Currently viewing the tag: "Bicycle"

Lest we forget that Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are considered one metropolitan area, here is some news for Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is developing a Bicycle Master Plan for the county and would like your input. Public Workshops are scheduled for April 14 and April 15 in multiple locations, from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM both days. You don’t need to stay the whole time, just come out for a bit to share what your needs are as a cyclist.

Locations for Wednesday the 14th include the Bryant Auditorium of the Palm Beach County Office Building in Belle Glade and the Jupiter Community Center. Locations for Thursday the 15th include the Vista Center County Building in West Palm Beach and the Boca Raton Community Center. Flyers are available in English and Spanish, and for more info you can contact Bret Baronak, the MPO Bicycle/Greenways/Pedestrian Coordinator at bbaronak at pbcgov.org or (561) 684-4170. I hope to make it to the Boca Raton meeting myself, so I look forward to seeing you there if you ride in Palm Beach County!

Tomorrow, Wednesday January 27 @ 2:00 PM the Miami Beach Bikeways Committee has its first monthly meeting of 2010, in the Mayor’s Conference Room, on the Fourth Floor at Miami Beach City Hall. Please be on time.

The general public is welcomed to attend, and Miami Beach residents interested in the topic of bicycles should definitely attend if possible. The City of Miami Beach needs to have pressure applied by those that are out there biking every day and know first hand the reality of the poor bicycle infrastructure in the city.

I’ll try to have the minutes from the meeting posted here as well once I get them via email after the meeting.

I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that Christopher Lecanne’s death last Sunday could have been avoided. There are a number of factors that contributed to that tragic event, starting with Carlos Bertonatti’s decision to inebriate himself and then drive back home under the influence. This was not an accident. Bertonatti may not have set out to kill Lecanne, but the moment he decided to drive under the influence he accepted, consciously or not, that he could be an instrument to death. And he was. But there was also an aspect to the event that has to deal with the bicycling infrastructure on which Lecanne transited, namely the bike lane that puts people on bicycles right next to cars on a road where drivers routinely overshoot the speed limit.

This event highlighted something that bicycle advocates in Miami have been telling those in positions of power for days, weeks, months and years prior: our roadways are not safe for people on human-powered vehicles. Key Biscayne is one of Miami’s premier cycling location, the place where, if anywhere, going beyond the strict requirements of the law would be worth it given the amount of people on bicycles that use it. And yet, as written by Esther Calas, P.E., Director of Miami-Dade County Public Works Department, the facilities there only meet the State and Federal requirements. That’s all they shot for, without consideration that this particular area could use some specifications that go beyond.

Key Biscayne is a microcosm of Greater Miami. The tragedy that took place on Key Biscayne last week can, and has, and will, happen elsewhere in Miami wherever bikes and car are forced to co-exist without the proper attention as to how that coexistence needs to happen for safety’s sake. Need proof? Look no further than October 2009 and the sad case of teenager Rodolfo Rojo, killed on Biscayne Boulevard.

How many more Rojos or Lecannes will it take before those people in positions of power, people put there by our very own votes, will finally get the message and take action to protect the bicycle-riding segment of the population they represent and serve?

As it is usually the case, the tragedy has acted as a catalyst and now we’re getting responses and promises from people like Commissioner Sarnoff and Miami Dade County Mayor Alvarez (still notably missing is Miami Mayor Regalado). I hope these lead to actual changes, I really do. Maybe this will make people realize that bicycle advocates are not just talking to hear themselves talk when we tell politicians over and over than more and better bicycling infrastructure can and does help keep people safe when on human-powered vehicles.

Bicycle riding isn’t a fad. It is an accepted, long-standing and continually-increasing form of transportation, one that has to be taken seriously and accounted for in current and future plans for the cities and county of Miami.

When it comes to Lecanne, could a separated bike lane have saved his life? We’ll never know for sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure it out before we have another such tragedy in our hands?

Today was the first time I used one of the bike racks mounted on the MDT buses, as I did a bike-bus commute from South Beach to FIU Biscayne Bay. I boarded the 93 bus at Omni station and loaded my bike onto the rack closest to the driver. I should note that I ride a steel city bike with a pair of panniers - this is a heavy bike with an even heavier rear wheel area. But I got it on and locked it into place following the instructions on the MDT website. It still felt wobbly so I asked the driver if I’d done it correctly, to which she responded with a non-committal sound I took to mean yes.

Long story short (the longer version was posted to my blog), the locking mechanism slipped off the front wheel and the bike fell off the rack at my stop on 135 St & Biscayne Blvd, being hit by the bus into the next lane. It wasn’t run over, thankfully, but it was damaged so I couldn’t ride it. The driver reported it but did nothing else, shifting the blame entirely onto me and then leaving without even saying sorry. I filed a complaint via the MDT website but I fully expect them to blow their nose with it. I accept it was partly my fault because I may not have locked it properly, but I also asked for confirmation from the driver and received none. The driver also obviously was not paying attention to the bike otherwise she would have noticed when the locking arm slipped off.

I see bikes on the bus racks every day and I assume these reach their destination fine and dandy. But while I realize my case may be out of the ordinary, I cannot be the only person who has used these racks for the first time and did not know if they were used correctly. The buses should have better signage explaining the proper operation of the locking mechanism, and the drivers should be trained (and frankly required) to make sure that bikes are properly secured, especially when people ask them explicitly. While MDT may not make itself responsible for every single bike that goes on one of their bus bike racks, it cannot be good for business (to appeal to the basest denominator) if cases like mine happen more often.

Has anyone else out there had a problem with the MDT bus bike racks?

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Many traffic signals today won’t turn green unless loops in the pavement or video cameras detect a car sitting at the light. I’ve noticed that this detection often fails for bicycles, however. If there is a bicycle lane, there may not be a separate detection zone or loop to pick up a bicycle in the lane. With or without a bicycle lane, pavement loops might not be sensitive enough to pick up your bicycle.

We can discuss strategies for dealing with these issues in another post, but first I want to hear from those of you who ride on the road. Is this a problem in South Florida? Maybe there’s so much traffic that there’s always a car waiting at the light beside you. We invite you to share your experiences in the comments section. Have you ever sat at a light that won’t turn green because you’re the only one there and it doesn’t recognize your bicycle? If so, what did you do? Change directions? Move to the sidewalk? Hit the ped button? Run the light? Storm City Hall waving your bicycle in the air? Please share with us, and let us know where you’ve had this problem.

I’m currently involved in a discussion with an area county engineer on the subject, so the more I hear from you the more I can use to support my case for improvements to signals.

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Yesterday morning I took the scenic route back home from the synagogue, going down all of Lincoln Road Mall, to the Oceanwalk Promenade, then up 5th St before heading home (see the MapMyRide.com Map). On a whim, I decided to count all the bikes I came across my way, whether parked or with riders. Everyone knows we have a lot of bicyclists here in the Beach, but I wanted to have a very rough headcount. It was 10 AM, and the temp was in the mid 50s, so I figured I would see only those out exercising, and those on their way to/from/already at work.

When all was said and done, I counted 146 bikes, including me, with about 85 of them being spotted just along Lincoln Rd. I am no urban statisticians, but that seemed like a lot of bikes for a 3/4-mile long stretch, let alone for the 2.5 miles of my entire trip. And that fills me with joy.

Check out these pics (click for larger version).

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Now you’re probably asking, what’s the MUTCD? The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sets the standards for striping, signage, and signalization across the country. If a traffic control feature you want is not in there, you’ll have a hard time getting it installed on your road. The US Department of Transportation just released a long awaited new version of this manual that comes with some changes that many complete streets advocates will welcome. Hit up the press release here, and if you really want to delve into it, read the actual manual at FHWA’s website.

Until now, some new pedestrian and bicycle features have been experimental and difficult to install since they weren’t in the old 2003 MUTCD. Here are some of the additions to the roadway designer’s palette in the new manual:

  • 52295531_cd985b82b7_oShared lane use markings, or “sharrows.” These are like bike lane markings in the middle of the traffic lane, for lower speed areas where bicycle lanes don’t fit. That’s one in the picture next to on-street parking.
  • “Bicycles may use full lane” sign, for use with or without sharrows. It’s a white regulatory sign, which carries more weight with police.
  • “HAWK” signals. These are hybrid signals designed for mid-block crosswalks. These will be easier to install than regular signals since they don’t require as much vehicle traffic or pedestrian traffic.

States have two years to adopt the 2009 MUTCD. It may take a few months before Florida adopts it, but projects that are being designed now (to be constructed once we adopt the new MUTCD) may start incorporating them. We hope designers will use the new pedestrian and bicycle features as soon as possible.

Scientific American is reporting that that best lead indicator for bikeability are women riders. Jan Garrard, a senior lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, says,

If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed ‘bikeability indexes’—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female.”

Apparently, women are more averse to risk then men; therefore they are considered an “indicator species”.  So how does this influence or hinder women from riding a bicycle?  Well, risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bicycle infrastructure as a precondition for riding. Perhaps it is because they are smarter then men too, but women tend to avoid busy streets when riding, and often choose the safer, less direct route to their destination.

So please, let’s make bicycling safer for women. Not for my sake, but for their sake. Well, perhaps for my sake too…there’s just something about a woman on a bicycle.  It’s hot.

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Friday, September 25th @ 6:30pm
Government Center
101 NW First St
Downtown Miami

This will be the first Critical Mass ride of the 2009 Fall season. As always the ride begins from Government Center in Downtown Miami. The ride will pass through East Little Havana, East Coral Gables, Southeast Gables, Coconut Grove, Vizcaya, Brickell & Downtown Miami. 15 miles total. Bring your friends with bikes. See you there!

Participants are to keep a moderate pace, it’s very important that the group stays together. It makes corking easier and the ride much smoother for everyone involved (cyclists/motorists/pedestrians). Also, make sure to arrive on schedule, that’s 6:30pm. Bring bicycle lights, it’s the law! The ride usually leaves at 7pm sharp but it’s recommended to arrive earlier.

Here’s a link to this month’s tentative route via Bikely

Critical Mass1

Get comfortable with riding in the road - it’s your right!

The Bike Miami Days Team invites you to a free bike ride through MiMo, Little Haiti & the Upper Eastside this Sunday to becoming safer, better, more confident city cyclists. No registration is required and it is completely free.

Officers from the City of Miami Police Department Bicycle Unit, will be on hand to teach you the basics of riding safe in the road so that you can confidently commute and run errands on your bicycle.

The day will start with an “A-B-C Quick Check”(Air, Brakes and Chain). You’ll learn how to fit your bicycle helmet for optimum safety. You will also learn the basic Rules, Rights and Responsibilities of Cyclists and Motorists before heading out for a short ride – just under 2 hours long. The ride will stop for water and bathroom breaks and learning opportunities as you’ll explore Miami’s Historic Upper Eastside neighborhoods. At the end of the ride, you’re invited to join the City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator, Collin Worth, and other volunteers for lunch. Destination to be determined.

Date: Sunday September 27, 2009

Time: 8:30am-11:15am

Where Upper Eastside City of Miami Net Office

6599 Biscayne Blvd View Map

Need More Info?

305-416-1022

cworth@miamigov.com

http://bikemiamiblog.wordpress.com/bikemiamirides/

I vacationed in Key West a while back with my wife. I loaded our bicycles on my car, and once we parked the car at our hotel we didn’t need it again until we left. It was a wonderful experience riding all over town. I wanted to share one way that they have implemented bicycle parking on their narrow streets designed for cars. It’s an excellent use of on-street parking, and very easy for any city to retrofit their parking.

Do bicyclists have to pay the meter to use these spaces?

Bicycle Parking with Meter

This was not the crowded end of Duval St., but the bicycle parking was still seeing use at this time of night.

Full Bicycle Parking

Copenhagen isn’t content with the fact that only 55% percent of its population bikes everyday. In order to encourage more bicycling, they are expanding their bicycling network to the outlying areas with bicycle superhighways. The idea is for bicyclists to maintain an average speed of 12mph by utilizing a series of three existing bicycle routes which will be converted into bicycle super highways with a series of improvements which include timed lights. Read more about it here. Simply brilliant.

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The review of the final draft of the Miami Bicycle Master Plan will be presented on Monday by Mike Lydon from The Streets Plan Collaborative. Please join us as we peek into Miami’s bicycling future. City officials and the people that are making this happen will be present to answer your questions. Public input is a critical part to the success of our city. Please make your voice heard!

Date: Monday September 21, 2009

Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm

Belafonte Talcolcy Center

6161 Northwest 9th Avenue,

Miami, FL

View Map

Questions? Ideas? Please email CWorth@miamigov.com or visit www.miamigov.com/bikes

Not even the global economic recession could stop Bike Miami Days from returning. This free event will be held in downtown Miami Sunday, October 4th.  Please help make the next event the best one yet by spreading the good word. It may be the last Bike Miami Days ever, so we need to make a statement.Thanks to the Mayor’s office, the Police Chief, Deputy Chief and Downtown unit for sponsoring the event.

For more information please check out the Bike Miami Days Blog.

We’ll be drinking beers after the event, so stay tuned for drink specials and location.

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This morning I went out on my regular Sunday morning bicycle ride to Key Biscayne. I usually head out by myself, but end up riding with other bicyclists.  Normally I choose not to ride with the large groups (100-150 bicyclists) because I consider their riding style dangerous and lawless.  Today this was confirmed to me.

I wiped out pretty hard due to the gross negligence of two other bicyclists at the front of the peloton. For some reason, two bicyclists got into a pissing contest, got off their bicycles, and started to scrap on the side of the road.  Yes, you read it correctly.  At 8:30 a.m., two bicyclists in spandex were throwing punches at each other on the side of the road! The fight spilled out into the bicycle lane and roadway, causing several bicyclists to stop short and fall to the ground. Luckily neither I, nor the other 4 bicyclists who crashed was seriously injured. I have a little road rash and a major bruise on my ass cheek. I’m not going to lie, it hurts.

Please comport yourself like a respectable bicyclist.  Incidents like this give bicyclists a bad name.

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