Bike lanes are for…?

I may not have time for well researched articles like I did a few years ago, but I do seem to have time to make videos!  Here is a compilation of bike lane blockers from a winter of commuting.

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.” 

New ORCycle App to Help Create Better Biking Around Oregon

Below is a press release and flyer that ODOT released last week about a new app they’ve helped develop that will give planners and researchers data from volunteers who it on their smartphones. Not only will it collect route selection and reason for choosing certain routes but it also allows users to give feedback about crashes, safety or infrastructure issues. Josh Roll from LCOG, who helped develop the local CycleLane app is on the advisory committee for this new app and he’s excited about the potential of this new tool for cyclists throughout the state. ODOT will pass the data onto LCOG and city agencies to help them in their planning efforts.

I’ve used the app for a couple days now, including for my commute and a ride out to Mt. Pisgah. Once you finish a route and go to save it you’re asked a few questions about the route and why you choose it and different questions about the route. I haven’t used it to report any hazards or issues yet. I would still use the iBikeEugene app to report leaves or other road hazards locally as I know those get more immediate response from the city but this new app looks like a great tool. The more people use it the better data we have so download the app and help some planners out.

 

New ‘ORcycle app’ lets bicycle riders share
valuable information
Planners, researchers will use voluntary data to help make decisions
 
SALEM — Gathering valuable data about how bicyclists use the transportation system has always been a challenge. Starting Nov. 10, a new Smartphone app created by the Transportation Technology and People (TTP) lab at Portland State University, in partnership with ODOT, will provide data that can help planners and others make decisions based on users’ feedback and facts never before gathered in one place. The goal of the app, called ORcycle, is to get cycling data from people who ride bicycles voluntarily contributing via their Smartphone, from anywhere in the state.
 
ORcycle lets participants record cycling trips, display maps of the rides, and provide feedback regarding crashes, safety, or infrastructure issues – data which transportation planners currently lack in sufficient quantity. Prior to ORcycle, there was no systematic way to receive feedback regarding bicycle route safety or riders’ comfort level with bike lanes, routes, signals, etc.  By opening the app and recording data whenever convenient, riders will be submitting data to the ORcycle program. Transportation planners across the state will then be able to access the aggregated data to better design, build or upgrade bicycle facilities and other bicycle-related projects.
 
The app follows a strict privacy policy and does not ask for a name or address, and users have control over the data they are sharing. The ORcycle app can be downloaded fromGoogle Play (android) or Apple’s App Store (iOS for iPhones).  More info about the app is available at http://www.pdx.edu/transportation-lab/orcycle.
 
ORCycle App Flyer

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!

Welcome Back Rides for Students

LiveMove LogoThousands of students are returning to town for the start of the University of Oregon school year. The student transportation and livability group LiveMove is sponsoring a “Bike Orientation” tour of Eugene for all the newbies in town. They’ll share the best ways to get around to different neighborhoods from campus, how to prepare for Oregon rain on a bike, the best bike routes to take, and some often unknown recreation paths! The rides will last about an hour, and if you don’t have a bike, the UO Bike Program will rent you one at a discounted rate!

The tours will be Tuesday October 8th and 15th at 3:30 PM, and Thursday, October 10th and 17th at 5:00 PM. Each ride can accommodate up to 10 riders. If interested, email Nick Meltzer to sign up! More details will follow once sign up has been completed.

Welcome to Eugene students and good luck with the first week of class!

 

How To Tow a Bike With Your Xtracycle (or similar longtail)

They are slack here.  They only tighten when turning.
Towing a bike? WHAT?!? (straps are optional)

Many of us Xtracycle riders have towed other bikes using the “bag and drag” method (the front wheel of the rear bike simply strapped in a freeloader bag), but I’m sick of that.  I loan bikes out often enough that I want a more elegant solution, so I came up with my own take on the “front hub/fork” method.  I figured I’d post it here in case some of you would like to try it.  The uses include loaning bikes out, bike polo / mtb biking, kids bikes,  and getting your tired riding partners home if they bonk (or are too drunk to ride).

Supplies (about $15-16, I bought mine at the True Value right by Arriving by Bike):

  • 1 old quick release front hub (not figured into the cost)
  • Slotted Angle Iron (about 5 bucks) that you cut to about the width of the rear free-radical bar
  • 4 U-Bolts (about $1.50 each) – two that fit the V-racks and two that fit the hub.
  • 3 hose clamps (I always have these around for bike stuff, about $1.50 each)
  • Grease, hacksaw, fixed wrench, screw driver

This only took about an hour to do.  I hope the pictures are self-explanatory.  Two hose clamps hold the hub back against the angle iron and the third holds the angle iron down on the cross bar.  Two of the U-bolts attach the angle iron to the V-rack holders (the main strength) and the other two attached the hub down on the angle iron.  You may have to modify this a bit if you have the new bag attachment system with the nubs on the V-rack holders instead of straps.

I recommend using the stabilizer straps to the handle bars that I have shown in the picture.  The tow bike tends to want to fall down when you turn sharply without them (but they probably are optional).  With them, the rear wheel of the tow bike lifts rather than having the tow bike fall.  Keep them mostly slack when attaching them, as tightening them only flexes your frame (in a scary way) and lifts the back wheel of the tow bike up.  They’ll tighten on their own as you turn sharply.

Have Fun, click on any picture for a slideshow.  I’m open to suggestions as well!

 

 

 

South Willamette Street Plan- Bike Lanes?!

Tomorrow the City of Eugene will be hosting the third community forum on the South Willamette Street Improvement Plan.  It’s very important that those who want a multi-modal street attend the meeting and give their input on making a street that works for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists. Here’s the basic information and then some information from the “Bike Willamette” campaign:

Community Forum #3: Rank & Refine the Alternatives

WHEN: Tuesday, June 11, 4:00 – 5:45 or 7:00-8:45
We are holding two meetings to accommodate the high interest in this project. Please come to the earlier time if you can, as many can only come to the later.

WHERE: South Eugene High School Cafeteria (back of school), 400 East 19th Avenue

Come hear study results for the three alternatives:

* Conceptual layouts
* Cost estimates
* Projected travel times
* Function for cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and buses.

If you plan to attend and have not yet sent us an email, please RSVP now to help us prepare. Send an email with your name and which time you prefer (4 pm or 7 pm) to: chris.c.henry@ci.eugene.or.us

Can’t make the meeting? Visit the project website between June 12 -18th to take a survey.

Option 3-Bike Lanes!

What will happen at the meeting and why is it important to attend?
Continue reading “South Willamette Street Plan- Bike Lanes?!”

Upcoming Pearl Street Closure

Signs are up on Pearl Street between 18th & 19th indicating it will be closed for two weeks starting this coming Monday. Apparently they suggest that we divert to Mill Street if we are heading south, although I’m planning on using the sidewalks if I can.

 

http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/local/29877195-75/street-concrete-traffic-closed-pearl.html.csp

 

Thinking about biking to work for the first time?

Then you will really enjoy and benefit from this comic by Bikeyface!

Bikeyface » Small Steps

Enjoy the sun!  Start riding to work one day a week!  You can do it!

Road Signs and Bike Lanes: A How-To Guide

18th St. 1
There is no need to block the bike lane to tell bikes to merge. We can figure that out on our own. Also, at our slower speeds we don’t need to merge 1/4 mile before the construction, we can do it later.

For at least four years I’ve been communicating with city officials and documenting road signs blocking  bike lanes, and the problem still isn’t fixed. For this reason I’ve created this guide so the city can train their employees and subcontractors. If you see a sign violating this guide please take a picture and report it using the mobile app, or report it online, or call the Eugene maintenance line at (541 )682-4800 and complain. If you can please note the subcontractor who is making the violation and when/where it occurred.

Before I get to the pictures, let me explain why this is such a big deal:

  • This is about safety – the bike lanes exist on these busy streets for a reason. “Just going around the sign” is much easier said then done, especially during rush hour, periods of low visibility for car drivers, on fast downhills, s-l-0-w uphills, and with multitudes of aggressive car drivers.
  • This is about families – if you want to increase ridership, you have to let people feel safe and not kick them out of the bike lane needlessly. Not everyone feels able to take the lane or can ride the speed of traffic. A ten-year-old or parent with two kids on their bike can’t always “just go around the sign.”
  • This is about predicable behavior – car drivers don’t expect bikers to weave in and out of lanes, and can rarely take our perspective and predict our behavior. They certainly can’t predict the behavior of a ten-year-old encountering these signs while biking to school.
  • This is about respect – “Car lanes” are never blocked until the last possible moment, and we want the same consideration. It’s wrong to risk the lives of people on bikes to send a message to people in cars. There are other ways and this guide shows how.
  • This it not about hating road construction in general or wanting special treatment.
  • This is not anti-road sign. I like signs, I just want them to be in the correct place.
  • This is not about blocking the sidewalk – when that is an issue this guide clearly shows that you can use the sign to straddle the bike lane and sidewalk so both users have room. I’m well versed in ADA.

Click “more” to see the rest of the guide.

 

Continue reading “Road Signs and Bike Lanes: A How-To Guide”