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Friday, July 29, 2011

Bicyclist pulled over going 42 mph in West Seattle


SEATTLE -- A bicyclist was clocked going 42 miles per hour on a notorious West Seattle hill Wednesday by Seattle Police.

The bicyclist was pulled over on Southwest Admiral Way, where Seattle Police were conducting an aggressive driving patrol. The hill is a 30 mph posted speed zone.

The bicyclist was issued a written warning.

In an interesting twist, a person claiming to be the bicyclist who was pulled over, calling himself Kevin, commented on an article about the incident on the West Seattle Blog. Here is what he posted:

"As the cyclist involved … I figure I should give my 2 cents.

I was fine with being pulled over. I could have gotten a ticket and would have been OK with it; however, the SUV gaining on me from behind should have also been given a ticket. Going 42 (and by the way… why does everyone assume I was going downhill) on Admiral just keeps you with the flow of traffic. This morning, I was going about 30 mph and had a car zoom past on the right hand side and cut over right in front of me just before the merge to Spokane. Like it or not, it’s safer for a bike to break the speed limit and keep up with traffic (if possible) than to try to obey the law.

The officer was nice about the whole situation (and seemed to get a kick out of pulling over a bike). He said he had been looking for a bike to pull over for a while (apparently, I was the first going fast enough). He told me he was careful to write a neat contact report so that I could frame it. If only I had known I was going to be clocked…"

The bicyclist wasn't the only one caught speeding. One driver was pulled over for going 61 mph down the hill, and several others were ticketed for going between 51 and 46 mph.

To boost cycling, make women happy

Check out this article in the Chicago Tribune to see why women are seen as an indicator for a bike friendly community.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Genre de Vie

Genre de Vie from Photo Booth Works on Vimeo.

Genre de Vie is a full length documentary exploring the relationship between man and the city, with the bicycle as the discovering function. 

Where sidewalks came from

Head on over the Where the Sidewalk Starts for a brief history of when sidewalks where first introduced. I learned an interesting fact that Julius Ceasar was a pioneer in car-free streets.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bicycle Safety Town

Now here's a really cool concept that would benefit the community immensely. Now, where could we find a place (and some money) to build one of these?

Fort Collins is preparing to take bicycle safety education to the streets of a kid-sized town.

City officials are looking for a location to build Bike Safety Town, a miniaturized village complete with roads and bicycle lanes on which youngsters and their families can learn and practice techniques for safe riding. The streetscape will likely include intersections, traffic signals, driveways, crosswalks, and turn lanes.

The town would likely cover less than an acre of ground at an existing park, said Matt Wempe, a city transportation planner.

Parks and transportation planners are looking at several locations for the facility.

Candidates include city parks adjacent to elementary schools, including Beattie, Kruse, McGraw and Lopez, as well as parts of community parks, including City Park, Rolland Moore and Spring Canyon.

Public input on a potential site will be taken through Aug. 8 through the website www. fcgov.com/bikesafetytown.

More than 100 comments have already been received, Wempe said. So far, reactions have been mixed, he said, with some residents excited about the prospects for the park and others questioning the cost to taxpayers.

Significant public outreach will be done during the planning process, including neighborhood meetings once a site is proposed.

"There are a variety of things you can do with a project like this," he said. "We intend to do something that fits the needs of the Fort Collins community."

Building a facility dedicated to teaching bike safety to children is included in the city's Bicycle Safety Education Plan. The bike education program received $50,000 in funding in 2011 and 2012 through Keep Fort Collins Great funding.

Site planning and design is scheduled this fall with possible construction in 2012. The planning process has a $15,000 budget, Wempe said.

No funding has been identified for building the town. The city may pursue grants and other funding sources for constructing and operating the facility, Wempe said.

The site is not likely to be as elaborate as safety towns built in other cities, he said. A facility in Peoria, Ill., covers four acres while the town of Brookhaven, N.Y., spent $1.3 million on its safety town.

The Brookhaven town includes a classroom facility, miniature electric cars and a small zoo. It was funded primarily with federal transportation dollars.

Dave Kemp, the city's bicycle program coordinator, said the Fort Collins version of Safety Town would be simpler and probably operated in conjunction with local schools.

The town's primary purpose would be to educate children, he said, but it also would a place for older students and adults to learn how to mentor youngsters.

"It will be a great place to pursue the core mission of teaching children and their families about bicycle safety," he said. "There will be a lot of things we will be able to do through other programmatic efforts."

From the Coloradoan.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Magical Mystery Tour

Bicycling Forever Stamps

The Postal Service announced last week that they’ll be issuing a bicycle-themed set of stamps for 2012. The stamps were designed by art director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA using illustrations by John Mattos of San Francisco, CA. The four stamps depict a young child on training wheels, a commuter (!), a racer, and a BMX rider. More information is available at the “Beyond the Perf” website.

Los Angeles outlaws yelling threats at bicyclists

From USA Today:

Motorists who even threaten a bicyclist by yelling at them could be held as criminals or potentially face a lawsuit before charges are filed under a law being enacted in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles City Council made it a crime to threaten cyclists physically and verbally. Yes, that means you can't even yell at them. If you do, cyclists can sue drivers in civil court -- even before the city files criminal charges, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The state could go further: It's considering a law that could get motorists ticketed if they venture within a 3-foot safety zone for bicyclists.

The L.A. law involving shouted threats or actual violence results from bicycle activists who have loudly complained about abuse from drivers in the nation's automotive mecca. Two bikers crashed as they rode downhill on a popular stretch three years ago when a motorist deliberately slammed on his car's brakes in front of them. He was successfully prosecuted.

The Times cites Census data as saying upward of 13,000 Angelenos commute to work by bicycle, a 48% increase in the past eight years.

L.A. has put huge attention recently on bicycle laws and safety as more take up the sport for trips around town. Like so many things involving bikes, the plan risks a backlash from motorists. Biking has become popular for commuting in many major cities, especially in places such as Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and New York.

-- Olivia Ouyang and Chris Woodyard/Drive On

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making the case for investment in the walking environment

Living Streets is pleased to present its new report, Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment.

Researched by a multi-disciplinary team of experts from the University of the West of England and Cavill Associates, the report brings together and evaluates the multiple health, economic, social and environmental benefits of investment in walking friendly public spaces.

It draws on inspiring case studies of schemes which have resulted in safer and more attractive public places in neighbourhoods and city centres in the UK and elsewhere.

Key findings include:

•Investing in walking environments can support local economies by increasing footfall, improving accessibility and attracting new business and events

•Investment in the walking environment is likely to be of equal or better value for money than other transport projects

•Retailers and residents express a willingness to pay for improvements to the walking environment, while good quality public realm increases the value of both residential and commercial property

•Residents of walking friendly neighbourhoods are less likely to be depressed or to have poor mental or physical health

•People walk more when they feel their neighbourhood is safe, well maintained and lively, while increased walking in a neighbourhood is associated with better perceptions of safety and greater social interaction.

Download 'Making the Case' - the full report.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

"If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles."
-- Carl Sagan


According to a June 27th Planetizen article "Davis, California, is widely celebrated as the bicycling capital of the United States with over 16% of the population commuting to work on bikes. What is less well known is the fact that the traffic fatality rate in Davis is also unusually low, at about 1/10th of the California statewide rate. Although this fact is not widely disseminated, there is growing data showing that cities with very high use of bikes for routine transportation almost always have much lower than average traffic fatality rates. The finding that most bike friendly cities are safer than average has been reinforced by the recent experience of cities such as Cambridge, MA, Portland, OR, and New York. These cities have garnered much press for their success in dramatically increasing bike use over the last several years. This increase in bike ridership has corresponded with an equally dramatic decrease in traffic fatality rates in all three cities. Interestingly, the decrease in fatality occurred not just for people on bikes, but for all classes of road users -- including people in cars and people on foot..."

Carmageddon Challenge: The Bikes Won!

How a team of cyclists—and a guy on the subway, and a Rollerblader—beat a Jet Blue flight from Burbank to Long Beach.

Read the article in Slate.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great Bicycle Protest of 1896

From 8-80 Cites:
The Great Bicycle Protest of 1896
By Hank Chapot

Ever heard “the roads were made and built for cars” well that’s not entirely accurate. Be transported back to late 19th century San Francisco to the genesis of popular movements for good roads. Hank Chapot delivers a great account of “The Great Bicycle Protest” that took place on the streets of San Francisco in 1896 and the unintended consequences that the popular movement had both locally and nationally. Learn how the demand for good roads by early bicyclists can help those currently engaged in popular movements fighting for the same cause.

Read the full article here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My summer vacation

I was gone for a couple weeks on vacation travelling across the country to our end destination in Michigan. I took a couple photos along the way that I thought were worth sharing.

The Bike Library in Fort Collins, CO. A membership with them will allow you to check out bikes to use for your daily activities in Fort Collins. Maps and information are also available as well as restrooms.

This on-street bike corral in Fort Collins, CO takes the place of one on-street parking spot and allows up to 12 bikes (by my count) to park. 12 bikes for 1 car. I consider that a deal.

Bike racks in Marquette, MI. Each bike rack throughout the downtown had a variation of the art in the back wheel, with this one being music

Friday, July 15, 2011

New bike rack at Pilgrim's Market

Made by a local artist, this bike rack does what it should; it allows two points of contact to support your bike, allows secure locking points, is placed near the building, and is even partially covered by the building's roof. This is a great example for others in the community to follow in embracing active transportation. Thank you, Pilgrim's!

Avoiding the left hook

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ditch your car, support your local economy

Ridiculous beyond belief

A 30-year-old woman in Marietta, Georgia was convicted of vehicular homicide this week – and she wasn’t even driving a car. The woman was crossing the street with her three children when a driver, who had been drinking, hit and killed her four-year-old. The driver, Jerry Guy, was initially charged with “hit and run, first degree homicide by vehicle and cruelty to children,” Elise Hitchcock of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “Charges were later dropped to just the hit and run charge.”

The man has previously been convicted of two hit-and-runs – on the same day, in 1997, one of them on the same road where he killed Raquel Nelson’s son.

Guy will serve six months for killing the boy, but Nelson will serve up to 36 months – just for crossing the street with her child. Yes, it’s true: they were not in a crosswalk. Are there any crosswalks on that street at all?

Read more at: http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/07/14/mother-convicted-of-vehicular-homicide-for-crossing-street-with-children/#more-113272

Crosswalks are increasingly deadly for the elderly

This article in the LA Times highlights the growing problem for elderly pedestrians crossing the street. Historically, signals have been timed for pedestrians who can cross the street at a much faster pace than an elderly person can. This leaves them in the street when their signal phase is over and puts them in a dangerous situation.


America's Best Cities for Bike Commuting

This article in The Atlantic studies what is different about cities that have a high mode share for bike commuting. Well, it turns out that they are fitter and happier, too. Check out what else they found:


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tubbs Hill Tour

This tuesday, I got to take part in a short tour of Tubbs Hill with three wheelchair users. The point of the trip was to see first-hand what obstacles there are to creating an accessible trail. To set the record straight, we are not advocating a paved trail. What is envisioned is to remove some of the barriers on a portion of the trail to allow access for wheelchair users. Though there are some challenges, what we observed was completely feasible and would not change the nature of Tubbs Hill any more than is what has been done in the past and what is done on an annual basis for maintenance.

See the KEA blog for more.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Coeur d'Alene - City of Excellence

Each year, municipalities are asked to participate in the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) City Achievement Award Program. In selecting winners for this competition, judges ask whether the nominated program improves quality of life, if it reduces the costs of resources, or solves a community problem. The City of Coeur d’Alene received awards at the 2011 AIC Annual Meeting. The following projects and programs were recognized:

Parks Day Celebration
During the master planning process for Coeur d’Alene Parks, one of the many surveys conducted indicated that citizens were not aware of all of the locations of city parks. A member of the master planning committee suggested beginning an annual event to feature different parks as a way to familiarize the community with all park locations. Since 2008, Parks Day Celebration Events have been held on the second Saturday in July. Thanks to community volunteers, civic groups, and generous sponsors, events have had all entertainment, activities, and food donated. The 4th Annual Parks Day Celebration was held July 9th.

ADA Hazard Abatement Program
In 2008, City Council created an ADA Sidewalk Hazard Abatement Program that supports systematic sidewalk repairs. Tied to foregone taxes, it produces over 5,000 linear feet of sidewalk repairs annually, based on a five-year plan. Work is accomplished economically by the Street Maintenance crew. The program was created from input from the ADA Transition Plan Advisory Group that consisted of community members, staff, and representatives from the community who are disabled. Since the program was adopted, 16,980 linear feet of sidewalks planned for abatement have been completed and 342 truncated domes on corners have been poured in place.

Idaho Technical Rescue Team
In response to the 9-11 tragedy, the city’s Fire Department proposed the idea of small, regional technical rescue teams that would act as first responders in the case of a major disaster or terrorist event. Because equipment, training, and deployment strategies are identical, teams can meet anywhere in the state and mesh together seamlessly. Three state teams are supported by the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security and provide expert resources beyond local capacities faster than FEMA Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) teams. Idaho Technical Rescue Team members receive “Train the Trainer” courses to teach skills to their respective departments and to keep costs down.

Citizens on Patrol (COPS) Program Enhances Public Safety
The Citizens on Patrol (COPS) Program was established in 2008 to enhance the relationship between CdA citizens and the CdA Police Department (CDAPD). Modeled after successful programs in Spokane, Kootenai County, and Post Falls, academies are tailored to city needs and free to the public. Annual COPS training sessions enable citizens to assist CDAPD with duties and services. Each volunteer receives up to 40 hours of instruction and once they’ve completed training, COPS assist the CDAPD with security checks, traffic control, and provide additional staffing at special events (e.g., parades, firework displays, etc.).

For more information about these or other city projects and programs, please call 769-2204.

Share the Road

I love this share the road sign from Budapest.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Parks Day Celebration and Bike Rodeo Tomorrow

Tomorrow, during the Parks Day Celebration, a bike rodeo will be held at Northshire Park from 9am to 1pm. Bring your kids and their bikes to learn riding skills, have their bikes checked for safety by a mechanic, and get some free stuff. See the poster below for a whole list of events and locations.

Spokesman Review Editorial

Opinion: The Spokesman Review

SPOKANE - Most people understand that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists must safely share the roads, because at some point their lives will intersect. However, there are some people who harbor the dangerous notion that the rules should apply to the others, but not to them.

Dennis Widener was riding his bicycle near Division Street and Garland Avenue in Spokane when he was struck by a brown sedan whose driver kept going. After two weeks in recovery, Widener, 66, died from his injuries on Wednesday.

Widener said he had looked both ways at the intersection, and always wore a helmet. But if others aren’t following traffic safety guidelines, collisions can still occur. That’s why it’s important for everyone to follow the rules, regardless of the mode of transportation.

Unfortunately, some people think of fellow travelers as obstacles or competitors.

It just so happens that the Spokane Regional Health District kicked off a traffic safety campaign this week, noting that 20 bicyclists or pedestrians are struck each month in this region. This educational effort includes a website called stickmanknows.org that aims to whittle that number by providing the rules of the road and listing common mistakes. Here is a sampling:

• “When a pedestrian is at fault for a collision with a motorist, the main reasons are the pedestrian failed to cross in a crosswalk or at an intersection, and not granting right of way to the vehicle.
• “When a bicyclist is at fault for a collision with a motorist, the two main reasons are the bicyclist did not grant the right of way to the vehicle and the bicyclist was traveling on the wrong side of the road.
• “When a motorist collides with a pedestrian the main reason is that the motorist failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrian.
• “When a motorist collides with a bicyclist, the primary reasons are the motorist’s failure to yield the right of way of the bicyclist and inattention of the driver.”

Regardless of the mode of transportation, each person is responsible for safety.

Pedestrians should make themselves visible and cross streets at corners or in crosswalks. Bicyclists should ride predictably and obey the same traffic signs and signals as motorists. Motorists must share the road and be attentive and patient with walkers, joggers and bicyclists.

If you’re not sure about a particular right-of-way situation or other traffic safety issues, try stickmanknows.org  before venturing out. You may know where you’re going, but being informed on the rules will increase the odds of getting there safely.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Help stop the cuts on pedestrian and bicycle funding!

DEDICATED FUNDING FOR BICYCLING AND WALKING CUT in House Transportation proposal: Chairman Mica (R-FL) would eliminate critical transportation enhancements, safe routes to school and recreational trails programs.

House Transportation Chairman John Mica announced today that his Transportation bill will eliminate all dedicated funding for biking and walking—including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program—referring to these programs as "not in the national interest”. Chairman Mica's statement that these uses remain "eligible” for funding is worthless: without dedicated funding for these three programs they are effectively eliminated.

Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), a lead negotiator in the Senate debate, declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.' This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer's commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking. However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution – and Senator Inhofe's comments mean funding for bicycling and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.

Not in the National Interest?
Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the US – even as funding for biking and walking projects only accounts for 1.5 percent of the federal transportation budget. That's more than 4 billion bicycle trips and 40 billion walking trips a year—including trips to work, school, shopping and for recreation and tourism.

Bicyclists and pedestrians are the victims of reckless highway design, accounting for 14 percent of all traffic related deaths. Two-thirds of all pedestrian deaths are on federally funded highways. Bicycling and walking programs build sidewalks, crosswalks and bikeways, improving accessibility and saving lives.

The Facts
Biking and walking are important forms of transportation, and dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements is a very efficient use of federal transportation dollars. Portland Oregon built a 300-mile network of bike lanes, multi-use trails, and bike boulevards for the cost of one mile of highway.

These projects also create jobs, and build local economies. Building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46 percent more jobs than building road-only projects per million dollars spent. Cities that invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects turn downtowns into destinations and capitalize on increased business activity.

Finally, shifting 1.5 percent of transportation spending has no impact on the federal budget, but instead, decreases transportation options for American families in a time of rising gas prices and an uncertain economy.

Help Protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your representatives in Congress, and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them continue dedicated funding for these important biking and walking programs.

Why Now?
Both the House and Senate long-term transportation bills are being written as we speak. We still have a chance of influencing the outcomes. Let's make sure that dedicated funding for biking and walking programs doesn't disappear for many years.

We need every Senator to tell Senators Boxer and Inhofe that bicycling and walking are a vital part of our transportation system. Please contact your two Senators today and ask them to tell Senators Boxer and Inhofe that there must be dedicated funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and trails to ensure that bicyclists and pedestrians are safe.

And we need every Representative in the House to tell Chairman Mica that bicycling and walking are a critical part of a safe and equitable transportation system. Please contact your Representative today and ask them to tell Chairman Mica that a federal transportation bill at any funding level must continue dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.

Please CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW to contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY. It will take you less than two minutes to do this. Please, stand up today for bicycling and walking and pass this message along to others who will take action. Thank you!


Packing Your Panniers

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The True Cost of Gasoline

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bicyclists report getting smacked by angry bird

The Associated Press

PENDLETON, Ore. — Bicyclists in eastern Oregon say they’re getting whacked on the head by an angry bird.

Riders in Pendleton, Ore., told the East Oregonian that a male hawk is divebombing them because they’re too close to a nest he’s guarding in an old cottonwood tree.

Bicyclist Mack Temple says the bird came in from behind like a fighter plane and whacked his helmet. Another rider, Charlie Newhouse, says the attack on his helmet was “like getting hit with a baseball bat.” He says the talons went in through the helmet.

Bird-watchers say the large bird is a Swainson’s hawk. The riders say he’s been vigilant for a few nesting seasons, but hasn’t been as aggressive as this year.

Bird-watchers say the hawk will ease up once his brood learns to fly.