersey pedestrian safety – would provide pedestrians with a clear right to safely navigate New Jersey’s roadways.

A press release on May 21 from the NJ State Police bears Stender's concerns out, with 71 pedestrian deaths so far in 2009-34% of all traffic deaths. NJ has become a pedestrian death leader with a rate that is 3 times the national average (11% in 2007).

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Quick Release Bill Update

Today I took some time-off to head down to Trenton to observe and possibly speak before the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee about A1251 otherwise known as the "Quick Release Bill."

First the good news:

The bill has already seen substantial revision and will continue to be amended so that it truely only covers bicycles that have only a certain size wheel and that are only intended for children.

Besides myself, Patrick Cunnane of Advanced Sports (Fuji, Breezer, Kestrel) attended the meeting and has been representing industry interests on this bill. Patrick has been communicating with the bill sponsors about the language and he told me and the committee that if the bill moves forward with the revised language, that the bicycle industry was comfortable with that language and that they would not oppose it.

Now the bad news:

While this was all somewhat reassuring to hear it still means that the bill continues to move forward.

After Patrick gave a few quick comments confirming his position to the committee, one of the Assemblymen (I believe it was Jon M. Bramnick) also added that this bill should only cover new retail sales and not include used bicycle sales, particularly those between two private parties to which the other committee members seemed to agree.

At this point I was given a moment to testify as a concerned private citizen (I did not attend to officially represent WalkBikeJersey). I echoed Patrick's relief that this bill will not be as draconian as first drafted, however I still objected to the need for the bill at all saying that civil litigation often has a way of self regulating industry. After my brief comments opposing the bill Chairwoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez responded with the view of the committee. I won't go into details as to what she said except to say that "if this bill can save one child" was uttered.

My impression after the hearing is that the bill's authors and sponsors have nothing but good intentions. However I continue believe that they are a bit misguided. Still, it should be noted that even a much more benign version of this bill may never make it into law.

We'll continue to stay on top of this bill and keep you informed about its progress. When the new draft language becomes available, well be sure to get it to you.