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bikes, Clothing, Events, Gear, Handmade Bicycles, Seattle

Seattle Makers – Highlighted Vendors of the Pedaler’s Fair

Last month, I had the opportunity to stop by the 2013 Pedaler’s Fair, hosted this year in Seattle’s Underground Events Space  in Belltown.

2013 Christina Marie Hicks-15

The first of the cyclist-targeted clothing lines I was drawn to was Telaio Clothing. The line of designer and maker Katherine Andrews, Telaio’s line of handbuilt wool clothing is comes in colors that seem fitting for the northwest – charcoal greys and khakis, in classic pieces for men and women. The wool blazers and riding pants have a unisex, uniform feel to them – the simple colors and cuts could easily be incorporated into any wardrobe and look nondescript on and off a bike. As Katherine, the designer/tailor behind Telaio expressed, Telaio clothes are intended to easily become a uniform, sewn with the care and intention required for a long-wearing investment piece.

Telaio Clothing
Telaio Clothing

I really appreciated clothing designer Babecycle‘s approach to bike wear for its femininity. Designer Sonia McBride’s recent line included a really beautiful skirt that caught my eye, offered in both a dayglo shade of chartreuse, and a bright orchid / fuchsia color. The feminine, A-line cut and textured fabric are intended to look beautiful both on and off the bike, allowing for movement while cycling, but stylish enough to wear to the office or around town. Personally, the chartreuse color is a bit bright for my personal taste, but I’m really drawn to the idea of incorporating a dayglo piece of clothing into my wardrobe that could serve as a more stylish version of a florescent vest. Pieces from Babecycle’s line are available for purchase in Fremont at Hub and Bespoke, or online in their Etsy shop.

Chartreuse skirt by Babecycle
Chartreuse skirt by Babecycle

Of all the exhibitors at the fair, I was most intrigued by the beautiful fleet of cycles that the guys of Seattle-based Bombus Bikes were showcasing. All custom built, each of the 4 frames displayed were incredibly unique – not just in the more aesthetic decisions of paint colors and accessories – but in frame type and use. It was easy to tell how much thought went into crafting each frame with a specific purpose and type of rider in mind, and then in the selection of accessories that make the final builds look so intentionally beautiful.

The guys behind Bombus Bikes
Bombus Bikes

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Advocacy, Bicycle

Guest Post- “Dooring”: Another Danger Facing Bicyclists

Getting doored is awful.  Like many of the dangers brought about by cars and bikes sharing the road- cyclists are protected by the law.  That of course won’t prevent you from ending up the hospital with one mishap.  Our first line of defense is always our awareness while riding.  So keep your eyes and ears open- and keep the rubber side down.

A big thanks to Leslie for taking the time to write the article.

 

The onus is on the driver-not the cyclist

I work for an attorney and we have many clients that have been involved in horrendous bike accidents. When they call the office to book a consultation with our law team, I often envision a tragic, bloody scene where a car rushed through a yellow light, the driver distracted because they were texting on their cell phone, and striking an innocent cyclist peddling through the crosswalk. However, would you believe that most of the time I was way off base. In fact, and not to condone distracted drivers by any means, but many of the cycling accident victims that contacted our law office were “doored” many of them just small children whose parents were booking an appointment on their behalf.

If you’re not familiar with “dooring,” I’m referring to a particular type of cycling accident that occurs when a passing cyclist is struck by the sudden opening of a car door. And believe it or not striking a passing cyclist with an open car door can be just as harmful to as getting hit by a moving vehicle. Dooring actually takes place more often than you would think with these type of incidents accounting for more than 15% of bicycle injuries.

Dooring typically occurs when a parked car opens their car door into the path of a cycling lane without looking first and strikes a moving cyclist. If a cyclist doesn’t have a chance to react or move out of the way, injuries suffered can be worse than if they are struck by a moving car, and if the cyclist is close to the door when it makes contact, you can imagine the metal, glass, and blood. Not to cause panic, but one of the first dooring victims that I met, involved a bike courier who was traveling at a fast speed in his bike lane when the car he was passing swung the drivers side door open hard and unexpectedly. The driver, a very petite woman was not visible over the back of the seat, and since she had her hands full with a coffee and files while she was trying to get out of her car, she used her foot to kick open her door. Well, you can imagine the damage the poor bike courier- he was thrown hard from his bike and sustained multiple fractures as well as a terrible head injury.

Although most city cyclists and bike couriers are on the lookout for distracted car door openers, those who don’t cycle every day or ride in urban areas might not be aware of or be on the look out for swinging car doors. Cyclists should be aware of something called the “door zone” by more veteran cyclists. The door zone refers to the three feet of road surrounding a parked car- or the swing-radius of all 4 car doors if a driver should open one without looking first. If you live in a city with bike lanes with parking on the inner edge, the door zone will effectively cut a bike lane in half when a door is swung open suddenly.

And drivers might not realize that the onus is on them. In fact, looking before opening a car door is the law in many states and municipalities who are trying to protect innocent cyclists, many of them children, from being doored in urban cities!

Chicago, for one, has done its part to try to eradicate dooring threats to cyclists by including the following related laws in the Chicago Municipal Code* when it comes to opening and closing vehicle doors:

  • Individuals must only open a vehicle door towards moving traffic when it is reasonably safe to do so.
  • Opening a vehicle door must never interfere with the movement of other traffic.
  • Individuals can only open vehicle doors for as long as it takes to load or unload passengers.

I’m glad to see that my own state of Louisiana is taking cues from Chicago, amending a previous law that states that no person shall open the door of any vehicle into the side of moving traffic unless it’s safe to do so. Cycling and dooring law amendments are proposed as such: Individuals are prohibited from opening a vehicle door into the side of moving traffic before taking due safety measures to ensure it won’t interfere with moving traffic, or endanger any person or motor vehicle.

About The Author

This guest post is contributed by Leslie Krick, who regularly writes for a Louisiana accident attorney. She welcomes your comments at her email ID: leslieekrick@gmail.com.

*The Seattle code referring to dooring can be found here:

Section 11.58.050 OPENING AND CLOSING VEHICLE DOORS.  No person shall enter, leave, or open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

 

Advocacy, Bicycle, Stolen

Guest post: Bike Theft advice

The other day I read the abbreviated version of the following article, written by Jim Teague about bike theft.  I get a lot of emails from people that have had their bikes nabbed- looking for some way to increase their chances of retrieval.  I was impressed with Jim’s approach and asked him if he would like to write an expanded version for the blog.  He wrote back quickly with a “yes” and Monday morning- this was in my inbox.  Thanks to Jim for taking the time and I hope that it is helpful to those that may have lost a bike to theft.

Bike theft advice: both before and after.  Written by Jim Teague

Maybe you are unfortunate enough for this to have happened to you, but it goes like this…

You walk out to the garage to grab your bike and…it’s not there. You spend another 10 minutes, like an idiot, looking under rags, behind this bucket and behind that 2×4, etc…. because you know it’s here, but for some reason you just can’t see it. Eventually it sinks in – it’s been stolen and someone else has your bike now. You almost feel sick.

Well, I’m recounting my own experience above. And I did all the “right” things: I promptly reported it to the police (and my insurance company), and within a few days had a dead-on, slam-dunk identification of my bike on Craig’s List. I worked with the police, asking them how I should approach the situation. But my case is now closed and my bike is gone forever. To sum it up, it goes like this: someone walked into my garage and stole one of my most prized possessions and essentially sold it for scrap, right in front of me. And there was basically nothing that could be done about it.

But saying that there’s “nothing” I could have done isn’t exactly true. Knowing what I know now, I would have done a few things differently. Of course, prior to the theft I would have kept better records, but there are things I would have done differently even after the theft. Let me walk through a few of those things and share my hard-won experience.

Before the Theft

My bike was unique, there wasn’t another one on the earth like it. It was purchased as a frameset, and I outfitted it with a combination of components that were purchased new, as well as some that I migrated off of my previous frameset. So other than the frame and fork, every item was individually picked by me, at different times. But this doesn’t mean anything to most of the general public (including police, detectives, and any judge you might want to sign a search warrant). They first thing the police will ask you is “how do you know it’s your bike?”. You know that bike so well that you’re actually offended at that question. But you compose yourself and proceed to explain to them until you’re blue in the face the color of the spoke nipples, how many teeth are on each cog in the cassette, etc., etc., etc. You are met with skepticism, or at best, some sympathy: “I agree with you – I think that bike might be yours”. I never, at any point in the conversation, said “might”.

As above, these detailed descriptions are basically meaningless to most of the general public, who barely knows how many wheels a bike has. As far as they know, all bikes are bought from a department store along with thousands of identical others. But to be fair, maybe the police officer has just come off a case where someone said they knew for sure some stolen property was theirs, only to be made a fool of.

Your weapons of choice here are 1) The Serial Number, and 2) The Receipt. Go write down the serial number of your bike, as well as all the parts that have one, and keep it all in a safe place. From law enforcement’s perspective, that is irrefutable evidence that the bike is yours. Secondly, keep receipts for the bike and at least the major components. That helps back you up.

Here’s the other piece of advice: have some good homeowner’s insurance with “replacement cost”. Actually I did, and I’m getting a replacement bike for the amount of my deductible.

After the Theft

The usual situation here is that some low-life has grabbed your bike in order to exchange it for some quick cash. Usually, the ad you may find on Craigs List is incredibly naïve. While someone legitimately selling a high-end bike would relate meticulous detail on things like the size and the components, these thieves typically don’t provide any of that information because they really haven’t a clue. My ad said “I don’t have time to ride my bike anymore, so I’m selling it”. That’s it, nothing more. When I found the ad I went to the police to ask their advice, and they said “just answer the ad as you would inquire for any bike”. I actually did as they suggested, but that’s terrible advice and I would certainly do it differently today.

I created a fake gmail account and responded to the ad asking “What condition is it in?” which is fine, but then I asked “What size is it, and what components are on it?”. Those latter questions were perfectly normal questions any cyclist would want to know the answers to, but in this case they were a big mistake for two reasons. First, it might seem too inquisitive and make them suspicious. Second, as above, they don’t know the answers to those questions. They are simply looking for someone who will give them quick cash for their stolen goods. I never got a response. Instead, I should have said “I would like to buy the bike if you still have it, when can we meet?”.

Let me stop here and say that getting a response from the thief is critical to any chances of recovering your bike. If you can’t lure them into setting up a meeting, or even to give you more information about themselves, you’re going nowhere. I would also suggest that you recruit several of your friends to respond to the ad as well, it will improve the odds of a response. Once the thief responds to one of them, contact the police immediately and try to coordinate a “sting” operation.

In terms of dealing with the police, you will probably end up filing the initial police report over the phone, but at some point you should march yourself down to the station and talk with someone face-to-face, and hand them any documentation you have. It will make the case more “real”, and will also help your credibility and demonstrate that you are serious about getting to the bottom of this. My case got nowhere until I went to the police station, and handed the officer a photograph of the bike and a full page list of how it could be identified. He pledged to take that information to the detectives the next day, and he did. The detective called me and we had several discussions after that.

My own story didn’t have a happy ending, though, despite what you read about on what seems a regular basis. The detective handling my case was going to make his own ad query along the lines of my suggestion (just offer them money). But by that time the bike was either sold, or the ad expired, and we had no way to close the gap between me and the anonymous thief. The detective said that no judge would sign a Craig’s List inquiry for a search warrant based on “a photo”. The case is closed now.

Summary

So here’s a summary of what I recommend:

·         Write down all of your serial numbers and keep receipts
·         Make sure you have good homeowner’s insurance that insures for replacement cost
·         Good security around your home/apartment. For example, make sure you NEVER leave your garage door open overnight
·         Work with the police: file a police report immediately (you’ll have to do this anyway for your insurance claim)
·         Gather the evidence you have on paper, go to the police station to talk to a person, and give them this information
·         Also be clear about the value with the police. If you just say “a bike’, they may assume a $150 value, but if it is high end make sure they know that
·         If you respond to a Craig’s List ad, make it simple and attractive to the thief – after coordinating with the police, just offer to buy it and don’t ask any questions. Recruiting some friends to respond as well will improve the chances of a response.