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Friday, July 30, 2010

West Knox couple transform health with gradual changes

Just saw an article at that can be found here.

To summarize, this former couch potato couple started to seriously walk and made their diets healthier. They made a point of walking 10,000 steps every day. The husband no longer needed a knee replacement, and was able to get rid of the blood pressure medication, while halving the cholesterol medication.

10,000 steps is around five miles. For most people dedicating an hour and forty minutes (assuming a walking speed of 3 mi/hr) every day to walking isn't practical; however, the 10,000 steps can include ordinary activities, making it much more manageable. A pedometer was suggested as a way to track the number of steps taken.

For short trips, walking is an eminently feasible way to get around, not to mention being relaxing and healthy. The construction of sidewalks around busier streets can greatly encourage this most basic form of transportation.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Memphis Gets the Bicycle Spirit

The rest of the state needs to take note of the greenway being built in Memphis. Its "Greenline Project" which provides accessible recreation for all ability levels. This bodes well for projects like the Kingsport Greenbelt, the Johnson City Greenway, Elizabethton's Watauga River Trail, and the Erwin Linear Trail. Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and other areas of the state are backing multi-use trails and bike lanes as part of sustainable regional development.

"There's growing excitement surrounding the bike trail that spans from Midtown to Shelby Farms. Not only is the Greenline Project expected to help Memphians get fit, it'll bring two sides of town together.

Cement is being laid at the end of the Greenline. The first week of September is when the project is expected to be complete, giving Memphis' growing cyclist population a new safe route to ride their bikes."

"It's about 6.5 miles of trail that goes through the most beautiful wildlife area that you will find anywhere," said County Public Works Director Ted Fox."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nashville Native Cyclist Killed in Charleston S.C.

There was also an article in the Tennessean today that told more of his Tennessee connection.
Not enough known about the accident to comment on what happened. Even experienced cyclists make mistakes but it's hard not to wonder.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Costs of car ownership - followup

I just received a solicitation from Habitat for Humanity. It listed the monthly costs of a "typical" renter family with two parents making the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. Interestingly, it notes that to own and maintain one used car costs $425.

Using a 30-day month, that translates to $14/day for one car, which is more than my earlier estimate of $11-$22/day for two cars. And this car is used!

Again, the figure of people spending like 10-20% of their income on transportation is not uncommon these days. Such so-called fixed expenses disproportionately impact the poor, not to mention are ridiculous as a drain on the national economy. Having walkable/bikeable communities would drastically reduce such waste.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seattle Buffered Bike Lanes

Just read and submitted a comment on Seattle's latest buffered bike lane.

It's an interesting experiment; however, I wanted to bat around the idea of whether the buffer space is better placed next to the parked cars, rather than between the bike lane and motorized traffic. A buffer space next to the parked cars would basically eliminate the door zone issues otherwise present whenever there is a bike lane and parallel parking. Even if the bike lane were narrowed from 5 to 4 ft for more buffer, the avoidance of door zone issues would be a huge plus. I venture that hit from behind incidents when a bike lane is present are rare, and that the added comfort from the buffer is illusory. What do you all think?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Banning Bikes From Highways


Why You Should Care

Hendersonville Gets Key Greenway Connector

In 2009 Hendersonville built its first greenway. However, it lacked connectivity to trails in its most popular parks due to a creek separating them. Advocates were told on many occasions that it would be too costly to build a bridge over the creek between them. In July something changed. Click here for more info.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Updated Bicycle and Greenway Plan Shows Hope

The updated Bicycle and Greenway Plan for Johnson City breathes hope into the world of those hoping for a region much safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Addressing the issues of obesity and inactivity, alternative modes of transportation, improved bike facilities, safety, and promotion this is a work in progress. Johnson City has committed to creating a comprehensive multi-modal strategy that includes bicycling and walking as integral parts of the transportation infrastructure. Johnson City’s vision seeks to take advantage of the benefits that bicycling can offer to the city, such as greater mobility, lower transportation cost, safer streets, cleaner air, less traffic congestion, increased daily exercise, lower healthcare costs, and a greater quality of life. The Johnson City Bikeway-Greenway Plan is intended to help turn this vision into reality. It addresses the positive environmental and economic impact of polution free modes of transportation and provides compelling evidence of improved social quality and a deeper appreciation of the built and natural environments. More has already happened since this plan went into effect and the public looks forward to the continual unfolding of this dynamic venture. The Johnson City Bicycle and Green Plan is available here for a closer study and is well worth the read.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nashville will launch bicycle sharing program -

From The Tennessean - June 30, 2010

Starting this summer, any Metro resident who wants to ride a bike will be welcome to borrow one
of Nashville's.

The city will be launching a pilot bike share program, starting with a fleet of 30 bikes in two locations and expanding to thousands of bikes citywide by next spring.

"We don't really have a biking culture in this city," said Toks Omishakin, the man Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has charged with the job of turning the city into a bicycle-friendly, pedestrian-friendly mecca. "But change is happening. If you build it, they will come."

What Nashville has built are two pilot bike stations — one at Shelby Bottoms and one at the Music City Star riverfront train station on First Avenue South. There, any Davidson County resident can take one of the city's new bright yellow and blue one-speed bikes out for a spin.

An attendant will take down the cyclists' driver's license information, provide them with a helmet if they don't have one of their own and send them on their way with a map of the city's bike paths, bike lanes and suggested cycling routes — and the understanding that they will return the bike.

The pilot locations were chosen because they will attract plenty of people on foot, looking for a way to get around without a car. In Shelby Bottoms, park visitors could take the bikes for a spin on the greenway's miles of bike paths. The train station bikes might appeal to the Music City Star commuters.

Getting local journalists interested in Bike Safety

Slowly but surely, in my little town, we're getting the word out. Bicycles belong - safety matters.

When a local journalist contacted our bicycle club with questions for an article on bicycle safety, I jumped at the opportunity to contribute.

The following is a list of her questions in italics and my replies:

What is important about helmets in young children?Tennessee State Law (55-52-105) requires all bicycle riders under sixteen years of age must wear an approved bicycle helmet while riding on a public way. The federal standard for helmets was developed in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). A helmet should have a sticker on it that states it meets CPSC safety standards. Most helmets are good for 3-5 years unless damaged in a crash.

IN adults?Even very careful riders can fall or get hit by a motorist. Wearing a helmet will protect adults from head injury in the event of a crash. Since the majority of bicycling related deaths are caused by head injuries, the best insurance for a rider to prevent injury or death is to wear a helmet.

What are the essentials for bike safety?

There are four basic principles for maintaining safe cycling:

1. Maintain control of your bicycle - never ride under the influence

2. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic. When coming to an intersection - obey the traffic signs.

3. Be visible and ride defensively - bright clothing and lights are recommended

4. Protect yourself - wear a helmet

What are the points you make in your bike safety presentations?

Although it is legal to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk, except in downtown Murfreesboro, it is not a good idea except for young children. There are lots more obstacles to avoid such as parking meters, trees, fire hydrants, and pedestrians.

While bicyclists have the same rights as other vehicles to be on the road, they are also expected to obey the rules of the road. Obey traffic signs and signals. Signal when turning or slowing. Lights are required for bicyclist who ride at dusk or after dark. A white light on the front visible at least 500 feet, and a red light visible at least 600 feet on the rear are strongly recommended.

Motorists are required by law to leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycles of not less than three feet. Motorists should always pass on the left - as should bicyclists if they must pass stopped or slower vehicles.

Do you do a "check" of the bike before leaving? Are there safety checks before leaving? Make sure your tires are properly inflated - the PSI recommendations are usually on the tire sidewall and range from 35 PSI's for a child's bike, to 120 PSI for a road bike. Check your tires for wear in the tread as well as the sidewalls. Carry a spare tube and pump or air cartridge with you and know how to change a tire.

Check your brakes. Brakes should be powerful enough to bring your bicycle to a complete stop. You should be able to reach your brake levers easily.

Make sure your helmet fits properly. It should sit on top of your head, not to the back or to one side or the other. You should not be able to get more than one finger between your chin and the chin strap.

What gear should you have? The most important gear for safe cycling is a helmet. A way to carry water is probably next on the list if you plan to be out for very long. Lights and reflectors are good for early morning/late evening - and lights are required for riding after dark.

What are tips parents need to know when starting out with a young cyclist?

Tips for beginning cyclists as far as safety? Tips for general handling?
Anything else safety oriented you can think of...

For the last three questions, I directed her to several handouts from the Bike Walk Tennessee website.

And this is the resulting article.

The most amazing thing to me are the comments at the end of the article - or perhaps - the CAVE people do not read the Lifestyles section of the newspaper.

Contact your local newspaper and see if you can get a similar article published. It's good for everyone.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

US Bike route workshop in Chattanooga

Ginny Sullivan of Adventure Cycling is hosting a workshop on creating the US Bike Route System in conjuction with the ABW leadership retreat and Pro Walk Pro Bike at the Delta Queen in Chattanooga. It will be on Monday, Sept 13, 1-4 pm EDT. It is open to all, no registration to anything is required.  I plan to be there. Please spread the word. 

US Bike Route workshop flier.

ABW Leadership Retreat Agenda

Upcoming book - Joyride by Mia Birk

Looking forward to the release of this book. It will be interesting to find out how Portland was able to radically transform itself without spending a lot of money. What works there, should work elsewhere too. The book also describes the failures, so that others do not make the same mistakes.

Speaking of which, Pedaling Revolution by Jeff Mapes is another "must read" that goes into how change is taking place all over the country. Pedaling Revolution is already available.

Monday, July 12, 2010


What are rumble strips?:
. . Rumble strips are raised or grooved patterns in a road’s shoulder designed to alert drivers with noise and vibrations that they are drifting off the roadway. They can be an effective safety measure to prevent run‐off‐the‐road (ROR) crashes, especially on limited‐access highways and rural two‐lane highways with long straight sections.(Rumble strips placed on the centerline can help prevent head‐on crashes.)

How do rumble strips impact cyclists?
. . Rumble strips are virtually impossible to ride a bicycle on or over– they are at best uncomfortable, even for a very short distance, and at worst can cause a cyclist to lose control of their bike and fall. They can damage a bicycle wheel, can cause a flat tire, and/or shake lose parts off a bicycle. Consequently, cyclists will avoid riding over themii – and when rumble strips leave no room on a shoulder, the cyclist will have no other option than to ride in the travel lane. While rumble strips do not deter car, truck or bus travel, they have a severe impact on bicycling travel, and have ruined popular cycling routes.
. . The negative impact of rumble strips on the ride‐ability of a roadway has prompted American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to provide guidance to follow when considering rumble strips on roadways used by cyclists. They recommend that rumble strips should not be used indiscriminately on roadways that are not limited‐access. Rumble strips should be used where there is a history of run‐off‐the‐road crashes; especially where there is sufficient recovery room for a motorist to react to the alert provided by the rumble strip; and when the impact cyclists can be minimized. This means that at least four feet of unobstructed roadway shoulder remains after the rumble strips have been installed.
. . States should train and monitor contractors to ensure best practices are followed. Advocates should work with their state DOTs, Municipal Planning Organizations (MPOs), and county road commissions to verify that unnecessary rumble strips are not installed and that preferred bicycling routes, especially, are kept free of rumble strips. It is important to get it right the first time. Improperly installed rumble strips are expensive to repair – often costing many times more than the original installation – and usually cannot be repaired without leaving behind an uneven surface or a shoulder prone to early failure.

Specific Elements to Address
. . 1. Too wide – many rumble strips are excessively wide, removing limited space on the shoulder for bicyclists to travel.
. . 2. Too deep – most rumble strips are ground‐in to depths that are excessive and dramatically more dangerous for cyclists.
. . 3. Continuous – rumble strips without gaps in the strip do not allow a safe way for cyclists to cross, merge or turn without hitting rumble strips.
. . 4. Placement – the lateral placement in a shoulder can make a shoulder that was once very comfortable to a bicyclist unusable.

More on Rumble Strips continues via the League of American Bicyclists at:

Lots more information on Rumble Strips in Tennessee can be found at the Bike Walk TN website at:


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chattanooga Bike Share Program

The City of Chattanooga and Outdoor Chattanooga, in partnership with CARTA, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program to establish a network of 30 public bike share stations in the Chattanooga region. A bike share program is a network of secure kiosks where people can check out bicycles to ride to lunch, business meetings, to class, the grocery store or just for fun. The first Chattanooga stations will be located around the central business district, University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus and the North Shore. The program expands upon the Outdoor Chattanooga Mobile Bicycle Fleet, which was created with support from TDOT, CARTA and the Lyndhurst Foundation and has introduced bicycling as transportation to thousands of downtown workers and students. Requests for proposals from bike share vendors will be issued later this month, with selection and contracts completed by September 30, 2010. Operations are expected to begin in spring, 2011. To find out how you can participate as an individual or business owner in this program, contact Outdoor Chattanooga Bicycle Coordinator Philip Pugliese at (423) 643-6887 or to learn more, visit

Friday, July 9, 2010

Illinois Bicyclists Get Anti-harassment Law

Click here to read the details as provided by the Alliance for Biking and Walking.  Is it time for Tennessee to pass a similar law?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reducing lanes lead to travel safety

A road diet involves narrowing or eliminating travel lanes on a roadway to make more room for pedestrians and bicyclists.(1) While there can be more than four travel lanes before treatment, road diets are often conversions of four-lane, undivided roads into three lanes — two through lanes plus a center turn lane (see figure 1 and figure 2). The fourth lane may be converted to a bicycle lane, sidewalk, and/or on- street parking. In other words, the existing cross section is reallocated. This was the case with the two sets of treatments in the current study. Both involved conversions of four lanes to three at almost all sites. More on this is at:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Promoting A Biking Walking Facility

Here is a docu-video promoting our recently acquired derelict railroad Depot in Johnson City that will be (once preserved and developed) a trail head for a biking and hiking greenway through the city and countryside. This is linking a Rails-to-Trails project with a civic muti-use trail that will allow safe biking and walking for all ages and ability levels. It will link historic sites, parks, schools, beautiful natural resources, residential neighborhoods, shopping areas, and provide an alternative venue for transportation to work and play. As this project develops we will be documenting it with video resources. View at: This is one example of how encouraging broader public support of safer biking and pedestrian projects can be effective in engaging civic leadership.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The economics of oil dependence

Here's an analysis that's a rehash of an analysis I had previously posted 2-13 on on the high costs associated with car dependence, purely from an economic perspective. Today being independence day, and there being many cartoons pointing out our current lack of independence from oil (FWIW, President George W. Bush said that "America is addicted to oil"), let's look at the numbers again.

Note: I would have liked to start with one such cartoon, but I cannot due to copyright restrictions.

Total number of miles driven annually in the USA - 2 trillion (2 * 10^12)
Assume that each vehicle gets an average of 20-25 miles/US gallon
So 80-100 billion gallons of gas were burned to move the cars.
If each car lasts 150,000-200,000 miles on average, that means that 10-13 million cars were "spent"

Now let's suppose that each car costs (including insurance, maintenance, registration, etc.) $15,000 to $30,000. Let's assume that gas costs $2/gal, excluding taxes - taxes are excluded because they fund the government to some degree.

So the total money spent on cars in a year is between 310 billion to 590 billion dollars. Notice how I've excluded environmental effects (e.g. pollution, sprawl) as well as the health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. If we assume that a typical family has 4 people, and a total US population is roughly 300 million people, each family spends between $4100 to $7900 every year, or $11 to $22 each and every day including weekends and holidays on such.

Of course cars have their utility. Things like traveling long distances, hauling large quantities of things, and so forth are difficult if not impossible without a car. But car dependency is a form of addiction, and is a very costly habit. Imagine if biking and walking (and mass transit!) were realistic alternatives for a majority of trips, how much money would be saved.

Bike-Path Crusaders: How They Roll - AARP Bulletin Article

The July/August 2010 edition of the AARP Bulletin's article entitled Biketopia, led me to the attached video. The article itself explains how Brunswick, Maine became a LAB designated Bike Friendly Community.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which was formed over 10 years ago, diligently works to keep issues in front of the community officials and planning groups in the area.

I think the take home message for this article is in line with my theory of how to affect change in your community - Relationship building, education, persistence and patience.

Go here to read the article -

Or look for your personal copy of AARP Bulletin in your mailbox...and I know you get it....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why Bike and Walk?

My name is Tim Nagae from Community Television Network, Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We produce a local TV show called, "Eco Sense," which is about energy and environment.  The next Eco Sense show will feature the issues of walking and biking with panelists, Eli Cooper of the City of Ann Arbor's Transportation Specialist and Nancy Shore of the Ann Arbor GetDowntown Program.  We have just made a short video, "Why Bike & Walk," promoting biking and walking activities in town, which will be used during this studio show.  The Ann Arbor Energy Office just posted the above video. 

New State Recreation Plan Emphasizes Activity

Governor Bredesen and TDEC-Recreation Education Services' release of Tennessee 2020: Vision for Parks, People and Landscapes shows a strong attitude toward attacking the roots of our inactive lifestyles and related diseases of obesity and diabetes by fully developing our natural recreational resources. Part of the new plan we as members of Bike Walk TN should strongly support is the
2015 Action Plan:
"TDEC/RES and PARTAS will develop incentives to encourage cities and counties to enter into school-parks agreements that open school recreation facilities to the public; to encourage high growth counties that lack a county-wide department to form one; to encourage creation of local greenways, with an emphasis on connectivity of greenways, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks into local or regional networks; to help under served counties develop multi-county parks and recreation entities, and to hold a Recreation Summit in 2010 to focus on issues relating to local parks and recreation departments."
This plan’s Quality Growth initiative will encourage county planning commissions to recognize recreation resources as significant community facilities in their comprehensive plans, to include parks representatives on their commissions, to include funding for parkland acquisition as part of the subdivision permitting process, and to ensure that undeveloped land will be protected to provide for future recreation needs.
In addition to the health related impacts of the new vision of Tennessee 2020 plan are the strong economic impacts of investing in recreation resources. Bicycle tourism and walking and hiking opportunities for individuals and families are strong factors in building economic growth especially in rural communities.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wheels of Change

Click here to read a GREAT article on how Two-wheel vehicles are taking over in the birth home of the Four-wheel carbon-belcher.

Cars Make You Fat

"Providing smartly planned public transit options for fast-growing, sprawling metros can reduce the prevalence of obesity, which has been strongly related to time spent in one's automobile," Stokes said. "Transit planners need to work with municipal planners and public safety agencies to create safe and attractive transit environments that maximize use of LRT lines," he added.

For the full article and references click this link.