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Tag Archive: News

This Just In: Lady Commuters Are On a Roll!

Hey there, fearless female foot-pedaling peoples and all Bike Commuters readers in internet land. This just in from Washington D.C.: the League of American Bicyclists recently released a “first-of-its-kind report showcasing a trend seen on streets nationwide” Apparently, stats are showing that Cycle Ladies are changing the face bicycling (duh), and bicycling is transforming the lives of said lady commuters (double-duh and high fives!)

The press release from the League goes like this:

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“Women on a Roll” — a product of the League’s Women Bike program — compiles more than 100 original and trusted sources of data to showcase the growth and potential of female bicyclists in the United States. It also suggests five key focus areas — the 5 Cs — to increase women’s ridership:

» Comfort
» Convenience
» Consumer Products
» Confidence
» Community

“Increasingly, advocacy groups and industry leaders are recognizing the gender gap as a clear — and critical — limitation to growing the bike movement and the market,” said Carolyn Szczepanski, the League’s Director of Communications and Women Bike. “This report puts hard data behind that imperative — and reveals what’s working in getting more women on bikes and where there is clear opportunity to increase female leadership and participation.”

According to the report:
» 82% of American women have a positive view of bicyclists
» From 2003 to 2012, the number of women and girls who bicycle rose 20%, compared to a .5% decline among men
» Women are the new majority: 60% of bicycle owners aged 17-28 years old are women.
» Women accounted for 37% of the bicycle market in 2011, spending $2.3 billion.
» 45% of local and state bicycle advocacy organization staff are female.
» 89% of bike shop owners are male, but 33% of shops are run by a
husband/wife team.
» Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions, including the boards of national industry and advocacy organizations — and their membership.

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Download “Women on a Roll” here and stay engaged as we dig further into the data and concepts in the report with female leaders over the next three months.

Learn more about Women Bike at bikeleague.org/womenbike

Take what you want from it… I’m usually a positive thinker living in a happy bubble world where bikes, ponies, and rollerblades all share the roads with equal representation of male and females alike… But let’s get real here, women are the hot new thing in the Bike Commuting land, and we can’t deny the increasing representation in the market!

So whaddya think? Are you a cycle lady that has changed the face of bicycling? Did all you women on bikes out there need Comfort, Convenience, Consumer Products, Confidence, and Community to transition into the cycling world? If you aren’t a Cycle lady yet, just click here to get some inspiration of why you should become one!
Otherwise, hit us up in the comments to share your opinions.

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New law in Chicago: Texting while biking = Ticket

A couple of weeks ago, the Chicago city council began discussion on a proposal that bans texting while bicycling.

“This ordinance basically levels the playing field between motorists and bicyclists,” said Ald. Margaret Laurino, 39th, chairman of the committee and sponsor of the measure. “Like drivers, bicyclists will not be able to text while moving. Nor will bicyclists be able to use their cell phones unless they utilize a hands-free device.”

I’m all for safe bicycling, and the cycling folks in Chicago have a great discussion on this topic going on via the Chainlink – an online bicycling community for Chicago cyclists.

Some of the comments are thoughts I’ve had myself:

“I would have hoped that it would have just occurred to people that this is a really bad idea, and refrained from doing it.”

“Too bad on a bike you’re much more visible than when your in a vehicle.”

“Bikes might be more visible than motorists.
Do they ever ticket texting motorists?
On Saturday I saw a cop texting while driving his SUV police “car”.”

Does common sense need to legislated?
Will this legislation end up targeting cyclists more?
Will the laws against texting and driving AND against talking on a cell phone be enforced more for motorists now?

Chicago really is on the forefront of paving the way (literally) for better cycling conditions in Chicago, including 100-miles of protected bike lanes in the next four years. But I have to wonder if this kind of legislation runs counterintuitive to progress.

A journalism instructor at DePaul University and his class recently posted about the proposed Chicago cell phone ban for cyclists to The Red Line Project, a student-run online site. Please cast your vote on their Poll on Cell Phone Ban for Cyclists.

How-To Enjoy Winter Biking

The local news recently reported about winter biking in Chicago.

They even featured video of the fun of “snow” cycling.

As reported by Ben Bradley:

January 8, 2010 (WLS) — A half-foot of snow can be daunting for drivers, a headache for walkers and make a calamity of the commute. But for some cyclists it makes a great ride.

Sure, anyone can do it when the sun is shining and the thermometer reads 80-degrees. But, it takes a special breed to break out the bike during a winter snowstorm.

“Winter in Chicago doesn’t conqueror cyclists, cyclists in Chicago conqueror winter!” said one man while grabbing his bike.

Whenever more than two inches of snow fall in the city, these cycling enthusiasts gather at the appropriately named “Handlebar” tavern. They swap stories from recent rides, some down a bit of liquid courage and then they don their winter wear and hit the streets.

“It’s 50-percent guts and zest and just sheer will and the other 50 percent is gear, knowledge and knowing what you’re doing out here,” said Kevin Monahan, winter biker.

They pass drivers scraping their windshield, try to avoid plows like the plague, and- for the most part- try to stick to the side streets for their three-plus mile winter rides.

“It would be easy to live in a warm climate and bike all winter long,” said one rider.

“One of the great things about biking in the winter is it gets you out of the house and you can avoid cabin fever,” said Dave Glowacz, winter biker.

Some of the winter riders are the same folks you’ll find filling downtown streets during monthly bike rallies called Critical Mass. Their numbers fall with the temperature- but so does the disdain from those who prefer four wheels to two.

“We don’t get heckled as much in the winter. We get more respect. I think they appreciate us for our guts!” said Monahan.

The driving force behind snow cycling is a simple belief: If kids can play in the snow, so should adults.

Extra! Extra! Weekly News Recap

Sometimes we get too buried in the negativity of network news (war, corrupt politicians, celebrities, you know the type…), and it seems hard to find positive, enjoyable stories. In an effort to, as Monty Python says, “Always look on the bright side of life…,” I present you with the following:

  • NYC Michael Bloomberg has been trying to impose a “Congestion Charge” in the streets of New York City to entice people to use alternate transportation and thereby alleviate the nightmare that is NYC traffic. London has had such a charge since 2003, and since then has seen a 43% increase in bike commuting. TreeHugger.com examines whether these two events are related.
  • The Bicycle: most energy efficient mode of transportation.
  • A fellow Phoenix desert-dweller tells a pleasant story about why she bike commutes.
  • Want to not get side-swiped by an 18 wheeler? Just smile and wave
  • Here’s an opportunity to help organized cycling advocacy stay alive. Give the Bicycle Transportation Alliance your support for their public service announcement commercials on bike commuter awareness.
  • This one may not only be about bike commuting, but it makes for a great story nonetheless. My good friends Sam and Stephen have published their first book: New Day Revolution: How to Save the World in 24 Hours. The book attempts to impact great change (smarter consumption, more community, cleaner and friendlier world, etc.) by inspiring each person to make simple changes, that when added altogether, make a big difference. But here’s the big win with this book: instead of whining or complaining, it actually gives you real solutions and real ways to make change for the better. I’ll give a prize (yet to be determined) to the first person who can find my name in the book. This tome is the brainchild of their organization, CoolPeopleCare:

Since we’re in the business of change, we wanted to put a new spin on this old idea. But we didn’t just want to rename or rebrand something. We wanted to rethink it. We wanted to reimagine the idea, not for the sake of marketing, but for the sake of success.

Come back every Thursday for a recap of what is going on in the world of bike commuting. Until then, happy riding!

Two-wheeled Paramedics

A lot of skeptics and naysayers fight against the build-up of cycling infrastructure in our cities because they say it is a waste of funds that could be spend on more important infrastructure. I have had a conversation about this with many a friend, and have read blog posts, editorials, etc., about the subject. One of the favorite arguments I see being made against cycling infrastructure: “What about hospitals? You can’t carry a patient in critical need on a bicycle.”

There is a great deal of truth to that point, and until now I have simply accepted it as a practical truth. I would never promote cycling as more important as saving a life in need, which, until now has meant that we need roads and we need ambulances. But no longer is the realm of life-saving solely in the hands of automobiles and helicopters. There is a real-life example of bicycle paramedics in the UK: a fully functional unit of paramedics that ride bikes and still comply with governmental regulations for response times. While this may be old news to some, it is new to me – and provides a much-needed burst in excitement about bicycles being viable alternatives to automobiles.

I came across this story on the TreeHugger website. To me, it is a testament that there is wide-spread hope in the bicycle as a viable alternative to the automobile. While a bicycle paramedic cannot necessarily carry a patient to a hospital on a bike, they CAN respond to an emergency – often arriving sooner than an ambulance, especially in crowded metropolitan areas – and stabilize a patient until a larger transport vehicle can arrive on the scene.

Whether or not you think bicycle paramedics have a practical application in our cities, you have to admit: this is a pretty cool story and a hopeful day for cyclists.

[a more traditional journalistic story can be found on the BBC news website, where the image above was taken from.]