Currently viewing the tag: "bicycles"

This video speaks for itself.  A special thanks to filmmaker Tony Blazejack and Rydel Deed from Miami Bike Scene.

The Journey is the Thing from Tony Blazejack on Vimeo.

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Source:Bloomberg

By Jeremy van Loon

June 9 (Bloomberg) — Bicycle production may widen its lead over auto-making as governments try to ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions.The CHART OF THE DAY shows the number of bicycles manufactured has grown twice as fast as car output in the past four decades, increasing sixfold. In monetary terms, bikes trail behind. The global bike market, including models with supplementary electric motors, is 20 billion euros ($24 billion) a year, according to Bike Europe, an industry data service. That’s about a quarter of car sales in Germany alone.
“Bicycles offer affordable mobility,” said Matthew Roney, a researcher at the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., a non-profit group. “It’s very likely this gap between cars and bicycles will continue to widen with cities investing more in cycling infrastructure.” London and New York are expanding bike parking lots and paths to boost riding toward levels already reached in Copenhagen, where almost 40 percent of commutes are made on two wheels. China, which makes more than half the world’s bikes, has banned gasoline scooters in some cities. That increased sales of electricity-powered bicycles. Almost a third of new bicycles sold in China have a pedal-activated motor, according to Bike Europe.

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Happy Monday to all!  Here’s a little Monday morning humor to get our week started. Thanks to Jeffrey Lynne over at the South Florida Bicycle Coalition for this cartoon.

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The Miami Herald is reporting that a Cyclist was struck and killed last night in Hialeah. The crash occurred around Eighth Avenue and 28th Street (East? West?) and the cyclist was killed at the scene. Details on the cyclist have yet to be released.

Special thanks to TM reader Andrew for passing this along. Cycle Safely Folks.
Click here to View Map

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For about a month, Florida bike blogs have been awash in calls to request the veto of Highway Bill 971 (HB971) by Gov. Crist. I was one of them. When I first saw the post come through Twitter, I immediately retweeted it to all my followers and posted about it here at Transit Miami.

Thing is, I’m not entirely sure WHAT about the bill is it that we’re raising a ruckus about. I assure you, I’m not being facetious or outright annoying; I just really want to know.

The call to arms centers around the changes to the state law dealing with bicycle lanes. Here is the actual text found on HB971 (PDF link) (strikethrough are deletions, underlined are additions):

316.2065 Bicycle regulations.—
(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too  narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
(20) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a pedestrian violation as provided in chapter 318. A law enforcement officer may issue traffic citations for a violation of subsection (3) or subsection (16) only if the violation occurs on a bicycle path or road, as defined in s. 334.03. However, a law enforcement officer they may not issue citations to persons on private property, except any part thereof which is open to the use of the public for purposes of  vehicular traffic.

I don’t see what is wrong with the information above. Yes, it mandates that bicycles must use bike lanes when present, but it does not take away a bicycle’s right to the regular road use under circumstances which make the use of the bike lane impracticable. The call to attention is centered on the “must ride in the bicycle lane” part, but isn’t that the point of why we ask and advocate for bicycle lanes, so we can use them while we ride?

(The bill also raises other issues which I’ve always seen listed as secondary, like allowing for a process where a person convicted of 4 or more DUI can reapply to have their driving privileges reinstated after meeting a series of requirements. I’m all for second chances, but 4+ DUI convictions seems troublesome to me. But again, I always see this listed as a secondary reason for the request of a veto.)

So, I honestly ask, what exactly about that wording is it why we’re asking for a veto?

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Here’s a quick recap of the salient points from these meetings.

April Meeting (PDF)

  • Miami Beach has a few roadway projects that are of interest to the Bikeways Committee, including Collins Park, 44 St, Bayshore area in Middle Beach, Dade Blvd and 51 St. These are all in various stages of development and for the most part behind behind schedule, if even started, with the exception of Collins Park (near 22 St and Dade Blvd) which has all the permits done. These items take up a sizable chunk of time at every meeting, rarely have any real updates to report, and I’ve yet to truly understand the relevancy of some of them to the overall health of bicycling in Miami Beach.
  • On the bike racks front, the city has hired a consultant to take care of all having to do with this, from identifying target locations to getting all the permits needed.
  • There is also a kerfuffle over some people (a commissioner included) wanting to reduce the width of Alton Rd down to 8 feet to appease some key residents, but this is beyond the scope of the Bikeways Committee at the moment.
  • I also inquired about the connection of the Oceanwalk promenade from 5th Street south to South Pointe Park, and I was told it was on track for construction later this year. This would create a continuous path from the Baywalk all around the SoFi area to South Pointe Park and then north to 23 St (I won’t count the Boardwalk because it discriminates against bicycles, skateboards and rollerskaters - bah).

May Meeting

  • No significant update on the roadway projects.
  • The Bayshore HOA wants to strip out all bike lanes in the neighborhood, as reduce the width of all roads, in order to “slow down traffic” as well as for “beautification.” This goes directly against the Bike Master Plan and is being opposed by various people in the city gov as well as by the Bikeways Committee. Next month there will be a Neighborhood Association meeting where this will come to a head. More info as I get it.
  • The consultants for the bike racks are in the process of being hired but it seems like this may actually be a good thing for the city. These consultants will be able to deal with all the aspects of putting the bike racks out there exclusively and if all goes to plan, in 4-6 months we should see around 100 new bike racks going up around the city, mostly in the South Beach area. Here’s hoping.
  • The bike share program for Miami Beach, handled by DecoBike, is on schedule for an August launch (site says July, but its August). Colby Reese (Owner? Pres?) of DecoBike updated the committee on all the city official wrangling that’s had to be done but which is finally on its final stages. The website is now open so drop by. I’ll write more about DecoBike later on.
  • It has become painfully clear that the Miami Beach Bicycle Master Plan needs to be revised. It is deficient in many ways, fails to address State-owned roads, and simply does not address the true needs of the city in terms of bicycle infrastructure vis-a-vis our specific geographic situation. It also fails to take advantage of all the recent developments in alternative transportation. When compared to the Miami Bicycle Master Plan, released just last year, the MB plan just doesn’t seem like it is  addressing cities separated only by a causeway. This isn’t an easy task, so expect more info about this in months to come.
  • Lastly, it is possible we may get some indoor bicycle parking space at the Lincoln Rd Cinema multi-level parking. I brought this up on the April meeting, how there was a space that was totally unused and could serve perfectly as an indoor bike parking area, and Gabrielle Redfern ran with it. She remembered some information that led to the possibility of this happening. Cross your fingers! I’ll also write specifically about this once I get some info I requested.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 2:00 PM. Be there!

Recently, all Bike Miami assets were transferred back to the City of Miami for their management, including all social media components, like the Facebook page and the @BikeMiami Twitter account. For a while I managed the Twitter account as a volunteer, stepping down once I started university classes back in January (though always still helping out with relevant tweets here and there). Being part of the bicycling advocacy community is something I hold very dear, so I decided to continue the work I was doing with @BikeMiami with a new account.

To that end I launched @BikeMIA, an independent source of bicycling commentary, news and advocacy for Miami and South Florida in general. BikeMIA is a primarily-Twitter source; it has a blog attached to it at BikeMIA.org, but it’s there to serve as support to the Twitter feed, not to supplant it.

Follow @BikeMIA on Twitter today and chat bikes with all the enthusiasts around. Not on Twitter yet? What are you waiting for, sign up for a free account today.

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A cyclist was struck by a car yesterday morning in Key Biscayne. According to the Miami Herald, the cyclist ran a red light and was then struck by the car. If this accurate, it does not surprise me one bit. Quite frankly, there are too many testosterone-filled cyclists out there giving good cyclists a bad name. All cyclists need to start obeying the rules of the road if they want to earn the respect of motorists. Running red lights and breaking other traffic laws makes all cyclists look bad. It goes without saying that cyclists will usually end up on the losing end in a collision with a 3000 lb vehicle. Please let us know if you have more details of this accident.

Yesterday the League of American Bicyclists released it’s ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. Florida moved up the scale to number 12 for 2010.

There was some snafu with the documentation submitted by Florida to the League last year, making Florida rank much lower in 2009 (32) than 2008. If you want to know how well we’ve improved, the accurate comparison would be with the 20th place ranking in 2008, upon which we have still improved significantly.

This year the ranking breakdowns (PDF link) by category are worth looking at. The categories include legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education, evaluation, and enforcement. Florida scored third place in policies and programs, but ranked lowest in education and enforcement.

I hope we are all interested in improving Florida’s rankings in these weak areas, but there is no simple solution. It will require extensive partnership and cooperation between different government and law enforcement agencies and even private organizations, advocacy groups, or individuals. The “Ride Right, Drive Right” campaign is an excellent example of such an education campaign in Florida, a partnership between a private company, an advocacy organization, and a government agency. Enforcement will need similar partnerships with local law enforcement agencies.

Perhaps we can learn from this example and build new partnerships for both education and enforcement. Let’s hear your ideas in the comments. We all can work together to make Florida a better place to cycle.

Check out this video of the collision between a Miami Dade Transit Bus and a bicyclist. The Miami New Times reported about this collision several weeks ago.  Aggressive behavior by bus drivers against bicyclists happens all too often. I personally have witnessed and have also been a victim of aggressive behavior by bus drivers on many occasions. I think it is about time that MDT steps up its training of drivers to let them know that bicyclists have every right to the road.  At the same time they should ban the use of cell phones by bus drivers.  It’s been about a year or so since I last used a bus, but I remember the bus driver talking on his phone the entire time.

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For the past couple of weeks I have been eating, drinking, and biking my way through France. My wife and I spent a week honeymooning in Provence and another week in Paris.

Provence

We spent the first week of our honeymoon cycling through the heart of wine country in Provence. Our tour was organized by Headwater and was truly epic. When you travel on a bicycle you get to fully experience your surroundings.  You smell the country side, you feel your environment and you interact with the locals. There is something about traveling on a bicycle; for those that have done it you know what I’m talking about. For those of you that haven’t, you should really consider it. You can find our itinerary here.

Arriving in Cotignac

Elevated crosswalk in Carces used to calm traffic

Bollards used to protect pedestrians and calm traffic. Notice how the street and sidewalk are the same grade

No sidewalk? Not a problem, just create a space for pedestrians by striping

Paris

I can’t say enough about how wonderful this city is. Unlike Miami, most motorists actually yield to pedestrians. All intersections are clearly marked with wide zebra crosswalks.  I also noticed that the pedestrian crosswalk signals are much lower than the pedestrian crosswalk signals here in the United States. Placing the pedestrian crosswalk signal closer to eye level makes it easier for both pedestrians and motorists to notice them.  Also, traffic lights are placed before the crosswalk and not in the middle of intersections.  By placing the traffic lights before the crosswalk it forces motorists to stop before the crosswalk, giving pedestrians the right of way they deserve. Another feature I also observed was the pedestrian fences.  In areas where pedestrians should not cross the street, tasteful pedestrians fences have been erected to corral the pedestrians towards the large zebra crosswalk.  Sidewalks, for the most part, are wide and inviting.

Notice how motorists are forced to stop before the crosswalk when traffic signals are not located in the intersection.

Traffic signals are placed before the crosswalk and not in the intersections.

Sidewalks are wide, making the public realm more inviting to walk

Tasteful fences are used to guide pedestrians to the crosswalks where it is safe to cross.

The Velib bicycle share system in Paris is absolutely spectacular. Because Paris is so walkable, I only used it once, but the system is very easy to use and is well connected to mass transit.  I was amazed to see Parisians from all walks of life using the Velib bicycles. I saw stylish women and men using the bicycles, as well as businessmen, businesswomen and the elderly using the Velib.

A fleet of Velibs

Bicycles lane were clearly marked and in many areas were allowed to share the bus-only lanes. Buses are equipped with an electrical horn that sounds like a bicycle bell.  Bus drivers use this electrical bicycle bell to politely warn cyclists and pedestrians that the bus is coming.

Bike boxes give cyclists priority in the transit queue

Chevron arrows through an intersection

Chevron arrows across an intersection into a protected bicycle path

Bicyclists can share the bus lane

The metro and the bus system are easy to use.  At the metro stations and bus stops there are electrical boards advising transit users when the next train or bus will arrive.

The next bus arrives in 2 minutes

Next train arrives in 3 minutes

Most crosswalks have provisions for the blind and I even found a train station that had a textured path that could be felt with a walking cane.

Textured path to help guide the blind in a train station

Most crosswalks have provisions to help guide the blind

Parks are scattered throughout Paris. The parks I entered were active and drew a wide array of people of different ages.

Children playing in one of the many park of Paris

Lounging in the warm afternoon Paris sun

Paris recycles; Miami does not.

The Miami New Times is reporting three separate cycling collisions during the past couple of weeks. One involved a Miami Dade County Bus, another involving a drunken motorcyclist, and yet another involving a private bus; as is usually the case the cyclist ends up on the losing end.

Great job Miami New Times for keeping us informed!

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Our Central Florida friends at CommuteOrlando.com have made us aware of a little-known fact that could mean big changes to bike lane use in Florida.

Unbeknownst to Florida Bicycle Association, a mandatory bike lane use provision was included in the Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles bill.  The bill also allows local governments to permit mopeds, golf-carts and other motorized vehicles on sidewalks and trails.

Call Governor Crist as soon as you can to ask him to veto this bill. Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146

According to the wording on this bill, use of a bike lane by a person on a bicycle would be mandatory, by law (though unstated for sure, this could be either at the expense of, or in direct conflict with, our right to ride on the road). As stated above, it would also allow local governments to permit motorized vehicles on bike lanes and trails.

In my opinion, mandating the presence of bike lanes on all applicable road projects is great. Mandating the use of said bike lane at all costs is not. In Miami Beach I already have to contend with city golf carts around the South Beach promenades as it is, I’d hate to have to deal with the army of scooters and mopeds we have down here as well. Then there’s e-bikes, and I have not made up my mind about those yet.

Quoting from the CommuteOrlando.com post:

Why it’s bad for pedestrians:

It’s bad enough that pedestrians have to suffer parked cars blocking sidewalks, being blasted by sprinklers, sidewalk bicyclists who don’t announce themselves when passing, and thousands of other nuisances, now they’ll have to share stretches of sidewalk in some jurisdictions with motorized vehicles.  Local governments will be able to permit mopeds, golf-carts, motorized scooters and other vehicles which don’t belong on sidewalks and on “bike paths.”  The law limits such vehicles to 15 mph, but how will that be enforced?

It’s time for Florida’s bicyclists and pedestrians to send a strong message: “We will not be marginalized.”

I can’t say I disagree at all.

You can also email the Governor at Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com.

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Google Street-View Bike - photo by Daniel M. Perez

Two weeks ago, the Google street-view bicycle was in town, visiting both campuses of Florida International University (Modesto Maidique Campus in Westchester, and Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami Beach). While some areas of both campuses can already be seen in Google Maps’ street-view feature, the bike was taking photographic data to complete the view of everything in between the main streets crisscrossing the campuses. We’ll keep an eye on Google Maps to see when these new views show up and let you know. Thanks to the person responsible for getting the Google Street-View Team down here (I know who it was but I don’t know he wishes his identity to be made public).

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Bike Lane on SW 127 Ave - photo by Daniel M. Perez

Speculated upon by Miami Bike Scene last week, yesterday I spotted the brand new bike lanes on SW 127th Avenue, stretching from Bird Road (42nd Street) to Miller Drive (56th Street). I’m told by a resident of the area that the road is used by a lot of people on bicycles, so hopefully the bike lane will make it safer for them to ride and make it more obvious to drivers that they need to watch out for bicycles sharing the road.

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