ODOT releases public safety message regarding 1-5 bridge construction

(Notice the hand-made scarf in safety yellow!)

Construction Zone Flaggers--efficient and friendly. (photo and caption: Katura Reynolds)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have created a couple public safety videos to help advise cyclists who are navigating the 1-5 bridge construction on the river path.  If I were to summarize the videos, I would say something like: “Hey, this bridge is neat and we are improving the bike paths, so please obey our flaggers or you could get run over by something heavy.”

As WBE contributor Katura previously reported, the flaggers are nice and courteous, and not looking to slow anyone down unduly. They are there to keep us safe.

Take the jump to see the two videos.

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Eugene Area Advocacy Primer Part 1: point2point Solutions

Those of us living and riding in the Eugene/Springfield area have a wonderful problem on our hands.  There are so many advocacy organizations in our area working to improve our lives that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all.  It can be difficult to see how these organizations fit and work together, and which is responsible for what.   Well, lucky for you gentlefolks WeBikeEugene has come to the rescue!  Last spring we circulated a questionnaire to as many of the local advocacy groups we could, and most of them answered back.  From this we have created the Eugene Area Advocacy Primer.

The primer is a multi-part series which will run more-or-less weekly throughout the rest of summer, and cover organizations such as GEARs, The BikeLane Coalition, The UO Bike Program, Safe Routes to School, The BTA, and point2point Solutions!  If you’d like an organization covered that is not listed here, let us know!

I’ve chosen point2point Solutions to kick off this series.   point2point Solutions is the organization behind the “Drive Less, Save More” campaign last April and the Business Commute Challenge last May.  They are also responsible for the incredibly useful KeepUsMoving.info website which updates commuters on construction that may affect them.

Take the jump to learn about point2point Solutions, how they work, what areas they cover, and what else they do. (They do a lot!)

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Poll: Do you want lights on the North Bank Path through East Alton Baker Park?

The area in question is highlighted in pinkish

The June 10th Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting was – and I know I probably over-use this word – silly.  I’ve only been attending public planning meetings for a few months now, but it never ceases to amaze me how emotional people get when discussing how to get from point “a” to point “b”.   City planners are tasked with the job of making everyone happy, which is hard when even the people in the bicycling community don’t always agree, and at the last BPAC meeting they disagreed quite a bit.

Due to my masterful use of “article-title foreshadowing” you have no-doubt figured out that the issue which caused quarrel was the discussion over the possibility of adding lights to the River Path through East Alton Baker park and the Whilamut Natural Area.

Read on for details and to take WeBikeEugene’s first poll!

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Whoa Nellie, possible 20 minute delays on the Canal Path Wednesday and Thursday

This following message has been making the rounds, warning Canal Path users of even more congestion on the River Path under 1-5.  If that’s part of your commute plan extra time on Wednesday and Thursday.

Expect longer delays than usual June 23 and 24 on the Canoe Canal Path as it passes under Interstate 5. Contractors for the Oregon Department of Transportation will be using cranes to place bridge beams for the new I-5 Canoe Canal Bridge. Flaggers will direct all path traffic to ensure safety. Delays of up to 20 minutes will occur. Please obey all signage and flaggers for your safety. Path users in the Whilamut Natural Area will experience future path delays as needed to maintain safety within the construction zone.

WBE Copy Editor leaves for bike tour, a summer of mispelings and typoes two follow

Kendra's route will mostly follow this Northern Route

Kendra, our esteemed copy editor, left this weekend for a month long tour of the Great Lakes, roughly following Adventure Cycling’s North Lakes Route.  She and a friend will start in Scandia, Mn on June 21st and then ride self-supported to West Bend, In – arriving on July 13th or 14th.  From there they will take an Amtrak back to Des Moines, Ia where I will join them on July 22nd for a 500 mile bike ride across Iowa as part of Team RoadShow on RAGBRAI.  Kendra and I plan to return to Eugene in early August.

This will affect the site in a few ways. Most notably our standards for spelling and grammar will likely drop, and the general coherence of my thoughts may also suffer. Also, since we both will be gone for the last week or two of July, WBE posts during that period will likely be even less timely.

You can follow Kendra’s trip on her Flickr page, which she will be updating with her phone.

Adventures with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Count

This year I finally volunteered for the City of Eugene’s annual Bicycle and Pedestrian Count (I had seen the notice in the GEARs emails for years now, but hadn’t been able to get my act together before). The data gathered during these counts helps the city understand the non-motorized traffic patterns at various strategic intersections on streets and bike paths throughout Eugene. With this information, city engineers can prioritize repairs on roads & paths and otherwise make life that much easier for cyclists and pedestrians.

The lunchtime training session showed the process to be a little more complex than I had expected. Volunteers don’t just sit in a lawn chair and count the number of people who go by. First we categorize by bike/not bike (the latter category includes folks on foot as well as anyone using a wheelchair, stroller, or skateboard).  Then we note the direction they are coming from when they approach the intersection, and whether they turn right, turn left, or proceed forward through the juncture. We start a new form every half-hour to keep the data from getting too cluttered.  The intersection I signed up for (which is along my commute so I could count on a weekday morning and still make it to work on time) happened to be a complicated one that involves two forms side-by-side per half-hour. The extra challenge had me that much more excited! Now all I needed was a sunny day to get started.

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Editorial: 30 days in prison is not enough for killing a cyclist by driving recklessly

Is this how legislators view cyclists?

Editor’s Note:  A major goal of WBE  is to report the news in a “positive” manner. This editorial breaks from that tradition, but no one can be positive all the time.

Many car drivers, isolated in their protective steel boxes, fail to realize how dangerous their high-speed heavy vehicles are.  They drive in a way that takes liberties with the lives of those around them in an effort to save time, and prioritize their promptness over the safety of others.  We live in a culture in which driving a car is not considered dangerous – a culture that is reinforced by weak laws and the devaluing of the lives of people who choose not to drive.

Many of us have experienced it:  you are riding your are bike out on a nice country road and suddenly you see two cars heading toward you, side by side.  A driver has decided to pass another car and doesn’t care that you are in the way, or thinks that they can make it without hitting you. The driver has decided that saving a few minutes is more important than the possibility of ending your life.

This is what happened on February 10th when 38-year-old driver Tina Marie Baker tried to pass a car on Highway 99 south of Creswell, sideswiped an oncoming vehicle, and killed cyclist Johnny Cayton in a head-on collision. She was going 15 mph over the speed limit (70mph) and later admitted to being in a hurry and driving recklessly. Her punishment for prioritizing 30 seconds of her life over Cayton’s safety was 30 days in jail, probation, and losing her license for 8 years.  I’ve known people who’ve received 30 days in jail for shoplifting.  Is Baker’s punishment enough?

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Walkin and Rollin in the West Eugene Wetlands

Plover footprints stamped in cement on the Fern Ridge Bike Path.

Eugene is lucky to have some great wild areas within easy access of the city, including the West Eugene Wetlands. While many folks might see this section of the Fern Ridge Bike Path as a nice flat stretch to ride through really fast, the annual “Walkin’ and Rollin’ in the West Eugene Wetlands” event, hosted by the Willamette Resources Educational Network (WREN), does a great job of slowing folks down and showing them the exciting natural wonders of this squishy ecosystem.

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Police Seeking Witnesses to Tuesday Bike Path Assault

Tuesday’s Fern Ridge bike path assault saga continues with this press release by the Eugene Police Department: (emphasis mine)

Police Seeking Witnesses to Tuesday’s Bike Path Assault

Case No. 10-9171

Eugene Police investigators are seeking any witnesses to a bike path assault that happened on Tuesday, June 8, around 9 a.m. at the Fern Ridge bike path, east of Acorn Park. A 52-year-old bicyclist reported an encounter with two pedestrians in which one of them made deliberate contact with him as he was trying to pass, causing him to crash. He left to get medical attention for his facial injuries, but he said there was a possible witness to the incident. At least two other bicyclists also reported similar encounters in the same general area that morning.

Eugene Police Crime Prevention and Patrol staff have been working with Eugene Parks and Open Space to mitigate tall grass and obstacles. Unusually wet environmental conditions have made it unsafe to use large mowing equipment. A Lane County Sheriff’s Office work crew will be in the area clearing vegetation by hand on Monday, June 14. Bicyclists and pedestrians should be aware of potential congestion during that time.

If anyone witnessed the incident they are asked to help by calling 541.953.9323.

KEZI and the Register-Guard have also picked up the story.

As previously reported by WBE, several people, including myself, had run-ins with these people on Tuesday.  The police have the names of the assailants and have ticketed them for menacing (thanks to the work of other cyclists), but do not have direct witnesses of this assault, so it appears that they can go no further.   Since the case is still open, the police are reluctant to release the names of the assailants.

Crit Season Has Arrived

photo courtesy of Erik J Mills

Even though it may not seem like June, summer is upon us–and if you’re involved in racing that means crit season has come! What are these crits I speak of? Criteriums (a.k.a crits) are bike races held on a short courses (typically less than 3 miles) and are often located on closed-off city center streets. This style of racing is much more spectator friendly because of its high lap counts and relatively close to town locations.

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