- Bicycle Friendly States
editor’s note: I’m reprinting the press release from the League of American Bicyclists – because it’s something that most everyday bike riders (especially those who travel) will laugh (or groan) at . But it highlights something extremely important: these abstract planning measurement points (that determine a state’s bicycle friendly ranking) are the same poorly refined measurement ‘tools’ that are needed to do the more glorious tasks: gaining statistical knowledge to secure funding, to create infrastructure and programs. In a way these insane little measurements are what will advance all states. And we need to lobby for creating national, relavant measurement tools (ask the right questions, get better answers).
How can you do that?Washington, D.C. — May 1, 2013 – On the first day of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its latest Bicycle Friendly State ranking.
For the sixth year in a row, Washington continues to lead the nation, with high performance in all categories. But up-and-coming states — including Delaware, Illinois and Arizona – charged up the ranking in 2013, shaking up the top 10.
“We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Delaware, Colorado and Oregon,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “But as the scores clearly highlight, there’s much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and planning in every state.”
The 2013 Bicycle Friendly State ranking is now even more comprehensive, capturing more information than ever before and delving more deeply into the issues embedded in becoming a more bicycle friendly state.
The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.
Delaware took a leap in the 2013 ranking, moving from No. 10 to No. 5 in just one year. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)praised Governor Jack Markell, the state legislature, congressional delegation, advocacy organizations and the people of the First State for prioritizing biking.
“Creating more walkable and bikeable communities boosts air quality by reducing the amount of time cars and trucks idle on our roadways releasing harmful emissions.” Sen. Carper said. “Biking also helps decongest our transportation system, allowing individuals to spend more time working or relaxing with their families instead of wasting time and money sitting in traffic. The benefits of biking are countless, and that’s why I’m proud to support dedicated federal funding for biking and walking infrastructure, as well as the efforts of the League of American Bicyclists and others to promote biking as an invaluable piece of the American transportation system.”
Also making a strong showing in this year’s rank is Colorado — and Gov. John Hickenlooper says he plans to be No. 1 very soon.
“An important part of making Colorado the healthiest state is encouraging people to be more active in their everyday routines,” Hickenlooper said. “We’re proud that our bicycle-friendly policies have skyrocketed Colorado’s rank up 20 places in just five years, and we are committed to being No. 1 in the near future.”
In the Southwest, Arizona moved back into the top 10. Among other strides, the state completed its Bicycle Safety Action plan to improve bicyclist safety on Arizona’s highways.
“The goal is to reduce the number of bicyclist fatalities and injury crashes with motor vehicles,” said Michael Sanders, Arizona Department of Transportation’s bicycle and pedestrian program coordinator. “We ‘crash-typed’ nearly 750 reported crashes that occurred over a five-year period to better define the sequence of actions leading to the collision. For example, we found that over half of all crashes occurred while a motorist was making a right turn. The Plan consists of action items addressing potential changes to policies and education programs, or new tools, such as bicycle road safety audit guidelines, to improve bicyclist safety.”
Learn more about the BFS program at www.bikeleague.org/states.
***About the Bicycle Friendly America Program:
The Bicycle Friendly America program provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities, universities and businesses that actively support bicycling, and ranks states annually based on their level of bike-friendliness. Learn more.2013 Ranking1. Washington2. Colorado3. Oregon4. Minnesota5. Delaware6. Massachusetts7. New Jersey8. Wisconsin9. Illinois10. Arizona11. Maryland12. Michigan13. Maine14. Utah15. Pennsylvania16. Virginia17. Tennessee18. Connecticut19. California20. Nevada21. Iowa22. Texas23. Vermont24. Georgia25. Rhode Island26. Idaho27. New Hampshire28. North Carolina29. Louisiana30. Missouri31. Florida32. Ohio33. Wyoming34. South Carolina35. Hawaii36. Mississippi37. Arkansas38. Oklahoma39. Montana40. Kansas41. Nebraska42. Indiana43. New York44. West Virginia45. Alaska46. South Dakota47. Kentucky48. New Mexico49. Alabama50. North DakotaLearn more about this ranking here.About the League:The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates.
- @WolfpackHustle Responds to UCI / USA Cycling Threat
editor’s note: I don’t simply copy/paste existing content, but this recent post by LA’s Don Ward, Organizer of the Marathon Crash Race (which I recently participated in and LOVED) a leader in LA’s bicycling movement as an advocate and instigator of things like Wolfpack Hustle and Midnight Ridazz, says it all perfectly.
Open letter to
Steve Johnson, President of USA Cycling
210 USA Cycling Point, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
Recently, it has come to my attention that the UCI and it’s subsidiaries (including USA cycling) have decided to enforce UCI rule 1.2.019 which states:
“No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.”
Sadly, this reaction by sanctioned racing bodies appears to be aimed directly at promoters such as myself and hugely popular unsanctioned races and events such as our Marathon Crash Race and Trimble Racing’s Red Hood Crit. Both are races that are doing something sanctioned racing argue-ably hadn’t done in years… draw new riders and new audiences to cycling. That fact makes this move to bar participation in our events come off as arrogant and fearful. Declaring the ability to levy fines on sanctioned riders who participate in our races, read: making money off events that other’s organize?
As the organizer of one of the largest unsanctioned bike races in the world, I admit, I personally have never raced in a sanctioned event and probably never will, the process seems a bit too cumbersome for me the casual racer. Yet this certainly doesn’t merit dismissal by your organization. In fact, I have spent the last 9 years of my life riding week after week with riders of all ages backgrounds and abilities through group bike rides and especially through our Monday night fast paced “Hustle Ride,” learning, teaching, coaching and encouraging literally thousands of riders to get better at navigating the dangers of live traffic – and having a blast doing it. I’ve seen completely new riders come to rides – often on frankensteined co-op built bikes – get dropped, come back, get strong, race our races and get completely hyped on bikes.
Lucky for you and USA Cycling this is only the beginning.
I would like to introduce you to Wolves like Beatriz Rodriguez, a rider who cut her riding teeth with our ride, developed her skills, won Dog Tags (our most coveted prize) in our races and then went on to score a national championship in your races. Nothing got the people talking like when she returned last summer to claim another set of Dog Tags in our Midnight Drag Race and then again returned to compete in the Marathon Crash Race to battle it out with 4000 other riders.
And now, your organizations are threatening to bar her and others like her from continued participation in the community?
She was our hero before she was yours.
Furthermore, I want you to consider guys like John “the Roadie” Gabriel, a cocky SOB who actually came from sanctioned racing to ride with us every week, in traffic, and push our crew to new limits. People see him show up to rides in his 3 time CA state champion kit and get inspired. If you had the ability to enforce your rules 3-4 years ago, would he be riding and racing with us? Knowing JTR the answer is
an emphatic fuckyes, but still… Thankfully, that was never a question and looking forward, it shouldn’t ever be a question. Riders are already talking about pseudonyms and other methods of hiding from your view – we will do what we can to make sure they escape fines or penalties until USA Cycling comes to it’s senses and embraces what we are doing.
Indeed, as our East Coast brother David Trimble voiced earlier, the fall of pro-cycling was one of the best things to happen for us… but if you think about it, it was good for everyone including you and your organization. As David extended an invitation, so do I… Ignore the UCI rules and realize what grass roots race events like ours are doing for the sport as a whole – growing it.
Wolfpack Hustle: The Unified Title Series
- Volunteer to Count Bikes at Union Station
Hey #BikelA: one of the best things we can do to make sure there’s bicycling infrastructure for bikes is by helping out with projects like this. Just do it!
When: Tuesday, March 19 and Saturday, March 23.
Where: Union Station, Downtown LA
Let’s count some bikes at Union Station! We’ll collect vital data on bike usage on Metrolink and Amtrak. Count shifts are:
Tuesday, March 19th
6:30am – 9:30am
4:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday, March 23rd
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
You’ll get a snazzy new LA Bike Count t-shirt!
- the e-bike revolution?
interbike, the organization you might remember from the yearly Vegas bash decided to throw an event called “The Electric Bike Media Event: Growing the E-Bike Segment in North America”
so this happened:
At Terranea Resort, a place so classy I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t accidentally gone to a convention of heart surgeons, about 10 different companies enjoyed lectures, rides and then set up tents and demo bikes on the resort grounds. For 2 hours registered retailers were invited to come out to test the bikes and get a very pleasant sales pitch. I have to admit, even if they were selling rotten tomatoes it still would have seemed tre chic. Bikes, you might recall, are generally not an industry that’s famous for making people rich… or even catering to people who are rich, outside the occasional full custom carbon play toy.
And yet! e-bikes, they’re a big question plus living in SoCal where you’re likely on the hook for traveling upwards of 20+ miles to get to a friends house, job or date generally means that e-bikes have the incredible potential to get a lot more people to use bikes as transportation – including older people and those not interested in becoming ironman fit just to get around. So I was pretty psyched to make it out to a fancy spot and get the secret low-down on the coming e-bike revolution. Here’s what I saw:
There’s a few key things about this new and as yet mysterious technology: there’s pedal assist and clutch (meaning you rev it from the handlebar) some have one or the other, some make use of both. Many of the manufacturers Americans will be familiar with via home appliances (Panasonic, Bosch) and there’s generally 3 places the “power unit” is installed: the back hub, as part of the crank or integrated into the seat tube. Everyone who sells one kind over the other believes that that specific type is better than the other types. And to a certain degree they’re all right. A battery in the seat tube does have the most “natural” feel. A battery in the back hub means that a “kit” can convert a normal bike into an e-bike. A battery integrated into the crank might be able to get some residual power from pedaling to keep the battery from wearing out. All very nice.
Some of them had a lot of power and were a joy to ride. Others, not so much. I apologize if I accidentally broke one or two going up the little hill from the turn around spot. Like most things the higher the price the better the ride.
My questions of all of them was: how much money are these for consumers? How many recharges is the battery expected to have over its’ life? What is the product warranty?
Most were the same:
- $1,200 lo end to $5,000 retail
- 500 charges
- 2 year warranty
Many of these products are so new that they’re not sure how many charges it will last. I asked the Swiss manufacturer that I liked the best what the common customer feedback was – did people have problems with hills, going too long without charging? What was the percentage of sales where the warranty was needed to repair or replace something? Almost none of them were able to say – they simply didn’t know or got frustrated that people didn’t properly maintain batteries.
In general a charge will probably last you a good day of (assisted – you’re still pedaling) riding. So, 1 charge = 1 day. Most people won’t ride everyday, so 500 charges and keeping good care of your new e-bike should last you right up until that 2 year warranty. I’m pretty sure that the higher end e-bikes, the delightful $5,000 one that I liked so much would be a hard sell, but not impossible if say, it lasted 10 years. Or if the manufacturer could confidently say that in 3 years the battery technology will be even better and when you take it in to be recycled you get to upgrade to a newer model for… I don’t know a few hundred bucks. The rest of us might have a lower priced e-bike and have a different battery maintenance schedule trade-off. But seriously? We all kinda walked away hoping battery technology gets awesome way faster and that e-bike companies begin to realize that you can get a motorcycle or a cheap car for that. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the revolution.
No matter what it was, something didn’t compute. In some ways this is due to how segmented the bicycling industry is. Manufacturers and brands sorta work together, who sorta work with independent bike shops, who sorta try to understand average people. We’re not all living in the same cities, making the same money or living the same lives and it seems that few people putting these bikes together realize how hard it is for your local bike shop to choose or risk carrying something that might not be a good investment for an individual with lots of practical and logistical concerns. Even Bicycling magazine managed to totally forget that if hundreds of thousands of e-bikes are about to blossom as a new trend in the US – that they need to appeal to individuals, not just global marketing projections.
Beyond that – e-bikes are creating a lot of chatter in the advocacy and local government planning circles. If there’s about to be a bunch of e-bikes flooding our cities and towns – don’t they need to be regulated? NYC has already seen what it looks like when thousands of Chinese food delivery guys overwhelm the burgeoning bike lanes. And it’s true that those bikes: super loud, some smelling of gas fumes, many going way too fast for bike traffic – are an abomination. The fancy pretty things shown at the Terranea Resort expo were a world apart: quiet and pretty. But they’re all e-bikes and so it leads people to wonder what regulations should exist. Do we limit how fast they can go? Only allow electric (not gas) powered? Do we limit them to the bike path or keep them with regular traffic? What do we need to do to get them to enhance the growing bicycle infrastructure and culture – instead of making it another point of contention.
- Yes! Major win for Biking in LA! Editor’s note: I never re-print articles from other bloggers, but in this case Ted Rogers (@bikinginLA) has set the gold standard in presenting all the information, links and more. Check out his blog & the original article.
Big news in LA politics — every major candidate for mayor goes on the record as supporting bicycling
This is huge.
For the first time I’m aware of, every major candidate for mayor of Los Angeles is on the record for their stands on bicycling issues. Or rather, their support of bikes.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has managed to get all five leading candidates to complete an in-depth questionnaire on the questions facing the local cycling community.
And surprisingly — or maybe not so surprisingly, given the audience they’re speaking to — every one of the five has come out strongly in favor of bicycling as a key part of the city’s transportation future.
I’m not going to tell you what I think about each one. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to be able to work with the winner once the election is over — which isn’t always possible if you’ve come out in favor of his or her opponent. But I will tell you that, from my perspective, two of the responses are head and shoulders above the rest — and not the ones I expected going into this.
I’ll let you read them yourself, and make your own decisions. But you owe it to yourself to read each one before you cast your ballot next month or decide who to support. You also owe it to me, and every other bike rider in the City of Angels. Because the future of bicycling in L.A. depends on who wins that election.
And that depends on you.
Here are the links to the surveys, in the order they were returned to the LACBC.
“Los Angeles should be a leader in innovative bikeway design and programs both for cyclists and pedestrians. I will pursue improvements that will elevate the bikeability of Los Angeles… I will build a network of separated and protected bikeways so that existing and new riders feel safe. This network will effectively connect neighborhoods to retail, educational and cultural institutions and we will start to see ridership grow.”
“Over the past few years, we have made great strides in making our city bicycle-friendly. From instituting new green bike lanes, to installing more bike racks, to parklettes, to larger initiatives like our bike plan—we are moving in the right direction. I would continue this momentum and look to leverage local dollars with state and federal dollars to see these initiatives expand tenfold throughout the city.”
“People aren’t walking or biking because they have to travel so far for food, work, and school. We need to focus on high impact investment in communities, so people can live and work close to their homes if they choose. If people’s needs are met close to home, they will be able to walk. Part of that investment needs to be in the quality of our streets. Some places in South LA, East San Fernando Valley, and the Eastside of LA don’t even have sidewalks.”
“As Mayor, I will approach cycling as a key part of our city’s transportation system. First of all, bicycles are already on our streets, and we must address that fact in terms of infrastructure, safety and planning. Looking ahead, our next Mayor must support bicycling as a viable option for short trips and as a way to link with public transit.”
“Disappointment surrounding LA’s transportation options generally, and the implementation of the city’s bike plan specifically, is understandable. Yet even with such frustration among Angelenos, our City leaders have failed to deliver efficient and effective transit… The days of poor planning, shady bidding, irresponsible outreach, failed implementation, cost overruns, construction delays, and the lack of a common sense approach to smart transit must end – and will end with my administration.”
Let’s give credit where it’s due.
These questions were prepared and submitted primarily by LACBC Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins, in conjunction with the new Civic Engagement Committee. And yes, that’s the committee I chair. And no, I don’t take credit for this. It was a group effort, with Eric doing the lion’s share of the work. And it’s a perfect example of why you should be a member, if you’re not already.
You can hear the candidates discuss the issues in Tuesday’s mayoral debate broadcast by KPCC. Streetsblog looks at the barely contested race in Council District 5, where incumbent Paul Koretz faces little known opponent Mark Herd; rule number one in L.A. politics is incumbents almost never lose. Agoura Hills considers expanding the Chesebro overpass and adding bike lanes over the 101 Freeway. Pomona Valley cyclists are invited to join LACBC affiliate chapter Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition, which is celebrating it’s first anniversary. Three former CA governors call for reforming CEQA. New bike lanes are on the agenda in Palm Springs.
Finally, you never have to ride alone again.
+ via BikinginLA / Ted Rogers