Friday, August 29, 2008

50 States - 100 Bike Blogs

Jason from the blog 100 KM - The Metric Century has put together his list of 50 States - 100 Bike Blogs and saw fit to add Bike Commuting in Columbus to his list! Thanks very much, Jason.

The other Ohio blog picked was Rick Logue's My Two Mile Challenge. It's a Columbus sweep! :)

People, not speed.

Dispatch Columnist Calls for Bicycle Awareness on Roads After Latest Cyclist Death

Dispatch columnist Ann Fisher called for an awareness that more people are cycling now in her latest column. All the things we've been saying for months, years, decades, are all brought out in this piece of work, spurred by the death of Tracy Corbin last week.

Motorists - you need to drive more carefully. Put the coffee down, hang up the cell phone, and eat your Egg McMuffin when you get to work. There are more cyclists on the roads than ever, and no amount of haste you feel on the road is worth someone's life.

Cyclists - you need to be careful out there. No measure you take is going to beat a 3000 pound piece of steel and plastic. Ride with traffic and be part of traffic. Take the lane, ride safe, and watch out for one another. And contact the city council to show support for the Bicentennial Bike Plan.
Commentary
Bicyclist's death is a call for awareness
Friday, August 29, 2008 3:14 AM
By Ann Fisher

Tracey Corbin couldn't afford to maintain the car he needed to commute to work, let alone buy the gasoline. So he bought a bike and outfitted himself as if he were the poster child for the pedal-to-work movement.

He followed all the rules, including a private one between him and his mother, that he would call her every morning when he reached his job. Then, last week, following the rules didn't matter anymore.

On Aug. 21, Corbin didn't make that call.

Now, Columbus police are investigating whether to charge the driver whose car struck the 46-year-old Corbin from behind as he pedaled south on Alum Creek Drive near Watkins Road that morning.

Sure, the driver didn't intend to kill Corbin. But shouldn't there be some accountability? The Ohio Revised Code says that, if a driver endangers the life of a bicycle rider while violating another traffic law, a judge "may require the … motor vehicle operator to take and successfully complete a bicycling skills course" in addition to the penalty for the violation or instead of it.

This is not about retribution. It's about education and awareness, just as requiring a company to pay a large amount of money in a personal-injury lawsuit sends a message to others in the industry.

No one ever means to kill someone this way. But negligence is usually involved. What will it take to inspire drivers to pay attention?

The crash occurred early in the morning; it was still dark, yes. But Corbin had the same bad habit my grandpa used to claim: He liked to eat. And he helped support his mother.

He surely wasn't alone in biking to work. Americans drove 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than in the same month last year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. They're paring vacations and turning to public transportation, motorcycles and, increasingly, bicycles.

Ninety-five percent of 150 retailers recently surveyed by Bikes Belong, a nonprofit industry-advocacy group based in Boulder, Colo., said customers cited high gas prices as a reason for their bike purchases.

What's it going to be, a game of human pinball out there or a movement to hold both drivers and bicyclists accountable? That's right. Some bicyclists think it's cool to dodge through traffic jams, run red lights and block motorists just because they can.

The problem is that the growing power grab over the pavement is grossly imbalanced. A bicycle could be forged from kryptonite and it wouldn't protect the rider from a 3,000-pound automobile. Helmets and reflective gear are important, but nothing ever will beat mutual respect and awareness.

We winced when the price of gas hit $2 a gallon and then $3, and we twitched as it topped $4. The oil companies have us agog in Orwellian mystification as the price of crude spikes and then drops and spikes again. All we really know is that, over time, it will cost more and more, and fewer among us will be able to afford it.

More than likely, more people will turn to pedal power -- maybe even you. Let the tragic death of Tracey Corbin inspire us to make it work.

Ann Fisher is a Dispatch Metro columnist. She can be reached at 614-461-8759 or by e-mail.

afisher@dispatch.com
People, not speed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Comparing the Monday Night Ride with Soccer Hooliganism

There's been a bit of a brouhaha brewing over at Consider Biking regarding the Monday Night Ride, a regular Critical Mass-type ride that takes place late nights on Mondays. It's a social ride, but there are complaints about some of the riders and ride leaders being drunk, stoned, and not following traffic laws.

Fellow Columbus bike blogger Doug Morgan addressed this problem with some comments. And they were great comments, especially about the comparison of soccer hooligans to the MNR.

As many of you know, before I was a bike advocate, I was a soccer fan. And soccer fans and bike advocates have a lot in common, as he's pointed out.

Back around the time that the US national team was qualifying for the World Cup (2000, 2001) there was a group of US fans who was outraged at the foul treatment that the US national team received when playing in Mexico and Central America, particularly during qualifying matches. The gamut ran from batteries and bags of urine being thrown at the team to harassment on the team bus to loud music being played all night outside the team hotel. Many players feared for their safety at times.

This group of "fans," who called themselves "Project Mayhem" after the anarchist group in the movie Fight Club, took it upon themselves to try to give the opposing players who came to the US a bit of the same treatment. Now they didn't stoop to pee-bags or anything like that, but the most infamous incident happened when the Costa Rican team was arriving in Columbus in 2000 and this group of "fans" met them at Port Columbus with jeers, shouting, and racial epithets. I wrote an article about this event when I used to write for the Crew's official website, and found a copy of the article at archive.org if you're interested.

There were two effects here - and neither was upon the Costa Rican team, who shrugged it off and got their bags and moved on. One, anyone else in the airport who didn't know about the game or the history of poor treatment that US players got in Costa Rica and elsewhere was turned off by soccer, which already suffered (suffers?) from a hooligan image. Second, a rather large schism grew in the US fan base between those who were appalled at the group's actions and the small but vocal minority who loved it.

Both effects damaged soccer in this city, at least, for a long time, and in this country for a bit longer. There are still individuals in the US team fan base who think this sort of thing is necessary to give the US an advantage when playing at home, which is sad.

Compare this to the impressions left by Monday Night Riders who do engage in such behavior. Is it creating a schism in the Columbus cycling community to support such actions, particularly when so many people (like CB) are trying very hard to create support for cycling against the odds? And is the MNR damaging the work that CB has done to fight negative stereotypes of cyclists on the road?

The second is definitely happening. The first... well, I certainly hope it's not. And right now the discussion over at the CB forums is pretty tame and civil. But I've seen this sort of thing get out of control before... I'd hate to see it happen again and with a more important topic.

I mean, soccer's just a game. Bicycling as transportation has the potential to help transform our society.

People, not speed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kilts and Bikes Mix Admirably

Okay, a little lighter topic now...

I had to run down to the grocery today and was wearing one of my Utilikilts (for those of you keeping track at home, it was my tan original UK). I didn't feel like climbing into a pair of shorts, and decided that I was going to risk the fly-up factor.

My number one reason for not having done this thus far was that I didn't want to scare small children, have women constantly throwing their phone numbers at me (possibly getting into my brakes or derailleurs and forcing me off the road), or give drivers another reason to react with shock as I "suddenly appeared in front of them." You never know what people's reactions to a kilt are going to be.

But, I figured, the trip was less than a mile, round trip. So what the heck.

I am happy to announce that it worked PERFECTLY. Perhaps because the top bar on my bike frame is slightly lowered, the apron (or "front") of my kilt hung down perfectly and fly-up was never a concern. I was comfortable, ventilated, and stylish the entire trip down to Giant Eagle.

So, kilts and bikes most certainly DO mix.

People, not speed.

Bike the C-bus is TOMORROW!

A quick reminder - the inaugural edition of Bike the C-bus is tomorrow. Registration is $25 (and gets you a discount on a Consider Biking membership if you're so inclined).

Here are the details, from the official website (link above):

Bike the C- Bus Rider Information

Bike the C-Bus Bicycle Tour
Saturday, August 23, 2008
King-Lincoln District (East Long Street)

Pre-registration available 5PM Friday August 22 at 771 East Long Hospitality Tent

Ride Fee: $25 includes Long Street Tour T-Shirt, wristband and food and drink at stops.

Pickup Columbus High Street Neighborhoods magazine for coupons.
or download the coupon here and print it out.

For Everyone's Safety
Participants must obey all traffic regulations. Streets are NOT closed and riders share the road with automobile traffic.Riders will be required to fill out the emergency information on the back of the rider number. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED. Medical support, links to emergency medical services, marshals at key intersections. Each course will be marked with directional signs from start to finish. Cue sheets noting course turns will be available at pre-registration and packet pick-up, at the start/finish area at rest stops.


People, not speed.

Dispatch Releases Full Article on Car-Related Death of Tracey Corbin

The Dispatch has released a detailed article on the death (and life) of Tracey Corbin, 46, as he was killed by an inattentive driver.

Rather predictably, the driver hasn't been charged with anything yet, as it was "just an accident." This, of course, is ridiculous. Any time a person dies because a driver "just didn't see him" means the driver wasn't looking hard enough - especially since the article indicates that Corbin was fully decked out with lights and reflectors.

Hats off to Mr. Decker, the writer, for pointing out that this rider was doing everything right.
Lights, reflectors, safety vest couldn't save man
Thursday, August 21, 2008 7:58 AM
By Theodore Decker


He had lights on the bike, front and back - reflectors, too. And he always wore an orange safety vest to stand out in the early-morning dark.

Tracey Corbin, 46, shared the road with the cars and the big rigs that rumbled along Alum Creek Drive, so he took it slowly, his family said. More than an hour before he had to punch in at his job at Shaklee Corp. off Groveport Road, he'd leave the Fairwood Avenue home he shared with his mother.

When he arrived, he always called to let her know he'd made it.

"That was a must," Yvonne Corbin said today.

That's what jolted her awake before 6:30 a.m. No phone call.

Then his temp agency called. They knew how reliable Tracey was. Had he left for work? Where was he?

The television news answered the questions. An accident. Alum Creek Drive. A bicyclist killed.

"I knew it was him," Mrs. Corbin said.

Police said Tracey Corbin was headed south on Alum Creek Drive just south of Watkins Road when he was struck from behind by a car also headed south at 5:15 a.m.

The motorist, Michael R. Cline, 36, of 2506 Hoose Dr. near Grove City, called police.

"When you come down through Alum Creek with all these trucks and all the lights, I didn't see this guy," Cline said in the 911 call.

Police have not charged Cline. Detectives told Corbin's family that they would thoroughly review the case.

"It does not appear to be any malicious intent," Stephen Corbin, Tracey's younger brother, said he was told. "Right now, it just looks like an accident."

Tracey Corbin grew up in Columbus, graduating from Eastmoor High School in 1980.

His passion was NASCAR, his room a shrine to the Earnhardt family racing dynasty. Even in grief, that made his younger brother belly-laugh.

"To be an African-American, it was kind of strange to me," Stephen Corbin said, cracking up. "You don't find too many brothers running around watching NASCAR."

Tracey Corbin was unapologetic, apparent in his actions during one Ohio State-Michigan football game.

"This man grabs my remote and flips to NASCAR," Stephen Corbin said, still incredulous and still laughing. "Everybody in the room is looking at him.

"He didn't care," his brother said. "That was his thing."

Hard work was, too.

"Good, humble guy," said Greg Haynesworth II, senior staffing coordinator at PROTEAM Staffing on E. Main Street. "Any job that we sent him to, they would request him to return. He was that guy."

Corbin was cordial, dedicated, punctual and understanding if the agency didn't have work for him.

"Very few people acted the way he did," Haynesworth said.

Whenever Yvonne Corbin worried about finances, her son would reassure her that they'd make ends meet. After too many problems with their car, they bought the bike together at a pawnshop. He pedaled to work even in winter, complementing the vest with an orange hat and orange gloves.

"He died proudly," said his sister, Trina Corbin. "He died going to work."

Stephen Corbin said his brother liked the Earnhardts so much because of the tradition, the strong family legacy they had built.

Thirty-two years ago, on Aug. 7, 1976, Tracey Corbin's father died in a crash on I-70. It was storming that night, Yvonne Corbin remembered. Joseph Corbin was coming home from work. He was 37.

So Tracey Corbin and his father are linked in death, his family said, but also in life. Two family men, making ends meet.
People, not speed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More on Latest Victim of Car

Here's the Columbus Dispatch story on the accident earlier today:
Police identify man struck and killed today while riding bicycle to work
Thursday, August 21, 2008 7:58 AM

The bicyclist struck and killed by a passing car on Alum Creek Drive this morning has been identified as a 46-year-old South Side man.

Tracey Corbin was riding his bicycle to work at a nearby distribution center when he was hit just south of Watkins Road at 5:15 a.m.

Police said Corbin was riding south, with the flow of traffic, when a southbound car driven by Michael R. Cline, 36, struck him and knocked him to the ground.

Cline stopped and called police to report the crash. He has not been charged, and Corbin's family said they have been told by police that the crash appears to be an accident. The investigation is ongoing.
People, not speed.

Community Tricycle Collective is Born

One of the excuses that people give for not using their bikes for errands, etc. is the lack of cargo capacity on a bike. Though I have plenty of answers for that excuse (don't carry as much every trip, make more frequent trips, get a cargo bike, etc.) I never used "borrow a tricycle" as the answer.

But maybe I will now.

Some of the fine folks at Consider Biking have put together the Community Tricycle Collective after the creation of said cargo tricycle by Zach Henkel (also the host of Cranksters on WCRS). You can become part of the collective and borrow the trike by joining the group on Facebook.

The rules are simple: contact Zach (via the Facebook page) to borrow the trike, and you provide the lock for it when it's in your possession. Yeah, that's it.

I look forward to seeing how this works!

People, not speed.

Another Cyclist Killed By A Car

10TV is reporting that a man riding to work was killed on Alum Creek Drive near Watkins Road. No details are available yet but I'll keep on top of this as much as possible.

NBC 4 is saying that the driver of the vehicle was the one that reported this accident. At least it wasn't a hit and run.

As far as I can recall, this is the first car-related death of a cyclist this year, but obviously it's one too many.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August News from Consider Biking

Here's the latest news from the increasingly influential Consider Biking!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Consider Biking Newsletter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In This Issue
Two Wheel Mafia??
Complete Streets for Columbus
Bike the C-Bus this coming Saturday
Become a Member
Consider Volunteering

Greetings!
Wow! 2008 has been a time of explosive growth for Consider Biking (formally known as COBAC) We'd like to thank you for signing up for our newsletter list at one of our events in May, or by virtue of registering on the Consider Biking website, or through past involvement with COBAC.

So, what do you think of our new logo? We'd like to thank Jim Smith & Dave Bull at the design firm Shift --->Global for their contribution of work to Consider Biking!

We hope you'll find the news of our challenges and accomplishments to be relevant and inspiring.

Two Wheel Mafia??
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Bicycling topics and Consider Biking in particular, have enjoyed a great deal of exposure in local media in 2008. We are honored that the press have discovered that Consider Biking is a reliable, credible, and relatively objective source for information during the explosion of interest in bicycling as an alternative means of transportation.

While we've enjoyed all the attention in the past six months, we were especially satisfied with a recent front-page feature article by Lyndsey Teter in The Other Paper entitled "Two Wheel Mafia." The negative connotation in the headline is only a tease; the story is quite positive. The Two Wheel Mafia story is here

Consider Biking would like to thank ALL the bicyclists in our region that champion our cause, and portray a positive image of our constituency. We're grateful to those that have spoken to the media on behalf of Consider Biking and those we represent. Your letters to the editors, interviews, and most importantly, your actions on the road, have spoken volumes. We're proud to have been labeled "level-headed" and know our cause is getting easier to sell!

Perhaps the headline should have read, "Two Wheeled Ambassadors." Let's keep up the great work!

"Complete Streets" Resolution for Columbus
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After years of espousing the concept of Complete Streets to our community leaders, we're finally gaining traction! On July 28th, Columbus City Council, through the leadership of Councilmember Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, adopted a "Resolution of Support for Complete Streets." A good account of the story is here.

Perhaps, the most satisfying moment of the evening came when Director of Public Services, Mark Kelsey, provided the following quote, "What we're talking about in our society is nothing short of a revolution in the city of Columbus." Cycling advocates have struggled for years to have our traffic engineers consider routine accommodation for cyclists, pedestrians & mass transit users. The change in our urban planners' perspective in the last year is nothing short of remarkable.

Consider Biking would like to thank all those that have persisted with the call for Complete Streets. However, our work is not done. We must continue to advocate adoption of POLICIES (stronger than resolutions) in Columbus, and all our regional jurisdictions.

The City of Columbus, and many of our surrounding communities, are looking to Consider Biking as an expert voice for our cycling constituency! If you're interested in helping advocate for the best bicycle operation laws and increased accomodations, please contact Jeff Stephens (jeff@considerbiking.org) so we can include you in the process.

Bike the C-Bus this coming Saturday
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Consider Biking is proud to partner with the Long Street Businessman's Association and encourage you to enjoy a relaxed tour in the heart of Columbus on Saturday, August 23rd.

Bike the C-Bus will cover approximately 30 miles and feature stops that highlight exciting changes that are occurring in our urban neighborhoods. Each stop will be sponsored by businesses and community groups and provides snacks, drinks and entertainment for the riders.

Experience segments of the King Lincoln District, Downtown, Short North Arts District, Italian Village, University District, Harrison West, Victorian Village, Arena District, Franklinton, Brewery District and German Village. The ride is configured to allow cyclists to complete segments if they do not feel comfortable riding the entire route.

The ($25) registration fee includes an official 2008 "Long Street Tour" t-shirt and wristband along with drinks and food at designated rest stops. "Bike the C-Bus" is considered a ride and not a race and will offer a variety of course options to accommodate everyone from recreational riders to hard-core fitness enthusiasts.

And, your paid registration in Bike the C-Bus, qualifies you for a $15 discount toward a Consider Biking Membership.

Bike the C-Bus will launch a new, and different, type cycling event for recreational cyclists in Columbus. We look forward to your participation. Bike the C-Bus website

Become a Member Today!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Consider Biking is a member-supported organization. We can only accomplish our goals through the support of our cycling constituents. There are over 130 peer organizations across the country, demonstrating a need for cycling advocacy groups. Many of these organizations have THOUSANDS of members, and benefit by the financial support, and the "body of cyclists" that stand behind them when they advocate for enhancements to cycling accommodation.

We'd like to ask you to join Consider Biking. We need your support to represent our common interests in Central Ohio.

What's in it for you??

You benefit by knowing we'll have the resources to fight for our needs.

You'll benefit by knowing that we're working hard so you can "just ride."

You'll benefit by knowing we partner with strong coalitions to advance the healthy movement of people, not just cars.

You'll benefit by knowing we coordinate unique events that serve some of the dynamic segments of our cycling audience.

And, you'll benefit through our on-line presence, where ALL cyclists are welcomed, respected, and have a safe place to share their perspective.

Your membership donation to Consider Biking is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We thank you for your support.

Information on membership here

Organizational Development
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Consider Biking is developing into a fully functioning organization. We are an Ohio corporation designated as a 501c(3) non-profit organization. After the merger of Consider Biking into COBAC last winter, we have had a vibrant Board of Directors that has met monthly. Additionally, the Programming, Communications, and Fundraising Committees, have been very active. And, through a grant from Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, we have hired a full-time staff person to work everyday for your needs.

In the meantime, we welcome your feedback, and participation, on events, activities, and committees. We are seeking volunteers to help with items such as: developing bicyclist education, public relations, data entry, regional outreach, event coordination, LAB Bicycle Friendly Community application, Safe Routes to Schools, Care Team, etc. We need your help, and welcome your participation. Please contact Jeff Stephens at jeff@considerbiking.org for more information about volunteer opportunities.

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Executive Director, Jeff Stephens - jeff@considerbiking.org 614-579-1127
President Board of Directors, Meredith Joy - meredith.a.joy@gmail.com
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War on Wheels?

As more and more people take to the road on bicycles, there's been a lot of ink in the press this summer about rising tensions between cyclists and motorists all over the country. Perhaps this is a side effect of motorists being more frequently called upon to deal with cyclists, and perhaps it's also due to the increase in inexperienced riders out on the road, running red lights, weaving in and out of parked cars, and simply not knowing how to work the road.

As my father in law says, there are three sides to every story: your side, their side, and the truth - which probably lies somewhere in the middle.

I've not experienced any rising tensions myself, but then for whatever reason I never experienced tension even before the gas cartels started raising prices uncontrollably. Chalk it up to experienced riding and taking care to be visible (via clothing and riding predictably, if a bit assertively), perhaps, but I may not be the best person to judge.

Have YOU experienced any rising tensions as more cyclists have taken to the roads? Let us know in the comments!

People, not speed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Plans for Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard Released; Plans Include Bike Box at North Broadway

If Mayor Coleman has his way, we'll be in the League of American Bicyclists' Bike-Friendly Communities list sooner rather than later. Check out the plans for the Milton Ave. Bike Boulevard (the effort to fill in the gap between Clinton-Como Park and Northmoor Park in Clintonville (as Reported by ThisWeek: Clintonville):
City unveils plan for Milton Avenue bike route
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 2:42 PM
By JENNIFER NESBITT
ThisWeek Staff Writer


The city of Columbus will convert Milton Avenue into a bike boulevard this fall, resurfacing the road and adding road markings and signage alerting motorists to the presence of cyclists.

The conversion of the .8-mile stretch of roadway will serve as a connector between sections of the Olentangy bike trail in Clinton-Como and Northmoor parks and is part of the city's overall Bicentennial Bikeways Plan.

Milton Avenue will remain open to motorists, but the portion of the road between East North Broadway and Riverside Drive is being redesigned with bicyclists in mind, said Mary Carran Webster, Columbus public works assistant director.

"It's designed to give priority to cyclists and alert motorists that they're there," Webster said.

To achieve that goal, the road will be signed as a shared route for motorists and bicyclists, and pavement marking depicting bicyclists will be added.

At the corner of East North Broadway, Webster said the city will add a "bike box," a marked box in which bicyclists can pull in front of car traffic to wait to cross the street.

That will give bicyclists a chance to cross East North Broadway ahead of cars that are turning right and will make them more visible to motorists, Webster said.

Webster said there is not a timeline for completing the bike boulevard, but she said the first step is the resurfacing of the road, which is scheduled to happen this fall, with the exception of the portion of the road between Kenworth and North Broadway.

That section of the road will be torn up in the spring as the public utilities department does some work on the water lines there, Webster said. When that work is done, public utilities will resurface that portion of the road. That is scheduled to happen in 2009, and the work will blend into the initial resurfacing work, Webster said.

The money for the signing and pavement markings of the bike boulevard already has been allocated, and will cost the city $25,000, Webster said.

The cost of resurfacing that stretch of Milton Avenue was included in a multimillion citywide paving package.
The bike box is the perfect idea for that area - bikes are often shoved out of the way there and need some extra help. All in all, I can't WAIT to see this get done!

People, not speed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jonesing For an XtraCycle!

I've seen someone on an XtraCycle riding around the past few weeks, and after seeing this video from Salon, I'm jealous!



People, not speed.