Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bike Commuting News March 10th, 2011

When bicyclists arrive on Capitol Hill today to make their annual funding pitch, their message will be tailored to the tenor of the times.

For example, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) will learn that his district is home to 51 stores that sell bikes and that those stores grossed more than $20 million in 2009. Bikes, he'll be told, are sold by small-business owners, and those sales create jobs.

And, by the way, if you're looking to develop transportation alternatives in these tight times, bike paths and bike lanes are a whole lot less expensive than new highways and commuter rail lines.

This is a nice bike commuter profile. Keith Moore commutes to his job in the city using a combination of public transport and his own pedal power. What he rarely uses is his car to get into downtown Seattle. Cycling is not just a means of transportation for Moore, it’s also his passion.

There’s no further room for roads in Manhattan or its environs, but given the city’s comfort with tall buildings, there is room for more people. If each and every one of them decides to buy a car, as Cassidy has, the streets will become essentially impassable. The question, for drivers, is one of survival: How do you persuade the maximum number of New Yorkers not to drive?

The answer seems obvious: You give them other options. Bike lanes are one such option.

UC Davis two-wheeled its way to a gold award in the League of American Bicyclists’ first-ever listing of bicycle-friendly universities. Only Stanford scored better, receiving a platinum.

Thirty-two universities and colleges applied for bicycle-friendly status, and 20 qualified, with the league awarding one platinum, two golds (UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara), nine silvers (including UC Irvine) and eight bronzes (including UCLA).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bike Commuting News March 8th, 2011

Rob Gusky, a process engineer at a Kimberly-Clark facility in Neenah, Wisconsin, travels to work year-round by bicycle, making the 17-mile round trip even in winter. Why? Because biking to work is good for his health, good for his pocketbook and good for the planet. What's not to like?

Gusky has led efforts to spread the practice through Kimberly-Clark. Spurred on by bicyclists inside the company, Kimberly-Clark now sponsors a competition among its employees to promote bike riding, a statewide program called "Get Up and Ride," a fall biking event to raise money for the United Way

“I've been to more than 100 cities in more than 40 states across this great country, and everywhere I've gone, people have said they want more ways of getting around,” LaHood wrote. “Often, they want to be able to leave their cars behind. This means improved transit like streetcars and buses.

“But it also means more opportunities--whether as a form of recreation or as a way of commuting--to walk or ride a bicycle safely. We can achieve that through off-street trails, as in the Philadelphia Area Pedestrian and Bicycle Network, or through on-street bike lanes, as along DC's own Pennsylvania Avenue.”

A University of Oregon student has released a great graphic depiction of America’s bicycle mode share, government spending on bike/ped infrastructure, and bicycle-related fatalities. Kory Northrop created the map, graphs, and text for an advanced cartography class and it gives a nice visual representation of various bike numbers.

Saying C2W plays vital role in creating new cyclists and helping people live healthier lives, the independent Office of Tax Simplification has recommended the continuation of the UK's Cycle to Work tax relief scheme.

Behavioural Impact Analysis, a report authored by the Cycle to Work Alliance, found that 76 per cent of C2W users said they would not have bought a bike if they hadn't been offered one through C2W. 87 per cent of those who cycle to work said they have noticed a direct health benefit from their more active commute.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bike Commuting News March 4th, 2011

Since the Edmonton Bike Commuters society was formed in 1980, to promote and support education and services for cyclists, the group has made significant inroads convincing Edmontonians to consider pedal power over gas pedals to get around -if only for a few months of the year.

Tonight's bike art auction, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, will celebrate the society's 30th anniversary.

Eugene, OR has the highest bike commute rate in the nation for a city its size. Now the city aims to make biking and walking even more convenient. The city has just unveiled a draft pedestrian and bicycle master plan for Eugene.

"The overall goal of the plan is to double the percentage of trips taken on foot or by by bike," said David Roth, Eugene Associate Transportation planner.

Swiss epidemiologist Thomas Gotschi put together the first-ever cost/benefit analysis on biking in a U.S. city. He chose Portland to analyze because of its highest-in-the-nation bike commuter status among big cities.

On the cost side, Gotschi added up the city’s past and planned expenditures on biking. On the benefits side, he looked at health care cost savings — how many fewer health care dollars will be spent on Portland’s citizens as a result of their getting more regular exercise from biking, and thus incurring fewer chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

According to Gotschi’s calculations, during the next 30 years Portland residents could save as much as $594 million in health care costs because of the city’s investment in biking — bears noting. The more spent on bike lanes and other biking inducements, the more the eventual health care savings.

A proposal by a New York State assemblyman from Queens to require bicycles to have license plates and charge for them has been taken off the table. Assemblyman Joel Miller (R-Poughkeepsie)
said the bike license plate proposal was a plan to “nickel and dime” the people hardest hit by the recession.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bike Commuting News for March 3rd, 2011

Over the next 35 years, the city intends to expand the current number of bike lanes in L.A. from 378 miles to 1,680 miles of backbone, neighborhood and green paths. The plan will add 200 miles every five years.

Liz Ashburn, transport group co-ordinator for South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC), said: “These figures show that providing good cycle routes is an extremely effective way of tackling congestion, air quality and climate change at the same time as improving health for people of all ages.”

Bicycling "is already a fun activity, so you can take something that's fun and have it be something that's also productive, like commuting." - Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

After comparing the results with motor vehicle use, the highest percentage of bicycle traffic occurred at 640 N. Milwaukee Avenue where bikes represented 21.9 percent of vehicles in September and a high count of 3,000 bicycles in a day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bike Commuting News for February 2nd - Snow Day Edition

Along with most of the Mid-West, I'm snowed in. There are several winter riding stories in the news:

Even with the cold winds, icy roads and slushy splash-back, wintertime biking can still be more pleasurable than taking the TTC

Every day, no matter the weather, Andy Loza mounts his bicycle in front of his Lemoyne home. If the temperatures are in the teens, he wears a heavy coat, scarf and gloves. If temps dip below 10 degrees, he’ll add a balaclava to cover his face.

Despite record snowfalls, chaotic parking restrictions and buried bike lanes, Downtown cyclists say this year has been one of the best for winter riding

And ... from down south:

Mobile has exactly one street with bicycle lanes, a 1½ mile stretch of Hillcrest Road, according to the city’s planning department. A section of Old Shell Road features a wide sidewalk on one side, meant to serve cyclists and pedestrians, but it runs for only about a mile.

Traffic engineers say that more and more road projects in the city will include features that serve pedestrians and cyclists.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bike Commuting News for January 30

Construction is scheduled to begin tomorrow on a large downtown Long Beach project to add bicycle lanes along both Broadway and 3rd Street (map below), as Long Beach continues its effort to become more bike-friendly. Construction is expected to finish in mid-March.

The project aims to make bicyclists more comfortable, citing studies that show people are more likely to ride bikes if they do not have to mix with automobile traffic. The new lanes will create a safe passageway for bicyclists with a barrier separating them from traffic.

Rebekah Rooney cycles to work in Edmonton every day; and she means every day. The wind chill was -30 C Thursday and she still cycled to work. “One of the major problems is over-dressing in the winter months,” says Rooney, 31. “If you sweat and then cool down, you can be very uncomfortable if ice forms next to your skin.

“It’s important to dress in layers and estimate pretty accurately what the wind chill might be when you cross the High Level Bridge.”

As a part of a long-term plan to dislodge Boston from its historic standing among the nation’s least-friendly places for bicycling, the city installed a record number of bike lanes last year, expanded safety efforts, and advanced a bike share program that could debut this summer.

The number of people getting around on bicycles in Santa Cruz County has increased more than 25 percent over the past seven years, according to a recent observation survey conducted by the county Health Services Agency.

"We've also seen helmet use rates go up," said Theresia Rogerson, who works on the Community Traffic Safety Coalition. "And more than half of the riders observed were following appropriate traffic rules like stopping at stop signs and lights, and riding with traffic."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bike Commuting News for January 28

Next week marks the beginning of New Zealand's annual cycling celebration, Bike Wise Month.

Hundreds of events will be held around the country during February, each with the goal of getting as many Kiwis riding as possible, whether commuting, training or just having fun with their families.

Events include: Go By Bike Day (February 16) - A one-off, nationwide event which asks all New Zealanders to ditch the car for a day and give cycle commuting a go, taking the bike to work or school.

The Kansas City, MO City Council unanimously adopted a resolution for Livable Streets, a.k.a. Complete Streets. It’s a powerful high level statement in support of making city streets more inclusive of all users – pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists, the disabled, seniors, children, transit riders, etc.

The Tampa City Council held a workshop yesterday to gather more information for a Bicycle Safety Action Plan.

The city has been working with the Florida Department of Transportation, University of South Florida, Transportation Division, The Tampa Police Department and The Metropolitan Planning Organization. They're also talking with local bicyclists about needed changes.

Whether it’s for commuting, fitness or fun, the number of Auburn, Alabama residents choosing to ride bikes has increased in recent years.

Auburn traffic engineer Brandy Ezelle said the city has noticed this trend and has taken strides toward offering more programs and facilities for bikers, which include more than 35 miles of bike lanes and paths, although many are not contiguous.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bike Commuting News for January 26

Wyoming State House Defeats Bicycle Safety Bill

The Wyoming state House defeated a bill today that would have required motorists to stay at least 3 feet away from bicyclists they are passing on the road. The measure fell one vote short of the majority needed to pass the House.

Ride on in winter: More bicyclists than ever are refusing to be snowed under by the challenges of winter commuting.

Minnesota riders talk about their challenges and what keeps them going. They report getting to the office feeling mentally and physically sharper. Some people think that bikers have to be a little crazy to be out in the winter. The bikers respond that if they're crazy, so are the skiers, snowmobilers, dog-walkers and everyone else who refuses to spend winter cooped up inside.

Calgarians too scared of traffic to commute by bike

Calgarians want to cycle more often to work or school but don't because they are too scared of traffic, according to a telephone poll of 750 city residents. 19 per cent of city residents reported they already ride at least once a week. Results also showed that more people would commute by bike if there were dedicated lanes.

Edinburgh politician under fire for claiming expenses for bike commute

A councillor in Edinburgh has been criticised for legally claiming expenses for a 12-mile return trip from his home to the Scottish capital’s City Chambers. No one seems to mind when he claims the expenses when he drives...