Urban Velo

Cultivating Conversations at BikeBike 2013

Image by Brian O'Doherty

Image by Brian O’Doherty

More than 300 individuals representing 80 organizations gathered in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of BikeBike, revisiting the city where volunteers and organizers gathered at the first BikeBike, setting the wheels in motion for a cross-cultural exchange with biking at its center.

An opportunity to share ideas, stories, and support, the 4-day conference brought together a wide range of people and projects that represented the efforts of a collective bike community from across North America and reaching as far as Austria.

“They come from so many different areas and places,” said Vincenzo Loconte, “from places that are very religious and conservative to places that are very anarchist or liberal, very high-income to very low. You hear a lot of different experiences from everywhere.” Loconte, who volunteers at two Los Angeles coops (Bici Libre and the Bikerowave), shared his knowledge in education through a workshop on how to use the bicycle to teach concepts in science, math and other areas.

In an effort to support the broad scale phenomenon of community bike projects and promote a greater level of exchange, this year’s conference included a third day of workshops. Topics ranged from teaching the basics valuable to newer organizations such as how to acquire shop tools to knowing when to grow, to detailed presentations on how to take a volunteer who knows nothing about bikes and turn them into a confident volunteer, to creating better exchange between other organizations, from bike shops to local community groups and businesses, as well as within and among other projects.

“This year was part of a concerted effort to expand it a little bit, because the past few years it seemed like there wasn’t enough time,” said Victor Pizarro, executive director the New Orleans-based community bike project Plan B, the host organization for this year’s event.

“There’s nothing better than face to engagement,” said Momoko Saunders of Portland, Oregon’s Bike Farm. “Particularly around some of the more touchy subjects of privilege, of sexism, creating safe spaces.”

The topics addressed at BikeBike each year reflect the current goals and challenges of the various community bike projects that take on different forms in different environments. Accordingly, the focus has grown from solving internal organizational issues to building a network that can leverage shared knowledge and resources between groups.

“Global cross pollination is one of our long term goals,” said Pizarro. This theme reappeared in workshops throughout BikeBike, and built upon mutual shop-collective support, collaboration among projects, comparing notes on different cultural settings and facilitating national and cross-border exchange.
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Manhattan Traffic Moves Faster After Bike Lanes, Pedestrian Enhancements


One of the more common reasons the general public resists the addition of bicycle lanes and pedestrian enhancements is the (false) thought that it will increase traffic congestions. On the contrary, getting people out of cars and onto bikes, public transit and their own two feet lessens congestions, making automobile traffic move easier and faster. Everyone wins. Streetsblog reports on the latest NYC DOT transit survey results:

After several blocks in the heart of Times Square were pedestrianized and protected bike lanes were added to five avenues in the middle of Manhattan, motor vehicle traffic is actually moving more smoothly than before, according to the latest release of NYC DOT’s annual Sustainable Streets Index.

In Manhattan below 60th Street, predictions that reallocating space to walking, biking, and transit would only worsen traffic have not come to pass. In fact, average traffic speeds have picked up. GPS data from yellow cabs below 60th Street show that average speeds are up 6.7 percent since 2008. The average speed of a taxi trip, which was 8.9 mph in 2011, inched up to 9.3 mph last year.

Read more at www.streetsblog.org

Drive With Care Public Awareness Campaign


Cyclists are people too; that’s the ultimate message of this campaign by BikePGH meant to humanize bike riders and counter the “us vs. them” attitude too common between drivers and riders. Local riders are featured in all of the placements, including Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown who has been known to ride his bike to practice. Featured on billboards and bus shelters, the campaign is reaching those that traditional bike advocacy misses — non-riders. Share the message and help to bridge the divide between motorist and cyclist while on the roadways. Check out short video interviews with the featured riders at www.bikepgh.org/care

Aprendiendo a Pedalear – Learning to Ride

Through Minneapolis’ Cycles for Change Community Partners Bike Library people are learning to ride bikes and expand their access to education or health opportunities. You know, and all of the great people and fun experiences bikes bring us. This is what bike advocacy is all about.

BikeBike 2013

BikeBike is under way in New Orleans this weekend – and there’s a storm coming in from the Gulf to keep everyone company.

The annual conference for bike collectives will be celebrating a very important milestone this year, as it is the 10th anniversary of the international gathering. Four days of workshops, bike rides, races, outdoor concerts, dancing, and a 10th birthday celebration will be hosted by members of the New Orleans Community Bike Project. This weekend volunteers from collectives and community bike projects from all corners of the globe will collaborate, share and teach each other what works and how to do it bigger and better. As a restless bike traveler, the value of community bike co-ops in cities across the globe is, quite frankly, immeasurable. For more information and access to an international collection of resources by and for collectives, visit www.bikebike.org.

California Cyclists Get 3 Feet – Brown Signs AB 1371

The third time’s a charm for California’s “Give Me 3″ push. California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1371 on Monday, amending the current vehicle code from requiring passing at a “safe distance” to a distance of at least three feet. 3-feet-poster

This is the third year in a row that a bill that would require a 3-foot passing distance has hit Brown’s desk. In 2011 Brown vetoed AB 910 because it asked drivers to slow to 15 mph if a three-foot clearance was not possible. In 2012, SB 1464 was introduced, amending the 15 mph limit to “a speed that is reasonable and prudent.” Brown vetoed SB 1464 on the basis that it would explicitly legalize crossing over a double yellow line in order to maintain a safe passing distance–a practice already in use on the roads. This provision has been withdrawn from the latest version in lieu of directing drivers to have “due regard” for road and traffic conditions.

The Vehicle code will be amended to read: “The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions set forth in this article.” The Three Feet for Safety Act also establishes two penalties for drivers. The fine for unsafe passing without injury is $35 ($154 after court and administrative fees). The second penalty is applied to drivers who are involved in a collision that results in injury to a cyclist, with a fine of $220 ($959 after fees). This second penalty is equal to the fine imposed for reckless driving with injury.

While Gov. Brown is a member of the elite club of only two U.S. governors who have vetoed safe passing legislation (along with Texas governor Rick Perry), California has joined the ranks of 21 other states (plus the District of Columbia) with three-foot laws. The Three Feet for Safety Act goes into effect in California a year from now, on September 16, 2014.

Fort Collins Stop-As-Yield

Fort Collins, Colorado is currently debating implementing the “Idaho Stop Law” as it’s called where bike riders may treat stop signs as yield signs when the intersection is completely clear of traffic. Read about the push for the stop-as-yield policy in the Coloradoan in this August 2013 article, outlining the for and against sides of the Fort Collins arguement. At least one columnist isn’t in favor of the porposed change in law, reportedly because she is more fearful of cyclists than cars on her commute to work, a definite leap in logic given the numbers of riders injured or killed by cars as compared to fellow cyclists. That said, there are two sides to the stop-as-yield policy and it’s worth following along to see how it plays out, especially for advocates that hope to implement (or prevent) stop-as-yield policies in their locale.

Learn more about the 1982 Idaho Stop Law in Urban Velo #17, Pulling Out The Stops.

The League Releases First Women on a Roll Bike Report

Picture 6“Women on a Roll” is the first report of its kind, coming out of the League of American Bicyclists  Women Bike program. The comprehensive report  comes less than a year after the first National Women’s Bike Summit, and demonstrates a disjunction between women’s positive attitude towards cycling versus actual ridership, citing statistics that while women make up 60% of bicycle owners between age 17-28, women accounted for only 24% of all U.S. bike trips (according to the National Household Travel Survey).

But the tides are changing. According to the report, the number of women and girls who bicycle rose 20%, compared to a .5% decline among men between 2003 and 2012. Major barriers to entry detailed in the report included comfort and access–and while these are not particularly new findings, data showing female ridership increasing in areas with new bike lanes and bike share programs demonstrates just how significantly these features can bridge the gap. In 2012 54% of new members of Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., and 43% of all bike share members in North America were women. Are for the impact of bike lanes, women’s ridership rose 100% on Spring Street in Los Angeles, 115% on South Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans, and an average of 267% on streets with added bike lanes in Philadelphia.

Women are still marginal within the industry and advocacy groups, but organizations such as Black Women Bike, Cyclofemme, Women on Bikes SoCal, and the League’s Women Bike program, in addition to grassroots cycling clubs like the Ovarian Psyco-Cycles and FWOD, are providing the community and resources to make biking less of a boys club and more fun for everyone. Do your part and get involved, go for a ride with your female friends, teach ‘em how to fix something (or let them teach you); share what you love about bikes with the ladies in your life. Read the full report and at www.bikeleague.org/womenbike.



Alliance For Biking And Walking Summer Photo Contest

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alliancephotocontest The Alliance For Biking and Walking is holding a summer photo contest where you could walk away with a Tern folding bike. Open until August 31, the contest is looking for the best images that capture summer time biking enjoyment to boost the colletion of photos for potential future Alliance use. All images will be added to the Alliance’s image bank, with all rights granted to the Alliance upon upload. See full contest details at: www.peoplepoweredmovement.com

Living Streets Will: “Suspect Criminality”

Living Streets Will is a movement for safer streets, urging the NYPD to conduct criminal investigations when a cyclist or pedestrian is killed by an automobile rather than declaring “no criminality suspected at the scene of the crash.”

Recorded videos in which people request the police to “suspect criminality,” and to investigate and release the reports of any investigation in these circumstances serve as living wills for participants, while urging the NYPD to perform due diligence before declaring a pedestrian or cyclist death an accident. Living Streets wills call for reports to be made available to the public so that they can be used to advocate for safer streets.

New Yorkers have been sharing their personal living streets wills since March; record your own living streets will and be a part of the push. Post your living streets will to the Streets Will Facebook page, or Tweet to @StreetsWillsNYC (hashtag #MyLivingStreetWill). More information, along with a prompt for what to say, can be found at www.streetwillsnyc.com.

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