What’s a title without a little hyperbole? Boring, I say!
I interned in the legislature and in Peter DeFazio’s Eugene District Office, not to mention being President of the UO Transportation and Livability group LiveMove and the Vice President of GEARs. I have a lot of experience as an advocate, and I am hoping that the Eugene-Springfield community of bicyclists will help me put those skills to work. – Price Armstrong
But this hyperbole is sort of accurate – if your definition of “saving the world” includes sending a well-trained advocate to The National Bike Summit in Washington DC to represent the advocacy wing of GEARs – He’s a modern-day superhero on a mission to help save Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancement Funding, and to help strengthen GEARs relationships with other advocacy organizations and help take Eugene to the next level (platinum) for biking.
Who am I taking about? GEARs Advocacy Committee Chair Price Armstrong, of course! Unfortunately, attending this conference is expensive; while Price was awarded free airfare to the conference, he still needs to raise $375 to pay for registration and other expenses. Luckily Price is also an experienced mechanic, and is raising money by offering bike tune-ups for a suggested donation of $40. Since we’re half-way through the winter, and I can hear most of the bikes out on the trails before I see them, I’d think many of you might want to take Price up on his offer. Don’t put this off, Price has less than 5 weeks to raise the money, and many of your beloved rides need help long before that (this is also really cheap!).
Price has written an article for the GEARs blog explaining the GEARs Advocacy committee, which you can read here. Please take the jump to read in Price’s own words how you can, and why you should, send him to The National Bike Summit.
I hesitate to post another story so soon after Shane posted such an important story about upcoming construction, but this story has blown up all over the interpipes tonight – and it should. Mitch Greenlick, a Portland Democrat who represents District 33 (Northwest Portland/Forest Park), has decided that it’s in the public’s best interest to ban people from bicycling with children under 6 on their bikes or in a bike trailer. This story first broke on BikePortland.org, and then was followed by a BikePortland.org interview with Greenlick in which it became clear that Greenlick has no actual evidence that this bill is needed. Quoted from BP: “When asked if it might be wiser to find such evidence and then introduce a bill, he said, ‘Because this is just how the process works.'”
Predictably, the interwebs are alive with response. I feel that BikePortland has covered the gist of the story well, so for our story I’ll report on the response. EugeneBicyclist.com, who rides regularly with a 2 and 4-year-old wrote on his blog: “Is carrying a kid around on a bike any more unsafe than embarking on a journey up I-5 in the car with junior strapped in the back seat? Why don’t we just make it illegal to drive any kids younger than 6 in the car, too? Why don’t we just make it illegal for them to leave the house while we are at it?”
WBE Contributor, Kidical Mass Founder, and Eugene Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane MacRhodes had a lot to say about it on the EugeneSRTS blog. He’s already written a response to Greenlick which you can read after the jump.
After the jump is also the full response (and pictures!) sent to Greenlick by Hugh Prichard, one of the presenters in the recent Transportation Remix.
You can write Greenlick yourself (email@example.com) and your local representatives and tell them how you feel. Please remember to keep the letters civil. The hateful response of cyclists two years ago to the mandatory bike registration bill is partially credited for the failure of the Idaho Stop Law that same year.
Note: I began writing this article back in May but kept postponing it due to a constant flow of more time-sensitive stories. The recent passing of Ruth Bascom has made the publishing of this article important. It seems that the majority of the bike infrastructure we all enjoy today came about during the 70’s, and Bascom was instrumental in this process.
I’ve been poking around looking at Eugene and Springfield cycling history recently, my interested piqued by a reader sending in this old story from 1978 about a woman being arrested in Springfield for riding her bike in the street.
“Eugene engineers, planners, law enforcement officers, and citizens explain the successful bicycle program of Oregon’s second largest city. Twelve monographs examine the planning, design, construction, and use of Eugene’s bikeway system.” -from 1981’s “Bicycles in Cities,” put out by the City of Eugene
Quite accidentally, I discovered that the City of Eugene bicycling website has an online archive of old “Bicycles in Cities – A Eugene Perspective” monographs. From what I can tell, the 12 volume set was originally published in 1981 in individual newsletter form. They cover a wide range of topics – from the existence of a late 70’s bicycle committee, the previous bicycle master plan, why we have left side and contra-flow bike lanes, the building of the Willamette bridges, the Fern Ridge and River Paths, and many other things. In fact, is appears that the majority of the infrastructure that we have today came about in the 1970’s.
The monographs are full of great pictures and amazing stories, and at only 4 pages each are a must-read for anyone interested in local history, advocacy, or biking in general. We can learn from our past – or at the very least enjoy the 70’s era cartoons and vintage bicycles. Give it a read, and then lets try to make 2010-2020 another 1970-1980.