Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm the A$$hole? or I am so proud

So the Bike free guys, Adam and Paul, my buddy Mike and I just got through enjoying Germany kicking the tuna salad out of England. We had put down a couple beers and decided that we were going to ride our bikes down to Don Chavez for some Chimichangas.
As is the usual custom when I leave my house to go downtown, we take the Reed Rd bike route toward Downtown. We got stopped at the light at St. Joe and Tennessee.
There are four of us, and we are taking up the entire lane. It is a double yellow line over the bridge anyway so a car cannot legally or safely pass a cyclist.
(Keep in mind, these guys are from out of town and have had very few run ins with cars on their entire journey up until this point.)
Paul and I are out front and Adam and Mike are bringing up the rear. We are all slowing down to make a left turn onto the Rivergreenway from Tennessee when we begin to hear some loud talking. It begins to get louder and as I make the left I hear, "Get out of the road, it isn't a bike lane (I am paraphrasing)." The I hear Adam say to the lady (60 years old, gray hair, driving a 1987ish Ford Astrovan), "What do you think this bike painted on the road means? This is a bike lane!" Adam, you rock, I thought to myself.
Anyway the shouting continued and as she made her turn onto Griswald and headed south she shut up long enough to hear me shout,"Patience!" To which she clearly replied so all could hear.
"You're an Asshole!"
I couldn't be more proud. Sniffle..Sniffle...

Saturday, June 26, 2010


SAN FRANCISCO -- The grim numbers for the car-vs.-bicycles rampage in San Francisco tell only part of the story.

Three neighborhoods invaded by one car Wednesday night with a driver bent on mowing people down. Four bicyclists left sprawled on the pavement. Six minutes from start to finish, from first victim to last.

The rest of the story could be found Thursday in the three victims still recovering at San Francisco General Hospital, in the manhunt for the driver, and in the sense of disbelief among residents and workers that such random hostility could shatter their corners of the city.

"It's always very calm here, lots of bicyclists and lots of quiet," Okell's Fireplace salesman Heath McGrail said, shaking his head as he looked out the window toward the scene of the last hit-and-run, at 17th and Missouri streets. "We never have any trouble - unless, I guess, you've got someone hunting those bicyclists down to run them over. It's shocking."

Investigators said the driver had carried out the assaults in a blue Nissan Rogue crossover sport utility vehicle. They said it was registered in Berkeley and was not believed to be stolen, but by late Thursday, there were still no arrests.

The victims, hit at four locations as their attacker wove wildly through traffic, sometimes down the wrong side of the road, were described as men ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s.

One victim was treated at the scene and released. The three at San Francisco General - one in critical condition, one in serious and one in fair - are expected to survive, said hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan.

"The two who aren't critical are alert and awake, but they're very shook up," Kagan said. "They are puzzled, certainly perplexed at what happened, and right now they are just focused on healing."
Terror in the dark

The rampage began at 9:43 p.m. in the Mission District, on a quiet stretch of Harrison Street near 23rd Street where houses overlook strips of well-tended flowers and a bike path.

"I heard this big bang and ran outside, and there was a man on the street moaning and curled up in pain and his bicycle on the ground," said Ramon Fernandez, 66. "There were many police who came in about a minute, and then all of us were standing around wondering how such a thing could happen here."

As luck would have it, two San Francisco General emergency nurses were in a house on the block and came out to help.

Melissa Pitts, 31, and Rich Nepomuceno, 33, immediately stabilized the victim, who appeared to be in his 30s, and waited for the ambulances to arrive. His bicycle was in two pieces a few feet away.

"We cut off his clothes to see the extent of his injuries, and it appeared the main injuries were to his face," Pitts said. "He was groggy but conscious."

Nepomuceno, who had bicycled over to Pitts' house just a few minutes before the attack, said he was happy they could serve as first responders, "but it was an awful circumstance."
Speeding along street

Two minutes after the first hit-and-run, the driver mowed down his second bicyclist about a half-block south on Harrison, at a corner with a gourmet coffee shop and other neighborhood stores. This time, resident Aurora Marina tore out of her house in time to see the driver - briefly.

"I saw that this car had hit someone and was going very fast up the street - very fast," said Marina, 56. "There was a man on the ground with blood all over his face and a lot of people coming to help.

"We could tell that the car hit this bicyclist with blood on his face head-on, and then took off. It was crazy."

A couple of minutes later and about 1 mile east, the third victim was struck at 23rd and Pennsylvania streets - a windswept, industrial block practically beneath Interstate 280 that is dominated by stretches of dirt and a Muni bus yard. This victim was only slightly injured and was treated at the scene.
The final crash

The driver then sped several blocks north to the heart of Potrero Hill where, at the corner of 17th and Missouri, he hit his fourth rider at 9:49 p.m., police said. Immediately after the impact, the driver smashed his Rogue into a light pole and a parked Jeep Cherokee at the corner - and then he fled. Police provided only a minimal description, saying he was a white man.

Thursday, there were fragments of glass and blue chunks of car fender strewn on the street.

Police Lt. Lyn Tomioka said all the victims "do appear to be targeted. We don't know if they were known victims, or if it's because they were on bicycles or what the issue was."
Advocates alarmed

Mayor Gavin Newsom released a statement saying the attacks should not shake anyone's faith in the safety of bicycling in San Francisco.

"I'm proud that San Francisco is one of the bike-friendliest cities in the nation," he said. "We will not tolerate violence or rage against cyclists or pedestrians."

Renee Rivera, acting executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, called the rampage "a shocking anomaly." The last time a hit-and-run assault garnered this much notoriety was in 2006, when a driver killed a pedestrian in Fremont and drove to San Francisco, where he injured 16 more people from downtown to the Richmond District.

According to the coalition, the number of bicycling injuries in the city dropped 19.3 percent from 1998 to 2006, even as the number of riders increased.

"We want people to know that our streets are normally safe places to ride and getting safer all the time," Rivera said.

BikeFree guys in town this weekend

They are staying at my place and are out for a great cause.
Check out their site Here

Bike Free guys get some local press

Cyclists share coast-to-coast cause
Two Baltimore waiters are raising money for bikes and helmets for kids in military families

By Ellie Bogue
of The News-Sentinel

What started as a love of cycling and the desire to share that joy has become a coast-to-coast charity bike ride for two Baltimore waiters.

More than a year ago on a late-night ride through the streets of Baltimore, Adam Burkowske, 29, and Paul Lebelle, 34, came up with a plan to share their love of cycling with those less fortunate. Together they formed a nonprofit organization, Bike Free, which raises money to give the children of military personnel a new bike and helmet.

“We are passionate about passing the joy of riding along to others,” Lebelle said.

Both Burkowske and Lebelle have had family in the military. Burkowske's brother, Timothy, served in the Navy in the Iraq War and is currently serving in Bahrain. Burkowske knows how difficult it can be for the children whom military personnel leave behind during their tours of duty. Sometimes their parents never return, or return so injured they can no longer work in their former civilian profession.

“A bike can't make up for that,” said Burkowske, “but it can help.”

The Whole story Here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

That's all, spokes

Colorado town of Black Hawk bans cyclists

American gold rush town argues that cars and bikes don't mix safely on its 19th century streets

by Helen Pidd and agencies

A town in the US has banned cyclists on most of its streets, punishing anyone who gets caught with a $68 (£46) fine. Black Hawk in Colorado, which has a population of just above 100, is thought to be the first town in the US to make cycling illegal after a change in civic law.

The curious decree has been introduced for "health and safety" reasons, said administrators of the former goldmining town, which in the 1990s decided to develop gambling to prevent the place vanishing altogether.

Michael Copp, Black Hawk's city manager, the equivalent of chief executive of a local council in the UK, admitted there had not been any accidents to prompt the ban, just concern over potential collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles on 19th-century streets that were designed for horses and carriages.

The town started enforcing the ban on 5 June, five months after it passed the law requiring cyclists to dismount and wheel their bikes through the town. So far eight tickets have been issued, said Copp.

The rest of the story

Some bike sharing action, Midwest style

So both Minneapolis is doing it and Chicago is planning to do it. Pretty sweet I say. I know it would never work in Fort Wayne but I still think that it is a wonderful idea for places that have the density and mix of uses within bike-able distance.

'Nice Ride' bike sharing program gets rolling today in Minneapolis
By Joe Kimball | Published Thu, Jun 10 2010 10:26 am

A new bike-sharing program kicks off today in Minneapolis, when Nice Ride begins offering greenish and blue bikes for short jaunts around the city.

Hundreds of the bikes are available at 60 kiosks around the downtown Minneapolis area through the nonprofit program. To ride you need a subscription, available online. The cost ranges from $5 for 24 hours to $60 a year. Then the first half hour of riding is always free; the next half hour costs $1.50, and the next half hour is $3. Riders use a credit card to pay at the kiosk pay station.

The Whole story

And now, the Chicago part

New bike program is sharing on two wheels

Leonor Vivanco

Think of it as an I-GO for bikes.
Chicago B-cycle will be the city's first bike-sharing system for residents when it launches in July with 100 bikes at six stations throughout Chicago. It's a program that was unveiled at the Bike to Work rally Friday at Daley Plaza. Mayor Daley has been interested in bike-sharing since he saw it in Paris in 2007. Loyola University has a similar program for its students.

"The idea was to bring European-style bike-sharing to the United States. Bike-sharing is an alternative form of urban transportation," said Bob Burns, president of B-cycle.

B-cycle, a partnership of Humana, Trek Bicycle and ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and owned and operated by Bike & Roll Chicago, launched Denver's citywide bike-sharing program with 500 bicycles on Earth Day in April. So far, there have been more than 18,000 rides through the program, Burns said.

The Whole story

Monday, June 14, 2010

July Critical Manners/Courteous Mass

Turnout was kind of light this month due to the massive rain storm and all so next month we are going to bring this out in order to increase ridership.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hang Up and Drive!

The Indiana Legislature had a distracted driving law up this last session and I believe that they let it die in committee. Regardless, just because our elected officials don't think that it is a problem doesn't mean that it isn't. As a daily cyclist, I do have some concern that someone will be checking their email or texting and prevent me from going home that day. We have the responsibility to get the word out to all elected officials and to our friends and coworkers that this behavior is unacceptable.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants you to concentrate on your driving. Don’t answer that cell phone call. Don’t check your e-mail. And don’t even think about sending a text. Just drive.

In an interview for the POLITICO video series “The Politics of America’s Youth,” LaHood laid out his argument: “If you have an emergency in your car, pull over, grab your cell phone, talk to whoever you have to talk to,” he said. “But when you’re driving from one place to another, there is no message, either text or phone, that’s important until you get to your destination.”

And no, just checking your e-mails at a red light doesn’t count as safe. LaHood says electronic devices should be stashed in the glove compartment where they can’t wink, blink or ring their way into your brain.

The Rest of the Story

June Critical Manners/Courteous Mass This Friday!

You know the drill!

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.This Friday at Lawton Park by the Softball Field.