Monday, March 29, 2010

Bike Co-op Sponsors Bike Town Meetings

To provide input for Plan Fort Collins the Bike Co-op will hold a “listening sessions” or “Bike Town Meetings” to identify issues and opportunities for the future of bicycling in the city.    

Since Plan Fort Collins includes major updates to both City Plan and to the Master Transportation Plan this is an opportunity for cyclists to share their thoughts on what will it be like to ride a bicycle in Fort Collins twenty years from now.

The Co-op will hold nine public meetings over the next seven weeks.  The meetings are open to the public and everyone - cyclists and non-cyclists - are encouraged to attend. 

Meetings this week are:
Tuesday, March 30th;  12 – 1:30 p.m.
Home State Bank Community Room
303 East Mountain Avenue
Topic:  Planning for the Future of Bicycling in Fort Collins
A general discussion and introduction to Plan Fort Collins from the bike seat.  
Thursday, April 1st: 12 – 1:30 p.m.
4025 South College Avenue
Topic :  Bicycling in Mid-Town Fort Collins: Prospect to HarmonyMason Trail, Foothills Fashion Mall, and back and forth across College Avenue
This will be a very interesting discussion about issues and opportunities along the Mason Corridor, College Avenue and the area of the Foothills Fashion Mall.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fort Collins City Council Asks for a Bike Safety Education Plan

City of Fort Collins resolution 2010-019, reproduced below, calls for City Manager Darin Atteberry to "pursue the writing" of a bicycle safety education plan.  The need for the plan has come up again and again over the past year and came to a head with the approval of the 2010-2011 FCBikes Program which was approved at Council meeting March 16th along with this resolution. 

The City's 1997 Bike Plan called for the creation of a city-wide bicycle safety education plan but the plan was never written and the 2008 plan failed to address an education plan.  Hopefully this resolution will get us back on track to create a City bike safety plan.  


            WHEREAS, at the March 2, 2010 meeting of the City Council, the Council requested that the Congestion Management and Air Quality Grant (“CMAQ”) for the City’s FC Bikes Program be amended to utilize $15,000 to $20,000 for the issuance of a request for proposals (“RFP”) for the purpose of hiring a coordinator to assist with the development of the Bike Safety Education Plan, among other things; and

            WHEREAS, the proposal of engaging through an RFP process a coordinator for that purpose has met with concerns on the part of the North Front Range MPO and the Colorado Department of Transportation and would, at the least, cause delay in the City’s ability to obtain the CMAQ grant; and

            WHEREAS, the City Bicycle Advisory Committee has recommended that the CMAQ grant be executed without the proposed amendment for the issuance of an RFP but that the City Manager pursue the work suggested by the Council, as a part of a future project of the staff of the City; and

            WHEREAS, the Council has determined that the approach recommended by the Bicycle Advisory Committee is in the best interests of the City and that the City Manager should be directed accordingly.

            NOW, THEREFORE,  BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FORT COLLINS that the City Manager is hereby directed to pursue the writing of the Bike Safety Education Plan, and in connection therewith to develop the concept of a “Master Cyclist” program and to also explore the use of annual “Building on Basics” revenues to potentially assist in the construction of a “Bike Safety Town” in one of the City’s parks and, finally, to coordinate the Bike Safety Education Plan Project closely with the Safe Routes to School program.
            Passed and adopted at a regular meeting of the Council of the City of Fort Collins this 16th day of March A.D. 2010.

Should Bikes And Cars Be Treated Equally?

Lisa Caruso, writing in the National Journal Transportation Blog asks the above question relative to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's pronouncements two weeks ago at the National Bike Summit.  Writes Caruso:

" With all the attention last week focused on extending the surface transportation law and Federal Aviation Administration programs, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's announcement of a major policy change regarding the way bicyclists' needs are treated in the transportation planning seems to have received little notice.
"People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning," LaHood wrote on his Fast Lane blog March 15. "This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized. We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects." LaHood's blog post includes recommendations for how states and communities can accomplish this, such as "treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes" and "set a mode share target for walking and bicycling."
LaHood called the new policy a "sea change," but is it a good one? Should non-motorized modes of transportation be treated as equal to other modes, particularly when modes like driving and mass transit are at least partially, if not primarily, self-funded? Or is it the essence of DOT's evolving 21st-century mission to give people more mobility options that, according to LaHood, are relatively fast and inexpensive to build, are environmentally sustainable, reduce travel costs, improve safety and public health, and "reconnect citizens with their communities"?"

Read the article and comments that follow here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Great News for Fort Collins Cyclists - Google Unveils Bicycle Map Option

If you happen to be a geographer, a map junkie, a traveler, cyclist and a Google fan, get ready to celebrate.  Google has finally unveiled a long awaited bike route finder on Google maps.  Type in two addresses and ask Google to draw you a route for you and your bike and, voila' - there you have it.  This was worth waiting for!  

Google will announce the innovation at the National Bike Summit today in Washington, D.C.  Read the press release about the announcement and follow news and updates about Google Maps' bike features on the League of American Bicyclists' blog by clicking here.  

This is great, not just for the directionally challenged, but for bicycling in general.  Give it a test ride yourself right now by clicking here to go to Google maps .  

Or, check out the YouTube video that introduces the new mapping feature here.  

Or, give the map a try right now with the gadget on the left.  

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bike Co-op Art Show April 2, 2010

Join us at the Bike Co-op April 2, 2010 for an art show and general merriment to celebrate spring, bike art, and more!  

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Video Shows Cyclists How to "Lead" the Dance with Traffic

Keri Caffrey of just posted a great video called "Bicycling in Traffic is a "Dance You Must Lead."  I suggest you take a look.  As you watch it remember the mantra of the vehicular cyclist:  "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles."

You can link to here.

Bicycling in traffic is a dance you lead from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.

We'll be discussing the principles illustrated in this video at our Bike Co-op classes  Thursday evenings in April.  That schedule is here:

- April 1 . Principles of Traffic Law (in Colorado and in general)
- April 8 . How crashes happen and how to avoid them;
-April 15 . Riding basics (classroom);
-April 17 (Saturday) Bike Handling basics . Parking lot drills (1.5 hours) On-the-road practice (1.5 hours)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Education Questions on the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community Questionnaire

Fort Collins is just now beginning to design educational programs for cyclists even though it has a gold level "bicycle friendly community" status.  Read more about how we might go about this:  

Any community seeking "bicycle friendly" status under the League of American Bicyclists' (LAB) "Bicycle Friendly Communities" program would do well to parse the application and their bicycle related activities into the critical areas of education, enforcement, engineering, encouragement, and evaluation.  The first four are the original "four E's" dating to the 1990s when bike plans were being written by consultants riding on the federal money bandwagon that followed the first and second transportation bills in 1991: ISTEA and 1997: TEA-21).  Many communities began then to build bike lanes and bike paths (engineering) and to promote bicycling through encouragement.  The smart ones also figure out how to enforce bicycle laws (very tough) and to educate their citizens (also difficult to design and implement sustainable programs necessary to do this).  

On one hand Fort Collins did well on the engineering and encouragement fronts while on the other hand the community is just now taking a serious look at designing sustainable bike education programs.  

The following extract from the LAB questionnaire should act as a guide to how to design sustainable, affordable bicycle education programs. 

36. Do schools in your community offer a Safe Routes to School (or comparable) program that includes bicycling education?

What percentage of schools in your jurisdiction participates? 

a. Elementary (percentage) 
b. Middle School (percentage)
c. High School (percentage)
37. Outside of schools, how are children taught safe bicycling skills?
Youth bike clubs
Youth recreation programs
Safety town
Trail riding classes 
None of the above
If other, describe
38. Do you have a diversion program for cyclists or motorists?
If yes, describe
39. What have you done in the last 18 months to educate motorists and bicyclists on sharing the road safely?
Public service announcements
Community newsletter article
New resident packet
Utility bill insert
Bicycle ambassador program
Newspaper column/blog on bicycling
Dedicated bike page on community Web site
Share the Road Signs
Share the road information in driver's education
None of the above
If other, describe
(500 word limit)
40. What of the following options are available on a regular basis to your community?
40a. Traffic Skills 101 (or equivalent) classes -- including classroom and on-bike instruction.

40b. Cycling Skills classes -- three to four hour classroom training courses
40c. Commuter classes - one/two hour classes

41. Has your community hosted a League Cycling Instructor seminar in the past two years?
42. How many League Cycling Instructors are there in your community?
43. List active League Cycling Instructors (active means they have taught at least one class during the past 12 months).
44. Does your community have driver training for any of the following professional drivers that include information on sharing the
road with cyclists?

Check all that apply
City staff
Taxi drivers
Taxi drivers
Transit operators
School bus operators
Delivery drivers

44a. If yes to any of the above, describe the program.
45. Describe any efforts your community has made to ensure your education programs reach traditionally underserved populations.

46. Are there other education efforts in your community to promote bicycling?

46a. If yes, describe