Eugene and Springfield cycling issues have seen a surge in coverage by the local news agencies lately. Here are the stories that have caught our eye:
Via The Register-Guard: Bike advocate files suit over crash
The owner and founder of Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life is suing an 83-year-old driver for $250,000 to cover injuries and loss of income caused when the driver ran a stop sign and hit Nicholson in a bike path crosswalk on Bertelsen Road on April 17th, 2008. The lawsuit is not aimed at the 83-year-old, however; instead it is designed to make her insurance company take responsibility. Any proceeds will be donated to charity.
The AP version of the story unfortunately leaves out the information about charity and the insurance company. Luckily, the following excerpts from the Register-Guard article explain more: (emphasis mine)
The lawsuit names Inez Oram Hostick, who ran a stop sign and struck Nicholson as he pedaled across Bertelsen Road in a bike path crosswalk on April 17, 2008. Hostick, then 83, was cited for failing to obey a traffic control device.
But that’s just the first step to reach his intended target. Nicholson wants her insurance carrier, The Hartford Life and Casualty, to pay for his lost earnings and pain and suffering caused by the crash.
The suit is a matter of principle, the 63-year-old former Eugene city councilor said. Nicholson alleged that the Connecticut-based insurance corporation rebuffed his direct efforts to obtain such compensation.
“If this woman had run a red light and fractured the side of my car, I don’t think the attitude would be the same,” he said. “They seem to have the attitude that when a car hits a cyclist, it ought to be free. I expected to be responded to and that they would consider it a serious issue.”
Nicholson’s suit alleges that he suffered injuries to his back, neck, left shoulder and right knee after Hostick’s Pontiac Fiero knocked him off his bike. He continues to suffer pain, disability, discomfort and interference with his normal activities, the suit claims.
Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life remains profitable enough that Nicholson asked Hartford representatives to simply donate $10,000 to each of five local charities.
Not only did they refuse to do so, he said, but “their whole attitude and tone of voice was disrespectful.”
Nicholson said he was reluctant to file the suit, in part because he was forced to name Hostick, the elderly driver, instead of The Hartford. Hostick has declined comment.
“That’s the way the rules are written,” Nicholson said. “You can’t actually name the insurance company.”
Nicholson said he still plans to donate any proceeds from a successful suit to his favorite charities.
Via The Register-Guard: Ditching the car not so hard
The Eugene SmartTrips program (previously covered in depth by WeBikeEugene here) is moving along nicely. This Register-Guard article provides some interesting figures and information about what, specifically, SmartTrips will be doing. Selected excerpts: (emphasis mine)
[…]Called SmartTrips and funded by grants from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, the effort will provide residents in four neighborhoods with maps, other materials and organized activities to encourage bicycling, walking, public transit and carpooling.
The city will give the information only to residents who request it. Organizers hope that will be more effective than mass mailing residents who have no interest in changing their travel habits.
The campaign “is meant to give people the tools they need so they can make smart choices on how to get places,” said Lindsay Selser, a city Public Works Department employee in charge of the program. “Ultimately, transportation choices are made on a very personal level.”
At 8.5 percent, the number of Eugene residents who bicycle to work is small. But compared with other cities nationwide, Eugene’s percentage of bike commuters rank second behind Boulder, Colo., according to the American Community Survey, conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Another 6.5 percent of Eugene workers report walking to work, the highest percentage of any Oregon city, the survey found.
In May, the city will send 6,000 Harlow neighborhood households an introductory newsletter explaining SmartTrips. The newsletter will have an order form and contact information that residents can use to request maps and other materials.
Selser and an intern this summer will transport the materials to residents’ doorsteps in bike trailers.
Portland’s SmartTrips program has been publicized in eight neighborhoods during the last seven years, Selser said. Surveys indicate that residents drive fewer miles after the outreach efforts, she said.
Via Register-Guard: Springfield soon will have a new route for bikers and walkers
There is a lot going on in Springfield and along the Willamette River. I’d recommend reading the full Register-Guard article, but for those of you in a hurry I’ve posted a few key exerpts: (emphasis mine)
By summer 2011, Springfield will have a new bike and pedestrian path below its southern flank along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, just below the urban growth boundary.
When fully done, the four-mile Middle Fork Loop Path will open up a wide swath of public land with meadows and woods and spectacular glimpses of the Willamette River’s Middle Fork, which shimmers and braids alongside â€” and which has, until now, been locked from public view behind a chain-link fence.
“Imagine if someday you could ride your bike from the confluence of the Willamette River â€” where the forks come together, east of Glenwood â€” clear out to north of Belt Line on the same riverfront path system,” said Tom Boyatt, Springfield engineering and transportation manager.
[…]At the eastern end, the new path will glide along the soon-to-be-restored Springfield Millrace.
It will be built atop an old access road along the riverbank on property once owned by Georgia Pacific, then continue through Springfield Utility Board land within eyeshot of city wellheads. (A new chain-link fence topped with barb wire will protect the city wellheads from errant path users.)
At the base of Quarry Butte, builders will put in a 70-foot, $250,000 foot/bicycle bridge over Quarry Creek.
[…]A tantalizing connection the planners also hope to make is a foot and bicycle bridge across the Middle Fork to connect with the Howard Buford Recreation Area, which includes Mount Pisgah and has 17 miles of trails.
[…]In the future, Willamalane hopes to build another bike and pedestrian path along the 3.5-mile millrace from Clearwater Park northwest to downtown Springfield. With connections with the Middle Fork Loop Path, that path would compete an eight-mile circuit.
Via EugeneCycles.com: Bike Advocacy: Panel at PIELC Chews Hot Potatoes
EugeneCycles.com is a new blog put out by the Eugene Weekly which focuses on cycling issues. Their most recent article covers bicycle issues addressed at The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) held at the University of Oregon last month.
The post covers Critical Mass, the Idaho Stop Law, and Sharrows. It is too long and dense for me to do justice by quoting it here, so I encourage you all to head over the EugeneCycles.com and give it a read.
Via BikePortland.org: Hey ladies, this survey’s for you!
Quoted from BikePortland.org:
Women are widely regarded in bike wonk circles as an indicator species of a city’s level of bike-friendliness. If women are riding, the thinking goes, then biking conditions must be good.
But why is this? What specific factors motivate women to ride? The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals has launched an online survey to find out.
The APBP says it help them in “figuring out what factors need to be addressed to encourage women to cycle more places more often.” The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and it’ll be open until May 15, 2010.