Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fort Collins' Mayor Hutchinson Defends Bike Library

In a copyrighted story in the Loveland Reporter-Herald Dec. 30, 2008 Anthony Bowe wrote about Tom Coburn, Republican Sentator from Oklahoma who listed the Fort Collins Bike Library as one of the most wasteful federal projects in 2008. Mayor Hutchinson is quoted as saying:

“I was surprised that he would pick out something like that, . . . . I don’t think it’s a waste. It’s in the DNA in a lot of people in Fort Collins. This is a very modest amount of money, and it really adds to the quality of the bicycle environment in Fort Collins.”

You tell 'em, Mayor.

Indeed, the City spent nothing on the Bike Library, the Downtown Development Authority provided $15,000 in matching funds and free rent on the Bike Library Kiosk in Old Town Square and local businesses provided $17,000 of in-kind donations to operate it. The feds, through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program povided $132,000 over two years.

Estimates vary but with 70% of Library users from out of town, authorities believe that the program has brought the community several hundred thousand dollars of publicity and tourism dollars in its first year of operation.

The Library is operated primarily by volunteers through the Fort Collins Bike Co-op and Bike Fort Collins and though winter hours have been cut back significantly, the library will expand operations in the spring of 2009 with a fleet of about 220 bicycles.

Visit the Bike Library web site by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

US News and World Report Says: Bike to Work! Best Way to Improve Health in 2009!

That's right, THE US News and World Report has ID'd Bicycling to Work as one of the top ways to improve your LIFE in 2009, not just your health. We tend to agree. Read the article here.

Oriello posted the following comment on their web site:

Get organized and bike to work
Biycle commuting is really just about adopting good habits over bad habits. Biking to work will require you to be more organized, to plan ahead, to be prepared (remember the scouts?) and to put your coat on (remember your mother's words?) Once you get in the habit of leaving a little early you'll find biking to work is a lot easier. Have a look at our blog in Fort Collins, CO (free bikes at our bike library!)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Meals on Two Wheels in Austin

This one seems like a no-brainer. Delivering traditional meals on wheels by bicycle! Why is Austin doing this and we're not?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Colorado State University Could Learn from Harvard for Bicycle Parking

The shelter at right is built just for bicycle parking. CSU could benefit from some of these with video surveillance to cut down on bicycle theft.

Read the full story.

Somber accidents bring bicycle safety into spotlight

December 26, 2008
Copyright The Coloradoan


In the decade before 2008, three people died in car bike crashes in Fort Collins. This year, tragedy struck twice when cyclists were killed in accidents that brought public outrage.

Rebecca Allen, 32, died July 22 after being struck from behind by a drunken driver while riding her bicycle in the bike lane on Drake Road.

About four months later, on Nov. 25, 9-year-old Erica Forney was riding her bicycle home from school when a woman police say was distracted by her cell phone drove her SUV into the bike lane and struck Forney. She died two days later.

The deaths of Allen and Forney occurred in a year when the Fort Collins biking community received a "gold" designation from the League of American Cyclists and its Bicycle Friendly Community program, had record turnouts on bike to work day and opened a free bike library.

"They were both tragic accidents and reminders that we've got lots to do still as a cycling community," Fort Collins Bikes Coordinator DK Kemp said.

Daniel Price, 21, the driver of the vehicle that killed Allen, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide on Nov. 15 and is likely to be sentenced to eight years in prison.

According to court records, Price, who was 20 at the time of the crash, had blood-alcohol levels of 0.091, 0.078 and 0.067 in the hours after the crash. Records also indicate Price tested positive for THC, the active compound in marijuana, in his blood when the fatal collision occurred. Price will be sentenced Jan. 16.

Michelle Smith, 36, also of Fort Collins, has been charged with careless driving resulting in death in connection with the crash that killed Forney and faces a maximum penalty of a one year prison sentence and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted. She is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 7.

At Allen's funeral service on The Oval on the CSU campus, more than 300 people showed up to remember the undergraduate administrator at the Colorado State University Department of Journalism and Technical Communicationn. Many wore flip-flop sandals, which Allen wore on her wedding day.

The CSU journalism department also renamed a scholarship in memory of Allen and a public relations class dedicated a semester-long project working with Bike Fort Collins to bridge the gap between cyclists and drivers to Allen's memory.

"She impacted me so greatly that I was moved to do something for her," Sarah Pooler, a CSU adjunct journalism professor, said in September. "This project is an opportunity to come up with a campaign to honor Rebecca, who was a very adamant supporter of biking safety."

The Forney family received similar support from the community in south Fort Collins. Two days after Erica died, hundreds of family, friends and neighbors gathered at Coyote Ridge Elementary School despite frigid temperatures to lend their support during a candle-light vigil.

"We wanted to show Daren and Shelley how many people are here to support them," Ginger Hillyard, a close family friend, said the night of the vigil. "We're here to support them for the long haul."

State lawmakers have begun looking into the possibility of proposing legislation for more stringent laws prohibiting cell-phone use while driving.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fort Collins Bicycle Photos for 2008

Yann Ropars has posted his "best of 2008" mountain biking photos of the 4:50 a.m. club (including some Wyoming and Utah shots) on his Flickr site.

Rick Price has posted shots of the Dec. 7th Pennock Pass and Buckhorn Canyon "winter Ralleye."

For details on the Winter Ralleye click here.

And Rick has also posted a few pics of Winter Bike to Work Day, Dec. 17, 2008.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Streetfilms Documents why Boulder is Platinum

Take a look at where Fort Collins has to go in order to achieve the platinum level bicycle friendly community award.

Clarence Eckerson has done a great job of documenting Boulder's great bike system and bike culture for Streetfilms. Watch the whole thing and learn!

Share this with ALL your friends in Fort Collins.

STOP! Can You Identify Where this Sign WAS?

Once upon a time in our fair city there was a stop sign like this. Alas, it is no longer. Do you know where it was and what happened to it?

Or the on-street "sharrow?" Where was it and what happened to it?

What the League Friendly City Program Says about Bicycling in Fort Collins

In their review of our bicycle program in Fort Collins the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) offers a long list of areas that we could improve. Most of these include efforts to increase education for both motorists and cyclists, implementation of all the projects in the current bike plan, increasing bike friendly arterials with shared lane arrows (sharrows) and "share the road" signs, and training for City staff to better understand the behavior of cyclists and their right to be on the road. To read the full report from the LAB click here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are We On Our Way to A National Bicycle Policy?

Will the Obama administration bring us a National Bicycle Policy?

If you follow the news and read the blogs there are hints that we may be working our way that direction – a big change from the policies of the Bush administration. It was his Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, after all who said that we were wasting federal tax dollars by building bike paths and trails which are “not really transportation.”

If you are interested in following these developments, here are just a few of the people and policies you might want to watch:

1) Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s “bicycle commuter act” allows employers to provide $20 per month annually to incentivize bicycle commuters. Use it to pay for secure bike parking, buy a bike, or buy the equipment necessary for safe cycling. This bill passed as a rider in the famous Wall Street “bailout.” Sort of a default “gift” from the Bush administration.

2) Congressman Ray LaHood, an Illinois Republican, is leaving the House to become Secretary of Transportation. Lahood is a moderate Republican who has been a friend of bicycling according to Ed Barsotti, head of the League of Illinois Bicyclists. Read Barsotti’s thoughts on LaHood here. Among others, LaHood favors Rails to Trails and has spoken in favor of the Transportation Enhancements program that gives us most of the nation’s bike paths and bike lanes.

3) The National Park Service will allow park superintendents to open new trails in our national parks to mountain biking according to a ruling published in the Federal Register. Maybe one good thing to come out of the Bush administration? Read more about this at Spokes ‘n’ Folks.

4) The Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) reports that a US Bike Route System is in the works. The biggest news here is that it involves both ACA and AASHTO, the (American Association of State High Transportation Officials). This latter group
“foster[s] the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system. So having these highway geeks thinking about a national bike route is a big deal. Learn more at the Adventure Cycling Association.

5) Last, but not least, UPS has begun bicycle deliveries during peak times in some areas. The NYTimes reports that story in a copyrighted story Dec. 19, 2008. Raise your hand if you’d like to be a UPS bicycle delivery person when you grow up!

Follow all these stories and more in John Hopkins’ blog, Spokes ‘n’ Folks from the Green Mobility Network.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Use of Cell Phones and Cycling Safety

Bike Fort Collins has begun a campaign to educate citizens and decision makers about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving a 5,000 lb. vehicle on City streets. Have a look at their web page on the issue.

The goal is to make motorists aware of the danger they present to cyclists when distracted by their cell phone. In a "real" bike town, motorists would be aware of this. We're working on it in Fort Collins. Should city council ban the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle? Answer our poll to the left.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Powerline Trail Across Harmony - How About a Bridge?

This is from a comment posted by Mike H. in June. Some of us think it is a great idea. The map to the right shows the Powerline Trail with a red dash where it would cross over Harmony Rd.

Mike wrote:

"This is my uber-dream for Ft. Collins bike visibility -- literally, I had this daydream while out for a ride on day:

When we extend the Powerline Trail across Harmony, how about a multi-use (non-motorized user) bridge across Harmony? In my vision, the bridge is adorned with tasteful, representative art, and "Welcome to Fort Collins" signage, similar to other well-known signs in towns such as Golden. This way, we have a very visible and beautiful image to present to the world, with bicyclists and pedestrians silhouetted at sunset with the iconic foothills in the background. This would be a picture that would stick out in the minds of would-be tourists and our Platinum City award application.

I know that Old Town is the true heart of Ft. Collins, but Harmony is the realistic gateway and thoroughfare for citizens and visitors alike. We would drape seasonal event signs on the bridge, similar to Loveland. This would provide safe passage for the newer developments in SE Ft. Collins, and naturally link/draw cizens down harmony towards the Mason Corridor.

That's my vision: I know it's expensive and perhaps lofty, but I wanted to share this vision. Cheers!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Creating a Bicycle Culture

By Anthony Ben'jammin' DeNardo III

[This Soapbox was published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan Monday, December 15, 2008; Anthony sits on the Board of the Fort Collins Bike Co-op]

We've built a gold level bicycle friendly community according to the League of American Bicyclists. But motorists killed two bicycle riders - in bike lanes - on city streets just four months apart. Why?

Perhaps we’ve failed to create the culture that goes with our bicycle infrastructure? Italians have a reputation as being bad drivers yet Italy is considered to have a great bicycle culture. Almost everyone rides a bike: small children go to school on their mother’s bike and the elderly ride all the time. In Italy, motorists see bicycles everywhere and they respect them since the cyclist on the road could be their grandmother.

We promote a world-class bicycle infrastructure in Fort Collins and, while the bike plan speaks to education and enforcement issues, they are not addressed very aggressively. In short, we’ve no plan to build a bicycle culture. It’s time we begin to move from a “car culture” to a “car, bicycle and pedestrian culture.” Here’s one idea on how to start.

Police Services moved to Timberline Road last year at the same time that City Council approved a two-year lease for the Fort Collins Bike Co-op at the Poudre Valley Creamery. Until last winter Police Services collected, tracked, impounded, and handled all abandoned and stolen bikes in the community. Those tasks are now all handled by volunteers at the Bike Co-op.

Today the City is saving the cost of one full-time equivalent staff person ($38,000 average) plus benefits ($15,000?) NOT counting police cruiser and officers’ time to retrieve bikes. So the Bike Co-op is saving taxpayers around $60,000 annually. Why not use some of that savings to help create a bike culture?

The Co-op could work with the City Bicycle Coordinator to develop and take bicycle safety seminars to public schools. The City’s Bike Library fleet could be used for field trips on the Poudre Trail. Parents and educators should be made a part of the process since most are motorists and can benefit from this cultural education as well.

Fifteen to twenty thousand new people move to Fort Collins every year. Most are CSU students and many have never lived in a “bike town” before. CSU needs a bike “coordinator” who, in cooperation with the City’s bike coordinator, can teach those newcomers what life in “bike town” is like: be predictable, use lights at night, stop at stop signs and lights, go the right way in the bike lane, and more.

City and CSU Police need to become engaged in helping to create this culture. They don’t have time or staff, they might argue. But some of the friendliest bike towns in the US have police forces that undertake “sting” operations to enforce cyclists’ stopping at stop signs and using lights at night for several days a year, namely at the beginning of the academic year. Maybe City Council could help them find the time.

And maybe now is the time to quit talking about what a great bicycle town this is and to start creating the appropriate culture.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Colorado State University Commuter Survey Released

According to CSU's press release:

Students prefer biking as their first choice with 36 percent pedaling to campus, while 34 percent commute by single-occupancy vehicle.

The 36% figure, however, refers to single-occupancy vehicles. In reality 38% of students drive to campus while 36% ride a bike. 65% of faculty drive and 25% pedal and among university staff, 73% drive and only 15% bike.

Click here for the full report: CSU commuter survey results released

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Early Morning Adrenalin for Fort Collins MT Bikers

Are you ready for this? 4:50 a.m. MTBike rides up Horsetooth Mtn Park? To Bobcat Ridge? The 4:50 club is a group of mountain bikers who meet most every day at Horsetooth Mountain Park, Bobcat ridge.... at 4:50am during the week and at 7am on weekend... fun it is.... it has to be to do this so early.

And if it's mountain bike photography you like, check out Yann Roper's pics on this site!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Racing Teams Highlighted in Fort Collins Web Site

Check out "The Group Ride - Your Guide to Getting Dropped in Fort Collins" for a survey of the bicycle racing scene in Fort Collins. Do you know that we will again host the National Collegiate Road Championships in May 2009? Do you know that we have at least seven local amateur or semi-pro bicycle racing teams in the Fort?

And there's a lot more. Check 'em out today!