Due to technical difficulties, this newsletter is one week late. Our apologies.
League Supports Gas Price Relief Efforts
The League is encouraging support for the latest Congressional effort to provide relief from high gas prices: Congressman Blumenauer’s Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act (H.R. 6495). “This legislation combines several proven strategies to promote transportation choices that save people money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help tackle the national obesity epidemic and global warming all at the same time,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League. “We’ve seen over the past few months that Americans are ready and willing to get on their bikes and ride – and with a little more encouragement, even greater numbers can gain the benefits and re-discover the joys of bicycling.” In addition to supporting this legislation, the League has launched a new section of its website, www.bikeleague.org, to offer advice and assistance to people returning to bicycling or bicycle commuting after many years out of the saddle. “Millions of Americans are dusting off their bikes and riding again,” said Clarke. “We want to make sure they have a safe and enjoyable ride.” Resources include a 7-minute safety video, tips and presentations on bicycle commuting, and information on safety and skills training offered by the League’s 1,200 certified instructors.
"Time to Step Up," Says League to Government
City and State transportation agencies must respond quickly and constructively to the growing number of cyclists on our roads, according to the League. “We are seeing twice as many cyclists on our city streets as people grapple with escalating gas prices,” says Andy Clarke, president of the League. “Once they sample the benefits of bicycling, they are going to keep on riding in ever greater numbers. We urge public works and transportation agencies across the country to embrace this shift and seize the opportunity to make our cities safer and more welcoming to cyclists. We want every community to be a Bicycle Friendly Community.”
“We are concerned,” Clarke continued, “that tight budgets will cause some communities to miss out on this opportunity. For example, the Idaho Transportation Department recently unfunded its Transportation Enhancements program – the main funding source for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the state – and we’re watching the outcome of a proposal in Lee County, Fla., to downgrade and un-designate the County’s bikeway network. This is NOT the time to be cutting programs that provide people with real transportation choices.”
For its part, the League is responding with more information for cyclists and motorists on safely sharing the road. The League’s website encourages bicyclists to follow the rules of the road, be visible and be predictable. “We know that by staying off the sidewalk, riding with traffic, stopping at stop signs and lights, and wearing lights and bright clothing after dusk that cyclists can avoid the most common causes of crashes with cars and trucks,” said Preston Tyree, the League’s education director. “As for motorists, we simply ask that they give cyclists time and space as they pass – and that they refrain from text messaging, making phone calls and other distractions as they drive.”
Support Needed for LAB Comments on MUTCD
The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices dictates what signs, signals and markings are used on all our streets and highways – and a new edition is currently being developed. Comments on the proposed Manual are due July 31 and the League is submitting extensive feedback to the Federal Highway Administration, which publishes the Guide. The proposed Manual is huge – if you don’t have the opportunity to read through the whole thing, we’d appreciate a simple submission to the official docket that supports the League’s comments. One critical improvement that needs your support is the official introduction of the Shared Lane Marking into Part 9 of the manual. You can see the official webpage of the MUTCD. Here’s a slightly easier to manage version of those same pages, courtesy of our man on the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Richard Moeur (The NCUTCD advises the Federal Highway Administration on changes to the manual). You can see the League’s comments to the docket here. Richard Moeur’s article on the changes in the recent issue of American Bicyclist can be seen here (page 22).
Stand Up and Be Counted!
The Alta/ITE National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation Project is now being used in four cities, Marin, Calif.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Columbia, Mo.; and Sheboygan, Wis. It is also being used as part of a two-and-a-half year Caltrans research project in San Diego, Calif. and by agencies nationwide. The basic assumptions are that, in order to estimate existing and future bicycle and pedestrian demand and activity, agencies nationwide need to start conducting counts and surveys in a consistent manner similar to those being used by other groups for motor vehicle models. The project has uncovered some remarkable and important statistics so far, including (a) 30-70 percent of bicycle trips are transportation-related, and (b) count machines are apparently almost unusable on busy pathways. The next National Count/Survey days are during the week of September 8, 2008: Tuesday, September 9 through Thursday, September 11, and Saturday, September 13 through Sunday, September 14. More information about the National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation Project can be found here.
Mayor Says BFC Program "Critically Important"
As the Bicycle Friendly Community program develops and grows, feedback is pouring in from designated communities that have seen benefits far beyond bicycling. Mayor Richard Howorth of Oxford, Miss. recently wrote this to the League: “I can not overstate how critically important the designation has been to us in Oxford, Miss. The rigorous application process provided a structure that required our Pathway Commission and the Board of Aldermen to intensify our planning efforts—greatly enhancing our knowledge of countless aspects of making our city a better, safer place for bicycling and strengthening our ability to execute those plans. I must add that having been turned down for designation in a previous application only made us work harder! Receiving the designation validated our work, and has inspired us to expand our efforts. It also has been a tremendous public relations tool that, among our citizens, has built awareness and confidence. Finally, it is a source of pride to a community that prides itself in many ways, and this is something that is exciting and fresh. Thank you so very much for what you are doing to help America’s communities be better places for all citizens, and, again, for what you have done for us.”
Become a part of the success! The application deadline for Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly Community program is August 15, 2008. Applications submitted on or before the deadline will be considered for a September award. The Bicycle Friendly Business program is new to the League and honors innovative bike-friendly efforts and provides technical assistance to help companies and organizations across the U.S. become better for bicyclists. It complements the League’s Bicycle Friendly Community program, which has grown to more than 84 awarded communities in 32 states.
Help Stop Red Light Running
The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, in conjunction with an article in the August issue of Ladies Home Journal, has a petition on its web site urging the government to encourage states to adopt automated traffic enforcement laws. These will be compiled by the National Campaign and sent to the White House early in 2009. We encourage each of you to access the link, and sign the petition. Help save a cyclist's life today.
Encourage Tweens to Wear Helmets
The Oregon Center for Applied Science is creating a bicycle safety web site for children ages 9-12. They want to include videos made by groups from around the country that feature teenagers (14-18 year olds) showing that it's cool to wear a helmet whenever you ride a bike. So, they are hosting a video contest, with a deadline of August 22. There is a first place prize of $500 and two second place prizes of $250. The videos must 30 seconds to 2 minutes long. To learn more or to enter the contest, visit the contest web site at HelmetContest.com. If you have any questions, email email@example.com or call 866-822-0226 and ask for Carol.
Jobs in the World of Bicycling
Bay Area Bicycle Coalition Hiring Exec. Director
The Bay Area Bicycle Coalition, which represents the nine Bay Area county bicycle coalitions on regional issues, is hiring an Executive Director. Applicants are encouraged to submit their resumes by July 25, with a planned start date of September. The Executive Director will work on a range of exciting issues to improve bicycling in the San Francisco Bay Area including: working with government agencies, such as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Caltrans, cities, counties, and transit agencies to develop improved bicycle policies and facilities; improving bicycle access to transit systems throughout the Bay Area; securing direct bicycle access on all trans-Bay bridges; promoting cycling via public information, education, and advocacy; and coordinating the regional Bike to Work Day promotional event. Click here for details.
Maryland Looking for SRTS Coordinator
Montgomery County, Maryland is looking for a Safe Routes to School Coordinator. The basic job description is below and full information can be found on the County’s website, under General Professional, here.
Community Planner Needed in Madison, Wis.
Schreiber/Anderson Associates, in Madison WI, is looking for a Community Planner with an emphasis on multi-modal transportation planning, More information can be found here. Requirements include experience with bicycle/pedestrian and transportation planning, urban/community planning, excellent oral and written communication skills, working knowledge of Microsoft Office and ESRI software, and a passion for and commitment to multi-modal transportation alternatives.