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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Commuting on a YikeBike?

Some days the New York Times Magazine has just the right story that brings out a smile in me and a sudden desire to go out and buy something like a YikeBike. Doubt if the exercise component is great when wheeling along on this new invention but at least you don't have to buy a parking space or stop and fill up the tank at $3.45 per gallon.

It’s an electric bike. Top speed is about 15 miles an hour. The accelerator and brakes are smoothly controlled by buttons that are right under your thumbs on the handlebars. The handlebars themselves are at your waist level, which might seem odd but makes sense—you ride sitting fully upright instead of bending forward, as on a bicycle. That design also means that you can jump forward off the bike in a crisis; there’s no hardware in your way.

Here’s the twist: the whole thing folds down into its own front wheel. You undo four stainless-steel latches, then snap the back wheel, seat and handlebars into the front one. It takes about 10 seconds.

The YikeBike is therefore perfect for covering that distance between your home and the train station. You can fold it down and set it next to you on the train, then unfold it and ride to your office at the other end.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Idaho Stop Law

Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.
. . Currently, Idaho is the only state containing such a law, known as the "Idaho Stop", with no negative impact whatsoever on bicycle safety or crash statistics.  
. . Despite opposition from car insurance companies, a Utah House committee endorsed a HB155 that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as if they were yield signs. Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said the bill would make roads safer and would reflect what cyclists already do. She said allowing cyclists to merely slow and proceed when no cars are present allows them to be less wobbly when going through intersections.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Some guidelines for implementng the US Bike Route System!/notes/us-bicycle-route-system/6-steps-to-implementing-us-bicycle-routes/10150110322955982
This is an excellent model for us when we present our Tennessee plans for the USBR system.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Proper bicycle lighting

In view of the recently reported nighttime (motorized) bicycle crash, here is a review of how to be safely lit when riding at night. Statistically, nighttime riding has a much higher crash rate than daytime riding, although the studies do not distinguish between those riders who were properly lit and those who were not.

The basic principle of being properly lit at night is to have at least one white/yellow light pointing forward, and one red light pointing back. Reflectors are not enough. Riding on lit streets is not enough. Beyond that, everything is details. Sadly, large numbers of riders are not aware of these principles.

BWT Introduces Bill to Improve Traffic Safety.

As introduced, HB1007/SB1171 broadens requirement that drivers exercise due care to apply to bicyclists; enhances penalty for certain traffic violations that cause serious bodily injury or death. - Amends TCA Title 55, Chapter 8.

Both sponsors are on the Transportation Committee and are two of the smartest and most well spoken legislators who will do a good job with the legislation. That said we need to get some co-sponsors especially if they’re on the Transportation Committee or Republican or both.  The bill will probably be sent for comment to the Department of Safety and the Department of Correction. 

Although we don't need to start some massive grassroots campaign just yet but we should consider how to get people involved especially through bicycle clubs. Don’t take anything for granted! If you can help contact Mark Hicks or Carey Rogers at Bike

Tennessee Well Represented at Bike Summit

In the last Board of Directors meeting Secretary and Director Anthony Siracusa described plans for Tennessee's twelve delegates to the National Bike Summit in DC to meet with their nine Congressional Representatives.  Anthony who is coordinating Tennessee's participation on March 9'th through 11'th felt it would be one of the largest at the Summit. Members are from various Tennessee Planning agencies and their contractors and from Bike Walk Tennessee.  For further information or to give input to your delegation contact Anthony at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bike/Ped Funding Safe for now.

Thank you for all your great work and preparation to protect federal funding for biking and walking this week. I know many of you have done some incredible outreach to your members of Congress and their staff, educating them about the important ways that biking and walking contribute to our health, our economy, and our communities.

Well, great news: It worked!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bike Safety Event in Johnson City

Jeremiah Dyer will be teaching bicycle safety to 60 preschoolers at the First Presbyterian Preschool in Johnson City, TN! I will send home to their parents an informational brochure on proper helmet fitting and basic safety tips! It is exciting to be a part of the lives of tomorrow's great cyclists! Jeremiah is a world qualified cyclist and looks to be a voice for bicycle safety and improvements in Northeast Tennessee. Read more about Jeremiah HERE.

Bike/Ped Not Singled for Cut in House Budget

Some good news – biking and walking were not singled out or cut in the budget bill the U.S. House put forward Friday night.  But we aren’t out of the woods yet. Now we shift to “Amendment Watch.”
The board of America Bikes met Saturday to assess and plan for a big week ahead; here is our plan:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meeting With Your Member of Congress

Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Bike and Walking has provided “talking points” when meeting with legislators.  At risk is funding of Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to Schools.  Without support these programs are expected to be eliminated.

Jeff focuses on:
- Bicycling and walking are essential to our communities.
- Bicycling and walking programs are cost-effective and solve multiple problems: Reduce congestion, create jobs, increase real estate values, reduce healthcare costs, minimize transportation infrastructure costs
- More bicycles are sold than cars and trucks combined. Bike commuting increased more than 40 percent between 2001 and 2008.

How can you help? Please forward to SPECIFIC examples how bicycles and pedestrian activities have helped your community.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Biking- A Possibly Crazy Way To Get Around

You can tell me I'm crazy for snow biking in the winter but it is GREAT fun and a much better way to get around town than sliding through traffic in a pricey automobile. Why not head for a biking trail on a snowy day and feel the bliss of winter's quiet white appeal. Head to the top of Roan Mtn. and slice through the drifts on a set of big nobbies or ride to the market for a hunk of brie.

We can learn from some intrepids in Alaska who fine biking in the winter a regular venue for transportation and exercise.

"The appeals of winter bike commuting – whether it’s the calories burned or the gasoline saved – have never captivated large numbers of the state’s residents, but every sizeable community in Alaska probably has at least a few diehards who refuse to put their bikes away when the snow starts falling. In Fairbanks, bicyclists’ blinking tail lights can be seen flashing through the ice fog even when it’s 20 or 30 degrees F. below zero." More on winter biking HERE....

Parks + Bikes = Connection

Headed to a state or national park? Biking is one of the best ways to experience nature and the Park Service is gearing up to provide biking facilities for visitors

There is great riding to be had in our national parks. A bike rider is more open to the environment and more aware of their surroundings than is possible from inside a motor vehicle. Plus, the bike can cover more ground than two feet alone, and riders can easily stop to appreciate wildlife or scenery.

Cycling is friendly to the environment in the parks and to the health of the rider. These qualities bring cycling in line with the goals of the National Park Service and help make bicycling a great way to visit the parks.

But not everyone who might like to experience the parks by bike gets the chance to. In some cases, visitors don't realize that cycling is allowed. For others, it's difficult enough just to get to a national park, to say nothing of arriving with a bike. Visitors get solitude at CanyonA growing number of national parks are helping bridge that gap with rental programs, bike sharing, and bike tours for visitors.Find out how parks and biking make a good mix HERE.

Right Turn without stopping

Two bills are now in the TN General Assembly that would allow motorists to turn right at intersections without stopping as the current law requires.  At first thought, passage of these bills would increase the danger to bicyclists and pedestrians for being injured at these intersections.  More bicyclists are injured due to the infamous "right hook" than any other cause.  It appears to me that these bills only make matters worse.  What do you think?

Click here to view the Senate Bill and here to view the House version.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Preparing for the Bike Summit

Probably in no prior year will the representation of our advocates at the annual Bike Summit in DC be more important. Preparation is critical.
The Alliance for Biking and Walking (ABW) is having three hour-long teleconferences on February 9’th, 16’th, and 23’rd to help prepare them for the Bike Summit meeting.  Please see the calendar on THIS blog for the details on how to register.  Although ABW prefers that you register, you can “drop-in” if you find your last-minute schedule allows. Just check with any registrant for the call-in number and the meeting code.  These meetings are free and conducted on  These conference calls typically are the joint effort of the Alliance, the League of American Bicyclists, and America Bikes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Musings on parking requirements

The recent requirements for certain levels of bicycle parking at retail establishments in Farragut, Alcoa, and other cities and towns brought out the question of the effects of parking requirements on urban and suburban development. Traditionally, outside of downtowns, retail developments were required to have a certain number of parking spaces in order to accommodate their expected customer base, and then some. The rationale was that if parking wasn't readily available, then people would park their cars at adjacent establishments; this spillover then unfairly hurts the establishments next door.

But "free" parking really isn't free. One big effect of the parking requirements is that stores became much more widely spread. The resultant lower density made bus service less and less practical. In addition, walking and cycling as transportation options became less practical as well due to increased travel distances and increased high-speed traffic levels. In recent years, municipalities have started to reduce but not eliminate their parking requirements in a bid to reverse these unintended effects.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Complete Streets: State of the Practice

Register here for webinar - Complete Streets: State of the Practice on Wednesday, February 16 at 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST.  As a special offer, attend this webinar for $65, a $10 savings off the regular price.  Enter NMDISCT at check-out.