One biker’s view on texting in traffic and running red lights

Reprinted from Cawood’s Blog

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I ride my bike everyday in and around Eugene, pedaling through traffic in the rain and fog over dimly lit streets. I look into the faces of people riding bikes and driving cars, and I see trouble in the streets.

Far too many people are using their phones and texting while driving. And judging by what I see, it is not a safe practice. According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million accidents each year are caused by texting while driving. That’s nearly 25 percent of all accidents. At roughly 3,200 pounds, the typical car can become a giant weapon, dangerous to everything and everyone around it. All drivers should focus on driving safely.
As a person who bikes, I worry for my own safety, as well as for my family, friends and other people who bike and walk around Eugene and Springfield. I feel that anyone operating a motor vehicle should do so with the utmost respect and care for others. I beg you to create rules for yourself, your kids too (if you are a parent to new drivers), to eliminate any distractions while driving. And since I hesitate to ask others to do things that I’m not willing to do myself, I am committing to never texting in traffic. Ever.

I drive a car too and respect goes both ways. I’m amazed at how many bike riders and pedestrians don’t seem to respect other people using the streets. Whether running stop signs and traffic lights, riding without lights at night or walking out from between parked cars, people don’t seem to respect others in traffic or even the basic laws of physics. If people who ride bikes want car drivers to follow the laws, then bikers should follow the laws too. The laws are there to keep the roads safe for everyone. Expecting others to follow the laws while you ignore them is disrespectful.

Now, let me come back to the foundation of this issue. Respect is something that we all want. Respect is personal. It is an understanding that someone or something is important and should be shown consideration. Having respect for others using the streets means that you learn the laws and follow them. Respect doesn’t cost you anything to give to others, and the benefit is a safer, more comfortable environment for everyone.

 

Bikes on Roadway to replace Share the Road Signs

ODOT will now recommend traffic engineers use signs that say “Bikes on Roadway” instead of the old “Share the Road” signs.

The decision came at a recent meeting of the Traffic Control Devices Committee, following a presentation by Alexandra Phillips, Bicycle Recreation Specialist with Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, and Gary Obery of ODOT.

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The decision doesn’t mean “Share the Road” signs already installed will be replaced, but that new signs or any in need of replacement for other reasons should be updated to “Bike on Roadway.”

Phillips and Obery reported on the history of two signs and also discussed complaints from bicyclists that “Share the Road” is confusing, and that some interpreted the signs as telling bikes to share the road.

So the questions put before the committee were:

  1. Should the “On Roaway” plaque be put back into the Sign Policy & Guidelines?
  2. Should “On Roaway” be preferred over “Share the Road” for new and replacement signs?

Members agreed the current plaque is confusing and the consensus was to revert to “On Roadway” in connection with not just the bicycle icon signs, but all vehicular traffic signs, including trucks and tractors, etc. (as listed in Figure 2C-9 of the online 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD).

Bikes and On RoadwayCommittee member Scott McCanna noted that “On Roadway” doesn’t include the road shoulders under ORS 801.450 and this might be a litigation concern if a bicyclist gets hit on the shoulder. It was clarified this sign is actually meant for situations where bikes are expected in actual travel lanes. It was also clarified this would not affect Sharrow pavement markings since these are supposed to be used only on slower speed streets.

After some discussion, a motion to recommend ODOT state in the Sign Policy & Guidelines the “On Roadway” plaque is preferred over the “Share the Road” plaque was approved.

Slow Moving Vehicles

Guy Blocks Bike Box, Hits Me Twice: The Case for Green Bike Boxes

The bike box at High and 7th is needed to go from a left-side bike lane to a right-side bike lane. For some reason it’s not painted green like every other bike box, ever. (Like the bike boxes on Willamette and 18th and Alder and 13th.) This causes conflict.  When the bike box went in, I asked why it wasn’t green. The answer I got back (I forget from who) was that they didn’t think it needed to be green, and would be painted green if there were problems.  Well…  And now that we have lots of other green bike boxes in town, this one sends a message that it is somehow different from those.

Car drivers frequently block the box, not knowing or caring what it is. When riders try to get in front, sometimes the car drivers respond with threats and menacing. This was one of those times.

Update: From Eugene Transportation Planning on Facebook: “We do intend to put green paint in this bike box this summer. We will also be putting out some more education and outreach about bike boxes in the near future.” 

Fill Out the Scenic Bikeway Survey

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Have you cycled on any one of Oregon’s twelve Scenic Bikeways this year? Want to help make Oregon even better for cycling? Take this survey now. Closes in two weeks!

Travel Oregon and Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (OPRD) are embarking on an economic impact and user study of bicycle recreation and travel for Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways. As part of the information gathering, the two organizations want cyclists to respond to this online survey by Dec. 31. Oregon is the only state in the nation with Scenic Bikeways – offering Oregon’s “best of the best” road routes – and the feedback gathered can make them even better.

Travel Oregon and OPRD want to hear how often people ride the Scenic Bikeways and get feedback on what people thought of them. The responses will be kept confidential and be used for statistical purposes only. The survey takes about 7 minutes and the results will help improve the Oregon cycling experience for all.

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special meeting: Bikes and a Vibrant Downtown

[Text version. Note new time.]

You are invited

Making Downtown Eugene a Great Place for Bicyclists, Pedestrians and Business:
A Vision for a Vibrant Community

Please join us for a special joint meeting of the city of Eugene’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and city staff

Thursday, November 13
5:45 to 7:30 p.m. in the Atrium Building’s Sloat Conference Room,
99 W. 10th Ave (Enter from the back alley off 10th Ave)

Development is quickly changing the face of downtown Eugene.  The members of the Eugene BPAC have invited city planning officials to engage in a dialogue about the future of downtown Eugene.

*How can a bicycle and walking-friendly downtown benefit local businesses?

*What’s happening and what still needs to happen to make downtown a vibrant place that people can enjoy by foot or by bike?
This is a public meeting and all are encouraged to attend.  After the BPAC and city presentation we will have time for public dialogue and comment.

For more information contact sasha.luftig@gmail.com

 

 

special meeting: Bikes and a Vibrant Downtown

special meeting: Bikes and a Vibrant Downtown

That Time of the Year…Leaves!

Several years ago the city revamped their leaf pick-up material to stop telling people to “neatly place” their leaves in the bike lane and confirmed that yes, it IS illegal to put leaves (or any debris) in the bike lane. At the same time they improved their sweeping procedures, created priority routes, and even helped create an app, iBikeEugene that makes it easy to report the issue and get it cleaned up faster. Here’s a little video made by our intrepid founder just today that shows you how to use the app.

Now go get it and start making our streets safer and better for all!

We’re Alive!

LiveMove Bike Counter Fundraiser

We’re not dead, we’re just resting under a pile of leaves.
Sure it’s a bit wet and slippery out there, so what get out and ride. Here’s a good opportunity to ride AND support LiveMove’s fundraiser at Oakshire tomorrow:

Hi BikeInShapers,

Ever wonder what a parakeet dressed as pug looks like? Or for that matter, how a pug dressed in parakeet suit for Halloween appears? Well, the answer is probably not in this shape. 🙂

On Wednesday, let’s support LiveMove’s Oakshire Fundraiser to get a bike counter installed on 13th & Kincaid. It’s a pricey ambition, so why not throw down a couple pints to move the needle:

http://livemove.org/projects/bike-counter/

We’ll meet at Oakshire at 7pm, this Wednesday Oct. 29th and ride in the shape of the Pugakeet!

See you there or…trick instead of treat!

pugakeet

 

Open House Tonight for Ped/Bike Master Plan

Come to the Library TONIGHT (Thursday, Oct. 2nd) from 5-7pm and give your input on how to make the plan even better! Even since this plan was accepted there has been a shift in how cities are implementing improvements for people walking and biking. Updates to the policy section and the system map will help take Eugene to the next level of walk and bike friendliness. Come give your input on what you want to see for yourself, your family, and your community to make Eugene the best place in the country to choose active transportation!

Here’s more information from the city:

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP) was accepted by Council in 2012 as an interim guiding document for the development of bicycle and pedestrian projects. It will be adopted as part of the city’s Transportation Systems Plan (TSP) in 2015. There will be an open house on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the downtown Eugene Library (100 W 10th Avenue) in the Bascom/Tykeson Room. The purpose of the open house is to verify bicycle and pedestrian projects and policies before they are incorporated into the long-range TSP. Maps and comment forms will be available for you to provide your preferences. Drop in anytime between 5pm and 7pm. For more information click here: www.eugene-or.gov/bikepedplan
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Things to See In Eugene While Visiting On Bike

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This weekend we have our annual Kidical Mass family bike camping trip and we have a family coming up from Sacramento to join us (Hi Elle!!).  When asked about things to see and do in Eugene in her couple of days before the trip I decided I should write a post about it and get other’s input too. So here are some of my suggestions. Add yours in the comments and I’ll work them into the post to use as a reference for others. This will be mostly focused on families wanting to bike around Eugene. Speaking of which, did you catch that article in Bicycle Times a few months ago titled “The Search for Neverland” about a families bike visit in Eugene? Highly recommended.

Here, in no particular order, are some suggestions for places to see and things to do for families visiting Eugene by bike:

If you’re here on the third Saturday of the month you have to join us for Kidical Mass!

Stop by CAT. The Center for Appropriate Transport can be like a toy shop for both adults and kids who like bikes. They have a rideable museum where you can check out various bikes and take them for a spin around the neighborhood and down to the river path. They also have a DIY shop to fine tune your machines. Good place to top off the air and do your ABC Quick Checks…you do know the ABC Quick Check, right?!  Just be sure you don’t let the kids run back into the powder coating/welding/machine shop area. ..though the bathroom is back in that direction.  Plug the kids into a bike movie and check out all the cool resources.

Explore the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path system. This is a give me and a must. Here’s a map (pdf). Many of the following places can be found riding along or near the path:

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