Tag Archive: cycling advocacy

Bike to Vote (and Vote to Bike)!

As pretty much everyone in the U.S. who doesn’t live under a rock in the middle of the desert knows, tomorrow (Tuesday November 6th) is election day. While I’m sure our readers have a variety of opinions on who to vote for in the presidential election, we here at would like to remind everyone that this isn’t the only thing on the ballot! In many cases, voters will not only elect members of Congress (who by the way can have a lot of influence over bike-related legislation and funds), but also vote on a variety of other issues including bonds. Some of these – such as the one in my district regarding funds for parkland and park administration (including trails) – directly affect those of us who ride. Please look up your ballots before you vote tomorrow, and do a little research on the other items! Some may be important to you and your fellow bike commuters!

Perhaps just as importantly, we’d like to remind everyone that filling in a circle or stabbing at a computer screen isn’t the only way to make an impact on election day. If at all possible, ride your bike to the polls!

Seeing voting-age adults biking to vote can affect others’ impressions of biking as a valid transportation option – and it will show any local candidates or staff that the ability to bike everywhere is on your priority list! Also, many polling places are at schools – so if for some reason you cannot bike to your polling place and it’s in a school, it could be an opportunity to bring up to your local elected officials funds available through Safe Routes to School and other programs to improve access to the schools.

Let’s show those around us that we’re responsible citizens and we have a voice!

Chicago cyclists take a stand against dooring

On a gloomy drizzly morning I was proud to be a Chicago cyclist. Friday morning reminded me of just how closely knit the cycling community here is, as a number of cyclists gathered to pay tribute to cyclists who have recently been doored.

Neill Townsend's ghost bike

This rally comes just two weeks after bike commuter Neill Townsend swerved to avoid a car door swinging open in front of him during his morning bike commute; his attempt to avoid the crash with the door (dooring) caused him to be hit by a flat bed semi coming up from behind – a fatal crash.

Neill Townsend remembered

In a stance against dooring and to raise awareness amongst motorists friends, family, colleagues and numerous local cyclists came together to plan a tribute on Friday morning – October 19 – around the same time of the morning that this dooring fatality occurred just two weeks ago. Cyclists aimed to use this gathering of cyclists at the site of the crash “as an opportunity for it to serve as a chance to raise awareness about dooring and sharing the road at a high traffic time.” (as posted in a discussion on the social network known as The Chainlink) Cyclist Clinton Miceli was also remembered; he died in 2008 in a dooring incident just blocks away from Townsend’s crash.

Community gathers at the ghost bike placement for Neill Townsend

Local media – tv, radio and newspapers – covered the well-attended event… and online articles articles went up online as of late Friday morning.

Following the gathering at the crash site, cyclists rode in silence together to the loop – Daley Plaza – in memory of Townsend and Miceli.

Unfortunately I arrived late and missed the speeches given and the stickers and fliers distributed. Stickers said “Save a Life LOOK! Check your mirrors before opening your car door” and are intended to be put on rear view mirrors.The fliers were from IDOT/CDOT: one side said “Motorists Check for Cyclists before you open your door” and on the other side “Bicyclists Be Visible at Night. Use a headlight!” A few other signs have also circulated recently about anti-dooring.

According the the Chicago Department of Transportation’s website –

Chicago currently has more than 170 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, many miles of off-street paths (including the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail), more than 13,000 bike racks, and sheltered, high-capacity, bike parking areas at many CTA rail stations.

In his letter to Chicagoans on the city’s bike website, Mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote:

One of my top priorities as mayor is to create a bike network that allows every Chicagoan – from kids on their first ride to senior citizens on their way to the grocery store – to feel safe on our streets.

Despite the city’s ongoing efforts to create a bike-friendly city via a comprehensive bike network, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety, reports that 577 dooring crashes were reported from 2009 through September 7, 2012.

The city continues to look for ways to improve the city’s cycling environment via Chicago’s Bike Program website.

In the meantime, fellow bike commuters, be safe out there.

Many cyclists commute south into downtown Chicago along Wells

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. 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!