Friday, May 29, 2009

Plain-Dealer Highlights Struggle Between Segregationist and Vehicular Cycling Advocates

My friend Matt Bernhardt (who I hope you'll be reading here soon with a story of his own) shared an article from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer with me. It's a very interesting look at the disagreements between the advocates of bike-specific infrastructure such as bike lanes and those of vehicular cycling.

For the record, I happen to be mostly the latter. I think a number of things happen when you have bike-specific infrastructure that are detrimental to cycling and city planning in general. Some of these are mentioned in the article, but for the sake of my arguments I'll mention them here as well.

1. Bike lanes give cyclists and drivers a false sense of security. What is a bike lane? It's simply a few feet on the right side of the road with a line painted to separate it from the car lane. That's it. There's no magic force field there that protects cyclists from motorists who get too close.

2. Bike lanes are natural trash receptacles. Think of the roads you see on your way to work. Where does trash collect on the road? In the center? In the middle of the traffic lanes? No. It collects on the side of the road. Most roads are built to rise in the middle and fall away from the middle of the road to a low point on the sides. And that's where they want cyclists to ride. So unless the municipalities are going to CONSTANTLY be sweeping out the bike lanes, cyclists are either going to have to risk riding OVER trash (possibly throwing their wheels around dangerously) or going around it - swerving out of the bike lane into the car lanes. Which leads to my next point.

3. Bike lanes lead motorists to believe that bikes BELONG in bike lanes. First, let's say that you're in a bike lane on a four lane road (two lanes in either direction plus a bike lane on the outside of the street on either side). You get to a point in your ride where you need to turn left. So you raise your left arm to signal that you need to get over. What's going to be be safer, having to cross two lanes of cars to get to the left-most point so you can turn, or having to cross one lane, as you're already riding in a manner that allows you to control the right-most lane?

Second, one of the frequent reasons you hear for cyclists receiving poor treatment from motorists is that the motorists don't expect to see cyclists in their lanes. Let's face it: cars allow motorists to drive as if they wearing blinders. Whatever they don't want to see, they ignore. And that includes a bunch of bicyclists in a bike lane. The presence of the bike lane takes the cyclists out of their way. So if a cyclist needs to make that left turn and suddenly (in the motorist's view) makes a left turn signal to change lanes, is that motorist even going to see it? Is that motorist going to accept that the cyclist probably just needs to make a left, which the cycling infrastructure doesn't provide for? Or is he going to get angry, wondering what that stupid cyclist is trying to do by leaving that bike lane, where he belongs!

4. What happens when the bike lane ends? Unless you're in Portland, Davis, Boulder, Madison, or one of these cities whose urban planning has revolved around both bikes and cars for decades, you probably don't have a lot of room to expand every road in town to accommodate bike lanes. So that means that the lanes will have to end somewhere. What happens when they do? When cyclists are suddenly thrust back out into the normal flow of traffic, you are looking at an accident waiting to happen.

5. What happens when your bike lanes are a success? Okay, let's say that somehow you're able to put in your bike lanes, and they attract countless more cyclists to the roads. In fact, they attract so many cyclists to the roads that the bike lanes are becoming more dangerous due to the problem of trying to cram tons of cyclists into a few very small spaces. We're seeing complaints of this in Portland now. Wouldn't it be better to have the cyclists in an already well-established path of travel, like a car lane, where there's plenty of room to ride and plenty of room for increases in the rates of travel by cyclists? Every problem above will be exacerbated by the small space that is available in a bike lane.

The answer, then, is not to build bike lanes. Instead, use that money on education and enforcement. The Plain-Dealer article missed that crucial second part of the equation. Sure - education is important, but if no one is going to enforce the traffic code, then all that education means precisely nothing.

What's the number one legitimate complaint you hear from motorists about cyclists (I say "legitimate" to disqualify statements like "They belong on the sidewalk")?

"They don't follow the rules of the road."
The problem is twofold: most cyclists don't know HOW to ride the road, and no one is making them do it via proper and correct enforcement.

All most cyclists hear is that they have to stay to the right, and occasionally use signals. They haven't been told that they need to heed traffic signals and laws. They haven't been taught that they have the right to take the lane if necessary. They haven't been taught that the law allows them to go at a speed that's acceptable for a bike and not a car. They worry too much about holding up traffic and not enough on their own safety. Or they worry too much about both issues and ride on the sidewalk.

They have no idea that there are proper techniques and rules for riding. Let's face it: the ratio of cyclists who actively pay attention to the bicycling community and media versus cyclists who are just people who said "I'm gonna ride my bike today" and hopped on and took off is very low. And these same folks aren't going to know how to ride in a bike lane properly, either.

So they hug the curb, allowing cars to pass them too closely. They run red lights and ride on the sidewalk, endangering themselves and others. They panic because they think a cop is going to ticket them for riding too slow. Or they ride on the sidewalk, which helps neither their fellow cyclists nor the pedestrians who DO belong on the sidewalk.

The answer is cyclist education. Make this part of high school civics or something. Or as a general lesson in traffic safety as part of middle school, or even earlier.

And educate the police, too. Let them know what's acceptable for cyclists on the road, and what they can and cannot enforce. Bob Mionske's article in Bicycling Magazine of a few weeks back shows this need clearly.

Then the police can go out and properly enforce the law. They can ticket people who buzz cyclists. They can force cyclists off the sidewalks and into the road where they belong.

Segregating riders from the rest of traffic is not the answer. It's a stop-gap measure designed to please paranoid cyclists and greedy drivers, and to make politicians look good by "taking action to improve things for cyclists and make our city green." If it gets more people cycling, it's doomed to failure. If it gets no one else out cycling, it's doomed to failure.

Educate and enforce, and you're on your way to a better community for cyclists, drivers, and everyone else.

People, not speed.

Friday Link-o-Rama 5/29/2009

Getting back on the ball with the Friday linkfest, hope you don't mind getting some older posts from some of the great bike sites around the web!

Cycle*Dallas - A great illustration on YouTube about how installing bike lanes can actually worsen conditions for cyclists. I tend to be of the camp that proper traffic code enforcement and good training of both cyclists and motorists is preferable to any bike lane striping.

Bike Radar - British judge lessens the sentence on a killer motorist because the cyclist victim was not wearing a helmet. Read the comments on this one, too!

Cyclelicious - When bike lane traffic is heavier than the car traffic, perhaps it's time to remove another car lane? :)

RocBike.com - Make your own blinking bike gear! Some of you crafty types might have a lot of fun with this!

EcoVelo - What can one person do to improve cycling in the US? Maybe that's the wrong question...

EcoVelo - Once again, the cyclist wins the commuter challenge between a taxi, a train rider, and a bike in NYC.

Bike Commuters - A bit of a recap on the increasingly interesting Earl Blumenauer vs. George Will feud. Battle of the Bowties!

velorution - Did you hear that the bicycling mayor of London, England, was almost flattened by a truck while riding and surveying a new bike corridor? See the video!

Instructables.com - Not one of my normal mentions here on the Link-o-Rama, but Instructables is looking for people to make James Bond-like weapons for a bike. The possibilities beggar the imagination!

Streetsblog - Just... just watch this. :)

People, not speed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Product Review: Action Wipes

On my old commute from Clintonville to my previous office, I only went a little over a mile and a half, so cleanup once I got to work was not an issue. But with my new, longer commute to the Brewery District, I've found that I need a bit more cleanup once I get to the office. I don't want to asphyxiate my co-workers and I'd like to be comfortable when sitting at my desk.T o that end I tried out a product that I've been hearing lots about but not tried to this point: Action Wipes.

Action Wipes are brilliant. First, they're easily portable. They come in a couple of package sizes: a larger, 15-wipe pouch; and a smaller five-wipe pouch. Each pouch is also packed into a small zip-lock bag so that you can 1) keep sand and grit out of the sticky closure that holds the pouches shut, and 2) keep the used wipes around for either re-use to clean your bike, etc., or for recycling. A pouch is a little larger than the size of a pack of 3" by 5" cards, so they're convenient to pack into a pannier, rack trunk, jersey pocket, what have you.

Second, they're made for adults to get clean. These aren't just baby wipes. They're significantly larger than baby wipes. And they won't leave you smelling like a baby's clean butt for the rest of the day. These are made for adults - with eco-friendly adult cleansers and aromatherapy oils such as tea tree oil and eucalyptus to keep you smelling fresh.

And they don't leave you feeling all sticky when you're done. I keep moving around expecting to feel sticky every time I lift my arms or what have you, and I don't. You feel pleasantly clean and cool. I repeat - you will feel COOL after using these. They foam up ever-so-slightly as you're using them but the foam doesn't last long, and as those tiny bubbles evaporate they cool you off. It really feels nice.

I bought them for cycling and commuting, obviously, but since I've been using them I've been thinking of all sorts of other ways to use them - camping, hiking, trips to the park with the kids (especially my mulch-loving kids), backpacking, after pickup soccer games before heading out to grab something to eat, just about any outdoor activity when showering is not an option and you want to get clean. I even gave some of them to my wife, who likes to go running at lunch at her job but has no showers available for her. I especially like the idea of using them for backpacking since they're so compact AND you can re-use them for other stuff.

And that's the final thing I love about these: Martha van Inwegen, the creator of Action Wipes, is committed to the environment. The ingredients in Action Wipes are all natural and she constantly thinks of ways to re-use and recycle the product. One of the things that kept me from trying them out for a while (aside from the fact that it wasn't that warm out yet and I wasn't sweating too much on my commutes) was that I didn't want to use a product that just created more waste. These being recyclable is a big plus for me and was the final facet convincing me to order some. Read her "Social Mission" section on the Action Wipes website for more on this.

So the verdict? I think you can tell already: I LOVE ACTION WIPES! They'll continue to be a part of my active lifestyle with their ease of use, fantastic portability, and socially conscious nature.

AND...

Martha's offering a special deal right now, as well: if you put "tweet" into the coupon code on her web site's order form, she'll knock 15% off your order! Get some today!

And, if you're on Twitter, you can follow Martha at @MarthaVan. She's friendly and open to suggestions, and will also give you frequent updates on her products. She has more than just Action Wipes available, and after the success I've had with these I'm going to have to give her other stuff a try, too!

People, not speed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride of Silence Brings Together Cyclists From All Paths

Last night was an excellent night for the Ride of Silence. Warm, but not too warm, a nice breeze, great people and a great cause.

The whole evening began as I was leaving work to join Columbus Rides blogger Ray George at the Tip Top Kitchen, the primo downtown cyclist hangout. It was sort of neat to watch the cyclists slowly starting to filter into downtown, and taking up positions at the various eatin' establishments around the area. Cyclists are a good bunch, and I was soon enjoying a Rogue Chocolate Stout with Ray and a couple of other folks I knew from various forums, blogs, etc., including Hadley and Steave from the Yay Bikes forum, and Doug Morgan of the Two-Wheeling blog (who, if you followed my Twitter feed, you'd know that I just met this morning for the first time).

Ray and I headed down to the ride site at about 6:30 or so and immediately met up with Ken Huffman and his daughter who were ready to go on a tandem. We chatted for a while, and I met up with some other people I knew at the ride, including Tricia Kovacs, the orchestrator of Columbus's successful submission to the League of American Bicyclists and award as a bronze-level Bike Friendly City. Then, at 6:50 or so, Consider Biking's Jeff Stephens and Mayor Michael Coleman stepped up to say a few words. Jeff spoke a bit about why we were all there, and told us a bit about the Ride's origins in Dallas, and mentioning some of the people he knew who were no longer with us.

Mayor Coleman commented briefly on the hard work that has been done to make Columbus a bike-friendly city and commented on the recent award by the League of American Bicyclists. And then the ride began, with Stephens and the Mayor in the front.

It was a nice ride, with a slightly different route than past years. Instead of going all the way up High Street to Arcadia Rd. and then coming back on Summit, we first headed to the east and the Columbus College of Art and Design, swinging past Thurber House and then coming back to head up to Lane Ave, then back via Summit to 1st Ave. and back to High, eventually ending at City Hall. It was about a 9 mile ride, and at a very slow, leisurely pace.

And there were cyclists of all stripes there - roadies, singlespeeders, commuters, mountain bikers, messengers, recumbants, touring cyclists, at least one hand-crank bicyclist, the works. I got to see a few parts of Columbus that I'd not seen before, which is always nice. People along the route were taking pictures and movies of us, waving and smiling, clapping in some cases, and generally enjoying the procession. And we got to hand out a few fliers about the ride for onlookers who asked "what's this all about?" allowing us to spread the word a bit.

All in all, it was a great, relaxed, and thought-provoking ride. I think the more people have their awareness raised about the dangers that cars pose to cyclists the more they relax around us. In a way, it's too bad that we can't take the ride out into the suburbs, where I think people need to be enlightened a bit more due to the predominance of car culture out there as compared to the city, but all in good time!

Thanks to Consider Biking, Jeff Stephens, and everyone involved in setting up this ride.

For pictures of the ride, I'll have a few in a few days. I forgot to bring my digital camera with me to work that morning and so I had to buy a disposable camera, requiring me to actually get the film developed! What's that all about?

But Ray George's Columbus Rides has PLENTY of great shots of the ride, and I encourage you to view his slideshow on this year's great Ride of Silence!

People, not speed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Disptach: Bike riders want share of streets

In preview of tonight's Ride of Silence, the Columbus Dispatch printed an article today underscoring some of the issues we as cyclists face each day on the road.

I dislike the title of the article a bit, but the content is good. I'd like to see more articles start with the fact that cyclists do in fact belong in the road, not as if we're trying to eke out our little part of it. That's what I see when I read titles like "Bike riders want share of streets." A better title would be "Bike riders belong in streets, too."
Bike riders want share of streets
Organizers expect 500 cyclists to gather Wednesday for 'Ride of Silence'
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 9:47 PM
By Bill Bush
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH


It was Monday morning on Bike to Work Week, and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman was leading a convoy of cyclists to Ohio State University to publicize a "Share the Road" safety campaign.

About 4 miles away, Jeff Packard was trying to ride from his home near Northland to his graphic-design job Downtown.

His trip, which was inspired by the campaign, didn't turn out so well.

Packard had made it barely a mile when an impatient motorist sped past him in a turn lane onto Indianola Avenue, coming inches from brushing him off his bike.

Packard confronted the motorist as the two sat at a red light moments later. He told the driver through his closed passenger window that he needs to share the road, prompting the driver to get out of the van.

"He comes up to me, inches away from my face, and starts yelling that I shouldn't be on the road; bikes should be on the sidewalk," Packard said.

The driver then slapped Packard on the back of the head and drove off.

Packard was wearing a helmet and wasn't injured, but he was so angered that he contacted Columbus police. Now the city attorney's office is trying to use the license plate to identify the driver and possibly bring charges.

Packard's story is a common one among bicyclists, said Jeff Stephens, an organizer of Wednesday's "Ride of Silence" to raise awareness of the cyclists injured or killed by motor vehicles.

"I guarantee you, of the 500 cyclists we assemble, if you ask them, 'Have you ever been yelled at out of a car or felt threatened or harassed?' every single one of them will raise their hand," said Stephens, who also is chairman of Columbus' Transportation and Pedestrian Commission.

Packard, 39, was performing a "perfectly legal maneuver" in trying to get into the left-turn lane, and the motorist's contention is simply wrong: It's illegal for most bicyclists to use sidewalks in Columbus, Stephens said. (Children on small bikes are an exception.)

The Ride of Silence will begin at the Statehouse at 6:45 p.m. and go 12 miles through Downtown to Ohio State University, and then back to City Hall.

Similar rides will be held at hundreds of locations around the globe, Stephens said. The event began in Dallas after a cyclist was struck in the head and killed by the side mirror of a passing bus in 2003.

Packard said the incident on his May 11 ride isn't going to stop him from occasionally biking to work, but he's amazed that he was almost struck by a vehicle and then assaulted "at the same time that the mayor was advocating bike safety."

As Packard continued his ride to work that day, he saw Coleman's convoy pedaling down High Street - with a police escort.

He could have used one that morning, too, he said.

bbush@dispatch.com
People, not speed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Invitation to Fundraiser for Tour de Cure Team

Any of you roadies looking for a new challenge? Team Think-Urban.com is looking for a few good cyclists... to come and party with 'em! Here's the official word from Kerry Riggs, the team captain for Team Think-Urban.com, their cycling team for the Tour de Cure:
Hal & Al’s, located at 1297 Parsons Avenue and Team Think-Urban.com are hosting a pre-memorial Day Party to benefit the American Diabetes Association – Tour de Cure bike ride on June 6th for diabetes research and education. The Pre-Memorial Day party will begin at 4pm at Hal & Al’s, a full evening of beverage specials, food, fun and games is planned. A professional bike mechanic will be available to tune up bikes so party participants are ready for a summer of riding. The bike tune-up service is free; however a donation to the Tour de Cure is suggested. All proceeds raised by Team Think-Urban.com will benefit the American Diabetes Association - Tour de Cure.

Tour de Cure is a series of fund-raising cycling events held in 40 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association.

Think-Urban.com is a Columbus-based company dedicated to showcasing the new urban lifestyle in Ohio’s major cities; Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton. See more information at www.think-urban.com
Kerry also asked me to let you know that anyone who'd like to join Team Think-Urban.com for the ride is more than welcome, and can register at the Pre-Memorial Day party! Hope to see you out there! If you have any questions, Kerry welcomes your email.

People, not speed.

Get Ready for 2009 Ride of Silence

After a resoundingly successful Bike to Work Week, it's time to refocus and get ready for Wednesday night's (May 20) Ride of Silence.

If you only make it out to one organized bike ride this year, this is the one to do. Mentioned last week as well, the Ride of Silence is an international event, held in cities all over the world. There's no registration, no fee, no t-shirt, just a slow, silent, funeral-like procession throughout Columbus.

The purpose is to honor the memories of cyclists who've fallen throughout the year, cyclists whose only crime was to ride their bikes (and in the case of this year, trikes), and to remind motorists that we're here, we're riding, and we have rights.

In Columbus, we'll be riding to remember 2009's victims of motorist excess:
And of course, let's not forget about Michael Sonney and Andres Gonzales, who were also honored in the 2008 ride, and Andrew Starinchak, who has been honored every year of the Columbus ride after his death in 1998.

If I've missed anyone, please let me know and I will add them.

If you'd like to see pictures and a report from last year's ride, click here!

Also, I found an archived site from the old COBAC (now Consider Biking) with pictures and details of all the rides since the beginning.

People, not speed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

MORPC Releases Final Bike Routes Map for Central Ohio

Just came over the wire on Facebook...
Columbus Metro Bike Users Map is now available. Feel free to stop by MORPC for a hard copy or view it online at _http://www.morpc.org/transportation/main/transportation.asp.
I'll be heading over to MORPC as soon as work gets out to pick up one of these! If you want to get one, too, MORPC is at 111 Liberty Street, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

People, not speed.

Friday Link-O-Rama 5/15/2009

Wired Magazine (via @WorldCommute on Twitter) Employers finally showing bike commuters some love!

Active.com - Reasons to commute and advice from a top exercise site. The basic message: if you have a bike, you can bike commute!

Lighter Footstep - 12 reasons to bike commute!

Cyclelicious - Tired of people saying that cyclists are getting a free ride (no pun intended) by not paying gas taxes? Well, read this: gas taxes don't come close to paying our road maintenance costs anyway!

People, not speed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Women's Cycling Class at roll:, Third Hand Open House Highlight Wednesday's B2WW Activities

Looking for a bike related activity for Wednesday? The Bike To Work Week Planning Committe has just what you're looking for!
http://b2ww.org

Great weather means great cycling!

LOG YOUR TRIPS.
If you miss a day (or several days), you can still go back in fill in those trips. We will be calculating the Commuter Challenge winner late Thursday night. Don't miss your winning shot because you forgot to log trips.

CYCLING CLASS FOR WOMEN. (May 13, 7PM, Roll at Easton)
This clinic is for beginners only and is designed to be an open question, non-intimidating setting.

THIRD HAND BIKE CO-OP OPEN HOUSE. (May 13, 6-9PM, 174 East 5th Ave.)
Check out Columbus' only bicycle cooperative. Food and drinks provided.

More events: http://b2ww.org/columbus/b2ww-events
People, not speed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Columbus Announces "Share the Road" Campaign - Official Press Release

Columbus City Council issued this press release today. It's exciting to be a cyclist in Columbus these days, let me tell you!

City of Columbus Launches Share The Road Initiative, Bike To Work Week, Wins National Award For Bicycle Friendly City Efforts
The City’s new Share The Road initiative to encourage greater safety for bicyclists and motorists is the next step to make Columbus more bike friendly city. Mayor Michael B. Coleman was joined by City Council, Ohio State University, other local and state leaders and bicycle advocates today at OSU and the Statehouse to roll out the program and launch Bike To Work Week.

Share The Road will use new road signs and pavement markings called “sharrows” to remind motorists and cyclists they are legally required to share lanes. The signs and sharrows, unveiled today, will be installed this summer on North High Street between Nationwide Boulevard and Morse Road. The pilot project will be reviewed prior to possible use of the signs and markings across the city.

“We are introducing new signs and new markings on the roadway to remind everyone to be active, stay safe and share the road,” said Mayor Coleman. “It is important that motorists and cyclists alike understand how to get to work safely on our city streets.”

Share The Road signs and sharrows work will be funded through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Development. Share The Road is built around the four E’s: Education; Engagement, Engineering; and Enforcement. It’s the latest step in the City’s Bicentennial Bikeways Plan that calls for an additional 31 miles of off-street trails and 58 miles of on-street bike lanes and routes. The city currently has 87 miles of bike routes and trails.

“We know that when people feel safe, they’ll be more comfortable riding their bikes – to work, and for recreation and exercise,” said Hearcel F. Craig, City Council Public Service and Transportation Committee Chair. “Motorists also have a responsibility in making this possible. Both bicyclists and motorists have legal access to our streets. We all need to watch carefully for slower moving vehicles – and pedestrians.”

The new signs and sharrows were rolled out at North High Street and 10th Avenue new The Ohio State University.

“Ohio State has the largest concentration of bicyclists in the City — about 10,000,” Gee said. “So it is vitally important we inform our students, faculty and staff how they can be safe – either on their bikes, or in their cars.”

“Anyone who rides a bike in Columbus knows that, in the past, bicycling on High Street was an accident waiting to happen,” said Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, Franklin County Clerk of Courts and former chair of City Council’s Public Service and Development Committees. “Research has shown that High Street has the most car-bicycle accidents in the city. Share the Road is a great beginning. It will raise the consciousness of motorists and cyclists – and enhance safety. Bikes deserve the same respect as cars on High Street and on all streets in our community.”

Consider Biking, a Columbus cycling advocacy group, calls Share The Road a great addition to the City. The group today presented Mayor Coleman with the League of American Bicyclists’ national award recognizing Columbus as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

“World class cities have world class ways to move people by ways other than cars,” said Consider Biking Executive Director Jeff Stephens. “This award verifies that the investment we are making in bike accommodations is paying off.”

“Thanks to the League of American Bicyclists for this award. Credit goes to hard working city employees and our partners, including Consider Biking, for the nomination, as well as ODOT, MORPC, OSU and every cyclist in Columbus who makes us the best two-wheeling city in the nation,” said Mayor Coleman.

The award is also reflected in the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) new local Bikeway Usability Map, a snapshot of the current conditions for bicyclists who use our major roads during non-rush hour times. The map was premiered at today’s event.

“The usability map is a tool bicyclists can use to chart their own bicycle routes based on their level of experience and comfort on roadways,” said MORPC Executive Director Chester R. Jourdan, Jr.. “MORPC is committed to helping our entire region work together to identify and improve the best corridors for bicycle travel.”

The Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District today presented its first-ever recognition of Bike Friendly buildings downtown for addressing the needs of employees who bike to work.

A phone survey was taken of the top 30 largest buildings in the downtown core seeking how they handled bike parking for tenants, guests and if any additional accommodations (lockers, showers) were offered for free.

More information about Share the Road is online at www.sharetheroadcolumbus.org

Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District First Ever Bike Friendly Buildings List
• Rhodes Tower (30 E Broad)
• Huntington Center (41 S High)
• Capitol Square Office Tower (65 E State)
• Riffe Center (77 S High)
• William Green Tower
• Nationwide Buildings
• 280 North High Street
• Lazarus Office Building / Government Center
• Miranova 2 Office Tower
• Motorists Mutual Building
• US Bank Building (175 S Third)
• SERS (300 E Broad)
Can't wait to see the new sharrows on my commute home today!

People, not speed.

The Alleycat Continues Here...

Welcome to all you virtual alleycat racers! Pop on in here, do a track stand, enjoy the stop, and then race on over to your next stop!

Check out the start to this virtual alleycat over at Cyclelicious!

People, not speed.

Ride of Silence To Be Held May 20

From Consider Biking:
The Ride of Silence is a slow group ride, akin to a funeral procession, in total silence. The ride is a safe, responsible, professional, and mature response to the aggressiveness, intimidation, and carnage that cyclists often face on the roads we ride. It is a means to:
  • Remember and mourn those killed or injured or harassed by motorists
  • Raise public awareness that our Central Ohio community has, and supports, a large population of cyclists
  • Show the larger Central Ohio community that cyclists are going to continue to ride on our roads
  • Point out that we ask for respect and consideration from motorists, as well as our rightful place on the road
  • Remind motorists that we wish only to safely SHARE the roads with them
Please join Consider Biking for the 6th annual Ride of Silence on Wednesday, May 20th. Gather at 6:45 pm on the south side of the Ohio Statehouse in the heart of downtown. No registration, no t-shirt, no fees.
Check out my pictures from last year's Ride Of Silence!

People, not speed.

Two Rides Scheduled Today for Bike To Work Week

The Bike To Work Week Planning Committee have put together two great rides for you today, and I have to say that I love the idea of the first ride (well, I love 'em both, but the first one's really novel!).
2. Stay-at-Home Momma's Ride
Whetstone Park & Ride, 11AM
Bring the kids for a short ride down the bike trail followed by free snacks
http://b2ww.org/columbus/node/136

3. Short North Bikin' Block Party
1st Ave and High St, 7PM
Fun bike competitions, bicycle movie shorts, food, prizes, and more. Meet at Pattycake in Clintonville at 6:30PM for a group ride down High St to the event.
http://b2ww.org/columbus/node/17
Hope to see you at one of these rides today!

People, not speed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Link-O-Rama 5/8/2009

Eco-Friendly Bicycling Photographer - Russ Roca got a ticket in Long Beach for not riding in the door zone. Which leads him to wonder: what's better - bicycle-friendliness or bike lanes?

Esquire.com (via Richard_Florida on Twitter) - Car Culture is in the skids.

Bike Blog NYC - Ever miss driving along with your tunes blaring like you did when you were driving? Check out this little gadget!

BikeHacks - An interesting way to take care of those annoying ride-time maintenance issues like putting your chain back on the gears or changing a tire.

Cyclelicious - Like the idea of Reelights, the magnet-powered flashers that require no batteries or recharging? Well, make your own!

BikeHacks - A new space-saving bike rack is revealed: the Rac Arc!

People, not speed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jury Finds In Favor Of TOSRV Cyclist-Killing Motorist

This has got me hot.

Many of you may remember that last year, during the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV), that Dr. William Crowley was killed by motorist Sara Bender when she ran into him from behind during the annual bike race. Crowley suffered head wounds that killed him instantly while Bender left the scene of the crime.

Well, a jury found that Bender was guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. Not guilty of a fatal accident, which is a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years of jail time. She got only a misdemeanor, up to 6 months in jail and up to $1000 fine.

The jury reduced the charge. We'll never know why, because no one but those jurors was in that jury room to discuss this case. But it's an absolute mystery to me how this motorist got off with a lesser charge. She had an accident, her lack of attention to the road killed a man. And then she left the scene of the crime.

And the callous disregard for a man's life? Reducing the charge to remove the "fatal" from the description of the accident? How do you justify that? She killed him!

Until juries figure out that killing people is wrong, and that drivers bear the responsibility for their actions on the road, cyclists are never going to get justice, much less equal treatment.

People, not speed.

Third Hand Bike Parts Swap - May 24

From fellow Columbus Bike Blogger Ray George:
Save the Date - Third Hand Bike Parts Swap - Sunday, May 24
Third Hand Bicycle Co-op
174 East Fifth Ave
Columbus, OH 43201
614-299-2984
info@thirdhand.org

Sunday May 24, 2009
1pm - 5pm
Bring Your Own Blanket (BYOB)
$10 per blanket to sell bike parts - proceeds to benefit Third Hand
Third Hand Bicycle Co-Op is a top notch organization and can really use your support! Please join them on the 24th!

People, not speed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Outside Magazine Offers Cycling Issue

One of my favorite magazines, for both travel planning and strict daydreaming, is Outside Magazine. If you're not familiar with it, it's one of the best adventure travel and outdoor activity magazines in existence.

This month, I assume in honor of National Bike Month, they're offering their official Cycling Issue, with stories about bikes and cycling from all angles. Especially notable for us as commuters is the video section with tutorials on basic maintenance for your bike! There are also tips on equipping yourself and your bike and a number of features on some of the latest issues and figures in the world of pro cycling. And there's even a section on fitness for the bike (and I'm a big fan of Outside's fitness advice, I really think they do a nice job). Keep in mind that their advice is more for recreational cyclists of all stripes, but that you might find some stuff that helps you out on your commute, too!

Check it out!

People, not speed.

Reader Requests Help with Hamilton Road

One of my readers, Chris Herrmann, has asked me a question for which I have no definitive answer. So in the spirit of bike community and Bike To Work Week, I'm going to open up his email to all of you to help out! The question is about the Hamilton Road area, a place that the MORPC map has listed as "Roadways with a high volume of traffic traveling at high speeds. Extreme caution should be used on these roadways. Suitable only for bicyclists with advanced skills."

So, without further ado:
James,

Greetings. I'm a fellow cycling enthusiast who is currently commutes by car to work. Its only 7.8 miles one way and certainly not a complicated route. The only concern is safety along the route. I've found several options within neighborhoods for bike commuting; but currently there is no route that avoids Hamilton Rd. next to Port Columbus. Traffic on the 1.5 mile section between I-270 and Broad St. travels nearly 55 mph in the morning. In that regard, have you read any recent news about progress on the Big Walnut Trail or a possible bike lane/path along Hamilton Rd. between Gahanna & Whitehall?

Any information you might provide would be helpful. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog daily. Keep up the good work!

Best Regards.

Chris
People, not speed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bike To Work Week Events Featured, Including Ohio Senator Teresa Fedor

The Bike To Work Week Planning Committee is featuring a number of great events for Bike To Work Week that are going to help you to be a better commuter cyclist and offer you the chance to give back to the community and have a lot of fun!

Some of the highlights include classes on better cycling, cycling and the law, organized rides with city luminaries, bike hops, and more. (See my article on last year's Cycling and the Law event here.)

In addition, Ohio Senator Teresa Fedor will be riding from Toledo to Columbus over the period of May 15 to May 17 to promote cycling in Ohio and support for healthy families, veterans, and many other things. She'll also be introducing a bill to enact the suggested changes to Ohio traffic law as put forth by the Ohio Bicycle Federation. More information on this at Yay Bikes!

Some of the events coming up require an RSVP and are noted where they do. Hope to see you out at the many great events! There's something for everyone so please take a look and see what interests you!

People, not speed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bike To Work Week Commuter Challenge Reaches 1000 Riders!

Meredith Joy, the co-founder of Yay Bikes!, just let me know that the Bike To Work Week Commuter Challenge has JUST reached 1000 riders! That is one heck of an accomplishment, and I congratulate the hard working folks with the Bike To Work Week Planning Committee on their amazing achievement!

Again, this is up from 393 riders last year. There's no doubt that we have an amazing group of advocates in this city who are tirelessly working to improve not only conditions for cyclists, but for the entire city! Great work, folks!

People, not speed.

Bike To Work Week One Week Away

Monday, May 11, is the beginning of Bike to Work Week here in Columbus! Consider Biking, Yay Bikes, and a lot of individuals all over town are working very hard to make this the most successful Bike To Work Week in Columbus's history!

Consider Biking is working on a number of policy and infrastructure-related issues for the week, but also would like to encourage everyone to get out and ride!

To that end, they're partnering with Mayor "Bikin' Mike" Coleman to welcome everyone to the week's events with the kickoff on May 11 at the Statehouse West Lawn (the side facing the Huntington Building). You can start gathering at 7:30 am, and there will be coffee, food, live music, and cycling offerings for everyone while you want for the festivities to start at 8:30. More details are on the way!

If you'd like, the mayor will also be leading a commuter ride from OSU down High Street to the Statehouse and you can meet up with him there at 8:00 to begin the ride! The mayor will also be releasing the plans for cycling improvments on High Street, so this should be a very interesting event!

CB would also encourage you, if you're a regular (or even irregular) commuter cyclist, to fill out a survey that talks about your bike commuting habits. This will help greatly with CB's advocacy efforts, as they'll have the data to effectively lobby for more and better changes! And, if you take the five minutes that the survey requires, you'll be entered into a contest for ten $25 gift certifcates from cycling retailers all over the city! Free stuff is always good, so fill it out today!

I also encourage you to visit the Bike To Work Week web page and sign up for the Commuter Challenge! Meredith Joy, Austin Kocher, and the rest of the folks at the Bike to Work Week Planning Committee have been putting in a lot of work with NO budget to get this running. And the results are great!

The Bike To Work Week committee has put together the new-and-improved Commuter Challenge for 2009 after a very successful year in 2008. The statistics from last year were good:
  • 4 days
  • 29 Teams
  • 393 participants
  • 1,738 one-way commutes
  • 10,115 miles biked
  • 506 gallons of gas saved
  • 10,000 lb of CO2 avoided
  • 5.8 mile average 1-way trip
  • $5100 Fuel and auto maintenance savings
This year, there are already 964 riders on 93 teams (when I last checked) and the numbers are growing. The challenge this year is for TWO weeks of commuting, starting today! So get registered today, log your miles from this morning's ride (you did ride this morning, right?), and get cracking! If you plan on riding at all for this bike to work week, please sign up and start logging your miles!

I'm looking forward to a wildly successful Bike To Work Week in Columbus, and I'll be posting stuff to help you get ready all week! Keep posted for more and GET OUT AND RIDE!

People, not speed.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's No Mistake: Columbus Awarded LAB Bronze Status as Bike-Friendly City!

That's right, all the hard work is paying off with national recognition!

Here's the official press release from the League of American Bicyclists. Columbus got some special recognition along with Philadelphia as major cities east of the Mississippi that attained the designation, and that text is highlighted below!
The League of American Bicyclists Announces Spring 2009 Bicycle Friendly Communities and States

Washington, DC - April 27, 2009 – The League of American Bicyclists is proud to announce our 2009 spring Bicycle Friendly Communities and States in celebration of Bike Month 2009, starting May 1. The League is recognizing 13 new Bicycle Friendly Communities and three BFC renewals (see list below). Notably, five states have their first BFC designations – Cedar Falls, Iowa; Columbia, Mo.; Tulsa, Okla.; Columbus, Ohio; and Philadelphia, Pa. Philadelphia and Columbus add to the League’s roster of metropolitan cities east of the Mississippi River to become a BFC, proving that the nation – not just the west coast – is growing increasingly aware of the benefits of becoming more bicycle-friendly. “It was very encouraging to have five new states represented, some big cities east of the Mississippi, and a significant improvement in responses to enforcement and planning questions,” said League President Andy Clarke.

The cities that received BFC designations have made great strides in the past few years. Philadelphia and Columbus are both bronze BFCs and at critical points of the process to become great cities for cyclists. Philadelphia is back on track after doing a lot in the late 1990s with its on-street network. They have hired a bike coordinator, Bike Philly is growing apace, there are unique urban mountain biking opportunities and industry and advocates are working effectively with Philadelphia to move things forward. Columbus has an exciting new Bicycle Master Plan; and if fully implemented, it will build one of the better urban trail systems in the country. Both of these communities benefit from new mayors who are committed to improving the quality of life in communities through bicycling. In addition to these, Tulsa and Irvine, Calif. both have bike sharing programs. Clarke noted the impressive advances of the BFC applicants and stated, “This round of applications had more communities with newer and stronger bike plans than all previous reviews.”

Additionally, the League is announcing its inaugural round of Bicycle Friendly States. Four states have been awarded the coveted designation and two states received an honorable mention – Washington (Silver), Wisconsin (Silver), Arizona (Bronze), Minnesota (Bronze), Delaware (Honorable Mention) and Maryland (Honorable Mention). “This year we are recognizing several states for their impressive initiatives to improve conditions for bicyclists, and the timing could not be better for doing that: to lessen energy consumption and improve the environment, health benefits and traffic,” stated Clarke.

The BFC and BFS programs are revolutionizing the way states and communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress and work toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. The application process to become a BFC is rigorous; currently only 108 of the 274 applicants have a BFC four-year designation. The renewal process and four levels of the award – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. The new and expanded BFC program began at the League in 1995, and in the past 14 years it has evolved into the tool it is today – evaluating, recognizing and improving cities, states and businesses. The League judges all BFC applications on our fundamental Five Es – Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation.

The BFS program links the League’s work with federal level and community advocacy throughout the nation and recognizes states that actively support bicycling. Scoring is based on a 75-item questionnaire evaluating a states’ commitment to bicycling and covers six key areas: legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement.

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.
# # #

New BFC Winners
Columbia, MO - Silver
Alexandria, VA - Bronze
Cedar Falls, IA - Bronze
Columbus, OH - Bronze
Irvine, CA - Bronze
Lakewood, CO - Bronze
Long Beach, CA - Bronze
Naperville, IL - Bronze
Philadelphia, PA - Bronze
Santa Monica, CA - Bronze
Traverse City, MI - Bronze
Tulsa, OK - Bronze
Vail, CO - Bronze

BFC Renewals
Ann Arbor, MI - ’05 Bronze, ’09 Silver
Bend, OR - ‘05 Bronze, ’09 Silver
Milwaukee, WI - ’06 Bronze, ’09 Bronze

Honorable Mention BFCs
Buffalo Grove, IL
Clark County, NV
Decatur, GA
Greeley, CO
Menlo Park, CA
Punta Gorda, FL
Savannah, GA
Wenatchee, WA
Easton, PA
Fairfield, CT
Goodyear, AZ
Hyattsville, MD
Madison, NJ
Riverside, OH
Roswell, NM
St. Helens, OR
People, not speed.

Columbus: Bronze-level Bike Friendly City?

I've been reading a couple of blogs from around the country that have told of their communities being named Bike-Friendly Cities by the League of American Bicyclists, and I went out to the LAB site to see the new list.

And lo and behold...
This is the first I've heard of this... anyone else have any news? It's fantastic and a testament to the great folks in city government, Consider Biking, Yay Bikes!, and a host of independent folks who've been chipping in!

People, not speed.

Friday Link-O-Rama 5/1/2009

Sacramento Bee - The man whose website got me started in bike commuting is featured as Bike To Work Week gets closer. Thanks to Paul Dorn!

Cyclelicious - Well, actually, it's from Fritz's Facebook page, but that doesn't make it any less true! Transit users are three times more likely to meet fitness guidelines than car drivers. Wonder what the score is for cyclists?

TheWashCycle - The DC-based blogger shows us what a really fun bike rack installation can be! Come on, Columbus, we're supposed to the the Indy Art Capital of the World. Get creative! Crew racks at Crew Stadium, big "O" racks on campus, Teutonic art racks in German Village, beer stein racks in the Brewery District, the sky's the limit!

The Path Less Pedaled - Bicycling photographer Russ Roca and his partner Laura Crawford are shucking all their possessions that won't fit on their two touring bikes and heading to Patagonia. Not the store. Follow their adventure online!

Biking Bis - A list of the top 10 states with the most bike-related fatalities and the 10 least. Ohio's on neither list... we're right in the middle, apparently.

Cyclelicious - Fritz has the answer from the CDC on how to avoid H1N1 - RIDE A BIKE!

People, not speed.