Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Report Finds That More Biking and Walking Do Not Increase Crash Rate

From Forbes

A new report by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) found that when the rate of walking and biking went up, the crash rate did not.
“Report to the U.S. Congress on the Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program,” was released in honor of National Bike Month, which occurs each May.
It is an “eye-opening report on the value of investing in nonmotorized transportation,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote in his blog “FastLane” earlier this month, acknowledging the value of bicycling as a transportation option and as exercise.
“Of course, when I was a kid, every month was bike month,” LaHood wrote. “Your bike was how you went everywhere. But somewhere along the way, things changed among kids as well as adults, and the percentage of Americans bicycling as a form of transportation declined.”
The report is the summation of the FHWA’s four-year effort “to construct a network of sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle trails connecting directly with schools, residences, businesses, recreation areas, transit centers, and other community activity centers,” LaHood noted.
The pilot program was launched in four communities: Columbia, Mo.; Marin County, Calif.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Sheboygan County, Wis.The results demonstrate “that education and engineering can work together to make bicycling more convenient and safer,” La Hood wrote. The program, he said, “has proven to be a great success.”
LaHood noted some of the major findings:
  • ·Over four years, people in these four communities alone walked or bicycled an estimated 32 million miles they would have otherwise driven
  • The communities saw an average increase of 49 percent in the number of bicyclists and a 22 percent increase in the number of pedestrians
  • The percentage of trips taken by bike instead of car increased 36 percent, and those taken on foot increased 14 percent
  • While each pilot community experienced increases in bicycling and walking, fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes held steady or decreased in all of the communities
The report also found that in the pilot communities in 2010, additional nonmotorized trips reduced the economic cost of mortality by an estimated $6.9 million; an estimated 22 pounds of CO2 per person were saved, which is the equivalent to saving more than one gallon of gas per person, or nearly 1.7 million gallons of gas from 2007 to 2010; and many people tried bicycling for the first time.
For the full report, click here

Pedaling to Prosperity: Biking Saves U.S. Riders Billions A Year

From the VBPC / Forbes

Biking on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan
New data highlight that bicyclists in the United States save at least $4.6 billion a year by riding instead of driving.
The analyses were released on Friday to coincide with NationalBike to Work Day, part of National Bike Month, which occurs each May.
The average annual operating cost of a bicycle is $308, compared to $8,220 for the average car, and ifAmerican drivers replaced just one four-mile car trip with a bike each week for the entire year, it would save more than two billion gallons of gas, for a total savings of $7.3 billion a year, based on $4 a gallon for gas.
The findings were announced by the League of American BicyclistsSierra Club, and the National Council of La Raza, an advocacy organization for the Hispanic community, to reflect the strong economic and health benefits of bicycling, and its importance as a safe and efficient mode of transportation.
“There are so many reasons more people are riding, from improving their health to protecting the environment,” Andy Clarke, the League’s president, said in a statement. “But, especially in tough economic times, bicycling can also be an economic catalyst, keeping billions of dollars in the pockets of American families.”
More Americans are choosing to bicycle for everyday transportation. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of bicycle commuters grew 40 percent nationwide, and was even greater — 77 percent — in the some cities, according to the report.  Yet “government funding of safe bicycling projects is not keeping up. Though biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trips in theU.S., these transportation modes receive only 1.6 percent of federal transportation spending.”
The average American household spends more— 16 percent of its budget—on transportation than on food or healthcare. Low-income families spend as much as 55 percent of their household budgets on transportation, the report noted.
Making it easier and safer for people to walk or bicycle “is a matter of fairness,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote on his blog Fast Lane on Friday. “Many Americans cannot afford a car or are physically unable to drive. According to a recent Brookings Institute report, more than 10 percent of Americans not only don’t own a car, but don’t even have access to a car. In our cities, that number is even higher.”
LaHood noted that walking and bicycling are options people want, citing a national poll released by Princeton Survey Research Associates Internationalin March that indicated that “more than 80 percent of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funding for biking and walking.” “The benefits of bicycling are real, and there’s no arguing with the impressive ridership data,” LaHood said. “Bicycling is an important part of the 21st century transportation mix.”
Click here for the full fact sheet and more about National Bike Month, andhere to read: New Report Finds That More Biking and Walking Do Not Increase Crash Rate.

Update 5/24: Vermont still leading the National Bike Challenge

From Local Motion

One week into the first ever National Bike Challenge, Vermont is running away with first place!
This nationwide challenge aims to get more people biking more often.  A slick on-line reporting system helps tens of thousands of cyclists around the country keep tabs on their riding this season.
The problem is that 820 Vermonters have registered for the challenge — far more per capita that most other states in the union…and since we love to bike…we’re running away with the competition.  Vermont has 64 points and Wisconsin (where the challenge was born) is in a distant second with 37 points.  Mississippi is in last place with just 0.32 points.  So, come on states, step up and give us a run for our money!
Not registered for the challenge yet?  Register here!

Action Alert: Ask Congress to Protect Funding for Biking & Walking

From Local Motion

US_Capitol_painting_96x96An overwhelming majority of Americans support federal funding for biking and walking. So should Congress.
Just two months ago, the Senate passed a transportation bill that included the Cardin-Cochran agreement. This bipartisan compromise would ensure that local governments and school systems are able to access much-needed funds to make bicycling and walking safer and more accessible.
Funding for biking and walking has popular support—a recent national survey found that 83 percent of Americans support maintaining or increasing federal funds for sidewalks and bike lanes.
Will you tell Congress that Americans support biking and walking funding?

Right now, as selected Senators and Representatives conference to create a consensus transportation bill, we need to protect the Cardin-Cochran agreement.
The Cardin-Cochran agreement ensures local control over a small portion of funds for biking and walking. The provision devolves decision-making on a small portion of funds from the states to local governments, whose leaders know the transportation needs of their communities best.
Local elected officials across the country want and need federal funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.
Without the Cardin-Cochran agreement, states could instead choose to direct these limited funds towards building more highway lanes.
Most Americans want to increase or maintain funding for sidewalks and bikeways. The Cardin-Cochran agreement would preserve this critical funding.
Please contact your Senators and Representative to maintain the Cardin-Cochran agreement, which gives local governments a voice in transportation planning. There are sample letters below for conferees and non-conferees.

Thank you for standing up to tell Congress that Americans support funding for biking and walking.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Economic Impact of Bicycling and Walking in Vermont

From Onion River Sports
While biking and walking have clear effects on health, the environment, livability, safety, and transportation, what are the less obvious economic impacts? This study provides a one-year (2009) snapshot of the estimated impacts that walking and biking have on the state economy, and shows that the overall economic impact of investing in biking and walking is positive.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bicyclists beware in Shelburne - Police are writing tickets

From the Burlington Free Press

Bicyclists be warned: Traffic rules in Shelburne apply to you, too.
Following “an exorbitant amount of complaints” this spring about scofflaw bicyclists on the town’s scenic roads, officers are writing tickets for “blatant” offenses such as running stop signs or red lights, Shelburne Police Chief James Warden said.
The tickets have led to a burst of comment and commiseration on the website of the Green Mountain Bicycle Club.
One rider posted on May 9, shortly after receiving a ticket, that this was the person’s first run-in — after riding for thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of miles over 19 years: “Tonight riding home was my 1st ticket for rolling through a stop sign, $214 + two points on my license. I guess there wasn’t much else going on in Shelburne tonight?”
Another said a $195 fee for the Killington Stage Race “is starting to look like a bargain now compared to a commute or training ride in Shelburne ($240 + 2 points on drivers license).”
Warden said his department has no special animus for bicyclists. “It had gotten to the point where we had to do something about it,” he said, “but there’s no policy to go out and nail every bicycle on the road. Our goal is to see no one gets hurt.”
He said the problems with law-breaking bikers led to comments from officers about the need to act. “I think it’s worse this year,” he said.
A Shelburne officer, he said, has been acting as a liaison to local bike clubs, to let bikers know police have their ticket books at the ready.
At times, Warden said, the issue seems one that could be resolved by simple courtesy, as was the case recently when the department received a rash of complaints about a group of 30 or so bicyclists on Irish Hill Road, blocking the right lane as they rode and blowing through stop signs.
And the problems, he said, are apparent on many Shelburne roads.
Warden said that while some who are ticketed acknowledge their mistake, others are less cooperative.
“They argue,” he said, “God, how they argue. They write everyone. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they try to push it off.”Jared Katz of Richmond, a former police officer who formerly trained bike cops, said Shelburne officers have “every right” to enforce traffic regulations and should respond to violations such as that on Irish Hill Road, but some police, he said, might be “more aggressive than necessary.”
And while self-righteous bicyclists aren’t hard to find, he said, some cops don’t know the law well as it applies to bicyclists, such as that they may ride two abreast, or that while they are to ride to the right, the law specifies that it should be as “far to the right as practicable.”
Given the condition of many Vermont roads, he said, that sometimes means bicyclists are forced away from the side of the road.
Katz urged bicyclists to “ride safely within the law, be courteous to and aware of motorists. Be prepared,” he said, “be predictable, and be aware.”
Warden said the police department is “trying to make everyone accountable. We want motorists to be considerate of the bicyclists, and we also want the bicyclists to adhere to safety rules and regulations” — use common sense and employ hand signals, he said, and not dart in and out of traffic.
“Obey traffic rules and ride safely,” the police chief said, “or pay the price.”
Contact John Briggs at 660-1863

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bike to Work Day - Grant Petersen (Rivendell Bikes) Interview

From NPR

Listen to the interview with Rivendell bikes founder Grant Petersen HERE

For many people, Bike to Work Day (which is today) is a reason to put air in their bike's tires and see if their chain is too rusty to get them to work on time. And as a growing list of photographs shows, many people who follow NPR online also ride to work.

You can submit a photo of yourself and your bike, a scene from your commute's route — or, if you can manage it safely, a picture of yourself actually riding to work. Just post the image to Twitteror Instagram with the hashtag #NPRbike.

For Grant Petersen, Bike to Work Day probably feels like just another day — after all, he has been riding his bike to work for three decades.
"It's always been easier for me that way," Petersen tells NPR's David Greene, for an interview on Morning Edition. "I've never really taken to the car. I don't hate cars; I own a couple. But, I like to ride my bike."
Petersen is the iconoclastic founder of Rivendell Bicycle Worksand the author of Just Ride, a new book that distills practical bike wisdom he has gleaned from years of riding and designing bikes. In it, he makes the case for putting comfort ahead of aerodynamics, and fun over efficiency.
When asked what advice he would give to bike commuters, Petersen starts out with the basics.
"Wear the clothes that you're going to wear at work," he says. "Don't dress up like an American Bike Geek just to ride a bicycle to work."
"If your commute is reasonable — say, 10 miles or under — no problem," Petersen adds. "Dress the way you're going to dress for the weather, or the day."
As for the equipment a commuter bike should have, here's what Petersen recommends: "A bell; lights; reflectors; kickstand; baskets; bags," he says. "You know, make the bike useful. Certainly for commuting, it is not a workout tool. It should be a pickup truck on two wheels."
Through his blog and his business, Petersen has often stressed the benefits of traditional materials like steel and wool, saying that for the average cyclist, they're both supremely appropriate and durable. Carbon and spandex don't rate much space on his shelves.
With that in mind, David asks Petersen, "Is that still a debate raging in the biking world, whether it's worth it to get this aerodynamic stuff?"

Friday, May 18, 2012

Burlington bike path marathon-ready, mayor announces

Ben Wang of Burlington waits for his son Thursday morning on the waterfront bike path where recent paving has recently been completed. Further repairs to path, which was heavily damaged by lake flooding in 2011, will take place later this year.
It’s easier going on Burlington’s bike path this year. 

With freshly rolled blacktop and a better-behaved Lake Champlain as a backdrop Thursday morning, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced that portions of the path damaged by last year’s record flooding have been repaired and resurfaced in time for the upcoming KeyBank Vermont City Marathon.

“One year ago, if we were standing in this very place on this very day, we would have been about waist-deep in water,” said Peter Delaney, executive director of RunVermont, who joined the mayor for the announcement at a news conference near Perkins Pier. 

“We’re going to be on-course this year. We couldn’t be happier,” Delaney said. 

Quick melting of snowpack in early 2011, coupled with unprecedented spring rainfall, drove up lake levels, which remained above flood stage for weeks on end. High winds battered much of Vermont’s shoreline with waves and heavy debris, uprooting trees and undermining coastal structures. 

Erosion along the bike path last year forced a short course detour through the lakeside sewage treatment plant and rail yard. 

Repairs to the full, 7.5-mile length of Burlington’s stretch of the path are scheduled to be finished this year by the Department of Public Works. 

That cost is estimated at $1.7 million, 75 percent of which will be paid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the Mayor’s Office. State funding will pay 15 percent of the cost; Burlington’s share is 10 percent. 

FEMA public assistance project coordinator Ken Pinkham said Burlington has received about $586,800 in federal money for bike path repairs. 

Vermont has received about $77.3 million in federal aid to help with recovery from last year’s flood damage, Pinkham said. 

That figure could grow, he said, as a result of ongoing assessments of repair costs — and the possible shifting of funding formulae. 

“Those values change every day,” Pinkham said. 

Out of the equation — for now — is the much larger challenge of upgrading the full, 13-mile length of the path (the Island Line Trail) that extends into Colchester and along a causeway into Lake Champlain, and, via a seasonal ferry service, to South Hero. 

Portions of the causeway were swept away during the lake flooding, and ferry service will not run this summer. 

Safety and structural upgrades to the full trail remain in planning and fundraising stages. 

Burlington engineers have sought effective short-term improvements that might dovetail into more ambitious and enduring construction, Department of Parks and Recreation Director Mari Steinbach said. 

“It’s tricky, but we have a great team,” Steinbach said.

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843 Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ride of Silence POSTPONED to this Friday, 5/18

From VBPC/ FreeRide Montpelier
Ride of Silence has been postponed to this Friday 5/18

Quote from rain date email:
"Rain combined with threats of lightning, hail, and high winds prompted the postponement of tonight's Ride of Silence in Montpelier. (Kudos to the stalwart bicyclists who arrived hoping for a break in the weather!) On Friday evening, the weather is predicted to be much more favorable so we'll gather at 5:45 on the state house steps and depart at 6:00, wearing armbands with the names of those we are honoring. If you can't participate in the Ride of Silence, please feel free to send names of those bicyclists who have been injured or killed and we'll ride for them."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Update: 5/15/12 Vermont is currently leading the American Bicycle Challenge.

Update: 5/15/12
Vermont is currently leading the American Bicycle Challenge.
Keep on checking and riding. 

Period :   updated: 24 minutes ago 
                                                            unit: points/1000 persons