May is National Bike Month
May is National Bike Month and holds many opportunities to promote bicycle use and safety. Coordinated by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month will be celebrated with various activities around the nation, including Bike-to-Work Week from May 11 to 15. Bike-to-Work Day took place on Friday, May 15.
Riding a bicycle provides a fun way to get around while increasing physical activity, reducing traffic congestion, helping the environment and even saving money! While the yearly cost of owning and operating a vehicle is over $9,000, or 18 percent of the average household's income, owning and maintaining a bicycle can cost as little as $120 per year. As Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said, "Bicycles are a critical part of a cleaner, greener future in American transportation, so keep those wheels spinning."
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers the following tips for bicyclists and drivers:
General tips for bicyclists
- Be Ready. That bicycle you bought three summers ago to ride on the bike path has gathered enough dust. Put it to work — by riding it to work or for errands!
- Chart Your Route. Find a good route to get where you want to go. The Pedestrian Bicycle Information Center has a maps directory to help. It helps to talk with friends, family, or coworkers who ride their bikes to get good route information, too.
- Be Comfortable. Painful bike seats. Achy knees. Stiff back. All of these problems can be helped by correctly adjusting your bicycle to fit you. Stop by your local bike shop to ensure your bike is adjusted properly.
- Consider Linking with Transit. Many communities have buses with racks to accommodate bikes. You could use transit for part of your trip instead of biking the whole distance.
- Be There. Join thousands of your neighbors in a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work on Bike to Work Day!
Safety tips for bicyclists
- Always ride with traffic and follow the rules of the road. Forget what you might have heard in the past, you are better off riding with the flow of traffic, not against it. You are much more predictable and visible to motorists, especially at intersections and driveways. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars, and use hand signals when turning and stopping. Obey traffic signs, signals, and lane markings and yield to traffic when appropriate, including pedestrians.
- Don't ride on the sidewalk. Although you might think it's a safer option, many motorists are simply not looking for bicyclists on the sidewalk, especially those riding against traffic. So at every driveway and intersection, you are at much greater risk of being hit by a motorist than if you were riding on the road with traffic. Pedestrians will thank you for riding on the road as well.
- Ride on the trail, paved shoulder, bike lane, or bike route. But, you still need to follow the rules of the road and watch out for your fellow travelers. Ride to the right, signal your turns, obey traffic signs and signals.
- Be predictable and visible. Try not to be hesitant or do things that motorists and other travelers may not be expecting. Make sure everyone can see you and knows where you are and where you are going. If riding in the dark, use headlights, taillights and reflectors, and wear reflective materials and brightly colored clothing. Do not wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while bicycling.
- Watch for stuff on the road or trail that might make you fall or swerve. Rocks, trash, storm grates, wet leaves, potholes, gravel, railroad tracks, and even wet pavement markings can all send you flying. Also watch for parked cars, doors opening, and cars pulling in and out of driveways.
- Watch for turning traffic. Perhaps rather surprisingly, the crash data tell us that getting hit from behind is extremely unlikely. Most car/bike collisions happen at intersections and driveways when motorists or bicyclists are turning. So, at every intersection and driveway, keep a careful eye out for:
- Motorists turning right in front of you-you may be going faster than they think.
- Motorists turning left across your path-drivers are looking for gaps in traffic and may not be paying attention to anything other than other motor vehicles.
Safety tips for motorists
- Watch for Bicyclists at all Times. Bicycles are vehicles and bicyclists are allowed to take the entire lane. Scan for bicyclists in traffic and give them the appropriate right-of-way. Children and novice riders can be unpredictable; expect the unexpected. Watch for bicyclists before opening car doors. Don't drive distracted or after consuming alcohol or other drugs.
- Drive the Speed and Avoid Aggressive Maneuvers. Obey speed limits and come to a complete stop at stop signs. Allow extra time for bicyclists to traverse intersections. Recognize hazards that bicyclists may face and give them space to maneuver.
- Pass Bicyclists with Care. Treat bicyclists as you would a slow-moving car-don't tailgate, and do wait until traffic conditions allow you to safely pass the bicyclist. Reduce speed when passing bicyclists and allow at least 3 ft of passing space. Check over your shoulder after passing a bicyclist before moving back. Don't blast your horn in close proximity to bicyclists.
Bicycle Maps Directory
Tips About How to Bike More
Bike Month Events
National Bicycle Safety Network
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AAA. Your Driving Costs. 2008.
US Census Bureau. United States Census 2000. 2000.
League of American Bicyclists.
Secretary LaHood blogs about bikes
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently touted the importance of bicycling in the DOT's blog Fast Lane. In a March posting, the Secretary remarked, "I welcome the vigor of the bicycling community in advocating for bike-friendly measures in the upcoming authorization bill, CLEAN-TEA. Bicycles are a critical part of a cleaner, greener future in American transportation, so keep those wheels spinning." The post triggered numerous positive responses from readers of the blog, prompting Secretary LaHood to follow up with a post on Earth Day related to bicycling.
According to the site, the forum provides an opportunity for Department of Transportation officials to engage in a dialogue with interested citizens, members of the transportation community, and the blogosphere about the nation's transportation system. Fast Lane will feature commentary and observations from the Secretary and Administrators, contributions by guest bloggers from outside the Department, and even breaking news.
For more information on the blog postings:
April 22, 2009 Post "Bicycling is an important factor in less carbon-intensive commuting"
March 13, 2009 Post "Cyclists are important users of transportation systems"
Read the Fast Lane blog
Updated Web resource for Accessible Pedestrian Signals
An updated Web site on the best practices of Accessible Pedestrian Signals has been launched at www.apsguide.org. An Accessible Pedestrian Signal is "a device that communicates information about pedestrian timing in nonvisual format such as audible tones, verbal messages, and/or vibrating surfaces (MUTCD, Section 4A.02)."
Sections within the Web site include:
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Travel by Blind Pedestrians
Chapter 3: Understanding Traffic Signals
Chapter 4: Features of APS
Chapter 5: When to Install APS
Chapter 6: Designing APS Installations
Chapter 7: Installation & Operation
Chapter 8: Public Education
Chapter 9: U.S. Case Studies
Chapter 10: International Case Studies
Appendix A: Current Guidelines
Appendix B: Product Information
Appendix C: Research on APS
Appendix D: Prioritization Tool Instructions and Forms
Appendix E: Glossary
The content of the Web site is a product of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 3-62, Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals. This research study used extensive field testing to determine which APS features and locations are most beneficial for blind and visually impaired pedestrians. The web site content was adapted from the print document produced by the NCSHP study, entitled Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices.
NCHRP Project 15-42: Use of Bicycle Lanes for Various Roadway Characteristics
In March 2009, the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research formulated the National Cooperative Highway Research Program's 2010 research projects. Among the list of planned projects in NCHRP Project 15-42: Use of Bicycle Lanes for Various Roadway Characteristics.
The objective of this project is to develop design criteria for bicycle lanes based on roadway characteristics including, but not limited to, classification, speed, ADT, number of trucks, the grade of the roadway, and parking. The design criteria will help determine if bicycle lanes should be installed and if so, what would be the recommended width of the bicycle lane, the adjacent travel lane, and, if applicable, parking.
U.S. practitioners have minimal nationally recognized guidance regarding the roadway characteristics under which bicycle lanes should be provided or, at least, considered. The current (1999) edition of the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities describes design of bicycle lanes, but presents virtually no guidance about roadway conditions under which they should be provided, considered, or omitted.
NCHRP is currently accepting panel nominations for the Cooperative Research Programs. Additional information including the nomination form can be found at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrppanelsolicitation2010.pdf.
Featured Case Study: Traffic Calming Guidelines in Sacramento
Diverters with newly planted trees.
The City of Sacramento lacked a cohesive guide explaining the advantages and disadvantages of various traffic calming treatments that could potentially improve pedestrian safety.
The Traffic Calming Guidelines were developed by the City of Sacramento's Department of Public Works to provide tools for citizens, Public Works staff, and other interested parties to help choose appropriate traffic calming devices that adequately accommodate motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The final 70-page Traffic Calming Guidelines publication not only specifies a toolbox of traffic calming measures, but also defines the process to follow for retrofitting existing neighborhoods, the probable results of the measures, and standard designs for the implementation of traffic calming measures. It lists advantages and disadvantages to various treatments and provides illustrative pictures, estimated costs, and impacts.
The process starts when a neighborhood has been identified for inclusion in the traffic management program. It begins by establishing a Traffic Calming Committee that takes a proactive role in creating a plan for their neighborhood and meets regularly with Public Works staff. The Guidelines toolkit is a key element in the education and communication between planners and residents. Once these changes are made, such as enforcement and educational components, an evaluation period takes place. At this point in the process the City staff present a report to the neighborhood, and if necessary, further measures are considered.
Partners included the Planning and Fire departments, the City School District, Walk Sacramento, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, and Dan Burden's Walkable Communities. Funding was provided through a combined effort of the City of Sacramento, the State of California Office of Traffic Safety, the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, and the Federal Highway Administration. The total cost for the development of the guidebook was approximately $27,000.
The City of Sacramento adopted the Guidelines to assist the public, city staff, consultants, and developers in creating a safer environment for pedestrians by identifying traffic calming devices and steps for implementation. Speeds were reduced in local neighborhoods, and new neighborhoods were designed from the start to promote reduced speeds.
Mark Hanneman, City Traffic Engineer
Department of Public Works
Traffic Engineering Services
1000 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-2806
The following resources have been recently added to the PBIC Online Library, a centralized, Web-based collection of pedestrian and bicycling-related materials and documents compiled by practitioners and researchers from across the United States and abroad. To search the entire library, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/library or www.bicyclinginfo.org/library.
- Cycling for a Few or for Everyone
- World Transport Policy and Practice, Vol. 15, No. 1
- National Pedestrian Crash Report
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Columbus Avenue Neighborhood Transportation Study
- San Francisco County Transportation Authority
- Curbing Cars
- Transportation Alternatives
Free Webinar on "Complete Streets and Context Sensitive Solutions"
ContextSensitiveSolutions.org and the Federal Highway Administration will present a free webinar on June 11, 2009, from 2:00 – 3:30 PM EST to discuss the role of Complete Streets in creating Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) that provide safe and efficient transportation options for all users.
The 1.5 hour-long webinar will provide an overview of the Federal Highways Administration perspective on Complete Streets, including a discussion on the importance of pedestrian and bicycle issues, and what federal programs and policies are available to support communities in their Complete Streets efforts.
Link to Join the Meeting:
On the login page, enter as a guest by typing your full name and clicking the "Enter Room" button. Please login to the conference at least 10 minutes prior to the start time to secure your space.
Phone Number to Join the Audio Portion of the Conference:
Boston University launches bike safety Web site
Boston University has launched a new bike safety Web site at www.bu.edu/bikesafety.
The site includes information on the benefits of bicycling on campus, resources for bike registration and related links to Boston area bike resources. The new Web site was coordinated by BU's Bike Safety Committee, formed in 2008.
The launch of the site coincided with a bicycle and pedestrian safety day held on campus, which included bike safety inspections, fittings, bike registration with the Boston University Police Department, discounts from local vendors, and a raffle for bike gear.
NHTSA requests public comment on quiet cars
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking comment from government policymakers, stakeholders from the blind community, industry representatives and public interest groups on the safety of blind pedestrians encountering quiet cars including hybrids, all-electric vehicles and quiet internal combustion engine vehicles. A public meeting will be held on June 23, 2008, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, DC. Comments can also be submitted via Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp. Use the search box, enter NHTSA-2008-0108-0025.1 and then click on "Send a Comment or Submission"
Vermont awards transportation enhancement projects in 21 communities
Vermont has awarded $2.75 million for transportation enhancement projects in 21 communities across the state.
"These grants provide seed money to towns and cities across Vermont so communities can complete important transportation projects they otherwise might not be able to afford," Governor Jim Douglas said. "The projects not only improve our existing transportation system, but they provide a significant contribution to the state's economy."
The 2009 process was quite competitive and saw 38 applications with funding requests totaling over $4.5 million. Grant applications were reviewed by VTrans to affirm project eligibility, and then were considered by a grant committee which made the awards. VTrans staff provides technical and limited project assistance to grant recipients.
More than half of the awards and nearly two-thirds of the funding went to pedestrian/bicycle projects. Most of the remaining awards were given to either environmentally sensitive projects such as stormwater mitigation, restoring an historic building for a welcome center and acquisition of a scenic easement.
For more information including a list of the awarded projects, please visit www.vermont.gov/portal/government/article.php?news=1004.
APBP elects new officers
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) announced the election of officers and the addition of two new board members.
Seleta Reynolds, AICP, with Fehr & Peers in San Francisco, CA, was elected President; Jennifer Hefferan, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, is the Vice-President; Michael Moule, President and Principal Transportation Engineer of Livable Streets, Inc., in Tampa, FL, is Treasurer; and Brett Hondorp, AICP, Principal with Alta Planning + Design in Oakland, CA, has been elected Secretary. Hondorp and Norma Moores, Senior Transportation Engineer at IBI Group in Hamilton, Ontario, join the Board as new members.
APBP provides expertise for sustainable transportation and is the only professional membership organization for the discipline of pedestrian and bicycle transportation. APBP members — employees of all levels of government, consulting firms and non-profits — work in the engineering, planning, landscape architecture, police, safety, health and promotion fields and specialize in improving conditions for bicycling and walking.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Issues in the News
The following is a brief compilation of pedestrian- and bicycle-related news stories from around the world. Web links to the following news stories are time sensitive, so some stories might not be accessible after the initial publication date without required registration.
- Sheboygan County Leads the Way: Bike/Ped Plan
- WAPA Newsletter
- April 2009
- Sorry, Portland
- Good magazine
- April 2009
- Associations urge for European strategy on cycling incentives
- Bike Europe
- City lays out multi-year plan for bike traffic
- Anchorage Daily News
- Easley moves ahead with walk-, bikeways plan
- Greenville Online
- Fairfax considers plan to block cars from Bolinas Road
- Marin Independent Journal
- City to add more bike dots, green lanes, sharrows
- West Seattle Herald
- The tricky transition to two wheels
- Irish Times
- Community pushes for pedestrian-bike paths
- Shreveport Times
- City eyes foot-and-pedal traffic
- Greenfield Now
- Safety concerns prompt pedestrian plan for Green Bay suburb
- Seattle cracks down on drivers who don't stop at crosswalks
- The Seattle Times
- City unveils first Pedestrian Master Plan
- West Seattle Herald
- Zero Deaths, Everyone Counts
- Police crosswalk stings will target drivers who don't yield to pedestrians
- Chicago Tribune
- Coming soon: City ban on handheld phones
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
Upcoming Pedestrian and Bicycle Events
- NHI Real Solutions Web Conference
- Pedestrian Safety Focus States/Cities Web Conference
- 5/28/2009, 1:30 ET
- 58th UITP World Congress and Mobility & City Transport Exhibition
- Vienna, Austria
- Congress for the New Urbanism XVII: Experiencing the New Urbanism — The Convenient Remedy
- Denver, CO
- National Rural Summit on Traffic Safety Culture
- Big Sky, MT USA
- Transportation Education Conference
- Portland, OR