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M II A II R II K Aug 3, 2011 3:12 PM

Debate intensifies over bike-ped issues

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Disagreement over how to make communities more bike-friendly — without detracting from pedestrian life — cropped up in June when more than 1,100 people gathered for CNU’s 19th annual congress. “CNU is 10 years behind on bikeway planning and design,” Mike Lydon, principal in the Street Plans Collaborative, declared during the June 1-4 gathering in Madison, Wisconsin. “Bikeway design is a rapidly advancing field,” Lydon emphasized, and he urged new urbanists to become much better versed in it.

- Lydon, in his CNU presentation and in later elaboration for New Urban News, said many traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs) have not kept up with bike planning’s advances. Among his contentions:

• “The deficiencies are most pronounced in greenfield development .... In the TNDs I’ve visited and studied, they tend to have several, or at least a few, connections to a main arterial road, but the connectivity through the site to other neighborhoods tends to be very limited.” It’s hard for cyclists in these mostly suburban communities to reach much of the region conveniently and safely. The main roadway rarely has any bikeway infrastructure to link to.

• Wayfinding is lacking. “Primary bike routes and destinations need to be made transparent in and through neighborhoods. ... If I bike to a new neighborhood that I am not intimately familiar with,” Lydon pointed out, “I’m going to want to know which street to take that will be comfortable, direct, and get me to a destination within or on the other side of the neighborhood.” Often directional clues are absent.

• There is too much reliance on “sharrows”— markings on the pavement reminding motorists that they must share portions of the road with cyclists. “Sharrows are an important treatment, and seem to be widely accepted by us new urbanists, but they will not attract” the many people who worry about riding next to fast-moving motor vehicles, said Lydon, a former DPZ employee whose Street Plans Collaborative has offices in New York and Miami.

• “New Urbanists often just copy-paste bike parking ratio standards from other sources, and those sources are not the best — most sources tie bike parking to car parking. The two should be unbundled so that if car parking requirements are reduced in the future, this does not negatively impact the supply of bike parking when it may be needed most.” The need for intelligent bike parking oversight is most crucial in downtowns.

• “The base SmartCode oversimplifies the available types of bikeways (Bike Routes, Bike Lanes, Bike Trails)” and “makes little distinction between existing and retrofit conditions.” Lydon said he and others wrote a SmartCode bike module to address several such issues, but are just now getting the opportunity to calibrate it in El Paso, Texas, and Fitchburg, Wisconsin. “It’s much more difficult to calibrate the module after the Code has been adopted,” he observed. In many new urban communities, even the bike racks are out of date, according to Lydon. “Comb racks,” containing a series of vertical metal dividers to which you’re supposed to lock your bike, are awkward when compared to “inverted U-racks,” he explained.


A contrasting view

Carver, from his perspective as a planner of TNDs, found several ideas and techniques from the realm of bike advocacy troubling. Among them:

• Roads that are widened to provide a 5-foot bike lane on each side. Adding a total of 10 feet to a street’s width can reduce the street’s sense of enclosure. That, in turn, can make the street less appealing, especially to pedestrians.

• The idea of “cutting off the grid” at certain points to prevent vehicular traffic from making cyclists uncomfortable. Carver believes the grid is a valuable tool that should generally be allowed to prevail. He praised the City of Madison for generally not including traffic diverters in its bike boulevard system.

• Removal of on-street parking so that the parking lane can be converted into a bike lane. Carver said that on some arterial roads in Madison where on-street parking had been replaced by bike lanes, he discovered that the building entrances facing the street no longer functioned; the operators had closed them, forcing people to use a back door — to the detriment of pedestrian convenience and sidewalk character and potentially sacrificing urbanism to cycling.


M II A II R II K Aug 4, 2011 1:39 PM

D.C. Capital Bikeshare

M II A II R II K Aug 6, 2011 3:00 PM

How to become a cycling 'ambassador'

5 August 2011

By Matt Seaton

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Just this week, a bike shop in Portland, Oregon – which is widely seen as a countercultural cycling nirvana in the automobile-loving US – launched an initiative it's calling "21Ambassadors".

- "We, the 21 Ambassadors are here to help you. When tires flat and spokes break, when chains fail and gears groan, when you need a hand, we hope to be there to assist."

- A kind of cross between Bicycle Repair Man and the Big Society, cynics might say. But Kyle Von Hoetzendorff of 21st Avenue Bicycles is getting plenty of applicants, within hours of the launch of the programme, ready to make the ambassadors' commitments:

• To stop and offer assistance to fellow cyclists.

• To follow all rules of the road and set the standard for exemplary riding behaviour.

• To carry their Road Aid kit with them on all rides.

- The 21Ambassadors initiative is unusual in that it comes from the commercial sector, with backing from 21st Avenue Bikes' industry contacts. Several US cities have their own takes on cycling diplomacy: Washington, DC, San Francisco and Chicago all have ambassador schemes. But these are generally led by bike advocacy groups; or, in the case of Chicago, it's a partnership between cycling campaigners and city government. Transportation Alternatives in New York also recently launched a "Bicycle Ambassadors" programme – along with a pledge that anyone can sign up to and which is reminiscent of the Portland mission statement:

• Responsible riding is safer for everyone.

• Bike lanes keep everyone out of each other's way and out of harm's way.

• A robust public bike share programme empowers New Yorkers with more transit choices.


202_Cyclist Aug 6, 2011 3:45 PM


Thank you for posting the DC bikeshare video. Capital Bikeshare has been a tremendous success in the District. As part of the latest expansion, our neighborhood (Glover Park) is getting another station.

One of the many benefits of the bikeshare program is that it is a kind of 'gateway drug' for bicycling. People start out trying the Capital Bikeshare a couple of times and realizing that biking is a great way to commute and get their own bicycles.

M II A II R II K Aug 10, 2011 10:51 PM

Bike traffic triples on Laurier Avenue since bike lanes opened

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OTTAWA — The novelty of the segregated bike lane on Laurier Avenue has worn off, but in four weeks it’s become a steady thoroughfare for Ottawa’s downtown cyclists, recording about three times as many riders on a decent weekday as the same street did the year before. Sensors planted under the road in several key locations automatically count the bicycles passing above by detecting the metal as it goes by. Right after the lane opened on July 10 for a two-year pilot project, the sensors recorded more than 2,000 bikes a day passing sensors at Laurier Avenue and Metcalfe Street. Since then, the counts have settled down a bit, recording about 1,700 cyclists on a typical weekday — somewhat fewer if it’s raining or scorching hot.

On Aug. 6 last year, the city planted people with counting devices at that same corner to track the number of pedestrians, bicycles and motorized vehicles passing through the intersection between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and in that period they counted 596 bikes crossing Metcalfe using Laurier Avenue. According to Environment Canada, that day was partly cloudy, dry and cool, with a high just shy of 20 degrees — a great day for biking. “Anecdotally, it seems like there’s just more people cycling,” says Colin Simpson, the city manager in charge of the Laurier experiment. “I’m out there every day and that’s what people say to me every day.”

The goal of the lane is to improve safety for cyclists crossing downtown, and also to make them feel safer, in the hope that people who’ve previously been too skittish to take to two wheels to head to work in the core will feel more comfortable doing it. Simpson says he doesn’t know for sure whether the increased use of Laurier is primarily because more people are choosing to bike or because it’s attracting riders away from other east-west roads. The key test will be when figures are gathered next year for the city’s annual “cycling index,” when city staff will see whether more people are heading into downtown on their bikes or the existing riders have just been redistributed.


M II A II R II K Aug 13, 2011 2:50 AM

Businesses may complain, but they have yet to produce hard evidence that they have suffered as a result of segregated cycling areas

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A study released last month that could have - and should have - nailed down the impacts of downtown Vancouver's new bike lanes on the businesses that line the affected streets is, in fact, doing no such thing. Far from informing an intelligent discussion, the Business Impact Study prepared for council is so thin it's little more than fodder for spin from anyone trying to score points either for or against the separated downtown lanes. I think the blame for the report's inadequacies falls squarely on the shoulders of the very businesses that purport - not very credibly under the circumstances - to be suffering losses as a result of the bike lanes.

- Hornby Street and Dunsmuir Street businesses put the kibosh on any chance of meaningful solutions when most of them refused to provide the researchers with any solid data. Of the 225 businesses on the streets involved, only four ever provided any detailed information. So the report's authors had to struggle to find something authoritativesounding to write down. They settled on a conclusion that the lanes brought about "according to participant perceptions" a total sales loss of $2.4 million a year and profit loss of $480,000. Well, maybe. Or maybe not. On data this thin, who knows?

- The main complaint of businesses seems to relate to the loss of parking spots on the two streets that used to be lined with parked cars before the concrete barriers were erected to create a safe space for bikes. Intuitively, this sounds credible since 170 spaces disappeared - 152 on Hornby and 18 on Dunsmuir.

- But if you look a little more deeply you'll find that parking spaces are much more readily available, not less, since the bike lanes came in. A whole host of factors - the new Canada Line, the generally positive experience using transit that commuters were pushed into during the Olympics and the egregious new combination of parking taxes that adds more than a third to the cost - have conspired to reduce demand for downtown parking.


SFUVancouver Aug 13, 2011 4:32 AM

^ It's worth noting that the photo featured in the above post is the 'before' condition prior to the installation of a separated cycle track. What is pictured is Burrard Street en route to the Burrard Street Bridge. In 2009 separated bicycle lanes were added to the Burrard Street Bridge in lieu of a vehicle travel lane and the limitation of pedestrians to the sidewalk on the west side of the bridge deck. This was not the preferred arrangement but it has proven to be exceptionally popular with just a touch over 1 million trips during its first year of the new configuration and well over a million in year two. It's now permanent. The Burrard Street bicycle lane pictured above was the south-bound route to the bridge while the one way painted lane on Hornby Street, one block to the east, is the north-bound half of the couplet. It was along Hornby Street that a bidirectional separated cycle track was installed as a pilot project to connect Burrard Street Bridge with a route through the downtown core and CBD with a connection to the Dunsmuir Street separated cycle track.

Here is what the Hornby Street's cycle track looks like: Taken by SFUVancouver, May 12th 2011.

And here's a shot of the Dunsmuir Street cycle track: Taken by SFUVancouver, May 12th 2011.

Here's a shot of the cycle track on the Burrard Street bridge. Utilitarian but tremendously effective. Taken by SFUVancouver, May 13th 2011.

M II A II R II K Aug 17, 2011 2:26 PM

Judge Rejects Groups’ Effort to Remove Bike Lane

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A judge on Tuesday dismissed an effort by Brooklyn residents to remove a hotly contested bicycle lane installed by the city on Prospect Park West, in one of the most closely watched controversies over a signature policy of the Bloomberg administration. The decision represented a significant victory for the city and its transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, whose campaign to create streets more oriented to pedestrians and bicyclists has divided New Yorkers and prompted a fierce political debate.

- The plaintiffs, a pair of well-connected civic groups in Brooklyn with ties to Iris Weinshall, a former city transportation commissioner, had accused the city’s Transportation Department of cherry-picking statistics to create a favorable portrait of the lane and misleading residents about its benefits. The judge’s decision did not address those claims or the merits of the lane itself. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Jim Walden of the Manhattan firm Gibson Dunn, said in a statement on Tuesday that he disagreed with the court’s decision and that the plaintiffs would review it “before deciding on our options.”

- “This decision results in a hands-down victory for communities across the city,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a statement on Tuesday that described the plaintiffs as “dead wrong” in their arguments. “Merely not liking a change is no basis for a frivolous lawsuit to reverse it,” she added.


M II A II R II K Aug 18, 2011 2:30 PM

Chinese bike-sharing dwarfs US and European programs

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The bike-sharing system in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou makes even the most developed systems in the US and Europe look like small potatoes by comparison. The 51,500-bike system, in a city of almost 7 million people, averages 240,000 trips every day — and reaches peaks of 320,000 trips in a day.

A few quick lessons can be gleaned from this impressive program:

Use appropriate pricing incentives. In Hangzhou the first hour is free, the second hour is 1RMB (only 15 cents!), the third hour is 2RMB (30 cents), and each hour after that is 3RMB (45 cents).

Solve the "last mile" issue. Hangzhou has integrated its bus, water taxi, and parking systems with the bike sharing program. To encourage multi-modal use, bus passengers receive the first 90 minutes free in addition to the pricing incentives above.

Keep pick up and drop off stations close. In Hangzhou, stations are 200-300 meters apart in the city and 500-800 meters apart in the suburbs. This makes the system as convenient as possible and often makes the "last mile" less than a mile.

Cater to all types of users. Many public bikes in Hangzhou include child seats and storage baskets, making them attractive to families, commuters, and tourists.

Create a positive perception. Residents perceive the public bikes as “speedy and convenient,” and the program has the highest satisfaction rate of all development projects in the city.


M II A II R II K Aug 19, 2011 5:34 PM

Traffic Fines to Fund Biking Programs in Brazil

August 18, 2011

By Itir Sonuparlak

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After Brazil’s President Rousseff created Way to School, a national program that provides 100,000 donated bikes and helmets to students in public schools, the federal government took another important step to encourage the culture of cycling in the country. Earlier this month, the Bicycle Program Brazil (PBB) bill was approved by the Urban Development Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. Under the measure, 15 percent of collected traffic fines will be used to fund bicycle projects in all municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants. As an example, the Gazeta do Povo blog on cycling, Ir e Vir de Bike (“Come and Go By Bike,”) explains that in Curitiba this amount would represent nearly R$10 million per year to encourage the use of bikes.

- This legislative effort in Brazil is a new initiative to encourage non-motorized transport, but other Latin American countries like Argentina are already paving the way in sustainable transport. The hermanos already have a complex network of bike paths and an efficient system of public bicycles in Buenos Aires. If approved, Brazil’s new law can be a great catalyst to launch more bike-friendly initiatives in Brazil to enhance bike culture.


M II A II R II K Aug 22, 2011 1:29 PM

A New Breed of Lawyers Focuses on Bicyclists’ Rights

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AT the law firm Rankin & Taylor, everybody’s a cyclist. One recent day, the lawyers there parsed bike-law issues, like “dooring zones” and when is it legally acceptable to ride outside a designated lane, while downstairs, each of their bikes were expertly locked to a scaffold along Broadway in TriBeCa. The small firm is preparing to bring a class-action suit against New York City on behalf of cyclists over summons handed out for what it contends are phantom violations — bike behavior that it says is not illegal in the city. It is another sign that New York’s bike fights are moving from the streets to the courtroom.

When it comes to bike law, it seems, the wheels of justice no longer grind slowly. Since a ticketing blitz early this year, cyclists in New York have faced stepped-up police enforcement of red-light and other, less-obvious rules, like having adequate lights or not riding with earphones in both ears. Add to that a highly publicized lawsuit challenging a bike lane along Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, thrown out by a judge last week, and bike law can seem like a growing opportunity for lawyers who make bikes their business.

In addition to Rankin & Taylor, the New York bike bar includes Adam D. White, a Manhattan lawyer who regularly commutes to work by bicycle and has represented injured cyclists, and Gideon Orion Oliver, an East Village lawyer who has represented cyclists involved with the Time’s Up rides that have frequently resulted in clashes with the police. Bike rules are a surprisingly tangled area of the law. The city’s myriad regulations have confused unsuspecting riders and have occasionally tripped up even the police officers responsible for enforcing them.


M II A II R II K Aug 23, 2011 3:56 AM

Tax Bikes for Better Bike Infrastructure?

Read More: http://straightouttasuburbia.blogspo...tter-bike.html



Why not tax bicycles, their accessories, or their associated services (like repair) to pay for better bike infrastructure: more bike lanes, bike boulevards, sharrows, bike racks, or even public education campaigns? I think it's a promising idea for several reasons.

1) It would address the biggest obstacle to cycling. In my opinion, the main obstacle to more cycling seems to be bad cycling conditions, not the money cost of cycling. Cycling is ridiculously cheap compared to owning a car or even riding a bus. A small surtax on cycling gear and services probably isn't going to deter too many people, but better riding conditions could have a big impact on inducing more cycling.

2) Gas taxes are less and less able to meet anyone's transportation needs. As cars get more efficient they pay less tax per kilometer driven. Political barriers make it very difficult to raise the taxes. Deferred maintenance on today's infrastructure will add up to higher costs tomorrow. Why be dependent on a funding stream that is increasingly dysfunctional?

3) It worked for cars. Taxing a mode of transportation to improve its infrastructure is a key reason why we have car dominance today. In the 1950s and 60s the interstate highway system was built with gas tax revenue. Although we sometimes think of raising gas taxes as a way to discourage driving, historically they have helped to encourage it by paying for roads.

4) It would be good politics. Providing a direct and visible source of transportation funding from bicycles to bicycle infrastructure takes one more argument away from people who want to portray cyclists as leeching off of tax money they aren't paying into. Also, a tax that only falls on bicycles is less likely to run into conservative blowback than a tax that falls on a broader base of people.


Trantor Aug 24, 2011 11:42 PM

if you tax bikes for better bike infrastructure, wont that cause the inverse effect?? That is, make people drop their bikes and use cars???

its idiotic, like taxing people on foot to create better sidewalks! Its obvious that people will preffer cars if walking and pedalling are taxed!

M II A II R II K Aug 25, 2011 12:35 AM

The British Cycling Economy

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A new report from the London School of Economics looks at the “cycling economy” that is taking the United Kingdom by storm and the economic benefits generated by individual cyclists. The 24-page report investigates the factors that have all played a part in driving the growth of the cycling industry, which includes the 200 percent expansion of the National Cycle Network to more than 12,000 miles and the addition of dedicated cycling lanes in urban and city areas. The study also credits environmental concerns (83 percent of people in the U.K. believe that environmental issues are a priority) and health considerations (80 percent of men and 70 percent of women in the U.K. are forecasted to be overweight or obese) as factors that were drivers in the growth of the cycling industry.

The expansion of the cycling industry can also mean a savings of US$3 billion within a decade to the British economy in reduced absenteeism. According to an empirical study on cycling and absenteeism, regular cyclists took 7.4 sick days per year in comparison to the 8.7 sick days taken per year by non-cyclists, concluding that people who cycle more often and longer distances are absent on fewer days. In addition, if the existing cycling levels increase by a rate of 20 percent by 2015, the British economy can see a US$300 million savings in terms of reduced traffic congestion and a US$116 million savings in terms of lower pollution levels. And finally, the report cites that the latent demand for cycling holds a US$840 million untapped economic potential.

The study cites five socio-economic benefits that cycling can bring to the U.K.:

• £2.9b (US$4.7b) total contribution to U.K. economy

• 28 per cent increase in volume of cycle sales in 2010, generating £1.62b (US$2.6b)

• £853m (US$1b) further contribution to the U.K. economy through the purchase of cycling accessories and bicycle maintenance, resulting in total retail sector sales of £2.47b (US$4b)

• Over £500m (US$800m) generated in wages and £100m (US$160m) in taxes from 23,000 employed directly in bicycle sales, distribution and the maintenance of cycling infrastructure

• Health benefits save the economy £128m (US$2m) per year in absenteeism


M II A II R II K Aug 25, 2011 3:30 PM

Riding out of a recession: Bicycle commuters can power the economy

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Copenhagen, Denmark, where half the city commutes to work by bicycle, recently released a study showing those riders are responsible for a $247 million economic impact. More than 300 businesses and 650 full-time jobs stem from the city's culture of riding to work, the city report found. The cold, Nordic port city has a lot in common with the Portland area: greenspaces, Intel and a lot of rainy days. Each city is the hub for a roughly 2 million-person metro area (though Copenhagen claims 1.1 million urban dwellers, about double that of Portland).

- Cities across the world should follow Portland and Copenhagen's lead and adopt progressive urban planning and bike-friendly transportation policies, not just to lessen the environmental impact of cars, but as part of a wider strategy to climb out of recession and increase the economic impact of sustainable commuting policies. That a city with a rainy clime is a leader on riding to work proves again how the medium-size Rose City functions with world-class pride and ambition, which is why we should all be surprised that the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 is not more ambitious in its aim to get people out of their cars. The plan as drafted calls for at least one-fourth of all trips to be made by bicycling within 20 years. An estimated 6 to 7 percent of Portlanders bike commute now.

- Nobody is naive enough to think we can pedal our way out of our unemployment challenges, but Portland sits at a reputational crossroads. Are we home to economies that some point to as always the first to go soft and the last to recover, or are we the urban planners' ideal whose dedication to livable communities and smart growth has made us the envy of our peers? With decisive policy action we can make the latter reputation stick. Copenhagen's 2011 cycling report showed bike commuting saved $80 million in health care costs, but with 36,000 cyclists clocked on the roads one day in September last year, bike-accident prevention becomes a full-time community effort.

- A side benefit beyond the economic development, the report found, is that cyclists prove to be a pretty civic-minded bunch. Just as a police officer who walks the beat may have a more intimate understanding of his neighborhood's safety, cyclists notice more on their regular commute than the typical driver. Last year alone, the Danish capital received 1,016 online tips from cyclists reporting specific needs for improved city services. Considering there is always room for more civic engagement in Portland, expanding bike commuting would be one more way for the city to live up to its good government reputation.


mhays Aug 25, 2011 3:41 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 5387335)
Tax Bikes for Better Bike Infrastructure?

Read More: http://straightouttasuburbia.blogspo...tter-bike.html

Anyone without a car is spending that money on other stuff...and paying taxes on that. So in many ways we're spending more than the drivers, and it's all equal in the end.

M II A II R II K Aug 30, 2011 1:43 PM

California bill would ban cellphone use while bicycling

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California's Legislature this week sent to Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that stiffens penalities for talking or texting on a cellphone without a hands-free device while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. For the first time, the bill would extend the state's 3-year-old cellphone ban to bicyclists, though with lesser penalties than motorists face. Bicycle groups aren't fighting the ban and say something similar is probably in the future for bicyclists in other states.

Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, the cyclists' lobby in Washington, says talking on cellphones while moving is a bad idea, whether on four wheels or two. "We can and should be held to the same standard as people driving cars," Clarke says. "One needs to be paying attention, both hands on the handlebars." He says he expects others to follow California's lead. "It doesn't cause me any heartache to see that passed," Clarke says. "My hope is it will be enforced vigorously."


mhays Aug 30, 2011 3:03 PM

Anyone reading any screen or typing on any device while on wheels deserves a baseball bat to the knees. Or whatever injury they sustain.

M II A II R II K Aug 30, 2011 3:07 PM

Even with handsfree devices, the use of an MP3 player in both ears could hinder one's hearing whilst riding which would be dangerous also.

Wizened Variations Aug 30, 2011 6:17 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 5387335)
Tax Bikes for Better Bike Infrastructure?

Read More: http://straightouttasuburbia.blogspo...tter-bike.html

Bicyclists should remember:

"Never for nothing,
And the kicks for a fee..."

One always likes to think that he or she is clever because her or she is taking advantage of facilites someone else is paying for. So, regardless of the idealism of the bicycle crowd, in the big cities at least, bicycle riders need to pay for at least some of the costs of operating (including policing) and constructing the dedicated facilities they demand. Likewise, bicyclists need to share the cost liabilities that arise as the result of pedestrian-bike, and, bicycle-vehicle acccidents. Riding a bicycle does not render a rider immune from the possible consequences of his or her actions. For example: is a bicyclist liable for ANY of the damages incurred by a third party resulting from an emergency maneuver a car driver had to make to avoid hitting that bicyclist?

Idealism aside, there is "no such thing, as a free lunch."

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