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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting and staying fit with help

(Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia: picture may be reproduced and modified provided that this copyright notice is included.) This tip from points to the benefits of walking with a dog. Currently, 61% of dog owners walk their dogs regularly. When one has a dog that has to be walked, one gets one's exercise as the dog gets its exercise. Walking the dog is also a great treat for it, and people with dogs tend to become more physically active than those who don't.

Speaking of which, dogs can be walked in a variety of environments. Anywhere from an urban sidewalk to a suburban low-traffic neighborhood make good places to walk for exercise. Greenways are another popular option, although care needs to be taken to ensure that a leash is not too long or too thin. A leash that is too long can make the dog's path of travel unpredictable to passersby, and a leash that is too thin can be hard for other walkers and cyclists to see.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Haslam Comments on Bronze Award

NASHVILLE (- The League of American Bicyclists has named Tennessee a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly State in its fourth annual BFS rankings. The award recognizes the state for its collaboration with local agencies and bicycle advocates, efforts to provide safe routes to school for children who bicycle or walk, and commitment to safety and accommodation of all users.
"I want to congratulate TDOT, members of the General Assembly, and the dozens of local stakeholders who have worked together to achieve this designation," Haslam said. "As a bicyclist myself, I realize the importance of safety in offering this healthy option as we encourage Tennesseans to take responsibility for their personal health."

Thursday, May 26, 2011 - Knoxville Area Commuting Challenge

I just received an email from Chuck Morris detailing some of the dismal facts surrounding the commute situation in the 7 county area surrounding Knoxville. A green commuting event is scheduled for Friday, May 27 at Market Square in downtown Knoxville at noon to highlight the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization's SmartTrips program.

The dismal facts of the current situation are quoted below.
About 1/2 pound of CO2 emissions would fill up a beach ball that is 24 inches around when inflated. The average U.S. commuter generates 57 pounds of CO2 each day. That's about 100 beach balls per day for each person!

The average commute time for the 7-county Knoxville region is just over 26 miles one way. 84.5% of commuters in our region drive alone to work daily.

If just half of the region’s drive alone commuters took an alternative to driving alone for one day, at 20 miles to the gallon average, they would save nearly half a million gallons of fuel. At $4 per gallon that would represent a savings of around $2 million dollars.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Walking infrastructure - Transportation for America

A report by Transportation for America points to how there were 47,700 pedestrian fatalities during the decade 2000-2009. Such translates to around 13 deaths a day, 91 a week, or about 390 a month. As they put it, we would certainly not tolerate a jumbo jet crashing with no survivors each and every month of the year.

While it's true that many local streets are built with local money, the busier streets usually have a federal funding component, and they are the streets that tend to be busiest and most dangerous, as well as most often traveled. Currently, pedestrian funding composes a mere 1.5% of the federal transportation budget. But such is being targeted for elimination nevertheless. Eliminating that funding would only make matters worse for pedestrians, which would increase car dependency and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable. It would de facto make streets only for cars, rather than complete ones that are for all users.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bicycling and miminum wage - an interesting point

After writing the Knoxville News Sentinel about how one can spend significantly less money by replacing a fraction of trips by bike or foot, there was a very interesting reply by an astute reader. This reader points out two facts: first, that even with high gas prices, saving $2000 a year in gas means riding a whopping 13,700 miles, which is unrealistic. Second, that one would make more money working minimum wage ($7.25/hr) with the time one spends cycling, if we factor in the differences in travel time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

FHWA Issues New Rumble Guidance

Last week FHWA sent out new guidance to the states regarding rumble strips (see attached).  These guidelines replace the Roadway Shoulder Rumble Strips from December 2001.  Essentially it talks about the effectiveness of rumbles and then advises states on a number of issues, with one issue being that states should use mitigation strategies for rumbles in instances where a shoulder is less than 4'.  It practically mirrors the standards that TDOT adopted last year.
Jessica L. Wilson, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator

2011 League of American Bicyclist Award to Tennessee

Tennessee is the Bronze Award winner in this year’s survey by the League of American Bicyclist’s for Bicycle Friendly States.  In a conversation with Jessica Wilson, Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator for Tennessee Department of Transportation, Andy Clark, President of LAB said, “We were all really impressed and excited with what you’re getting done in Tennessee; reading the application was a real bright spot, and Jeff [Peel] is a fan!.”

In 2010 Tennessee jumped from 43’rd to 24’th in the League’s ranking of the States.  Competition was a lot tougher this year. Andy said, “More states have done a better job of getting improved policies on the books.” However, last year’s jump for Tennessee was no fluke.  Even with most states doing a better job in 2011, it held with a 27’th position.

The League was disappointed this year with performance of all States in Infrastructure.  Andy commented, “On infrastructure, states generally do a poor job (in our view) of obligating funds, especially non TE and Safe Routes funds, for bike/ped projects. Last year, many states compounded this by sending huge amounts back to Washington as part of the rescissions process. So yes, the vast majority of states got an F. You will also note that no states got an A overall and there are no awards higher than Silver for individual states.”

Last year, 95% of Tennessee’s rescission came from Transportation Enhancement and Congestion Mitigation:  Two areas where a large portion of funding goes to support Bike and Pedestrian improvement projects. 

Friday, May 20, 2011


This survey is open to all residents of Middle TN. Among other data, the survey asks questions about bicycle accidents. We are trying to find out how many accidents or close calls are occurring between bicyclists and motorists, for example, and how many of these crashes are under reported.

So far we have over 350 responses and over half have indicated a bicycle crash within the last five years. We will use these responses to increase bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and to work with law enforcement and other groups on understanding and enforcing laws pertaining to all motorists who share the road.

Thank you,
Leslie Meehan

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AASHTO approves first new bicycle routes this century

AASHTO has approved several new bicycle routes,the first since the 1980's. Michigan has been especially active in promoting the route network and it is their model we hope to emulate in Tennessee. The link below lists the routes as well as some recent economic impact studies demonstrating major economic benefit from cycling facilities.
AASHTO approves new routes.

Also, please show Tennessee's support by donating to the US Bicycle Route system at our website.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ride of Silence - May 18 7:00 PM

The Ride of Silence is a short, slow, commemorative bike ride in memory of all the cyclists who have been killed or injured on the streets. It takes place the third Wednesday in May. Locations within the state that are hosting this ride are as follows (taken from the Ride of Silence Website):

and Nashville.

If your town/city doesn't have a ride and there isn't one in a town or city close to you, you might want to consider starting one next year. Current ride organizers are probably more than willing to help.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bicycling Terminology - The Right Hook

The right hook refers to a type of car/bicycle conflict that takes place at intersections. As illustrated in the figure above, a right-turning car can turn in front of a bicycle traveling straight. If the cyclist cannot avoid running into the turning vehicle on time, a crash results.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New York Bike Lanes

Want more info? Click here

Monday, May 9, 2011

Share the Road Bicycle Rodeo

Hi, I wanted to pass along the flyer for the Bicycle Rodeo at the Share the Road Festival on May 21st.  Here are the details:
The Tennessee Share the Road Festival is FREE and features music, games, food, prizes and a motorcycle show.  
The Bicycle Rodeo for children of all ages being held from 2:30-3:30.  The rodeo will teach children basic bicycle safety skills including:
§         Proper bicycle and helmet fit
§         Balance
§         Turning and stopping
§         Games to improve coordination
We would appreciate your assistance in sharing this information.  I realize this is the same day as the Tour de Nash and Tour de Cure, but this event is in the late afternoon which may work for some folks.  If you need additional copies or more information, feel free to contact me at 615-862-7211 or  For more information about the festival, visit  

Leslie A. Meehan, AICP | Senior Transportation Planner
Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Doris West - RIP

I just learned yesterday about the passing of Doris West up in Ann Arbor, MI at the age of 92 from the Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition. The Doris West Cycling Spirit Award has been set up in her honor for car-free locals up there (link not provided since people in TN aren't eligible.)

I had a chance to ride with her once or twice at their annual fourth of July rides, although I didn't know she had been car-free and rode or walked anywhere and everywhere since 1956 until her death in 2010. More information on her is available here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

US Bicycle Route System Fundraiser

Dear Fellow Cyclists,

May is national bike month and the second annual US Bicycle Route system fundraiser.  Adventure Cycling is spearheading the development of a national route system to link major cities and other desirable destinations. Jessica Wilson, Tennessee Bike/Ped Coordinator, and TDOT have signed on to be part of the system. Bike Walk Tennessee is helping develop the route.   In this time of austerity at all governmental levels any development done by us will go a long way toward making the system a reality.  We will need your time, talent, and money to this project.  Right now it's money. To donate, click here or the image below.  The Razoo donation service is supplying their service for free so all the money will go to Adventure Cycling. Twenty percent of the money donated through the Bike Walk Tennessee page will be returned to Bike Walk Tennessee for local expenses.  If you would like to set up your own team page, click here.

Just imagine someday planning a cross country bicycle trip as easily as planning an automobile trip. Make it happen!

Thank you for your support,
Bruce Day
Regional Director
Bike Walk Tennessee


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bike Walk Tennessee Makes the Sunday Paper

In the good old days making the Sunday newspaper was a big deal since it had the largest circulation of the week. The daily paper is dying but Facebook hasn't killed it yet. The Bike Walk Tennessee legislative effort to enhance penalties for distracted driving made the Memphis Commercial Appeal today. It's a first rate article and also made the Tennessean (and maybe some other statewide papers).