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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wheelchair fatality in Knoxville

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting on a fatality of a motorized wheelchair user who was struck by a right-turning vehicle. The vehicle was turning right onto Kingston Pike from the western end of Forest Glen Drive around 1:30 PM, on September 28, and apparently struck the wheelchair when the wheelchair entered the intersection from the sidewalk. Forest Glen Drive has a stop sign for the car. The crash is still under investigation. Details are sketchy. What are some safety tips for wheelchairs out in traffic, and what can people do to make tragedies like this one less likely to occur in the future? Are wheelchairs more like pedestrians, or more like slow vehicles in their handling characteristics?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Public Meeting on Tweetsie Trail Draws Full House

This from the Johnson City Press Chronicle of 09.28.11 on a Rail-to-Trail project in NE TN. Dealing with property owner's fears of crime and vandalism will always be part of this type of a civic venture. One positive result of this project is that it has united many user group including hikers, bicycle riders, pedestrians, nature lovers, horse back riders, and conservationists in a common voice for investment in livable infrastructure that benefits all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bike Commuting Increasing Except In South

Study shows slow growth of bike commuting in some areas.

A good article in Atlantic Magazine looks at the growth of bike commuting in various regions. Our culture of using passive transportation is slow to change toward the use of more active transportation modes.

"Converting to bicycle commuting is all the rage in U.S. cities, if the proliferation of blogs devoted to the topic is any indication. But we wanted to know: Just how big have increases in the percentage of bike commuters been in specific cities? Are there regional differences? Cities where bike commuting isn't catching on at all? We surveyed 55 major U.S. cities to see if we could find the answer.  While there are stark differences across individual cities, taken as a group these metros saw an average increase in their percentage of regular bicycle commuters of 70 percent between 2000 and 2009."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thanks for your action

This from Adventure Cycling:

Dear cycling friends, Thanks to many of you, we have made real progress these last two weeks on two major national issues for cyclists: federal support for cycling, and rumble strip applications that threaten to harm important cycling routes. 

First, there is good news from Washington, DC. The US House and Senate decided to extend current law and funding on transportation, including investments in bike facilities, through the end of March 2012. If you contacted your Senators, you made a big difference – they heard from over 50,000 constituents (and possibly many more) that bicycling is a worthwhile and cost- effective investment for transportation and recreation. We will need to make the same kind of push in 2012 to ensure that a modest level of national investment in cycling remains in force.

Second, as you may know, Adventure Cycling has been working hard over the last two years with national and local groups to make sure that rumble strips are used appropriately and not in ways that destroy the ability of cyclists to use important rural and suburban roads for

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Riding in the dark

With the start of autumn almost upon us, the daylight hours are getting fewer. Unfortunately, with increased hours of darkness, crashes like the one that killed David Perkey are more likely when cyclists are out in the dark. He was apparently hit by a hit-and-run driver, and subsequently killed. While hit-and-run is never acceptable, the report states that he was riding without lights or reflectors. It's possible to ride safely in the dark, provided that proper equipment is used. More important than what lights to have, is to have working front and rear lights to begin with. Reflectors and other reflective gear is good, but they by themselves are not enough. They only are visible when light is directly shining on them, whereas an actual light shines regardless. Headlights are typically mounted on handlebars or atop one's bike helmet. Some cyclists prefer to have both. They range from cheap "be-seen" sorts of lights, all the way to extremely powerful (comparable to car headlight) systems used for mountain biking. Taillights typically mount on the seat post or rear rack, although there are also bar end taillights available. The latter may provide a sense of width to traffic. Numerous flash patterns are available, although I personally feel that the vast majority of flash patterns are "cute" but don't really add to safety. Since one cannot readily tell if a rear light has failed, it's preferable to have at least two rear lights for a degree of redundancy. So, what lights do you use and recommend? I use a converted 2AA cell Maglite (with a 140 lumen LED mod from terralux) mounted with a twofish lockblock for my front light, and a planet bike superflash for the rear. Being somewhat interested in electronics myself, if people would like to learn about additional details about bicycle lighting, I would be glad to provide a primer. But ultimately, having working lights for all (street lights, reflective clothing, and reflectors are never enough) is way more important than what specific lights to have.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bike Funding at Risk

. . All of the funding for active transportation--walking and biking--is proposed to be cut. This is the biggest threat to healthy active lifestyles since 1991. No more coordination to ensure that YOU have the choice to walk or ride a bike to get where you want to go. Just take the car and shut up--that is the message. We need to help the OK Senator see the public health value of choice here--Imhoff is leading the charge--and our delegation needs to get the message.
Let your congressional delegation know how you feel and what is at stake.
Bud Laumer

Monday, September 5, 2011

Red-light cameras no longer used for non-stopping right-turns

The Farragut Press Enterprise is reporting that red light cameras in town will no longer be used to enforce the requirement that vehicles come to a complete stop at a red light before turning right due to legislation passed by the state legislature. While the so-called rolling stop remains illegal, only actual law enforcement on scene will be allowed to enforce such. The cameras will continue to be used for citing straight through red light running and running red lights on left-turns. Cameras can now enforce right-turn violations only where right-turns on red are explicitly prohibited. Does this looser enforcement of right turns on red increase the dangers facing pedestrians?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Walking/Cycling for weight loss - calories burned

How many calories do people typically burn walking and cycling? How realistic can working these activities into our daily lives help people lose excess weight? I did a quick survey of an online guide to obtain some numbers.