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Tag Archive: league of american bicyclists

New Bicycle-Friendly Universities Announced

The League of American Bicyclists unveiled a new list of winners in their “Bicycle Friendly Universities” campaign. From the press release:

The League of American Bicyclists is announcing six new Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU) today at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. “We are pleased to see that so many of our great higher education institutions – large and small – are stepping up to meet the challenges of sustainability, safety and health, and they are doing so with the help of the Bicycle Friendly Universities program,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League. “College campuses across the country are offering students and faculty a higher quality of life as a result.” The BFU program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors. The six new BFUs complete a successful inaugural year for the BFU program. There are now 26 BFUs in 20 states that are encouraging students and staff to travel to and on their campuses on bicycles.

The six new winners are:

Chatham University
George Mason University
Ohio State University
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of North Carolina Wilmington
University of Vermont

To read more about the BFU program, please visit the League’s information page. And, for a complete list of recipients (currently 26 colleges and universities), take a look at the PDF list on the League’s site.

Congratulations to all the new recipients! College campuses were made for bicycles…easing congestion, providing a healthy way to get around, and avoiding the hunt for elusive (and expensive) parking spots.

Guest Article – Dispelling “Cycle Ladies” Myths

This article was submitted by Miriam Gee, our homie over in Hawaii. You remember Miriam, don’t you? Well, she’s brought her brand of humor to bear on a topic of great interest to many of us: encouraging more women to join us as we ride our bikes to work. Take a look at Miriam’s irreverent, yet eminently useful, advice:

All my Cycle Ladies, all my Cycle Ladies! Why is it that members of the better half of humanity are less likely to make commuter trips by bikes than those possessing Y chromosomes? Perhaps it is our aversion to tight-fitting clothing, getting a tan, and the hot pink bike jersey. (Whoops! Wrong kind of Jersey…) By politely barraging the inboxes of my female co-workers, family, and friends, I uncovered the three top reasons why (some) women (I know) in America might PUNK OUT of bike commuting! From Seattle, Honolulu, Sacramento, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Columbus, Vancouver B.C., and San Clemente: meet me at the mall… it’s going DOWN.

uw-bikes-ala-moana_s

Armed with science, nonsense, and bribery, this post is inspired by Alan Snel’s original Top Ten Bike Commuting Myths – BUSTED posted last year. Let’s bust some mythical creatures.

1. Nasty Girl – stringy hair, red in the face, swampy crotch, changing clothes, pit stains, and all around fear of unlady-like stank. Seems that males and females alike both fear the ultimate sweaty walk of shame in the morning in front of your coworkers. Take this response from Emily S. in Columbus, OH: “My office mates are too immature and the male officemates are too gross for me to ever consider allowing them to see me in sweaty riding apparel. Seriously, I don’t even wear skinny jeans around these sickos.” But the bike commuter “Nasty Girl” walk of shame can actually better your career and attract a mate! Consider this wonky logic: sweaty face, glowing skin, and pit stains are signs of a good work out and a healthy lifestyle! Why else would human anatomy continue to spray pheromones out of your armpits!? You will be considered the most fit, the most progressive, and the most fearless Cycle Lady commuter at your workplace when you arrive with a fanfare of glistening sweat and pheromone fireworks each morning!

Still unconvinced?

Solution: Witch Hazel. Mad shout out to Chad Taniguchi from HBL who hooked it up with this tip! Not everyone needs to shower after their bike commuter, just bring a change of clothes, some toiletries or baby wipes and you are ready to talk to corporate! eat a bagel! remember birthdays! promote synergy! Erase that swamp crotch like sham-WOW!

bike-am-routine_s

2. Scaredy Cat – low confidence on two wheels, intimidated by spandex warriors, don’t know local bike safety rules or are afraid of riding in traffic. Take Cecile R. from San Luis Obispo, CA who may cop out of a ride cause sometimes she doesn’t like “competing with boy bikers and their man legs.” Ladies, bike commuters are not terrorists. If I can do it, anyone can ride a bike with confidence! I assure you, as I am the female equivalent of Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid or more accurately: Daria. After a couple of months on a beater commuter franken-bike, I became as confident as any fourth grader on a bmx… Cycle Ladies can definitely hang with boy bikers, like this story from LGRAB. Don’t be scurred, ride it and own the road like Shy Ronnie owns the mic.

Still need more?

Solution: Look online for “Smart Cycling” classes offered by instructors approved by the League of American Bicyclists that teach how to ride your bike with skill and confidence. Ride with an experienced friend. Be predictable and be bold! You don’t need testosterone or liquid confidence to ride…. bike commuting is fun, and so easy, any human being can do it!

frank-itb_smart-cycle_s

3. Da Broke Phi Broke – no cash to buy a sweet bike, no cash for a tune up, and no cash for bike commuting essentials. Cash flow DOWN like the economy? Caela B. and Trixie C. are self-proclaimed members of Broke Phi Broke in Seattle, WA, don’t own bikes and think they are too expensive. Wellwz, Cycle Ladies: things can’t be that bad if you have money for a gym membership, gas, car registration, car payments, parking pass, bus pass, running shoes, or a commuter llama. Look, I’m no math expert; math and writing are my weaknesses, but somewhere in my Chinese genetics, I know that bike commuting is saving me loads of cash money vs. driving a car or taking a bus. While saving money on your bills, invest in that first bike and roll up feeling independent! With the bike, no more waiting for the bus, or waiting for parking, or waiting in traffic! Bike commuter freedom for less cash than a car. If we asked Ms. Beyonce, she’d tell em “The bike I’m riding, I BOUGHT IT, cause I depend on me!”

Still super-broke beyond all reason?

Solution: Like Alan Snel says, borrow a bike. When I first showed up in town, I contacted the Hawaii Bicycling League and borrowed the director’s beater mountain bike for free! Check on Craigslist for families moving out of town who need to clean out the garage, or ask friends for one to borrow. Last but not least, if you’re uber broke and unemployed, with free time on your hands you can volunteer at local Bicycle Collective non-profits, where you can usually build a franken-bike out of donated parts and used bicycles. Voila, custom ride for zero dinero.

bike-lockup_s

So, if this post and Alan Snel still doesn’t convince you that bike commuting is too easy for all humans, perhaps you share opinions with some of my friends. Here are some of the most hilarious reasons not to bike from the survey:

1. Maybe I want to pick up a mocha latte on the way to work (don’t judge me)
2. I don’t prefer to shower and get ready at work…cuz you know Shorty’s going to be sweating after an hour bike ride
3. Shitty tube-changing skills, backed up by no public transportation along the route I take to work = too many opportunities for my ass to get stranded in the boonies.
4. Bikes are banned from drive-thrus, and the only way I could really convince myself to ride into work would be the promise of a daily McGriddles fix. Too lazy to lock up the bike and walk into McD’s. Need to roll and eat.
5. That is a big ass hill I’d have to climb (in my opinion) and I’m afraid of having a heart attack.
6. The only people that ride bikes are crackheads, and I don’t want people to think I am a crackhead.

It’s always baffled me why more men are willing to throw on some spandies and fancy footwear than women in the world of cycling and bike commuting. Hopefully this post will make you laugh, and realize that biking is easy and fun for women… Cycle Ladies represent!

The LAB Weighs In On Tampa’s Recent Cycling Tragedies…

I was surprised and elated to find out today that Tampa’s recent spate of cyclist deaths has received attention from none other than the president of the League of American Bicyclists, Andy Clarke. He drafted a letter to the Hillsborough County Commission and to the Tampa City Council/Mayor’s Office and gave our friend Alan Snel a sneak peek at it. Alan gave me permission to share it in its entirety with you here:

Bicycling Safety in Tampa and Hillsborough County
A Statement from the League of American Bicyclists
By Andy Clarke, LAB President

The tragic deaths of six area bicyclists in recent weeks is an awful reminder of the terrible toll – and excruciating personal loss – caused by traffic crashes in the Tampa area. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims and to all those touched by these fatalities. There is nothing we can do to bring these loved ones back.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that their deaths serve as a wake-up call to the community: a clarion call to the cowardly hit-and-run drivers and red-light runners who show such disdain for human life; a clarion call to the Mayor, city council, and county commissioners striving to create safe, livable communities; and a clarion call to every bicyclist, pedestrian and driver on area roads. Please – take care, pay attention, and show some respect for each other.

Part of the tragedy unfolding in Tampa is the fact that crashes like this are generally on the decline nationwide, even as more and more people in cities across the country get back on their bikes and enjoy the healthy benefits of active transportation. One out of every six bicyclists killed in the United States each year loses their life on Florida roadways; the recent spate of fatalities in Tampa alone is one percent of the annual national total.

Our plea to the elected leaders of and the entire Tampa Bay community is that you decide today that this is unacceptable and must stop. The way communities react to tragedies such as this truly defines their commitment to bicyclist safety and to their “bicycle-friendliness?. Three years ago, the leading bicycling city of Portland, Ore., suffered two bicyclist deaths just a couple of weeks apart. The immediate response of Mayor Sam Adams in pulling together the law enforcement, traffic engineering, public safety, and bicycling communities to coordinate a powerful and effective response clearly demonstrated their true commitment to ensuring their city streets are safe for bicycling. Nothing short of that will suitably honor the lives of these Tampa cyclists.

Our plea to the residents of Tampa, especially those behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, is to stop treating cyclists like animals. The callous disregard for human life shown by the driver who won’t even stop when they hit someone is inexcusable; as is the level of vitriol towards cyclists on display in the on-line newspaper comments that follow every such incident. We understand that many cyclists flout the rules of the road and that such behavior is irritating – the organized bicycling community, including the League, tries hard to change that dynamic through our education and club programs. But not only are the recent deaths NOTHING to do with cyclist misbehavior, the last victim was on the sidewalk when they were hit by a car involved in a red-light running crash.

As this last fatal crash highlights, traffic safety in Tampa is really not about bicyclists, or bicyclists versus motorists. It is much bigger than that and deserves a much bigger response. The temptation to crack down on bicycling as somehow inherently unsafe must be resisted. People out riding and walking are the indicator species of a healthy, vibrant, safe and livable community. Street design, community development, and driving behavior that discourage people from bicycling and walking should not be tolerated – not least because it makes everyone vulnerable and unsafe. Distracted, drunken and drugged driving is a scourge that affects every motorist as well as every cyclist and pedestrian. Speeding and red-light running, turning without slowing or stopping, failing to yield or signal will catch up with us all whether we are behind the wheel of a car or simply trying to get across the street. For the last several decades, more than 40,000 people a year have been killed in traffic crashes in the United States – mostly car drivers and passengers. That simply wouldn’t happen if we were all following the rules.

Our plea to the law enforcement community is to take these fatalities and crashes seriously. We understand that rarely does someone get into their car with the intent of causing harm, let alone death. The impact of killing someone must be devastating, and remarkably rarely do the families of the victims want revenge. They do want justice, and I believe they do expect the serious impact of a driver’s careless, inattentive or dangerous disregard for the safety of others to be taken into account. There may be new laws that are required to adequately prosecute “causing death by careless or dangerous driving?, so people take the everyday function of driving a little more seriously. By all means crack down on cyclist behavior that is a real threat to public safety or a common cause of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes, but please don’t assume that a cyclist is in the wrong simply for being on the road in the first place. We really don’t deserve that.

The Tampa area is blessed with numerous League Cycling Instructors, active bicycling clubs, bike shops and bike-related businesses that promote more and safer cycling. Our bicycle-friendly community program provides a roadmap for improvements. There are expert traffic engineers and planners who know how to design safer streets for ALL road users. There are examples across the country of where this is being done – even the formerly-mean streets of New York City are being transformed into complete streets that people can walk across, ride along, drive down, and park in safely and conveniently.

Even though the tools are there, that kind of transformation doesn’t happen easily or overnight. We urge Tampa Bay area elected officials to work constructively with the local cycling community, traffic safety experts, law enforcement, public health, business leaders and local neighborhoods to make the tough decisions to usher in a new era of safer streets and more livable communities – not just for a bunch of bicyclists or for the grief-stricken families of fallen riders, but for the good of the entire community.

Wow…great stuff. Andy seems to capture what many of us in the Tampa Bay area are thinking, but he delivers it much more eloquently than a lot of us could right now. Let’s hope this gets the message to our elected officials and they finally realize that something MUST be done to give cyclists and pedestrians an equal (and safe) footing on Tampa’s mean streets.

So why aren’t more people doing it?

On Monday I read this article (and what an appropriate post for Green Tuesday):

Bicycle Commuting is green, healthy and cheap — so why don’t more people do it?

It’s May, which means it’s Bicycle Month. Cities and cycling clubs around the country are promoting bicycle riding by sponsoring group rides and bike commuter events , culminating around Bike to Work Day on May 21. But the presence on the American calendar of a designated month to encourage bicycle transportation underscores the fact that most people in this nation get around by driving cars, not by riding bikes.

Public transit and bicycle commuting are gaining ridership, but it is estimated that only 0.05 percent of Americans use a bike as their primary means of transportation — even though 40 percent of our daily trips and errands require less than 2 miles of travel, according to the National Household Transportation Survey. Continue reading full article

In March I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, and Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride of Silence, at the Michigan Bicycle Summit.
andy clarke and chris phelan
Both men had valuable insights about safe riding to share with the group.

What’s your response to get more people on bikes? I think the answer is that more and more people ARE riding bikes, commuting by bike and rediscovering the joy and functionality of the bicycle! THe League of American Bicyclists’ report on Bicycle Commuting Trends shows the increase since 2000. But, I also think that the infrastructure – and road sharing – has lots of catching up to do to truly make the roads “complete streets” and safe for all users… so that every month and every day is bike to work day!

Is the U.S. Finally Getting Serious About Alternative Transportation?

The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced at the National Bike Summit that:

Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

LaHood went on to unveil his Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations.

Obviously, it’s too early to tell what this all means for transportational cyclists and pedestrians, but to me it looks like a VERY positive step in the right direction. About time, too…

From the Bikeleague.org blog via Bicycle Stories (thanks for the tip, Alan!)