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Tag Archive: bike infrastructure

Getting more women on two wheels…

With the National Bike Summit taking place last week, a number of interesting news articles popped up in my Google news alert. Two of them really caught my attention: they are both essays based on the National Women Cycling Forum (which took place during the Summit) on why more women are not choosing two wheels over four.

The first appeared on Greater Greater Washington and served as a good overview of the main topics discussed during the Forum. You can take a look at that by clicking here.

The second also talks about the main topics, but the author also adds in some personal thoughts:

I’ve never thought of myself as a female cyclist. For the last 13 years, I’ve been a bike commuter in DC, and I figured my needs were the same needs as any cyclist. But for the last six months, I’m a biker that doesn’t bike, and that has everything to do with the fact that I’m a woman. So the Women’s Cycling Forum, which kicked off the National Bike Summit yesterday, hit home for me.

After all, I had taken the metro. To the Bike Summit.

Why wasn’t I riding? I just had a baby. So did my partner, but somehow he never had to stop cycling. But then, he didn’t find himself gaining 28 pounds in nine months. Or pushing a baby out his bike-seat anatomy. And since he’s not nursing every three hours, he leaves the house without Luna more often than I do, so he has more cause to bike. At two months, she’s too young for a bike trailer.

Read the rest of the essay by clicking here. Both are well worth the visit, and both offer some very thought-provoking looks at strategies toward getting more women on bikes.

Cities ranked for bicycling/walkability

The Alliance for Biking and Walking just published their 2012 Benchmarking Report. As reported in the Los Angeles Times:

[The report] provides a look at commuting by cycling and walking in the U.S., how safe those commutes are, and where transportation funding is going — or not going — to promote these alternative means of local travel.

The report ranked states and cities on bicycling and walking levels (how many people commute by bike or foot) as well as fatality rates. Boston had the highest level of such commutes, and Fort Worth, Texas, the lowest. Vermont and Boston had the fewest fatalities and Florida and Fort Worth the most.

Some more brief (and sobering) highlights:

From 2000 to 2009, bicycling commuters in the U.S. rose by 57%. But the largest 51 cities in the country saw an average 29% increase in bicycle fatalities since the group released its 2010 report. That number may change if the planned 20,908 miles of bike facilities and 7,079 miles of pedestrian facilities across the country are funded.

It can be dangerous out there for those who travel by bike or foot: 12% of trips in the U.S. are taken via cycling or walking, but 14% of those involved in fatal traffic accidents are bicyclists and pedestrians.

Read the LA Times article by clicking here, visit the Alliance website here, or download the full (242 pages, 24MB) report by clicking here.

Two of my very favorite bike commuters…

I was happy to see this published in the online and print editions of the Tampa Tribune this morning…two of my favorite bike commuters, Doug and Doreen Jesseph of Tampa.

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(Shameless photo borrowing from the Tampa Tribune…because it’s just so dang cute!)

I had been hounding the Jessephs to submit “commuter profiles” for our recurring series…perhaps now, with a little celebrity, they will agree to pull the trigger and share their two-wheeled thoughts with us!

Anyhow, take a look at the Tribune article by clicking here. And, stay tuned for more commuter profiles as we empty the hopper in the next few weeks — I am a bit behind on publishing a few of them.

New Striping in the Bike Lane: friend or foe?

Construction season nears its end, and I’m noticing some new bike / ped lane striping going on in Chicago — along my commuting route! It’s awesome to see fresh new white lines and newly painted bike images in the bike lane.

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I took a photo of the crew painting the new bike markers in my lane during my morning commute; they were happy to pose for a photo op.
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The bright white stripe of demarcation is so much more visible at night and I have noticed that motorists do not encroach as much on my designated road space – at least they seem to notice the bike lane. Of course, that doesn’t keep me from moving beyond my narrow lane; if road conditions in the bike lane are hazardous or if a car is double-parked or there’s a threat of dooring, then I reserve my right to ride outside of the bike lane and to take the lane of motor vehicle traffic for my own safety.

I’ve heard the comments from some bicyclists who see striping as a concession to “the man” putting bikes in their place. I, however, welcome the simple white lane “buffer”. As Jack “Ghostrider” commented to me in our discussions of this post, “Yeah, I sort of like them myself…a bit of psychological buffer (“yay, my own private lane!” — and in Tampa, that was so true).” I do the same mental happy dance when I see this fresh paint – a fresh indication – to at least designate a lane and a place for bicycles on the road. Here in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has actually promised that 100-miles of protected bike lanes will be installed over the next four years – a project termed the Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign and “wants to make Chicago the most bike-friendly place in the United States.”

The new bike lane installation is already underway. Miriam and I explored the first stretch of protected bike lanes on Kinzie during her visit to Chicago. Most recently, the city’s resurfacing project on Jackson has led to a second protected bike lane being installed on Jackson Boulevard from Western Avenue to Halsted Street. The city is evaluating road projects already in the works and has been able to more quickly and affordably get these first protected bike lanes in place in a fairly efficient fashion.

Jackson Bike Lane:
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Motorists are already grumbling. But what about cyclists? The “go-fast crowd” may not like the new lanes since they restrict them behind slower bike riders. Likewise, stripes are known to be slippery when wet (all riders should take caution when riding on / crossing the stripes) and road furniture has been attributed to many crashes in big cycling race events (including this the 2010 Giro d’Italia)

I still celebrate the bike infrastructure! 🙂

Earlier this month I attended the community Bikeways (both the 101 and 201) sessions about all that goes into the engineering and planning of such bike lane infrastructure. And there will be much planning in the coming months!
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In the meantime, I’ll continue to get excited over better bike lane demarcations clearly outlining “my entitled space” on the roadway. Every little bit helps. It’s like I’m telling the motorists — “you just stay on your side of that line!” And for the most part, they are and giving me more room. 🙂 On my ride home I couldn’t help but think how seeing these new solid lines to mark off road use kind of reminds me of that scene from the movie Dirty Dancing – “this is your dance space, this is my dance space” until the lines end and we all shuffle around and do our little “dance” together at and through the intersections…

See how the bike lane ends as it approaches the intersection….
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As the city continues to plan out the new Bikeways, let’s hope that such dead zones of infrastructure get addressed. The best way to see the bike infrastructure installed how and where you want is to get involved and attend the future community meetings.

The city’s resolve to make Chicago a more bike and pedestrian friendly place has to start somewhere. I like seeing the smiling workers striping pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes — a small though noticeable sign to motorists that the streets are not ALL theirs.
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Bike Signage Survey Help Needed

Forwarded to me by a friend of the East Coast Greenway, and appearing in their newsletter:

Click on the below link to take part in a brief signage survey developed by the East Coast Greenway.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2bdmAJQR4_2f7OrJANA0wbg2Q_3d_3d

This survey will provide preliminary data that will help us to get a proper hearing from the national committee now considering changes to our bicycle route, roadway, and trail signage. If you can spare 12 minutes to fill it out, you will have done much to help this important process. Thanks!

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