Portland Again

Seems to be some confusion as to what this is. Bike lane usage is mandatory in Portland.

New bikeway downtown pushes parked cars into new lane

PORTLAND, Ore, — A new bicycle track in downtown Portland is moving parking spaces farther into the street.

The track was set to be opened on Monday on SW Broadway near Portland State University.

The city says it aims to protect cyclists from downtown traffic by putting the lane between the curb and the parking spots.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and PSU President Win WIewel said they hoped the lanes would encourage the economic and environmental climate and sustainability in the city.

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Slow News Day? Start a Helmet War!

“Nobody is looking to make any news.” Was the statement from the White House regarding the Obama family vacation. Famous last words.

Well, you’ve probably heard the news by now. President Obama went for a bike ride on a beach path on Martha’s Vineyard and didn’t wear a helmet! Predictably, the helmet nannies have their knickers in a twist over this presidential gaffe. Here’s my favorite quote (so far):

“Most bike accidents just happen. Bicycles up and turn over by themselves, and head injuries are a possible consequence of that. Head injures don’t heal well, and they can be very expensive and life-long. It would be great if the President set an example.”

said David Mozer, director of the International Bicycle Fund

I hate it when my bike just up and turns over by itself. Read more

Anti-texting legislation update

Knowing that I work closely with the Florida Legislature, Keri asked me to follow up on some info I provided on FB regarding anti-texting legislation. I’m happy to oblige and take the opportunity to add my personal Call To Action.

Over the past three years, several bills dealing with driving distractions have been filed in the Florida Legislature, but none have ever gained traction. This year, such bills may have a different outcome. Read more

Shock & Awe: Can Graphic Traffic Safety PSAs Change Behavior?

I have more questions than answers on this topic. But let me begin with a warning. If you are in a happy-go-lucky mood and want to stay that way, save this post for another day. Go visit our friend Rantwick. He’s having fun and you can too!

You’ve been warned. Read more

Barely On Topic

This posting is on topic only because our Metropolitan Planning Organization and thus MetroPlan has made it so. After attending the recent Metroplan presentation, it has become obvious to me that New Urbanism is what the MPO wants and Metroplan has (I suspect a bit reluctantly)  joined in.

Since I spent a couple of years living in a city that developed during the first 10 years of the last century (the golden years for new urbanists) and watched it de-evolve, I am wary. Apparently, I’m not the only one that is wary.

Here is a post about new urbanism in Orlando by a fellow named Richard Reep and how economics is again the problem. I don’t know this fellow, but I would like to. The comments below his post are interesting as well.

We need some clear thinking about this. I can’t even convince people that a business that generates no additional traffic, no noxious fumes, no noise, no nothing (something like an accountant’s office), what some would call  “Class D” office space, should be allowed to exist in a “residential area.”

“Walkable Neighborhoods”

Saw this on CNN.com the yesterday.  Interesting to note,  CommuteOrlando.com  and our fellow bike blogs  has mentioned www.walkscore.com on a couple of times.

Even though walkscore is not perfect, the research that is gained from using the site can help those choose a new home or neighborhood.  Or at best, learn about shops and businesses in your area that you didn’t realize existed.

If the area you live in or choose to live in has a good walkability score, then imagine what a bikeability score would be.  Personally, all my shopping and personal business can be handled within a 4 mile radius from my residence by bike.  Fun stuff!

Left Turns on Big Roads

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Updated: 3/21/12

The thought of making a left turn from a multi-lane road is one of the things that makes people think vehicular cycling requires speed and athletic prowess. It seems like it would be a really difficult thing to do. But most of the time it’s actually really easy, and you have options.

Making a standard left turn is easier than you think.

First of all, traffic is not constant. As I discussed in Getting the Road to Yourself, traffic travels in packs. With a little anticipation, you can usually make a multi-lane merge while you have the whole road to yourself between packs. That technique only requires overcoming the belief that you need to always be riding in the right lane. The video below shows Brian and I riding 4/10 of a mile in the left lane on University Blvd. It turns out the gap was almost that long as well. We could have gone over pretty much at any time, but we had no way to know that. The previous two packs had been long and only a few seconds apart. Had another pack overtaken us, they would have filed into the lanes to the right to pass us. There’s no penalty for planning ahead.

If traffic is very dense, or you miss your opportunity, you can sometimes negotiate a merge as traffic slows for a red light. However, motorists are difficult to negotiate with when they are driving faster than the speed of thought.

Plan B

Having another option is a great stress-reliever—with left turns, you have more than one. I usually have the plan B option in mind when I’m anticipating a left turn on a busy road. I’ve decided by what point I want to have merged into the left lane (slightly ahead of where the left turn lane begins). If I check for traffic and it’s thick behind me, I stay to the right and make an alternate turn. Sometimes I use an alternate as my first choice and don’t even bother anticipating a merge.

Alternative Left Turns

The Jug-handle

This is my primary choice when merging isn’t possible (or I just don’t feel like it). The advantages to this turn are that it’s entirely vehicular—it doesn’t require unclipping both feet or dismounting—and it places me in the queue of traffic. If U-turns are not practical, or not allowed, option 2 might be useful — pass the intersection and turn right into a corner lot that can be used to connect back to the cross-street. Always be cautious in parking lots!

The Box Turn

I have done this turn a time or two. I’ll do it if there is no traffic queued at the intersection already or if there is a bike lane to the left of an RTOL. It works well at a minor intersection with no traffic, but a loop detector that allows you to activate the traffic signal. I won’t place myself in front of a car and do that. I also don’t feel comfortable sitting to the right of the traffic stream if cars can turn right from that lane. The problem with this turn is that if your timing is bad and the light changes in the middle of flopping around with your bike, you will be unpopular with any drivers who have queued up behind you, and you could miss the light.

This or the jughandle technique can be used for other maneuvers shown in the “options.” Stopping traffic on the arterial can give you a clear road to get set up for a standard left turn at an unsignalized street a block or two away. It can also give you a head start through a difficult diverge or other intimidating road feature. See: Getting the Road to Yourself.

The Pedestrian Turn

I’ll tell you right now, I hate this one. I never mention it without a warning. There are places in the U.S. where pedestrians are respected, making this is a viable option. Orlando is not one of them. It allows you to transition the intersection without plopping in front of a line of traffic, or having to ride to the back of a long queue. But it’s also a good way to get hit by a right-turning car. Remember, pedestrians can jump out of the way (backwards or sideways) bicyclists can only stop or go forward. You’re not very maneuverable when walking your bike, either.

The Big Box Turn

No, this doesn’t involve a WalMart parking lot. This could also be called the Grandma Turn. When elderly drivers become uncomfortable with merging, they adapt by driving around the block, making three rights to go left. It works for cyclists too, but not so much out in the burbs where the blocks are half a mile long. Just thought I’d mention it, it’s not in the Flash.

Unsignalized Intersections

I plan my routes to avoid having to make a left from a multi-lane road at an unsignalized intersection. If you can’t make a standard turn, you can use one of the strategy options in the box turn animation, or travel to the next signalized intersection, execute your left turn of choice (or a U-turn), ride back to where you wanted to turn and make a right.

Bike Buses to Climate Action Day Events

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^Click your route to download a PDF* map and schedule^

central_florida_veg_fest_2009_web_poster_m8piAs part of the 350.org International Day of Climate Action on October 24, Florida Bicycle Association is teaming up with Central Florida Veg Fest to run “Bike Buses” from around Orlando to the festival at Loch Haven Park.  Help out by “driving” a Bike-Bus and show Central Florida how human power can replace fossil fuel and help cut greenhouse gas emissions.  The Florida Renewable Energy Expo will also be held on the 24th next door at the Orlando Science Center. This year’s Pedal 4 Pride ride will be one of the Bike-Buses.

Rusted Chain Bike Collective will head up the Bike Valet service to keep bikes secure.

bikebuslogosWhat is a Bike-Bus you ask? Simple: a ride leader or small group of cyclists starts at a predetermined place and time and follows a predetermined route, picking up other bicyclists along the way at “bus stops” – just as a regular bus does.

Figuring that some people will want to buy something at Veg Fest and might not be able to carry it home with them on their bikes, we’ll also offer a cargo bike service.

Volunteers still needed > MORE INFO

For more information:

How to Ride the Bike-Bus

  • The idea of a Bike-Bus is safety in numbers. Staying together is the key, both for safety and to ensure nobody gets dropped and possibly lost. It is not a race!
  • Make sure your bike is in good working order! If you haven’t ridden it for a while it might be a good idea to take it to a local bike shop for a check-up and to air-up the tires.
  • Get to your stop a few minutes early, just in case we’re running a bit ahead of schedule.
  • You may join the bus anywhere along the route, but it will only slow down and look for riders at the scheduled stops.
  • The bike-bus will not stop! It will slow down as it passes. Pull out into the roadway behind it. The bus driver will
    be at the back to greet you and will give you a few pointers on how things will operate.
  • Keep at least a full bike length between your front wheel and the rear wheel of the rider ahead of you.
  • When the bike-bus makes a left turn on a road with more than one lane in each direction, the driver will call out when to change lanes. Be sure to check over your shoulder before changing lanes.
  • When the bus driver (in the rear) calls out a turn or command, yell it forward so the riders in the front are sure to hear it.
  • If you are riding in the front and encounter a road hazard (pothole, drain grate, stick…), move well away from it, point and alert the riders behind you.
  • If you are struggling to keep the pace, please tell the bus driver so the group can slow a little.
  • Your bike-bus will depart Veg Fest from the same location at which it arrived.

*Free Adobe PDF Reader Download

Bike Maintenance for the Ladies

at Retro City Cycles

Learn how to repair a flat tire, change out your tube, lube your chain, and other handy maintenance tips to keep your bike riding smoothly.

Please bring your wheel and a pump and/or CO2 cartridge (or you may purchase at Retro City Cycles).

Refreshments will be served, and participants will received a special discount the night of the clinic!

For more info, please call Dano at Retro City Cycles (407) 895-2700
1806 N. Orange Ave., Orlando

Ladies Cycling Clinic

Please join us for our free ladies cycling clinic tomorrow, Thursday, August 20, at 6 pm!

Learn how to repair a flat tire, change out your tube, lube your chain, and other handy maintenance tips to keep your bike riding smoothly.

Please bring your wheel and a pump and/or CO2 cartridge (or you may purchase at Retro City Cycles).

Refreshments will be served, and participants will received a special discount the night of the clinic!

For more info, please call Dano at Retro City Cycles (407) 895-2700
1806 N. Orange Ave., Orlando