Monday, March 22, 2010

Sad News

Bronx 'Mother Teresa' Megan Charlop, biker killed by city bus, 'sought to do good'

BY Kevin Deutsch and Rich Schapiro

Friday, March 19th 2010

She devoted her life to helping the poor and sickly in the Bronx.

But Megan Charlop, the bike rider killed by a city bus this week, also found the time to be the perfect wife, her husband said Thursday.

"We were a team. We were partners. She gave me so much," said Richard Powers, his voice cracking. "I can't even imagine life without her."

Powers bared his heartbreak a day after Charlop's bike clipped a carelessly opened car door, propelling her into the path of a city bus.

Charlop, 57, died instantly on Crotona Ave. The driver of the car, Min Kyung Kwan, was slapped with a summons for interfering with a bicyclist.

Bike advocates said that Charlop died on a route that officials decided more than a decade ago should include a bike lane.

"These cyclists need help," said Wiley Norvell, of Transportation Alternatives.

"Meg has been biking in New York City for ages. If our streets aren't forgiving enough for a cyclist as skilled as she was, how can they be safe for anyone?"

The whole story HERE

The only good part of this story is that in New York it is against the law to interfere with a cyclist.

United States Department of Transportation Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations

This is totally sweet! We'll see if it filters down to us.


The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) is providing this Policy Statement to reflect the Department’s support for the development of fully integrated active transportation networks. The establishment of well-connected walking and bicycling networks is an important component for livable communities, and their design should be a part of Federal-aid project developments. Walking and bicycling foster safer, more livable, family-friendly communities; promote physical activity and health; and reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use. Legislation and regulations exist that require inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian policies and projects into transportation plans and project development. Accordingly, transportation agencies should plan, fund, and implement improvements to their walking and bicycling networks, including linkages to transit. In addition, DOT encourages transportation agencies to go beyond the minimum requirements, and proactively provide convenient, safe, and context-sensitive facilities that foster increased use by bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and utilize universal design characteristics when appropriate. Transportation programs and facilities should accommodate people of all ages and abilities, including people too young to drive, people who cannot drive, and people who choose not to drive.

Policy Statement

The DOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects. Every transportation agency, including DOT, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems. Because of the numerous individual and community benefits that walking and bicycling provide — including health, safety, environmental, transportation, and quality of life — transportation agencies are encouraged to go beyond minimum standards to provide safe and convenient facilities for these modes.

Read the rest HERE

Armstrong: Cyclists and motorists need mutual respect and shame on Tony Kornheiser

I got this sent to me the other day...
By Matthew Cole

Armstrong: Cyclists and motorists need mutual respect

Lance Armstrong spoke to US radio talkshow host Tony Kornheiser live on his morning show today. He accepted an apology for Kornheiser’s anti-cyclist tirade and tried to spread some love and understanding between motorists and cyclists.

Kornheiser opened the ‘apology’ section of his ESPN show with The Beatles’ All you need is love playing in the background, and said: “I went on one of my rants the other day about bicyclists in Rock Creek Park and in new dedicated bicycle lanes in Washington DC... and got way over the top.

“The bicycle people who heard it were properly offended and it worked its way all the way to the most famous cyclist in the history of the United States, the multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who lit me up on Twitter, which many of you have read about.”

Kornheiser said he got in touch with Armstrong through his friendship with Lance’s biographer Sally Jenkins. “Lance called all the way from France when he was done working out in preparation for the Tour de France and we talked about a lot of things,” he said. “I certainly apologized for any inference that I made, which was not an inference, the direct thing about, you know, going after bicyclists.”

During their on-air conversation, the two spoke about the aggressive attitude many motorists have towards cyclists. Armstrong said: “Well, first of all let me just say that … for myself and all the people that get on bikes, we appreciate your apology and I think we take that as a sincere apology.

“If it’s you or me, or anybody else out there that has this podium … whatever we say ... it might be funny, we may think it’s a joke but people actually take it seriously sometimes.

“And so, to your point of this interaction and this relationship between people on bikes and people in cars. I think that's a relationship that has to co-exist now and forever because … we're both gonna be around forever. It's one that's going to require mutual respect.

“Cyclists can't go down the road five abreast in Rock Creek Park. I understand. I go on rides all the time when people start lining up beside me wanting to chat and I say, ‘Hey, you know we gotta single up here, we got some cars back’.

“But at the same time there's no need for a car to come by and brush a cyclist, especially considering they're human beings on bikes … Not everybody's used to riding with cars. It could be a a 40-year-old lady – it's her first bike ride and she's out on the street and some guy comes and brushes her and taps her with a mirror. Trust me, she never gets on a bike ever again because she's so scared, and that's a shame. I know it's a volatile situation sometimes but both sides have to understand each other…

“The other thing I think I should say … [is that] cycling lost a guy yesterday who was well regarded and loved by many people, and got hit by a car and killed in the Carolinas – a guy by the name of Adam Little. I think it touched this nerve for a lot of people in the cycling community for both of those things to come out on the same day … Look, we’ve got to all get along here, and sometimes it's heated.”

Knowing is half the battle....

Date: 3/17/2010
Time: 7:40pm
Location: Tennessee Blvd. Just east of the St. Joseph River, On the Bike Route
I was on my way home from work and traveling eastbound at about 15 mph.
Traffic was extremely light and no car was visible traveling west bound on Tennessee. A car pulled up tight on my and honked. When this usually happens I ignore it, thankful that they see me well enough to honk at me. Next thing I know the very new Dark Blue Lexus was buzzing me for no reason other than to exert its dominance over me (my theory since there was no oncoming traffic). I could not see the driver over the seat so I am assuming that it was a woman (fair assumption). The car came close enough to me that I should have hit it (with my fist but thought better of it because this sometimes causes a less than desirable response). Six inches from my handlebars. Like an idiot I did not automatically try to get the plate while it was that close to me but the light was low. So I cranked it up and proceeded to chase. It was a In God We Trust Indiana Plate (figures) and I only could get close enough to confirm the big numbers and not the tiny letters prior. It is hard when you are pedaling as fast as you have ever pedaled before and I am not kidding. The chase continued along the Marked Bike Route and around Lakeside Park until I got to Anthony and witnessed the Lady turn left onto Randalia heading North toward State Blvd. I stopped and gathered myself by hacking up a lung (I had a wicked head cold at the time so a high speed chase didn't help in the least bit). After I limped home, I called the police to file a report.
The police dispatcher told me that an officer would come over. I thought that this was odd but said okay. Turns out the dispatcher told the police that I insisted that he come out to my house. I did not say that and he said that they were having some issues internally.
About an hour later Officer Kristen (Sorry about the spelling officer) came over and I told him what happened. He asked if I got the plate and I gave him the partial. He said that even with the make and model that he could not find out who the driver was. I questioned him about that and he said that if there had been a fatality they could send it down to Indy and find out but I guess Fort Wayne doesn't have that capability. This was not very comforting because I was the one who would have been killed! I told him the reason that I was filing the report was because if in the future this lady or short man hurt a cyclist, that this report could be used to establish a pattern of behavior.
Unfortunately, the officer told me that this would be classified as a disturbance since there is not a "Road Rage" law on the books. Good to know.
So the lesson here is, now you know. There is nothing protecting you out there except for you. There are no laws on the books that keeps people on bikes safe from people in cars that like to intimidate those of us on bikes. My advice is to....well I don't have any. Hope you have a witness if you get hit.
Indianapolis has some laws on the books that requires drivers of automobiles to give room to Bikes but Fort Wayne does not. Why? I think probably because the cycling community hasn't screamed loud enough is my guess. I would recommend reporting it anyway though. At least then there is some record, some documentation that we are being discriminated against on the roads of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It is really nice that the guy at the top gets it!

Photo by Jeffrey Martin courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists.

From Streetsblog
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made a surprise visit to the closing reception of the National Bike Summit last night, speaking to a record crowd of bicycle advocates and industry representatives, many of whom spent the day swarming the halls of the Capitol as part of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) annual lobby day.

"People get it. People want to live in livable communities," LaHood told the crowd, after hoisting himself atop a table in the Dirksen Senate Office Building room so the large gathering could see him. "People want streetcars that are made in Portland, Oregon. People want walking paths, biking paths, and opportunities for families to really do the things they do best, which is to hang together and have fun. You all created an opportunity for America with all of your hard work."

"I’ve been all over America, and where I’ve been in America I’ve been very proud to talk about the fact that people do want alternatives. They want out of their cars, they want out of congestion, they want to live in livable neighborhoods and livable communities." He added, to thunderous applause, "you've got a partner in Ray LaHood."

Check out the full post here

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bike lanes are cheap by comparison

After researching a few sites and looking at other communities engineering estimates I found out that bike lanes cost about $50,000 per mile. I am by no means stating that this project shouldn't go forward but I just wanted to give some perspective in these tough economic times.

Published: March 4, 2010 3:00 a.m.
‘Recycled trail’ gets city approval
Plans connect Swinney Park, Saint Francis in 2012
Benjamin Lanka
The Journal Gazette

Bikers and hikers will eventually be able to travel from Swinney Park to the University of Saint Francis on recycled roof shingles and tires.

The Fort Wayne Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved hiring DLZ Indiana at a cost of $93,500 to provide the engineering work for the first phase of the multiuse Cougar Trail, named for the university’s mascot.

Dawn Ritchie, greenways manager, said the 0.8-mile-long, 12-foot-wide trail will feature a recycling theme. Not only will the path be made of recycled materials, such as roof shingles and tires, but it will also feature benches and art made from recycled materials.

“We want to make it a recycled trail,” she said.

The trail will be built along the former railroad corridor from West Jefferson Boulevard to Main Street, using the existing railroad bridge over Main. The bridge will have to be rehabilitated.

From Main Street to Saint Francis, the trail will travel along Leesburg Road.

The project will include a sidewalk along Leesburg Road to connect with an existing sidewalk. It will also connect the Nebraska neighborhood and the neighborhoods north of Spring Street with the city’s trail system.

The first phase is expected to cost $750,000 to construct, and the city hopes to have it built in 2012, although money to build it still needs to be raised. The city is using a grant from the Greenway Consortium to help finance the engineering work.

Frank Suarez, city spokesman, said the city eventually hopes to take the trail to Buckner Park.

So gas has to be really expensive for people to think about not driving so much?

As much as I know that it will affect the economy and the way of life that we have become accustomed to over the last few generations I think that we should raise the gas tax. Planning for the future is so hard for most people to grasp and that is the problem.

Fuel Taxes Must Rise, Harvard Researchers Say

To meet the Obama administration’s targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, some researchers say, Americans may have to experience a sobering reality: gas at $7 a gallon.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector 14 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the cost of driving would simply have to increase, according to a report released Thursday by researchers at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The research also appears in the March edition of the journal Energy Policy.

The 14 percent target was set in the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget for fiscal 2010.

In their study, the researchers devised several combinations of steps that United States policymakers might take in trying to address the heat-trapping emissions by the nation’s transportation sector, which consumes 70 percent of the oil used in the United States.

Most of their models assumed an economy-wide carbon dioxide tax starting at $30 a ton in 2010 and escalating to $60 a ton in 2030. In some cases researchers also factored in tax credits for electric and hybrid vehicles, taxes on fuel or both.

In the modeling, it turned out that issuing tax credits could backfire, while taxes on fuel proved beneficial.

“Tax credits don’t address how much people use their cars,” said Ross Morrow, one of the report’s authors. “In reverse, they can make people drive more.”

Dr. Morrow, formerly a fellow at the Belfer Center, is a professor of mechanical engineering and economics at Iowa State University

Researchers said that vehicle miles traveled will increase by more than 30 percent between 2010 and 2030 unless policymakers increase fuel taxes.

[From Andy R.: March 4, 7:58 a.m. | Update ] Rush Limbaugh weighed in on this post yesterday, as some may have surmised given the spike in comments, and the tenor of many. Some important points were raised by his audience, including a listener calling from his car in Nebraska to say how a gas tax would unfairly burden workers in sprawling states with no public transportation options. I’ll be posting more from the research team on some of this.

Critical Manners/Courteous Mass for March 2010

Thumbs up!
Hey, it was good fun!
We had more people than I expected and considering it was calling for rain and the like I was happy we had as many as we did. We went at a very leisurely pace and only had a few cars honking at us when we were on Lafayette/Spy Run. That makes me happy though because that means that we were seen!
We did a couple loops around the downtown and called it good.
Thanks to Vince for posting it on the facebook site.
Hopefully we will continue to grow this event throughout the year. Following the rules of the road is an enjoyable way to ride and will help to garner support for all of us who choose to ride or commute.
Hope to see more of you out there in April.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Critical Manners, Courteous Mass

Been out for a while due to a glitch. But the glitch has been fixed.
We had a good meeting and decided that this needed to start happening again in Fort Wayne.

Do you like to ride your bicycle? Do you want to meet other people who ride bikes? Would you like to reduce the level of antagonism between bicycles and cars? Then join Critical Manners/Courteous Mass on the second Friday of the month. Riders should gather around 6:15 at Lawton Park so the ride can begin at 6:30.

All parties are welcome to join and help bring common courtesy back to the streets. For those who need a refresher on what Critical Manners/Courteous Mass is, here is the deal:
• The ride will respect and abide the city’s traffic laws.
• Rides will be on the slow side to ensure no one is dropped and that the Mass stays a mass.
• The Mass will only take up one lane, two when necessary for safety.
• The ride will stop at red lights and stop signs. If a light turns red mid-mass, the riders who made the light should safely pull over to wait for those who were caught by the light.
• Riders are asked to signal turns, call out danger, and communicate their intentions to other riders.

The goal of these rides is to be a visible and positive example of the cooperation that can exist between cars and bicycles when people respect the laws and each other. So join the Mass and help make Fort Wayne a better place for bicycles.

We are thinking around a 7 miler. Spring is here folks! Dust it off and join us for some fun!