Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Roads Are Here To Stay

Are bike paths going to become so common, and so widespread someday that bicyclists can simply eliminate the need for road riding? At least one of Delaware's top bicycling advocates believes this can happen. For those of us that ride for transportation today, however, we know this is pure fantasy.

Above: Wilmapco's NCC Bike and Pathways Plan. Even the most optimistic outcome still forces most residents onto arterial roads and intersections to gain pathway access at both ends of their journey (click HERE to view in pdf).

Any successful bicycle advocate will attest that an off-road network of trails and pathways is crucial to any bicycle plan, but it must be combined with rigorous Complete Streets implementation. Only then can we tap into the "Enthused and Confident" segment of the bicycling public, and measurably increase non-motorized transportation modeshare. Unfortunately, Delaware is opting almost exclusively for Trails and Pathways - at the expense of on-road facilities - with the hope that we can increase the number of "interested but concerned" that might try bicycling. This will have little impact on commuting and every day trips from home - in other words, reducing auto dependency. Most of these bicyclists will only rack up and drive to the nearest pathway/trail head.

Issues with Multi-User Pathways

Many, if not most of the facilities in the map above follow the ROW (right of way) of existing roads. Where a pathway that is 8'+ wide travels alongside a road, it becomes known as a parallel Multi-User Path (MUP). It is misleading to describe these facilities as "bike paths" or "bicycle highways", because they are shared by multiple user types - including dog walkers and skaters. Where these exist, the addition of bike lanes and/or shared roadway signs is paramount. Left out, many drivers will view the road as theirs, and bicyclists avoiding the path as arrogant. Angrily, they will try to enforce their own imaginary version of a sidepath law.

Above: Route 4 in Ogletown, in front of the new Delaware School for the Deaf. This is a classic example of a parallel MUP, which also happens to be designated as part of the East Coast Greenway

When a parallel MUP is present, it may be viewed by DelDOT as an adequate replacement for on-road facilities, such as bike lanes. In the above photo, a new CVS retail store was just built on Route 4 in S. Newark at the corner of Marrows Road - without bike lanes.

Trumped Bike Lanes: Like so many others, both of the new construction sites above had their New Castle County Code bike lane requirement waived. Though we have been unable to confirm this, a likely reason involves the parallel MUP filling the role as a bicycle facility. Similar thinking - that DOTs can make bicyclists separate but equal - is what spawned the Vehicular Cycling movement back in the 1970s.

Rights Sacrificed: Those who choose to bike a parallel MUP instead of the road relinquish their rights as a legal vehicle under Title 21, and must stop for traffic at all intersections, side roads, and driveways. Too often, curb ramps are narrow and designed only for pedestrians. These facilities do serve a role for those who wouldn't bike otherwise, or to connect services, but intermediate and advanced bicyclists riding for distance won't hesitate to use the road instead.

Maintenance & Rehab: Even the most popular MUPs are the last to receive any kind of maintenance or surface repair, unless under local jurisdiction. Parks and Recreation does a magnificant job with upkeep on the James F. Hall and Pomeroy Trails in the City of Newark. For the remainder of Delaware, which is mostly unincorporated, MUPs are built and then left to decay until they become hazardous and no longer bikeable.

Above: The MUP along Route 72, from Route 4 South to Old Baltimore Pike. What used to be an 8' wide parallel MUP 20+ years ago is reduced to approx 6' or less from erosion and lack of edge control. Because there are no shoulders, the MUP is the only choice bicyclists have, unless they ride in the high speed lane of traffic.

Above: Numerous sections of the Route 72 MUP are being reclaimed by mother nature, as seen here. It is also full of utility cuts and potholes. I have been advocating for DelDOT to repave this facility, starting when the road itself was last repaved about 10 years ago. It has fallen on deaf ears, no matter what enthusiasm our state has for Trails & Pathways.

Monday, April 28, 2014

New rumble strips pose major safety threat for Delaware bicyclists

Recent Rumble Strip applications have reduced valuable shoulder space along New Castle County roads. According to DelDOT guidance as of 2011:

"To accommodate bicyclists, a minimum effective clear shoulder width of 4 feet should be provided from the outside edge of the rumble strip groove to the outside edge of the paved shoulder, or 5 feet from the outside edge of the rumble strip groove to the front face of barrier (including curb) or guardrail. Rumble strips should be discontinued 50 feet before and started 50 feet after when adjacent to guardrail where there is less than 5 feet between the outside edge of the rumble strip and the face of the guardrail."

According to DelDOT, nearly 50% of fatalities in Delaware are roadway departure crashes. A new initiative requires systematic safety upgrades (in this case, rumble strips) to the types of roads that certain crashes are occurring on, rather than focusing on individual crash hot spots. DelDOT's construction section and the contractor have gotten off to a fast start on this project and have already installed rumble strips on many miles of roadway. So far, the results are a degradation to the comfort and safety that our uniquely shouldered roads have to offer bicyclists, that untold thousands have enjoyed for many, many years in Delaware.

Why has this happened, despite DelDOT's choosing of "Bicycle-Friendly" Rumble Strips? It's all in the consideration of placement and design. Below, in pictures, we will make the case for why we believe the design guidance must change. Failure to do so might cost Delaware its prestigious Top-10 ranking as a Bicycle-Friendly State.

This recent application on Route 72 in Bear violates the guidance, in terms of 4' feet remaining between the rumble strip and the outside shoulder edge. DelDOT has acknowledged that errors have been made, and this will be repaired.

The current DelDOT guidance calls for a 1' wide rumble strip, as well as a 1' offset to the white line. Effectively, this removes 2' of comfort zone from the shoulder, which may not be a big issue in rural areas that have wider shoulders and significantly less traffic. However, in New Castle County - where debris collection is a chronic issue - the safest position is usually the left half of the shoulder. This creates a dilemma for bicyclists, especially those with road bikes trying to protect their tires from sharps. The 1' offset to the left of the rumble strip, or the lane itself will likely become the more attractive option, placing them immediately adjacent to high speed traffic.

This very unbike-friendly rumble strip on Route 273 in Cecil County - with no escape breaks - has many bicyclists now riding in the offset or in the lane, instead of in the shoulder. At the behest of Delaware advocates, Maryland's State Highway Administration moved quickly to revise its guidelines, to ensure this design is not repeated. A history of that advocacy effort can be seen HERE.

If they were to cut rumble strips on Otts Chapel Road in Newark, bicyclists would either ride in the debris, ride in the offset, or be forced to take the lane. And this is a very fast road, with speeds in access of 60 mph. You can clearly see where the cleanest section of shoulder is; the leftmost 1/3 or 1/4. Not all roads are this bad, but varying debris in the middle to right portion of the shoulder is common, and unsafe to ride in. Quite possibly, not having rumble strips is what has allowed us to forego sweeping, because the area that will now be occupied by rumble strips is generally clear.

The Solution? 

If they are going to commit folks to bicycling in the shoulder - which is normally the case when riding on higher speed arterial roads - then the full width of the shoulder must be maintained. A possible compromise involves placing the rumble strip as part of, or on the white line. A number of other states, including South Carolina (below), Minnesota and Ohio already incorporate this design.

Rumble strip placement 1' outside the white line robs critical space needed to ride clear of debris, whereas placing it at the white line (as seen above in S. Carolina) preserves most of the shoulder.

Another example of a white line rumble strip (whereabouts unknown). Further examples can be found in the MN and OH links above.

In summary, rumble strips are here to stay, to serve the role of "lane police". They are charged with keeping drivers in their lane, largely because cell phone laws are toothless and go unenforced. That's not set to change anytime soon, therefore, we must work toward the middle ground and find solutions. While all rumble strips reduce the rideable area of a shoulder, placing them correctly - as part of the white line - could be acceptable for all road users:
  • White line rumble strips have an advantage for motorists, in that they give early warning and also increase the visibility of the edge line in dark or stormy conditions.
  • Many bicyclists have adapted to bicycle-friendly white line rumble strips, citing their presence as an audible incursion warning system.
Motorist lane drift is readily apparent to anyone who bikes for transportation in this era of electronic devices and lax law enforcement. White line rumble strips should begin to sound as the motorist drifts from the shoulder, not after. This 1' offset that DelDOT currently employs (between the white line and rumble strip) is enormous; by the time a car begins to traverse them, they are already well in the shoulder and could strike a bicyclist of pedestrian.

We strongly encourage DelDOT to re-think its current rumble strip policy and guidelines, to preserve maximum shoulder space while helping to protect the vulnerable from vehicle roadway departures. According to the FHWA, rumble strips with no offset are most effective at reducing crash rates.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend Events Wrap-up

- By Angela Connolly

As the the month of April comes to  a close, we are finally seeing  brighter weather, and Spring flowers. A very cold and snowy winter is now well behind us, and it's time to enjoy the warm weather ahead! April also brings Earth Week, and the start of many charity bike rides that happen in our area. We were fortunate enough to be able to participate in two events this past weekend.

On Friday, Delaware Bikes partnered with the Newark Bike Project to table at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostic's Earth Day Event. Employees took advantage of the beautiful, if windy, day to come out and visit the many vendors present. They were excited to learn that such a dynamic, volunteer run community bike shop exists in our area! Many signed up for NBP's e-mail newsletter, and were enthusiastic about the services and community programs that NBP offers. Employees were interested in exploring the active transportation options available to get to work and to do their errands, as well as having fun by recreational riding. Delaware Bikes also heard the concerns of the cyclists who remain hesitant about riding on the arterial roads that surround their homes, and they were reassured to hear that we actively advocate for safer road conditions for them.

A Siemens employee signs up for NBP's e-mail newsletter
As usual, our table drew lots of interest!
On Saturday, Cycle For Cecil 2014 took place. This ride featured three distances - 15 miles, 50K (31 miles), or 100K (62 miles). All routes featured rest stops that provided drinks, snacks, and restrooms. Upon completion of the ride, cyclists were rewarded with Kilby Cream Ice Cream and homemade goodies. Cycle for Cecil benefits the Cecil Land Trust, which works to preserve the open space and farmland that makes Cecil County so unique. The weather was perfect, and the organizers were very pleased with the turnout - 127 riders showed up to support this worthy cause! While Frank completed the 62 mile ride, I was very proud to ride the 15-mile route with friends, one of whom was doing her very first ride on her new bike! Great job, Ivette!

This picture reflects the great turnout that the event had!
Riders ready to go!
Finally, after the busy activities of Friday and Saturday, Sunday was a day for rest and enjoyment. We made a visit to our local garden center, Alexanders Lawn and Garden, to buy some plants. My dog, "Midnight" enjoyed riding in the trailer behind me, while Frank's trailer was loaded up with the many beautiful plants that will grow in his gardens this season. Our bikes generated lots of interest, people are always amazed at the way we use our bikes on everyday errands. Although most people think that we are absolutely nuts, we answer by saying that driving would not be nearly as enjoyable! On our bikes, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and the exercise, got to chat to several nice folks about our bikes, all the while experiencing the fun and independence of human powered transportation. Life doesn't get any better!

Our bikes loaded up at our local garden center - Plants loaded on one trailer, while Midnight peeks out out of his trailer.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Think it's bad cycling in Delaware? Think again.

Wally Hertler's 2011 Tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway started in South Carolina, via Amtrak one-way from Wilmington

The below are poignant excerpts from the article as published in Atlantic Cities:

"A report on transportation spending by Advocacy Advance, a partner of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, found that the southern states spend the least on biking and walking safety infrastructure as a percentage of their total spending. Over the last few years, Massachusetts directed more than 5 percent of its transportation spending to bicycle and pedestrian facilities. In that same time period Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi each devoted one half of one percent."

"The south is rife with stories of prominent cyclists who have been injured or killed. Last year Durham, North Carolina, lost one of its most beloved bikers, Seth Vidal, to a hit and run. The year before, Baton Rouge suffered the same fate. The year before that it was Charleston's turn. In one incident in Mississippi this past summer, 13 cyclists were struck at once in a massive accident that killed one and hospitalized the rest. Reckless driving caused all of these deaths. “Total lawlessness on behalf of drivers,” in the words of Peter Wilborn, founder of the national bike advocacy group and legal practice Bike Law."

"But Wilborn insists that education alone will never be enough to make the streets safe for bicycles. “Cycling fatalities are inversely proportional to the amount of money spent on bike infrastructure,” he says. “This is well documented. There is a number of what a state spends - and that number correlates almost exactly with its ranking on fatalities.” If you want to know the reason why South Carolina is unsafe, he says, look at how it doesn’t spend its money. Frankly, he adds, “South Carolina does as little as possible.”

"Melody Moody, the executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi, explains that her state has "a big issue with a lack of paved shoulders. We’ve been working on that for years, but with less success than we would have hoped."  [Read the whole article ...]

Poster's note: Delawareans are very fortunate to have paved shoulders on most medium to higher volume roads and arterials, with some limited bike lanes. In most states, shoulders are few and it is normal to find yourself riding in the lane on high speed roads - which can impede traffic and incite road rage. Shoulders do, however, invite higher overall speeds, and bicyclists are still not immune from distracted and aggressive driving. But such roads are safer, much more comfortable, and find favor with the vast majority of bicyclists. And we have managed to keep it that way with a solid history of on-road bicycling advocacy in Delaware.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

DelDOT Is Delaware’s 2nd Bicycle Friendly Business

Cross-posted from Bike Delaware's website

The League of American Bicyclists has designated the Delaware Department of Transportation a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business.

DelDOT is the the only government agency in Delaware [to] have earned this distinction, a distinction shared by only one other state department of transportation in the United States. Perhaps even more impressively, though, DelDOT is only the 2nd business in Delaware to be so designated. (The only other business in the state to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business is the Bike Boutique in Wilmington.)

DelDOT earned the league’s silver-level designation in recognition of its efforts to encourage department employees to bike to work and its efforts to encourage the public to bike for recreation and transportation alike. [Full article ...]

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cycling class for beginner riders on May 28


By John and Ceci McCormick

Has it been a while since you’ve ridden a bicycle? Have you decided to try it because you just got a new bike or pulled the old one out of the garage? Wait a minute. There are a few things to consider before taking that ride:
  • Do you know the rules of the road or how to wear your helmet?
  • Do you know how to shift gears or trouble shoot that mysterious squeaking noise?
  • Do you know the PSI of your tires?
  • How about how to change the tire because of a flat?
  • Do you execute an ABC Check before you ride?
If any of these questions have you scratching your head then this is the class for you …… learn simple tricks to keeping yourself safe out on the road or trail. Discover the advantage of riding with a group. And a host of other tips that will help you enjoy riding a bicycle.

Register by Friday, May 23rd. Send an email to: safety@whiteclaybicycleclub.org or call 302-528-1773 for more information. Takes place at Wilmapco in Newark (see invitation below)

April 28th: Susquehanna River Crossing Meeting

BikeAAA has joined an East Coast Greenway Alliance called the Safe Crossing Susquehanna Coalition supporting the creation of a new bike/ped Susquehanna River crossing in conjunction with a new Amtrak bridge that is being planned. There is a public meeting Monday April 28th @ 5:00 open house at the Havre de Grace Activity Center, 351 Lewis Lane, Havre de Grace MD. This is where public comments will be gathered and the voices for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge can be heard.

Other organizations signed onto the coalition include the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Maryland, Washington Area Bicycle Association, Bikemore, and the September Eleventh National Memorial Trail at this time. Sign the petition HERE.

Poster's note:  The White Clay Bicycle Club might consider signing on, as they often lead rides across the Susquehanna River further north. This would make an excellent southern connection.


View Larger Map

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DelDOT Workshop: Greenville Village Special Area Plan


Alexis I. DuPont High School, 50 Hillside Road, Greenville
Thursday, May 8, 2014, 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

6:15 p.m. Doors open & refreshments available meeting will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. Join us for this first in a series of workshops to define the future character and direction for Greenville. Bring your knowledge, ideas, and vision for an evening of collaboration with fellow community members to create a plan for Greenvilles future.

Poster's note:  If you can attend this event, please ensure that bicycling is thoughtfully considered in the plans. As it stands now, Route 52 - Greenville's "Main Street" - is a 4 lane curb to curb arterial road and bicyclists must ride in the right lane. The only progress in recent years has been the installation of bicycle warning signs at the intersection of Route 141- chosen over the much preferred and safer "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs which should be placed through town.

Placement of bicycle warning signs in the clover leaf warns drivers to expect bicyclists up on Route 52 in Greenville, but once there, it does nothing to validate our full use of the right lane. It is important for bicyclists to control the right lane in these situations, and not cling to the curb. Such behavior can invite motorists to dangerously overtake while side to side with another vehicle, thus violating the 3 Foot Passing Law.

Crash course: What to do in a bicycle crash

Cross-posted from Greater Greater Washington

by -- Bicycle crashes are scary, disorienting events. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a crash, but it's important to know what to do in case of emergency.

Hopefully you will never have to experience this firsthand, but you may be able to help out your fellow bicyclists with your level-headed understanding of what to do.

At the scene: You've been in a crash. Now what?  [Continue reading ...]

Poster's note: Most bicycle crashes are the result of the bicyclist losing control, hitting debris or other hazards, or striking fixed objects such as bollards or parked cars; a relative few are the result of motorists. You can learn the skills needed to avoid these dangerous situations by taking a safety course.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cycle For Cecil, and support land conservation in neighboring Cecil County

Cycle for Cecil begins at 8:00 a.m.at the beautiful Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area and travels through scenic Cecil County, Maryland. There are three distances to be traveled on the ride - 15 miles, 50K (31 miles), or 100K (62 miles). All routes have multiple well-manned rest stops that provide drinks, snacks, and restrooms. Upon completion of the ride, cyclists are rewarded with Kilby Cream Ice Cream and homemade goodies. Cycle for Cecil benefits the Cecil Land Trust, which works to preserve the open space and farmland that makes Cecil County so unique. Registration is available through Active.com and on the day of the event, this year on April 26th, 2014.

Everyone who did last year's event absolutely loved it, and now it's time to step up the attendance. Your participation not only supports a great ride, but helps fund the preservation of farmland, woodlands, natural habitat and historic rural communities in Cecil County. The efforts of the Cecil Land Trust may be what keeps Cecil County a rural landscape, the one that many recreational, touring, and competitive cyclists enjoy today.

Visit Clayton for Wheels of Caring - Saturday, 5/10

This sounds like a really fun bike ride, for a worthy cause. Email PastorKris61@gmail.com or call (302) 363-5351 for further details.

Heels and Wheels Post-Summit Presentations and Survey

Heels & Wheels: Delaware Walking & Biking Summit (formerly Delaware Bike Summit) was held on March 21 at the University of Delaware Clayton Hall in Newark. The event was attended by more than 250 people and included presentations from the Mayor of Newark, Governor of Delaware, and Secretaries of DNREC and DelDOT.

Please click HERE for links to all of the Power Point presentations, and to provide your feedback via a 5 minute survey. Heels & Wheels is hosted by Delaware Recreation and Parks Society and organized by Delaware State ParksDelDOTDover/Kent MPO, and WILMAPCO.

Cecil County police bike patrols begin this week

Featured in the Cecil Whig

Cecil County [Maryland] residents are familiar with seeing police officers in their patrol cars or perhaps on foot patrol.

Starting this week, however, several agencies are adding bicycles to their equipment in the name of community policing.

Last summer, select members of the Maryland State Police, Perryville and Elkton Police departments trained under 1st Sgt. Chris Davala from the state police Special Operations Division. Now the equipment is in place and patrols will begin, according to Lt. James Russell, commander of the North East barrack.

“We’ll be using the bikes in some of our high crime areas,” said Russell, who was promoted and assumed command of the barrack on April 16.

Russell said the bikes will allow law enforcement to not only be more approachable to the general public, but also to go places a motor vehicle cannot.

John Peters, director of construction and facility maintenance for The Cordish Company, which owns the North East Plaza, looks forward to that aspect.  [Full story ...]

Above: Wilmington's Finest on patrol during the 2010 Wilmington Grand Prix

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Who Invented the Bicycle?

Cross-posted from LiveScience

You might think that an invention as simple as the bicycle would have an uncomplicated past. But as it turns out, this highly popular invention has a history fraught with controversy and misinformation. While stories about who invented the bicycle often contradict one another, there's one thing that's certain - the very first bicycles were nothing like the ones you see cruising down the street today.

The first known iterations of a wheeled, human-powered vehicle were created long before the bicycle became a practical form of transportation. In 1418, an Italian engineer, Giovanni de la Fontana, constructed a human-powered device consisting of four wheels and a loop of rope connected by gears.

In 1813, about 400 years after Fontana built his wheeled contraption, a German aristocrat and inventor named Karl Drais began work on his own version of a four-wheeled, human-powered vehicle. Then in 1817, Drais debuted a two-wheeled vehicle, known by many names throughout Europe, including Draisine, running machine and hobby horse. [Read the full article ...]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Two Young Girls Bicycling Across America in 1944

Cross-posted from Vintage Everyday

In 1944, Doris Roy and Thelma Popp who were 21 years old and just graduated from college, made a plan to ride bicycles from their home in Buffalo, New York, to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River met the Mississippi.

"World War II affected our college life as most of the male student body joined one of the services. Women assumed some of their roles by taking jobs in armament industries. During the summer, I worked from early morning to evening in a public school caring for infants whose mothers were working in aircraft factories or other related industries."

"But now, before starting our careers, we decided that the coming summer after graduation would be the ideal time to have our adventure. We had a limited period of time to accomplish this. I had signed a contract to begin teaching first grade in Middleport, New York, on the Erie Canal on September 4, 1944. And so - with the leanest of equipment - we made our preparations and were ready to leave on June 22, 1944."

They camped outside, slept in barns, hitched rides on riverboats, went to church on Sundays, and worked at a Walgreens serving Cokes when their money ran low. They wrote letters to their families, and nearly every day Thelma wrote in her diary. The entire diary was transcribed and can be read here. [Read the full article ...]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bike Delaware demands Delaware Bikes forfeit domain, cites unfair competition

We were recently contacted by Bike Delaware with the following allegation. Here is an excerpt from their attorney's letter:

It has come to Bike Delaware's attention that you have recently begun using the name "Delaware Bikes" to promote your views regarding cycling in Delaware, including without limitation, on the website www.delawarebikes.org. Our client is concerned by the use of "Delaware Bikes" because this phrase includes both terms of its "Bike Delaware" mark, simply inverted. Generally, merely inverting the words in a mark does not distinguish the marks, especially in view of the similar meanings and connotations of the respective marks. The significant similarities between the marks - particularly where the services are identical/overlapping and are directed to the same consumers and through the same trade channels - is likely to confuse consumers. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists has expressed its confusion between the names and Bike Delaware is concerned other people or groups encountering the Delaware Bikes name will associate your activities with Bike Delaware or are likely to believe, in error, that you are affiliated with, or sponsored by, Bike Delaware.

? Is it Bike Delaware or Delaware Bikes ?
To which Angela Connolly, Secretary at Delaware Bikes, responds:

The League of American Bicyclists did not express their confusion, to we at Delaware Bikes or anyone else, as you may have been told. Andy Clark, the President of the LAB merely gave his very narrow opinion on the existence of Delaware Bikes and our mission when asked by us for his support. In an e-mail to representatives of Delaware Bikes, he stated that  "there is no need for a new "voice" that's honestly barely discernible in name and content from the existing voice". That is his personal opinion, and in no way should be construed to reflect what the LAB as an organization thinks. As a matter of fact, Delaware Bikes has made our purpose very clear, at every opportunity - to provide a more balanced approach to Bicycle Advocacy, and to include the concerns of those who cycle on Delaware's roads. This differs from Bike Delaware, whose main focus is on securing funds for future segregated bicycle facilities, such as trails and pathways. This is not merely an allegation; one only has to look at the two websites to draw their own conclusions as to the differences in our missions. On our Blog and Facebook page, which is the way we primarily communicate with our followers, we clearly and at every turn distinguish ourselves from Bike Delaware. And as far as consumers and trade channels, that is irrelevant. We are not targeting consumers nor are we soliciting money or donations. We are a non-profit Advisory Committee and Blog, we do not even solicit memberships. We pay for promotional items out of our own funds.

Poster's note: So, what's in a name? It should be noted that Bike Delaware didn't even formally register their domain name until February of this year. So, does Bike Delaware have a case? Stay tuned! For starters, Andy Clark (President, LAB) is incorrect that our services "are identical or overlap". Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bike Delaware focuses almost entirely on trails and pathway funding, while Delaware Bikes covers LAB's own 5 Es of bicycle advocacy. On-road safety is paramount - it is all but impossible to bike for transportation in Delaware (or just about anywhere in the US) without using roads and arterial highways at some point in your journey. And that's not set to change for generations to come, if ever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cell phone penalties set to increase in Maryland

Washington Post -- The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation Monday that will stiffen penalties for drivers who cause fatal or serious crashes while talking on a cellphone or texting. The legislation now goes to the governor to be signed.

The Maryland House of Delegates and Senate had passed different versions of the legislation, but in a compromise reached on the last day of the session, lawmakers agreed to these conditions: The law would apply to drivers using a cellphone in a variety of ways, not just texting. Those found guilty would face up to one year in jail and a fine of as much as $5,000. And prosecutors could charge drivers with this law in addition to other laws. [Full article ...]

Poster's note:  A small step forward in neighboring Maryland, but they are headed in the right direction. Ideally, these acts of gross negligence and disregard for other road user's safety should warrant penalties commensurate with DUI. Will Delaware follow suit?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Campus bicycle safety events scheduled this month

A typical safety checkpoint is set up in front of UD's Trabant Student Center
Several free bicycle safety events are being held on campus from now through the end of April for University of Delaware students, faculty and staff.

Members of the campus community are invited to drop by for information and giveaways and to learn how to take care of their bikes.

Remaining safety checkpoints are scheduled as follows:
  • Tuesday, April 8, noon-3 p.m. at the corner of North College Avenue and Ray Street near the pedestrian bridge to Laird Campus (complete)
  • Wednesday, April 16, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on The Green at Delaware Avenue.
  • Wednesday, April 23 from noon-2 p.m. on The Green at Delaware Avenue in front of Wolf Hall.
These checkpoints are conducted by the Newark Bicycle Committee in partnership with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), the Newark Bike Project, and UD Police.

Have bicycles checked for proper tire inflation and other safety issues. Front and rear bicycle lights will be given out while they last, courtesy of DelDOT. [Full story on UDaily ...]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why “Share The Road” is gone in Delaware (not)

Why “Share The Road” Is Gone in Delaware ~Bike Delaware
Delaware ditches “Share the Road” signs ~Cyclelicious
Bike Delaware calls for an end to ‘share the road’ signs ~California Bicycle Coalition
Delaware Drops “Share the Road” ~Streetsblog.net

The above are just some of the articles floating around the internet, when in fact, "Share the Road" is still appearing in Delaware. As we have learned all too often, a DOT's commitment to change - even in writing - doesn't guarantee it's going to happen. And that's why the enforcement of current policies and guidelines should be a major component of any bicycle advocacy organization.

A brand new CVS on the corner of Route 4 and Marrows Road will have its Grand Opening on May 18th, 2014.

A brand new bicycle warning sign, with "Share the Road", appears out front of the CVS.

In addition to the sign, the new CVS pictured above had the following New Castle County building code requirement waived:

Where necessary, the developer shall provide acceleration/deceleration lanes along major roads, as determined by DelDOT, as well as right- and left-turn lanes and bypass lanes, depending on local conditions and the amount of traffic generated by the proposed development. Where such lanes are required, they shall be at the expense of the developer.  Acceleration, deceleration, bypass, and right-turn lanes shall include space for bicycle lanes, as required by DelDOT.

There are no issues whatsoever when it comes to adding ADA compliant crosswalks and curb ramps with all new developments. In fact, the sidepath facility on Rt.4 (above) is part of the East Coast Greenway, an off-road trail intended for the use of bicycles and pedestrians. Where sidepaths like this exist, however, it provides the perfect excuse for DOTs to exclude on-road bicycle facilities. And that's likely what happened here, just as it did at the Delaware School for the Deaf further east.

The waiving of NCC coded bike lanes
is now common. Pork Chop guidelines are falling through the cracks. We are losing opportunities for bicycle facility improvements with Pave & Rehab projects. And it doesn't stop with on-road infrastructure; the application of laws that help protect bicyclists and pedestrians also require constant vigilance. Had it not been for select members of the Delaware Bicycle Council, our law enforcement and court system would remain clueless about laws like Vulnerable Users and 3 Foot Passing.

Bike Delaware has been virtually absent in these areas, as they choose to focus almost exclusively on Trails & Pathways.

Related:  Share the Road Plaque Removal in Delaware: Fact Check

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pope Francis: Avoid fast cars and ride a bike instead

Pope Francis addresses seminarians and future priests and nuns during Mass in St Peter's Basilica (Photo: CNS)

Catholic Herald -- Pope Francis revealed that it pains him when he sees a nun or priest driving an expensive car, and he praised the beauty of the bicycle, noting his 54-year-old personal secretary, Msgr Alfred Xuereb, gets around on a bike.

However, he admitted that with work to be done and distances to be covered, cars are a necessity. Just “get a humbler one,” he said, before adding that if the flashier model still looks tempting, “think about how many children are dying of hunger”.  [Full story ...]

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jonathan Harker: Failure to tackle air pollution kills over 25,000 per year

Too bad our Harker can't get the facts straight when it comes to air quality

By Jonathan Harker | Bike BIZ (UK) -- With the evidence stacking up, will a new official public health report prompt the government to put serious cash behind cycling?

Air pollution has been making the headlines recently, but this week's report from the government's own Public Health England (PHE) has linked long-term exposure to pollution to a shocking 25,000 deaths, in 2010.

With the health benefits of cycling in reducing obesity and the burden on the NHS already well covered, this is yet another reason for improving cycling conditions. So expect a few billion to be dedicated to cycle lanes, cycle traffic lights, etc, in the near future. Probably.

Location is one of the deciding factors in the likelihood of air pollution killing you. The report said: "Central estimates of the fraction of mortality attributable to long-term exposure to current levels of anthropogenic (human-made) particulate air pollution range from around 2.5 per cent in some local authorities in rural areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland and between 3 and 5 per cent in Wales, to over 8 per cent in some London boroughs." [Continue reading ...]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Befriend a Bicycle" Tips for Commuting and Riding

By Angela Connolly -- On Thursday April 10, I conducted a "Befriend a Bicycle - Tips for Commuting and Riding" Workshop at the Newark Bike Project. This event was part of the "Lite Lunch" Wellness Activities, a series of Workshops held by the University of Delaware's Department of Employee Wellness.

Held during the lunch hour, the workshops raise awareness for healthy activities by allowing participants to experience ways to re-charge their batteries during their workweek. With each activity employees attend, they earn incentives to be eligible for a prize drawing.

On the table was information from the Newark Bike Project, Delaware Bikes, RideShare Delaware, White Clay Bicycle Club, Delaware Trail Spinners, the Delaware Bicycle Council, and the Newark Bicycle Committee.

This was a great opportunity to talk about what we do at the Newark Bike Project, and to raise awareness of the many ways we serve the Community through our Shop and our bike related activities.

16 ladies and gentlemen were in attendance, and we covered topics such as, choosing the right bike for your commute, choosing appropriate bags and clothing, selecting a route, and of course, safety and practical tips to stay safe and visible on the bike. Participants took away goodies such as buttons, safety pamphlets, and maps. 

An array of goodies from Delaware Bikes was on hand. Participants were particularly excited about our high-visibility safety ankle snap bands. Delaware Bikes is an Advisory Committee and Blog that promotes a balanced approach to bicycle advocacy.

Angela, talking about what she loves - bicycling!

 
The event was enjoyed by all, including these lovely ladies. I would like to thank Linda Smith (far right) for the opportunity to present this Workshop today. We look forward to finding new and creative ways to continue to work with the University to keep their Hens healthy!